Sri Sathya Sai shares Inner Significance of Instances from the Ramayana – Part 1

King Dasharatha and the Four Princes
Once, the four brothers as young lads were playing a game with a ball. After the game Rama ran to Kaushalya and rested on her lap. He was full of joy. When Kaushalya asked Him why He was feeling so happy, Rama said that Bharata had won in the game that day and that made Him so happy. Kaushalya remarked that an elder brother rejoicing in the success of His younger brother is a great example for brotherly love. Shortly thereafter Bharata came to Kaushalya with a sad look. Kaushalya asked him why he was feeling sad when he had won in the game. Bharata said: “When I was about to lose the game, Rama managed to lose the game and made me the winner. I am feeling unhappy because of the defeat of my elder brother. Is it not sad that on my account my elder brother should lose the game?” What an example of fraternal love! The elder brother should rejoice in the success of the younger, even by losing the game Himself. This is the lesson taught by the Ramayana.
“Spiritual Significance of Shivaratri”, Sathya Sai Speaks, Volume 29, February 17, 1986, Prasanthi Nilayam

In the first twelve years of Rama’s life, He encountered three types of women. When He went with the sage Vishwamitra to protect his sacrifice, He encountered the ogress Tataki. He put an end to her without any compunction or aversion. After Vishwamitra’s sacrifice was completed, Rama went with the sage to Mithila. On the way, He came across Ahalya, who had been transformed into a stone. He gave her life, absolved her of sin through penitence and restored her to her husband. 
Rama redeems Ahalya
At Mithila, He encountered Sita. He accepted Sita without any hesitation. What is the inner meaning of these three incidents? They show that even from His boyhood Rama displayed extraordinary qualities and stood out as an example to the world. Tataki, the first woman He encountered symbolises the Tamas quality. He destroyed the Tamasic quality. Ahalya represents the Rajo Guna. He taught the right lesson to Ahalya, purified her and sent her safely to her place. He took to himself Sita who represented the Satvic quality. Bhagavan approves of and accepts only that which is Satvic. He values the Satvic quality. He protects and fosters it.
- “The Name that Redeems”, Sathya Sai Speaks, Volume 22,
April 14, 1989, Kodaikanal

Sita-Rama Kalyanam (The Divine Marriage of Lord Rama and Mother Sita)

King Dasharatha sent Rama and Lakshmana with Sage Vishwamitra to safeguard his Yaga (fire ritual). In cinemas and dramas, the character of Vishwamitra is portrayed as the one with anger and cruelty. But Vishwamitra is very noble. The Gayatri Mantra is the gift of Vishwamitra. By teaching the Gayatri Mantra to the world, he became the friend of this world. Vishwamitra – Mitra (friend) of the Vishwa (world). But his earlier name was not that. His earlier name was Kaushika. Since he gave the sacred Gayatri Mantra to the entire world, he became known as Vishwamitra - the friend of the world. He did good to everybody. With a feeling that Rama and Lakshmana would safeguard his Yaga, he gave all the weapons and other forms of instruments to them. He said, “Rama, only You have the authority to use these weapons.” Vishwamitra gave them all the Astras (weapons). He even gave them the Pashupatastra and the Sarpastra.

At that time, King Janaka was also performing a Yaga. He sent a message to Sage Vishwamitra requesting him to attend the Yaga that he was performing. Vishwamitra asked Rama and Lakshmana,
“Now that this Yaga is over, will you accompany me to the Kingdom of Mithilapura?” Rama thought over it for some time. Even Lakshmana was very thoughtful. Both of them were very intelligent. That is the sign of Divinity. They had complete awareness about everything (Paripoorna Jnana). Rama replied, “Guruji! My father asked me to follow you to protect the Yaga, but not to go to Mithila. I followed the command of My father. Your Yaga is completed and if you give us permission, we will go”. Vishwamitra was not a small man. He said, “Rama, both of you are under my control. I promised your father that I shall bring both of you back to Ayodhya. He did not prescribe any limits. So you should follow my command”.

Along with Sage Vishwamitra, Ramachandra was given accommodation in Mithilapura. Rama was given a room and Lakshmana was given another room. When Rama sat on the bed, He sat cross-legged and started pressing His own feet, because He had walked a long distance from Siddhashrama (Vishwamitra’s Ashram) to reach Mithila. Vishwamitra noticed this from the door and asked, “Rama! What is this drama! Do You have leg ache? You are also drowning me in the illusion (Maya). Tomorrow all this illusion will be exposed!” Saying so, he called Emperor Janaka and said, “Janaka you have the Shiva Dhanusha (the bow given by Lord Shiva) in your house. Tomorrow, so many emperors and kings are going to attend the Yaga. Tonight I will bring these two boys to show that instrument”. Janaka happily agreed. When everyone slept in the palace, Vishwamitra took Rama and Lakshmana to that place where the Shiva Dhanusha was kept. Vishwamitra told Rama, “Tomorrow this bow has to be broken. For that purpose, I have brought you here. I must watch Your marriage. There is going to be the union of earth and heavens here. Mother Sita is born of Mother Earth. She is Bhoojata. You are God. There will be the union of the Nature (Prakriti) and the Divine (Purusha)”. Hearing all that Vishwamitra said, Rama beatifically smiled.
Lord Rama breaking the Shiva Dhanusha
The Shiva Dhanusha was brought and kept in the public the following morning. Even Ravana had come there to break the Shiva Dhanusha. He wanted to take Sita to Lanka at that time only. The madness of Ravana was there even at that moment. All attempted to lift the bow but no one could lift it up. Then, Vishwamitra signaled towards the boys. Janaka didn’t notice this. Then Rama got up and came forward. Everyone started laughing seeing this small boy trying to lift and break the Shiva Dhanusha. It is said that the parrot may be small, but its voice is very loud. Rama came there and lifted the bow with his left hand. He bent it and the bow broke at the centre. However the thread at the both the ends didn’t break. The stick broke but the thread didn’t. Rama at one end and Sita at the other end, there is no separation between both of them! Then Janaka brought Sita with a garland. Sita came there ready to garland Rama. Then Rama said, “This not the time. Without the command of My father, I cannot marry. Even if Vishwamitra says, I am not going to accept”. All the sages present there, including Vishwamitra said that it was the rule of the Yajna that Rama had to marry Sita. But Rama didn’t listen to anybody. He wanted to seek the permission His father. Then Janaka sent his men to inform Dasharatha. They took 4 days to reach Ayodhya.

