The Utilmate Fan Club- Part 1

The Utilmate Fan Club- Part 1

3rd Mar 2011
Narahari Krishna das

Hare Krishna Prabhujis and Matajis,
Please accept my humble pranams. All glories to Srila Prabhupada and Srila Gurudeva. 

Nowadays, the concept of fan club is very famous all over the world. There are fan clubs for movie stars, dancers, movie directors, musicians, singers, Sports stars, novel writers, public speakers, scientists etc. The fans of these celebrities not only relish the talents and performance of their favourites themselves, but they also try to spread the name and fame of the celebrities via various activities of the fan club. This is done via various media by hosting web pages, putting their posters in their houses, TV programs, keeping cutouts and flex boards, tattooing their image and names on the body etc. Some celebrities have magazines run by their fans talking about their glories. The birthday of the celebrities is a very big festival for the fans. The fans in some cases display unusual attraction to the favourite celebrities. A few months back one mega-budget movie of a famous hero was released all over India. On the eve of the movie release, the fans of the hero performed abhisheka of milk to the star's huge size cut out and performed proper worship according to the Pancharatra system and this was telecasted over the whole of India. The fans also sometimes built temples for their favourite celebrities and raise them to the status of God. 

The celebrities, in turn, owe a lot to their fans for their enthusiasm and support. Hence they also sometimes reciprocate by spending a portion of their earnings for their fans by taking care of their material well being in medical treatment, education etc. In South India, there was a great fan of a very famous actor and he was hospitalized due to a terminal disease and passed away. Till he passed away, he was continuously watching and relishing the movies of his favourite actor. The actor was very much moved by the attraction possessed by his fan and he personally stayed with him during the final moments and accompanied till the crematorium. He also took complete charge of the education of his children and helped the family a lot. 

If we carefully analyze the reason for this great attraction displayed by the fans towards various celebrities, we can understand that the celebrities are able to deliver a particular mellow/sweetness in their acting, singing, sports, writing, music, knowledge which is very much relish-able by their fans. This mellow/sweetness is technically called as 'rasa' in Sanskrit. Srila Bhakti Siddhanta Saraswati Thakura quotes the following sloka which defines what 'rasa' is. 

vyatītya bhāvanā-vartma yaś camatkāra-bhāra-bhūḥ
hṛdi sattvojjvale bāḍhaṁ svadate sa raso mataḥ

That which is beyond imagination, heavy with wonder and relished in the heart shining with goodness - such is known as rasa.

The Sanskrit equivalent for the word "fan" is 'Rasika' which means 'One who relishes (or enjoys) the Rasa'.(This word "Rasika" is very popular in Carnatic music and cinema field). While all the different fans enjoy different mellows from their favourite celebrities, the Bhagavata Purana calls for everyone to become a fan (rasika) of this great literature to enjoy spiritual rasa (mellows) - Srimad Bhagavatam verse 1.1.3

nigama-kalpa-taror galitaṁ phalaṁ
śuka-mukhād amṛta-drava-saṁyutam
pibata bhāgavataṁ rasam ālayam
muhur aho rasikā bhuvi bhāvukāḥ

O expert and thoughtful men, relish Srimad Bhagavatam, the mature fruit of the desire tree of Vedic literatures. It emanated from the lips of Sri Sukadeva Goswami. Therefore this fruit has become even more tasteful, although its nectarean juice was already relishable for all, including liberated souls.

In the commentary to this verse, Srila Prabhupada explains the difference between material and spiritual rasa and how Vedas contain both knowledge for material well being and spiritual realization. "Regulated knowledge involves a gradual rising of the living entity to the spiritual platform, and the highest spiritual realization is knowledge that the Personality of Godhead is the reservoir of all spiritual tastes or rasas. Every living entity, beginning from Lord Brahma, the first-born living being within the material world, down to the insignificant ant, desires to relish some sort of taste derived from sense perceptions. These sensual pleasures are technically called rasas. The sum total of all the different rasas is called affection or love." His Divine Grace further says, "The rasas are exchanged between members of the same species. But as far as the spirit souls are concerned, they are one qualitatively with the Supreme Lord. Therefore, the rasas were originally exchanged between the spiritual living being and the spiritual whole, the Supreme Personality of Godhead. The spiritual exchange or rasa is fully exhibited in spiritual existence between living beings and the Supreme Lord."

The Supreme Personality of Godhead is therefore described in the sruti-mantras, Vedic hymns, as "the fountainhead of all rasas." When one associates with the Supreme Lord and exchanges one's constitutional rasa with the Lord, then the living being is actually happy. (raso vai sah; rasam evaayam labdhvaa anandi bhavati- Taittiriya Upanishad). 

Since the Supreme Lord is the fountainhead of all rasas, devotees are the greatest fans (rasikas) because they are fans of the Supreme Lord who is the Supreme Hero. We will see the nature of these rasikas in the next offering, Krishna willing. 

Thank you very much. 
Yours in the service of Srila Prabhupada and Srila Gurudeva,
Narahari Krishna dasa.