“With supreme love, they are doing the family rituals while walking like a great elephant. Not satisfied, the fortunate women continue to fill up with devotion.” (Janaki Mangala, 134)
parama prīti kularīti karahiṃ gaja gāmini |
nahiṃ aghāhiṃ anurāga bhāga bhari bhāmini ||
Lack of satisfaction with the consumption of something can lead to damaging effects. For instance, if in consuming adult beverages you are not satisfied, pretty soon you will be heavily intoxicated. That is never the real intent, as who wants to be so out of it that they don’t remember what they did the next day? Who wants to be made dumb enough to get behind the wheel of a car and risk their own life as well as the lives of others? If you are not satisfied from eating, you will risk gaining weight. You might also jeopardize your health. In all areas, not being satisfied can get you in trouble. With devotion to the Supreme Being, however, the situation turns around. The negative turns into a positive.
Thankfully we have our body to stop us. Eventually the body malfunctions to the point that we can’t drink anymore. Our stomach can only hold so much food, so eventually we have to stop eating. On the other hand, a subtle aspect belonging to that same body is what tempted us to overindulge in the first place. The mind previously processed various sense perceptions, and the intelligence, which should have known better, then sanctioned the indulgence in adult beverages. The mind previously gave us information to tell us that overeating wasn’t good, and yet the intelligence gave the green light to overeat again.
So are we helpless? The mind and intelligence are part of the body as well. If they can’t stop us from overindulging, what will?
Devotion is the only area where overindulgence due to lack of complete satisfaction is a good thing. Devotion is also guided by intelligence. To outside observers, the actions of the devoted soul may seem to be mere sentimentalism. “As passion steers you into an amorous relationship, so the devoted soul leaps into worshiping God with full vim and vigor. The passion will eventually fade, for that is the way of relationships.”
Ah, but the inability to be fully satisfied just makes the passion continue elsewhere, showing that the passion is infinite in nature. Intelligence guides the devoted soul too, and in their case the intelligence is accurate. Therefore we know that the devoted souls are the most intelligent. Their past sense perceptions are duly recorded, and the intelligence knows how to properly process them.
If I eat something that is not tasty, the distaste will reach my intelligence. If the next time I reach to eat the same dish, my intelligence should stop me. If it doesn’t, it means that the intelligence is defective. Think of it like a computer that doesn’t work properly. The GPS device should give us the proper directions to lead us to our intended destination. If it gives us the wrong directions, it means that it isn’t working properly.
We can get an idea of how devotion works from the verse referenced above. It comes to us courtesy of the Janaki Mangala, which is authored by Goswami Tulsidas, a famous saint from the medieval period in India. In this verse, women from the bride’s side of a wedding are doing the family rituals. The wedding is all set. Sita will wed Rama. Sita is King Janaka’s daughter. Rama is King Dasharatha’s son.
From the Vedas we learn that Sita Devi is the goddess of fortune. The fortune belongs to her husband, who is the Supreme Lord. They are both personalities, and so they act. In simpler terms, they like to do stuff. The stuff they do is not ordinary, and so it is pleasurable to remember even thousands of years after the fact. Here Sita and Rama are getting married during their time on earth. Theirs is the best wedding to look back on. In weddings today, if there is a video taken it might be shown only when guests come over to the house. Even then the viewing experience is rather boring, as you most likely just sit there and watch people dance the whole time.
The wedding of Sita and Rama is so wonderful that you never get tired of hearing about it. This is especially true if your intelligence is clear. From the behavior of the participants themselves, we see that there is never full satisfaction. In performing the family rituals, the women were walking like great elephants. This indicates that the women were very beautiful in all respects, including in how they walked. We see that they were not satisfied in their actions. In our childhood, perhaps our parents compelled us to attend various religious functions. They seemed boring to us, so we couldn’t wait until they were over. In this instance, as there was direct participation for the benefit of Sita and Rama, the women didn’t want to stop worshiping. They enjoyed performing these rituals. They were very fortunate to be taking part in this, as their devotion continued to fill up.
There is no such thing as too much devotion. Maharishi Valmiki compares the ears of a devotee to a great ocean. This ocean is filled by rivers represented by stories of the Supreme Lord and His devotees. Though the rivers continually rush in, astonishingly the ocean never swells up; it is impossible to overfill. This analogy was made just with respect to hearing, but it applies to all aspects of devotion.
In this instance, the women were worshiping. In that worship they were not satisfied, giving a valuable lesson for all of humanity. Though today we may not be able to attend the marriage of Sita and Rama, we are not shut out from devotion to them. Though we may not be able to travel to a temple, we are still not prohibited from worshiping. Thanks to the kindness of the Vaishnava saints, we know that all potencies in worship are invested in the holy name itself. From chanting, “Hare Krishna Hare Krishna, Krishna Krishna, Hare Hare, Hare Rama Hare Rama, Rama Rama, Hare Hare,” one can have their share of devotion. Since they will never be satisfied with that share, they will continue to chant, constantly filling their devotional reservoir.
Continued to worship Rama still,
With devotion constantly to fill.
Though they had their share,
Still at Rama wanting to stare.
Since beloved in front to see,
Where else better could be?
Same potency passed on in holy name.
Thus easy for in devotion to remain.
Categories: janaki mangala