Sometimes Ordinary

[Rama's lotus feet]“For the benefit of the devotees, the Supreme Lord, Shri Rama, took the body of a king. He performed the most amazing activities in a manifest form, like an ordinary man.” (Dohavali, 113)

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bhagata hetu bhagavāna prabhu rāma dhareu tanu bhūpa |
kie carita pāvana parama prāk।rta nara anurupa ||

How to understand the glories of someone who is beyond comprehension? How to apply logic, reasoning, and deductive methods to knowing a person who is outside the scope of the powers gifted to the human mind? It is most certainly a benediction, since not everyone has the same level of intelligence. Basic observation of a variety of human beings gives evidence of this.

How to understand someone who exceeds the limits of time and space, both of which baffle the mind? How to know someone who is time itself, which operates as the all-devouring agent known as death? In fact, this is the face most commonly seen of the Almighty. After a lifetime of obstinate refusal, of denying that a higher power exists, the individual must succumb to time in the ugly form of death. That gruesome and merciless force is one representation of God.

Since we are known to measure greatness by using comparison, perhaps if the Almighty played the role of a human being we could have a reference point. He is never material. He cannot assume the elements of earth, water, fire, air, mind, intelligence and ego. That is because the distinction between material and spiritual applies to us, and only when under the influence of the illusory energy known as maya.

God is completely spiritual, at all times, in any form that manifests. The prakrita form is that seen with the eyes, and there is some illusion there, as well. The form looks like a nara, or man. There may be some ordinary activities, with some fallibility mixed in, too.

Goswami Tulsidas references the avatara of Rama. He is actually Bhagavan, or the Supreme Personality of Godhead. He wants to do good to the devotees, and so for that reason He appears. His tasks have two purposes. Annihilate the miscreants and protect the saints. Both have the same end result; there is auspiciousness to everything Bhagavan does. He gives pleasure to the devotees through something as basic as blinking His eyes, which look like petals of the lotus flower.

[Rama's bridge]Though looking like an ordinary man, nara, Rama’s activities are just amazing. They are supremely purifying, parama pavana. He builds a bridge on the spot, made of floating rocks. He defends Himself against 14,000 fighters of terrific prowess. He does this by Himself, using only a bow and arrow set. He defeats the most powerful atheist in the world. The other side has weapons of great potency mixed with black magic and no reservations in using questionable methods in war.

Rama has monkeys and bears hurling rocks and trees. Rama’s side wins. He liberates the wife of a celebrated Rishi from only the touch of His feet. He lifts the heaviest bow in the world, in front of kings of the highest strength. He shows everyone that He is the only worthy husband of the goddess of fortune, Sita Devi.

He also shows vulnerability and fallibility from time to time. He plays as a child in the courtyard of King Dasharatha, the father. He gets exiled from the kingdom for fourteen years. He supposedly gets tricked into chasing after a golden deer, which is actually one of Ravana’s henchmen in disguise. He laments greatly at the separation from Sita. He takes the foolish words of one of the citizens to heart, despite His wife being completely innocent of the allegations.

[Shri Rama]The good and the supposedly bad are all for the pleasure of the devotees. Through works like the Ramayana and Ramacharitamanasa they can discuss these pastimes for one lifetime after another and not get bored. The joy only increases. Whenever they chant the holy names these same auspicious activities come to mind: Hare Krishna Hare Krishna, Krishna Krishna, Hare Hare, Hare Rama Hare Rama, Rama Rama, Hare Hare.

In Closing:

The good and the bad to show,

For transcendental qualities to know.

Contest winner husband of Sita to call,

At separation into lamentation to fall.

Help from monkeys and bears taking,

And quick work of Rakshasas making.

Supreme not possible to understand,

So sometimes descending as man.



Categories: dohavali 81-120

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