“Ghee can be churned from water and even oil can come from sand, but it is an established truth that one cannot cross over this worldly ocean without worship of Shri Hari.” (Dohavali, 126)
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बारि मथें घ्।र्त होइ बरु सिकता ते बरु तेल ।
बिनु हरि भजन न भव तरिअ यह सिद्धान्त अपेल ॥
bāri matheṃ gh।rta hoi baru sikatā te baru tela ।
binu hari bhajana na bhava taria yaha siddhānta apela ॥
1. A new car
“Let me tell you this. You do not want to be in the market for a new car right now. There is a shortage across the nation. Dealers are still making money. They are actually charging well above the suggested retail price.
“People are paying these prices. They have no choice. They need a car. I am intrigued by the latest features. I would not mind taking one home. Maybe we can create more family outings if we have a vehicle with a more comfortable ride.”
2. A new show
“I was suffering for a few weeks there. The latest season of my favorite professional sport just completed. There was nothing to watch. There was nothing to get excited over. I was feeling bored.
“Fear not, as a new season of that show is coming out. All of the fan-favorites will be back. It should be exciting. I can’t wait.”
3. New clothes
“I have had the same clothes for over a decade. I think it is time for a new look. Maybe I will begin to feel better about myself if I start to look better. I will have more confidence. I might be able to accomplish more, as a result.”
4. A new house
“We finally have enough rooms. There is space for a gym in the basement. Next time the corrupt government officials shut everything down, we won’t be forced to remain in a tiny space. There is plenty of room to roam around. We will be so happy here.”
5. A new job
“I was getting frustrated with the other place. The pressure was too much. Chaos everywhere. No direction. No planning in place. I was there more for the paycheck than anything else. Hopefully the new job will be reinvigorating. I need something to brighten my spirits.”
These are just a few examples, but Goswami Tulsidas gives us the extreme end of the potential. Imagine if we found a machine that could turn water into ghee. We are not talking of a plant-based substitute. This is not something that tastes like clarified butter but is really something else. Genuine ghee.
Better yet, what if we could extract oil from sand? If we could rake in profits through a valuable commodity, in a seemingly endless supply, that should solve all of our problems, right? We would have no more worries, no?
Tulsidas says that there is an undeniable truth. It is siddhanta. It is a conclusion of high philosophy. Philosophy is deliberating on the ins and outs of a particular issue or concept. It is applying rational thought and sound reasoning.
The recommendations that flow from that philosophy are supposed to be most beneficial precisely because they are not based on sentiment or emotion. We can easily be swayed by a heartbreaking image or the desperate pleas accompanied by tears.
It is better to act logically, with consideration of the long-term consequences. The siddhanta that Tulsidas presents is that there is no crossing over the ocean of material existence without devotional activity in honor of Shri Hari.
There are other kinds of bhajana. There is devotion to authority figures, people in high places, benefactors with large pockets. Such approaches cannot solve the problem of birth and death. If we think of the root cause of our suffering, it is birth. Everything began at that time, when the spirit soul accepted a material covering.
Hari transcends the material energy. He is above birth and death. He never falls down. Though we are within the flawed covering, suffering at every turn, we still have the opportunity for bhajana. This bhajana can become a way of life. In the manner that a protector dedicates the entire day towards the wellbeing of a dependent, we can work for Shri Hari and present every result as an offering to Him.
यत् करोषि यद् अश्नासि
यज् जुहोषि ददासि यत्
यत् तपस्यसि कौन्तेय
तत् कुरुष्व मद्-अर्पणम्
yat karoṣi yad aśnāsi
yaj juhoṣi dadāsi yat
yat tapasyasi kaunteya
tat kuruṣva mad-arpaṇam
“O son of Kunti, all that you do, all that you eat, all that you offer and give away, as well as all austerities that you may perform, should be done as an offering unto Me.” (Lord Krishna, Bhagavad-gita, 9.27)
He is not in need. Hari is not poor. He has the goddess of fortune by His side. Bhajana is ultimately for our benefit. It is a practice which aligns with our natural state, which is dharma. In this way, hari-bhajana is dharma, and thus it transcends birth and death.
Recently new car bought,
Increased happiness the thought.
And also into new home to move,
Hope that space concerns to remove.
But to cross ocean way only one,
Through Shri Hari’s favor won.
So that devotion now my task,
To offer everything instead of to ask.
Categories: dohavali 121-160
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