“People say that Tulsidas is a treasure of bad qualities. But I know that I have one good quality – full faith in you, Shri Rama. This alone should ensure that you are satisfied with me.” (Dohavali, 85)
hai tulasī keṁ eka guna avaguna nidhi kahaiṁ loga |
bhalp bharoso rāvaro rāma rījhibe joga ||85||
A person you know to be good and decent decides to place their hat in the ring, the sweepstakes known as the race to be the next President of the United States. You’ve known this person all your life and you think quite highly of them. They run many businesses, and in addition to being very successful, the people who work for him tend to like him. Besides his competitors in the field of industry, no one has a bad word to say about him.
Therefore it comes as a surprise to you when there is national uproar over this person’s speech announcing his candidacy. Like a typical politician, your friend criticized the policies of the existing government. The speech was candid; something rarely seen in politics. Yet opponents are harping on one or two statements, taking them out of context. They are using these statements to brandish the title of “racist” on your friend.
You can’t believe it, since he was never known to be prejudiced, either for or against any race or ethnicity. Yet now your friend is scrambling. He is forced to apologize for his statement, though in your eyes he said nothing wrong. Indeed, by giving in this way, other politicians will be dissuaded from speaking boldly. Instead, they will focus group their stances on the issues. They will rely on advisors for what to say and how to say it.
The above scenario is part of life in a democracy. Though there is the implied freedom to choose the style of government, there is also restriction due to the scrutiny of the public. Goswami Tulsidas shows how one can be totally free of concern in this area. Indeed, real liberation would have to involve not caring what people think about you. It can only come through putting faith in one person. His opinion is what counts most, and He gives a positive opinion when the individual takes up service.
Tulsidas says that he has full faith, bharosa, in Shri Rama, who is God. The first part of the poet’s couplet describes the nature of that faith. If I say that I’m putting all my trust in you, but then I remain skeptical in the background, I’m not being genuine. The faith isn’t real. To have full faith in someone is to not be affected by what others say.
The world may think that Tulsidas is crazy. They may say that he is a treasure of bad qualities. After all, the easiest way to get along is to go along. If everyone else is drinking, you should have a beer or two. If everyone is feverishly pursuing money, power and women, then you should do the same. Otherwise, what will you talk about with them? How will you have any friends unless you sit down at the bar? Your social life will vanish if you choose a different course in life.
What other course is there? Consider the sannyasi. They are like a homeless wanderer by choice. They are certainly intelligent enough to earn a living, to accumulate objects and try to suck as much enjoyment as they can out of them. Sannyasa is accepted voluntarily. We can think of it like renunciation for advancement of the consciousness. Sannyasa means that you have no family life. You don’t stay in one area for too long, and you live off the mercy of others.
Why would someone do this? More importantly, how could someone do this? The reason is Rama. He is more than just God as a concept. He is the Supreme Lord in person, with transcendental features full of sweetness. It is the natural law that the only way to give up attachment to something is to find something else more fulfilling. In bhakti-yoga circles this concept is known as a higher taste. The taste of devotion is called bhakti-rasa.
That taste becomes sweetest when there is full faith in the Supreme Lord. Then the individual becomes so confident that it doesn’t matter what anyone says about them. They know that this one quality is enough to defeat all bad qualities. It stands alone; it is supreme. Rama rewards this one quality. His pastimes described in the Ramayana validate this.
By public opinion easy to be swayed,
Cautious words when speaking afraid.
How to the higher platform to come,
Where concern for others opinion none?
Only when full faith and trust extending,
Real devotion to Rama, not just pretending.
Confidence too strong then to break,
Shelter from Rama’s bow and arrows to take.
Categories: dohavali 81-120