This presentation examines the definition of “supreme bhakti” (uttamā-bhakti) as given by Sri Rupa Gosvamin, the 15th century medieval saint and leader of the famed gosvamis of Vrndavan who were devout followers of Sri Caitanya Mahaprabhu. Considered especially empowered by Sri Caitanya to codify the teachings of bhakti that enjoyed a renaissance under Sri Caitanya’s influence, Sri Rupa Gosvamin’s magnum opus—Bhakti-Rasāmrta-Sindhu—systematically established bhakti as universal, as the basis of accomplishment for other systems of self-actualization, while being independent from those systems and from the stipulations of the socio-religious structure of Vedic society knowns as varnāsrama (caste system). For these reasons and more, this strand of bhakti became revolutionary for the time that it appeared.
What is the difference between love encountered in this world, and bhakti as presented by Sri Rupa? Who is the truly abiding object of love? What is the intrinsic and extrinsic nature of bhakti and how does it manifest in this world? What is bhakti’s relationship to other system of self-realization? All these questions and more will be explored with the hope of getting a clearer understanding of “A Love Supreme,” i.e. uttamā-bhakti.