A Bridge To Cross The Ocean

[Shri Rama]“The one who is pure, having an eternal form of bliss and knowledge, who is the standard bearer of the solar dynasty – Shri Rama performed amazing activities in a human form, celebrating which creates a bridge to easily cross over the ocean of birth and death.” (Dohavali, 116)

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suddha saccidānandamaya kanda bhānukula ketu |
carita karata nara anuharata saṃs।rti sāgara setu ||

Shri Rama is known for His bridge. Since He is the Supreme Personality of Godhead, Bhagavan, the physical object used for transportation could have appeared at will. Just as Bhagavan is sometimes prakata, or appearing before the eyes, and sometimes aprakata, or apparently invisible, any collection of material elements can appear and disappear according to His will. Those elements are part of His energy to begin with.

The Rama setu was built by dedicated and loyal servants. Some of them hadn’t known Rama for very long; they met Rama and His brother Lakshmana in the forest of Dandaka. At the same time, every living entity has been intimately connected to Bhagavan since the beginning of time. As God is both beginning-less and endless, so are the living entities.

That property is mentioned here, as well. Sach-chid-ananda means eternal, blissful and knowledgeable. For God there is no distinction between body and soul, matter and spirit, and by extension, birth and death. He is always sach-chid-ananda, and so for Him building a bridge is not difficult.

[Building Rama's bridge]The loyal devotees did something amazing, though. They built the bridge out of rocks. Not starting from the bed of the ocean and working their way north, the rocks floated from the beginning. This was a concession provided by the ocean, who is also devoted to Rama. Each aspect of the material creation has a presiding deity. That is the intelligence behind what we consider to be bereft of life.

Goswami Tulsidas speaks of another kind of Rama-setu. This bridge is for crossing the ocean of birth and death. That ocean is samsara, or full of suffering. From the beginning of life to the end, there is very little time for peace. Perhaps in the bliss of ignorance there is a respite, but that is not real. It is something like being elated at winning the lottery in a dream. Reality eventually returns.

Rama is the lone reality, who expands to generate the living entities, who are also eternal. The ocean of suffering is difficult to cross because so many attachments form along the way. From those attachments consciousness gets altered, and consciousness is what determines the next destination for the departing soul.

Celebrating, remembering, and hearing about Rama’s activities is like a bridge because consciousness gets fixed on something entirely pure, shuddha. With the modes of material nature there is always some kind of contamination. Even work in the mode of goodness is tainted with temporary happiness and a false sense of pride. The demigods in heaven have these impurities arise every now and then, even though they are on an elevated platform.

Though Rama is Bhagavan, He kindly appears in a human-like form, to perform activities that can be remembered and celebrated. In that role He carries the flag for the solar dynasty, enhancing its glory through His triumphs. The example He sets is the one for subsequent generations to follow.

[Shri Rama]Rama’s association increases the importance of the solar dynasty, and in the same way those connected to Him through devotional service rise above the suffering of the material ocean. They can cross over easily, without having to work hard at construction. The power of the name itself makes the rocks float, allowing for safe and easy passage: Hare Krishna Hare Krishna, Krishna Krishna, Hare Hare, Hare Rama Hare Rama, Rama Rama, Hare Hare.

In Closing:

Bridge for Shri Rama making,

Out of rocks to float taking.

Not order for Him tall,

Since already controller of all.

Tulsi of another bridge saying,

Made of remembrance and praying.

To Lord who in solar dynasty came,

By Him increased its fame.

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Categories: dohavali 81-120

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