Rama then and now…The Divine in human vesture
Recapitulating Lord Rama's exemplary virtuous expeditions…
Righteous living has been the guiding light of Bharat’s great cultural heritage and spiritual evolution. The spiritual backbone of this God’s Own Country’s great cultural tradition has the supreme persona whose unmatched splendour and Divine aura coupled with exemplary righteous exploits had made Him the epitome of man’s greatest virtue…Righteousness. Rama lived a most exemplary, idealistic life manifesting the model par-excellence for the generations to come, spanning aeons…As was Rama then…so is Rama now, for the splendour and glory of Lord Rama was not of any mortal substance, rather it was His resplendent Divine aura that had immortalised Him in the hearts of mankind, transcending the barriers of space and time.
The Rama Path…Live the Ramayana
The sage of Tretha Yuga, Valmiki (born of the anthill) asked the Divine Sage Narada, Is there one in human vesture, a person in this whole visible world, who is replete with the auspicious qualities, is valorous, knows the code of righteous behaviour, is conscious of the obligations and grateful to all help rendered, truthful of word, of firm resolve, of impeccable conduct, is empethetic with the entrie creation, replete with knowledge and capable of action, who is of a loving vision towards all, knowing his own self, has conquered anger, of self control and is devoid of envy…Oh Divine Sage Narada, is there one such, I would like to know? …and the Sage replied: Many are the auspicious qualities asked by you and indeed there is one such and he is famous in the world by the name of Rama, son of Dasaratha and thus was the story of Rama, the Ramayana, written by Sage Valmiki.
The Ramayana proclaims, “‘Ramo vigrahavan dharmah” meaning, Rama is the embodiment of dharma. Bhagawan, while discoursing about the lofty ideals and virtuous life that Rama had set during His earthly sojourn, has quoted this appraisal, Valmiki’s word of adoration on Lord Rama many a time depicting Him as the epitome of Dharma …And Ramayana’s role in upholding the Dharmic culture and heritage of the land of Bharat had also been aptly ramarked and confirmed by Him. He said: “The Ramayana story illustrates the greatness and sacredness of this (Bharatiya) culture. The Ramayana is not merely a story of Rama. Rama + Ayana is Ramayana. Ayana means Path. The inner meaning of Ramayana is that the path shown by Rama should be followed.”
What is Dharma? "Dhaarayiti iti Dharmah" …Dharma is that which sustains the world, that which upholds the world. Every object in the world has got certain unique qualities. The quality that is the vital essence of the object reveals its Dharma… for man the quality of Ananda that flows from his heart is his inherent Dharma. But man today, for the sake of external achievements, forgets this inherent nature. For all, whether they are educated or not, there is one common Dharma: They should extend to others the same honour and regard which they expect others to show towards them so that they may feel happy. We should not do to others anything which if others do to us will cause pain and unhappiness to us.
How do we live Ramayana?
Bhagawan says: “The Rama principle is laden with many secrets. The Rama story is of exemplary excellence ethically, spiritually and materially as well. The story of Rama teaches us how a man should live in the world and conduct himself in the family as well as in the society. It also teaches how one should retain one’s individuality and shape one’s personality.”
“The principle of Rama is most sacred, sublime and glorious. There is nothing in the world which cannot be achieved by cultivating the Rama Tathwa. Though thousands of years have elapsed since the Advent of Rama, the Rama Principle is ever fresh, ever new and embraces infinitude itself. The Rama Principle is contained in the smallest of the samll and the largest of the large. The Principle of Rama is not confined to name and form. It is a transcendental principle that transcends time itself. The Rama Principle lives as eternally blooming, blossoming and bursting forth. Students will understand the real nature of humanity by realising the Rama Principle.”
A potential weapon of Bhagawan, His Divine Discourses, spelling dictates enlightening man on the path to understand the basic tenets of his life sojourn, thus to carry on transforming himself to Divine have touched the Divine Life and sacred teachings of Lord Rama many a time, quoting most exemplary instances conferring the bliss of hearing His story from Him alone…unravelling snippets of occurences with morals leading to the bottomline.
