Sri Sathya Sai shares Inner Significance of Instances from the Ramayana - Part 5

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

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

See the difference between Rama and Ravana. Both were equally eminent intellectually and were great scholars. Ravana was a great man. Rama was a good man. The difference between greatness and goodness should be understood. Ravana, out of egoism and uncontrolled desire, misused his knowledge and brought about his ruin. Rama used his knowledge for the benefit of the people and made them happy. Ravana did not digest his knowledge properly and suffered from the consequences of indigestion. The difference between Rama and Ravana was that between Dharma (Righteousness) and Adharma (unrighteousness).

“Let Rama live in Your Hearts”, Sathya Sai Speaks, Volume 29, March 28, 1996, Brindavan

Kaushalya exhorted Rama when He went into the forest, “May the Dharma which You are upholding by this act, be Your guardian when You are in the forest, as an exile”. And, Rama too upheld Dharma even under the most trying circumstances. When, after the death of Ravana, Vibhishana’s coronation was arranged, he prayed that Rama Himself should crown him in the city of Lanka. But, Rama declared that His vow and His father’s orders did not allow Him to set foot in a city during the years of exile. That period was not yet over, He said. So, the function was attended only by Sugreeva and others. Rama thus demonstrated by His actions how scrupulously Dharma had to be observed. 

“Dharmakshetra”, Sathya Sai Speaks, Volume 04, February 18, 1964, Venkatagiri

Rama never provoked another in order to create a convenient excuse to destroy Him; on the other hand, He gave the adversary every chance to be saved, He carried the message of Dharma to the Vanaras and the Rakshasas, as well as to sages like Jabali. He accepted the homage of Vibhishana without demur and He announced that He was prepared to accept even Ravana, if only he repented his iniquity. “Satyam Vada” (Speak the Truth), says the Shruti; Rama stuck to truth, in spite of all temptations. “Dharmam Chara” (Practise Virtue), says the Shruti. He never deviated from the path. For example, He had, as you know, to live 14 years in the forest, to fulfil His father’s behest. So during that period, He did not enter an inhabited town or village. He avoided Kishkindha and Lanka, even when the coronations of Sugreeva and Vibhishana took place. Vibhishana pleaded with Him very plaintively, saying that only a few days remained out of the 14 years, but Rama sent Lakshmana instead. He did not waver or overstep. That was the strictness with which He kept the vow. 

“True Nature of Rama”, Sathya Sai Speaks, Volume 03, April 01, 1963, Rajahmundry

After the war in Lanka, when Rama was entreated by Vibhishana and others to crown himself as ruler of Lanka, Rama told them that the mother and the motherland were greater than heaven itself and nothing on Earth would tempt Him to give up His love for Ayodhya.

- “What Great Mothers Mean to the Nation”, Sathya Sai Speaks, Volume 26, May 06, 1993, Brindavan

After the destruction of Ravana; Rama, Lakshmana and Sita were getting ready to leave Lanka for Ayodhya. At that time, Lakshmana spoke to Rama, “If we return to Ayodhya, I doubt, we will get back our kingdom. Kaikeyi might have installed Bharata on the throne. We left Ayodhya for the forest in response to the command of our father. Ayodhya may not be in a prosperous condition now. You know that Lanka is more prosperous than heaven itself. Would it not be better for You to be the ruler of Lanka and enjoy all that this country can offer?” Rama replied: “Lakshmana, however ugly one’s mother may be, I am not so insensible as to look upon some other beautiful woman and regard her as My mother. My motherland is the land of My birth. However attractive and prosperous Lanka may appear, with all the treasures of the Earth, I have no use for its attractions and wealth”.

- “The Gift I like most”, Sathya Sai Speaks, Volume 14, November 23, 1980, Prasanthi Nilayam

Bharata stayed in Nandigram till Rama completed his 14 year long exile and returned to Ayodhya. On that occasion, Bharata took the chariot to welcome Rama. Rama you have come back to Ayodhya. It is my duty to take you to Ayodhya. Please get on to the chariot. If you see the photographs, Rama is blue in colour and Bharata is also blue in colour. While awaiting Rama’s return from the forests, continuously he was chanting the name of Rama. Bharata represents the Sama Veda. All the time he was thinking of Rama. Because of the incessant contemplation of Rama all the radiance of Rama entered Bharata. They sat. Bharata was seated at the feet of Rama and Sita who were seated in the chariot. The villagers came. All the subjects were happy that Rama was returning to Ayodhya after 14 long years. They could not differentiate between Bharata and Rama. For 14 years they had not seen Bharata also. They had not seen Rama also. Both of them were shining with the same radiance. The villagers brought a garland. One of them was the administrator of Ayodhya. He brought the garland near Bharata and was about to garland him. Bharata recognised the mistake that he was about to commit and he himself garlanded Rama so that people could understand who among the two was Rama.

