Worrying About Others

[Rama and Lakshmana]“By good fortune all is well with Rama, who is pious-souled and true to His promise, and Lakshmana, the increaser of joy for Sumitra.” (Sita Devi speaking to Hanuman, Valmiki Ramayana, Sundara Kand, 36.12)

diṣṭyā ca kuśalī rāmo dharma ātmā dharma vatsalaḥ |
lakṣmaṇaḥ ca mahātejāḥ sumitra ānanda vardhanaḥ ||

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“Woe is me. Things aren’t going right. All the responsibility falls upon me. It’s because I am generally trustworthy. I am reliable. I get things done. This means that people are more apt to look to me to take care of important tasks. But after a while the burden becomes too much. I buckle under it. I’ve had enough. I don’t think anyone has it worse than me. There is no relief.”

This sort of lamentation is only natural. Man is not God, after all. To err is human, while the Divine is invincible. Since He never falls, one of His many names is Achyuta. Since He is never defeated in conflict, another name is Ajita. He is physically present everywhere, through the feature of the Supersoul. We can’t see this feature with our eyes, but that is our limitation, not God’s.

“That knowledge by which one undivided spiritual nature is seen in all existences, undivided in the divided, is knowledge in the mode of goodness.” (Lord Krishna, Bhagavad-gita, 18.20)

There is an undivided existence within the seemingly divided. This applies to the spiritual energy, of which the many living entities are fragments. The Supersoul is undivided as well, but of a different nature. The collective spiritual energy is Brahman, and each individual is a fragment of the whole. The Supersoul is just one person. It is seemingly spread out, but actually there is no division or loss of potency from the whole. With God, one minus one can equal one.

These facts make Sita Devi’s observations quoted above all the more amazing. She is glad that her husband is doing well. From the Ramayana and other Vedic texts we understand that Rama is non-different from God. He is a distinct individual who descends from the spiritual world; hence the word avatara to describe Him. He is the physical manifestation of the same Supersoul that is within the heart. The Supersoul is nirguna, or without perceptible features, whereas Rama and the personal incarnations are saguna, or perceivable by the eyes of the conditioned souls.

Sita says that Rama is dharma-atma. This means “pious soul.” Attention to dharma is always at the highest level in the Supreme Personality of Godhead. He is the embodiment of righteousness. He is the object of religion. In the Rama incarnation, the attention to dharma is more prominent, especially for dharma as a set of religious principles.

Rama is also true to His vow. He doesn’t make empty promises. He is the most reliable person. Evidence is all around us, with the most obvious indication the predictability of nature itself. We know that this year in July the average temperatures will be high in comparison to the month of January. We can count on it. God effortlessly creates nature and then embeds within it intelligence that others can study and make use of.

Sita is happy that Rama’s younger brother is well. Lakshmana is maha-teja, or highly splendorous. Lakshmana is also the enhancer of the delight of Sumitra, who is one of three queens in Ayodhya. Sumitra is Lakshmana’s mother, and Kausalya is Rama’s.

[Rama and Lakshmana]Sita Devi also stayed on the righteous path. She was so dedicated to her husband that she insisted on accompanying Him in a fourteen year stint in the forest, which was meant to be a form of punishment. It’s something like following your husband after he gets sentenced to jail, for a crime he didn’t commit.

What was the reward for that commitment? Sita was kidnapped in secret by the evil king of Lanka. Named Ravana, the ten-headed fiend took her back to his kingdom and pleaded to make her the chief queen. Sita refused, and so Ravana resorted to threats of violence to get her to change her mind.

The threats didn’t work, and in this situation Rama’s messenger named Hanuman has come to deliver her good news. He has brought Rama’s ring with him, also, as a token of affection. The ring also served as a form of authentication, a way for Sita to know that Hanuman was not some stranger of evil intent.

The princess of Videha would be justified in complaining. She would have the most to complain about. Instead, she is happy that her husband and her brother-in-law are okay. This is the nature of the devotee. They accept the suffering that comes in life. They understand that happiness and sadness come and go, like the winter and summer seasons.

“O son of Kunti, the nonpermanent appearance of happiness and distress, and their disappearance in due course, are like the appearance and disappearance of winter and summer seasons. They arise from sense perception, O scion of Bharata, and one must learn to tolerate them without being disturbed.” (Lord Krishna, Bhagavad-gita, 2.14)

Sita remains steady in her devotion, which she practices through the relationship of wife. Hanuman shows the same dedication in acting as servant. We living entities have God inside of us right now, but we ignore Him out of ignorance. The turn in the proper direction can come through something as simple as sound. Chant the holy names, be happy as a result, and better tolerate the struggles through material life, which are inevitable for any person who takes birth.

In Closing:

Pain and pleasure coming and departing,

Right from time of birth starting.

In so much of struggle right now,

To tolerate situations how?

Since Sita Devi of nature so kind,

Pleased that husband and brother fine.

From messenger Hanuman hearing,

Priceless lesson from Ramayana endearing.

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