“O Rama, You should know that just as fish cannot survive when taken out of water, neither Sita nor I can live without You for even a moment.” (Lakshmana, Valmiki Ramayana, Ayodhya Kand, 53.31)
न च सीता त्वया हीना न चाहमपि राघव।
मुहूर्तमपि जीवावो जलान्मत्स्याविनोद्धृतौ।।
na ca sītā tvayā hīnā na cāhamapi rāghava।
muhūrtamapi jīvāvo jalānmatsyāvinoddhṛtau।।
There is the saying that everyone has their price. No matter how much they profess allegiance or affection to something, with the amazing offer they would be forced to think twice. What was previously off the table suddenly becomes eligible for negotiation.
It is the place of your dreams. Raised several children in that home. Different corners remind you of amazing memories. The time your daughter took her first steps. Your son spilled a drink in that corner. You held this spiritual gathering that one time, where the objects of worship remain in place to this day.
Yet someone comes along with an offer that seems too good to be true. They want to pay at least twice the going value for such a dwelling. It is a developer who wishes to tear down the houses on the street and erect a shopping complex.
Sometimes there is the issue of eminent domain. The government can take your house if they need the area for a public purpose. If the developers play their cards right, making donations to the appropriate politicians, then even a non-public purpose can get the same privilege. The government only has to give fair market value for a place that you don’t want to leave.
In this area there is an almost one hundred percent success rate. Float an offer the employee can’t refuse. Much more money. Better benefits. Perhaps the option to work from home. What person would turn that down? The job is for earning a living, after all. Even if you have been there for many years and established a large client base with trustworthy service provided, with enough money the situation might change.
3. Jewels and ornaments
Acquired through the years, these are often an option for getting money quickly. Someone may have passed that ring onto you, held in the family for years. There is sentimental value for the earring kept safely in the drawer. Yet for the right amount of money, maybe those objects lose their importance.
4. Collector’s items
It was one of a kind. They only handed out a few thousand. A bobblehead doll of that player who retired years ago. Someone else is a big fan. They will pay thousands of dollars for something that you received for free along with your paid entry to the game. There is sentimental value, but then with the money coming in you can have new experiences for which to develop sentiment.
The juxtaposition with pure bhakti is striking. While every person may have their price with respect to aspects of material life, the devotee fully immersed in the ananda of yoga, of connecting with the Supreme Personality of Godhead, cannot be bought off. Nothing can change their mind.
This is a difficult concept to understand, since until it is experienced a person will not be able to relate. Fortunately, there are some comparisons passed along. One is to the chataka bird. This creature drinks only rainwater. The beak is fixed in the upright position, where it desperately seeks the rainclouds. Other kinds of food and drink will not suffice. The bird will simply refuse. The allegiance to the rain is fixed.
Shri Lakshmana makes the comparison to fish and water. The fish cannot survive outside of the water. The attachment to the habitat is so strong that nothing can be done to change the situation. Similarly, Lakshmana cannot leave the side of the Supreme Lord Rama.
Sita Devi is the same way. Rama attempted to change her mind one time. He mentioned the dangers of going to the forest and how it was so different from life in the palace, where the two had lived since birth. Sita was born into royalty with her father, King Janaka. She later married into a similar situation, living with Rama in Ayodhya.
No amount of money could change their minds, and the same is seen with the saints who abandon everything for the life in devotion. They may have their daily routine of chanting the holy names: Hare Krishna Hare Krishna, Krishna Krishna, Hare Hare, Hare Rama Hare Rama, Rama Rama, Hare Hare. Try to give them a million dollars to stop chanting. Keep raising the price and be prepared for a kind, but steady refusal. Imagine the potency to such a practice if a person is willing to go to such a length.
Despite increasing monetary strength,
The saint to go to such a length.
In that offer refusing,
Life of bhakti choosing.
Though everyone with their price,
On this issue not to think twice.
Lakshmana and Sita Devi so,
Wherever with Shri Rama to go.
Categories: the four