About the Book:
Dahavali contains 573 Dohas (couplets) based on dharma and morality. Dharma is a corollary of religion and morality is a corollary of dharma. All religions enjoin moral codes of living for human beings. Tulsidas commences Dahavali by reiterating his faith in Saguna Rama, designating him to be the Divine Author of Morality. He describes Illusions and emotions of earthly life. He compares the Glory of Love to the chaatak bird's legendary unswerving devotion to a few drops of autumun's rain to allay its thirst. In this background of religion and dharma, Tulsidas enumerates specific moral qualities relevant to social life, individual behaviours and collective moralities concerning responsibilities of the state towards its citizens and duties of citizens to the state. The work concludes with a short epilogue.
About the Author:
Shri S.P. Bahadur was born on 19th July, 1926. He studied at the La Martinere College, Lucknow, Universities of Lucknow and Rooree. He visited Australia under Columbo Plan and retired as Chief Engineer, Irrigation Department, Uttar Pradesh in 1984. Born in a family devoted to the Rama tradition he received blessings and guidance in studies of Rama theology from his maternal uncle Mahatma Anjaninandan Sharan of Ayodhya, himself the author of exhaustive commentaries in Hindi of all literary works of Tulsidass published by Gita Press.
Dohavali of Go swami Tulsidas is an anthology of verses on morality based on dharma. Recognition of dharma as a separate entity from religion is a unique aspect of Hindu spiritual thought. Religion is the belief of a Supreme Being controlling the Universe and life contained in it. The means of attaining Knowledge or Bliss of the Supreme Being is religious belief (pantha). Broadly, Hindu religion postulates three paths (marga) of jnana, karma and bhakti to attain this objective. Dharma is the formula- tion of parameters of living which are based on precepts contained in religion. Dharma, in turn, provides guidelines for moralities. Because Hindu religion recognises three main recourses of religious beliefs: knowledge, actions and devotion, the parameters of living (dharma) and moralities (acharana) are also based on these recourses. Moralities, therefore, include the understanding of Divine Phenomenon (jnana) as the basis of living, and interaction between human beings (karma) in a manner which fulfils Divine Intent (bhakti).
Tulsidas was a steadfast devotee of Rama and all his works are devoted to songs on the earthly deeds of the Divine Visitor in the Form of Rama. In Dohavali also Tulsidas builds the edifice of verses on dharma and morality from material drawn from the story of the deeds of Rama recounted by him in Ramacharitmanasa. The Introductory verses are addressed to the Glory of Rama to lay the foundation of dharma for the exposition of his verses on moralities. When the context so required, he took verses from Ramacharitmanasa for Dohavali.
The Introduction to this translation contains an outline of the structure of the work. Appraisals have been made of Tulsi's viewpoints on dharma, the world and its Illusions; his concepts of Devotion and moralities: social, individual and collective. The translation of the work is followed by brief Explanatory Notes on some verses (marked by an asterisk in the text). A Glossary of Indian terms and characters appearing in the work has been given. The translation is based on verses contained in the Gita Press version. Serial order of a few verses has been changed to suit grouping of topics. Details of changes are given in Appendices.
Even as wisdom is the proof of knowledge, morality is the proof of dharma. Religion, rituals, worship and penances are in vain if human conduct disregards human values. One cannot love God nor earn His love if one does not love His creation which is dear to Him as proclaimed by the Lord Himself. Tulsidas underscores this fundamental aspect 0f dharma in verses of Dohavali. He does not preach renunciation nor absence of emotions. He discourses on various aspects of life on earth: its delights and pleasures, its trials and tribulations, its endearing relation- ships as well as its ruthless exploitations. But in all circumstances of life he insists that dharma and morality must not be compromised. He narrates vicissitudes in the course of his own life:
At every door who begged for food now gets respect from might kings Tulsi had then lacked Rama's support, now Rama to Tulsi honour brings.
From the begging bowl to respect in courts of kings was an experience of human relationships in the entire spectrum of life. With his intimate communion both with Divinity and humanity, none could be bette equipped than Tulsidas to guide human beings in dharma and morality Dohavali is therefore worthy of study.
Dohavali: An Anthology of Ethics
These Dohas in whose heart abide, like light in home from jewelled lamp, Attachment's darkness, night like fear, Kaliyuga's grim passions cannot damp.'
