Thursday, March 30, 2017

From Something As Simple As A Ring

[Sita-Rama]“Taking that ornament worn on the hand of her husband, from viewing it to Janaki it was like obtaining her husband’s company, so she felt delighted.” (Valmiki Ramayana, Sundara Kand, 36.4)

gṛhītvā prekṣamāṇā sā bhartuḥ kara vibhūṣaṇam |
bhartāram iva samprāptā jānakī muditā abhavat ||

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God is not far, but the task is daunting. How do you find someone you can’t see? How do you believe in their existence when there has yet to be visual evidence? The secret is that the proof is already there; just the eyes have to be purified in order to see it. In the Brahma-samhita we learn that the wise souls have the salve of devotion applied to their eyes, premanjana.

“I worship the primeval Lord, Govinda, who is always seen by the devotee whose eyes are anointed with the pulp of love. He is seen in His eternal form of Shyamasundara situated within the heart of the devotee.” (Brahma-samhita, 5.38)

They see with devotional love, but even seeing the Divine everywhere in His unmanifest form represents elevation of the consciousness. How do you see something that is unmanifest? The wind is invisible, but we know when it is there. Mind, intelligence and ego are within the body, though they are subtle elements. No rational person would dispute their presence.

“The working senses are superior to dull matter; mind is higher than the senses; intelligence is still higher than the mind; and he [the soul] is even higher than the intelligence.” (Lord Krishna, Bhagavad-gita, 3.42)

The ultimate invisible force is spirit itself. This is what animates the otherwise dull and lifeless body. We know that the body has those properties due to the chemical reactions after death. The same figure is there, but since the vital life force has left, there is nothing it can do. Decay starts immediately at the end of the life.

That vital force is spirit, which at the individual level is known as jivatma. Jivatma is itself proof of the Divine, for one way to define the indefinable is to know that it is imperishable, without beginning and end. Nothing can be done to kill the spirit soul.

A higher realization is recognizing the presence of Paramatma. This is the plenary expansion of God; just like Him but not the complete feature. Paramatma is within every being as well, seated in the heart next to the individual soul. Paramatma is like the all-pervading, non-judgmental witness. The individual soul makes the decision to act, and the Supersoul gives sanction to the result.

It is something like ordering food in a restaurant. The customer doesn’t actually cook the food. They order from what is on the menu. For material life, the menu items span from the small to the large. All types of enjoyment are available, and just as with the restaurant, there is a limit to the quantity that can be provided; competition is also a factor. An example of conflict in the material realm is applying for a job. Two individuals, both with the Supersoul inside them, choose to apply for a job opening. The Supersoul sanctions the choice, but only one person can find success.

You can see God just by looking outside. The paramanu [atom] is everywhere, so that means that spirit is present even in the matter that we see. The snow on the ground is evidence of a higher power. The many living beings, animate and inanimate, prove that individual spirit exists. The result of decisions made by the many living beings is proof of Paramatma.

From the verse quoted above we get an idea of how to see God the person. This is His original and full feature, also known as Bhagavan. Interestingly, the person seeing here doesn’t have a direct vision. The corporeal form is not in front of her. Of course the term “corporeal” is simply for our understanding. For God there is no difference between matter and spirit. His body is transcendental, so it is not made up of material elements like earth, water and fire.

The person seeing is Janaki, which means “daughter of Janaka.” This references her relation to the king of Videha. Janaki is also known as Sita, and she is the wife of Shri Rama. At this time she is separated from her husband, and she is desperate for a reunion. The love between Sita and Rama cannot be put into words. They are literally one entity, appearing as two. God is always with His energy, who is known as the eternal consort.

Sita has the vision of Rama just by taking an ornament and looking at it. The ornament was previously on the hand of her husband. It is a ring, and it has been brought to her by Hanuman, a courageous hero who has been searching for her at the direction of her husband.

Since the ring is like having Rama with her, Sita is delighted. The same mudita can come to us simply by reading this verse. Just as the ornaments on the transcendental body of God bring His association, the same applies to His holy name. For this reason the saints in the modern day are so adamant about the need to chant the holy names: Hare Krishna Hare Krishna, Krishna Krishna, Hare Hare, Hare Rama Hare Rama, Rama Rama, Hare Hare.

[Sita-Rama]The special powers of the ornament have been known ever since the time of Sita and Rama. Today there are many temples dedicated to worship of that couple, or one of their non-different forms like Radha-Krishna and Lakshmi-Vishnu. Various paraphernalia are offered in formal worship, and sometimes afterwards the items are distributed to the adoring public. Getting a flower garland worn by the deities brings an ecstasy to the devotees similar to having the direct association. This is a magical aspect of Vedic culture that has to be experienced to be believed. The experience happens through qualification in the practice of devotion on an ascending trajectory under the guidance of a bona fide spiritual master. The genuine guru can be recognized through dedication to service following in the footsteps of someone like Hanuman.

In Closing:

Proof all around us to see,

As Paramanu everywhere is He.

 

Just for unmanifest form existence,

Supersoul also showing persistence.

 

Bhagavan feature with Sita living,

Vision immediately from ring to her giving.

 

With representative Shri Hanuman came,

From deity items experience the same.