“Those who sing of the auspicious occasion of the initiation and the wedding of Sita and Rama with excitement get countless auspicious blessings day after day, says Tulsi.” (Janaki Mangala, Chand 24.2)
upabīta byāha uchāha jē siya rāma maṅgala gāvahīṁ |
tulasī sakala kalyāna tē nara nāri anudita pāvahīṁ ||
“We’re supposed to think about God. We’re supposed to remember Him at all times. If we’re having trouble remembering, then make a plan to remember throughout the day; in essence remembering to remember. They say to chant the holy names: Hare Krishna Hare Krishna, Krishna Krishna, Hare Hare, Hare Rama Hare Rama, Rama Rama, Hare Hare. Repeat this mantra all the time, and all good things will come. But I can’t do this. I need more. I can’t see how the enjoyment will come that is necessary to continue on.”
The saints of the Vedic tradition indeed do make such recommendations. They believe so strongly in them that they’ll dedicate their whole lives to repeating the same message. Rather than stay bound to home and family, remaining safe from the scrutiny of the public, they abandon everything to facilitate extended travel. By moving about, they are better able to spread the message of divine love, which they say is awakened through the remembrance mentioned above. Some saints go one step further: they hand us information to help us in our remembrance.
We can take the example of the above quoted verse from the Janaki Mangala. Here Goswami Tulsidas says that singing of the glories of the sacred thread investiture of Shri Rama and His marriage to Sita will bring auspiciousness day after day. The singing should be done with attention, with some sort of interest. Since it will bring auspiciousness daily, obviously the singing should take place repeatedly.
This recommendation doesn’t come out of left field. We shouldn’t dismiss it outright, thinking it impossible to do. If there is a God, why not remember Him? If He is so great, what is the harm in remembering Him day after day? We claim that the difficulty is that we can’t see Him. Sure, His influence is everywhere. Not a blade of grass moves without His sanction. There cannot be life without His glance. In the Vedas it is said that at the beginning of the creation, according to our present timeline anyways, there was only a chunk of matter. Granted, it was a large chunk, but it had the properties of matter nonetheless. It was lacking consciousness. It was just awaiting change. Most importantly, it required the instigation of a spiritual force in order to do anything. That force came from God, who injected a portion of His potency into the material chunk, thereby giving birth to the life that presently surrounds us.
mama yonir mahad brahmatasmin garbhaṁ dadhāmy ahamsambhavaḥ sarva-bhūtānāṁtato bhavati bhārata
“The total material substance, called Brahman, is the source of birth, and it is that Brahman that I impregnate, making possible the births of all living beings, O son of Bharata.” (Lord Krishna, Bhagavad-gita, 14.3)
We don’t remember being there at the beginning of the creation, so it’s hard to keep that event in our mind. So unless we see a personality who is God then we can’t really remember Him so well. But hearing is just as effective in spiritual matters; hence the recommendation for chanting. Chanting is kirtanam and hearing is shravanam. Together, they make the two most potent methods of bhakti-yoga, or devotional service. Yoga is the mission for the living entity. Yoga is complete concentration; it transcends laziness, fatigue, chaos, despair, hopelessness, and all other negative conditions. It is a firm link to the Divine, and it is best maintained through bhakti, or divine love. Indeed, bhakti-yoga is the culminating stage of all other yoga practices.
Tulsidas recommends that we always sing of the glorious event of Rama’s marriage to Sita. But there are so many marriages that take place. Why not remember a marriage of a famous king from recent times? Why not watch our own wedding video over and over again? To help us in accepting his recommendation, Tulsidas provides information into the natures of Sita and Rama. Sita is the energy of God. She is the pleasure potency, and she acts only for God’s pleasure. Rama is God Himself, non-different from the original Personality of Godhead. Some may call Him Krishna, Vishnu, or by some other name, but the personality addressed is the same in each case.
Rama is God and Sita is His wife. Tulsidas gives information of how their marriage took place. His Janaki Mangala poem is dedicated to that blessed event that occurred many thousands of years ago. The Janaki Mangala also describes the training Rama received from the guru Vishvamitra. Rama is God, so He doesn’t need anyone’s help. Yet He is so kind that He pretends to need instruction from respected personalities. In this case, Rama and His younger brother Lakshmana took training in the military arts, conducted with the bow and arrow during the time period in question. The spiritual teachers could also instruct disciples in how to run businesses, govern a kingdom, and see the spiritual equality in all beings. Vishvamitra’s guidance was important because of his love for Rama. If the spiritual guide has love for God, then he is worth approaching.
We have trouble remembering God. We would rather worry over the future of the economy of the nation. We would rather plan our upcoming week. We would rather spend hours zoning out, forgetting our troubles. But as Tulsidas says, remembering brings auspiciousness. There is no loss on our part, though we think there is. We think we will miss out on fun, but bhakti-yoga is the only actually fun activity. It increases the happiness of the participant, making more room in the heart for the love that overflows. That love first appears through hearing, and to make sure the love continues to grow, the benevolent saints of the Vedic tradition give us plenty to hear.
That to miss out on fun,
Means attention there is none.
Though good for us to hear,
To waste time the fear.
Saints thus in renunciation live,
So that much for hearing they can give.
Advantage of their mercy take,
And fruitful this life make.
Tulsidas so much of Rama writing,
Like His marriage and with demons fighting.
With respect keep that valuable gem,
Sing of Sita and Rama, have love for them.