[Advaita-l] Reflections on Ramayana

kuntimaddi sadananda kuntimaddisada at yahoo.com
Tue Apr 8 08:38:02 CDT 2014

 PraNams - A re-run from the past on Ramanavami day.
                                                               Some Reflections on Ramayan
                                                            (Based on Swami Tejomayanandaji talks)

Rama is para brahman, took the form of a human to protect those who follow dharma and to destroy those who take up adharma. It is the dharma that propels the wheel of action and results, sets it in motion with the beginning of the creation cycle. Rama means the one in whom everyone revels, since he is sat chit ananda swaruupa, the ultimate goal of every being. Rama also means the one who revels in everyone, as the very consciousness that enlivens every body, mind and intellect. Rama says there is no Rama without Sita and there is no Sita without Rama. This Sita-Ram is one expressed as two as the prakRiti and purusha or as Lakshmi-Narayana, and as Krishna says the lower prakRiti and higher prakRiti.  Sita stands for emotional personality of the mind that always dwells in Rama. She is the embodiment of Bhakti while Rama stands for intellect that discriminates the right from wrong, dharma from adharma. ramo vigrahavaan dharmaH, Rama is the embodiment of
 dharma, says Maaricha rakshasa. As Valmiike says, Rama is maryada purushottama – free from all faults - nirdhosham hi param brahma, says Gita about parabrahma, as it is being infinite braham cannot have faults. Thus faultless Rama stands for jnana swaruupam. Thus Sita-Rama stand together as inseparable Bhakti and Knowledge. 

Shankara defines Bhakti as– swaswaruupaanusandhaanam or swaatma  tatva anusandhanam – Bhakti is contemplation on one’s own real nature or constant inquiry into one’s own real nature as one’s own real nature being jnanaa swaruupam. Thus Sita, standing for bhakti is devoted to pure knowledge, Rama. In Vaishnava tradition, it has been said only through Shree or Lakshmi one can reach Narayana, and hence the philosophy is called Shreevaishnavism. Thus Sita standing for Bhakti indicates that Bhakti is the essential means to reach parabrahma, as Shankara echoes – moksha kaarana samaagryaam bhakti reva gariiyasi – of all the paths for liberation Bhakti is the supreme.  From Advaita point, Sita stands for the mind and only through the mind one has to recognize the pure consciousness that illumines the mind.  

Rama leaves ayodhya when conflicts arose in the city to go to aranyam, where there were no conflicts and which is the abode of santa purushas. Aranyam means ranyam na vidyate – where is no inner battle taking place, where there is always victory of good over bad.  Rama meets many sages including sage Atri and Anasuya. Anasuuya means where there is no asuuya that involves guna dosha darshanam, that is seeing bad even in good people. Anasuuya is the one who can see goodness in everything or being, the highest good being the vision of the supreme in everyone’s essence.

Sita-Ram slowly moves to Pancavati at the recommendation of Sage Agastya to live there. Vati means banyan tree.  The banayan tree symbolizes the shraddha or faith as an essential ingredient to gain any knowledge, more so for adhyaatmika vidya. Lakshmana, who has purified his mind by karma yoga by serving the Lord, gains the supreme knowledge at the feet of Rama in the pacavati only. Vata vRiksham is glorified in our teachings. Young Dakshinamurthy teaches the old sages sitting under the Vata vRiksham only. VaTaviTapi samiipe bhuumibhaage nishaNNam … and chitram vaTaror mule vRiddhaas shiShyaas gururyuvaa.. says DakshiNamurthy sloaks. 
Pacha vati involves the full faith in five aspects required for knowledge to take place.

1.   Faith in the existence of God.
2.   Faith in the validity of the scriptures as the means of knowledge or pramaNa
3.   Faith in the Guru, the knower of the truth and what he reveals is the truth expounded in the scriptures. 
4.   Faith in oneself – aatma viswaasam – that I can realize in this life itself.
5.   Faith in the efficacy of sadhana, sadhana at karma yoga level and sadhana at jnaana yoga level, the later involving shravana, manana and nidhidhyaasana. 

Once surrendered, Rama takes care of bhakta even if there are fourteen thousands of obstacles that come in the form of Rakshasaas led by Khara and DuushaNa, disturbring peaceful mind. There are two types of surrender as per Vaishnava tradition – 1. Maarjaala nyaaya 2. Markataka nyaaya- roughly translated as kitten philosophy and the baby-monkey philosophy. In the case of kitten, once surrendered it becomes the responsibility of the mother cat to take care of its kitten. A devotee once surrendered, there is full faith that Lord will take care of him. In such surrender it becomes Lord’s responsibility to take care of his devotee. In the case of baby monkey’s, it is the responsibility of the baby monkey to hold on firmly to the mother’s stomach, and mother just allows the baby to hold on to her while she jumps from one branch to the other in search of food. These two philosophical positions led to Vadahalai and Tengalai sects, respectively, in

Swami Tejomayanandaj beautifully describes the surrender of a devotee – a devotee should have one hand under the feet of the Lord and the other hand holding the feet of the Lord, so that devotee cannot run away from the Lord neither Lord can run away from the devotee. However it is the Lord assurance which is commonly referred to as the final teaching or charama sloka – that says: 

sarva dharmaan parityajya, maam ekam sharaNam vRija|
aham tvaa sarva paapebhyaH moksha ishyaami maasucaH|| 

Giving up all dharmaas completely surrender to me alone and I will give liberation, removing all the sins committed in the past. That requires complete faith - shraddhaa by establishing oneself in Pancavati. 

Hari Om!

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