Considering The Factors To Action

[Hanuman chanting]“Tulsi says that one who has love for Rama has their work, fate and time become fully auspicious and rewarding. When they turn their back on worldly life and face towards the Lord, all desires will be fulfilled.” (Dohavali, 75)

tulasī udyama karama juga jaba jēhi rāma suḍīṭhi |
hō’i suphala sō’i tāhi saba sanamukha prabhu tana pīṭhi ||75||

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One of the many profound truths revealed in the Bhagavad-gita is that the living entity is not the doer. We are concerned with living things because the nonliving can’t do anything. The term “living entity” encompasses all life forms. Humans aren’t the only ones to act with intelligence. Though the dog doesn’t know how to speak, it figures out where to go and which places to avoid. It is as much involved in action as the human being.

pañcaitāni mahā-bāho

kāraṇāni nibodha me

sāṅkhye kṛtānte proktāni

siddhaye sarva-karmaṇām

adhiṣṭhānaṁ tathā kartā

karaṇaṁ ca pṛthag-vidham

vividhāś ca pṛthak ceṣṭā

daivaṁ caivātra pañcamam

“O mighty-armed Arjuna, learn from Me of the five factors which bring about the accomplishment of all action. These are declared in sankhya philosophy to be the place of action, the performer, the senses, the endeavor, and ultimately the Supersoul.” (Lord Krishna, Bhagavad-gita, 18.13-14)

[the five factors to action]We are not the doer and neither is the dog. The clouds don’t act on their own, either. The distinction with the human being is that it can figure out what is necessary for actions and results. As a simple example, we can look at the clapping of hands. We take our two hands together and join them. We do this with the intent of making a sound. We know from past experience that the sound will be created. Yet we are still not the doer in this case. We didn’t create the laws of sound. We didn’t make the hands nor the air through which they pass. So many people would like to clap their hands but can’t. This is because the factors involved in action do not cooperate.

tatraivaṁ sati kartāram

ātmānaṁ kevalaṁ tu yaḥ

paśyaty akṛta-buddhitvān

na sa paśyati durmatiḥ

“Therefore one who thinks himself the only doer, not considering the five factors, is certainly not very intelligent and cannot see things as they are.” (Lord Krishna, Bg. 18.16)

[Lord Krishna]Shri Krishna mentions five factors necessary for actions to be fulfilled. They are the place of the action, the one doing it, the senses, the attempt to make the result happen, and the Supersoul. Actions take place so quickly that one hardly has a chance to be cognizant of these factors. Yet they must be there in every action, from the large to the small, within the human being and the ant. Of these factors, the Supersoul is the most important, a fact corroborated by Goswami Tulsidas in the verse from the Dohavali quoted above.

The Supersoul is one way to understand God. Since we can’t even recognize the five factors to action, how can we know the person from whom everything has come? How are we going to understand someone who is without birth and without death? How can we fathom that there is someone who can hear everything going on in every part of the universe?

The Supersoul is God’s expansion that resides within the heart. This omnipresence means that God is within every action and result. He is the all-pervading witness. He is also known as the overseer and the permitter. Without His sanction, not even a blade of grass can move.

Obviously, when we act, we want to succeed. It would make sense, then, to make the five factors favorable. An easy way to do this is to have the favor of the Supersoul. Yet this seems unlikely since the Supersoul is an impartial witness. It’s like trying to bribe the judge in court or getting a referee to make calls in your favor in a soccer match.

[referee with red card]If you know that the Supersoul is a person, then it can be done. Rama is the full realization of God. Rama is the same Krishna who speaks the Bhagavad-gita. Rama is the worshipable form of choice for Tulsidas. The poet says that if you have love for Rama, then your work, time and fate will all be favorable. The factors to action will cooperate to make sure that you succeed.

If the love is present, what are the indications? Tulsidas says that one should turn their back on worldly life and face Prabhu, the Supreme Lord. Then they will get every reward that is necessary. This must be true, since the Supersoul is the key instrument in action. If you have His favor, then everything works out.

A question may be raised about those who are against God. They sometimes succeed in their work. Does this mean that the Supersoul has favored them? Actually, the success mentioned above relates to the overall welfare of the individual. I may decide to cheat on an examination in school, which then results in a passing grade. It seems like I have succeeded, that the factors to action have cooperated. But in fact I am only hurting myself down the road. At some point I won’t be able to cheat, and the knowledge I could have acquired will be missing.

[Rama holding bow]In the same way, to work hard in life and keep the back towards Rama is a kind of cheating. There are only temporary gains, and in the end everything will be lost. Love for God does not get destroyed by time, and so it is the valid prerequisite to all actions. Even if there is apparent failure, the consciousness continues to get purified through association with God. Then the desires change as well, to the point where the individual only wants to continue to love God and associate with Him. In this state, the Supersoul goes from being impartial to playing an active role, ensuring the success of the devotee.

In Closing:

Though Supersoul as impartial to live,

Active support to devotee to give.

Because the desires changed within,

Only in pure love, intent no more on sin.

For every action factors there five,

Only then successful result to arrive.

Follow Tulsi and towards Prabhu face,

Get reward not even time can erase.

Categories: dohavali 41-80

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