“The many past births you spoiled can be rectified right now, today, if you start chanting Shri Rama’s holy name and renounce bad association, says Tulsi.” (Dohavali, 22)
Friend1: Have you ever been burned by a politician?
Friend2: Literally? As in did they light a match and chase after me?
Friend1: You know what I mean. Where you invested faith in them. You endorsed them, made phone calls, tried to persuade people to vote. Others tried to warn you against getting so involved.
Friend2: Yeah. Don’t get into politics. These people thrive on lying. Duplicity is dharma for their business. Honesty is adharma. I always compare it to professional basketball.
Friend1: How so?
Friend2: Complaining about lying politicians is like complaining that the players in professional basketball are tall. The rules of the game are such that shorter or average heights are punished. The taller you are, the closer you are to the basket. The better you will be able to get off shots and rebound misses.
Friend1: In politics if you are honest you will get skewered.
Friend2: It takes just one sound bite. Congress proposes a fifty percent increase in spending for the poor. You honestly question the decision. Do we need to spend that much? Can it fit within the budget?
Friend1: Right away you get labeled as being against the poor. You are cruel-hearted. You only care about the rich.
Friend2: Exactly. That’s why there is something called political correctness. People say they hate it, but they reward it at the same time.
Friend1: I was thinking that people get burned quite frequently, and not just by politicians. Someone was your friend for years. Then they betray you.
Friend2: Divorce is the same way. You had such a close relationship that there are children. You would think people would stay linked forever as a result.
Friend1: Not the case. The trust extended in these instances was obviously a mistake. Mistakes that caused pain later on.
Friend2: That is the effect of kama. Not only is there the potential for heartache, but so many reactions gather up. Kama and karma are linked. One drives the other, and then the roles switch. I engage in so many fruitive activities to satisfy a desire. While engaged in those activities, new desires may spring up, as well.
Friend1: Is there no other solution than bhakti-yoga?
Friend2: Why look for something else? You already have the answer. There are many aches and pains from past mistakes. Those mistakes aren’t limited to the current lifetime, either. Goswami Tulsidas says that the mistakes from many past births can be rectified immediately, today, right now.
Friend1: I get it. Through chanting the holy names?
Friend2: And renouncing bad association. Put full faith in Shri Rama, the Supreme Lord. Stay attached to Him through the name, which can be chanted regularly through mantras: Hare Krishna Hare Krishna, Krishna Krishna, Hare Hare, Hare Rama Hare Rama, Rama Rama, Hare Hare. Try to associate with people who have similarly given full faith to Him. It’s a great thing, if you think about it. It doesn’t matter how many mistakes we’ve made. It doesn’t matter how many births we have spoiled. The option is there to be taken advantage of.
From many mistakes making,
Body and mind constantly aching.
Despite so many in the past,
Acting solution there is fast.
Bad association first renounce,
Holy names with clarity pronounce.
Bhakti increasing, Rama rescue giving,
Into better situation forever living.