In The Name Of Devotion

[Rama's lotus feet]“The devotees of Rama who speak the truth, are pure in mind, and act without crookedness cannot be cheated by Kali Yuga, says Tulsi.” (Dohavali, 87)

satya bacana mānasa bimala kapaṭa rahita karatūti |
tulasī raghubara sēvakahi sakai na kalijuga dhūti ||87||

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If someone died for my sins, does it mean that I am forever immune from the negative consequences to bad behavior? Let’s suppose I am guilty of theft. When the police come to arrest me, my good friend steps in and takes the fall. They say that they owe me one, from having done them a favor a long time ago. I disagree, but there’s no dissuading them. They take the punishment from the authorities. Does this mean that if I steal again, I will be rescued again?

In light of this hypothetical scenario, the verse referenced above from Goswami Tulsidas starts to make sense. It gives details on how genuine religion should be practiced. The Supreme Lord is all-forgiving, that is for sure. He has to be, considering our many past transgressions. We have made so many mistakes, and the fact that the door to the spiritual world remains open means that God does not harbor ill-will towards us.

If we follow the mistaken assumption that we can do as we please in the name of religion, the negative effects will come to us courtesy of Kali Yuga. This is the present age, which is dominated by quarrel and hypocrisy. Nothing is what it seems. The truth is put upside down. The liars get ahead. The more logical you are, the more trouble you will find. You have to go along to get along. Don’t speak the truth to anyone, especially those in power. They will make you regret it.

Devotion to Rama, the personal God, is stronger than any influence Kali can exert. The key is to follow that devotion while maintaining proper behavior. Tulsidas says that it is necessary to speak the truth. This doesn’t mean ratting out your friend or broadcasting everyone’s shortcomings. It refers particularly to the objective of life. If I see my dependents on the wrong course, it is my duty to protect them. Similarly, a person who is on the imperishable path of devotional service holds the responsibility to warn others of the perils of Kali Yuga.

What are these perils? They can be summed up in two events: birth and death. We know that birth took place already. Death will follow. After death will come another birth. The cycle will repeat. This is the honest assessment. It is not just a belief of a particular sect. The afterlife is merely the present at some point in time. Right now will become the distant past. Just because time has yet to wind forward to that point doesn’t mean that the future will not arrive.

The individual will be somewhere during that time, in a different body. Even if they are still active in this life, their body will be different. The person who is devoted to Rama should not lie to others about the future. They should be honest in giving out knowledge of the spirit soul, who is transcendental to the material coverings. They should not equate sense gratification with service to the Supreme Lord, service which is truly selfless.

The devotee should be pure in mind. They should not think that since they have the protection of Rama they can do all kinds of bad things. Indeed, the more impure the mind becomes, the easier it is to stray from devotion. The very impetus for changing the course in life is to fix things. In the Bhagavad-gita, the Supreme Lord describes that four kinds of people initially approach Him in devotional service.

catur-vidhā bhajante māṁ

janāḥ sukṛtino ‘rjuna

ārto jijñāsur arthārthī

jñānī ca bharatarṣabha

“O best among the Bharatas [Arjuna], four kinds of pious men render devotional service unto Me – the distressed, the desirer of wealth, the inquisitive, and he who is searching for knowledge of the Absolute.” (Lord Krishna, Bhagavad-gita, 7.16)

If a person remains impure in their thoughts, it is like they are stepping backwards. They will stay in one of the four categories. They will have to approach God again to get what they want. It is better to stay pure in thoughts, as it will bring progress that much more quickly.

[Lord Krishna stealing butter]The devotee should act without crookedness. Don’t lie in the name of devotion. Don’t think that since you’re after some goal you think is worthwhile that it is right to cheat people. Cheating is for those who are bewildered. The devotee acts straightforward, as it reflects well on the person they worship. He is the supreme pure, pavitra. There is no hint of crookedness in Him. When He steals butter in the town of Vrindavana, it is to delight the residents. When He lies to the demon Vrikasura about Lord Shiva’s ability to grant boons, it is to defend the pious.

“But if you have faith still in the words of Lord Shiva, my dear king of the demons, then why don’t you make an experiment by putting your hand on your head? If the benediction proves false, then you can immediately kill this liar, Lord Shiva, so that in the future he will not dare to give out false benedictions.” (Lord Narayana in the guise of a mendicant speaking to Vrikasura, Krishna, The Supreme Personality of Godhead, Vol 2, Ch 33)

[Rama's bow]If the flawed human being imitates such behavior, they run the risk of making it a habit. Crookedness will become second nature. Combined, lack of truthfulness, an impure mind and crooked behavior weaken the defense against Kali Yuga. Then the quarrel will return. Despite this illusory energy of maya being so powerful, pure devotion to God easily overcomes it. Shri Rama stands at the ready with His bow and arrow, slashing away doubts and giving pleasure through His association.

In Closing:

From savior sins absolved,

But what if towards sin again resolved?

My friend fall for my error taking,

Still not future protection making.

Honest and straightforward be,

Then Kali Yuga’s effects not to see.

Rama Himself the protection giving,

So with bliss of surrender devotees living.

Categories: dohavali 81-120

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