Braj-Vrindavan āvāraṇā includes all four Rasas other than madhura. Each of them contains a particular quality of love that if absent from madhura will make madhura incomplete.
May that Vrindavan become manifest to me,
where play Krishna and his dear friends,
the amazing cowherd boys like Subala and others,
where the effulgent maidens like Lalita,
filled with love for Radha, find their joy,
and where the Divine Couple, Radha and Krishna,
whose only desire is for the mutual exchange of love,
are attached day and night to erotic dalliances
in which the god of love demonstrates his wondrous skills. (1.15)
Prabodhananda Saraswati switches back and forth from the sādhaka-deha and its different moods to the siddha-deha throughout all his works, and especially here in Vṛndāvana-mahimāmṛta. The relation of the siddha or eternal perfected ideal form and the visible, apparent form (bhauma) of Vrindavan is one that is constantly at play for the sādhaka devotee, whether living in the physical Vrindavan or not. The siddha Vrindavan is the background for all sādhana, whether or not one is living in the manifest Vrindavan.
It is the vision of that siddha Vrindavan that informs and transforms the sādhaka, and indeed transforms his or her vision and understanding of the bhauma Vrindavan. Whatever happens in the bhauma Vrindavan, the siddha Vrindavan always remains, like the pole star, dhruva, the source of all spiritual energy and prema-bhakti, the halo that surrounds the Divine Couple.
This verse reminds us again of Prabodhananda’s threefold division of Vrindavan Dham, which includes all the other Dhams. In the first is sakhya, in the second is the Rasa, in the third, the innermost sanctum, is Radha’s Kunj. However, they are all Vrindavan. Indeed, we must always pass through the āvaraṇas or outer coverings before we can come to the central focal point of our meditation.
Each āvaraṇa represents either a pratyāhāra or a dhāraṇā, depending on where you stand in your practice.
If a dhāraṇā, one engages in a thorough analysis of the characteristics of the prema that is found in each of the outer layers. Here in this verse only sakhya or friendship is mentioned, but in fact this portion of Braj-Vrindavan āvāraṇā includes all four Rasas other than madhura. Each of them contains a particular quality of love that if absent from madhura will make madhura incomplete. One cannot skip to erotic love without first learning the primary lessons of love. In the sādhana for each of these stages particular forms of kāma potentially rear their head. Unless one has conquered these lesser forms of kāma, how can one resist the kāma that one confronts in madhura?
The two innermost levels include the two circle-dances. What I have previously said about the outer and inner Rasa-dances applies here. We call Radha’s kunj the inner circle of the Rasa dance, where Radha is the svādhīna bhartṛkā. See here also.
These same dhāraṇās become pratyāhāras, when one abandons each stage after having assimilated the positive aspects of that level of love, but at the same time has to abandon those aspects that are an impediment to madhura-rasa. In this way, one progressively enters the ever more subtle realms of prema.
Prabodhananda Saraswatipada knows where he is going — to the core of the Dham, which like a flower with many petals, is made beautiful and more attractive by the surrounding spray of color, but whose honey and fragrance waft from the whorl at its heart.
VMA 1.14 : Rolling in the dust of Vrindavan
VMA 1.13 : Offenses to the residents of the Dham break my heart
VMA 1.12 : The Upanishads take birth as cows in Braj
VMA 1.11 : The defects we see in the Dham are not real.
VMA 1.10 : More glories of Radharani’s kunj
VMA 1.9 : Radhika’s cottage in the kunj
VMA 1.8 : Vrindavan contains all the Dhams
VMA 1.7 : Vrindavan includes all of Braj
VMA 1.6 : What is it to me if you cannot see Vrindavan’s glories?
VMA 1.5 : Take shelter of Vrindavan with all your being