“Ramayana: Divine Insights”, My Dear Students, Volume 05, May 14, 2003, Kodaikanal

On Rama’s return to Ayodhya after finishing His 14 years of exile in the forests, Kaikeyi, who felt penitent about this grievous wrong she had done to Rama, approached Him when He was alone and prayed, “My dear Rama, even though I knew about Your Divine nature, I caused You a lot of unnecessary hardship, blinded by narrow feeling of ‘I’ and ‘mine’. Kindly give me some Upadesh (spiritual instruction), so that I may be absolved of the heinous sin I have committed against such a noble person like Yourself”. In response to her request, Rama did not give her the Upadesh directly but gave her some hints indirectly. This is characteristic of all Avatars from time immemorial. Avatars seldom give advice directly. Whatever they wish to communicate they convey more often by way of indirect suggestions and only rarely by the direct method of instruction. The reason for this is there is Divinity inherent in every human being, which he can manifest spontaneously, if favourable conditions are provided, just as a viable seed will germinate and grow into a tree because of its inherent nature, if only suitable facilities are provided for the manifestation of its potentiality. Man should be enabled to correct himself by his own efforts, by merely giving timely suggestions, rather than by stultifying his freedom and dignity through directives imposed from without. In short, the best maxim for helping people either in worldly matters or in the spiritual field is “Help them to help themselves” or “Self-help is the best help”. Following the same strategy, therefore, Sri Rama, in the present instance told, Kaikeyi, “Mother! Please take bath in the holy Sarayu river and come back for My Upadesh. But while bathing in the Sarayu please observe what is going along the riverside”. Kaikeyi went along with her retinue to the river and returned to Rama after bath. Rama asked her, “Mother! Now tell Me what you noticed on the banks of Sarayu?” Kaikeyi replied that she saw a number of sheep and goats grazing the green grass on the banks, bleating “mae, mae,” as usual, every now and then. Then Rama told her promptly that “mae, mae” was His Upadesh for her. He disclosed to her that the bleating of the sheep and goats meant, “Who am I? Who am I?” He further remarked that when even sheep are concerned with the question of, “Who am I?” if a man does not concern himself with this question, he is worse than sheep. 

- “Buddhi: The Charioteer”, Summer Showers in Brindavan 1990

It was the great day of Sri Rama’s Coronation. The city of Ayodhya was en fete, with the people rejoicing in the festive celebrations. The crown that was first worn by Manu, had been worn by successive emperors according to hallowed tradition. That day the sages Vashishtha, Vamadeva and Jabali earned the crown for the coronation of Sri Ramachandra. To participate in the historic ceremony several kings, chieftains and lesser rulers were entering the Durbar Hall, along with many sages. At the main entrance gate, a gigantic message was blazoned across the gate in a novel manner. The message read in Sanskrit: “Satya-Dharmabhih Yuktaanam Nasti Mrityu Bhayam” (Those who adhere to truth and righteousness will have no fear of death). The message declared that for the one who adhered to truth and righteousness there was no fear of rebirth. This means that such a one need have no fear of death again after this life because he will have no re-birth. Without birth there can be no death.

Sri Rama Pattabhishekam - A painting symbolising Rama's Coronation

The first pronouncement which Rama made on the occasion of the coronation is remarkable. He said: “Who is it that is primarily responsible for making today’s celebration possible? Hanuman was solely responsible for the successful search of the whereabouts of Sita and helping Me to recover her. Hence, at the outset I express My deep gratitude to Hanuman”. Rama then expressed His gratitude to Jatayu, who sacrificed his life in fighting against Ravana while he was carrying away Sita. Next, Rama expressed His gratitude to Sugreeva, who had helped Him in organising the search for Sita and in providing the hordes for the war on Ravana. He next expressed His gratitude to Vibhishana, who had come over to Him, despite the suspicions of Rama’s companions, and who had revealed to Rama many of the secrets of the enemy. Above all, there were the huge hordes of monkeys, who had no direct connection with Rama or Sita, who endured many hardships and even laid down their lives for His sake and He expressed His gratitude to all of them. In this manner, Rama expressed His gratitude to one and all who had helped Him in the epic Rama-Ravana battle. The supreme lesson to be learnt from the Ramayana is that one should be grateful all his life to anyone who has helped him in a crisis. Only the man who shows such gratitude can be termed a human being. The ungrateful man is a demon.

- “The Greatness of Rama-Rajya”, Sathya Sai Speaks, Volume 29, May 29, 1996, Brindavan

For all the mighty deeds done by Hanuman and great help rendered by him, Rama asked him: “Hanuman! What reward can I give you? Apart from expressing My gratitude to you I cannot give you any fitting recompense. The only way I can show My gratitude to you is that whenever you think of Me at any time in your life, I shall appear before you”. Rama was showing His gratitude to Hanuman in this manner. This indicates that the primary duty of man is to be grateful all his life to the person who has done him a good turn.

- “Install Rama Rajya in Your Hearts”, Sathya Sai Speaks, Volume 28, April 09, 1995, Brindavan

Source: Chapter 4, Sai Vani: Avatar on Avatar Purushas

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