“Out of His own desire, the Lord descended as an avatara, for the benefit of the demigods, the earth, the cows, and the twice-born, so that the devotees could obtain liberation by serving Him, giving up all other means.” (Dohavali, 124)
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निज इच्चा प्रभु अवतरै सुर महि गो व्दिज लागि ।
सगुन उपासक स:न्ग तहऽ रहहिं मोच्च सब त्यागि ॥
nija iccā prabhu avatarai sura mahi go vdija lāgi ।
saguna upāsaka sa:nga taha’ rahahiṃ mocca saba tyāgi ॥
In the first situation, you have knowledge of the Almighty. There is someone or something which is beyond this world. There is a central controller. There is an original source. There is a programmer to the many autonomous systems embedded into every nook and corner of creation.
At this point the knowledge stops. A person is asked to worship this abstract figure, who might be mistaken for a concept instead of an individual. This worship should take place from the time of awareness until the very end, when death makes its arrival known.
In the second situation, you have knowledge of God as a person. There are identifiable features. There is a specific form upon which to gaze. The abstract picture might be considered nirguna, while this object of worship is saguna.
There can be a daily routine implemented to facilitate continuous worship. Show up at the sacred place. Sing songs. Ring bells. Light lamps and wave them in a reverential manner. Sit down on the floor and repeat sounds put together in a sequence to form what is known as a mantra.
In the third situation, you have God the person standing in front of you. He has a specific place and location. There is an associated time of birth, janma. This moment automatically becomes auspicious, remembered, and celebrated into the future.
There are activities, charita, which are wonderful and glorious. There is the ability to follow, to an extent. For instance, if the residents of a particular town hear that this worshipable person is leaving to live in the wilderness, they have the option to go and follow. They leave everything behind to continue in their service, in the direct manner.
The three situations have the potential for yielding the same result. Known as moksha, it is the final release. Getting out of jail. The shackles removed, so that you can finally exit the ride, which was anything but amusing. No more spinning on the wheel of suffering.
In an objective analysis, the third situation would have to be considered the most effective, easy, and straightforward way of achieving liberation. Goswami Tulsidas says that this is one of the benefits of the appearance of Shri Rama in this world.
Known as an avatara, Rama descended from the spiritual world, which is Vaikuntha. Since He is God, no one tells Him what to do. Rama is not compelled to listen to anyone. He can choose to remain in Vaikuntha and never reveal His transcendental form. He can keep the curtain closed, so to speak.
He descends as Rama out of His own desire and for the wellbeing of certain groups. The demigods, the cows, the earth, and the twice-born priestly class, who have entered the second birth with the purpose of making the human life reach the full potential.
The upasakas, who are the devotees, can worship Rama directly. They see that God is not merely a concept. He is not inanimate, like the statue inside of the temple. He is a real person. Anyone can serve Him. Their place of birth is not a determining factor. Neither is their gender or what they do for a living.
माम् एकं शरणं व्रज
अहं त्वां सर्व-पापेभ्यो
मोक्षयिष्यामि मा शुचः
mām ekaṁ śaraṇaṁ vraja
ahaṁ tvāṁ sarva-pāpebhyo
mokṣayiṣyāmi mā śucaḥ
“Abandon all varieties of religion and just surrender unto Me. I shall deliver you from all sinful reaction. Do not fear.” (Lord Krishna, Bhagavad-gita, 18.66)
Who can be more kind? Who can be more generous? Who can be a better teacher? I see the way to liberation, abandoning everything else, in the way recommended by the same Supreme Lord to Arjuna on the battlefield of Kurukshetra.
How generous is He?
That from saguna to see.
A clear picture in mind,
Liberation easy to find.
Otherwise left to speculate,
The senses to regulate.
And hope that finally to meet,
The same Supreme to greet.
Categories: dohavali 121-160
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