“The heart which does not melt upon hearing of the glories of Hari is like stone. The tongue which does not sing the glories of Rama is like the croaking of a frog.” (Dohavali, 43)
h।rdaya so kulisa samāna jo na dravai hariguna sunata |
kara na rāma guna gāna jīha so dādura jīha sama ||
Stop for a second. Record the current time. Have you done it? Now go back exactly ten years. Where were you? What were you doing? What was your life like? Think about the circumstances and try to remember what things occupied your mind back then. Try to remember what you used to talk about on a regular basis. Goswami Tulsidas says that the tongue and the heart should act in a certain way. If they don’t, then it’s like not having them at all. When the proper reaction to something specific is missing in the heart, it’s like having a heart made of stone. When the tongue isn’t used for talking about a specific person, then you might as well be croaking like a frog.
If you can’t remember what you used to talk about a long time ago, it likely means that the subject matter wasn’t very important. The current age in Sanskrit is known as Kali. The duration of the manifest world gets divided into four periods for analytical purposes. The people might be the same, the species might be the same, but the overall atmosphere for living changes. The first age is pure, where virtue represented as a table stands on four legs. With each successive age, virtue loses a leg.
As Kali is the fourth age, virtue can barely stand up. Right and wrong are up for grabs. Seizing upon the opportunity, the countless human beings on the earth now argue over anything and everything. Even the most innocuous statement brings detractors. If I say something like, “I enjoy eating ice cream,” I invite negative sentiments.
“Well, do you know that ice cream kills? It has so much fat and sugar. If you eat the fat-free variety, then you’re loading up on sugar. You’ll get diabetes. You are proud that you like ice cream, but you’re really just leading people down the wrong path. You disgust me.”
Television programs now have a formula: instigate debate. Take two people and put them on the air at the same time. Have them discuss a particular issue. The participants must disagree to some degree; otherwise there is no point to having them on the air. Yet this is all like the croaking of a frog; it has no value for the human being. There is no conclusion reached, and after a while the topic changes. The previous debate was to pass the time only.
If someone were to tell you that you’re getting a brand new computer today and that it will run for exactly ten years, you might get excited. But then if you only used the computer as decoration for your office, you didn’t really get much use out of it. You knew that due to the makeup, the internals, it would only last a certain time, yet you didn’t take full advantage.
The heart and the tongue are like this. They will leave us eventually. It’s more accurate to say that we will eventually leave them. We’re destined to give up the body we accepted at the time of birth. Therefore to misuse things like the tongue is not very wise. Tulsidas says that the best way to use the tongue is to sing the glories of Rama. Seems like a random thing to say, for why shouldn’t we sing about someone else? Why shouldn’t we sing about our troubles in romance? Why Rama over everyone else? The poet also says that the heart should melt upon hearing the glories of Hari. So he mentions Hari and Rama. We’re supposed to be attached to both of them, it seems. Are they two different personalities? Why not sing the glories of Hari and have our heart melt at hearing about the glories of Rama?
The two are indeed the same person. They are just different names for addressing the Supreme Personality of Godhead. Since He has glories to hear about, He is a distinct person. I can’t say that I am Hari and that the heart should melt upon hearing about me. There would be no reason to state that. Since He has glories to sing about, it means that in spiritual life one should be active. Hearing is passive and singing is active. These are two principal methods of bhakti-yoga. Known as shravanam and kirtanam in Sanskrit, they alone provide the best use of the body given by nature.
Since the heart should melt upon hearing Hari’s glories, Hari is not a vengeful, angry or old person. He is beautiful in every way, including in how He acts. There is much to hear about. He has done so much. He continues to shower His mercy upon all. He has come to this earth many times. The Vedas, the oldest scriptural tradition in the world, prove that God exists. They include eye-witness accounts of Hari’s deeds. From the content itself, we have proof that the Vedas are real. The reaction of the heart to hearing Hari’s glories means that Hari is someone unique.
The tongue that sings and describes the glories of Rama, the incarnation of Hari who roamed this earth in the second time period of creation, further substantiates the existence of God. That existence is meant for our benefit. There is nothing to gain by denying His presence. There is no use to the tongue, the mind, the heart, or the other body parts when there is no consciousness of Rama. This valuable human life is meant for connecting with Him, for giving happiness even before the afterlife. There is no need to wait for heaven after death when there is so much happiness right now to get. That happiness comes automatically for one who hears and chants: Hare Krishna Hare Krishna, Krishna Krishna, Hare Hare, Hare Rama Hare Rama, Rama Rama, Hare Hare.
Since this body from nature to get,
On what course of action should be set?
The secret Tulsidas knows,
The path his writing shows.
Tongue to sing and the ears to hear,
God all-attractive, not one to fear.
Hari, Rama or your name of choice,
Be conscious of Him, in His glories rejoice.
Categories: dohavali 41-80