“When seeing Rama, they notice His beauty from head to toe. As all parts of Rama’s body are so wonderful, they thought of Indra and his many eyes.” (Janaki Mangala, 133)
nakha sikha sanudara rāma rūpa jaba dekhahiṃ |
saba indrinha mahan indra bilocana lekhahiṃ ||
“If only I had eyes in the back of my head. Then I could see what is going on behind me. If I was a football player, I could see the defense coming up from behind me to make the tackle. I could then get away from them. If I played hockey, I wouldn’t be duped into a big hit. I would be able to avoid the defense creeping up from behind me. In school, I would see others making funny faces at me. When pictures are taken, I could see if someone was mocking me behind my back. More eyes would thus help me.”
In Janakpur a long time ago, a section of women wished for more eyes, but not necessarily to see things behind them. They already liked what was in front of them. It was so beautiful that two eyes were not enough to soak in the beauty. They thought of Lord Indra and his thousand eyes. Even that wouldn’t be enough, but at least it would be better than two.
A similar lament is there with the bhakti poets. They wish they would have more ability in glorifying God. They wish they could spend the entire day glorifying the Supreme Lord with their gifted poetic ability. Despite their knack for putting phrases together in just the right way, they can only write so much in a given day. They still have to sleep. They still have to eat. They have to follow their sadhana, or regulative practice. If they don’t chant the holy names a sufficient number of times, they feel that they won’t be able to properly glorify God. No matter how much they want to, if the dedication to the holy names is absent, then the rest is merely academic.
Glorifying God is not an academic exercise; at least not to the devotees. It is the one thing that brings the highest pleasure. It causes everything else around them to increase in quality. Ordinarily, if we see a flower we may not notice it. We see flowers all the time, so what is the significance in seeing another one? However, if you’ve spent the whole morning glorifying God, when you see a flower later in the day, your mindset might be different:
“Look at how beautiful this flower is. Only God can create something like this. By His arrangement, something so perfect is born from a tiny seed. No factory could produce this. It takes so much intelligence and engineering in order to manufacture an automobile. Even then, the particular model isn’t perfect. There is always something missing. There are also flaws that arise later on. Therefore the carmakers constantly look for ways to improve their product. Despite all their effort, the car is never perfect.
“But this flower most certainly is. It is created through nature’s will. No computer designs the flower. In fact, the computer tries to copy the flower, using it as a reference. The artist tries to draw the flower to the best of their ability. The lover plucks a flower to give to their beloved. The host places flowers on tables so that guests will feel welcome. All of this is due to God’s grace. His magnificent intelligence is beyond compare. I could meditate on this one flower for hours, because it reminds me of God.”
The personal form of the Supreme Lord is the origin of all beautiful objects. As much as the flower is impossible to describe fully, the transcendental body of God is infinitely more beautiful. The poet therefore feels more incapable of properly describing it. The twenty-four hours in each day are not enough. A limitation is there also with the one hand used for writing or the two hands for typing. Four hands would be better. This way glorification could continue on two paths simultaneously. One set could glorify God’s beautiful feet, while the other could focus on His face.
Here the female party in a wedding has direct access to the Supreme Lord in His incarnation as Shri Ramachandra. They notice that Rama’s beauty is wonderful from head to toe. Looking at His feet is just as blissful as looking at His waist. All parts of the body are beautiful, and so they think of Indra, the king of heaven. Due to a curse, Indra was given a thousand eyes. This many eyes on a person makes them look odd, as if they have some disease. At the same time, this many eyes enhances the power of sight. “If only we had so many eyes. Then we could really enjoy this vision,” is what the women thought.
Ananta Shesha Naga, the original spiritual master and protector of the Supreme Lord’s interests, laments that even with his thousands of mouths he cannot properly glorify God. Since the beginning of time, he has been praising the divine features found only in the original person. Still, he has yet to reach an endpoint. As time and space are both infinite, so is the glorification of the Supreme Lord, who is worshiped today most prominently through the chanting of the holy names: Hare Krishna Hare Krishna, Krishna Krishna, Hare Hare, Hare Rama Hare Rama, Rama Rama, Hare Hare.
To soak in beauty each woman tries,
But how to enjoy with only two eyes?
Better would be if there were more,
Then mind more easily could adore.
On beautiful picture of Rama to go,
See His beauty full from head to toe.
To glorify God poets go on still,
Hearts of their readers with rapture fill.