“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 ॥
1. The daytime
“Seriously, I hate this. Everyone is out and about. It is like a signal went out or something. It’s time now. People, wake up. Crowd into the streets. Squeeze yourself into buses and trains. Work for hours and hours, in misery, and then return home tired.
“Anyway, there is no way for me to operate. Too many eyeballs on the scene. I could certainly take what I want, as a sort of game, but it is too risky. I keep looking up at the sky, just hoping for the dreaded sun to go down. Then I can make my move. I can take whatever it is I need. These people will be fast asleep at home, unaware of what is going on.”
2. The nighttime
“God, why do you give us the night? Just think about it for a second. That is when rogues and thieves operate. They thrive on darkness. The external conditions are symbolic of their way of thinking. Instead of going the honest route, they leech off others. They steal the fruits of the labor of another man.
“I could never think of doing the same, but these people find every justification imaginable. I have to close up my store, implement advanced security measures, and pay careful attention in order to protect what we have. If only the daytime could last in perpetuity. Then we would be more safe.”
“God, why do you allow this to happen? More people in this world. Really? That is what you want? Isn’t it bad enough already? Do you see anyone who is happy? These kids don’t stand a chance. They are lucky to make it out of the womb alive.
“Then they get injected with one mysterious substance after another. They get fed all sorts of nonsense and debauchery in the schools. Their parents are too drunk and tired to pay attention. This is the worst it has ever been, if you ask me. You have to find a way to stop birth altogether.”
“God, how can you allow this to happen? We are forced to leave. We cannot stay here forever. Why develop a routine, then? Why rely on the days to repeat when we know that something will eventually stop us in our tracks?
“Everything that we work for. All the relationships we make. All the occasions we celebrate. All the pictures we hang up. None of it means anything. This is because of death. It is like you are playing a cruel joke on us. It is not funny, if you ask me.”
5. Life itself
“God, why are we here? Why are we suffering? Why do we have to keep taking birth? Why do we have to live life if none of it means anything? You are to blame for everything. That is my opinion. Others may not want to hear it. It offends their sensibilities. It challenges their belief system, but I don’t care. They need to wake up. They need to see the negative to that invisible person in the sky they keep talking to.”
Goswami Tulsidas explains duality in the simplest of ways, though it is quite vast and complex a subject. He gives the example of the merchant and the thief. One prefers the daytime, while the other prefers the night. We may be tempted to pass judgment in this situation, considering one person to be good and one to be bad, but the respective situations are real.
That is to say, people find all sorts of different conditions. A single person might transition in between the roles several times. One day I prefer the daytime, because of working outside. Another day I welcome the night, since I get to stay up late and work while it is peaceful and quiet.
या निशा सर्व-भूतानां
तस्यां जागर्ति संयमी
यस्यां जाग्रति भूतानि
सा निशा पश्यतो मुनेः
yā niśā sarva-bhūtānāṁ
tasyāṁ jāgarti saṁyamī
yasyāṁ jāgrati bhūtāni
sā niśā paśyato muneḥ
“What is night for all beings is the time of awakening for the self-controlled; and the time of awakening for all beings is night for the introspective sage.” (Lord Krishna, Bhagavad-gita, 2.69)
Shri Krishna gives an example describing day and night for the self-controlled person, as compared to others. Working hard, enjoying the senses, and jumping from this activity to that might be the period of alertness for me, while it is boring and dull for someone who takes joy in the self.
Tulsidas says that if you worship the Supreme Lord, Shri Rama, then both conditions are auspicious. The day and the night are equally beneficial. This is the meaning to rising above duality. Devotional service, bhakti-yoga, is transcendental to the modes of nature. Those modes have accompanying conditions, where some fall on one side and others on the opposite side. I prefer this situation, while you hate it. I hate that condition, while it is the moment of joy for you.
Worshiping Shri Rama, without personal motivation, free of attachment to conditions, is always auspicious. Whether in the day or in the night, whether moments after taking birth or right on the verge of leaving this world, the lotus feet of the husband of Sita are everything.
Whether in sleeping state,
Or now wide awake.
Whether working during the day,
Or at home at night to stay.
Shri Rama helping to rise,
Above changing tides.
Lotus feet everything to me,
In steady vision to see.