Adhyatma Ramayana (AR)

The fifth adhyaya of the uttara kanda of AR is a conversation between Lord Rama and his brother, Lakshmana. This is usually called the Rama GITA. It is purely advaitic and very interesting to read.

Some of the examples given by Lord Rama in AR are very nice.

1. A frog is being swallowed by a snake. Even though it knows that it is going to be dead in a few moments, the frog puts out its tongue in the hope it will catch some insects. Similarly, man is being swallowed by the serpent of Time, but he is still running after transitory sense pleasures instead of remembering Me.

2. A dog bites a dry bone thinking that there is some meat there. It goes on biting the bone that blood starts to flow from its mouth. The stupid dog, however, thinks that the blood is from the meat of the bone and bites more and more at it. Similarly, man foolishly thinks that happiness lies in external objects and hankers after that. This results in wastage of the body and mind. Instead, if he leaves the bone alone, he will find happiness within.

Both the above examples used to be quoted by Kanchi periyava in His speeches to show that man is foolish for sense-pleasures even when he knows that death is always round the corner. Similar sentiments are expressed beautifully by Shankara in bhaja govindam.

dinayaaminyau saayaM praataH
shishiravasantau punaraayaataH .
kaalaH kriiDati gachchhatyaayuH
tadapi na muJNchatyaashaavaayuH .. 12..

Daylight and darkness, dusk and dawn, winter and springtime come and go. Time plays and life ebbs away. But the storm of desire never leaves.

aN^gaM galitaM palitaM muNDaM
dashanavihiinaM jataM tuNDam.h .
vR^iddho yaati gR^ihiitvaa daNDaM
tadapi na muJNchatyaashaapiNDam.h .. 15..

Strength has left the old man's body; his head has become bald, his gums toothless and leaning on crutches. Even then the attachment is strong and he clings firmly to fruitless desires.

So, what should one do ? Again, Shankara,in His infinite mercy, comes to our rescue and advises:

mUDha jahiihi dhanaagamatR^ishhNaaM
kuru sadbuddhiM manasi vitR^ishhNaam.h .
yallabhase nijakarmopaattaM
vittaM tena vinodaya chittam.h .. 2..

Oh fool ! Give up your thrist to amass wealth, devote your mind to thoughts to the Real. Be content with what comes through actions already performed in the past.

Actions performed in the past have resulted in the present prarabdha karma. That has to work its way out, when we like it or not. The purpose for which the body was created has to be fulfilled, whether the mind likes to perform its duty or not. Therefore, Shankara asks us to be content, make our mind equanimous and concentrate on the real. Because instead of ruminating about samsara, if we devote thoughts to the real, we will ascertain the Truth. Where is the world/samsara when the Truth is known ? (GYaate tattve kaH saMsaaraH .. Shankara)

There is also a very nice exposition of bhakti in advaita by Lord Rama in AR. He talks to Hanuman-ji on how bhakti results in jnana ultimately. The steps indicated by Him are very similar to the nine steps (shravana, manana, pada6sevana,sharangati etc.) found in the bhagavatam. There are some beautiful hymns on what bhakti is and what one should ask God with Bhakti. These are from the works of Shankara, Tulasidas' Ramayana (called Ramacharitamanas) and AR. I will post them in an article later.

AUM shaantiH