Dohavali is ranked as one of the major works of Goswami Tulsidas. This beautiful anthology of Dohas and Sorthas' or two lined verses, composed in A vadhi bhasha, is a shining star in the galaxy of the great poet's literary works, of which his Ramacharitmanasa is the dazzling moon. It is usual for many great works of genius to pale before the grandeur of the one which makes their name immortal. So it is for Tulsidas. He wrote nothing that was insignificant or not marked with the aura of genius. But so radiant is the glory of the poet's Ramacharitmanasa, and so fathomless the wisdom and love for the Lord contained in it, that Tulsi's readers spend a lifetime's effort in repeated readings of his inspired work. His other compositions therefore become secondary only due to the greatness of his greatest work. If Tulsi had not written the Ramayana (Ramacharitmanasa), he would perhaps not have been hailed as an apostle of the Lord; but he would still be acclaimed as one of the most dedicated devotees of Rama and he would have found place amongst the world's greatest poets of Divine Love and earthly wisdom for having composed works of magnificent brilliance.
In Dohavali, Tulsi, the great sage of the people, aimed at proclaiming a living faith of virtuous life based on morality inspired by dharma. He sought to show human beings a way to end vice in the age of Kaliyuga while they lived in worldly ways. He wanted to convince humanity that the Compassionate Lord would bestow peace and welfare of Rama-Rajya upon the world of His creation, provided human beings hearkened to the word of God, lived their lives abiding by laws of morality and in peace with their fellowmen on earth.
Tulsidas drew upon his vast knowledge of Vedas, Puranas and Shastras to compose his verses on morality. While he quotes examples from earlier Incarnations of Vishnu and the Deeds of Krishna to underscore the relevance of his verses, he refers extensively to the Deeds of his beloved Lord Rama. The story of Rama is well known; however the main events of the story are briefly outlined. King Dashratha had four sons: Rama, born to Kaushalya, Bharat to Kaikeyi, Lakshmana and Satrughan to Sumitra While yet young, Rama and Lakshmana went with Vishwamitra to his ashram to guard his yajna, which was being defiled by demons. After fulfilling his mission, Rama redeemed Ahalya, wife of Gautam who had turned her into an image of stone. He then went to Janakapur where he broke Shiva's bow while stringing it, much to the wrath of Parashurama. Thus fulfilling Janaka's vow, Rama was married to Sita, daughter of King Janaka. Dashratha wished to coronate Rama as Crown Prince but he was thwarted in his desires by Kaikeyi, misguided by her maid Manthra. She obtained banishment of Rama and coronation of her own son Bharat as two boons from the king. Rama along with his wife Sita and brother Lakshman left Ayodhya and the grief-stricken king died. Bharat refused the king dom's crown and went to Chitrakoot to request Rama to return to Ayodhy as its king. Rama declined and Bharat returned to Ayodhya to await the end of Rama's exile.
Rama's journey in the forests took him to Panchavati in the Dandak woods. Surpanakha, sister of Ravana, king of Lanka, fell in love with Rama but when she failed to entice him, she assumed a hideous form to terrify Sita. Lakshmana deftly cut off her nose and ears and Surpanakh went to her cousins Khara and Dushana to avenge the insult she had suffered. Rama killed both Khara and Dushana in a grim battle. Surpanakha then went to Lanka and complained to Ravana. The demon king went to Panchavati with Maricha, who transformed himself into a golden deer and drew Rama away deep into the forest, as he hunted for its skin. Sita sent Lakshmana to Rama's assistance and when she was alone, Ravana took her captive to his island kingdom of Lanka.
Rama and Lakshmana left Panchavati to search for Sita. They met Jatayu who had challenged Ravana as he flew with Sita. The brothers travelled southwards and they met Hanuman and Sugriva whose brother Bali had driven them out from Kishkindha. Rama helped Sugriva and Bali was killed. Hanuman was sent to search for Sita and when he brought news of her captivity in Lanka, Rama and vanar armies marched to free Sita He was joined by Vibhishana, brother of Ravana. Ravana rejected negotiation for peace by Rama's envoy Angad, son of Bali. Thereupon war was declared and in one of the grimmest war fought, Ravana was killed by Rama and Sita reclaimed. The period of Rama's exile was over and he returned to Ayodhya where he was coronated king.
