Do you feel God is relevant in modern times?
Mood of Lust and Avarice
The desire of Goswami Tulsidas towards the Lord is like that of a lusty and the avaricious man, both put together, Unyielding Bhakti, insatiable at all times is the goal set by Goswami Tulsidas. A lusty man goes behind a woman like a maniac and once the lusty man gets hold of a woman, he immediately transforms into an avaricious man who tries to be miserly as well as utterly desirous of having more and more money. What could be the state of man who is desirous of Lord Rama in the mood of a man who is lusty before he attains the Lord and remains greedy for the Lord after having attained Him? This is the wish of Goswami Tulsidas. He sets this precedent for devotees who wish to follow the path of Bhakti. He maintains that only that is true Bhakti which only grows with time and makes the devotee more and more discontented, even after having attained the Lord. Only such Bhakti is desirable and such a devotee is truly venerable. Bhakti as an expression of the spirit never understands contentment nor it is satisfied by limited happiness.
Emperor Manu meditates on Lord Rama
The example of Emperor Manu is worth a mention with regards to understanding mellows of Bhakti. Emperor Manu was the ruler of the entire earthly domain. He had all comforts and riches of this world at his disposal. Every convenience was at his beck and call and he had earned all the respect of even the gods who were rulers of other domains. What more could Emperor Manu yearn for? Even after attaining all that is possibly attainable, Emperor Manu yearned for more because nothing worldly could satisfy him. He was tormented by the desires of the inner spirit. It is to be understood that spirit is non-material and hence nothing material can ever satisfy the spirit, even if it means having the entire world at one’s beck and call. Not satisfied with the world Emperor Manu along with his better-half Queen Shatarupa relinquished the comforts of their kingdom and retired to the forests for the sake of the highest possible attainment. They had realized that the thirst of the spirit can never be satisfied by matter or materialistic emotions. The spirit could only be satisfied by the super-spirit of which the spirit of man is just a particle. The ocean of bliss, the super-set of all happiness, joy, bliss and the source of spirit that is embodied by the living entities is verily the Lord. This, the royal couple had realized. It was now their intention to seek that super-spirit, the Lord of Lords Sri Rama. Only this could give them rest and repose. After having meditated on the original form of Sri Rama, the Supreme Being appeared before the couple and said “Ask for whatever you wish, it shall be given.”
Manu claims ownership on Sri Rama
Manu asked for that thing, which is even not possible for the person who may be regarded as the king of desires. Manu asked for Lord Sri Rama to become his own. Emperor Manu staked claim on the originator of all desires. Which desire could be higher than the one on which Emperor Manu staked claim? It is the same Manu who became King Dasharath to whom the Lord was born, as his own son. Who could be more fortunate than the same Manu who became King Dasharath? Can there be a higher desire than this one? Rather than staking claim over every small and big desire, is it not wiser to stake claim over that entity who is the very originator of desire, the Supreme Lord, Himself? This is what Goswami Tulsidas wants to communicate to the devotees. Every small or big desire starts and has an end. Instead of going on in an endless cycle of desiring and claiming, is it not wiser to claim the epitome of all desire in one go and fulfill all of one’s desire? This according to Goswami Tulsidas is the greatest desire that every man should yearn for. This is the very purpose of human life according to Goswami Tulsidas.
Discontentment, Sorrow and Envy plagues man
The spirit of man remains soaked in discontentment and sorrow because he is involved in the game of lost and found in this never ending mirage of life-process. During this process man undergoes ups and downs and goes through myriads of emotional upheavals that distances man from every possibility of relaxation. Man is also harassed by endless desires that keeps gnawing him from the inside. It is owing to these very desires that man loses sleep and resorts to envy and jealousy, yearning for what the other man possesses. The grass always looks greener on the other side. The quality of envy is to burn. It causes heart-burns and offers no respite. Hence many sages have compared worldly afflictions as a roaring forest fire. It would be a wise thing for these negative triggers that cause suffering, to be diverted towards something higher. Wanting the Lord, the Supreme Being is the highest possibility of turning envious desires into a fruitful one. In fact this want, if nurtured deeply through practice, can automatically resolve all our problems including the problems of survival, sustainability and liveliness.
Bhakti is the recommendation for Kaliyuga
There are many ways in which the story of Manu can be applied to practical life. The greatest intelligence is to move our attention to the highest ideals that are indicated in Vedic scriptures. Bhakti is regarded as the most effective practice for Kaliyuga. If we have devotion in our hearts for our chosen ideal or Ishta Deva, it can build a lot of broken bridges of our life. Pursuing Bhakti is regarded as the highest virtue by the Scriptures. If one is to follow any one of the 9 limbs of Bhakti which includes Chanting the Lord’s name, Hearing His glories, Remembering His glories, pastimes and His form etc, it will elevate our consciousness to such an extent that it will dissolve all the petty problems of life to which we give undue importance. Writing the names of the Lord is an effective means of purifying the mind and hinging the fickle mind on the Lord so that the mind is rid of its base propensities.