“Looking at the bride and groom, the men and women were so happy. Again and again, songs and drums played and the demigods rained down flowers.” (Janaki Mangala, 142)
dulaha dulahininha dekhi nāri nara haraṣahiṃ |
chinu chinu gāna nisāna sumana sura baraṣahiṃ ||
Of course everyone was happy. Why wouldn’t they be? Two people were about to embark on the journey of a lifetime. They had each other as support. This world can be a lonely place. Even if you are surrounded by other people, if in your mind you don’t connect with anyone, you might as well be living in a secluded cave. The two people getting married weren’t ordinary, and so the celebration for their nuptials wasn’t ordinary, either. Though so many were looking on, each held a unique affection for the couple.
The affection is actually unique in all of us. The body we have right now does not represent our true form. It doesn’t take a rocket scientist to figure this out. Take a picture of yourself right now, store it somewhere, and then look at it again in ten years. The same picture will seem very old. Right now it doesn’t seem old at all. It is the present. It is what has just occurred. Through nothing else but the passage of time the same image will seem outdated in the future.
This means that this body is destined to be outdated. As it will expire at some point, it cannot represent our true identity. The difference between the two points in time of comparison for the picture is the change in bodies. The individual is still the same. It is the same “I” when looking at the picture. That “I” is thus constant. In the two images the “I” is surrounded by different collections of matter. You put on one shirt today and a different one tomorrow. The shirt doesn’t define you. You define you.
That “you” has an eternal form, known as a svarupa in Sanskrit. In that svarupa there is a relationship to the original spirit, who is more commonly referred to as God. As Lord Chaitanya Mahaprabhu, a famous saint from the medieval period in India, says, the svarupa of the living entity is servant of Krishna, or God. He doesn’t say exactly what that form looks like. He doesn’t say that the svarupa is identical in appearance for everyone. The mindset, or consciousness, is identical and it manifests in service.
Service can take place in different moods. You can serve someone as a friend. You can also serve someone as a lover. You can offer service by giving protection. You can serve someone just by appreciating them. The svarupa of the living entity can follow any one of these kinds of service. The mood is not forced upon everyone. Every individual has their original mood, and when in the presence of God they get to act on it.
In the scene referenced above, many men and women are happily looking at the bride and groom, Sita and Rama. Rama is God and Sita is His energy. God is masculine because the Vedas say so. The Vedas are the original scriptural tradition of the world. The claim of masculinity is supported through a scientific explanation. God is the original purusha, or enjoyer. Purusha dominates. The enjoyed is known as prakriti. The energy of God is meant to be enjoyed by Him, so naturally in its purest form it would be feminine.
We see males and females all around us, and so in various circles there are dominant living entities and those which are dominated. Ultimately everyone is dominated by the Supreme Enjoyer. This means that ultimately everyone is prakriti, which is meant to be enjoyed by God. He takes enjoyment through friendship, service in reverence, and parental affection as well. This means that the prakriti living entity doesn’t necessarily have to assume a female body in the svarupa.
Here both men and women were in their forms fit for devotion. The men got to serve through appreciation. They watched as Sita and Rama joined in an official ceremony. Some took delight as parents and caretakers. Some took delight as friends. Some took delight as dependents. The same held true for the women there. There were friends of Sita who took care of her every need since childhood. Sita was the king’s daughter, affectionately known as Janaki as well, for whom the poem by Goswami Tulsidas is named.
Some worshiped God by singing songs over and over again. Those who were more rhythmically inclined played drums. Not everyone has to sing in order to please God. If you play a basic percussion instrument to accompany singing of the glories of God, then you are equally as valuable in service. In sankirtana parties where the chanting of the holy names, “Hare Krishna Hare Krishna, Krishna Krishna, Hare Hare, Hare Rama Hare Rama, Rama Rama, Hare Hare,” takes place, not everyone accepts the same role. Sometimes one person is playing the harmonium, while another is playing the karatalas, or hand cymbals. Sometimes the members switch roles to experience a different taste. In all respects they are engaged in serving God from the position of prakriti.
Even those who are extremely powerful in the material sense get to worship God through their post. The demigods are akin to saints of the Christian tradition. They can grant special favors when worshiped properly. They can give money, wealth, fame, beauty, learning, etc. Here they are serving in their desired capacity, that of showing reverence. They rained down flowers from the sky. It may seem like a trivial service, but imagine how great it would be if suddenly flowers fell from the sky as you were getting married. You would certainly appreciate the people responsible for it.
Sita and Rama were of a beauty without compare. Not even Sarasvati Devi, the goddess of speech, could accurately describe it. All the participants, whatever their level of ability and whatever their status in society, were included in the celebration. They got to appreciate the divine couple in their unique way, showing that love of God, bhakti-yoga, is the only religion for one and all.
Specific mood for each individual,
When in spiritual form original.
From Vedas know God as a male,
Enjoys with others on largest scale.
Prakriti that enjoyment to give,
When in devotional service to live.
Men, women, demigods sang and looked
Serving Sita and Rama, their precious vision took.
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