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The stories of the Lord are thrilling to listen to. Over the years we had the good fortune reading several great and poetic accounts by great sages and saints of the Lord’s earthly sojourn as RAMA. Valmiki, Tulsidas, Kamban….just to name a few.

But what if God himself were to tell his own story? The exact intentions of His actions? What if He were to dive deep into the ocean of His leelas and give you the pearls of wisdom? You would consider yourself extremely fortunate, won’t you? Well, you and me are indeed fortunate. Because, in the next few pages, we have Swami Himself speaking to us on the Ramayana! Go ahead! Enjoy!


When Rama, along with Lakshmana and Sita, was moving in the forest and talking to several Rishis, there used to be congregations where the women used to sit on one side and the Rishis used to sit on the other side and discussions used to take place. In the place where all the women were sitting, Sita also joined them. Rama and Lakshmana, because they were living in the forest and because they were wearing clothes appropriate to the forest were also looking like the Rishis. However, between the two, Rama was showing a certain amount of Divine Light.

In the place where Sita was sitting, some of the women went to her and asked: “Have you come alone or have you come along with your husband as well?” She replied that her husband too had come. With the women wanting to see and find out who her husband was, they were asking her many questions. Sita, a sacred woman given to righteous conduct all her life, would not get up when all the Rishis were present and say, “Here is my husband,” by way of introduction. She would not do that; and knowing what was passing through Sita’s mind and recognising her reluctance to get up and point to her husband, one of the women asked Sita by pointing at one of the men, “Is that person your husband?” She then replied in the negative by just nodding her head. Another woman came and asked her, “Is that person whose hair is tied up in knots your husband?” She again nodded her head in the negative. In this way, when many women came and asked Sita, pointing at the wrong person and asking the question, “Is that your husband?” she was nodding her head to indicate a negative reply. When Rama who was sitting there was actually pointed out, Sita said neither, “yes” nor “no.” She simply exhibited a significant, happy and pleasant smile.

Our Vedantha teaches us something which is exactly similar to this story. If you point at the wrong thing and if that is not the supreme reality, then you say “no.” Anything that is shown and is not the right thing should call forth the comment, “this is not that,” “this is not that,” and so on. When you put your finger on supreme reality, the Brahman, then you are in supreme bliss and happiness. Such is the nature of Vedantha that we are able to give today to you, young students, with pure and unwavering hearts. I am glad that you are attempting to acquire the good things of our culture and the teachings we are giving you.


You are also being told a few things about Maya. Just as our own shadow will always accompany us and will not separate from us, so also Maya will always accompany God and will not separate from Him. There is a very good illustration of this fact in the Ramayana. At the time Rama, accompanied by Lakshmana and Sita, was moving in the forest. The forest was a thick one and there were no wide roads and they could only follow a narrow path; the way they were walking was such that Rama was going in front, immediately behind him was Sita, and Lakshmana came behind Sita. In this way, all the three, Rama, Sita and Lakshmana were moving forward along a narrow path. In order to be able to recognise and understand this situation, you hold up your three fingers. The first finger represents Rama, God or Paramatma. The second finger immediately behind represents Sita or Maya. The last finger in this row of three, represents Lakshmana or the Jiva.

Paramatma, Maya and Jiva, these three are going along in a narrow path in the wild forest of life. After a little while, Lakshmana, whom we have symbolised as Jiva, has got the desire and the ambition to have a look at God or Paramatma. What is it that he has to do in order to fulfil his desire? There are only two ways of looking at Rama or getting his darshan. One is for Sita, who is in between, to move away a little and let Lakshmana have the darshan of Rama. Alternatively, if Sita insists on staying where she is, Lakshmana has to move aside a little. To get Sita to move away, he may have to push her out from the place where she is standing, but then he will be offending Rama. So what Lakshmana did was to pray to Sita in all humility and ask her to give him a chance of having darshan of Rama. Sita, in all her graciousness and in all her kindness, said, “Yes, certainly you can have the darshan of Rama,” and just stepped out a little. So if you get angry with Maya, and if you want to use force and your own strength on Maya and push her out of her place and then have the darshan of the Lord, you will not succeed. Maya then will play tricks with you. Not only that, God will not allow such a thing to be done. The only way, therefore, to fulfill your ambition is to recognise that Maya is the inseparable shadow of God Himself and pray in all humility and ask for an opportunity by which Maya will stand aside.


In Ramayana, we have the story of Hanuman. He sets an example to all of us by the manner in which he conducts himself. When he comes close to Rama, he shows extreme humility and respect. What is the reason for Hanuman exhibiting such humility in the presence of Rama? The reason for such behaviour lies in the description of ‘Ramo Vigrahavan Dharmaha’ of Rama. Rama is the embodiment of dharma and therefore in the presence of dharma, he shows humility. The same Hanuman, when he went to Lanka, had put himself on a pedestal higher than that of Ravana, because Ravana asked him to squat on the floor like a monkey. The reason for this is that while in the presence of dharma, Hanuman is humble and obedient but in the presence of a boasting king he would not show any humility. In the same manner, you should bow down to dharma, and show respect to teachers and elders. On the other hand you should show courage and prudence when placed in a predicament which is adharmic. Even then, you should not take to anarchic methods.


