Ujjvalanilamani

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Ujjvalanilamani one of the two main source books of Vaisvava Rasashastra (Vaisnava philosophy of aesthetics) by rupa goswami (c. 1470-1559), the other one being his Bhaktirasamrtasindhu. While the latter deals with all other categories of bhaktirasa (the aesthetics of devotion) excepting its highest form, madhurarasa or ujjvalarasa (the amorous sentiment), Ujjvalanilamani deals exclusively with madhurarasa, which has been called bhaktirasaraja (the highest form of bhaktirasa). The Vaisnava school considers this to be the ultimate form of devotion to krishna.

The vibhavas (determinants) of madhurarasa are Krishna, the hero, and his beloved heroines, of whom radha is the foremost. She is designated as ahladini mahashakti (the Ever-delighting Great Force) in Ujjvalanilamani. The Vaisnava Rasasastra, though basically a religious philosophy, is at the same time, a literary one in so far as in it the religious sentiment of bhakti (devotion) finds culmination in the devotional sentiment, which has been called bhaktirasa. Earlier, traditional critics did not give the sentiment of devotion the status of rasa, but the Vaisnava thinkers likened this religious sentiment to the traditional terminology of the new school of Sanskrit literary criticism, rasa. The bhakta (devotee) was given the position of sahrdaya (connoisseur) of the traditional Alabkara. There are a number of commentaries on the Ujjvalanilamani by, among others, jiva goswami and Vishwanatha Chakravarti. [Pratap Bandyopadhyay]