Friday, May 23, 2014

Always An Auspicious Time

[Rama's lotus feet]“With the great auspiciousness and good aura, the demigods rained down flowers. The city was filled with sounds of rejoicing, and the men and women were very happy.” (Janaki Mangala, 181)

hohiṃ sumangala saguna sumana sura baraṣahiṃ |
nagara kolāhala bhayau nāri nara haraṣahiṃ ||

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This verse from the Janaki Mangala says that the time of Shri Rama’s return to Ayodhya saw auspiciousness everywhere. All the omens were good. This means that it wasn’t snowing. It could be the first day of Spring, the beginning of baseball season in America, but this doesn’t mean that the weather will automatically cooperate. It could also be very warm on an autumn day. The setting isn’t always ideal, and in life not all moments are auspicious. But here everything is just right, and it is not surprising considering that Rama is the Supreme Lord Himself.

[Rain on a farm]In fact, there can never be an inauspicious moment for Rama. The term does not apply to Him. Inauspicious means something that is not conducive to meeting the objective at hand. If your job is to put a roof on a housing structure on a particular day, rain is inauspicious for you. The rain will get in the way of doing your job. For the farmer, the opposite is true; the rain is auspicious. Therefore good and bad are relative. The same occurrence, rain in this case, can help one person and hurt another.

When the discussion turns to the spiritual, auspicious and inauspicious relate to the afterlife. “Is God going to be happy with what I’m doing? Will I go to hell if I do this?” Then if I do something nice, like open up a hospital for sick children, I wonder how much benefit is set to come my way. “Boy, I better make it into heaven now. This is a really good thing I’m doing.” If we refrain from eating meat, someone may ask us, “So, if you eat something that has meat in it, are you going to hell?” Similarly, if we perform a specific ritual in the home, someone may ask, “By doing this, are you guaranteed a spot in heaven?”

[Bhagavad-gita, 8.16]“From the highest planet in the material world down to the lowest, all are places of misery wherein repeated birth and death take place. But one who attains to My abode, O son of Kunti, never takes birth again.” (Lord Krishna, Bhagavad-gita, 8.16)

[Krishna speaking to Arjuna]In the Bhagavad-gita, Shri Rama, in His original form of Shri Krishna, explains that even this idea of heaven and hell is relative. The auspiciousness and inauspiciousness of spiritual life, where the objective is still on material enjoyment and the avoidance of material distress, are thus not absolute. There are many heavenly planets, and several hellish ones as well. Residence in any of these places, from the highest to the lowest, is not temporary since birth and death take place there.

Rama is aja, or unborn. He is also ajita, which means unconquerable. No one can say that God was born on a particular day. And no one can say that He has ever been conquered by time. Time has no influence on Him. In His home the concept of an appropriate time has no meaning. There is no such thing as an inappropriate place since nothing can ever harm Him.

Knowing this, why would the demigods rain down flowers as He returned to Ayodhya during His earthly pastimes? Why would there be auspicious omens everywhere, with the citizens celebrating His return home? The only conclusion is that the auspiciousness mentioned here is to give an indication to others that the Supreme Lord in a most wonderful form is within vicinity. He is never outside of any area, but we don’t always notice His presence. In fact, we almost never notice it, though it is always within our heart, where He lives in His expansion as the Supersoul.

As the Supersoul is more difficult to notice, and as it is possible to have an inauspicious aura when the Supersoul is present, we get further justification for the truth that the personal manifestation, the incarnation or God Himself as Krishna, is superior in all respects. Whenever the personal form, in a visible manifestation, is there for the eyes to relish there is auspiciousness all around.

As there can never be an inauspicious setting for the Supreme Lord, the same holds true for devotion to Him. While we consult with the proper authorities for the proper date and time to hold an important function like a wedding, something like chanting the holy names can be done anywhere and at any time. There is never a loss. In fact, the greatest loss is giving up the chanting of the holy names in favor of something else, something which keeps one away in consciousness from the Supreme Lord.

“Tulsi emphatically says, ‘O mind, hear what I am saying and always take it to heart, for this will benefit you. Remembering Shri Rama’s holy name is the greatest profit, and forgetting Him is the worst loss.’” (Dohavali, 21)

[Worshiping Rama's feet]The people of Ayodhya understood the greatest gain they received in the triumphant return of Rama, His brothers, and their father Dasharatha. The same mentality is held by Rama’s staunchest supporters today, who take advantage of the valuable gift of devotion passed on to them by the highly merciful spiritual teachers of the Vaishnava tradition. Such fortunate souls never pass up an opportunity to chant, “Hare Krishna Hare Krishna, Krishna Krishna, Hare Hare, Hare Rama Hare Rama, Rama Rama, Hare Hare.”

In Closing:

Since in His world duality without,

Auspicious is everything about.

 

Extends also to presence physical,

Return to Ayodhya thus moment magical.

 

Overjoyed when saw His party coming,

People’s hearts on pure love running.

 

All-auspicious also is holy name,

Chanting it brings benefit the same.

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