“Just as saying is useless without doing and succeeding is useless without subsequently protecting, every solution is useless without love for Shri Rama’s lotus feet.” (Dohavali, 103)
jāya’ kahaba karatūti binu jāya’ joga bina cema |
tulasī jāya’ upāya saba binā rāma pada prema ||
Don’t just talk the talk. Walk the walk, afterwards. To make a vow is a good start. At least the mind is thinking forward, moving in a positive direction. At the same time, anyone can say anything. To actually make the desired difference there has to be effort.
And what if there is success? If you did come through on your promise, will you protect what you have acquired? It doesn’t have to be something manifest, either. If reputation is enhanced through pious behavior, just one slipup and everything is spoiled. There is ample evidence in the lives of public figures. Adored for years and years, a bad five minutes recorded on video and distributed throughout the world ruins their previously good name.
Goswami Tulsidas goes one step further. He says that every solution is flawed if a key ingredient is missing. It is a link, something to which the solution must be tied. And no doubt, so many solutions are attempted, as material existence means one problem after another.
1. Diet and exercise
I haven’t been feeling well lately. It’s not a specific malady, necessarily. Sure, I’ve been getting sick more often. It just seems that everything is wrong. The muscles hurt. Sleep is compromised. Too much fat on the body.
The common recommendation is diet and exercise. Limit food intake and keep the body moving on a regular basis. This solves so many issues. The combination is the very definition of good health.
2. Buying a new car
I’ve gone as long as I could with the car that I own. I purchased it a long time ago, and I’ve kept pace with the maintenance. It’s not like I’m treating it poorly and waiting to run it into the ground.
Speaking of the ground, that seems to be the destination, based on the performance of late. One problem after another. I hate arriving late to work. I prefer the security of a stable and properly running automobile; I don’t have that now.
The solution is to purchase a new car. Wow are cars different today. So many features. It’s like the thing is almost driving itself. The car I have my eye on will make me so happy, it seems. So many worries will vanish.
3. Moving to a new city
The cold weather has become too much. It’s not like summers are a picnic, either. There is rarely such a thing as a nice day. It’s either super cold or way too humid. In the spring my allergies flare up. I don’t get any relief.
The solution is to move elsewhere. Let me find a different setting. It’s like a reset on life. I won’t have the same routine. Time to shake things up. Hopefully the climate won’t present as many problems.
4. Getting married
No direction in life. Just going to work, eating, sleeping, watching television, and then repeating the next day. Not only are the days and weeks the same, it’s like the years repeat. When I was in school, one year was like an eternity. Now a year passes like a week.
The solution is to get married. This way I won’t be a social outcaste anymore. A spouse and children to care for. The routine will change. Love will be exchanged. It’s the typical cycle in life, anyway. I might as well grow up already.
These are just a few solutions, and in many cases they work in temporarily solving the problem. The issue of protection remains, though. In fact, no solution arrived at by the mind alone can fully protect, as the body itself is destined for destruction.
How much joy is a car really going to give me, as it must break down eventually? The children in the home will one day grow up and leave. Despite the best attention paid to health, there is disease lurking around the corner, ready to attack a body diminished in ability due to old age.
Tulsidas says every solution is worthless without love for the lotus feet of Shri Rama. This is because the Supreme Lord maintains the devotion of His devotees. In the Bhagavad-gita this is clearly stated.
“He quickly becomes righteous and attains lasting peace. O son of Kunti, declare it boldly that My devotee never perishes.” (Lord Krishna, Bhagavad-gita, 9.31)
This is not to say that death will not occur. It’s just that death will be of a different nature. The devoted soul has prepared for the end of life through practicing devotion on a regular basis, chanting the holy names: Hare Krishna Hare Krishna, Krishna Krishna, Hare Hare, Hare Rama Hare Rama, Rama Rama, Hare Hare. Whether high or low, in heaven or in hell, in a man’s body or a woman’s, they will keep what is most valuable to them: love for the endearing prince of Ayodhya, the husband of Sita, and the brother setting the best example for Bharata, Lakshmana and Shatrughna.
Perhaps in new city to thrive,
Happiness with new car to drive.
To take impetus in life partner to choose,
Diet and exercise for health to improve.
Many solutions in this way to try,
But on nature’s cooperation to rely.
Eventually destruction to come,
Not with bhakti, exception the one.
Categories: the four