“It is My vow that if one only once seriously surrenders unto Me saying, ‘My dear Lord, from this day I am Yours,’ and prays to Me for courage, I shall immediately award courage to that person, and he will always remain safe from that time on.” (Lord Rama, Valmiki Ramayana, Yuddha Kand, 18.33)
सकृद् एव प्रपन्नो यस्
तवास्मीति च याचते
अभयं सर्वदा तस्मै
ददाम्य् एतद् व्रतं मम
sakṛd eva prapanno yas
tavāsmīti ca yācate
abhayaṁ sarvadā tasmai
dadāmy etad vrataṁ mama
The key is to be in the devotional mindset. Bhakti-yoga. Above bhoga and tyaga; the pendulum of acceptance and rejection. One day I am really into something; it consumes my mind. The next day I am swearing off it. A friend who hasn’t seen me in years still remembers my previous interest. They are surprised to find that I have given that interest up. After some time has passed, I return to the previous interest; forgetting my past experience. The cycle then repeats.
The Supreme Personality of Godhead, Bhagavan, notices everything. He is the all-pervading witness, antaryami, through the plenary expansion known as Supersoul. God is always with a form, but a transcendental kind. Even the supposedly unmanifest and invisible, alakha, residing within the heart can be visualized. He has four hands and is opulently adorned. He is the same Narayana, the source of men, who eternally resides in the Vaikuntha planetary system.
Narayana’s avatara of Rama proves through behavior that inadequacies are quickly forgotten by God. Provided there is the devotional spirit, the desire to serve and meet the interests of the one who is every person’s best well-wisher, the shortcomings make no difference in terms of future destination.
1. Difficulty in renunciation
“I see people who are able to fast for an entire day. No food or water. I know it is difficult, but they don’t act like it bothers them. They do it as a sacrifice for the Supreme Lord. Following authority and the recommendations on specific holy days, through less reliance on the demands of the senses, the consciousness is clearer in its meditation on the all-attractive one.
“For me, I can’t even give up something basic like caffeine. If I were to try the complete fast, a headache would ensue a few hours into the day. When I go to the office each morning, my first thought is on what to eat for lunch. It is like my reward; the impetus for working hard.
“If I can’t follow vairagya, how will I ever please Shri Rama? How will someone take me seriously in my drive for liberation, the end to the cycle of birth and death? Won’t I get birth in an animal species in the next life?”
2. Not very eloquent
“I see these speakers on bhagavata topics. They can lecture for hours. They use some of the same lines from venue to venue. Like a stand-up comic running through a routine. But still; just see what they are memorizing. They can describe Krishna lila from start to finish. There is proper presentation and modulated speaking; timed intonations, the perfect delivery to enthrall the audience.
“Meanwhile, if someone asks me why I enjoy reading books such as Bhagavad-gita and Shrimad Bhagavatam, I’m not sure I could explain it to them. I know how those works make me feel inside, but trying to put it into words is not easy. I know that one of Bhagavan’s names is Uttamashloka. He is described by the best poetry, but obviously I will never be an author in that category.”
3. No claim to distinguished ancestors
“Good parentage. Birth in a respectable family. Generations of high-souled people; mahatmas. Garnering respect at the mere sound of the last name.
“This is not the case with me. My family would have to be considered ordinary. No special certificates or noteworthy accomplishments in the past. That I found bhakti-yoga is a miracle. No one can explain. Maybe I will have to wait until the next life for perfection.”
From the Ramayana we see that Shri Rama made friends with Vanaras. These were monkey-like creatures living in the forest. Though they were actually demigods descending from the heavenly region to assist the Supreme Lord, in the present situation they did not have high births.
They were not civilized, even, and yet they were so dear to the Supreme Lord. They lacked renunciation and good behavior. They were not known for following dharma or giving an ideal example of spiritual life to others.
Yet they sacrificed everything to meet Rama’s interest. The chief minister in the group, Shri Hanuman, carried out the most amazing work. He did so without assistance. No internet search engine to research tactics. No GPS device to provide turn-by-turn directions. No sacred text carried along for referencing important verses.
Hanuman and the Vanaras succeeded in pleasing Rama to the point that He insisted they board the plane for the return trip home to Ayodhya. Their inadequacies were overlooked, confirming the promise made to Vibhishana prior. Anyone who surrenders fully gets protection, no matter what features they may possess or lack. For this reason the chanting of the holy names can have the greatest impact for any person: Hare Krishna Hare Krishna, Krishna Krishna, Hare Hare, Hare Rama Hare Rama, Rama Rama, Hare Hare.
Once to Rama surrendering,
Moot the inadequacies rendering.
Since only of devotion to care,
Not of which qualities there.
Or from whose parents taking birth,
Or aural presentation of great worth.
See Vanaras basic civility lacking,
Blessed since Supreme Lord backing.
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