“A person who knows that their happiness comes from Rama and their unhappiness from their own actions, whose thoughts, words and deeds are proper – such a person cannot be cheated by Kali Yuga, says Tulsi.” (Dohavali, 88)
tulasī sukhī jo rāma soṁ dukhī so nija karatūti |
karama bacana mana ṭhīka jeehi tehi na sakai kali dhūti ||88||
Goswami Tulsidas says that a way to get protection from illusion, misery, cheating, and pressure to behave improperly is to have good thoughts, words and deeds. What does this mean exactly? The good deeds should be fairly obvious. Be nice to people. If you’re leaving a store, when you open the exit door keep it open for a second to let the person behind you through. This way the door doesn’t hit them on the way out.
When you see someone in need, don’t ignore them outright. Learn about their problem and see if you can help. Don’t tell lies. If you don’t practice honesty, how can you expect it from others? They have just as much right to lie to you. And if dishonesty is okay with you, think about the consequences if the entire world operated on that principle. The employer could one day decide not to pay you. Though you have an agreement, they could say that they didn’t mean what they agreed to. Everything would go upside down. Indeed, the issues that get the citizens most angry in democratic nations relate to failure to enforce laws already on the books. If the legislators are going to take the time to make laws, they shouldn’t completely ignore them later on. Otherwise, what is the point to laws and lawmakers?
Determining proper thoughts and words is a little tougher. What are the proper words? The situation dictates. For instance, it is okay for a father to reprimand the dependent child. If the father doesn’t do it, who will? Yet the same harsh words would be improper in general conversation. Just as deeds give a general idea of our character, so words reveal what you are thinking, how your mind is. If you use expletives on a regular basis, others will think that you lack restraint. If you use coarse language in a job interview, the hiring manager will likely conclude that you lack control. After all, in the interview you’re expected to put your best foot forward. If you can’t speak properly when important people are watching, how will you behave when no one is looking?
Thoughts are the seeds to words and deeds. Everything begins with thoughts. We can have good deeds and proper words, but from thoughts alone we can become vulnerable. Thoughts can lead us astray. If I behave nicely and speak politely but utterly detest other people on the inside, eventually that hate will come out. If I’m following the righteous path, but only reluctantly, then soon enough I will act on my negative thoughts. Suppression of these thoughts is very difficult, especially when the majority of the world in the present age of Kali doesn’t seem to hold back.
kalāv asmin yuge janāḥ
manda-bhāgyā hy upadrutāḥ
“O learned one, in this iron age of Kali men have but short lives. They are quarrelsome, lazy, misguided, unlucky and, above all, always disturbed.” (Shrimad Bhagavatam, 1.1.10)
In the present time period, man’s thoughts, words and deeds are generally improper. Tulsidas says that making them proper is an important part of an overall mindset to correct the problems in life. You must realize that all happiness is found in Rama, who is the source of transcendental pleasure. You must also know that working selfishly only brings pain and misery. Consider the task of building yourself up economically. Through hard work you rise to the top, but then what do you do? There is the saying, “It’s lonely at the top.” Something you worked so hard for brought you little happiness.
The same pattern is there in all material activity. The wise know that God’s association is the only way to be happy. The problem is that Kali Yuga, who works at Rama’s direction, fools us into thinking otherwise. The way to get immunity is to have good thoughts, words and deeds and also have full faith in Rama to bring happiness. Rama is the personal God. He is the definition to the abstract, blurry picture that the majority of the world has of the supreme deity.
What if I am devoted to Rama but fail to purify my thoughts? What if I’m still behaving poorly?
Any deficiency keeps one vulnerable to Kali Yuga. The strongest force used by Kali is illusion, which is seeing things the wrong way. Think of it like being offered a drink to cure your thirst, when in fact the drink only makes you more thirsty. The illusion of the material world is that man can be happy absent of the Supreme Lord’s personal association, that through personal effort alone all happiness will come. The opposite is found time and time again, and yet man forgets the many lessons he witnesses with his own eyes.
For this reason the path of devotion is recommended at the outset. Don’t even worry so much about purifying your words and deeds in the beginning. Just try to think of the Supreme Lord. Become His devotee. Chant His holy names: Hare Krishna Hare Krishna, Krishna Krishna, Hare Hare, Hare Rama Hare Rama, Rama Rama, Hare Hare. By following this formula gradually things will start to turn around. Then all the thoughts will be about how to please Rama. All the words will be truthful; they will describe the glories of the Personality of Godhead. And all the deeds will be centered around serving the Supreme and bringing the countless bewildered souls of this age back to the shelter of devotion.
For too long under Kali’s attack,
How into shelter to bring them back?
Though into illusion every one brought,
Fixed by proper word, deed and thought.
That Rama the source of all pleasure know,
And that misery when alone in everything to go.
Follow devotion’s path and turn things around,
In bhakti feet on safe and solid ground.
Categories: dohavali 81-120