“Remembering Shri Rama, being His devotee and recognizing Him as the supreme authority – the person who does not have greed for such a reward will be in want every single day, says Tulsi.” (Dohavali, 97)
sumirana sevā rāma soṃ sāhaba soṃ pahicāni |
aisehu lābha na lalaka jo tulasī nita hita hāni ||
It’s understandable to be greedy. Though we don’t like to see that quality in others, it must be admitted that it arises at the personal level from time to time. There are trigger words. “Limited edition.” “For a limited time only.” “Once in a lifetime opportunity.” Originating from the seller, the words might cause “a run” on a product, where suddenly so many people want to buy it.
Another cause of greed is envy. I see that someone bought a new house. It is very nice. Now I want the same thing, if not better. Previously, I was doing fine, sitting at home, enjoying life. Then everything changed.
Another cause is the temporary nature of this world. I might be successful today, but that is not guaranteed to last. There is competition lurking around the corner. There is technology, innovation, and shifts in consumer spending habits. One slight adjustment and I could be out of business altogether. Better to gain as much profit as I can in the moment.
In Vedic teachings greed, known as lobha in Sanskrit, is one of the obstacles standing in the way of enlightenment. Lobha is grouped with such things as kama [material desire] and krodha [wrath or anger]. That excessive greed is not helpful is common sense. In his Dohavali, Goswami Tulsidas remarks that greed for certain things will actually do a person the most good.
1. Remembering Shri Rama
How can I be greedy to remember? Is memory something we buy at the store? Is there a machine that helps us to remember? Actually, in the course of the day so many thoughts run through the mind. There is focus on the task at hand and then concern over what needs to be done in the future. Thus it is very easy to forget, even something that is so dear to us.
Shri Rama is the Supreme Lord, God in a specific transcendental form. Remembering Rama means thinking back to the events described in the Ramayana and other Vedic texts. It is contemplating His teachings, which mostly came by way of deeds, setting the proper example for others.
“Whatever action is performed by a great man, common men follow in his footsteps. And whatever standards he sets by exemplary acts, all the world pursues.” (Lord Krishna, Bhagavad-gita, 3.21)
The more a person remembers Rama, the more they stay connected to Him. The more they are connected to Him, the happier they will be. It is as simple as that. The secret behind the transformation is beyond our understanding. But then again, does a hungry person really need to know the science behind food and how it works to satisfy hunger?
2. Serving Shri Rama
The word used by Tulsidas is seva. This is service, and in connection with Rama it is devotional service, which is synonymous with bhakti-yoga. The person who is greedy for seva to Rama essentially wants to remain a devotee. They want more and more service to do.
As an example, the service may begin with a routine of chanting the holy names: Hare Krishna Hare Krishna, Krishna Krishna, Hare Hare, Hare Rama Hare Rama, Rama Rama, Hare Hare. After a while, though the routine takes significant time to complete each day, there is a desire to serve more. Maybe the next step is to prepare palatable dishes from scratch and offer them to Rama. This is not only allowed, but recommended. The deity or authorized picture facilitates the process.
“If one offers Me with love and devotion a leaf, a flower, fruit, or water, I will accept it.” (Lord Krishna, Bhagavad-gita, 9.26)
Such service qualifies as bhakti-yoga, but with greed there is a desire to serve more. Shri Rama is already pleased with any heartfelt offering, but the person greedy for seva thinks that there are ways to increase the Lord’s pleasure. Perhaps speaking about Him. Maybe hearing more about His glories and those of His dear associates, like Sita, Lakshmana and Hanuman.
3. Recognizing Rama as the supreme authority
The word used by Tulsidas is sahiba. In general conversation this refers to a boss, the person in charge. We meet so many throughout the course of life. There are the parents in the home, the teachers in school, the superiors at the office, and later on maybe the spouse.
A person should be greedy for recognizing Rama as the supreme authority. The idea is that no single person can be the ultimate authority. Everyone is beholden to someone else. Even the CEO of the successful company has to watch what they say. The customers can change their habits and take their business elsewhere.
Rama is always in transcendental pleasure. He is not compelled to listen to anyone, though for the devotees He is willing to do anything. Greed for recognizing that God is a person is helpful because otherwise the search will continue among mortals for a person with the same characteristics.
That search will always fail. Without greed for the three aforementioned things man will always be in need. They will be guided by desire after desire, and no success will be for their ultimate benefit, hita. The saints are like a broken record in constantly stressing the need for bhakti-yoga, but such repetition is necessary.
With desire after desire to feed,
Not helpful when consumed by greed.
But Tulsidas recommending three,
For struggle no more to see.
That keeping Shri Rama in mind,
And eager more service to find.
As the boss on the highest scale,
Search in any other direction to fail.
Categories: dohavali 81-120