Meeting the Ultimate Objective

Rama and Lakshmana“Then Vishvamitra went to the guest area, taking Rama and Lakshmana. The barat party became extremely joyful looking at them, with love filling their hearts.” (Janaki Mangala, 121)

ge janavāsahiṃ kausika rāma lakhana lie |
haraṣe nirakhi barāta prema premudita hie ||

Harsha is a word used often in Vedic literature. The Janaki Mangala is rightly classified as Vedic literature because it describes the pastimes of the Supreme Personality of Godhead, especially focusing on His marriage to the daughter of King Janaka during an ancient time period. Harsha is the happiness specific to obtaining the ultimate objective. It is a joy like no other, and not surprisingly it is properly used here by Goswami Tulsidas to describe the happiness of the people from Ayodhya.

“Harsha is described in the Bhakti-rasamrita-sindhu. Harsha is experienced when one finally attains the desired goal of life and consequently becomes very glad. When harsha is present, the body shivers, and one’s bodily hairs stand on end. There are perspiration, tears and an outburst of passion and madness.” (Shrila Prabhupada, Chaitanya Charitamrita, Madhya 3.127 Purport)

The exact events of the Ramayana aren’t always the same. The universe goes through cycles of creation and destruction. Just like you may go to the office for five days out of each week and not every day will feature the same events, the creation sees the appearance and disappearance of the Supreme Lord in various ages. Mostly the events are carried out in the same fashion, but sometimes there are slight differences. Sometimes more details are given in certain written versions as well. The accounts available to us today are not limited to the present age. We get descriptions from past and future ages as well. There are innumerable universes, and everywhere some pastime of Rama’s is going on. Somewhere right now He is appearing on earth in His original form of Krishna. Somewhere right now He is lifting the mighty Govardhana Hill to save the residents of Vrindavana from the wrath of the king of heaven. And somewhere right now He is entering the guest tent set up by King Janaka for the marriage of his daughter.

Maharishi ValmikiWith respect to the timeline of the current creation, the original telling of Rama’s pastimes is found in the Ramayana, a Sanskrit poem authored by Maharishi Valmiki. In that work it is said that Rama didn’t marry Sita, Janaka’s daughter, right away because He didn’t know the opinion of His father, King Dasharatha of Ayodhya. Rama won the bow contest, lifting the bow before any other prince could. Many of them tried, but they all failed. This was a big achievement, and Sita was certainly beautiful in all respects. And yet Rama still didn’t make the decision for marriage on His own. He is God, so He doesn’t need anyone’s permission to do anything. But as Rama He especially pays attention to social etiquette, setting a good example for others to follow.

“Though being offered to Rama, I was not accepted by Him at the time, for He did not know the opinion of His father Dasharatha, the King of Ayodhya.” (Sita Devi speaking to Anasuya, Valmiki Ramayana, Ayodhya Kand, 118.51)

In other areas of Vedic literature, more details of the event are given.  It is described that Janaka’s priest goes to Ayodhya to notify King Dasharatha of Rama’s accomplishment. This is what is told here by Goswami Tulsidas. After Dasharatha gave his consent, the barat party, the group from the groom’s side, arrived in Janakpur and were greeted with the utmost hospitality by the bride’s side. They were shown to tents that were guest houses and then given every amenity imaginable.

And yet their harsha didn’t come until they saw Rama and His younger brother Lakshmana with the guru Vishvamitra. They experienced the joy that comes with attaining the ultimate objective because for every person in this world the highest goal is to have love for God. And when you love someone, do you not long to see them? This longing was there in the barat party, and so they were overjoyed to get the vision of Rama again. He had left for the forest with Lakshmana to protect the forest-dwelling Vishvamitra from the attacks of vile creatures. The residents of Ayodhya understood that the mission was a success when they heard of Rama’s victory in the assembly, and now they got to see Him again.

Lakshmana and Rama with VishvamitraRama looks more beautiful when He is with Lakshmana. This is because there has never been a better younger brother in the world. Lakshmana loves Rama so much that the Lord cannot do anything to control it. Rama cannot tell Lakshmana to stay home. This will not work. We initially view God with awe and reverence, and so in that mood of devotion we likely will do whatever He tells us. Lakshmana’s love is pure, so he thinks he knows how to please Rama better than Rama does. The same attitude exists in Sita, who thus made a perfect match for Rama.

The vision was again more beautiful since it included the spiritual guide Vishvamitra. The two brothers faithfully followed him. He was the one who first led them to the assembly in Janaka’s kingdom. Thus he played an important role in this great day becoming a reality. The people of Ayodhya were so happy that Rama was going to get the perfect queen. The couple would protect them in the future, and so the people were so happy for their good fortune.

From harsha comes love. You cannot be this happy if you don’t love the party that causes your happiness. And upon attaining your objective, if you are directly connected with that person, their innocent vision will fill your heart with more love. The barat party travelled all the way to Janakpur, happily singing the entire time. Now they saw Rama and Lakshmana and their love for them increased all the more. Thus in devotional service the reservoir of emotion can never be filled. Its depths are fathomless, as are the glories of Sita and Rama.

In Closing:

Though Shiva’s bow in His hand set,

First permission of father to get.

 

Janaka’s guru to Ayodhya sent,

Then barat party happily went.

 

In best accommodations to stay,

Harsha when brothers came their way.

 

Accompanied by guru made a wonderful sight,

So much love from their vision so bright.

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