When Dasharatha heard the good news, he was ecstatic. Janaka was an emperor and a man of great wisdom. Dasharatha thought to himself, “What good luck is it that my son is going to marry the daughter of such a noble person!” Dasharatha was overcome with the feeling of affection towards his son. Entire Ayodhya started their journey to Mithila. They travelled day and night for four days. And on the ninth day after Rama broke the Shiva Dhanusha, they reached Mithila. That was on Navami (ninth day of the fortnight). Rama was born on Navami and was married also on Navami. That is why Rama Kalyanam (ceremonial marriage of Rama) is performed every year on the birthday of Rama.

The wedding took place on the Navami. Sita was married to Rama. Urmila, her younger sister, was married to Lakshmana. Mandavi and Shrutakirti were the daughters of the younger brother of King Janaka. They were married to Bharata and Shatrughna. All the four were married at the same time. Vishwamitra fulfilled his desire by performing the marriages. Then he said that he was leaving for the Himalayas as his life was sanctified. 

All the sages played their own role in doing
Rama Karya (Rama’s work). They knew that Rama was the incarnation of Lord Narayana. Vishwamitra, Gautama, Jamadagni, Vamadeva and all of the sages knew this truth. But whatever has to happen has to happen. If it would have been declared that Rama is God, nothing else would have happened as per the Divine Master Plan. Everything has to wait for the right time.
- “The Panorama is His Divine Drama”, My Dear Students, Volume 05, May 14, 1994

The Inner Significance of Rama-Sita Marriage

Sita-Rama Kalyanam: The Divine Marriage Ceremony of Lord Rama and Mother Sita
Vishwamitra tells us that Sita should be regarded as the symbol of creation and Rama should be regarded as Divinity, or the Atma, and the marriage between Rama and Sita is the confluence between Divinity on one hand and the essence of human beings on the other. Sita’s aspect is symbolic Vignana and Pragnana or knowledge and wisdom. She is the embodiment of Shakti. Vishwamitra, who realised and recognised this sacred aspect of Sita, was wanting Rama, the Divinity, to secure this aspect of Sita. The story of Ramayana teaches us the confluence or the coming together of these two Divine aspects. Such a confluence is for the prosperity of the world. All the great and Divine ideas that are contained within us feel exhilarated when we look at the coming together of these two aspects. All the good qualities that are contained in Sita were being described in terms of beautiful gems, diamonds, pearls and flowers. Everyone was anxious to go and see the marriage of Rama and Sita. They believed that Rama will look after people with greater joy and bliss and will give them all kinds of weapons and strength during the marriage. When we see the meaning of the words that have been used on that occasion, we realise that creation, with all its beauty, with all its attractiveness is in the form of Sita, who is born out of the Earth. This beauty of creation is being described by Vishwamitra in this story.

The marriage ceremony of Rama should not be regarded by us as a simple marriage where Rama married Sita on His own; but we should regard it as a confluence of all the noble qualities that are born with us, with the Divine spirit of
Atma which is Rama. We call this moment an auspicious moment, and that is the moment where the aspect of Jiva is brought together with the aspect of Paramatma. When our mind can get fixed on God, that is also referred to as an auspicious moment. Many people ask the question, why is it, Swami, that my mind is not getting fixed on Divinity? When we look at it from another angle, say we want to get a girl married to a boy, we talk of issuing an invitation which is called a Lagna Patrika. The word ‘Lagna’ truly means confluence, the coming together of the Jivatma and Paramatma.

On the night when that
Lagna, that confluence, took place between the Jivatma and Paramatma, Vishwamitra disappeared from the scene. Till that merger took place, Vishwamitra was keeping the Divine aspect of Rama a secret. Not only Vishwamitra, but also all the Rishis kept it a secret because they wanted the destruction of Ravana to come about with certainty.

If, even before the marriage of Sita and before the destruction of Ravana, they told everyone that Rama was an incarnation of God, marriage of Sita would not have taken place; Sita would not have been stolen and the death of Ravana would not have come about. This is the reason why from the very birth of Rama, He was conducting Himself and appearing to people as if He was an ordinary person. At no place, at no moment and in no circumstances did Rama proclaim that He was God in human form. The secret of Divinity is always like this and is hidden until the task, which God undertakes, is completed successfully.
- “The World is an Illusory Projection of the Substratum of Brahman”, Summer Showers in Brindavan 1977, Brindavan


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