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Glories of Maya Devi | Story of Tulsidas and his Wife | Role of Maya in Hinduism

Do you know about Goswami Tulsidas?

When one gets punished and kicked by the power of Maya, one starts finding fault with the aspect of Maya, the illusory potency of the Supreme Lord, which brings Karma and suffering into play. This can be understood in the following manner. If a criminal is punished under the law of the land, the judge passes a judgement against the criminal ordering the judiciary system to jail this criminal. The criminal swears at the judge saying that it was the judge who caused him suffering by sending him to jail for a long period. Is the criminal justified in swearing at the judge? If someone were to ask the criminal “Is the judge your personal enemy?, the criminal shall most probably reply ” No, the judge and I have nothing to do with each other, the judge is simply doing his duty.” Then the criminal raises a question “Who has given the judge the powers to punish?” The judge says it the President or Head of a state who has handed over the powers to the judge and the judiciary system.

The criminal quips “Why should you punish me?”, the Head of the state answers “It is for your benefit alone that I have set up this system. With the panel of judges and the judiciary system it is my intention that you may not commit such a crime again. This is the real intention behind setting up the judicial law machinery. With this in place, criminals are kept under check so that the land retains its peace. You may also remember that as a kid, even as you misbehaved at home, your mother punished you. You seem to forget that. Did that punishment make your mother, your enemy? Her only intention was that you reformed your ways and walked on the path of sanity.”

Maya Devi should be seen as the judge and the one undergoing suffering is to be looked upon as the criminal in question. Since one has performed activities that go against Dharma or spiritual laws, one is harassed by Maya Devi where Karma is the judiciary system that either jails the criminal or sets the criminal free. Maya Devi plays the role of the mother and punishes Her erring kids by making them go through the seemingly endless cycles of 8.4 million species so that Her dear ones realize their mistakes and take to reformation and refinement. Now what is the crime of Her kids, the living entities? It is this thing that the living entities have forgotten, they have forgotten their father and His love. The eternal father is waiting for His dear daughters and sons so that they realize His absence. The separation and disinterest of the living entities in their eternal father has made them irate and go berserk because of which them have been violating the laws of the universe and hence being relentlessly punished by their Mother namely Maya Devi. In the material-worldly connections mother punishes the child if the child does not care for its father and fails to extend himself to the father because the child is too stubborn and rejects the father, he is happy to have his Mother, but consider Her as his wife and that is the child’s crime. Mother has no option but to punish the child. This is the ditto setup in the spiritual parlance. Unless the child recognizes and loves the father, the mother shall continue to punish the ignorant child because the child has forgotten the value of relationships and has lost his sense of morality. Similarly if the living entity does not turn up to the Lord, His eternal father, he shall be relentlessly punished by his Mother, Maya Devi. This organization of punishment is for the ultimate good of the living entity.

There are numerous examples in the Vedic pantheon where living entities have realized their folly and have got suddenly transformed just as the toddler suddenly realizes his father’s presence and jumps to hold his father with a deep hug. The story of Goswami Tulsidas is a striking example. He was smitten with lust for his wife. He was so blinded by the lust for the body of his wife that when he could not stay separated from his wife, who was on a visit to her parent’s place. Tulsidas, unable to bare the love-pangs at night, came out on a stormy night and crossed the river at spate holding on to a dead body. Since the front door was locked, he climbed up the apartment holding on to the body of a live snake and entered his wife’s chamber through the window.

When his wife came to know of his exploits that night, she trembled with rage and exclaimed “Even if you had love for Sri Rama to the extent of one tenth of what you have for my body which is made up of blood, hair, puss, flesh and all detestable matter, Sri Rama who is the Supreme Person shall have become yours. You are so unfortunate.”, so saying she wept. At that time the wife had suddenly become the personified form of Maya Devi. Tulsidas woke up from his cosmic dream soon after. Tulsidas thought thus, “Closer than servants is one’s friend. Closer than one’s friend are parents. Closer than one’s parents is one’s wife. Closer than one’s wife is one’s body. I had held a dead body and the body of a snake to get to my wife’s chamber, but I was smitten by lust so much that I never realized that I was holding a live snake which was wriggling and slimy. I was so unconscious. This was the level of my attachment to matter. Now, having realized this I shall forsake everything including this lady whom I thought was my wife.” So saying Tulsidas went in search of the Supreme Lord Sri Rama and owing to his commitment and detachment, he was successful in attaining the Lord of his hearts, Sri Rama.

Maya Devi punishes, because that is the work alloted to Her by the Lord. She is our sole well-wisher and she wants us to get back to our eternal father, the Supreme Lord. How can one doubt the highest intentions of Devi Maya?

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