“To all those who are capable the ones who give pleasure are considered dear and to all those who are incapable the ones who do good for them are considered dear. Tulsi wonders how neither side ever says that Shri Rama is dear to them.” (Dohavali, 74)
sabahi samarathahi sukhada priya acchama priya hitakāriṁ |
kabahum̐ na kāhuhi rāma priya tulasī kahā bicāri ||74||
“What are you doing with your life? Where are you going? Do you have any direction? Have you thought about why you are here? Not just you, but everyone - what is the purpose to enduring the time between birth and death? We all face this. No one can say they didn’t take birth. And no sane man will say that they will never die. If both of these events are inevitable, what should we do during the time in between? Should not we inquire into our true nature? Is this not what spiritual life is for?”
It is not uncommon to come across this moment in life. Introspection, self-analysis, pondering over the meaning to an existence - only the human species can do these things. Yet to not get an answer is like torture. We have intelligence, but we only use it for finding ways to eat better. We burden ourselves with responsibilities that don’t matter much in the end. Goswami Tulsidas explains how easy it is to forget the supreme benefactor, the author of all things. No matter the situation, that forgetfulness reigns supreme.
What if I tell you that the meaning to life is recognition of God? Basically, use your brainpower to find out who He is, be assured of His presence within all spheres, and then work so that you’ll always be conscious of Him. Consciousness remains. In the Bhagavad-gita, we learn that it carries over to future lives. It is like the air carrying aromas, only in this instance the travel is through the subtle body, consisting of mind, intelligence and ego.
śarīraṁ yad avāpnoti
yac cāpy utkrāmatīśvaraḥ
vāyur gandhān ivāśayāt
One way to tell that consciousness is always there is the consistent attack of anxiety. There are the two extremes to analyze. In one situation there is want. “I want more money. I want a new car. I want a better house. I want to get married. I want children. I want to be happy in the association of friends and family.”
In this situation, the people that meet our desires become dear. We like the spouse who is nice to us, who makes our day brighter. We like the employer who offers us a nice salary in exchange for work. We like the leader of the nation who gives benefits to the citizens. We like the people who help us when we are in need.
On the opposite side is opulence. In this situation necessities are not an issue. Still, there is both consciousness and people who give satisfaction. The people who give pleasure are considered dear. The ones who choose to associate with us, who bring us adventure and excitement - we like them. Desires are still there, but there isn’t as much open begging that takes place.
The truth is, however, that in both situations there is misery. This is because both sides look for people who will be dear to them. As there is always this search going on, there is always the potential for failure. With a potential for failure, there is fear, which is a form of anxiety. In both situations, riddled by misery there is forgetfulness of God. Shri Rama, the worshipable form of choice for Goswami Tulsidas, remains far away. For some reason He is not dear to either side.
Yet He should be the most dear in every situation. He is full of opulences. He is the most beautiful, the most knowledgeable, the most wealthy, the most famous, the strongest, and the most renounced. He can give anything to a poor person and His association is the one most worth cherishing for the person who seemingly has everything already.
Since I am always in misery, I will reject good counsel. Instead of starting the process of bhakti-yoga, I will put it off until later.
“Let me get things squared away right now. Let me find a better job. Let me finish school. Let me get my marriage arrangements settled. Let me purchase a new house first. Then I promise to look into this devotional service thing, which is supposedly very good for me.”
Through all these distractions, so many people become dear. So many attachments are formed, and yet everything is destined to end at the time of death. Rama is not like this. He will stay forever. He has already travelled with us in so many bodies in His expansion of the Supersoul. He explains this fact in the Bhagavad-gita to Arjuna. As Shri Krishna, the Supreme Personality of Godhead, Rama reveals that He remembers the previous births, while others cannot.
bahūni me vyatītāni
janmāni tava cārjuna
tāny ahaṁ veda sarvāṇi
na tvaṁ vettha parantapa
“The Blessed Lord said: Many, many births both you and I have passed. I can remember all of them, but you cannot, O subduer of the enemy!” (Bg. 4.5)
Whether we are in misery or elation, God should be remembered. He is the dearest person, the best well-wishing friend. He is so kind that He might deny your requests from time to time. He might intentionally put you in need so that you’ll remember Him. He might make you wealthy so that you’ll use your high status to spread His glories even further. Adventure is always in store, as seen in the life of Shri Hanuman. To him, Rama is always dear, as is Sita Devi, the goddess of fortune. Sita and Rama together make the valuable human life worth living.
Less fortunate from others to beg,
The fortunate seemingly on higher leg.
But actually both always in need,
The rich at least for companionship plead.
Misery throughout time of life coming,
Never dear Supreme Lord becoming.
Tulsi warns against this mistake grave,
Sita and Rama the valuable life can save.