“If a traveler comes in front of you, you give them the proper direction to go, right or left. In the same way, if you approach Shri Rama, He will give you the right direction, says Tulsi.” (Dohavali, 81)
sanamukha āvata pathika jyōṁ di’ēm̐ dāhinō bāma |
taisō’i hōta su āpa kō tyōṁ hī tulasī rāma ||81||
You’re at a concert. It’s an event you’ve been anticipating for months. You prepared so well that you ended up getting to the show very early. You were one of the first people they let in. As it is a general admission show, it’s anything goes as far as seating. You can get up all the way in the front if you choose. Sure enough, that’s what happened.
The issue is that others want to get in the front, too. Therefore people are pushing from behind. You’re holding your ground, though. There is another issue. In addition to the people pushing, there are those who are already at the front and want to make room for someone they know. You’re in a tough position since if you allow anyone else, you compromise your comfort. It gets especially difficult when the person next to you is a father who wants to make room for their son. It’s not an easy choice. You could either hold firm or give in. Giving in means introducing a little discomfort, but also giving the chance of a lifetime to someone else.
Material life is this way: limited. Only one person can land the job vacancy in the company. Only a few students get into the prestigious university. Only one team can be the champion each year. As soon as the post gets filled, all others are automatically excluded. “Better luck next time,” is the phrase of consolation. In addition to being limited, everything is temporary. The Bhagavad-gita touches on both, using the Sanskrit description of duhkhalayam and ashashvatam.
mām upetya punar janma
saṁsiddhiṁ paramāṁ gatāḥ
“After attaining Me, the great souls, who are yogis in devotion, never return to this temporary world, which is full of miseries, because they have attained the highest perfection.” (Lord Krishna, Bhagavad-gita, 8.15)
The spiritual is different. It is ever-expanding. One minus one can equal one in the spiritual world. We can’t understand this because our experience to date says otherwise. Of course, this is a limitation of the temporary mind. The mind is part of the subtle body, with the other two aspects being the intelligence and the false ego. The gross elements are earth, water, fire, air and ether. None of these eight elements represents us. They can help us in regaining our original form, however. That svarupa is servant of God, through and through.
We can use our intelligence to study the comparison made by Goswami Tulsidas above. He says that if you approach Shri Rama, the personal God, then the Lord will make room for you. The approach must be in devotion and the desire must be to walk with Him. He already has eternally liberated associates. Narada Muni travels the three worlds spreading the message of divine love, bhakti-yoga. Rama cannot get rid of Lakshmana, His younger brother, or Sita Devi, His wife. Neither would He want any of these people to leave Him, as they are so dear to Him.
Despite having such good company already, the Supreme Lord never prohibits anyone from joining His eternal, transcendental pastimes. Tulsidas compares it to meeting someone on the road. In his time there was no travel by automobile. As a sannyasi, he would travel by foot. Therefore it was common for him to come across people on the road, pilgrims traveling to holy spots. If a person came to him on the street, he would let them pass from either the right or left side. He wouldn’t stop them. If they wanted to accompany him on the road, he would allow them to follow on either the right or the left.
Tulsidas says that Shri Rama is the same way. The Lord does not block off access to someone who approaches Him. The key is to make the approach. The secret is to find the road on which the Supreme Lord travels. That road is love and devotion. In no other path is the personal God always there, granting His causeless mercy. In meditational yoga He remains unmanifest as the Supersoul in the heart. In study of Vedanta philosophy He is merely a concept, the impersonal Brahman. In atheism He is seen only in His material nature, which changes through the all-devouring enemy known as time.
In bhakti He arrives in full, showing His transcendental features. He shows Himself as the Supreme Personality of Godhead, Shri Krishna, who roams the sacred land of Vrindavana. He gives the aura of opulence through His four-handed form of Vishnu. He upholds righteousness and protects the innocent brahmanas as Shri Rama, the king of Ayodhya. That king is very dear to Tulsidas, who is kind enough to show others the way to find the supreme shelter.
The path of devotion just find,
To remove tensions from mind.
Like directions to traveler giving,
With God by your side to be living.
Making the approach is key,
Then your real form just see.
Of personal God, devoted to Him,
Sharing with all, not a limited win.
Categories: dohavali 81-120