Hundreds of Ways

Dasharatha with Lakshmana and Rama“Taking them in his lap, the king was very happy in the heart. His incomparable bliss cannot be explained even by Ananta Shesha Naga.” (Janaki Mangala, 122)

hṛdayam̐ lāi lie goda moda ati bhūpahi |
kahi na sakahiṃ sata seṣa ananda anūpahiṃ ||

The famous brothers Sanatana and Rupa Gosvami had a younger brother named Anupama. He was a devotee of God as Lord Ramachandra, therefore he felt that he couldn’t properly worship Shri Krishna along with Radha, who were the worshipable figures of choice for his elder brothers and their spiritual master, Lord Chaitanya. He was still very blessed and considered Mahaprabhu to be none other than Krishna Himself, who is God. The Lord is ananta-rupam, or with unlimited forms. This doesn’t mean that everything and everyone is God Himself, but there are still many non-different forms that are worshipable. In this instance the worship is directly engaged in by King Dasharatha, and the bliss he felt in that worship was incomparable.

Anupama means incomparable, so here it is applied to the brother Anupama’s worshipable object of choice, Shri Rama. The scene in question is a marriage ceremony from an ancient time. Though this marriage took place many thousands of years ago, there was nothing lacking. Accustomed to our present surroundings, we think that we need electricity, large screens, limousines, speakers, and a grand banquet hall in order to have a fancy wedding, but actually through nature’s arrangement all necessary opulence is supplied. What you really need to make a good wedding is love. And love in its purest form exists only with God. When it’s His wedding, there is ample love to go around. In any time period, that wedding is enjoyed, even by those who only hear about it.

King Dasharatha with familyKing Dasharatha was the father of the groom. His son Rama was going to marry Sita, King Janaka’s daughter. The bridegroom’s party arrived from Ayodhya and everyone in both families was thrilled beyond belief. In this scene Dasharatha is taking Rama and His younger brother Lakshmana on his lap to show them affection. He was a good father who was so happy to see his sons after a long time spent apart from them.

Family ancestry, physical proximity, and country of origin are of no concern in ordinary love. Love as we know it crosses all boundaries. Why, then, shouldn’t it be the same with God? Why can’t you love someone immediately upon seeing them, especially when they are full of all good qualities? Dasharatha was so happy when he saw the two brothers, and his heart became filled with bliss. That bliss could not be described even by Ananta Shesha Naga.

Think of the breaking news story. Perhaps a new spiritual leader has been announced. You tune to one television network to see what’s going on. They have their reporters on the scene giving you the play by play. Then they have the analysts discussing what just happened. After that, they more or less speculate. The news filters out slowly, so to fill the time the on-air talent has to talk. If you don’t have many facts to go off of, the only way to keep the conversation going is to speculate about this or that.

Now imagine if all the other television networks were covering the same story. You could flip from channel to channel and hear from their reporters. The media is typically centrally located. The newsmakers give their information in press releases and press conferences. This way there usually isn’t just one media source that gets an exclusive. Each bureau hears the same things and then reports on it in different ways. After surfing a few channels, you notice that there isn’t much new to report. Eventually, the coverage starts to get boring, and you are left to wait for the next big story.

Lord RamaWith the Supreme Lord and His devotees, all things are so significant that a thousand networks wouldn’t suffice for proper coverage. And this can be said of describing just the joyous emotions. This isn’t necessarily to report on a specific action or event. Here Dasharatha hugged Rama and Lakshmana. How many ways are you going to describe that? Ah, but if you want to talk about Dasharatha’s emotion, his unrivalled happiness, you couldn’t properly explain that even if you had a thousand mouths all talking at once.

That is the opinion given here by Goswami Tulsidas. Ananta Shesha Naga, or Anantadeva, is a divine serpent who has a seemingly endless number of hoods. He constantly engages in glorifying God, and in that glorification he never reaches an end. He is also at this scene, having incarnated on earth as Lakshmana. Lakshmana is always with Rama, so he has the best information to use in glorification. Through his example he shows what the best implementation of bhakti-yoga, or devotional service, looks like. That occupation is the original one, which has a corresponding original consciousness. And in that consciousness there is no end to the glorification of God, which brings incomparable bliss.

Dasharatha felt so happy to be with the beautiful, chivalrous, courageous, strong, and pious two brothers from Ayodhya and to have them with him again. His happiness makes the devotees happy, since they know from his example that no other reward can compare to the association of the Supreme Personality of Godhead. And that reward brings the great gift of endless glorification, which ensures that there will never be a poverty of available activity for the devoted soul.

In Closing:

Held two sons with great affection and care,

Love in his heart was without compare.


Anupama without compare it means,

Appropriate for love in this scene.


Anantadeva with hoods too many to count,

Task of endless glorification he mounts.


Still to accurately describe no way,

Rama and Lakshmana in king’s heart to stay.

Categories: janaki mangala

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