“Tulsi says that one who has love for Rama should be friendly towards friends, renounce enmity with enemies, and be easy-going, simple in nature, quiet, and equally disposed towards all.“ (Dohavali, 93)
हित स्ॐ हित, रति राम स्ॐ, रिपु स्ॐ बैर बिहाउ |
उदासीन सब स्ॐ सरल तुलसी सहज सुभाउ ||
hita soṃ hita, rati rāma soṃ, ripu soṃ baira bihāu |
udāsīna saba soṃ sarala tulasī sahaja subhāu ||
1. Have I never mistakenly taken to aggression, only to regret it later on?
“I am well aware of the series of verses from Bhagavad-gita explaining the root cause of anger. Everything starts with desire. The Sanskrit word is kama. This has several translations in English, but the astute observer notices that the meanings are essentially identical.
“Kama is material desire; something for my personal benefit. It is sense gratification, in the same analysis, and the height of pleasing the senses is sexual interaction. In the beginning, there is a desire. Naturally, there is some follow-through, i.e. work to satisfy the desire.
“Then the result is akin to a coin toss. Like certain classes in university, the result is either pass or fail. With the failure side, there is bound to be frustration. If that frustration is strong enough, you get anger. That anger can get the better of even the most discerning person.
क्रोधाद् भवति सम्मोहः
krodhād bhavati sammohaḥ
“From anger, delusion arises, and from delusion bewilderment of memory. When memory is bewildered, intelligence is lost, and when intelligence is lost, one falls down again into the material pool.” (Lord Krishna, Bhagavad-gita, 2.63)
“Therefore, I certainly have fallen victim to this cycle. Sometimes there was aggression. I regretted it almost immediately. I felt like the situation got the better of me. I was embarrassed and at the same time felt fortunate. This is because I know some people don’t have the luxury of atoning for their actions; they end up in jail because of a few minutes of terrible aggression.”
2. Have I never mischaracterized someone, maligning them for something they never did?
“There is the famous comedy bit of someone desperately in search of their car keys, growing angrier by the minute. In their frustration, they start to blame other people. They think that the keys were misplaced due to someone else’s negligence.
“The bit ends with the person finally realizing that the keys are in their other hand. They have been there the entire time. No grand scheme to make them upset. No negligence on anyone else’s part. The person is so relieved that they forget entirely about the false accusations they made.”
3. Have I never acted irrationally, losing my good sense from having a strong attachment to a particular outcome?
“In this category, I have too many bad memories to count. I can’t shake them, either. As soon as I start feeling confident in myself, raising my self-esteem, I recall these embarrassing incidents from the past. They weren’t exclusive to childhood, either.
“As a fully functioning adult, with the ability to think rationally, I did one stupid thing after another. Sometimes, it was to challenge myself, to see if I could conquer a fear that I thought wasn’t warranted. Other times, it was intense envy. I felt that everyone else had it so easy, that I was the only one devoid of important things in life.”
In this context, we can study a verse from the Dohavali of Goswami Tulsidas. He explains that a person who is devoted to Shri Rama, the Supreme Personality of Godhead, does not keep enmity with enemies. This seems simple enough to implement; just forgive everyone.
The practical application is more difficult due to holding grudges, wanting to teach others a lesson, and trying to avoid being taken advantage of in the future. Yet the link to Rama is important, since a person who understands the Almighty automatically has a better understanding of the individual, and especially their difficulties within a material existence.
No one is perfect. To err is human. Every experience, every memory, every failure, every accomplishment, and every moment of contemplation from this lifetime gets washed over by the waves of time. We do not remain on this shore for very long; the same is true for everyone else.
The relationship to God is eternal. It stands the test of time. The jiva soul is considered to be the tatastha-shakti. This is the marginal potency. It is in the position on the shore where sometimes the water from the ocean comes over and sometimes it does not. The placement almost seems random.
Although in the marginal potency, the jiva has the opportunity to align with the spiritual nature. This opportunity is always there. Once connected to the Divine consciousness, it is easier to let go of rivalries with others. Others may maintain rivalry with us, but since we are interested only in pleasing Rama, the outside perception no longer influences our behavior.
From past events to unfold,
Onto that bad memory to hold.
And keeping against them a grudge,
But should not myself first judge?
That many a time action mistaken,
Good judgment for anger forsaken.
When devotion to Shri Rama increasing,
Then without tension releasing.
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