“Always engaging in the activities of devotional service, devotees feel ever-increasingly fresh and new in all their activities. The all-knower, the Supersoul within the heart of the devotee, makes everything increasingly fresh…” (Lord Vishnu, Shrimad Bhagavatam, 4.30.20)
Those accustomed to city life often go into culture shock when visiting the country. Without any bars, night clubs, or cinemas, the countryside is known for its open roads, large farmlands, and peace and quiet. This sort of lifestyle is craved by some and, at the same time, loathed by others.
America is known for its famous cities. New York, Los Angeles, Chicago, and Las Vegas are some of the more popular urban areas. Throughout the course of human history, people have had a tendency to congregate to areas which are located near large bodies of water. The presence of rivers, lakes, and oceans means that travelling and interstate commerce can occur without major difficulty. Since people are drawn to these type of places, urban life has become known for having high population densities. To accommodate all these people, buildings have to be built higher and thus we have large skyscrapers throughout the world. Underground train systems such as subways are also quite common in large cities. Many people love living in these types of places. There are restaurants, shops, night clubs, and cinemas around every corner. One can get from one place to another very quickly and easily. New York is known as the city that never sleeps due the plethora of entertainment options that are available.
The rest of America lives in the suburbs and the countryside. The central region of America, having large farms and open fields, is referred to as the Heartland. The population density is much lower in the suburbs, thus the houses are more spacious. Having an automobile is almost a necessity for those wanting to get from place to place. Some towns are so remote that one has to travel at least half an hour to get to any important store, such as a supermarket. In many areas, the local Walmart Supercenter is the most popular destination site on weekends.
People that live in the country generally like it. Life is much more peaceful, with limited distractions. On the other hand, people accustomed to city life often hate the suburbs. “There’s nothing to do here. I am so bored. What do these people do for fun?” These are some of the sentiments commonly uttered by city-folk when talking about the suburbs and countryside. These sentiments refer to the lack of public entertainment options in these areas. New York City is so highly populated that it has two major professional sports franchises in baseball, football, and hockey. Tickets for the New York Giants football team are in such high demand, that there is a waiting list of upwards to ten years for people to even get a chance to buy tickets. Contrast this with some of the remote areas of the country, where the biggest sporting event each week is the local high school football game, and we can see that there is a gulf of difference between the two areas.
This advanced material age means we have more time to spend on leisurely activities. Human beings live primarily in the mode of passion, involving themselves in fruitive activity with sense gratification being the ultimate aim. The senses can never be satisfied on a material level, thus people are always looking for new things to do and new ways to fill their time. Nobody likes to be bored.
Lord Rama, God’s incarnation during the Treta Yuga, spent fourteen years living as an exile from His kingdom of Ayodhya. After the order was given by His father, King Dashratha, Rama’s wife Sita Devi and younger brother Lakshmana accompanied Him. Sumantra, the family charioteer, initially took the group to the forest, but then was ordered to return home by Rama. Upon returning to the kingdom, Dashratha asked him how everyone was faring. It wasn’t Dashratha’s desire to send Rama to the forest, but he was forced to do so due to boons he had granted to his wife Kaikeyi on a previous occasion. As soon as Rama left the kingdom, Dashratha was in great pain. Rama was his favorite son, the person he prayed long and hard to have in his life. As a very pious king, Dashratha was childless and worried that the family name wouldn’t continue after his death. Due to this worry, he performed a great sacrifice and was duly rewarded by having Rama take birth as his eldest son, along with three other wonderful boys. Dashratha was anxiously awaiting the report from Sumantra.
"And even in the lonely woods, Sita, as if remaining at home, having fixed her thoughts on Rama, is confidently living without any fears." (Sumantra speaking to Dashratha, Valmiki Ramayana, Ayodhya Kand, Sec 60)
The charioteer told Dashratha that everyone was alright. Aside from Rama’s welfare, all those assembled wanted to know how Sita was faring. A beautiful, chaste, and kind princess, Sita was loved and adored by all. People pitied her because she was never ordered to leave the kingdom, but rather voluntarily chose to follow her husband. For this reason, they were very angry with Dashratha, for his actions caused someone as beautiful and delicate as Sita to be forced to endure the rigid forest life. Surprisingly, Sumantra informed everyone that Sita Devi was faring just fine. She didn’t appear to be suffering in any way. In fact, she seemed happier than she had ever been. How could this be?
Of all her great qualities, foremost among them was her devotion to Rama, who was God Himself. In every thought, word, and deed, Sita dedicated herself to Rama and His welfare. Rama sternly warned her against coming with Him to the forest, yet through her love and powers of persuasion, Sita was able to convince Him to allow her to come. The wilderness is usually a quiet place. People often retreat to cabins in the forest or mountains to get away from everyone. Great writers have written many books while locking themselves in remote cabins, where they were better able to concentrate. Even during Lord Rama’s time, the great yogis and sages were the only humans that ever thought of living in the woods. The country life is considered to be in the mode of goodness, thereby making it an environment more conducive to the cultivation of spiritual knowledge.
It is often seen that women prefer a glamorous lifestyle with expensive clothes and jewelry. They love getting dressed up very nicely and going out on the town. Sita was a great princess, so she didn’t shun this sort of lifestyle, but at the same time, she had no attachment to it. Her only business was to love God. For this reason, she was always happy in His company, wherever that would be. This is the lesson for all of us. Being a devotee means always having something to do, and never being bored. We will always be happy and satisfied serving the Lord. That is the bliss that comes from pure transcendental love.
Categories: glories of sita devi