Sri Sathya Sai shares Inner Significance of Instances from the Ramayana - Part 4

Redeeming Jatayu
Redeeming Jatayu

Rama’s compassion and softness of heart are beyond description; no words can convey their depth and extent. He placed the dying eagle – Jatayu – a bird (who had tried to save Sita from Ravana when he was taking her to Lanka), which no one will ordinarily honour – on His lap. He wiped, with His own flowing hair, the dust that had enveloped it. When it breathed its last, He performed the obsequies, even as a son does when his father dies! 
- “Rama Avatara”, Bhagavatha Vahini

Meeting Hanuman and Sugriva

When Rama met Hanuman

The Supreme Wisdom cannot co-exist with duality. It insists on the renunciation of both aspects. Rama pursued the golden deer, which Sita longed to possess. Brahma Jnanam disappeared as a consequence of this lapse. Rama (the representative Jeevi) had to undergo many spiritual austerities to regain the Supreme Enlightenment. He reached, according to the story, the Rishyamuka peak, the abode of total detachment. There He secured two allies, Sugriva (discrimination) and Hanuman (courage). The alliance was sealed by an act of service from Rama, which indicated His loyalty to Dharma under all conditions. He slew Vali, the vicious victim of wickedness. Vali had dethroned his father, forced him to take refuge in the jungles, associated with Ravana, of evil fame, and ill-treated his brother Sugriva for no reason at all. Vali succumbed so low, because of the company he preferred to be in. He serves as a warning to everyone. 

Rama installed Viveka on the throne of Vali. With His allies, He entered on the quest for the wisdom that He had lost. He found across His path a wide ocean of Moha (delusion). His ally, Hanuman (courage) had a vision, unclouded by desire or ignorance. His only desire was fixed on the name of Rama and the form of Rama. So he was able to leap across the ocean, smooth and safe.

Sugriva failed to keep his word. He had not commandeered his forces, though the rainy season had ended. So, Lakshmana vented his anger at his ingratitude and inequity. “You can never cleanse yourselves of the sin of ungratefulness and breach of promise. Your conduct is so reprehensible that even vultures will desist from feeding on your corpse”. When the terrified culprit fell at the feet of Rama, seeking pardon, Rama said, “Lakshmana! Safe and happy on his throne, Sugriva is blinded by pride, power and ignorance. Misery alone can open the eyes of people to the values they have neglected. He has been holding on to the trivial and the temporary which intoxicate man with fleeting joys. How can such a person follow the path of Dharma?” Hanuman, who heard this compassionate reaction, returned with Sugriva and advised him to repent and reaffirm his rectitude and thankfulness. One has to recognise one’s faults and remedy their consequences by sincere self-examination and repentance.
- “The Rama Story is Ours”, Sathya Sai Speaks, Volume 19,
April 18, 1986, Prasanthi Nilayam

In the Ramayana, too, we have an episode that illustrates surrender or Atma Nivedana (offering the self to God). Rama and Lakshmana were combing the forests to discover where Sita was. They were tired and thirsty. Suddenly, they came upon a clear pool and, while placing their bows on the ground, dropped their arrows which partially sank into the wet bank. After slaking their thirst they put the bows on their shoulders and pulled the arrows out from the bank. Rama noticed a stain of blood at the tip of his arrow and was curious to find out how it came there. Lakshmana discovered a little frog that had been hit by Rama’s arrow when He dropped it on the ground. Rama told the wounded frog, “Poor thing! Why did you not cry out when you were hit?” The frog replied, “Whenever in trouble, I cry out to you Rama. But, when Rama Himself inflicts pain, whom am I to cry out to? I accepted it as His Grace”.
- “Sneha”, Sathya Sai Speaks, Volume 14,
August 20, 1978, Prasanthi Nilayam

Venturing to Lanka
The Bridge to Lanka is Built
The Lord is so full of Grace that he will willingly guide and guard all who surrender to Him. There were some Rakshasas who had penetrated into the camp in Vanara disguise; when they were brought before Rama for summary punishment, Rama smiled and pardoned them, for they had assumed the monkey form so dear to Him; He sent them away, unharmed to the enemy’s camp. That was the measure of His mercy. When the battle with Ravana was over, one glance from His merciful eye was enough to revive the Vanara hordes which had fallen on the ground and to heal the wounds they had earned during the fight. 
- “The Godward March”, Sathya Sai Speaks, Volume 06,
January 11, 1966, Prasanthi Nilayam

When Vibhishana came to the feet of Rama and asked to be permitted to surrender, Rama called the attention of those who were with Him, namely Sugriva, Angada and Jambavan. Vibhishana was coming from a distance, loudly proclaiming that he was coming with a view to surrender to Ramachandra. Rama told others that no matter who Vibhishana was and what his motives were; since he was coming to surrender, it was His duty to protect him. Once you decide and say that you belong to the Lord, then what does it matter who you are or where you come from? It follows that the Lord is yours. Then Sugriva asked if Ravana himself came and asked for pardon would Rama do the same thing? Rama said that if Ravana did get such a good idea in him, He will surely protect him and make him the king of Ayodhya itself. 
- “Start Early, Drive Slowly and Reach Safely”, 
Summer Showers in Brindavan 1977, Brindavan

