Five Places I Have Been

[Sita-Rama]“There are an infinite number of living beings, both moving and nonmoving, who have many different abodes, with some residing in the earth, some in the sky, and some in the water. But O helpless Tulsi, for you Shri Rama’s holy name is your only home.” (Dohavali, 37)

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जल थल नभ गति अमित अति अग जग जीव अनेक |
तुलसी तो से दीन कहँ राम नाम गति एक ||

jala thala nabha gati amita ati aga jaga jīva aneka |
tulasī to se dīna kaham̐ rāma nāma gati eka ||

1. The West

“I grew up in an area that falls within this category. Modern amenities. Machines for everything. The biggest disturbance in the winter is deciding just exactly what temperature to set the digital thermostat in the home. There is disagreement, based on the varying preferences of the people living in the house.

“You can travel anywhere you want, because you have a car. The roads are paved. The utilities are reliable. There is no shortage of clean water or food. Everything is about comfort.”

2. The East

“I have lived here for a time, as well. After living in the West, you notice the contrast. You perhaps cannot get everything you want, at the exact moment you want it. There might be mosquitoes inside the house. The electricity cuts out periodically.

“At the same time, the people seem to be of a different nature. They are more at peace. Less of a hoarding mentality. They are fine with taking things slowly. They know how to relax. It’s as if they discovered something about living that the rest of the world is still searching after.”

3. An apartment

“Right after marriage, this is where we lived. I did not mind. There was some noise from adjoining units. There were some foul odors. The place was small. We could not keep a lot of stuff.

“But there was less maintenance. Someone else took care of issues. If anything broke, we could put in a call and have the problem resolved in a timely manner. It was nice not having to worry about how the exterior looked.”

4. A house

“Let’s be honest. You really only get a house in order to show off. You want to invite people over, to show them how everything looks. You want them to feel a little jealous, to wonder why they are not currently living in such a place.

[house maintenance]“But if you ask me, it hasn’t made that much of a difference in my happiness. There is a lot of work to do. There is plenty to maintain. The extra space gets filled by new stuff, most of which we don’t need. We can’t seem to put a halt to our spending.”

5. The holy name

This is the category preferred by Goswami Tulsidas. While it may not seem like a physical location, with a point discernable on a map, it is a place all the same. It is a place to which any person can go, whether young or old.

Whether highly learned in the ways of Sanskrit or knowing only a single language spoken on the street. Whether young or old, new to this world or preparing for imminent departure. Whether familiar with the person being addressed through that name or having no clue as to the meaning behind the Sanskrit sounds.

Every living being is eligible. His Divine Grace A.C. Bhaktivedanta Swami Prabhupada gives the description of sarva-ga. The living entity can go anywhere. This is one of the potencies of spirit. The body is like a holding-cell, only. It can only place limitations.

Some body types feature increased limitations. The human body has the highest potential for intelligence, which is because the spirit soul living inside can work in a concerted manner to remove as much of the limitations as possible.

To live with the holy name, to consider it the only home, is one way to exercise that freedom. It is the best use of the gift of choice. Living in that home, a person’s surroundings become of secondary importance.

If I am comfortably asleep, does it really matter what is going on around me? Does it make a difference if it is cold or hot outside? Does the time of day even matter? I am in another place. The subtle body takes control. The physical surroundings are not that important.

Imagine if there was the same mechanism for taking shelter, in a conscious way, while remaining awake. That is one way to understand bhakti-yoga at the highest levels of practice. The stronger the devotion, the less the surroundings will matter.

[Sita-Rama]The inauspicious can become auspicious. The foreign country can feel like the country of birth. The cold winter can feel like the best season of the year. The morning sunlight peeking through the window and brightening the room is most inviting, signaling another chance at enjoying the true home. This is the place saintly people always desire to remain, for life after life: Hare Krishna Hare Krishna, Krishna Krishna, Hare Hare, Hare Rama Hare Rama, Rama Rama, Hare Hare.

In Closing:

My home desiring to remain,
Everything is that holy name.

That whether east or west staying,
Squalor or opulence displaying.

Whether young or about to leave,
Infinite blessings to receive.

Since Sita-Rama my reason to be,
Beginning and end to see.

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1 reply

  1. Radhe Radhe ❣️ oshriRadhekrishnaBole ❣️ Hare Ram Hare Ram Ram Ram Hare Hare
    Hare Krishna Hare Krishna Krishna Krishna Hare Hare
    Jay Jay Shree Siya Ram

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