Lalita Guna

[Shri Rama]“The name, pastimes, form, clothing and ornaments of Shri Rama are all very charming and beautiful. Together with His brothers the children are playing.” (Dohavali, 120)

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nāma lalita līlā lalita lalita rupa raghunātha |
lalita basana bhū।sana lalita lalita anuja sisu sātha ||

For conditioned souls gunas aren’t necessarily a good thing. One translation for the Sanskrit word is “rope,” and in one context the description is accurate. Gunas are commonly known as material qualities, but since they cover up the spotless spirit soul and lead to repeated birth and death, there is tightening or tying involved.

It is something like having a boat anchored at the dock. The boat has the potential to sail away. It can travel over the waters, both rough and calm, and with an expert navigator changes in weather and currents aren’t that big a deal.

The spirit soul is ready to travel over the ocean of birth and death. The boat is the human form of body. The favorable winds are the instructions of shastra, which emanate from the Supreme Personality of Godhead. The expert navigator is the spiritual master, who knows how to make the combination of instructions and human body fully auspicious, capable of crossing over successfully despite whatever impediments exist in the specific time and place.

“The human body is the boat, the instructions of Lord Krishna are the favorable winds, and the spiritual master is the navigator. The spiritual master knows well how to adjust the sails to catch the winds favorably and steer the boat to its destination.” (Shrila Prabhupada, Shrimad Bhagavatam, 4.23.28 Purport)

Gunas are like the anchor and even with the auspicious human body there is not a guarantee to escape birth and death. Material qualities, whether in goodness, passion or ignorance, help to continue the illusion of God’s non-existence. In His absence, I feel like I can do everything myself. I can make certain the outcomes desired. I can succeed where others have failed. I can make the most out of life through speculating on what is the real purpose.

As described in the Dohavali, gunas are also associated with the Supreme Lord. This is important to know since one of the faulty speculations of the material mind is that God must be the full negation of everything we see. Since everyone with whom we interact has a body of some sort, God must be without one. Since people have names and tendencies, likes and dislikes, perhaps the Almighty is devoid of such attributes.

Goswami Tulsidas says that there are many attributes for the Supreme Lord and that they are lalita. This means charming, beautiful or pleasant. It starts with the name. Tulsidas specifically worships Shri Rama, who is referred to above as Raghunatha. Rama is the Lord of the Raghu dynasty, a specific family of kings who once ruled over the area known as Ayodhya. Many great kings appeared in that dynasty, and Rama was the best.

[Valmiki]This is not surprising since Rama is God Himself. The incarnation is there to serve many purposes, with one to show that the Supreme is not devoid of attributes. Rama’s name is so beautiful that it can be repeated over and over without exhaustion. Valmiki became a celebrated sage after producing and hearing that sound for years and years. He started by having to receive the sound in a secondhand way, by saying the word backwards. Repeated in sequence, the sound of Rama was heard nonetheless.

The lila, form, clothing and ornaments are also lalita. The lila manifest before the eyes of the population of the world begins in the childhood form. Rama plays in the courtyard of the royal palace. He is accompanied by His younger brothers, who are also in the childhood form.

Those children are adorable to behold, and they are dressed nicely. The clothing is beautiful and the mothers make sure to put nice ornaments on them. Normally, this increases the beauty of the person being dressed, but with God and His associates the reverse holds true. The ornaments become more beautiful as a result of association with the Divine.

[Shri Rama]The description of these gunas are not meant to be heard and learned just one time. Contemplate. Study. Understand. Most importantly, remember. Keep remembering, all the way until the time of death. Then not only will the journey of life become easier, future association with the binding ropes of material qualities will cease.

In Closing:

Like from binding ropes to release,

Cycle of birth and death to cease.

When Shri Rama remembered throughout,

Of glorious qualities, material without.

In Ayodhya charmingly dressed,

With vision the parents blessed.

Gunas too, but not ordinary so,

Meant for everyone to know.

Categories: dohavali 81-120

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