Beyond Piety And Sin

[Sita-Rama]“One who remains apart from attachments accompanying birth and death finds happiness. In the same way, one who continues to worship stays protected by Shri Rama, wherever piety and sin may lead.” (Dohavali, 102)

bilaga bilaga sukha sa:nga janama marana soi rīti |
rahiata rākhe rāma keṃ gae te ucita anīti ||

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On the one hand we’re taught to worry about right and wrong. From the very beginning, before even entering school, the parents are there to guide. “Don’t do this. Don’t do that.” We shouldn’t take what belongs to others. If we have something of value, we should share. The hoarding mentality is not good.

As maturity continues, so the things to do and the things to avoid increase in scope. We shouldn’t steal on a large scale. We should complete our assignments in school on time. We shouldn’t lie. We should honor our parents and respected elders. We should be responsible to the spouse and children.

The idea is that piety brings better things in the future. Sin leads to unwanted experiences. Touching the realm of spirituality is not even required for understanding. Piety is something as simple as putting together furniture the right way. The expected result is an object that will be sturdy. Sin is assembling in an improper way. The resultant reaction, the fruit, if you will, may not manifest immediately. Eventually, though, there will be a reaction, and it will be unpleasant.

[Goswami Tulsidas]In the above referenced verse from the Dohavali, Goswami Tulsidas says to essentially remove concern for piety and sin. Note that as a renounced mendicant following the Vedic tradition, Tulsidas is the ideal symbol of saintly life. He is without sin, even though he will never proclaim himself as such.

The recommendation isn’t to cast aside right and wrong. It’s not to suddenly steal from people and not be concerned with the consequences. The idea is that in the material world there are so many attachments formed. This is the basis for viewership in television shows and sporting events. Take an interest in something that you otherwise wouldn’t care about. Develop an attachment.

What is the result? Sometimes there is happiness, but sadness is present, as well. We can become upset over the result to a scripted program. This is misery over something that doesn’t even exist; such is the strength of attachment.

The wise know that those who stay apart, bilaga, from such attachments find happiness, sukha. These attachments start from the time of birth, janma. There is worry over what will be lost when death, marana, eventually arrives.

Better to stay above. Birth and death come and go in cycles. What really can be done with the objects to which attachments are formed? The wise choice is to not be overly concerned. As even the personal body will vanish eventually, what need is there for great lamentation at loss or joy at gain?

If a person applies this attitude towards bhakti-yoga, then they are always protected. Let right and wrong sort themselves out. Just continue to worship God the person, who in this case is referenced by the name Rama. Tulsidas says that Rama will continue to protect; He will put the devotee in the right situations.

Sometimes that could be in the hellish region. This is feared by those who are not devoted to God. Sometimes the destination is the heavenly realm. This is enjoyable for those who are attached to material objects. In either case the devotee maintains the same disposition. They are happy to continue in their service.

[Sita-Rama]In this way the saint has subtly given the secret to finding true happiness. The formula is rather simple, maybe too much so, but the test for proof is through practicing devotion. Always chanting the holy names and renouncing attachment to material objects can be practiced by any person, at any age.

In Closing:

Not exclusive to life of the sage,

Devotion to practice at any age.

For proof of promise seeing firsthand,

That Shri Rama with protection to stand.

Piety and sin change positions dramatically,

Let be sorted out automatically.

With devotion to the Almighty stay,

To serve Him always find a way.

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Categories: dohavali 81-120

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