“The day is beneficial for the merchant, while the night is beneficial for the thief. But Tulsi says when worshiping Shri Rama both the day and the night are equally as good.” (Dohavali, 148)
तुलसी दिन भल साहु कहँ भली चोर कहँ राति।
निसि बासर ता कहँ भलो मानै राम इताति ॥
tulasī dina bhala sāhu kaha~ bhalī cora kaha~ rāti।
nisi bāsara tā kaha~ bhalo mānai rāma itāti ॥
Though the Supreme Personality of Godhead has nothing to do, He still acts. Though He is under no obligation to listen to anyone, He still hears every prayer. Though no one can compel Him to do anything, He is kind enough to appear in the manifest realm as Himself, from time to time.
विनाशाय च दुष्कृताम्
सम्भवामि युगे युगे
vināśāya ca duṣkṛtām
sambhavāmi yuge yuge
“In order to deliver the pious and to annihilate the miscreants, as well as to reestablish the principles of religion, I advent Myself millennium after millennium.” (Lord Krishna, Bhagavad-gita, 4.8)
As explained in Bhagavad-gita, His visits serve two primary purposes. There is annihilation of the miscreants and the lowest among mankind. It is not difficult to contemplate such behavior, as it appears to be all around us.
If we require historical examples to further understand the concept, there are the Rakshasas from Lanka. As described in the Ramayana poem, these man-eating ogres were like rangers of the night. Also described as nishachara, they would attack their unsuspecting victims at a time least expected and when perception was difficult.
The Supreme Lord descended as Shri Rama to annihilate the miscreants. The other purpose is related. Rama protects the sadhus. These are the saintly people of the world. They require protection due precisely to the influence of nefarious characters like the Rakshasas.
It should not have to be this way. If a sadhu leaves home to live in the forest, to conduct yajna in a peaceful manner, to progress further in spiritual realization through austerity and penance, why should anyone bother them?
Accidental interference might be excused. One or two spontaneous conflicts, like causing a brush fire, might be understandable. But the Rakshasas struck intentionally. They knew where they were going. They had ill intentions. They wanted to disrupt yajna, at the worst possible time for the sadhus.
As described by Goswami Tulsidas, the nighttime is auspicious for the thief. Less eyeballs around. Not as easy to see. It is the opportune time to take what does not belong to you, as it will be easier to get away once the heist is complete.
By contrast, the nighttime is inauspicious for the person who wants to hold on to their possessions, such as the merchant or businessman. We see that the saintly people in the Dandaka forest were harassed during the nighttime. This is when they were in the most danger.
Except when Shri Rama is there. His association is auspicious both in the daytime and the nighttime. He protected the yajna of the sadhus. He taught a lesson to powerful intruders like Maricha and Subahu. Rama was neither deterred by the nighttime nor frightened by the grim-visages of the attackers.
अवजानन्नहं मोहाद्बालोऽयमिति राघवम्।
विश्वामित्रस्य तां वेदिमभ्यधावं कृतत्वरः।।
तेन मुक्तस्ततो बाणः शितश्शत्रुनिबर्हणः।
तेनाहं त्वाहतः क्षिप्तस्समुद्रे शतयोजने।।
avajānannahaṃ mohādbālo’yamiti rāghavam।
viśvāmitrasya tāṃ vedimabhyadhāvaṃ kṛtatvaraḥ।।
tena muktastato bāṇaḥ śitaśśatrunibarhaṇaḥ।
tenāhaṃ tvāhataḥ kṣiptassamudre śatayojane।।
“Being under the influence of illusion, I underestimated Rama and took Him to be a mere child. Thus I ran towards Vishvamitra’s sacrificial altar. With that, Rama released an acute arrow capable of destroying His enemies. Upon hitting me, that arrow forcefully threw me away to an ocean one hundred yojanas [eight hundred miles] away.” (Maricha speaking to Ravana, Valmiki Ramayana, Aranya Kand, 38.19)
The same universal auspiciousness extends to devotion to Rama. Bhakti is non-different from the person being worshiped, when it is directed at Vishnu. We see that Shri Hanuman thrived both in the daytime and the nighttime. He was constantly vigilant in his work to please both Sita and Rama.
सूर्ये चास्तं गते रात्रौ देहं सङ्क्षिप्य मारुतिः |
पृषदंशकमात्रः सन् बभूवाद्भुतदर्शनः ||
sūrye cāstaṃ gate rātrau dehaṃ saṅkṣipya mārutiḥ|
pṛṣadaṃśakamātraḥ san babhūvādbhutadarśanaḥ ||
“At night, on the sun having set, Maruti [Hanuman] contracted his body. Becoming the size of a cat, he was a wonderful sight to behold.” (Valmiki Ramayana, Sundara Kand, 2.49)
We can accept the teaching as a warning against placing too much importance on this situation or that. A better home. A more favorable climate. A job that pays more. Fancier clothes. A stylish car. Whether we are coming or going, rising or falling, healing or turning ill, devotion to Sita and Rama is everything. That devotion will bring everlasting benefits to transcend both time and circumstance.
Nighttime for the thief,
At dawn for merchant relief.
Different conditions so,
But devotee to know.
That always protected in place,
From whatever dangers to face.
Since Sita and Rama sustaining,
Devotional life maintaining.
Categories: dohavali 121-160