“Rama showed His tremendous knowledge of fighting by killing the demon Tataka. The muni then gave to Him knowledge of secret mantras to be used in fighting.” (Janaki Mangala, 36)
बधी ताड़का राम जानि सब लायक।
बिद्या मंत्र रहस्य दिए मुनिनायक।।
badhī tāṛakā rāma jāni saba lāyaka |
bidyā mantra rahasya di’e munināyaka ||
“I know that material life is difficult. I understand it to be a struggle, beginning since the time of birth. One lifetime after another, the cycle continues, for as long as one is not aware of and connected to the Supreme Personality of Godhead, in truth.
“I have not buried my head in the sand. I have not given up. I know that Durga Devi manages this vast fort, with its high walls which are difficult to overcome. I understand that she is working as a dedicated servant, that the walls are essentially paid for by desire, kama, within the living entities.
“Nevertheless, there is some expectation of an improved situation when turning towards Vishnu. Not that I necessarily ask Him for stuff. Not that I want to be more comfortable in my temporary situation, which may last for a number of years until kala erases everything.
“The issue is when I still find tremendous difficulty, after having taken up devotional life. For instance, why am I thrust into a horrible place each day in order to earn a living? It resembles the land of death, where everyone looks at each other with suspicion. Everyone is considered sick until proven healthy. To want to breathe freely is considered the greatest crime.
“How could Vishnu put me in this place? I do not like it. I would prefer something more peaceful. I am always connected to Him; in thought, at least. Whether good or bad, I always think of Him, but I would certainly prefer more of the good.”
His Divine Grace A.C. Bhaktivedanta Swami Prabhupada makes the comparison to the soldier enlisted in the army. There is little say as to the destination. There is no guarantee of war, but the soldier must be prepared.
At a moment’s notice, they could be shipped overseas. Some enlisted military have to stay underwater for months at a time, within a submarine. Others are thrust into action, onto the battlefield against an inspired enemy.
In a similar way, bhakti-yoga is like waging war against the illusory material energy. She will not give up without a fight. She will be relentless in her temptations. Like the pesky salesperson who does not take ‘no’ for an answer, maya fights with an ever-replenishing energy store.
If a person is connected to Vishnu, they will continue in their devotion regardless of the circumstance. The Supreme Lord gives the best example to follow. In His avatara of Shri Rama, He wanders into the forest area of Dandaka to deal with enemies to the sages.
Rama is called to the scene; it is not an intentional or voluntary engagement. Rama is the eldest son of King Dasharatha of Ayodhya. When Vishvamitra asks for help, Rama dutifully follows, though Dasharatha is a little hesitant.
Lakshmana’s elder brother would prefer not to fight against a female demon named Tataka. Vishvamitra insists, as Tataka has been causing havoc for a long time. Rama follows through and rids the area of that menace.
In the same way, He will always be standing by, ready to fire arrows of protection, should I always remain connected to Him and willing to serve, such as through chanting the holy names: Hare Krishna Hare Krishna, Krishna Krishna, Hare Hare, Hare Rama Hare Rama, Rama Rama, Hare Hare.
Despite some troubles to see,
Always rescuing me.
So that devotion forward moving,
And progress in path not losing.
Difficulty Himself showing,
When against Tataka going.
But dharma the strikes to withstand,
With ultimate control in His hand.