“Whereas other masters become furious at merely hearing about the offenses of their servants, Shri Rama, seeing the offenses Himself, never keeps them in His heart.” (Dohavali, 47)
sāhiba hota saro।sa sevaka ko aparādha suni |
apane dekhe do।sa sapanehu rāma na ura dhare ||
The human being has so many faults. It eats too much. Even though it knows from past experience that it shouldn’t devour an entire pizza pie, upon first sight it gives in to temptation. It drinks too much. Though caffeine and alcohol in drinks are known to bring negative side effects, the human being is drawn to these drinks, as if being helpless. It tells lies. It forgets things. There are so many faults, and yet the supreme witness, the one person who sees everything, does not keep them in mind when it comes to His servants.
And in fact, that brings up another flaw in the human being: keeping a long memory of the mistakes of others. Think of the wife who brings up the offense committed by her husband many years prior. Failing in an argument, she recalls this to save her. It is her secret weapon. The husband can’t believe the wife can remember such trivial things from such a long time ago.
Consider the friend who brings up embarrassing moments in front of others. Since they know you so well, they were with you during many of your past mistakes. Now in a formal setting, where you would rather not be embarrassed, your friend recalls the greatest mistakes you made in the past. Feeling a little envious, they don’t like to see you praised too much in front of others.
The human being has many faults, and in the Vedic tradition those faults get grouped into four categories: mistakes, imperfect senses, susceptibility to illusion, and cheating. Every person has these defects to some degree or another. God, who is all-powerful and omnipresent, obviously knows of every defect and sees every mistake. He does this through His expansion as the Supersoul. While the individual soul is specific to each body, the Supersoul is identical in all bodies. Think of it like stretching your arms and legs out on your mattress so that you cover the entire thing. You are in every corner of the mattress, and in the same way God is in every single living being. Though He seems divided in this sense, He is one.
Amazingly, the Supreme Lord does not keep these mistakes in mind. When it comes to those who want to be with Him, who want to serve Him with love and devotion, it’s as if the offenses never happened. And why should they remain? What is there to be gained? To remember someone’s mistake is to learn from it. If I know that someone cheated me before, it’s probably not a good idea to get into business with them again. If I know someone is a habitual liar, I probably shouldn’t take their word on an important matter.
The Supreme Lord has nothing to learn from anyone. He does not need to punish others, either. That punishment happens automatically through the laws of karma. The decision to engage in devotional service shows that the living entity knows that they’ve made many mistakes in the past. Due to their prior habits, they’ll likely make more mistakes even while serving. Yet this is forgiven, as Shri Rama can measure sincerity. He knows what’s in the heart of the devotee, and if they are actually desirous of serving Him, there is great leniency.
Goswami Tulsidas addresses this fact in the verse from the Dohavali quoted above. He says that ordinary masters get angry when they simply hear of the mistakes of their servants. The master cannot see everything. They must delegate. The leader of the company cannot be in every factory simultaneously. He cannot see and hear everything. Therefore he has to rely on what others tell him. If he hears there is an offense committed by one of the employees, he will get angry. His business will be hurt; this is the reason for being upset.
Rama, who is the Supreme Lord in His incarnation as a warrior prince appearing on this earth in the Treta Yuga many thousands of years ago, has no business to accomplish. His servants are not there for His benefit. He is atmarama, which means self-satisfied. If the entire universe turned its back on Rama, He would still be fine. He does not need anyone to worship Him in order to feel happy. He is always peaceful.
He sees the mistakes of His servants. He knows every offense they have committed. And yet He tolerates. This means that those of a sinful birth are also excused, if they take up devotion. Due to degradation of culture, in some areas of the world there is rampant discrimination based solely on skin color or family heritage. In the Vedas, it is said that one type of punishment for sinful activity is birth into circumstances which are not so great. Yet even with such a birth, one can please Rama. This is because He does not look at past offenses.
One who always chants the holy names thus has a great chance of success. Those names are found in the maha-mantra: Hare Krishna Hare Krishna, Krishna Krishna, Hare Hare, Hare Rama Hare Rama, Rama Rama, Hare Hare. The success is the continued association of Shri Rama, who can also be found through His other non-different forms such as Krishna and Vishnu. Success is marked by the devotion itself, which Rama helps to maintain and strengthen.
Remember your mistakes does the wife,
To keep them throughout her life.
Friend saw each failure and careless stunt,
Later on to embarrass with company in front.
Rama the same path not to take,
For devotees forgiving every mistake.
His mercy there in birth low or high,
Success when in devotion sincerely to try.
Categories: dohavali 41-80