Upward Mobility

[Rama's lotus feet]“One who has great love and affection for Rama, whose only goal is Rama, who has attachment to Rama’s feet – to such a person the creator has given the fruit of taking birth in this world, says Tulsi.” (Dohavali, 58)

rāmapremakī mahattā rāma sanehī rāma gati rāma carana rati jāhi |
tulasī phala jaga janama diyā bidhātā tāhi ||

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Are you stuck with the circumstances of your birth? If from childhood all you know is poverty, is that what you will face in adulthood? Is there no way out of destitution? In the United States, there is the concept of upward mobility. More of a byproduct of the formation of a new land than an intentionally conceived benefit, the idea is that you’re not forced into circumstances based on birth. If you want to improve your lot in life, you can do so. Though applying principally to economics, the concept known as upward mobility gets its real application in spiritual life. And the highest point to reach is a situation one wouldn’t typically equate with success.

The mobility relates to the spirit soul, which is the essence of identity. Without knowledge of the spiritual science, the materialist theorizes about how the species came to be. Perhaps there was an evolution of sorts. From the less developed species came the more developed ones. Over time, in analyzing fossil records it is theorized that since there are similarities in the species, the fitter ones gradually evolved into more adaptable beings.

The Vedic version of evolution is different. For starters, it is not based on mental speculation. There is no “perhaps” in the Bhagavad-gita or works derived from it. Vedanta philosophy is the end of knowledge; it is the conclusion of all conclusions. The material isn’t considered to be so significant. There are higher and lower, for sure. There is destitute and affluent, small and tall, and light and heavy. But these things are relative positions. They are temporary manifestations of the workings of time on the material nature populated by living entities who are eternally related to the supreme controller.

The species we see in life are merely different types of bodies. They are all created by a person, who has materials and intelligence at his disposal. The bodies don’t create other bodies. Without a spiritual injection, matter is dull and lifeless. Life comes from life. This fact cannot be denied by the rational thinker.

Goswami Tulsidas confirms this truth of Vedic philosophy. He references vidhata, or the creator, in discussing birth in the material world and how to make the most out of that birth. We had no control over our body type. No one asked us if we wanted to be a boy or a girl. No one gave us the option of being born in America, India, Russia or China. We had no say over what our body would look like.

Vidhata determined all of this. He took into account karma, or fruitive action. He used the three modes of material nature to craft our body. He does this for every single living thing that we see. The difference between the ant and the tiger is matter only. They are both soul on the inside. The person who lives in poverty is actually the same internally as the person who is wealthy. The soul is the animating force; without it the previously living body becomes dead.

The human birth is indeed an evolution of sorts. It is ideally the final destination for the spirit soul travelling through the many different species. The human body given by the creator is meant for one purpose: love and affection for God. This is the first condition mentioned by Tulsidas. There should be prema for Rama, who is the Supreme Lord in an incarnation form. The incarnation of God is not material. That body is not given by the creator. For God, there is no difference between matter and spirit.

Rama is the same as Krishna. Rama is the same as Vishnu. These are personal forms of the Supreme Personality of Godhead. Brahman is the generic God, an energy if you will. Brahman comes from Rama but it does not represent Him fully. It is simply a way to realize Him. Consider the sum total of everything. All the people you see, all the planets in space, and all the things that have happened in the course of history – this collection is one way to understand God.

But love is only for a distinct personality. Rama-prema is part of the condition necessary for meeting life’s goal. There should be sneha, or affection, as well. The person aspiring for moving upward in life should have Rama as the goal. There should be no questioning this fact. Why not aim for the highest point? Why not go for someone whose body and spirit remain together, who is not influenced by all-devouring time?

The third condition is that there should be rati, or attachment, to the feet of Rama. This explains the relationship that comes from meeting the objective. If you succeed in finding God, what will you do? Will you ask Him for things? Know that those things will keep you separate from Him. Thus you will fall back down and have to start over. There is no guarantee what kind of body the creator will give you next.

[Rama's lotus feet]Attachment to Rama’s feet eliminates the risk. These three conditions in one person make their birth successful. The creator himself, Lord Brahma, gets credit for the successful achievement. Brahma’s work has been validated when the resulting combination of spirit and matter is used in selfless service to the Divine, who appreciates every effort made on His behalf.

In Closing:

Your goal up to you to choose,

Upward with mobility you can move.


Not stuck with life’s lot,

Advance with the intelligence you’ve got.


By Tulsidas given conditions three,

Love for God, with Him be free.


Love and affection, Rama as goal make,

Attached to His feet, most of this birth take.


Categories: dohavali 41-80

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