“All people are deeply involved in working to achieve something, but there is no use without subsequently protecting. According to Tulsi’s thinking, every religious practice is similarly useless without love for Shri Rama.” (Dohavali, 104)
loga magana saba jogahīṃ joga jāya’ binu cema |
tyoṃ tulasīke bhāvagata rāma prema binu nema ||
You have the situation of a person from an underdeveloped nation. Keep in mind, everything is relative. What is poverty to one person is abundance to another. A miserable day for one person is when their favorite sports franchise loses the big game, while for someone else it is the loss of a loved one for good.
This person goes on a foreign trip, to a nation considered more developed. They keep a keen eye. Not that they are specifically looking to criticize or praise. There is genuine interest in how others live. After staying in that foreign land for a few weeks they make the following assessment:
“The standard of living, as it is called, is certainly enhanced. In my country we don’t have machines for everything. Not that technology is absent, but most people don’t keep a tiny robot in their home that does the vacuuming. They don’t have dishwashers, either.
”At the same time, I find it remarkable how much stress people are under. It’s like they never stop working. And don’t even talk about getting to and from work. Traffic is unbelievable. They have to drive themselves; no one to help them. Even in cities where many people use public transportation, everyone is in a rush. It’s as if there is no end to the difficulties. When do people relax?”
There is the famous song that has the chorus line, “Everybody’s working for the weekend.” Taken literally, there are two meanings. One is that no one has a break from their job, even on Saturday and Sunday. Professional life is so difficult that skipping one day causes so much trouble.
The other meaning is that each person is working very hard during the week simply so they can enjoy on the weekend. Terrible distress, heartache, pain, pressure – all to meet the great bliss that is rest and relaxation on the two days comprising the weekend. The Bhagavad-gita even says that sometimes there is poison in the beginning to taste nectar at the end.
“O best of the Bharatas, now please hear from Me about the three kinds of happiness which the conditioned soul enjoys, and by which he sometimes comes to the end of all distress. That which in the beginning may be just like poison but at the end is just like nectar and which awakens one to self-realization is said to be happiness in the mode of goodness.” (Lord Krishna, Bhagavad-gita, 18.36-37)
Goswami Tulsidas says that such work is actually useless without protecting the assets gained in the process. In fact, the reward at the end isn’t really nectar; it just seems that way juxtaposed with the distress in the beginning. It is nectar in theory; the reality is something different.
Such rewards are in the mode of passion, which leads to indefinite longing. The desires keep coming back. Even the nectar tasted through work in the mode of goodness doesn’t last forever; it can’t be protected in perpetuity. The mode of goodness can be equated with general pious behavior. Religious vows, procedures, practices and such typically fall into this category, as well.
Tulsidas says that such practices are as useless as working for rewards that can’t be protected. This is when love for Shri Rama is lacking. What am I really seeking? Residence in heaven is not temporary. It is a place of enhanced material comforts, but when the entire material world goes through cycles of creation, maintenance and annihilation, how can I stay in that resort in the sky forever?
“But those who worship Me with devotion, meditating on My transcendental form – to them I carry what they lack and preserve what they have.” (Lord Krishna, Bhagavad-gita, 9.22)
Include devotion to Shri Rama, love for Him, and everything changes. This is because Rama directly intervenes. He protects what the devotee has and brings to them what they lack. This is not to say that a house or car belonging to the person who loves Rama will stay forever. The most cherished possession, the bhakti itself, will be protected for lifetime after lifetime. That jewel shines so much that others can benefit from that protection at the same time.
Work now to enjoy later on,
But soon the weekend’s gone.
Then into same cycle repeat,
Again to feel pressure’s heat.
If fruits of labor not protected,
Then lamenting loss, state dejected.
Bhagavan most valuable asset securing,
Continued practice in bhakti assuring.
Categories: dohavali 81-120