“If one had to compare sovereignty over the planetary systems and Sita, the daughter of Janaka, sovereignty over the three worlds would not even reach a fraction of Sita.” (Hanuman, Valmiki Ramayana, Sundara Kand, 16.14)
rājyam vā triṣu lokeṣu sītā vā janaka ātmajā |
trailokya rājyam sakalam sītāyā na āpnuyāt kalām ||
Mastercard, the credit card company, had a series of famous commercials that depicted various common experiences that people pay for. During the televised advertisement, each specific item within that experience is given a price tag, and at the end something whose price can’t be measured, such as the sharing of a laugh between friends and family, is deemed priceless. This reminds us that there are certain things that you can’t put a price on, which means that there is no way that a person can buy or sell it. The same concept applies to the favor of the Supreme Personality of Godhead’s eternal consort, as not even sovereignty over the three worlds compares to it.
Let’s say that you love the house that you live in. You grew up in that house, you continue to live there, and you have no intention of moving. You like the neighborhood, and you are more less comfortable with your living situation. What if someone comes up to you and tries to buy the house? You will tell them that it’s not for sale, but what if they ask you to name your price? Is there some price at which you would sell the house? If they offer you a ridiculously high price, you could actually sell the house and buy two or three more. You could buy a mansion and find an even better living condition.
The same would hold true for every commodity, but relationships aren’t the same. No one can put a price on your children, and similarly your brothers and sisters are priceless. The parents are nature’s gift, people to protect you unconditionally. There is no real way to pay back the love of the parents; the best way is to follow in their footsteps, taking the love they give you and offering it multiple times over to the person who is most deserving of it.
There are common misconceptions about religious life that are created by nefarious characters who misunderstand it themselves. The terrorist who kills innocent women and children in the name of religion gives God a bad name, as does the person who gets in everyone’s face and tells them that they are going to hell if they don’t surrender to such and such personality. Then there are the men of the cloth who get caught in illicit sexual affairs with minors and others they shouldn’t have such relations with.
But genuine religious life is most worthwhile. A relationship is at its foundation. That relationship is one that defines all other relationships, and therefore it is also the most valuable. You cannot put a price tag on it. To those who have established that relationship, no amount of money can make them break out of it. They are so dedicated to it that they will risk everything to maintain it. They will not budge, not even if sovereignty over the entire land stretching to the oceans is offered.
We can use Shri Hanuman as an example in this regard. He established the relationship through a personal meeting, and his mood of exchange was direct service. God, the Supreme Lord, the author of all that is good in this world, the origin of matter and spirit, was on this earth during the Treta Yuga as a warrior prince named Rama. Hanuman lived in the forest with his other Vanara friends. They were like monkeys, but showed aspects of civilized life.
Rama gave Hanuman a task: find His missing wife Sita. Hanuman only knew Rama briefly up to this point, but he took the mission as his life and soul. Journeying across the vast ocean and into the enemy territory of Lanka, he eventually placed his eyes upon Sita. She was a short distance away, as Hanuman was perched on a tree in a grove of Ashoka trees in Lanka. Upon seeing Sita, Hanuman’s dedication was further strengthened. He realized that whatever Rama was doing to find her was indeed worth it. Rama had done so much already, and now through Hanuman He was doing even more. Hanuman’s work was for Rama, so his bravery was an extension of Rama’s dedication to Sita.
Based on her external appearance, Hanuman decided that sovereignty over the three worlds couldn’t measure up to Sita. This means that her association is priceless. You could offer anything to Rama in exchange for Sita and He wouldn’t take it. Moreover, no one else would either; such was the beauty of the daughter of King Janaka. No opulence could deflect Hanuman’s attention. He was going to tell Sita the message Rama gave no matter what. He was not going to rest until his mission was complete.
Sita is Rama’s eternal consort, so the two are forever related. Her association is priceless because she is always tied to Rama. If you get Sita, you get Rama. There is no way around it. In the same way, if you get Hanuman, you get Sita and Rama and also Lakshmana, Rama’s younger brother. Therefore, the truly wise souls have tremendous respect and affection for Hanuman. No amount of wealth can stop them from loving him.
And what gives Hanuman the greatest pleasure? Seeing others in devotional service, offering the same dedication to Sita and Rama that he has. Therefore, for the devotees their daily routine of chanting, “Hare Krishna Hare Krishna, Krishna Krishna, Hare Hare, Hare Rama Hare Rama, Rama Rama, Hare Hare,” is a priceless gift that they appreciate to no end. They’ll never sell what they have, but they’ll kindly give replicas to anyone who is wise enough to accept it. Since they distribute priceless gifts, such devotees automatically become dear to the world, like Shri Hanuman who offered the valuable gift of Shri Rama’s message to Sita.
Your price for exchange please name,
So that your house I can make my gain.
With the amount of money I’ll give,
In palatial building you can then live.
Association though to have inestimable value,
Forever dear are friends and family to you.
For Sita’s association there is no price,
Pleases Rama by acting as His beloved wife.
To give her husband’s priceless message Hanuman went,
Today his devotees to spread holy names are sent.
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