Difficult To Be Known

[Lord Rama]“The Supreme Lord, who is difficult to know by even the Vedas, can become known easily when there is sincere desire for Rama, just as water and food come easily for those living in this world.” (Dohavali, 80)

nigama agama sāheba sugama rāma sām̐cilī cāha |
ambu asana avaloki’ata sulabha sabai jaga mām̐ha ||80||

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Is water easy to get? What about food? In the present age of Kali, which features quarrel, hypocrisy and an overall inversion of right and wrong, simple things like food and water appear difficult to procure. There is mass starvation in one land, while another produces enough to feed the entire world. In one land there is drought and in another it rains so much that people can’t leave the house.

[tree with fruits]Still, in the general case it’s not that difficult to find water. One has to go looking for it, though. The same goes for food. We can get water from a nearby lake. These are created by nature; they were around before our birth. We can get fruits that fall off of trees. In some areas there are too many fruits to be consumed. Alas, most of the production of the tree goes to waste.

We can’t comprehend how the water gets here. Scientists tell us that the majority of the earth is covered by water, but we don’t know how that water got there. We don’t know how a tiny seed can yield so many bananas, mangoes, apples, grapes and the like. The workings of nature are incomprehensible, though man tries his best to increase his understanding. Still, he has no clue as to the origin. He can’t make a cloud on his own. He can’t create a tree that will yield fruits with seeds inside of them. He must use existing life to create new life.

Tulsidas compares the water and food in this world to the Supreme Lord. God is seemingly incomprehensible. To know Him is agama, or very difficult. How can you describe someone who is without birth? How are we to understand someone who is the beginning of the beginning? Whatever starting point you come up with, know that God comes before it. He is also endless, or ananta. He is advaita, or non-dual. He is part of the entire creation, but every aspect of that creation does not represent Him fully.

advaitam acyutam anādim ananta-rūpam

ādyaṁ purāṇa-puruṣaṁ nava-yauvanaṁ ca

vedeṣu durlabham adurlabham ātma-bhaktau

govindam ādi-puruṣaṁ tam ahaṁ bhajāmi

“I worship Govinda, the primeval Lord, who is inaccessible to the Vedas, but obtainable by pure unalloyed devotion of the soul, who is without a second, who is not subject to decay, is without a beginning, whose form is endless, who is the beginning, and the eternal purusha; yet He is a person possessing the beauty of blooming youth.” (Brahma-samhita, 5.33)

Even the Vedas, which are also known as the nigamas, don’t know God in full. That is why He is often described as neti neti, which means “not this, not that.” Whatever object you find, know that it cannot be God completely. He is without material qualities, or nirguna.

[Lord Rama]Despite being almost impossible to understand, God can be found easily. Goswami Tulsidas states that all that is needed is a sincere desire to be with Him. The “Him” here refers to Rama. Shri Rama is God in a saguna form, the visibly manifest version. Rama is saguna for our understanding only. It is not that He accepts material qualities and then abandons them later. Rama’s transcendental form is a way for us to understand what the different properties on God mean.

The formula is quite simple, but the desire must be there. Tulsidas is not exaggerating. If I told a hungry person to not worry and simply go to a nearby tree to eat fruits, they may not believe me right away. After all, they are hungry for the very reason that they’re having a difficult time finding food. If I come along with a simple solution, they may be suspicious at the start. Regardless of their suspicion, the recommendation is guaranteed to work.

In the same way, despite having been miserable for so long to the point that our skepticism of all matters religion has increased greatly, the Supreme Lord, sahiba, can be easily attained through the poet’s formula. Simply desire to be with Rama, who is God the person. The easy way to make that desire known is to chant the holy names: Hare Krishna Hare Krishna, Krishna Krishna, Hare Hare, Hare Rama Hare Rama, Rama Rama, Hare Hare. The holy name is non-different from the person it represents; showing yet again how easy it is to come to know the one who has been difficult to attain since time immemorial.

In Closing:

For knowledge of Him closer to bring,

Vedas endlessly of Supreme to sing.

Yet even through them difficult to know,

Shri Rama ever elusive remaining so.

Tulsidas for all easy solution prescribing,

Like how nature water and food providing.

For Rama have sincere desire in the heart,

Then success even if skeptical at the start.


Categories: dohavali 41-80

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