“Shri Rama’s holy name is like a numeral, and all religious practices are like zero. When the numeral is not there, zero means nothing. But when it is present, the resultant value increases tenfold.” (Dohavali, 10)
नाम राम को अंक है सब साधन हैं सून |
अंक ग_एँ कछु हाथ नहिं अंक रहें दस गून ||
nāma rāma ko aṃka hai saba sādhana haiṃ sūna |
aṃka ga_em̐ kachu hātha nahiṃ aṃka raheṃ dasa gūna ||
1. Maya is zero
It is like the concept of eating empty calories. Dieticians and nutritionists generally do not admonish eating when a person is hungry. They are rather concerned with the nutritional value of the items being consumed.
For instance, if I am feeling hungry because of a long day at work, where I forgot to eat meals on time, I might reach for a soda from the vending machine in the office. It is well known that such beverages have only sugar. A host of chemicals fill out the rest of the ingredients, but the primary appeal is taste.
Guides trained in the discipline consider these to be empty calories. There is energy as it relates to the scientific definition. There is certainly a response within the body. The problem is that the benefit is short-lived. Soon thereafter, I might actually be hungrier than I was prior to consuming the beverage.
The illusory energy known as maya is similar. It is an experience of false identifications, temporary highs and lows, and dream-like sequences. Nothing is real. My childhood was decades ago. What remains of it? Only memories and perhaps some photographs and videos.
It is so long ago that I wonder if it actually happened. Are my memories real? Did I actually have those experiences? I must have gone through that period of time, because it is necessary for reaching the other stages of life.
The gains I accumulate are in maya. The same applies for the losses. At the time of death, I will leave everything behind. It is like living on a ship that will eventually sink. A devastating fire will consume the area. I will lose the association of my friends and family.
2. God is one
The Supreme Lord is everything. He is the sum total and more. He showed the virata-rupa to Arjuna on the battlefield of Kurukshetra. This was like the largest collective fit inside a single image, which featured motion and multiple dimensions.
इहैकस्थं जगत्कृत्स्नं पश्याद्य सचराचरम् ।
मम देहे गुडाकेश यच्चान्यद्द्रष्टुमिच्छसि ॥
ihaika-sthaṁ jagat kṛtsnaṁ
mama dehe guḍākeśa
yac cānyad draṣṭum icchasi
“Whatever you wish to see can be seen all at once in this body. This universal form can show you all that you now desire, as well as whatever you may desire in the future. Everything is here completely.” (Lord Krishna, Bhagavad-gita, 11.7)
The teaching from the acharyas is that God plus maya brings real value. You put the zero together with one and you have ten. You can keep adding zeroes to increase the value, but the stipulation is that the one must be there.
Otherwise, thousands of zeroes clogged together do not mean anything. They are like the items within a junkyard. They were thrown aside, having little to no value. But if someone takes an item and matches it with something functional, the end product can be significant.
All of this means that even within maya’s association we can find greatness. Everything we have transforms into something really potent when aligned with the purpose of serving the Supreme Personality of Godhead.
Arjuna had arrows in his quiver. He had a fighting spirit. He had excellent marksmanship; hence the name Savyasachin. He was also so renounced in spirit that Krishna addressed him as the winner of wealth.
These skills and attributes took on significance when utilized for the purpose of Krishna. Arjuna fought with Krishna consciousness in mind. Thus the zeroes became so valuable that they are still honored and remembered to this day.
Shri Hanuman used the siddhis of yoga to meet the goals of Shri Rama, who is the same Personality of Godhead. Hanuman utilized a burning tail, which normally would be painful and debilitating. He turned that unfavorable circumstance into a favorable one through burning Lanka to the ground.
I may not be as capable. I may be the most frightened person in the world, constantly concerned about the future. I may not have a dollar to my name, but if I use the energy around me for pleasing the Supreme Lord, then I have made the most of this auspicious human form of body.
Since auspicious form to get,
Into proper consciousness set.
Such that maya with value now,
Combined with Krishna how.
Benefit in everything to do,
Realizing purpose true.
Blessed and fortunate am I,
To reach perfection to try.
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