Friday, June 27, 2014

Param Dhama

[Krishna and Arjuna]“Arjuna said: You are the Supreme Brahman, the ultimate, the supreme abode and purifier, the Absolute Truth and the eternal divine person. You are the primal God, transcendental and original, and You are the unborn and all-pervading beauty.” (Bhagavad-gita, 10.12)

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[Bhagavad-gita, 10.12]Where is your real home? Where do you feel most comfortable? There must be one place where you have no worries, where you feel safest. In Sanskrit, an abode is referred to as a dhama. It is the refuge, and according to the authority of Arjuna, one of the famous five Pandava brothers, the supreme abode is Shri Krishna. He is the best home for everyone, regardless of where they presently live or what their mindset presently speaks.

Traditional Vedic culture features arranged marriages. The parents take care of everything. Likely the bride and groom don’t meet each other beforehand. Also, the wife is considered a gift from the father. “Kanya-dana” is the name of the ceremony; it means giving the gift of a young daughter to another family. Therefore the marriage is tougher for the wife in the beginning; she must adjust to new surroundings and a new family.

It is not surprising, therefore, to find references made by the wife to the safety of her parents’ home. She will never feel as happy anywhere else, for that is where her original family resides. The new home could be ideal in every way, with a loving and caring mother-in-law, but the nostalgia of the childhood home is always there.

In present times, the childhood home is also the favorite spot for many. It is where the child played baseball in the backyard with their brothers and sisters. It is where they watched movies with their parents on the couch. It is where they had sleepovers with their friends. It is where they played basketball in the driveway. It is where they grew up.

For others the preferred abode is the university, the college where they resided in a dormitory for four years. They have so many memories there that when they feel the need to escape, they try to mentally return to that place and time. For others a similar abode may be the office where they spent many years working.

When turning to the realm of spirituality, you get many dhamas. These are many important places because the Supreme Personality of Godhead in many places touched the ground with His lotus feet during His various advents on earth. There is Mayapura dhama. This is where Lord Chaitanya, the preacher incarnation of Godhead, first appeared on this earth several hundred years ago. There is Navadvipa dhama, where Lord Chaitanya grew up. There is Jagannatha Puri dhama, the home of Jagannatha, the Lord of the universe. There is Mathura dhama, where Shri Krishna, the Supreme Personality of Godhead, appeared in His original transcendental form some five thousand years ago. There is Vrindavana dhama, where Krishna enjoyed many childhood pastimes. There is Ayodhya dhama, where Krishna appeared in His incarnation of Lord Rama. Even Chitrakuta and Kishkindha are dhamas, since Rama enacted wonderful pastimes there.

[Jagannatha, Subhadra and Baladeva]In the Bhagavad-gita, Arjuna says that Krishna Himself is the supreme abode, the param dhama. This should make sense if we think about it. He is the supreme resting place for everyone, as He is tied to every single spirit soul for all of eternity. We marry someone during this lifetime, but after death the bond is no more. The same goes for the ties to friends and family. Our possessions don’t come with us, either. But Krishna does. There is nothing we can do to stop this, such is His mercy.

[Bhagavad-gita, 15.15]“I am seated in everyone's heart, and from Me come remembrance, knowledge and forgetfulness. By all the Vedas am I to be known; indeed I am the compiler of Vedanta, and I am the knower of the Vedas.” (Lord Krishna, Bhagavad-gita, 15.15)

So if Krishna is the supreme abode, and He resides within our heart, are we not always living in the best place? Actually, the manifestation of the Lord within the heart is known as the Supersoul, and it is not the full realization of Him. It is Krishna the Supreme Personal, the transcendental form, which is the supreme abode. Then the question is where do we find Him? Where do we locate the supreme abode of which Arjuna speaks?

“I shall happily reside in the forest, considering it to be just like my paternal home, paying no attention to the three worlds and only thinking of my husband's vow.”  (Sita Devi speaking to Lord Rama, Valmiki Ramayana, Ayodhya Kand, 27.12)

[Sita and Rama]Sita Devi echoes Arjuna’s sentiment. In the Ramayana she says that she will be happy with Rama wherever they live. She says that she will be as happy as in her parents’ home. Again, this can only be true if Rama is the param dhama. Goswami Tulsidas gives a hint as to how to find that home within this very life.

“There are an infinite number of living beings, both moving and nonmoving, who have many different abodes, with some residing on the earth, some in the sky, and some in the water. But O helpless Tulsi, for you Shri Rama’s holy name is your only home.” (Dohavali, 37)

Tulsidas says that his home, in whatever location, is the name of Rama. Lord Chaitanya also confirms that the name of God is the same as Him. Therefore He inaugurated the sankirtana movement, the congregational chanting of the holy names: Hare Krishna Hare Krishna, Krishna Krishna, Hare Hare, Hare Rama Hare Rama, Rama Rama, Hare Hare. He showed everyone the path to the param dhama. Whether one is learned or illiterate, man or woman, short or tall, strong or weak - they can follow this path of attachment to the holy name and find their original and most preferred home.

In Closing:

Safest place for my mind,

How this supreme abode to find?

 

“Param dhama” is Krishna Arjuna claims,

Tulsidas and Sita confirm the same.

 

Chaitanya the path towards giving,

When in bhakti-yoga living.

 

In whatever species, whichever planet to go,

The Lord to remain supreme resting place so.

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