Actually Not That Far Away

[Vishnu holding flower]“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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“I’m kind of apathetic towards religion. My parents weren’t that religious while I was growing up. We didn’t go to church that often. I’m kind of the same way now. I don’t know, I do believe in God, but the whole organized religion thing doesn’t appeal to me. I’m not really sure what they are doing. A lot of it is scare tactics. It doesn’t appeal to my intellect, either.”

These sentiments are quite common in the modern day. In previous times the specific aim of religion was to win the favor of God. That favor was measured in terms of material opulence. Now that seems to be taken care of. Instead of praying for the daily bread, just go to the supermarket. Instead of hoping for good health, make it a reality through proper diet and exercise. God as the order supplier is no longer needed.

[bread]When adding material advancement to the mix, this view of religion makes God even more of an elusive figure. If one believes in Him at all, He remains far away. The Vedas, the ancient scriptural tradition emanating from the area today known as India, seem to concur. Vedic literature continues to expand precisely because God is impossible to define. Though He is so elusive, it’s easy to reverse the trend. This is the opinion of Goswami Tulsidas, and he uses a nice analogy to support the claim.

Let’s say that you are thirsty. You want a glass of water. If you just say the word “water” over and over again, it’s unlikely your wish will come true. Someone may hear you and bring the water to you, but there’s nothing magical in the word itself. The key in getting the water is going to the proper source. Once you do the right thing, you’ll get the desired outcome. The same goes for food. Simply being hungry is not enough to get food. You have to go and retrieve it.

Generally, there is plenty of water around, and food can be found in most places. Water covers the majority of the earth’s surface and for food all you need is some fruit-bearing trees. These are known as pious trees, as they do more than just provide shade. The tree requires little maintenance and can provide an abundance of fruits. There is little effort required in this type of diet.

[mango tree]In the same way, the Supreme Lord is not in scarce supply. He is actually within all of us as the Supersoul. The Supersoul is one of His purusha incarnations. The Sanskrit word purusha always gets paired with prakriti. Purusha is the enjoyer and prakriti is the enjoyed. The purusha that is the Supersoul is superior to the dull matter of this universe. Though the Supersoul is an impartial witness, it is His sanction which allows for all results to action to manifest. Basically, nothing can happen without the Supersoul’s presence.

“For material creation, Lord Krishna’s plenary expansion assumes three Vishnus. The first one, Maha-Vishnu, creates the total material energy, known as mahat-tattva. The second, Garbhodakashayi Vishnu, enters into all the universes to create diversities in each of them. The third, Kshirodakashayi Vishnu, is diffused as the all-pervading Supersoul in all the universes and is known as Paramatma, who is present even within the atoms. Anyone who knows these three Vishnus can be liberated from material entanglement.” (Svatvata Tantra)

[Lord Vishnu]Though He is located so close by in the heart, there is an even easier, more effective way to reach God. Simply desire His personal association. Here that association refers to the form of Shri Rama, the worshipable deity of choice for Tulsidas. It is not that anyone can make up a form and worship it as the Supreme. Rama’s authenticity as the Supreme Lord is described in many ancient books, most notably in the Ramayana. Rama is Bhagavan, showing that He has full beauty, full wealth, full strength, full fame, full wisdom and full renunciation simultaneously.

This Sanskrit word “bhagavan” is one way to understand Him, but still the Vedas have a difficult time describing Him fully. The meditational yogis are trying their hardest to get Rama. So are the knowledge-seekers studying Vedanta. The karma-yogis are working hard to accumulate enough pious credits to be able to one day get the precious realization. The devotees, however, know that Rama is always with them through the sound of His holy names, which they regularly hear through the maha-mantra: Hare Krishna Hare Krishna, Krishna Krishna, Hare Hare, Hare Rama Hare Rama, Rama Rama, Hare Hare.

[Lord Rama]That holy name is nearby; at the tongue. The name is easy to say. It is even easier to hear. God is best understood through sound; explaining why the Vedas are called the shrutis, or that which is heard. The desire must be there. One who is sincere in the desire to have Rama’s association gets it. It’s as simple as that. Nothing else is required. This is difficult to believe, as the Supreme Lord seems to be the most elusive. Yet the person who accepts this simple path with sincerity sees the truth manifest in this very lifetime, leaving no doubt about the future.

In Closing:

Difficult for one to believe,

That through sound to receive.

Presence of the Divine Rama,

Just chanting Hare and Krishna.

When in hunger and thirst set,

Must move for food and water to get.

Sincere desire for association create,

And fix condition of separated state.

Categories: dohavali 41-80

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