“In the childhood form, wearing nice jewelry and clothing, He plays in the dirt and His limbs become full of dust. With child-like speech, Rama plays with all the brothers and children.” (Dohavali, 117)
बाल बिभू।सन बसन बर धूरि धूसरित अंग |
बालकेलि रघुबर करत बाल बन्धु सब सन्ग ||
bāla bibhū।sana basana bara dhūri dhūsarita aṃga |
bālakeli raghubara karata bāla bandhu saba sanga ||
“There is a pattern you see with holidays and special occasions within the Vedic tradition. I’ll give a few examples to help explain what I mean. Take the occasion of Govardhana Puja. This is an annual tradition inaugurated by Shri Krishna Himself, during the time spent in the land of Vrindavana.
“In the modern day version of the celebration, we maybe create a mock Govardhana Hill, using various food items. The variety can extend up to fifty-six distinct preparations. There are certain songs to sing. You can stick to the standard Hare Krishna mantra, but there are many Sanskrit poems dedicated specifically to Krishna as the lifter of Govardhana Hill.
“Within the temple environment, someone might read out loud the specific pastime involving the first Govardhana Puja. This practice of formal reading seems to be common to the various occasions. On the occasion celebrating Krishna’s birth, for instance, you read about the pastime of Krishna appearing from Devaki’s womb within the jail in Mathura.
“For occasions relating to Shri Hanuman, people read from the Sundara-kand of the Ramayana. On Diwali, you might try to find something relating to Shri Rama’s return to Ayodhya or how the people of Ayodhya celebrated the occasion during their time.
“This is well and good. I can’t complain about the practice. The thing I find odd is the need for a special occasion to elicit hearing. Why not read about Govardhana Puja every day? Why not always celebrate Shri Rama?
“Think about it. People read the newspaper on a daily basis. They remember to get up in the morning. If they are into fitness, they never miss their morning run or the trip to the gym to lift weights. They make sure to eat on time.
“Why not introduce reading into the daily routine? Why do people have to be persuaded into the process on a corresponding special occasion? Isn’t God the most special person, to be celebrated on a daily basis?”
The continuous celebration is known as nityotsava. Every day is a special day. There is a perpetual holiday, in the sense that there is a reason to celebrate. People come and go. They appear and disappear. Somewhere in the world there is birth taking place at this very moment.
At the same time, someone is leaving. Their time in this particular lifetime has come to an end. They have reached the sunset of life. They will continue to live, but in a different way. Nothing can destroy the individual.
नैनं छिन्दन्ति शस्त्राणि नैनं दहति पावकः ।
न चैनं क्लेदयन्त्यापो न शोषयति मारुतः ॥
nainaṁ chindanti śastrāṇi
nainaṁ dahati pāvakaḥ
na cainaṁ kledayanty āpo
na śoṣayati mārutaḥ
“The soul can never be cut into pieces by any weapon, nor can he be burned by fire, nor moistened by water, nor withered by the wind.” (Lord Krishna, Bhagavad-gita, 2.23)
The ever-expanding nature of Vedic literature is for facilitating the very desire to always be connected to the Supreme Lord. Sure, some may link up with shastra for the purpose of regulation and adjustment to a spiritual way of living. Some may follow out of fear, because their spiritual guide has advised them in a certain direction.
There is nothing preventing a person from holding on to a single shloka and meditating on it for many days in a row. For instance, there is the verse in the Dohavali of Goswami Tulsidas describing Shri Rama’s time as a child in Ayodhya.
The eldest son of King Dasharatha plays with the other children. He gets dirty in the mud. He creates wonderful sounds because of the way the parents dress Him. There is the attempt to speak like an adult, but within the innocence of a child.
Someone like Kakabhushundi has no desire to change his form or advance through the species. He would rather perpetually remain a crow since it allows him to stay in Ayodhya and directly witness the appearance and activities of Shri Rama. His observation is not part of a science experiment. He is not on a field trip trying to assess whether Rama is God or not.
The experience is pleasurable. This pleasure is transcendental. It is ever-increasing instead of diminishing. It is not decimated by the onslaught of time. It can last into the future, for birth after birth. The saints have written such literature to liberate countless others. It is sacred sound to be cherished on any given day, whether falling on a holiday or not.
Whether on a holiday falling,
Or an ordinary day calling.
Whether elaborately to dress,
Or from daily work to stress.
That sacred image retrieving,
And endless bliss receiving.
Where Rama as child to play,
With brothers in dirt and clay.