“When your personal and supreme interests can be easily obtained from one place, it is not sensible for you in weakness to beg at the doors of others, O Tulsi.” (Dohavali, 54)
स्वारथ परमारथ सकल सुलभ एक ही ओर |
द्वार दूसरे दीनता उचित न तुलसी तोर ||
svāratha paramāratha sakala sulabha eka hī ora |
dvāra dūsare dīnatā ucita na tulasī tora ||
1. If you want a new car
“Seriously, this one is just not cutting it anymore. I feel embarrassed if anyone I know should see my driving it. If I go to an office party or wedding or some other large social function, everyone else pulls up in something nice. Even if it is not expensive, at least it is new.
“My car is over fifteen years old. I do maintain it well, thanks for asking. Lots of miles, but also lots of love. But I would like something better. I simply can’t afford it. Maybe I will ask the Supreme Lord. The power of prayer. I don’t know how He will come through, but maybe a miracle is due.”
2. If you want revenge on someone
“I can’t believe what these people are doing. They are such liars. Others buy into the deception. A total fraud. I saw the theft with my own eyes. That is sufficient evidence. Don’t tell me that my claim has been debunked. Stop censoring people.
“I am sick and tired of all this. What kind of country do we live in? I thought this was the land of the free and the home of the brave. Now it’s the grounds of the shackled and the walls of the asylum. Only the elites are allowed out, to run rampant with their corruption. I pray to God that something happens to these people, that they get what they rightfully deserve.”
3. If you want to be promoted to the heavenly planets
“Life on earth is not cutting it for me. Chronic pain. Constant pressure. Never-ending worry. I just want to be free of it all. Let me reach heaven, today. I can’t take this madness. Total insanity. I’ve realized recently that there is no point in talking to other people. They are simply too immersed in the illusion. I cannot relate to them.
“Perhaps God can help me out. Rescue me from this despair. Take me to the higher ground. I swear, I will be good going forward. I won’t make the same mistakes. My attention will not be diverted. In heaven, I hear that the residents enjoy a better life, and for a longer duration. That seems like the ideal place.”
4. If you want to give thanks for everything you have in this world
“I am so thankful. For everything, in fact. My friends. My family. My job. My ability to wake up in the morning. Nothing is guaranteed. I know that people pass on. Great personalities, people who have significant wealth, who are adored by the public. Nothing can stop the onslaught of time, which deals the final blow known as death.
“I hear people say that God is responsible for everything, that this greatness is attributed to Him. Perhaps He is the person I should be thanking. I know others are not as fortunate, that they struggle more. Perhaps He can shower His grace on them, as well.”
5. If you want to be free of material desires
“One desire after another. I say that I only want this one thing, but after I get it I am still not satisfied. Give me this. Give me that. It’s too much to take. I would love to be truly desireless. Akama, as it is known in Sanskrit. Maybe God can help me to achieve that elevated platform of consciousness.”
For every desire there is a corresponding system of religion. Though dharma is one, it breaks down, divides, and deviates in practice over time to match these desires. Thus the original religion gets mistaken to be based on the individual’s perspective, on their understanding of the world around them, however limited that may be.
As Prahlada Maharaja explains, it is in the best interest of the living being to approach the personal God. Svartha gatim hi vishnum. Svartha is short-term interest. The situations mentioned above generally fall into that category.
Paramartha is long-term interest, usually referring to the afterlife.
“I will wait until old age to practice religion. Let me enjoy now, while I am young. Later on, I will get serious about death.”
The truth is that svartha should meet paramartha; that is the ideal way of living.
Goswami Tulsidas makes the same declaration. Both svartha and paramartha are satisfied at the lotus feet of the Supreme Personality of Godhead. There is no reason to go begging elsewhere. I may not get what I want. God may deny my request, but He will always keep my interest at hand. He has no need to compete with me, so even if I chant the holy names with offenses I am eventually delivered: Hare Krishna Hare Krishna, Krishna Krishna, Hare Hare, Hare Rama Hare Rama, Rama Rama, Hare Hare.
Save enough money so retired,
To reach heaven now inspired.
Or asking for basic relief,
No more suffering and grief.
Prahlada saying so,
That to Vishnu should go.
The short and long terms merging,
On liberated path converging.
Categories: the five