[Advaita-l] Sundara Ramayana

Kuntimaddi Sadananda ksadananda108 at gmail.com
Wed Aug 4 11:35:31 CDT 2010

PraNAms to all- Just returned from 2010 Mahasamadhi camp of Chinmaya
Mission in LA. This is the 17th camp after Pujya Swami Chinmayanandaji
left the body to merge with Brahman. Swami Tejomayandaji took Ramayana
under the title Sundara Ramayana with pravachana on the beauty or
soudaryam of Sri Rama and Ramayana with melodious singing. It was a
treat to the wandering mind to be with Guruji and with Sri Rama. I was
overwhelmed by the beautiful depiction of Shree Ram. I felt I was
indeed blessed to be in that August presence.

As with my habit, I will present my reflections based on Guruji's
talks for those who are interested - This is only the reflection by a
feeble mind- the reflection looks pale in the beauty that was
presented. For those who are interested the audio and or video tapes
on Ramayana by swami Tejomayanandaji are available with Chinmaya
Mission publication division.

Ramayana kathaa brings the emotional mind to align with the intellect
and as Gurudev swami Chinmayanandaji used to say - we need both the
mind and intellect as two wings of the bird to fly towards the highest
pinnacle of life; Sri RAM.

Hari Om!
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Ramayana Soundaryam

Soudaryam means beauty. What do we mean by beauty? When do we say that
something is beautiful? To start with, when an object appeals to our
eyes, we say it is beautiful. Beauty is that X-factor that makes us
admire, that which makes the object to stand out from its
surroundings, that which is esthetically appealing to our vision, that
which seems to have a perfection, an order or a structure. For
example, not many people can appreciate the modern art, where deeper
thinking may be required to appreciate the message depicted by the
artist – which has more appealing to the intellect than the mind. In
contrast, a beautiful object appeals immediately to our emotions.
Subsequently, we may also admire intellectually the creator of that
beauty and appreciate the intelligence behind that creation.
Soundaryam or beauty has immediate mental or emotional appreciation,
as our experience shows. Beauty is that which melts our hearts and
fills our heart with noble sentiments. For example, when we see the
beautiful flower that is in full blossom with all its fragrance, which
is radiating with the brilliant colors and textures, our vision gets
arrested, at least for few seconds. In those moments of admiration, we
forget the rest of the world, and we even forget ourselves since there
is no other thought that arises, other than emotional identity with
that beauty. The mind itself becomes silent, with no words to express
or verbalize it – other than some meaningless mantras – Oh!, Wah!, or
What a beauty!, etc. The intellect may step in later with some
critical analysis involving comparisons and contrasts with the things
that were seen in the past, with gradations in the scale of beauty,
with a desire to own it, or to be proud of it if it is already owned,
or to be jealous of the person who owns it . We do not understand what
is satyam and jnaanam but we understand sundaram, beauty and ananda or
joy associated with it; the total fulfillment even for few moments of
joy in the vision of the beauty.

Thus, when there is a beauty, the mind is attracted to it. Hence
attraction is the expression of soudaryam, that which is beautiful.
The perfection or the order that exists in the object manifests as
attraction towards it, which in turn invokes love and passion. This
may degenerate later into the desire to posses the object. Before the
desire arises, there is an emotional identity with the object of love,
which is the object of attraction, which is the object of beauty.
There is a saying that the beauty is in the eyes of beholder. Thus
beauty causes attraction and expresses as love for the object; and
that love involves an identity with oneself bridging the gap between
the seer and the seen, at least for those moments. No words can reach
to express that beauty, that love, that happiness. Every object of
beauty is a creative expression or vibhuuti of the creator, the

At the sense level of perception, a thing of beauty is seen through
the order in the created object, expressing at mental level as love
that provides the momentary fulfillment, and thus happiness of ones
own ananda swaruupa, of the self itself. Those who are tuned
intellectually also can appreciate sometimes the beauty of order in
logic, where the beauty expressing as admiration and then love that
involves identity. In essence, I love what gives me happiness; and in
that love, the duality or separateness of the subject and the object
of love ceases. In a sense, soundarym is different from aiswaryam,
where aiswaryam means glory. In contrast to love, Aiswaryam, invokes
an intellectual admiration, a respect or reverence; and some times may
degenerate to even jealousy. There is a gulf of distance between the
subject and object. To bridge that gulf, the subject may surrender to
the object of reverence, only if the attitude of reverence combines
with the attitude of gratitude. This is the relation between a
disciple and his teacher, or between a devotee and his deity.

