“If Rama is Jagadisha, the Lord of the universe, or if He is the God of earth, giving everyone their share of fortune, then it is very good. But Tulsidas wants only devotion to Rama’s feet in birth after birth.” (Dohavali, 91)
jauṃ jagadīsa tau ati bhalo jauṃ mahīsa tau bhāga |
tulasī cāhata janama bhari rāma carana anurāga ||
The situation is a large gathering. The patrons are seated in an auditorium, with the main person of interest seated on the stage. They are indeed patrons, as there was a fee charged for entry. For this meeting the people are willing to pay even more than they had to. One by one they step up to the microphone, asking their question.
“Dear sir, for the past few months I’ve been having a lot of trouble at home, with the family. What should I do?”
“Dear sir, my wife and I argue all the time. How to solve the problem?”
“Dear sir, I’ve been working at the same company and position for quite some time. I’d like to earn more money. Please help.”
“Dear sir, my daughter’s marriage has yet to take place. Please arrange everything properly for her.”
This hypothetical scene is not uncommon in the modern day, and in times past the questions were posed to the king. They had jurisdiction over a large area, so they were equipped to find solutions. They had the authority necessary to change behavior, at both the macro and micro levels.
In the above referenced verse from the Dohavali, Goswami Tulsidas references this kind of thinking, where He addresses the Supreme Lord as Jagadisha. This word means “Lord of the universe.” That vast expanse consists of all the planets. The Vedas describe that there are fourteen planetary systems in the material world, with three divisions.
“The fourteen worlds are enumerated in Shrimad-Bhagavatam, Second Canto, Fifth Chapter. The upper planetary systems are (1) Bhu, (2) Bhuvar, (3) Svar, (4) Mahar, (5) Janas, (6) Tapas and (7) Satya. The seven lower planetary systems are (1) Tala, (2) Atala, (3) Vitala, (4) Nitala, (5) Talatala, (6) Mahatala and (7) Sutala. The lower planets, as a whole, are called Patala. Among the upper planetary systems, Bhu, Bhuvar and Svar constitute Svargaloka, and the rest are called Martya. The entire universe is thus known as Triloka.” (Shrila Prabhupada, Chaitanya Charitamrita, Adi 5.98 Purport)
Jagadisha has control over the entire system. Tulsidas says that Shri Rama, the famous incarnation of God, whose exploits are described in works like the Ramayana and Puranas, may also be considered the lord of earth, Mahisha.
People have different desires. Some want to enjoy in the afterlife, where the exact destination is unknown. There may be elevation to the heavenly realm or demotion to a hellish planet. Obviously, one involves enjoyment and the other suffering.
Some people are concerned with the present lifetime, here on earth. Fix problems I’m seeing now. The afterlife isn’t that important, for the limited vision doesn’t allow seeing that far into the future. In either case Rama is there to do good, bhalo, and distribute rewards, bhaga.
As the wisest person, Tulsidas sees as far into the future as possible. He knows that the best thing for him is anuraga, strong attachment in devotion, to Rama. And not just to the person Rama, but to His lotus feet. This is the secret of life, in fact. Just be attached to the lotus feet of God, and you will be on the highest platform of living.
This applies not only to this life, but also to every successive birth, janma. This wonderful couplet also clears any doubts as to the poet’s philosophical conclusion. He is not an impersonalist or a mixed personalist/impersonalist. He is a devotee of Shri Rama, and the most pure one at that, for he has no concern for the material.
So many living entities there are,
On this planet and others far.
Like to a king hosted assembly going,
Ability to grant their wishes knowing.
Since focus on the material none,
For Tulsidas request just one.
Only anuraga to Shri Rama’s feet,
For same in every birth each.
Categories: dohavali 81-120