The Potency of Rama Nama…
“The Ramayana contains thousands of Slokas. As it was not possible to remember all the Slokas of the Ramayana, the sages recommended the chanting of the Name of Rama. When a disciples of Vasishta asked him what Divine Name to chant, the sage replied, “It is enough if you chant the Name ‘Rama’. The Name of Rama will make you free from Raga (attachment) and Roga (disease)”. As I often tell the students, the name Rama has two syllables, ‘Ra’ and ‘ma’. These two powerful syllables are derived from the names of Vishnu and Shiva. The syllable ‘Ra’ comes from the Ashtakshari (eight syllabled) Mantra ‘Om Namo Narayanaya’. It is the life-breath of the Ashtakshari Mantra. Similarly, ‘ma’ is the very soul of the Panchakshari (five lettered) Mantra ‘Om Namah Shivaya’. The Astakshari Mantra ‘Om Namo Narayanaya’ and the Panchakshari Mantra ‘Om Namah Sivaya’ become meaningless when ‘ra’ and ‘ma’ are respectively removed from the words of these Mantras. Without ‘ra’ the Ashtakshari Mantra becomes ‘Om Namo Nayanaya’ which is meaningless. In the same way, the Panchakshari Mantra without ‘ma’ becomes ‘Om Nah Sivaya’ which is inauspicious. The Name Rama is the life-breath of both the Vaisanavites and Saivites (worshippers of Vishnu and Siva).”
He writes His own Story…
There were instances wherein Bhagawan has mentioned that those who were living in the present age, being contemporaries of Sathya Sai, knowing His Divinity were much luckier than those who had lived during the past incarnations… and what greater luck one could have expected than God narrating His own story, in His own lucid, inimitable style uncensored by human logic?
Rama Katha Rasa Vahini is indeed a Recall of the Divine Drama that was enacted aeons ago, in the Treta Yuga during Lord Rama’s earthly sojourn, brought out in black and white by the Divine Hands of Bhagawan Sri Sathya Sai Baba. This masterpiece in original Telugu was published in Sanathana Sarathi from 1970 takes a subtle look into the contents of this ‘Ramayana’ would definitely highlight the minutest details in the life of Lord Rama narrated with pulsating passion and lively sentiments…truly, God has done His autobiography… ‘Rama’ was written by Sai Rama…
The Name 'Rama' is the essence of the Vedas; the Story of Rama is an Ocean of Milk, pure and potent. It can be asserted that no poem of equal grandeur and beauty has emerged from other languages or, from any other country, until this very day. It has provided inner inspiration to the poetic imagination of every language and country. It is the greatest treasure inherited by his good fortune by every Indian.
The epic Ramayana has been the living warp and woof of Bharat’s rich cultural fabric. It has been the practice in every Hindu home to recite this sacred text reverentially during the holy period of Ramayana month…But, how sincere are we in emulating these sacred teachingss in our daily life? How insightfully have we studied it to understand the inscrutables that come our way? …or does it degrade to the level of mere adding to our data bank? Bhagawan says: “…people do not realise that the fruitful study of history must enrich life and make it meaningful and worthwhile, rather than cater to the greed for paltry facts and ideas. Their validity and value lie deep within the facts and fertilise them, like a subterranean flow of water. Wear the glasses of Bhakthi (reverent adoration) and Sraddha (steady dedication); then, the eye will endow you with the pure Wisdom that liberates and grants eternal Bliss.”
“The Ramayana, the epic that deals with the story of the Rama Incarnation, is a sacred text that is reverently recited systematically, by people of all varieties of intellectual equipment, the scholar as well as the ignoramus, the millionaire as well as the pauper. The Name that the Ramayana glorifies cleanses all evil; it transforms the sinner; it reveals the Form that the Name represents, the form that is as charming as the Name itself.”
Prof. G. Venkataraman, former Vice Chancellor of Sri Sathya Sai University, rightly observed in his prologue to the book, Summer Showers in Brindavan 1996 that had the central theme “Ramayana”…”Swami’s discourses are always nectarous but sweeter it is when the Lord talks about His own incarnations. In the Summer Course of 1996, Ramayana was the anchor around which Bhagawan developed His exhortations. The Ramayana is no doubt familiar to all of us but Ramayana as told by Baba has revelations hitherto not made and nuances hitherto not discussed.” This remark is more than fitting to the brilliant life-tale of Lord Rama, Rama Katha Rasa Vahini also…
How Ramayana should be read?
