Life Without Devotion – a Sheer Burden
The head, decked though with beautiful turban or crown, is verily a load, should it not bow at the feet of Lord Mukunda. However good-looking the hands be, adorned with sparkling golden bangles, they are verily like the ones of a corpse, if they are not engaged in worshiping Lord Hari.
Points for Introspection
This life is full of sorrow and sufferings. It is true that there are moments of happiness in the life of man, but every happiness is mixed with unhappiness. Fear, anxiety and tension are constant companions of mankind.
Our scriptures say that the supreme purpose of human life is to grow devotion to the Lord and realize Him in one’s own heart. When devotion to supreme Lord grows, the mind spontaneously dwells in the thought of the Lord. The mind that runs behind short-lived worldly attractions expecting immediate delight, turns towards God and His thoughts, generating disinterestedness in worldly objects which are the very cause of the mind’s agitation.
When the mind finds delight in remembering God with love and fondness, the holy thoughts and remembrances remove all disturbances caused by the impure traits of the mind, and make it free of fear and anxiety, eventually reaching the state of supreme peace.
So, in order to attain supreme peace, one must develop and deepen devotion to the supreme Lord by worshiping Him. What exactly is meant by this worship? Worship is not a one-time routine; it is to remember Him in every thought, speech and action. And also, to see Him in everything and everywhere.
A devotee must engage his speech in singing the glories of the Lord, his ears in hearing the Lord’s deeds and excellences, his hands in doing acts of worship, his mind in contemplating on the Lord, his eyes in seeing Lord in everything and everyone. The head should bend in prostration to the whole Creation considering everything to be God Himself.
When a man lives with this attitude, he can have supreme peace of mind, even if he possesses nothing. On the other hand, one may possesses a great deal of wealth, fame, recognition and prestige, his life is a load to him if he lives without holy feelings.
If by possessing riches, one feels proud and superior to many, then the riches become a load to the mind. In fact, the mind becomes anxious and fearful of losing the riches. Instead of bestowing peace and happiness, the possessions become a burden to the mind if one does not know how to unburden oneself by getting rid of possessiveness. Possessiveness for worldly objects gets dissolved only when one develops devotion to the supreme Lord as one’s only possession.
This shloka tells us that one may possess riches and wealth, may put on costly silken head-gear or golden crown decked with costly jewels, but if his head (which is the best part of the body) does not bow before God in humility, then that well-ornamented head is only a load for the body. All the ornaments do not serve any purpose.
As long as one lives, one should engage his hands in acts of worship like plucking and cleaning flowers and Tulasi leaves or cleaning the temple shrine, putting rangoli, or serving saintly people. In doing holy and devotional acts the mind remains constantly in the thought of God. This shloka declares that hands which do not take up such worshipful acts, are useless like the hands of a dead-body, even if they are decorated with costly and shining golden ornaments.
Chanting of this shloka gives a great strength to the mind that riches and wealth are not the supreme attainments in life. Life is useless unless the mind makes every moment divine by the loving remembrance of God. Devotion to God is the greatest wealth and possession in anybody’s life, and not money or gold.
भारः (bhāra:) = burden; परं (paraṃ) = great; पट्टकिरीटजुष्टम् (patta-kirīṭajuṣṭam) = adorned with silk turban/crown; अपि (api) = even; उत्तमाङ्गं (uttamāṅgaṃ) = the upper part of the body, head; न (na) = not; नमेत् (namet) = bow down; मुकुन्दम् (mukundam) = Lord Mukunda; शावौ (śāvau) = of a dead-body; करौ (karau) = both the hands; नो (no) = and not; कुरुतः (kuruta:) = do; सपर्याम् (saparyām) = worship; हरेः (hare:) = of Lord Hari; लसत्काञ्चनकङ्कणौ (lasat-kāñcana-kaṅkaṇau) = sparkling bangles made of gold; वा (vā) = but even if;
पट्टकिरीटजुष्टं उत्तमाङ्गं परं भारः अपि, (यदि) मुकुन्दं न नमेत् । लसत्काञ्चनकङ्कणौ करौ शावौ (करौ), (यदि) वा हरेः सपर्यां नो कुरुतः ।
patta-kirīṭajuṣṭaṃ api uttamāṅgaṃ paraṃ bhāra:, (yadi) mukundaṃ na namet. Lasat-kāñcana-kaṅkaṇau karau śāvau (karau), (yadi) vā hare: saparyāṃ no kuruta:.
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