The story of Rama, every Hindu knows – from a child to the adult. Yet,
one still gets fascinated in hearing that story again and again. It is
not history but it is HIS story. When someone shows us their personal
photo album, we do not show much interest. Because of obligation we
see through the pages turning them as fast as we can. However, if it
contains our picture, then we are attracted to see. Even after many
years, if it is our picture, we do not like to throw that picture, and
would like to preserve it for our later seeing. We do not loose
interest to see it again and again – because it is our picture not
others. In essence, if it is something that is ours, we do not loose
interest to hear or to see; that is called mamakaara. If so, why do we
want to hear the story of Rama again and again? The love for Rama is
expression of love for oneself too. It is not Rama’s story – it is our
story. Rama means one who revels in everyone and He is the one in whom
everyone revels. The one who revels in everyone is the Lord himself -I
am in the heart of everybody says the Lord, heart being the seat of
love. In essence, it is the self that is the core of one’s
individuality. The story of Rama is the story of righteous over evil,
story of Dharma over adharma, story of success against all odds, the
story of the self, which we cherish, which we ourselves would want to
be. Rama was the beauty incarnated. Bhagavan Tulasidasji describing
the beauty of Rama, says his eyes are like lotus flower, his face is
like lotus flower and in fact his every organ was like lotus flower,
so delicate, so full with fragrance. Why is the analogy with lotus, we
may ask. Lotus is that which grows out of muddy waters (pankaja, born
out of mud). Yet, in spite of it, it stands out with all its beauty
and fragrance untouched by the surroundings and even glorifying them.
Rama’s beauty was so captivating that even the Rakshasas like Khara
and Dushana said that they have no heart to fight with him. The name
is so captivating and glorifying that even the chanting of it in
reverse as mara, mara,.., converted a butcher into a sage (Valmeeki).
While presence of Rama had blessed the people of Ayodhya as well as
many sages and saints at that time, but the name has is become even
more powerful, since it has been blessing millions since then. Such is
the beauty of Rama, in name and form.

Many have written on Ramayana. One famous poet says- it is not famous
poets who wrote on Ramayana, but the ones who wrote on Ramayana became
famous poets - that is the glory of Ramayana. The sage Valmeeki, when
he first saw a hunter killing one of the two birds that are in love,
he could not contain the sorrow or shoka. Words came out of his sorrow
and become the first sloka. The shoka (sorrow) is transformed into
sloka (poem), even to the surprise of the great Rishi, and made him
ultimately into poet, in fact as the first poet. As he was pondering
on the sloka, getting concerned of why he cursed the hunter in the
form of sloka, Brahmaji appeared, and blessed the sage, saying that
Goddes Saraswati herself expressed in the form of Sloka. He advised
him that he should compose the story of Rama that he heard recently
from the Sage Narada.

Rama means the one who loves all and also the one whom everyone loves.
That is the very self within. Pujya Gurudev described a Vedantic
significance for the story. He is born in ayodhya, meaning where there
are no internal conflicts, to Dasharatha, meaning the one in whom all
ten sense organs (five sense organs and five organs of action) are
fully under control. He has to leave ayodhya when conflict arose, to
dwell in forests where meditative sages are there contemplating on the
self with pure heart. The whole of ayodhya was trying to follow Rama.
In the forest of the world, the mind (Sita) gets carried away or gets
side-tracked with the fascinations of the glittering world that lures
in the form of a golden dear, gets lost and gets captured by the sense
indulgence even deceptively in the form of Dahshamukha, the ten headed
monster (five sense organs and five organs of action), whose whole
life is all the time centered in stomaching all those enjoyments, by
hook or crook. When the mind later repents and longs for Rama, the
self within, He has to come as a teacher and destroy the ego with
Brahmaastra or aham brahmaasmi, aiming at the stomach which is the
center of indulgence. Sita, the mind, after the complete purification
by fire of spiritual sadhana joins back with Rama, the self within.
Thus Ramayana has inspired many authors where the purpose of life is
being pointed – it is not just a story that fascinates children but a
message of the very purpose of ones life, the story of dharma, the
story of the longing mind which is in search of ones own love, the
happiness that one is, and uniting with that source of happiness. It
is the story of duty bounded by love, story of message to whole
humanity for its evolution.
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Based on the introductory talk by Swami Tejomayanandaji on Sundara
Ramayana during mahasamadhi camp in LA in 2010.
Hari Om!

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