“Rama, Bharata, Lakshmana and Shatrughna, of such beautiful and auspicious names – remembering those four sons of King Dasharatha and worshiping them fulfills all the desires of the mind.” (Dohavali, 121)
rāma bharata lacimana lalita satru samana subha nāma |
sumirata dasaratha suvana saba pūjahiṃ saba mana kāma ||
Just solve this one problem. Then everything will be alright. It keeps me from being at peace right now. There is the saying, “Sell the horse” to get good sleep at night. If you are having trouble falling asleep, pretend as if you have sold away something of importance. Now you no longer have to worry about it.
Yet even when there is a successful outcome, another problem arises. It is like the mind looks for something to focus on, lest it be lost. As Shri Krishna says in the Bhagavad-gita, while the mind can be a friend, it can be a powerful enemy, also.
“A man must elevate himself by his own mind, not degrade himself. The mind is the friend of the conditioned soul, and his enemy as well.” (Lord Krishna, Bhagavad-gita, 6.5)
One of the reasons yoga practice is beneficial is that it aims to control the mind. The mind is like one of the senses, and those senses drive the individual in every which direction. The soul, the atma, is neither the senses nor the sense objects. These are temporary associations, with no lasting impact other than the potential for continued residence in the material world.
Goswami Tulsidas has a solution. Instead of worrying about how to control this desire and that, know that there is a way to get fulfillment. This is for all desires; not just one.
The proposed method is remembering and worshiping the four sons of King Dasharatha, who ruled over Ayodhya many thousands of years ago. Why jump to the past? Why not pick some other period of time, if even at random? What is so special about that particular king and his sons?
The first justification is that the names are auspicious. The eldest son is Rama. The next is Bharata. The final two are twins: Lakshmana and Shatrughna. These are the protectors of the Koshala kingdom, and they subdue the enemies.
In even the most civilized society there will be some bad actors, people who don’t play by the rules. To curb the negative influence a strong, protective force is needed. Otherwise adharma, irreligion, will win. Then lying, cheating and stealing will be the proper way to do things, instead of the other way around. Even the thieves don’t prefer to be lied to or stolen from, so how can their way of living be good for society at large?
When the mind becomes an enemy, those four sons are there to protect in the same way they defended against aggressors during an ancient time period. They offer protection through their names alone. Desires will be fulfilled because peace will finally arrive. Those harmful desires, like weeds in an otherwise fertile field, will be uprooted and removed.
Tulsidas says to remember those brothers and worship them, too. The names are beautiful, which means there is a transcendental taste to the interaction. This is where bhakti-yoga stands apart from other kinds of mysticism, religious rituals, and systematic methods for self-improvement. Bhakti is love and devotion, and there is a corresponding taste to the interaction with the Almighty.
Indeed, those four sons are God and three partial expansions. Even if there isn’t belief in the beginning, the association is still auspicious. The sound has the same potency, whether ignored, chanted with impure desires, or remembered fondly for an entire lifetime. The last group gets the most benefit from the sound, and so Tulsidas hopes the same for every person, that they find the shelter of surrender to God the person and enjoy the subsequent active and varied life in liberation.
With love and attention adore,
From Ayodhya the brothers four.
To the king sons long awaited,
Whose glories in Vedas stated.
Best way for controlling the mind,
And no more tension to find.
Potency from repeating just the sound,
Solution for all problems found.
Categories: dohavali 121-160