Thursday, March 17, 2016

Reminded Of Unalloyed Devotion

Devoted-to-Rama-cover-300dpi14“Those jewels which were offered to Rama, delivered by me, dispersed on the ground and made a sound, as He lost consciousness.” (Hanuman, Valmiki Ramayana, Sundara Kand, 35.39)

tāni rāmāya dattāni mayā eva upahṛtāni ca |
svanavanti avakīrṇanti tasmin vihata cetasi ||

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The famous golden avatara, Shri Krishna Chaitanya Mahaprabhu, is a combined incarnation. He is both Shri Krishna and Shrimati Radharani, the eternal consort of the Supreme Lord. There is no difference between the two since one is the served and the other offers the service. The interest is identical. The ideal picture of male and female bonded in true love is Radha and Krishna.

BL1ggEWkKGrHqIOKj4Ewgg9yY7BMNVQHV5JgLord Chaitanya is Krishna Himself appearing on earth in the mood of Radha. That mood is intense love and affection through separation. The daughter of Vrishabhanu loves Krishna so much that the Supreme Lord has no way of properly reciprocating. Her emotion seems impossible to understand, as well. Lord Chaitanya gave glimpses of that affection to others by reacting in certain ways when presented with different aspects of Krishna.

Chaitanya Mahaprabhu has said that as Krishna is worshipable, so is His land. This is the true meaning of advaita, or non-duality. Anything that exists is related to God in some way. Nothing is completely divorced from Him. The land belonging to Him that is worshipable has a direct relation; it is identical to Him. For instance, Krishna once lifted the massive Govardhana Hill in Vrindavana. This was after He temporarily assumed the identity of the hill to inform the villagers who had just worshiped it that He was satisfied.

image6When devotees see a rock that is from that hill, they feel intense emotion. This is because they are immediately reminded of Krishna. The same goes for the tamala tree, which Radharani used to embrace since its color matches the complexion of Krishna’s beautiful body. By seeing the deity, Chaitanya Mahaprabhu would sometimes faint in ecstasy. His displays of emotion were genuine; they were not merely a show to get attention.

In the above referenced verse from the Ramayana, the situation is reversed. Here the Supreme Lord is seeing something that belongs to the eternal consort and losing consciousness as a result. The cause of the reaction is the same, however. There is intense affection. There is a strong emotion through separation. The same Krishna is on earth as Ramachandra, the prince of Ayodhya. Radharani is appearing as Sita Devi, the devoted and chaste wife.

Hanuman has brought Sita’s ornaments for Rama to see. Upon receiving them, they fell from Rama’s possession and made a tinkling sound. The ornaments were non-different from the beloved wife, who had previously gone missing in the forest of Dandaka. Hanuman and the Vanaras were there to help Rama. They wanted to reunite the beautiful couple, who live eternally in the spiritual land of Vaikuntha as Lakshmi Devi and Narayana.

One of the central teachings of Vedic philosophy is detachment. Be detached from the objects of attachment in this world. For the male, the strongest attachment is towards the female. Love as we know it is described as kama in Sanskrit. The proper translation for this word is “lust.” A more detailed definition is “enjoyment that is separate from the constitutional position of the spirit soul: service to God.”

The illicit association of the female is the strongest inhibiting force for the individual who is sincere in their desire to progress in consciousness. Therefore sex life is prohibited or restricted in all phases of life in the ideal system of the four ashramas. The students, the retired people, and the wandering ascetics all are to refrain from sex life completely. The married man can engage in it with his wife, but only for the purpose of procreation.

These rules are instituted for the benefit of the individual. They are not a way to punish, to prevent having fun in life. Indeed, the greatest ecstasy is to feel separation pain from the Supreme Lord, in the manner of Radha towards Krishna. In Rama’s case, does His pain due to separation from Sita show weakness? Should not He be detached from women, especially since He is supposed to set the ideal example for others to follow?

Actually, the relationship between Rama and Sita is in dharma, which is religiosity or virtue. It is not in kama. Moreover, there is no such thing as maya, or illusion, for the Supreme Lord. When He feels affection, it is always in a pure form. There is no duality in Him, so He can never fall into illusion.

edited_Devoted-to-Rama-300dpi---CopyNevertheless, even while setting an example for others He does not fall from the righteous principles. He feels intense affection for Sita, but that affection does not take Him off of the virtuous path. This incident shows that the Supreme Lord reciprocates affection. He is the best well-wishing friend to all creatures, but especially to those who acknowledge Him to be their lone source of sustenance. Rama is Sita’s prana-natha, or the lord of her life-breath. She is so dear to Him, and when He sees her ornaments He is reminded of her unalloyed devotion.

In Closing:

Sita’s ornaments in His hand to find,

Of her unalloyed devotion to remind.

 

How wherever always following behind,

With disposition gentle, sweet and kind.

 

Love the Supreme Lord never in vain,

His full reciprocation assured to gain.

 

Shri Rama always treading righteous path,

Never suffering from lust, anger or wrath.