The Ramayana has some great secrets and mysteries in it. I will tell you more about the Ramayana in the month of May. Lord Brahma said that as long as the rivers and mountains exist, the Ramayana will exist. The mountains and rivers are symbolic of men and women. As long as men and women are there, the Ramayana will be there. Who are men and women? In the beginning, there was only one. The body (Deha) represents the feminine aspect (Prakruti). The Soul (Atma) represents the masculine aspect (Purusha). As long as the Deha and the Atma are there, the Ramayana will exist. When the body is there, you can see the Atma. Only if you have the Atma, you can get the body. Without the Atma, there is no body. Without the body, you cannot recognise the Atma. Unity of both is the Manava Tatva – the human principle. Thus every individual is Ardha Narishwara – androgynous (half man, half woman). Body is feminine (Nari/Prakruti). Atma is masculine (Purusha). That is how in the human personality, both Ishwara and Parvati are there. Depending on the body alone, none can claim that he is a man. What are the characteristics of a man (Purusha Lakshana)? They say Udyoga Purusha Lakshana – Doing a job is the characteristic of a man. But in modern times, even women are doing jobs! Now women are taking three-fourths of the jobs! Are they men? Just because of jobs, one cannot be considered a man. Job is not the characteristic of man. Karma (action) is Purusha Lakshana. Karmanu Bandhini Manushya Loke – the whole world is bound by actions. All men are bound by actions. Every man does actions with the body. But the one who gets the work done is the Atma. There should be unity of the feminine and masculine principles in this humanness. Therefore first the Prakruti (feminine principle) is worshipped. We call – Lakshmi-Narayana, Parvati-Parameshwara, Radha-Krishna, Sita-Rama. Nobody says Rama-Sita or Narayana-Lakshmi or Parameshwara-Parvati. They say first Parvati and then Parameshwara. First is Prakruti, second is Purusha. Prakruti is body. Purusha is Atma. In Karnataka they say, “My Prakruti is not good”. They call the body – Prakruti. Prakruti is feminine. The body is Prakruti. The Atma is Purusha. Depending on the body, the Atma gets every work done. You should not have differences saying, ‘She is a woman, I am a man’.
|Ardha Narishwar - A symbolic representation of the Divine Form of Shiva and Shakti - the masculine and feminine aspects of Divinity|
There is only one Caste, the Caste of Humanity
When Narendra (Swami Vivekananda) went to Chicago, he said, “Ladies and Gentlemen”. Then he said, “Brothers and Sisters”. Everybody clapped. They never heard such strange appellation. “All are sisters and brothers”, he said. After that he said, “Ladies and gents are not different. Both are same.” He looked at the gents and said, “You are also ladies.” Then he looked at the ladies and said, “You are also gents.” Humans have both aspects – feminine and masculine. Bodies may be different, but the Atma has no difference of gender. In such a situation, whom can you call a man and whom can you call a woman? Atma is Chaitanya. Jiva is its name. Which Jiva? Jiva is one. It is not woman Jiva or man Jiva. Jiva is one and the same. The same Jiva exists in both. Ultimately you have only the Atmic characteristics. All other things perish. The differences of gender, colour, colour, cast and creed, all of them vanish. What are the differences in the Ashrama Dharma (duties dependent on one’s stage in life).What are these? These are the Brahmacharya (celibacy), Gruhastha (householder), Vanaprastha (hermit) and Sanyasa (renunciant). These are the four Ashramas. You can utilise the life principles to a great extent. There is no relation of the life principle with the five elements. You may think that somebody is a Brahmin (priestly class), somebody is a Kshatriya (warrior class), Vaishya (trader class) or a Shudra (service class). No such differences exist. There are no differences of any kind. What is the caste (Kula) of wind? What is the caste of fire? What is the caste of ether? What is the caste of earth and water? The water and fire have no castes. When the five elements have no sense of castes, why should we? Water is water. Whoever drinks it, it will remain as water. Whoever touches fire, it will remain as fire. When the five elements do not have a sense of caste differences, why should man, who is made of these five elements entertain such differences? Because of having such differences in our minds, we are getting ruined. No differences should be there. There is only one caste, the caste of humanity. Humanity is what is required.
Source: Understand the Inner Significance of Bharatiya Culture, My Dear Students – Volume 5; Divine Discourse on April 9, 1999 at Trayee Brindavan