Rama slew Ravana (the embodiment of the Rajasic, passionate, impulsive, possessive traits) and his brother, Kumbhakarna (the embodiment of the Tamasic, the dull, the self-destructive, the lethargic, traits). Rama recovered Sita (Brahma Jnana) now confirmed by striving and struggling, and more convincingly precious as a result of constant meditation. And, Rama returned with her to Ayodhya (the impregnable city, the Source and Spring of Wisdom). The consummation of the soul’s journey is the coronation, the Maha Pattabhishekam. 
- “The Rama Story is Ours”, Sathya Sai Speaks, Volume 19,
April 18, 1986, Prasanthi Nilayam

Rama: The Embodiment of Dharma

Rama was aware of all types of Dharma. He had intelligence which could cover every aspect of life. He could demonstrate the need for humility, respect and devotion under the most trying conditions. He was a great individual who conducted Himself and His life consistent with the conditions prevailing around Him, at that time, in the country. Looking at the body of Ravana after his death, Vibhishana expressed unwillingness to perform the last rites that are usually performed. Vibhishana thought that Ravana was a very great sinner, that he was thinking badly of Rama, the incarnation of the Lord, and that it was not right to perform the obsequies of such a person. Rama, who was an embodiment of Dharma, called Vibhishana and said, “If there is any dislike for a person, that should not go beyond his death. Let it end with his death. All hatred should disappear with the death of the person”. Rama asked Vibhishana, “Will you, as a brother, perform the obsequies or shall I perform the obsequies?” As soon as he heard these words from Rama, Vibhishana realised his mistake and was prepared to perform the last rites. It is because Rama knew all the aspects of Dharma, He is referred to by saying “Ramo Vigrahavan Dharmaha” (He is the very embodiment of Dharma.) Thus, Narayana, the Lord, took the human form in Rama and by His conduct and by His adherence to Dharma, He demonstrated that Dharma is part and parcel of the ordinary daily life of a human being. How should one conduct oneself in a family? How should one conduct oneself towards a friend? How should one conduct oneself towards the community? In this manner and in all aspects, Rama was translating every moment of His life to be an example for ideal behaviour.
- “God is beyond Description through Words”, 
Summer Showers in Brindavan 1977, Brindavan

Rama and Sita: The Embodiments of Dharma
Sita is the daughter of the king of Mithilapura whose name was Videha. Videha means one who has no body or one who has no consciousness of his human body. Sita can be identified with wisdom, and Sita marries Rama or becomes one with Rama who is Dharma. When wisdom comes together with Dharma, in the ordinary course, such a good event will meet with some obstacles. It is customary and quite natural that every good thing is met with by some obstacles. As I state often, pleasure is only an interval between two pains. If there is no pain at all, there is no value for pleasure. Sita is the embodiment of wisdom and she had been taken away by Ravana, who symbolises selfishness and ego. 

If one wants his little wisdom to disappear, all that one has to do is to promote his selfishness, jealousy and ego. Ravana symbolises selfishness, jealousy and ego. To make a search for Sita, who had been taken away by the bad qualities, selfishness, jealousy and ego, Rama, in the form of Dharma, along with the other Purusharthas, i.e., Artha, Kama and Moksha, makes a journey. Here Lakshmana is to be identified with the mind. We should notice that Rama, the embodiment of Dharma, combines with Lakshmana, who is identified as mind, and goes to the forest, which signifies life. In that forest of life, Rama searches for wisdom in the form of Sita. In this context, there is an argument between the two brothers Vali and Sugriva. Sugriva can be compared to the ability to distinguish between right and wrong. Here the inability or the weakness which is called Dhirathwa has been destroyed in the form of Vali; and Sugriva, who symbolises the ability to distinguish between right and wrong, comes out victorious. Along with Sugriva, who symbolises Viveka, or the ability to distinguish right from wrong, we have Hanuman. The combination of Sugriva and Hanuman is like the combination of Viveka and courage. The Viveka and courage went together in search of Sita, the wisdom. They meet with one obstacle in the form of an ocean of Moha. Thus the ocean of Moha had to be crossed and this crossing was affected with the help of courage in the form of Hanuman. 
After crossing the ocean, they encounter the three gunas: the Rajas, Tamas and Satwa on the opposite bank of the ocean. They are Ravana, Kumbhakarna and Vibhishana representing the three gunas respectively. The Rajas and the Tamas, Ravana and Kumbhakarna, were removed from the scene and finally the Satwa Guna gets the upper hand in the form of Vibhishana. He has been crowned the king. After making Vibhishana the king of Lanka, Rama has the vision of wisdom, born out of experience in the person of Sita. Rama, prior to finding Sita, could be called a Brahmajnani but when He found Sita, symbolising the knowledge of experience, there is a reunion of the knowledge of experience with the pure Brahma Jnana, and the culmination was the coronation, the story which we called ‘Sahasrartha Ramayana’. This description which has now been given can also be called ‘Adhyatma Ramayana’. 
- “Ignorance is the Cause of One’s Sorrow”, 
Summer Showers in Brindavan 1977, Brindavan

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