In Treta the magnanimous Lord staged the Divine Drama called Ramayana, in all its subtle innate significance…and now aeons after, the same Lord comes and explains in eloquent, nectarous flow, the story of the same life, with pulsating passion and lively sentiments, in minutest detail highlighting the subtleties. Lord’s maganimity and love remains the same… As was Rama then…so is Rama now…During the 1996 Summer Course, Bhagwan has said: “Many people are ignorant of the inner significance of the Rama story. I shall explain to you in due course the subtleties contained in the Ramayana and the deep significance of words like Rama, Lakshmana, Sita and Bharata, Shatrughna etc. You will have the full assessment of Ramayana only after knowing the subtle truths contained in it.”
“The Ramayana has to be read, not as the record of a human career, but as the narrative of the Advent and Activities of an Avatar (Incarnation of God). Man must endeavour with determination to realise in his own life experience the ideals revealed in that narrative. God is all‑knowing, all‑pervasive, all‑powerful. The words that He utters while embodied in the human form, the acts that He deigns to indulge in during that earthly sojourn, these are inscrutable and extra-ordinarily significant. The precious springs of His Message mark out the path of deliverance for mankind. Do not look upon Rama as a scion of the Solar Dynasty, or as the sovereign of the kingdom of Ayodhya, or as the princely son of Emperor Dasaratha. Those correlations are but accessory and accidental. This error has become habitual to modern readers; they pay attention only to the personal relationships and affiliations between the characters of the story they read about; they do not delve into the values they represent and demonstrate.”
“…The story of Rama is sacred, ideal, nectarous and blissful. Love Rama, and through Love, realise Him. Be one with Him. That is true Liberation.”
Virtues vs. Bookish Knowledge
Bhagawan says: “…It is virtues that lend greatness to any person. Rama shines in the Ramayana because of His sterling virtues. Virtues are more important than bookish learning.” “….. Observing the good and bad in the world, the students should develop discrimination to choose the former. They should strive hard to cultivate virtues. Right from early age, they should inculcate good qualities and develop good character. Wherever you go, character is of utmost importance. When the students develop good character, the entire country will become good and great.
As the sea is the source of all the waters on earth, all beings are born from Rama. A sea sans water is unreal; a being sans Rama is without existence, now or ever…wrote Bhagawan glorifying the Lord of Treta Age. Rama and Ramarajya were the two benchmarks set by the lore with exalted, phenomenal standards for the human to peak and then to break into the illustrious world of Gods…of highest Spiritual Wisdom. Man has to explore into this exemplary, virtuous Divine Life of Lord Rama, to taste the unmatched nectarous Divine, and thus to idealise his life emulating Him to qualify himself to the illustrious band of immortals.
…indeed His story continues to enthrall a major chunk of world population…with Rama epitomizing as the Perfect Being!!!
…he did not want to miss His Darshan!
…as told by Bhagawan…
The Rishis depicted Rama as an ideal man, though they knew that He was an Avatar of Vishnu come to save mankind, including themselves. They subordinated the Divine aspect and highlighted the human aspect, so that He may serve as a model to inspire man. Each of the Rishis who dwelt in the forest through which He passed knew the Avatar but they did not reveal it since the purpose of the incarnation was the destruction of the Rakshasas (demons). Sarabhanga, one of these Rishis, was invited by Indra, the king of gods, to accompany him to heaven. But he declined the offer, for, he said, Rama was about to pass through the forest and he did not want to miss His Darshan!
Sarabhanga declined the golden offer of Indra to become a denizen in his court, an exalted status, for, he knew that a mere glimpse of Lord Rama would confer the highest benefit, of unmatched prospect…Do we realise this Truth when Lord Sai Rama lavishing His mercy upon us in multifaceted ways? Sri Rama Navami should enlighten us on the unequivocal significance of Rama Principle, enriching our life sojourn following the life and ideals of Lord Rama.