“Tulsi says that Rama favors the desires of His servant more than His own. How can anyone turn their back on such a sweet master as the husband of Sita?” (Dohavali, 48)
tulasī rāmahi āpu teṃ sevaka kī ruci mī।thi |
sītāpati se sāhibahi kaise dījai pī।thi ||
Dhyana is an aspect of yoga. It is concentration. A child growing up in the Hindu culture likely hears this word many times from their parents. The child is asked to give “dhyan” to their studies. This means that they should focus. They should not waste time on other things. With focus a task gets completed. Some prefer to multi-task; this helps them to work faster. For them, having more than one thing to do at a time is their form of concentration.
Dhyana in yoga is meant to be directed at a specific object. Should it be a tree? Should you sit in an empty space and focus on nothing? As the living entity is endowed with free will, it has the choice to concentrate on anything. Dhyana will bring the best fruit only when it is directed at the Supreme Personality of Godhead. Those who practice bhakti-yoga are so intimately tied to God that they maintain this dhyana even when they are seemingly far away from their beloved.
Can you be close to God? Can you be far away from Him?
Actually, it is impossible to be separated from Him. This is because of the presence of the Supersoul. Think of it like having your best friend with you all the time, wherever you go. You have your conscience to go with your consciousness. This allows you to talk to yourself. There is also a more powerful being always with you; He is God. He rests within your heart as the Supersoul. He will be there regardless of the nature of your consciousness. Whether you know Him or not, whether you want Him to be there or not, whether you are good or bad – He will be with you.
At the time of birth we forget that He’s there. Our starting point is forgetfulness. We have to take steps to try to reconnect with Him. Yoga is the means for achieving that end. Even if we take up yoga, at the beginning we likely won’t know for what it is meant. We’ll mistakenly think that it is an exercise routine. Or perhaps we’ll take it to be complete renunciation from the world, where we have to meditate all the time in order to gain release from the body that gives us so much trouble.
Dhyana in the immature stage of yoga gets directed at the visible manifestation of God. Think of the picture or deity in the temple. Not that these forms are imaginary; they are based on the transcendental attributes belonging to God. He is so benevolent that He agrees to appear in different ways to please the desires of His devotees. When He appears in the temple in the form of a statue, He is not limited to that form. If the statue is five feet tall, it does not mean that God is only five feet tall. At the same time, the statue is identical to Him when worshiped properly. This concept is known as simultaneous oneness and difference.
God is also outside the temple. He is everywhere, but to help the devotee in connecting with Him there is dhyana focused on His transcendental form. Superior to this is dhyana on the transcendental sound: Hare Krishna Hare Krishna, Krishna Krishna, Hare Hare, Hare Rama Hare Rama, Rama Rama, Hare Hare. This sound is identical to God. Sound doesn’t have form, so how can sound be God? The more one gives attention to that sound, the more the secret gets revealed to them.
The above referenced verse from the Dohavali provides insight into the mind of the devotee who is always in dhyana. They are able to notice things about God that others cannot. Here Tulsidas says that Shri Rama cares more for the likes and dislikes of His devotee than His own. This is based on personal experience. There are many incarnations of God. As many waves as there are in the ocean, that is how many different ways that God can appear in a personal expansion.
Tulsidas prefers Shri Rama above all others. Not that everything and everyone is God; the personal expansions are identical to the original Personality of Godhead. Tulsidas loves Rama so much that he cannot worship God in the same way in any other form. He follows the mood of Shri Hanuman, Rama’s dearest servant.
In pure bhakti, the only desire is to have continued devotion. Rama gave this to Tulsidas. He allowed the saint to always worship him, which made the saint so happy. Rama did not force Tulsidas to worship the form of Krishna. He did not impose any of His own desires, since the devotees actually control God. This is said of Shrimati Radharani as well. She is the eternal consort of Shri Krishna, who is the same Rama but in His original form which resides in the spiritual planet of Goloka Vrindavana.
Since Rama is so sweet, Tulsidas wonders how anyone can turn their back on Him. Indeed, one look at His smiling face gives birth to a spontaneous desire to serve for lifetime after lifetime. With His innocent hand Rama lifted the bow in Janaka’s kingdom to win Sita’s hand in marriage. Sita is equally as kind, and so the devotee worships both of them together. From up close, their unimaginable kindness becomes clearer, and the poet Tulsidas reports back to us what he sees.
The deep secrets of bhakti to penetrate,
When on Supreme Lord always to concentrate.
Deity providing the visible sight,
Sound itself of greater might.
Devotee’s likes precedent taking,
Their desires real Shri Rama making.
Tulsidas seeing from up close sitting,
Revealing goal to reach before this body quitting.
Categories: dohavali 41-80