“That chastiser of the foe is a protector of His good conduct and of His people. He is also a protector of all living entities and of righteousness.” (Hanuman, Valmiki Ramayana, Sundara Kand, 31.7)
rakṣitā svasya vṛttasya sva janasya api rakṣitā |
rakṣitā jīva lokasya dharmasya ca paran tapaḥ ||
Shri Hanuman here says that the Supreme Personality of Godhead is a guardian of all living entities. This means that beyond just the human population, all creatures, large and small, get protection from the Supreme Lord. Hanuman is an impeccable authority source; his credibility is too high to measure. Yet if God protects all, how can there be such a thing as tragedy? How can there be untimely death?
Imagine this situation. You’re in your childhood years. You’re going away on a trip for school. It’s an overnight trip, the first one you’ve gone on. Your twin brother is in the same class as you. Your parents aren’t too thrilled about the prospect of having both of you gone for a few days, but they see how excited you both are. Therefore they sign the permission slip required by the school.
Accompanying that slip are details of the trip. The piece of paper explains where the class is going, how long they will be gone, where the children will sleep, and how they will eat. The instructions are quite clear: the parents must supply money for the children. The meals are not automatically included. The parents get a ballpark figure of how much the food should cost. They are to give the money to the children.
So you and your brother get your money and embark for the trip. Everything is fine on the first day. You have a lot of fun. On the second day, you run into a little trouble. On one of the stops the children go into an arcade. Your twin brother, swept away in a game of skeeball, decides to use his meal money for more opportunities to play. You beg and plead with him to act responsibly. “That money is for food. How will you eat?” Your brother doesn’t pay attention to you. He assures you that he’ll figure out a way.
Not surprisingly, when it comes time to go out to eat for dinner later that night, your brother doesn’t have enough money. You decide to pay for his dinner. You’ll fast, you decide. The teacher finds out about this and doesn’t like it. “We’ll have to speak with your parents when we get back.” When the bus returns to the school the next day, you’re embarrassed that you have to stay behind; all the other kids get to go home. The teacher then explains what happened. They tell your parents of how your brother spent his money at the arcade and thus didn’t have anything left for food. When you get home, you both get into trouble. You get yelled at for not watching over your brother carefully enough, though you tried everything.
In this hypothetical situation, are the parents to blame? What if your brother didn’t get to eat? Is it the fault of the parents for not giving enough protection? This example sort of helps us understand how God does protect all living entities. Through something not directly connected to Him He provides enough for people to survive on. The sun is not partial. Its heat and light are there for everyone to use. No one can say that the sun is mean to them, that the sun doesn’t like them.
The elements of nature are there in plenty of supply. And this relates only to eating. Through the system of dharma passed on from the beginning of creation, there is ample information available to properly guide human behavior also. To one who chooses to ignore such information, how can any blame be placed on God?
Thus we see that indirectly, through His material nature, Shri Rama protects all living entities. Through devotional service, one comes under His direct protection. Such a person belongs to the category of Rama’s people. In this instance Hanuman specifically refers to the citizens of Ayodhya, but in fact anyone who takes shelter of Rama gets His protection, which is flawless.
The wise souls choose in His favor by always chanting His holy names, like those found in the maha-mantra: Hare Krishna Hare Krishna, Krishna Krishna, Hare Hare, Hare Rama Hare Rama, Rama Rama, Hare Hare. They understand that dualities are part of the material condition, that with a temporary body must come varieties of enjoyment and misery. They know that the Supreme Lord is the ultimate well-wishing friend of every living entity and that one who knows this attains peace from the pangs of material miseries.
Supreme Lord protector of all,
But how then tragedies befall?
If given to you money for food,
But then on games quickly blew.
Then on others blame to project,
Should not you responsibility accept?
Concept with God the same,
In Ayodhya known by Rama the name.
Nature’s bounty protection indirect,
Devotees support from Rama directly get.