“O Rama, those eyes which do not fill to the brim with tears upon hearing the great glories of Yours should be filled and rubbed with fistfuls of dust.” (Dohavali, 45)
rahaiṃ na jala bhari puri rāma sujasa suni rāvaro |
tina ā’kina meṃ dhūri bhari bhari mū।thī meliye ||
Imagine this situation. You’re sitting down to a meal with a friend. These meetings are frequent; you have them to maintain steady contact. This time isn’t any different. As usual, you exchange stories. Your friend speaks first, and you listen attentively. Then they mention something about their grandfather. At the mere sound of the word, your mind goes elsewhere. You think of your own grandfather, who recently departed. He was so dear to you. You wish you had more time to spend with him. You wish you could have told him how much he meant to you.
Suddenly tears start streaming from your face. Meanwhile, you’ve totally shut out your friend. They stop their story and ask why you are crying. They were speaking for a few minutes, actually, but you had no idea what they were saying. Your mind was elsewhere. You tuned them out. You can take this experience and use it to try to understand how the mind of the devotee works. Since they are always thinking of the Supreme Personality of Godhead, they are not distracted by the outside world.
jñāna-vijñāna-tṛptātmākūṭa-stho vijitendriyaḥyukta ity ucyate yogīsama-loṣṭrāśma-kāñcanaḥ“A person is said to be established in self-realization and is called a yogi [or mystic] when he is fully satisfied by virtue of acquired knowledge and realization. Such a person is situated in transcendence and is self-controlled. He sees everything – whether it be pebbles, stones or gold – as the same.” (Lord Krishna, Bhagavad-gita, 6.8)
What sorts of distractions are there? The obvious one is the call to take up any path in life besides devotional service.
“Why are you chanting all the time? Why are you living so renounced? Don’t you want to enjoy life? Here’s an offer for you. Come with me tonight to hang out at my house. We’ll have a good time. I’ll pay for everything. Abandon your vow to chant the holy names just for one night.”
The person who is fixed in transcendence will not even get angry at such cajoling. This is because in their mind is always playing the pastimes of the Supreme Lord, who is indeed a person. He is the best person, so He is the ideal one to remember. By remembering Him, one can block out so many negative things. Insults will no longer matter. The satisfaction of the stomach isn’t so important anymore, either.
Though such a person is seeing something special, it is not with their eyes. Their eyes view everything on the outside as equal. They don’t make distinctions between man and woman. They don’t go up to one animal and hug it and then take a knife to a different animal. They see the Supersoul within each creature. This Supersoul is God’s expansion kindly residing within everyone. There is the Supersoul [God], the individual soul [the person in the body], and the maya in between. The person always seeing God on the inside is no longer hindered by maya.
The obvious question then is how one reaches such a position. The above referenced verse from the Dohavali gives a clue. Here Goswami Tulsidas says that someone who doesn’t shed tears of ecstasy and love at the sound of Rama’s glories should have their eyes filled with dirt and then rubbed. Besides being somewhat humorous in its exaggeration, this instruction reveals the proper way to connect with God.
Though eyes are mentioned here, the corresponding action is hearing. Tulsidas does not say that the eyes should have to see God. Simply hearing of Rama’s tremendous glory, sujasa, should bring tears to the eyes. This is because the glory is so great. It is wonderful to remember. Hearing it brings it to memory again. And constant hearing means it always stays in the mind, creating the condition of the equal vision where the individual is unaffected by the outside world.
The author practiced what he preached. He heard of Rama’s glory all the time. He wrote them down, categorized them, and created a mechanism for them to be heard on a regular basis by the entire population of the world. Another personality follows this instruction as well: Shri Hanuman. He saw God as Rama. He met Rama personally. Yet he does not insist on seeing Rama all the time. He does not demand that Rama, a beautiful incarnation of the Lord, appear before him whenever he wants.
Instead, Hanuman always hears about Rama. He does this by reading the Ramayana. He shows that the ancient Vedic texts have the purpose of creating the internal vision of the Supreme Lord. This vision cures all ailments, as it keeps one protected from the temporary distractions that constantly arise. This vision is the pinnacle of achievement, and it comes to anyone who hears on a regular basis.
Friend’s story going on and on,
But your mind something else to dwell upon.
Tears even streaming from your face,
Forgetting totally the time and the place.
By this situation of devotee somewhat described,
In ecstasy when chanting japa rounds prescribed.
The vision of God hearing to create inside,
Then equally seeing all on the outside.
Rama’s glory preferred for Tulsidas to hear,
From that sound Hanuman’s Lord always is near.