“O Tulsi, your personal interest is met by Rama and your supreme interest by Raghuvira, who has valiant warriors like Lakshmana and the son of the wind serving Him.” (Dohavali, 55)
tulasī svāratha rāma hita paramāratha raghubīra |
sevaka jāke lakhana se pavanapūta ranadhīra ||
Here Goswami Tulsidas provides further justification for extending full faith and trust to the Supreme Personality of Godhead, Shri Rama. It is one thing to have faith in someone to deliver a particular thing. I have faith in the newsperson on television to accurately report what is going on in other nations. I trust the weatherman to do his best to predict the weather for the next few days. We put trust in so many people, for meeting different things. Tulsidas leaves no doubt that with Rama there should be full surrender. Both the personal interest and the interest in the afterlife are met in Him, who is a heroic warrior served by the most valiant warriors this world has ever seen.
Svartha is personal interest. As soon as we emerge from the womb we become aware of this type of interest. We cry to have our hunger go away. We ask our parents to buy us toy cars for play. When we go on family trips, in frustration we repeatedly ask, “Are we there yet?” In adulthood we look for a nice dwelling, a fancy car, and an attractive life partner. In this way svartha continues, as to live means to desire.
Paramartha is the supreme interest. This is for the future beyond the foreseeable. Where will we go after death? What circumstances will we find? Will we be happy? Is there a way to ensure safe passage to the best destination in the afterlife? Paramartha takes care of this.
Each person has their own idea of supreme interest. To the atheist supreme interest is non-existent. Everything ends at death, so svartha is their supreme interest. To the religiously inclined, supreme interest is going to heaven in the afterlife. Rebirth is acknowledged by those who follow the Vedic tradition. So birth in favorable circumstances, such as in a mercantile family, a heavenly planet, or a family of transcendentalists, is considered the supreme interest to be met.
prāpya puṇya-kṛtāṁ lokān
uṣitvā śāśvatīḥ samāḥ
śucīnāṁ śrīmatāṁ gehe
“The unsuccessful yogi, after many, many years of enjoyment on the planets of the pious living entities, is born into a family of righteous people, or into a family of rich aristocracy.” (Lord Krishna, Bhagavad-gita, 6.41)
Since he is supremely knowledgeable, Goswami Tulsidas understands that svartha and paramartha can both be fulfilled through one source. Though they are two terms, the only thing distinguishing them is time. Both are interests, but one is met sooner and the other later. In either case, the individual will exist. Therefore better it is to seek an interest that gives pleasure today that will continue into the future.
Svartha and paramartha merge when there is service to the Divine; otherwise they remain separate. In service to the Divine, svartha is met. The individual gets happiness right away. It arrives because the individual is happiest when serving. Service to the Divine, which can be done through something as simple as chanting the holy names, brings happiness immediately. The person who always chants “Hare Krishna Hare Krishna, Krishna Krishna, Hare Hare, Hare Rama Hare Rama, Rama Rama, Hare Hare” swims in the ocean of nectar that is the transcendental sound vibration representing the Supreme Personality of Godhead.
The svartha turns into paramartha because the service never stops, provided the desire is there. Of course there is some concern here. How can we believe that the interest will remain? If I’m enjoying in my house right now, I know that one day the house will be gone. One day I will be forced to leave. Therefore I inherently understand that the svartha of enjoying in the house is different from paramartha. How, then, can the svartha of service to God in love become paramartha?
At the theoretical level, the two merge because the Supreme Lord is eternal in body and spirit. He is the lone individual who does not go through reincarnation. Time works at His direction; therefore it cannot operate on Him. In His original form of Shri Krishna, His transcendental body is described to be nava-yauvanam. He never ages past “pre-youth.”
“This nava-yauvana, or pre-youth, is the eternal transcendental form of Krishna. Krishna never grows older than nava-yauvana.” (Shrila Prabhupada, Chaitanya Charitamrita, Madhya 20.384 Purport)
Krishna is also Rama, the worshipable form of choice for Tulsidas. When there is pure service to Him, the Supreme Lord offers protection. He brings to the devotee what they lack and preserves what they have. If they start to lack favorable circumstances, He brings them to a new situation. If they have enthusiasm and an undying will to continue in service, He preserves whatever progress they have made.
ananyāś cintayanto māṁ
ye janāḥ paryupāsate
yoga-kṣemaṁ vahāmy aham
“But those who worship Me with devotion, meditating on My transcendental form - to them I carry what they lack and preserve what they have.” (Lord Krishna, Bhagavad-gita, 9.22)
Rama is also known as Raghuvira, which means “the hero of the Raghu dynasty.” How great of a hero is He? Rama has Lakshmana serving Him. Lakshmana is Rama’s younger brother and in fighting strength he is equal. Hanuman also serves Rama. Both Lakshmana and Hanuman are ranadhira, or great warriors. They are the greatest warriors in fact, and they both serve the hero of the Raghu dynasty. In this way Tulsidas gives assurance to both himself and future generations that one who loves God purely has no reason to fear. Their bhakti practice will be protected by Rama, who has Lakshmana and Hanuman standing by, ready to help.
Why to Supreme faith to extend,
And in afterlife’s existence to pretend?
Personal and supreme interest get,
Through just a single source met.
That person on the battlefield brave,
Any from ocean of suffering can save.
Has Lakshmana and Hanuman standing by,
Give Him faith, on their strength too rely.