All Glories

Celebrating“Full of all good qualities and equal in all respects in the relationship were the two fathers. When they met they felt tremendous happiness. Looking at them, the demigods, men and sages kept saying, ‘All glories!’ and ‘Wonderful!’” (Janaki Mangala, Chand 16.2)

guna sakala sama sama samadhī paraspara milana ati ānanda lahe |
jaya dhanya jaya jaya dhanya dhanya biloki sura nara muni kahe ||

If you visit a Vaishnava temple, you will often hear the exclamation, “Jaya.” This means “all glories” or “victory” and it is usually preceded by a name or place. The person leading the offerings says it first, and then the members present follow along. Similar to the practice of singers on stage at rock concerts, this call and response type offering allows others to voice their love and appreciation for the objects in question. In the above referenced verse from the Janaki Mangala, the spectators and participants got to directly offer their joyous congratulations to the people involved. They didn’t have to wait until afterwards, and since the people involved were so wonderful, the offerings kept coming, from all different directions.

“Amen, my good brother.” This means “I agree. I wholeheartedly support what you are saying.” “Jaya” goes a little beyond that, as it is both a sign of agreement and a way to offer praise. In the temple, the congregation members are obviously worshipers of a similar mind. They see the deity or picture representation of the Divine and then automatically feel appreciation. When it comes time to glorifying that Supreme Person, they are more than happy to follow along. They may also give support to the glories offered to the spiritual master, the holy places, and the people assembled there for the worship.

Radha Krishna templeThe ceremony referenced above didn’t take place in a temple. It wasn’t an explicit religious function either. And yet the entire culture at the time was rooted in spiritual life. If you advise that people keep religion and science separate, you will get many supporters. “Religion is faith, and so it has no place in science. We believe in God, but that should have nothing to do with how we use science.” If you think of religion only in terms of faith, then surely this logic makes sense to you. But as more rational thought is applied, the advice loses its legs.

For starters, religion is intended to be about God. This shouldn’t be a controversial point. If we’re talking about God, then we’re talking about the person who is the source of everything. The name you use for that source isn’t so important here. The acknowledgment is there that life came from a higher form of life. The creation didn’t just evolve from elements randomly colliding.

Now, if we’re saying that God is the origin, why should He be shut out of any aspect of His creation? If He is really God, He must have a place in all aspects of life. Life is made by Him. Without His presence, there is no such thing as life. We are spirit too, and when we are somewhere, the neighboring collection of matter has life. When we are absent, the previously animate covering immediately turns inanimate. This transformation goes by the name of death, which is the exit of life from a specific area.

The sunriseI may have faith in this person or that, but faith has nothing to do with the spiritual science. The sun has specific scientific properties. This is true of the overall nature too, which science seeks to understand. If you ignore the hand of the creator of the nature, then your study will always be deficient. Indeed, the desire to keep God out of your scientific discussion proves that you have no understanding of God. It is an obvious indication that you want to use science to manipulate matter for your own personal enjoyment, keeping God out of your life. If this weren’t the case, you would have no problem including in the discussion the creator of the nature. And that creation must have a purpose as well, as the non-randomness to the properties of the creation shows an intelligence. If even unintelligent actions of ordinary people are done with a purpose, then surely the work of the most intelligent being would have a tangible purpose. And surely it wouldn’t be to have His own influence later be ignored.

Though the people in Janakpur were celebrating a marriage, they did anything but keep God out of it. They knew that marriage wasn’t merely a contract for sex life, a way to put into writing the amorous feelings shared by two people. If you think about it, what reason is there for God to include discussions on eating and sex life in any of His scriptures? Animals already follow these behaviors without a problem. They don’t know anything about God, marriage, sacrifice, or charity. They go off their animal instincts. For God to include these things in written word means that there is a purpose to these activities in the human species that goes beyond furthering animal life.

Marriage is a sanction for sex life. It is a way to curb it. It is also a way to properly use it. The human being has potency, after all. The potencies are different for the male and the female. If the potency of the male is matched with the potency of the female in a marital relationship, the result is good progeny. Given the choice, isn’t it better to have children who are wanted, loved and nurtured?

Marriage ceremony of Shiva and ParvatiIn the Vedas marriage is known as a spiritual institution, the grihastha ashrama. It is a way for both parties to continue in their spiritual advancement, which ideally started from the time of birth. Therefore marriage is a joyous occasion, where the well-wishers can rejoice in the beginning of a future journey for the bride and groom. The parents of both families also join in the celebration, and if they are an ideal match, the union means a wonderful way to extend the families.

Here the men, demigods and sages kept saying “Jaya” and “Dhanya” while observing the meeting of the two fathers at the marriage ceremony. King Dasharatha’s son Rama was marrying King Janaka’s daughter Sita. It is said by Goswami Tulsidas that both men were full of good qualities, or gunas. The relationship between them was equal; neither one was superior. And this is a difficult thing to say considering the gloriousness of both men. Who would think that you could find an equal to King Dasharatha, one of the leading fighters for the demigods? And who would think that you could find an equal to King Janaka, known throughout the three worlds for his dispassion and his dedication to dharma?

The people weren’t in a temple specifically, but they offered their obeisances nonetheless. They repeatedly shouted “all glories” to express what they were feeling. Rama is the Supreme Lord, the very origin of the creation that scientists are so interested in. Sita is His eternal consort, His energy. When the two meet, the area turns into a temple-like ground, a place of pilgrimage. And the time surrounding that meeting becomes one to remember through the ages.

In Closing:

With bowing heads on the ground,

To respond to leader with “Jaya” sound.


Means “All glories” for objects to hear,

Holy places, saints and God so dear.


Expected for this in temple to sound,

But why at marriage in background?


In all aspects of life God should be,

Not just in faith His vision to see.


Kings for each other so much respect,

Equal in every way when they met.


“Dhanya” and “Jaya” for them others gave,

Blessed time in your mind protect and save.

Categories: janaki mangala

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