The night was frighteningly dark, and the thunder in the sky was enough to send shivers down the spines of the bravest. Tulsiram considered his options. His wife, Ratnavali, had gone to her father’s house in the neighbouring village. However, he had no idea what all acts the desires rising in one’s mind can propel one to perform. The dark, mysterious and dangerous night didn’t have the strength to dilute the passion that brewed in him. At that moment, the desperation to meet her was intense.
The river that Tulsiram needed to cross was brimming, and dangerous waves made it difficult for boats to ply. There was no way he could reach the other end until the storm subsided. But the same desire that led him to the riverfront despite the storm egged him to jump into the river.
However, the tides were stronger and difficult to wade through. That’s when he spotted a floating corpse. Clutching it, Tulsiram floated along as the corpse flowed with the tide. Before long, he found himself on the other side. He ran towards his in-law’s house.
Despite the darkness, he managed to reach his in-law’s house. Nevertheless, there was a problem. Banging the door at this unseemly hour would seem odd. He knew his wife would be sleeping in the guest room on the upper floor. He looked around for a rope or a tree branch to help him climb up. Just then, he saw a snake slithering up the wall, with its upper body coiling on to a railing on the terrace. He caught its tail and climbed up.
Ratnavali was excited about finding him there but was flabbergasted to know what all he did to reach her. She immediately knew it wasn’t love but desire that led him through such perils. She reprimanded him: ‘If only you had such deep longing for Ram, you would reach the highest levels humans can.’ Like it did to Valmiki thousands of years ago, a seemingly insignificant incident transformed Tulsiram into Tulsidas—an eternal servant to Ram.
There are two clear learnings from this story. One is that the best of philosophies can come from unexpected quarters. Two, we’re stuck in a maze of desires, and it’s up to us to move towards the higher forces. It’s time we embarked on this quest—a voyage from cravings to consciousness, from trishna to Krishna, from kaam to Ram.
We’re stuck in a maze of desires and it’s up to us to move towards the higher forces—from trishna to Krishna, from kaam to Ram.