Sakhya Rasa

[Rama with the Vanaras]“With a friendship established, those two, the lord of monkeys and the Lord of men, developed mutual hope by discussing earlier events.” (Hanuman, Valmiki Ramayana, Sundara Kand, 35.33)

tatastau prītisaṃpannau hari īśvara nara īśvarau |
paraspara kṛta āśvāsau kathayā pūrva vṛttayā ||

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You’re having trouble making friends. When you go to school, you see people flocking together. Those groups, commonly known as cliques, seem to be having a good time. They are enjoying more than those who don’t have as many friends. You wonder what is wrong with you. You feel isolated. You feel left out.

You wonder what it will take to turn things around. One day you finally confess to your father. Embarrassed, you’re looking for some hope. He gives you the following advice:

“Friendship isn’t that hard to understand. A common interest, that’s all you need. People in school form into groups based on this. The people participating in the same afterschool activity end up talking about that activity. Those who are interested in a particular television show have something to talk about. I wouldn’t worry too much about it. In the worst case, you can be friends with others who are not as popular at the moment. That is the thing you will have in common. Trust me, it’s the same way in adulthood. I have friends at the office, but if we were to really spend time together, we wouldn’t have as much in common. We are friends now because of a main interest we share: the place we work.”

Spiritual life has friendships as well, and not only with other people trying to progress in consciousness to the pinnacle. True evolution is of the spirit soul, not the species. One day I am wearing a t-shirt and shorts and the next day I am decked out for a black tie affair. The t-shirt didn’t suddenly evolve into a dress shirt. The shorts didn’t transform themselves into slacks. The only difference is in the matter that covers the individual. This roughly explains how reincarnation works.

dehino ‘smin yathā dehe

kaumāraṁ yauvanaṁ jarā

tathā dehāntara-prāptir

dhīras tatra na muhyati

“As the embodied soul continually passes, in this body, from boyhood to youth to old age, the soul similarly passes into another body at death. The self-realized soul is not bewildered by such a change.” (Lord Krishna, Bhagavad-gita, 2.13)

The spirit soul changes bodies, and not just at the end of life. The change happens at every moment. It is effected through time, known as kala in Sanskrit. Kala knows what to do based on karma, or work that has reactions. Kala and karma operate on prakriti, which is the covering to the individual spirit soul, who is known as purusha. Purusha is the thing that causes the objects we see, prakriti, to move. Without purusha, there is no life.

The human birth is the evolution in bodies from previous ones that aren’t as advanced. The advancement is in terms of potential for consciousness. The human being has the best chance to be conscious of God. It’s about a way of thinking. Money doesn’t buy happiness. Neither does renunciation. Mystic perfection is cool for showing off to other people, but by itself it doesn’t do anything for the individual. Consciousness is what counts.

To purify the consciousness requires concentration, known as dhyana. The natural question is if I am concentrating on the Divine, doesn’t that necessitate isolation? Can there be something like friendship with the Supreme Personality of Godhead? The above referenced verse from the Ramayana gives the answer.

The exchange between Sugriva and Shri Rama is a form of sakhya-rasa. Sakhya is friendship and rasa is a taste, or transcendental mellow as described by His Divine Grace A.C. Bhaktivedanta Swami Prabhupada. We have tastes to food like sweet, sour, salty and spicy. One is not better than the other; they are simply different ways to enjoy food. Similarly, there are different ways to enjoy the association of God, who is a person in His original feature.

Another question arises. How can God be friends with anyone? We’ve established that the genesis of friendship is a mutual interest. How can an individual ever have anything in common with the person who is the origin of everything? I am small and God is great. I go through reincarnation, while the Supreme Lord does not. God has the goddess of fortune as His wife and they live happily together. I am lucky if I get a loving and supporting wife and maintain good relations with her throughout my brief time in this body.

The answer is that if sakhya-rasa is desired, the Supreme Lord creates a mutual interest. It is another example of His kindness. In this verse from the Ramayana, Hanuman describes how Sugriva and Rama discussed events from the recent past. Rama is God in the form of a warrior prince. He descended to earth to give His darshana, or divine vision, to worthy individuals and to annihilate miscreants who were so committed to irreligion that they intentionally killed and consumed for food the most peaceful people in society.

One of those fiends committed to adharma at one time took Rama’s wife Sita away from Him. This was done in secret. Through lila, or transcendental pastimes, God creates predicaments that others can have in common with Him. Sugriva is here described as hari-ishvara. This means the lord of monkeys. The Sanskrit word hari can also mean “lion” and “one who takes away.” Rama is described as nara-ishvara, or the Lord of men.

A man had something in common with a monkey. This is how kind Rama is. Sugriva was living on Mount Rishyamukha due to being separated from his kingdom. Sugriva’s brother Vali drove him out and also took his wife. So Sugriva was without a kingdom and a wife. After discussing things in a friendly manner, Rama shared that He was in the same predicament. “Hey, I’m just like you. We share something very important in common.”

[Rama with the Vanaras]From that meeting we see that a person never has to fear being alone in spiritual life. In a pure consciousness, God gets recognized to be the best friend that He always is and has been. The Supreme Lord sanctions whatever relationship the devotee genuinely wants to have with Him. His servants, like in this case the dear and powerful Hanuman, facilitate the initial meeting. They are true friends as well, looking out for the welfare of the people of the world.

In Closing:

Shri Hanuman, so blessed are you,

Bringing individual’s welfare true.

For friend Sugriva meeting arranged,

Through Rama’s arrows fortunes changed.

Whatever relationship in devotee’s mind,

To arrange situation Rama will find.

Meaning that in spiritual life alone never,

Can keep Lord in consciousness forever.



Categories: hanuman the messenger

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