“In the childhood form, wearing nice jewelry and clothing, He plays in the dirt and His limbs become full of dust. With child-like speech, Rama plays with all the brothers and children.” (Dohavali, 117)
bāla bibhū।sana basana bara dhūri dhūsarita aṃga |
bālakeli raghubara karata bāla bandhu saba sanga ||
The swan-like person looks for the good in others. When they meet someone new, they overlook the bad qualities. After all, which one of us is perfect? Who among us hasn’t lied at some time? Who hasn’t made a costly mistake, one to regret later on?
The saintly person is like a swan in this way, which can separate milk from a mixture of water and milk. The saint understands that each person derives their strength from the same source. Prahlada Maharaja, the wise son of a king, once tried to explain this to his father, who was wicked in nature.
“Prahlada Maharaja said: My dear King, the source of my strength, of which you are asking, is also the source of yours. Indeed, the original source of all kinds of strength is one. He is not only your strength or mine, but the only strength for everyone. Without Him, no one can get any strength. Whether moving or not moving, superior or inferior, everyone, including Lord Brahma, is controlled by the strength of the Supreme Personality of Godhead.” (Shrimad Bhagavatam, 7.8.7)
The asura is crow-like. They tend to behave the opposite of the saint. They see someone and immediately look for faults. It’s not difficult. You can criticize any type of clothing. Each person has a unique way of walking, and so that is eligible for ridicule, as well.
The asura is constantly threatened, so they size up other people, whom they view as competition. Deep down the naradhama, the lowest among men, knows that death will finish everything. They try to prolong life as much as possible, enjoying the senses to the fullest. Lying, cheating and stealing are okay, because hey, you only live once.
The standard bearer for the asuras is Ravana, who was actually in a Rakshasa body. This is a kind of man-eating ogre. He was strongly against God, to the point that when he saw the Divine directly he was not moved in the proper direction. He looked for faults. He scanned the visual and known activities for any vulnerabilities.
Fortunately, the Supreme Lord is not a miser in this area. He gives to everyone what they want. As they surrender to Him, He rewards accordingly. If the asura wants to compete with Him, Bhagavan allows for that competition to take place.
“All of them – as they surrender unto Me – I reward accordingly. Everyone follows My path in all respects, O son of Pritha.” (Lord Krishna, Bhagavad-gita, 4.11)
In the avatara of Shri Rama, the Divine gave signs of vulnerability to Ravana by living in the forest of Dandaka. The king of Lanka could never understand this. Ravana lived in a city literally made of gold. He was extremely wealthy, had tremendous fighting prowess, and was intoxicated constantly. In summary, there was no shortage of material enjoyment, as many beautiful queens lived in the palaces.
Ravana thought Rama was weak for having left the kingdom of Ayodhya at the order of the mother and father. Rama should have fought back. Perhaps He was afraid. Maybe He was lacking confidence. This was Ravana’s line of thinking.
One can imagine the demon’s thought process were he to witness pastimes from several years prior. Goswami Tulsidas provides a glimpse in his Dohavali. The poet says that Rama plays in the courtyard of the king, Maharaja Dasharatha. Rama is beautifully dressed. He wears nice jewels and necklaces. At the same time, the limbs are dirty. This is because Rama plays in the dirt.
God is not alone. He is with the three younger brothers: Bharata, Lakshmana and Shatrughna. They are also in the childhood stage of life. The other children from the community are there, and together everyone is playing. Rama speaks like a child, also, which means that His sentences and words aren’t perfect.
The enemy would use this as fuel for their way of life. How can God speak like a child? How can He have limbs covered with dirt? How can He be dependent on others for feeding? These are signs of weakness.
The saints know the truth, that in any form Bhagavan retains His true potency. Before there were any visible signs of manhood on His face, Shri Rama defended against one of Ravana’s most skilled advisors, Maricha. The testimony was relayed directly to Ravana later on, as a warning to not misjudge Rama.
“At the time, there were not yet visible any signs of manhood on the boy’s beautiful face, which was dark-blue in complexion and had an all-auspicious gaze. Rama had a gold chain round His neck, a small tuft of hair on His head, wore only one piece of clothing, and held a bow in His hands.” (Maricha speaking to Ravana, Valmiki Ramayana, Aranya Kand, 38.14)
Indeed, the child Rama once swallowed a devotee crow and showed the universal form from within His belly. Whether large or small, no one can measure up to God. The saints take delight in His childhood pastimes, and they know that they are protected from Ravana and those like him, who try to make the material world even more miserable than it already is. Those who have Rama’s protection can cross over the ocean of suffering easily, as if it were like jumping over a small puddle.
From a single visual to take,
Gross misjudgment to make.
That Rama weak and small,
That playing on dirt to fall.
Maricha warning against one time,
That Ravana harsh lesson to find.
But asuras in this way encouraged,
By ample evidence not discouraged.
Categories: dohavali 81-120