“While he was tilling a field with a plow in his hand, it is said that I, the daughter of that king, arose from underneath the earth’s surface.” (Sita Devi speaking to Anasuya, Valmiki Ramayana, Ayodhya Kand, 118.28)
तस्य लाङ्गलहस्तन्य कर्षतः क्षेत्रमण्डलम्।
अहं किलोत्थिता भित्वा जगतीं नृपतेस्सुता।।
tasya lāṅgalahastanya karṣataḥ kṣetramaṇḍalam।
ahaṃ kilotthitā bhitvā jagatīṃ nṛpatessutā।।
“I think we all carry a little doubt. How can we be entirely sure that the effort is paying off? There is work; no doubt. Shri Krishna explains in the Bhagavad-gita that no one can stop doing anything. Though He is the creator of the entire universe, though the incomprehensible task does not fatigue Him in the slightest, He still continues to act, to show the proper example.
न मे पार्थास्ति कर्तव्यं
त्रिषु लोकेषु किञ्चन
वर्त एव च कर्मणि
na me pārthāsti kartavyaṁ
triṣu lokeṣu kiñcana
varta eva ca karmaṇi
“O son of Pritha, there is no work prescribed for Me within all the three planetary systems. Nor am I in want of anything, nor have I need to obtain anything—and yet I am engaged in work.” (Lord Krishna, Bhagavad-gita, 3.22)
“The thing is, sometimes a little confirmation goes a long way. I would feel better if I knew I was on the right track. I chose spiritual life for a reason. Obviously, I’m looking to get something out of it. I don’t mean to be selfish or greedy, but if not for the promise of some future benefit, there is no reason to go against what was previously experienced, i.e. material life.”
In the verses where Shri Krishna explains to Arjuna the need to continue working, to some capacity, there is the example of King Janaka. A famous king described in Vedic literature, having control over the area known as Videha he actually lived up to the title. He was bodiless in the sense that there was no attachment to external objects. Neither was He too concerned with objectives.
If you have someone at the office who does not care about the results to their work, of what value will they actually be? Will they not simply sit in front of the computer and do nothing the entire day? Will they feel the heat of the pressure to deliver on time, to attend to critical systems, to work feverishly to remedy disasters that strike?
A moment from history described in the Ramayana perfectly symbolizes the cause and effect of following the pious route. It involves Janaka, as well, and though without attachment to the body there is work applied. The respected yogi in the true sense did not abandon his post or leave behind critical responsibilities.
One time he was preparing a field with a plough in his hand. Literally digging his way towards something better, the purpose was yajna. This Sanskrit word is synonymous with the Supreme Personality of Godhead. Yajna is sacrifice, and the ultimate enjoyer of the effort is Bhagavan.
Janaka followed yajna as a matter of duty. He was not specifically looking for a reward, though the most amazing one arrived at his feet. He happened to discover a baby girl in the ground. As Sita Devi later described to Anasuya, who is a respectable lady without envy, Janaka was childless at the time.
An immediate transformation took place. The bodiless one was completely attached. He held the baby in his arms and felt great affection. He did not want to let her go. As if reading his mind, an akasha-vani appeared on the scene. The celestial announcement assured Janaka that this girl was his in all righteousness, dharma.
The respect given to dharma for such an extended period of time delivered the benefit of the opportunity to show love, attention, and care to the goddess of fortune. The baby girl was none other than Lakshmi Devi, appearing on earth to correspond with the pastimes of Vishnu, who appeared as Shri Rama. Janaka named the girl Sita, and he eventually arranged her marriage to Rama.
The attention to spiritual life never goes unnoticed by the higher authorities, the people whose opinion truly matters. The incident also reveals that transcendental love is higher than any other kind of way of living. Attention to detail in terms of right and wrong is a means to an end, and that end actually brings a timeless way of life, wherein the reservoir of love continues to remain filled.
Though body attachments not minding,
Janaka one day amazingly finding.
A baby girl in the ground,
Affection to whom immediately bound.
Higher authorities to him giving,
A daughter from righteousness living.
To Brahman life something more,
Goddess of fortune to adore.
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