When Rama was going to the forest, he told Sita to stay back and serve his parents. He said that he would come back in fourteen years. But Sita gave up all her comforts to accompany Rama to the forest. Because she sacrificed everything, she could have the company of Rama. What is the reason? Sita thought, believed and put into practice the ideal that to a wife, her husband is of utmost importance. This is the essence of the culture of our land.

However, the enticement of Maya at times is irresistible. In the forest, it so happened that Sita was attracted by the golden deer, although she gave up much more valuable things earlier in life. Rama went after the golden deer to secure it for her. The final result was that Sita had to leave Rama and go away. Sita had to lose the sacred company of her husband, and she was taken away to Lanka. It implies that when she gave up kama, or lust, Rama was near her; but the moment she was attracted by the desires, Rama became distant from her. If you want Rama to be with you, kama has to be given up. If you have worldly desires, then Rama will not be near you. You have to choose between Rama or Kama, that is, either you cling to God or to his Maya.


During all the years of his service to Sita and Rama, Lakshmana was sitting at their feet and did not even look closely at Sita’s face. When Sita was being carried away by Ravana over the Chitrakoota Mountain, she dropped several of her jewels so that people could find them and convey the news to Rama. When Rama and Lakshmana became friendly with Sugriva, he brought the jewels, which his followers had gathered and showed them to Rama. At that time Rama asked Lakshmana if he could recognise the jewels. Lakshmana said that while he could not recognise the other jewels, he could certainly recognise those which Sita wore on her feet. When Rama asked how he could recognise these, Lakshmana replied that every morning he used to go and touch her feet; hence he was quite familiar with them.

Lakshmana was looking at the wife of his brother as his own mother and was looking only at her feet. He never looked at her face. Lakshmana would always bend his head low if he found some other woman coming in front of him. Lakshmana was a person of exemplary character. The vision and the eyes of the young people today do not bend even if we bend them by force. If they use their vision for unsacred purposes, disturbance of the mind will surely follow. The first important sadhana is to control our vision. Lakshmana had such sacred thoughts and mind. If only he is taken as an ideal example and we follow him, there will be no doubt of our own elevation.


OysterAs soon as Rama, Lakshmana and Sita arrived, Bharatha prostrated before them and, as a result of his being overjoyed, he went and embraced his brother Rama and felt exceedingly happy. He made his brother Rama sit in the chariot and he himself was leading the chariot. When Rama was sitting in that chariot and Bharatha was leading the chariot through the streets of Ayodhya, the citizens of Ayodhya could not distinguish between Bharatha and Rama. The reason for this was that Bharatha was also wearing his clothes and his hair was like Ramachandra. Moreover, the brilliance in Ramachandra’s face was exactly the same as the brilliance in Bharatha’s face. Their bodies were different but their ideas, their thoughts and their views were identical. Bharatha was continually thinking and uttering the name of Rama. Consequently, Rama’s form and Rama’s brilliance entered Bharatha’s body.

That is why it is said “Brahma vid Brahmaiva bhavathi.” One who has the knowledge of Brahman will become identical with Brahman. As he was continuously thinking of Rama, he was transformed into Rama. Citizens who came to garland Rama could not recognise who was Rama and who was Bharatha. They put all the garlands on Bharatha thinking that he was Rama.

ADHYATMA RAMAYANA, The spiritual essence of the Rama Story

Man has got five working organs and five sensory organs. Altogether he has got ten indriyas, and Dasaratha literally means the human body which has got five working organs and five sensory organs. Dasaratha symbolises this chariot of the human body which has got ten organs. Dasaratha also attracted three gunas in the form of Kausalya, Sumitra and Kaikeyi. The four Purusharthas: dharma, artha, kama and moksha are symbolised by Dasaratha’s four sons. Dasaratha was one who proclaimed such a significant inner meaning to the world and urged the people to lead an ideal life.

Sita is the daughter of the king of Mithilapura whose name was Videha. Videha means one who has no body or one who has no consciousness of his human body. The capital of Dasaratha was Ayodhya. Ayodhya means a city into which enemies cannot enter. Dasaratha had such noble qualities and ideals that he was carrying on the rule of his country in an exemplary manner. Sita can be identified with wisdom, and Sita marries Rama or becomes one with Rama who is dharma. When wisdom comes together with dharma, in the ordinary course, such a good event will meet with some obstacles. It is customary and quite natural that every good thing is met with by some obstacles. As I state often, pleasure is only an interval between two pains. If there is no pain at all, there is no value for pleasure. Sita is the embodiment of wisdom and she had been taken away by Ravana, who symbolises selfishness and ego.

