“O son of Dasharatha, those persons who remember you just once get all happiness bestowed upon them by you. Why, then, don’t you care about me, O ocean of mercy?” (Dohavali, 46)
bāraka sumirata tohi hohi tinhahi sammukha sukhada |
kyoṃ na sa’bhārahi mohi dayā sindhu dasarattha ke ||
If you are not familiar with bhakti-yoga, the science of self-realization that culminates in complete surrender in devotion to the Supreme Personality of Godhead, here are some key facts to know.
- God is a person. He is an individual like you and me, except His features are inconceivable.
- He lives within everyone through His expansion as the Supersoul. The person within the body corresponds to the individual. The Supersoul within the body is the same person within all creatures.
- The sound representation of the Supreme Lord is identical to Him; so is the deity form worshiped in the temple.
Keeping this in mind, how is it that those who practice devotion at the highest levels always feel inadequate, that they are not with God? Shrimati Radharani is the perfect embodiment of this spirit. She constantly feels separation from Krishna. God is one. He is not different for each religion. Perhaps the form of address varies, and so too might the detail to which He is known, but He is still always one person. The Vedic tradition says that the original person is all-attractive, and so the name Krishna suits Him well. Krishna expands into avataras which are identical to Him. One such avatara is Shri Rama.
God is the energetic and that which expands from Him is His energy. The energy falls into different categories. Radharani is the pleasure potency. She is a unique energy since she never deviates from Krishna. She always thinks of Him. She has no personal motives. Since she worships so perfectly, she is considered to be one with Krishna. Radha and Krishna; they are just two aspects to the same supreme spiritual force.
Radha is the most elevated transcendentally, and yet she never thinks that she has captured Krishna. She thinks just the opposite in fact. She considers everyone else to be more fortunate. Krishna loves them more, she believes. She always feels the pain of separation from her beloved. If she is always in pain, then how can pain be a sign of advancement?
The same sentiment is expressed here by Goswami Tulsidas. His ishta-deva, or worshipable deity, is Shri Rama, who is identical to Krishna. Tulsidas mentions a well-known fact in the first part of this verse. Rama is known to be so gracious that only by thinking of Him one time in the proper mood the person becomes the recipient of so much good fortune.
There are examples to back up the claim. The vulture Jatayu remembered Rama at the time of death and got liberated as a result. The wife of the sage Gautama simply felt the feet of Shri Rama and then became free from a curse previously placed upon her. The ostracized leader of the monkeys in Kishkindha agreed to be Rama’s friend and then immediately regained his kingdom. The Rakshasa Vibhishana renounced his sinful brother and took shelter of Rama. As a result, he got the kingdom of Lanka.
Tulsidas, a famous Vaishnava saint from the medieval period in India, remembered Rama all the time. You could not mistake his occupation for anything else. His life was only devotion. He was fully surrendered. He spoke about Rama, thought about Him, and also wrote about Him. How, then, could he feel that Rama forgot about him? Should not advanced devotion lead to more closeness to the Supreme Lord?
The explanation is that this intense longing is the equivalent of association. The person who feels they have captured Rama is not as likely to appreciate His association. If they feel proud over having received His mercy, they are susceptible to forgetting Him very soon after. The person who always longs for His association, however, never forgets Him. Tulsidas was never without Rama. Radha is never without Krishna. The famous gosvamis of Vrindavana, who practiced devotion in the mood of Radha, also never claimed to have captured Krishna. The charlatan spiritual leader will boldly proclaim that they are God, and on the other side the most bona fide spiritualists will always think that they have not done enough to win God’s favor.
The facts seem paradoxical, but to one who practices devotion in the right way everything is revealed eventually. The common bond shared by the devotees feeling the ecstatic pain of separation is that they hang on to the holy name as their life and soul. Whether they feel they are with God or not, they always chant the holy name, given to them in a specific mantra. The most efficacious mantra for the present age is the maha-mantra: Hare Krishna Hare Krishna, Krishna Krishna, Hare Hare, Hare Rama Hare Rama, Rama Rama, Hare Hare.
How powerful is this short sequence of words? Whether you know who God is or not, by chanting these names you’ll get a huge benefit. Whether you feel separation or intimate connection, whether you know that you are spirit or not, whether you are proud of your accomplishments or feel wholly inadequate – the sound of these names will bring you the best result. Tulsidas does not stop chanting, even though he feels he has yet to get the mercy of Rama. Radha does not leave Krishna consciousness; she cannot give Him up. The devotional state is the constitutional one; meaning that once attained there is no other way to go for the person captivated by the enchanting glance of the all-attractive Lord.
Devotee feeling intense separation pain,
Advanced, but how this a sign of gain?
When thinking that God has been caught,
Not to appreciate what to them brought.
When always for His favor seeking,
In consciousness ecstasy peaking.
Blessed those keeping Rama only once in mind,
Imagine then favor for one thinking all the time.
Categories: dohavali 41-80