“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||
In the Bhagavad-gita, Shri Krishna says that kama is the all-devouring enemy of this world. His Divine Grace A.C. Bhaktivedanta Swami Prabhupada translates kama as “lust.” Kama also means “desire,” but due to the nature of that desire the word is synonymous with lust. They are one and the same, and to give it full attention is to only sink further into the pit of misery and despair. Goswami Tulsidas provides the way out. Approach the same Krishna, who is also Rama, and get the right directions.
kāma eṣa krodha eṣa
viddhy enam iha vairiṇam
“The Blessed Lord said: It is lust only, Arjuna, which is born of contact with the material modes of passion and later transformed into wrath, and which is the all-devouring, sinful enemy of this world.” (Bhagavad-gita, 3.37)
The object of service reveals that desire and lust are identical. If it is for only sense pleasure, something temporary covering the otherwise spotless spirit soul, then the desire is to exploit resources coming from God, to enjoy separately from Him. The proper way is to take the ingredients given by the creator and use them for His pleasure. This mindset is the original one and it is called bhakti. When the desire shifts away from the author of all things, you get kama.
Kama devours since the more you try to satisfy it, the more entangled you become. Consider the gambler who makes a wager that pays off. They think they are satisfied, but due to greed they only want to play again. Even if they walk away, they need something to spend their winnings on. Whatever object they get, they don’t derive full satisfaction from it.
As is often the case, there is only more to maintain. You purchase a large house and you have to worry about protecting it. You get an expensive car and then have to make sure to park it away from other cars; lest a scratch ruin its pristine state.
The full embodiment of kama is sex life. Illicit sex life is the root cause of all major problems in the world. It brings disease, poverty, heartache and constant hankering. It is for this reason that marriage is mentioned in every major religious tradition of the world. Man does not need guidance on how to eat or have sex. These things the animals can do with their limited intelligence. The mention of marriage in scripture is for limiting sex life, following it in a sanctioned manner. The same goes for the various sacrifices mentioned relating to food.
rasa-varjaṁ raso ‘py asya
paraṁ dṛṣṭvā nivartate
“The embodied soul may be restricted from sense enjoyment, though the taste for sense objects remains. But, ceasing such engagements by experiencing a higher taste, he is fixed in consciousness.” (Lord Krishna, Bhagavad-gita, 2.59)
Of course it is difficult to follow renunciation without experiencing something better. That higher taste is love and devotion to God, which you learn about from God Himself. Tulsidas provides the example of being approached on the road by someone coming from the other side. You can tell them which direction to go, left or right. It’s similar to the right of way when at a stop sign while driving. The other driver may not know when it is okay to go, but through a simple gesture you can help them. When on foot, they can walk alongside you also.
In the same way, if you approach the Supreme Lord sincerely, He will give you the proper direction. He famously did so in the Bhagavad-gita, when the warrior with doubts named Arjuna needed help. Arjuna put his questions to Krishna and received answers to his satisfaction. The worshipable form of choice for Tulsidas is Shri Rama, who is the same Personality of Godhead but appearing on earth at a different time.
Rama Himself will guide you or He will send His representative. The representative has the same interest; in this way they are one with God. At the same time, they are different. They are a separate personality, never to become God. This representative, known as the guru, gives the same advice as Rama – worship in devotion. The representative gives hints for success tailored to the time and circumstance.
In this age the most potent method of worship is the chanting of the holy names: Hare Krishna Hare Krishna, Krishna Krishna, Hare Hare, Hare Rama Hare Rama, Rama Rama, Hare Hare. This chanting takes care of hearing too, which is even easier. Just hear about God, learn about His qualities, appreciate His kindness, marvel at His transcendental beauty, study His interactions with the devotees – in this way get rid of kama once and for all. Since the nature of the desire changes to wanting to serve and please God, the kama merges into bhakti, which is pure and the source of all bliss.
At every time and hour,
Kama everything to devour.
Though desire and lust in name,
Since to exploit both the same.
By proper direction the turn make,
And path towards purification take.
Kama into bhakti eventually to merge,
By guru’s guidance not to diverge.
Categories: dohavali 81-120