If one wants his little wisdom to disappear, all that one has to do is to promote his selfishness, jealousy and ego. Ravana symbolises selfishness, jealousy and ego. To make a search for Sita, who had been taken away by the bad qualities, selfishness, jealousy and ego, Rama, in the form of dharma, along with the other Purusharthas, i.e., artha, kama and moksha, makes a journey. Here Lakshmana is to be identified with the mind. We should notice that Rama, the embodiment of dharma, combines with Lakshmana, who is identified as mind, and goes to the forest, which signifies life. In that forest of life, Rama searches for wisdom in the form of Sita. In this context, there is an argument between the two brothers Vali and Sugriva. Sugriva can be compared to the ability to distinguish between right and wrong. Here the inability or the weakness which is called dhirathwa has been destroyed in the form of Vali; and Sugriva, who symbolises the ability to distinguish between right and wrong, comes out victorious. Along with Sugriva, who symbolises viveka, or the ability to distinguish right from wrong, we have Hanuman. The combination of Sugriva and Hanuman is like the combination of viveka and courage. The viveka and courage went together in search of Sita, the wisdom. They meet with one obstacle in the form of an ocean of moha. Thus the ocean of moha had to be crossed and this crossing was effected with the help of courage in the form of Hanuman.

After crossing the ocean, they encounter the three gunas: the rajas, thamas and sathwa on the opposite bank of the ocean. They are Ravana, Kumbha-karna and Vibhishana representing the three gunas respectively. The rajas and the thamas, Ravana and Kumbhakarna, were removed from the scene and finally the sathwa Guna gets the upper hand in the form of Vibhishana. He has been crowned the king. After making Vibhishana the king of Lanka, Rama has the vision of wisdom born out of experience, in the person of Sita. Rama, prior to finding Sita, could be called a Brahmajnani but when he found Sita, symbolising the knowledge of experience, there is a reunion of the knowledge of experience with the pure Brahma Jnana, and the culmination was the coronation, the story which we called Sahasrartha Ramayana. This description which has now been given can also be called Adhyatma Ramayana. It is only when we can understand this interpretation of Adhyatma Ramayana, there is some benefit for us and a possibility of the realisation of the nature of Atma. If we keep on thinking of Ramayana in the human form of a king Dasaratha, a son Rama and look only superficially, how can we know the real significance?


Lakshmana, Bharatha and Satrughna one day went to Sita and made a complaint and said that Hanuman was with Rama all the twenty-four hours, and that he is not giving them any opportunity for doing service to Rama. They requested her to arrange that whatever services have to be done to Rama, be distributed equitably amongst them. Then they made a long list of services to be rendered to Rama from the morning till the next morning. They also prayed to Sita that all these services be approved by Rama. Rama looked at the list and approved all the services and suggested that they be distributed amongst themselves. He suggested that they go and tell Hanuman that nothing is left so far as Hanuman is concerned. When these brothers met Hanuman, they told him that the entire list of services has been drawn up and that they were distributed amongst themselves. They said that no service was left for him and that he would have nothing to do from the next day.

Hanuman thought for a little and thought of the name of Lord Rama and then he asked Lakshmana that if any other service was left over, it may be allotted to him. The three brothers looked at the list very carefully and came to the conclusion that nothing was left. They agreed that if anything is left, Hanuman may take the service. Hanuman said, there was one service, which was left over and he requested that this be given to him. When kings or elders or wealthy people yawn, at that time it was customary to make a noise with the fingers in front of the mouth. Hanuman asked that this service be allotted to him. From that time, Hanuman insisted that wherever Rama went, whether it is in his bedroom or in the bathroom, Hanuman must be present. Thus he insisted, because one does not know when Rama would yawn. When Rama yawned, he should be present there. Thus, it so turned out that the little service which was left to Hanuman necessitated his continuous presence and made Hanuman stay close to Rama always.

What we should see here is that in spite of all the attempts made by Lakshmana, Bharatha and Satrughna not to leave any service for Hanuman, it is the sacredness of Hanuman that has resulted in his getting a service by which he could be with Rama at all times. No one can separate a real devotee present from his Lord.


Once upon a time Hanuman met Vibhisana. Vibhisana conveyed his anguish to Hanuman. "Hanuman, how fortunate you are. I am constantly thinking of Rama, but I have failed in getting Rama's darshan. From the moment I wake up, throughout the day, till I go to bed I chant Rama's name incessantly. But I have not been able to see Rama." Hanuman replied, "Vibhisana, you are merely uttering Rama's name by mouth. But you do not participate in his work and mission. It is not sufficient if you chant Lord's name. But you should contribute in his work. It is ten months since Sita has come to Lanka. Have you made any efforts to free Sita? Rama's name can be compared to current and participation in His service is compared to a bulb. Name is the current; service is the bulb. You can attain Divinity only when you combine chanting of Lord's name with participation in His service."


Volume - 2 Issue - 6 Radiosai Journal - PSN 2004