In Tulsi's viewpoint morality was thus a more significant aspect of human life than religion itself. Morality was, according to him the outcome, the result and purpose of dharma. It was in fact the aspect of a human being's integrity of conscience and deportment in the journey of his life which determined his success 'or failure in living as the Creator wanted him to dwell in the world.
It is this practical aspect of Tulsi's viewpoint that has appealed to mankind and has made the great saint's name immortal. Rarely has an apostle of the Lord sought as steadfastly to enunciate moral conduct as the more significant complement of religion. Moral qualities are admittedly inseparable adjuncts of dharma and religious doctrines contain basic features of moral values. In this respect Tulsi sought to say nothing which had not been discoursed upon more learnedly and philosophically in Vedas, Upanishads and all the rich heritage of Hindu religious thought. But never have moral laws been enunciated with such forthright simpli- city and yet so intimately based on dharma as in the musical verses of Tulsi's Dohavali. The poet saint sets forth the essence of his own experiences of peace which he had derived from devotion in his Lord and the infinite Mercy Rama had bestowed upon him. He expounds his concepts of moral values and sings of devotion, knowledge, renunciation, love and gentility, not only as precepts of Divinity, but as a practical way of life in Kaliyuga. The great poet's discourses on ethics and moralities are as exhaustive as they are brilliant. He composed his verses boldly and fearlessly, sparing neither errant sovereigns nor tyranny in administration or religion. In his simple and beautiful verses he has brought virtue and divine precept within comprehension of the common man.
The Relation Between Morality and Religion In Tulsi's concept, laws of morality and ethics are as eternal as dharma itself. Through millions of years of human existence in which modes of living have undergone spectacular changes, moral and ethical laws have remained fundamentally the same as they were first enunciated by the Lord and were discoursed upon by His apostles.
Dharma and morality are inextricably interlinked. Religion cannot exist without morality as enjoined by religion. Both are of Divine order: religion channelising mental faculties towards realisation of Glory of the Creator and morality spelling out codes of conduct for applying precepts religion to Creation. Morality and ethics are thus earthly aspects of Divine Intent. The science of morality stipulates codes of conduct for peaceful coexistence in all creation. It embraces individual as well as collective relationships between equals, superiors and subordinates; communities, kings and peoples, and humanity as a whole. Thus, laws of ethics may be grouped as:
(a) Social moralities: meaning whereby moral laws concerning char- acter of an individual in relation to society;
(b) Individual moralities: which comprise character of an individual in regard to the course of his own life; and
(c) Collective moralities: which include objective duties and contri- butions to society by individuals to assist general human activity.
The science of ethics is complicated by varying values assigned to concepts of virtuous living and complexity of human natures to which laws of morality are applicable. A wise and celebrated aphorism sums up moral laws in a single verse: 'Vyasa has said but two things in the whole of the eighteen Puranas. Doing good to another is right; causing injury to another is wrong'. Yet there are millions of ways in which right or wrong may be done. More importantly, in the incomprehensible course of life on earth, there are many occasions on which Wrong appears tantalisingly camouflaged as Right. Conversely, Right accompanied with unbearable suffering, bewilders human understanding and appears to be Wrong. It is therefore necessary to know the Laws of Morality in regard to their definition of Right and Wrong to enable human beings to abide by codes of righteousness.
Broadly, there are three principal means by which mankind has sought an understanding of Right and Wrong. Firstly, by way of intuition, which depends upon discernment by the conscience; secondly, according to the principle of Utilitarianism, implying that what brings the greatest good to the greatest number is Right and that which brings suffering or pain to the greatest number is Wrong; and thirdly, as a corollary of dharma.
The first, that is Conscience, is of commonest application resulting from the logical hypothesis: 'The conscience instinctively condemns vice and approves of virtue'. Its limitation however is the extent of experience of the conscience in subtleties of vice and demands of selflessness for perpetuation of virtue. Obviously also, conscientious judgment is individ- ual in nature and is not of universal authority.
The second, that is, the Utilitarian approach enjoining the greatest good of the greatest number, pertains to collective relationships and to communities. In its basic principle it falls short of perfection in its objective because the minority also being a part of the whole, 'the greatest number' does not signify all humanity.
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