The Transcendental Boatman - Part 22

Hare Krishna Prabhujis and Matajis,

Please accept my humble obeisances. All glories to Srila Prabhupada and Srila Gurudeva.

This is in continuation of the previous offering titled, "The Transcendental Boatman" wherein we have been meditating on the loving relation between Lord Rama and Guha (the hunter and boatman). We will see further on this topic.

23. Benedictions offered by Lord Rama to Guha: We saw that Guha was part of the coronation ceremony of Lord Rama. After the ceremony, Lord Rama gave various gifts to everyone. He gifted Angada, Sugriva, Vibhishana, Jambavan and also Guha. When Lord Rama went to Guha’s village before entering the forest, we can recollect that Guha and Lakshmana were escorting the Lordships Sri Sita Rama when they were sleeping on the bed of grass. At that time Guha told Lakshmana, "There is nothing dearer to me than Lord Rama and hence I will guard Him at all costs". And He also expressed his utter dependence on Lord Rama for all success in life. The following sloka spoken by Guha confirms that (Valmiki Ramayana – 2.86.6)

asya prasaadaad aashamse loke 'smin sumahad yashah
dharmaavaaptim ca vipulaam arthaavaaptim ca kevalaam

Only by the grace of Lord Rama, I wish to attain very great glory in this earth (as His servant), true righteousness and unalloyed wealth and unalloyed (spiritual) enjoyment.

Generally people aspire for three things in life namely dharma (religiousness), artha (wealth) and kama (material enjoyment). But for a pure devotee dharma means bhagavata dharma or devotional service. Artha or wealth means knowledge of the Lord and Kama (enjoyment) means satisfying the Lord's desires. So when a pure devotee desires opulences, it is only for the Lord's service. This point is nicely stated by Srila Prabhupada in the commentary of the Srimad Bhagavatam 6.16.29, "A devotee’s ultimate achievement is to take shelter of the lotus feet of the Lord in any one of the planets in the spiritual sky. As a result of rigid execution of devotional service, a devotee receives all material opulences if these are required; otherwise, the devotee is not interested in material opulences, nor does the Supreme Lord award them. When a devotee is actually engaged in the devotional service of the Lord, his apparently material opulences are not material; they are all spiritual...Nothing in devotional service is material; everything is spiritual. Consequently a devotee is awarded so-called material opulence for spiritual advancement. This opulence is an aid to help the devotee advance toward the spiritual kingdom."

Lord Rama understood the sincere desire of Guha to serve Him and hence bestowed him opulences which will further his attachment towards the Lord Himself. After everyone received their gifts, Lord Rama called Guha who was standing with folded palms and He blessed him with sublime spiritual instructions and awarded him some benedictions as follows. (Adhyatma Ramayana- 6.16.20,21). The Lord also offered His embrace to Guha.

ityuktvaa pradadau tasmai divyaanyaabharanaani ca
raajyam cha vipulam dattvaa vijnaanam ca dadau vibhuh
raamenaalingito hrishto yayau svabhavanam guhah

Having given Guha spiritual instructions, Lord Rama gifted him with divine ornaments, an extensive kingdom and also knowledge of the spiritual truth. Then, embraced by Rama, Guha went to his kindom with a joyous heart.

A pure devotee is fully dependent on the Lord in all stages and for all success and this was exemplified by Guha. We will see more on what instructions were received by Guha from Rama and the result Guha achieved by following those instructions in the next offering, Krishna willing.

Thank you very much.
Yours in the service of Srila Prabhupada and Srila Gurudeva,
Narahari Krishna das
Chennai.