Five Places Where I Felt Lifeless

[Hanuman worshiping Sita-Rama]“Those living beings who worship Shri Rama, who is capable of turning the living into nonliving and the nonliving into living, are fortunate and blessed.” (Dohavali, 128)

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जो चेतन कहऽ ज।द करै ज।दहि करै चैतन्य ।
अस समर्थ रघुनायकहि भजहिं जीव ते धन्य ॥

jo cetana kaha’ jaḍa karai jaḍahi karai caitanya ।
asa samartha raghunāyakahi bhajahiṃ jīva te dhanya ॥

1. Within school

“I suffered through twelve plus years. Add several more for college. Within that time, there was not one day that I looked forward to attending. I hated every second of it. Granted, I am thankful for the education. It was worthwhile to learn how to read, write, do math, and so forth.

“I still felt trapped. There was no life in me. Whatever I wanted to do was not permitted. You had to follow a certain way or face scorn and ridicule. I am happy to forget that experience as soon as possible.”

2. Within work

“Nobody is really free. People strive to climb the corporate ladder. There are people who go into business for themselves. They think they will escape the office politics. Instead, they end up working even harder, from morning until night.

“This is no way to spend an existence. Constant meetings. The phoniness of saying that we are all in this together, that we are family. Give me a break! Nobody cares about anyone else. They are doing it for the money. In its stripped-down form it is survival .”

3. Within family

“They are the absolute worst. People tell you how exciting it is to become a parent. A new baby coming to the house, it will be so great. It isn’t. The last several years have been absolute misery. There was nothing enjoyable about it.

“Have you ever been in a situation where you can’t do anything? Literally, there is nothing you can do. No watching television. No reading a book. No sitting down and doing work. This is because you are constantly getting interrupted. There is nonstop interference. Screaming from morning until night. I would rather find anything else except this.”

4. Within failure

“I tried so hard to get it done. I wanted to do the right thing. It meant a lot to me. I don’t care about many things, but this was on the top of the priority list.

“Why didn’t it work out? Why did I end up such a failure? What is the purpose to even trying? Why bother? Better to sit on the sidelines, where it is safe. Better to remain anonymous than to become infamous as a failure.”

5. Within success

“According to the bank account, I am now wildly successful. I am within the upper echelon of income earners. I am in the highest percentage. Not that much has changed in my life, but for the time being I do not have to worry about money.

“To tell you the truth, nothing has really changed. I don’t feel an added sense of worth. It is not like I have suddenly discovered meaning to life. I have no purpose. Everything is nothing. There is just a vast emptiness filling the remaining time in this life.”

Goswami Tulsidas gives the way out. From a brief period of interaction, from associating with two sentences in a dialect of Hindi, coupled together, I can feel invigorated. I can feel full of life. I can realize the truth to the meaning of the words presented.

We reach the conclusion by starting with the premise of the two unexplained mysteries of life. Birth and death. From where does a person come? How is it that there is growth within the compact area of the mother’s stomach? How can we predict with a relative degree of certainty what the new child will look like?

[Shri Krishna]They will resemble the mother or the father, or maybe show hints of both. The forehead is like the grandfather’s, you see. The smile is like the maternal uncle’s. The propensity for mischief and devising elaborate schemes to fulfill desires is just how the father behaved during childhood.

Where does a person go after death? How is it that such an end is guaranteed for every person? Why does it have to be this way? What is the scientific explanation? There must be a way to stop the travel, by force. There must be a secret to unravelling the mystery, for understanding everything in a clear manner, with sobriety, dhira.

देहिनो ऽस्मिन् यथा देहे
कौमारं यौवनं जरा
तथा देहान्तर-प्राप्तिर्
धीरस् तत्र न मुह्यति

dehino ‘smin yathā dehe
kaumāraṁ yauvanaṁ jarā
tathā dehāntara-prāptir
dhīras tatra na muhyati

“As the embodied soul continually passes, in this body, from boyhood to youth to old age, the soul similarly passes into another body at death. The self-realized soul is not bewildered by such a change.” (Lord Krishna, Bhagavad-gita, 2.13)

Tulsidas says that the hero of the Raghu dynasty is responsible. Raghunayaka is the one who can inject life into the lifeless. He is the seed-giving father. The development takes place through the material covering, which is something like a set of clothes.

सर्व-योनिषु कौन्तेय
मूर्तयः सम्भवन्ति याः
तासां ब्रह्म महद् योनिर्
अहं बीज-प्रदः पिता

sarva-yoniṣu kaunteya
mūrtayaḥ sambhavanti yāḥ
tāsāṁ brahma mahad yonir
ahaṁ bīja-pradaḥ pitā

“It should be understood that all species of life, O son of Kunti, are made possible by birth in this material nature, and that I am the seed-giving father.” (Lord Krishna, Bhagavad-gita, 14.4)

The same Raghunayaka can take away life. That which was previously vibrant, full of life, animated, and energetic suddenly ceases to function. The individual is gone, though they leave the body behind. There is a master to control these various energies of the universe.

नारायण-पराः सर्वे
न कुतश्चन बिभ्यति
अपि तुल्यार्थ-दर्शिनः

nārāyaṇa-parāḥ sarve
na kutaścana bibhyati
api tulyārtha-darśinaḥ

“Devotees solely engaged in the devotional service of the Supreme Personality of Godhead, Narayana, never fear any condition of life. For them the heavenly planets, liberation and the hellish planets are all the same, for such devotees are interested only in the service of the Lord.” (Shrimad Bhagavatam, 6.17.28)

[Hanuman worshiping Sita-Rama]With an understanding of these basic principles, those who are fortunate worship Raghunayaka. They are truly blessed. They do not waste time with anything else. They have seen the other side. They are not interested in the illusion of maya. They would rather be always full of life.

In Closing:

Be full of life rather,
Than separate rewards to gather.

Where only in misery spent,
Not joyful the time went.

To the one everything giving,
Who responsible for living.

Blessed the path I have found,
Saints carefully passing down.

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