“Those who sing of the auspicious occasion of the initiation and the wedding of Sita and Rama with excitement get countless auspicious blessings day after day, says Tulsi.” (Janaki Mangala, Chand 24.2)
upabīta byāha uchāha jē siya rāma maṅgala gāvahīṁ |
tulasī sakala kalyāna tē nara nāri anudita pāvahīṁ ||
If you are fortunate enough to come across the king of education, raja-vidya, that is Vedanta and understand it perfectly, knowing full well that everything emanates from the Supreme Personality of Godhead, you should share this wisdom with others. This is to save both them and yourself. Your speech will show how much you know. Not so much facts and figures, but your true understanding – that will be revealed. And the message will be so powerful that others will be enlightened in the process. Goswami Tulsidas, not requiring self-purification due to his constant engagement in devotional service, here gives a benefit to all of humanity, sharing the secret to life with so many, both contemporaries and those yet to take birth.
Let’s pretend that you agree to this assignment that I give to you. You are to be liked. That is it. I’ll pick a specific sphere of influence, and you do the rest. It doesn’t have to be in an entire society; only in a limited area, like your place of work or school. How will you go about accomplishing the task? One option is to give gifts to people. Find out what each person wants and then go out and buy it. This will win you some friends in the interim, but it is an expensive option. What if someone wants a car? What if someone wants to go away on a vacation? How are you going to pay for this? Moreover, why will you want to when all you’re getting is their approval? And that approval will only be based on something you give to them; it has nothing to do with who you are as a person.
rajo rāgātmakaṁ viddhitṛṣṇā-saṅga-samudbhavamtan nibadhnāti kaunteyakarma-saṅgena dehinam
“The mode of passion is born of unlimited desires and longings, O son of Kunti, and because of this one is bound to material fruitive activities.” (Lord Krishna, Bhagavad-gita, 14.7)
Material desire is such that it will never be satisfied. If you’re craving pizza today, once you eat it you won’t all of a sudden stop craving pizza. In the future, you will want to eat it more; it will take more indulgence to reach the same level of temporary satisfaction. And so by giving gifts to others, they may like you for only a short period of time.
Another option is to do favors for them. Ask each person what they want accomplished and then go out and do it. Again, this is an expensive road to travel, as you will have a difficult time doing so much for so many. They may not appreciate you after a while, also, for they will want something else done. Since you came through before, you are expected to do so again. If for some reason you don’t, then you’re not liked, more so than if you hadn’t done anything for them to begin with.
The easiest way to complete the assignment is to remain silent. Just don’t say anything. Smile when you see the other person. Listen to them attentively. Whatever opinion they volunteer, agree with. Don’t pass judgment. Be supportive. In this way you will be liked quickly. What can anyone say about you? You have no opinions and you rarely speak. They have nothing to criticize.
In this way your silence buys the confidence of others. But what if you know that they aren’t meeting life’s true mission? What if you know that their constant intoxication is a sign of defeat against the illusory forces of maya? What if you know that their abilities in so many different areas would really be useful once they were directed towards devotional service, which is an endless occupation?
The benevolent saints take the risk of spreading the glories of the Supreme Lord. They speak out when necessary. They assert the superiority of the devotional path, bhakti-yoga. They know this choice will make them unpopular with many, but since they’ve realized for themselves that devotion is the best way to go in life, they are undeterred. Here Goswami Tulsidas tells everyone how to find auspiciousness day after day. And this auspiciousness is for everyone, regardless of their present circumstances. Whether they are from India or not, whether they even believe in God or not, in following his formula they are guaranteed to be benefitted.
That auspiciousness comes from regularly singing about the auspicious events of a training period and a wedding. The training, upavita, was for Rama and Lakshmana, two brothers who roamed this earth a long time ago. The wedding was for the same Rama to the daughter of King Janaka, Sita Devi. Tulsidas himself took great delight in singing of these two wonderful incidents. He easily could have kept the information to himself. He could have remained silent in the presence of others, for that would have made him very popular. He could have sung to himself in a small room in a house, and thus not be phased by the constant comings and goings of the living entities, who must die after taking birth.
Tulsidas shared his wisdom with many others. He wrote his own song of the events so that the message would travel more quickly and to more areas. That writing transcends time, as it is available to this day. Thus the message continues to travel. The revelations of a genuine saint withstand the test of time. Guided from within by God Himself, they find the best way to share the message with as many as possible. They give others a hint on how to accomplish the same. “Glorify God. Be happy in His service, and give others the same gift.” All of that is accomplished today through the chanting of the holy names: Hare Krishna Hare Krishna, Krishna Krishna, Hare Hare, Hare Rama Hare Rama, Rama Rama, Hare Hare. Works like the Janaki Mangala give us the meaning to these names.
When sublime wisdom to find,
Fair to keep hidden in mind?
Or to share with others better yet,
For seeing how life’s goal to be met?
Easy to be liked when quiet to stay,
Towards path to hell not to get in the way.
Saints of Vedic tradition all risks take,
Tell of Sita and Rama, auspicious life for us make.
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