What About Attaining Good Qualities

[Shri Rama]“The wise who have wanted to know have understood that all regulative principles are meant to lead to one result – having Shri Rama standing in the temple of the mind, holding His bow and arrow.” (Dohavali, 90)

saba sādhana ko eka phala jehiṁ jān’yo so jāna |
jyoṁ tyoṁ mana mandira basahiṁ rāma dhareṁ dhanu bāna ||90||

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“Aren’t good qualities important? You know, not lying, not stealing, being straightforward, non-duplicitous. Why aren’t those the goal of spiritual life? Shouldn’t they be? Are we saying that cheating is okay as long as you are devoted to someone that you and others assume to be God? If the devotees are liars, then doesn’t that reflect poorly on the person they are supposedly serving?”

In the above referenced verse from the Dohavali, Goswami Tulsidas reveals the truth. This is something he has both been taught and learned through personal experience. The revered poet has a most significant name. It means the servant of Tulasi Devi, the sacred plant who is known to be a great devotee of Vishnu.

The Padma Purana includes a discussion between Lord Shiva and his wife Parvati Devi, where the husband explains that the highest achievement is to become a devotee of Vishnu, who is a personal God. But Mahadeva goes one step further. The statement is incomplete. Superior is a devotee of a devotee of Vishnu.

“In the Padma Purana, there is a nice statement praising the service of the Vaishnavas or devotees. In that scripture Lord Shiva tells Parvati, ‘My dear Parvati, there are different methods of worship, and out of all such methods the worship of the Supreme Person is considered to be the highest. But even higher than the worship of the Lord is the worship of the Lord’s devotees.’”  (The Nectar Of Devotion, Ch 12)

[Tulasi Devi]The name Tulsidas means just that, a devotee of a devotee. From that service everything needed to be known is learned. The saint Tulsidas says that the real purpose of regulative principles, sadhana, is to have a particular image fixed within the mind.

The image is of a beautiful, youthful personality, with a bluish complexion. He is holding a bow and arrow set in His hands. This is no ordinary youth. This is the same Vishnu, but in the transcendental form of Shri Rama, the prince of Ayodhya.

Tulsidas knows that every good quality comes automatically through such an image. It is a truth that has to be accepted on faith in the beginning, to be confirmed afterwards. The material world is full of duality, after all. What is proper in one situation may not be so in another. I can strive to be an honest person, but sometimes honesty will lead to the death of an innocent person.

Being calm and quiet is appropriate in most situations, but when dealing with a madman yelling and screaming is the only way to effect change. A principle needs to be presented with emphasis to a young child for something important like not putting the hand in fire.

Devotional service accounts for the dualities. It is more important to always be thinking of God. Good qualities can lead to residence in the heavenly realm, but the time of residence there is not fixed. One day the pious credits will expire, thereby bringing vulnerability to returning to the land of birth and death.

[Shri Rama]The person who has the image of Rama fixed within the mind does not take birth again after quitting the body. The Supreme Lord is so merciful that He has many transcendental forms. Having Vishnu, with His four hands, in the mind is just as good. Shri Krishna, the all-attractive one, who holds a flute and wears a peacock feather, similarly brings liberation to the person who has perfected their sadhana.

In Closing:

Why not for good qualities to strive?

Since with piety justice to thrive.

That dishonesty okay saying,

That problems solved through praying?

Tulsidas from teaching and experience revealing,

That world of duality, sometimes pious is stealing.

Good qualities alone not to bhakti the same,

More potency in image of Rama the name.

Categories: dohavali 81-120

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