The Times of India, Mumbai - Page 14 - Dated 30th March, 2004 (sourced)
The Rama Principle
The Rama Principle is manifested in the Gayatri Mantra. Rama is the embodiment of three aspects of time. He is the Lord of the three worlds and is the embodiment of the three Gunas. Hence, Sri Rama is the indwelling spirit in every being.
Ramanavami is when nature puts on her new vesture after shedding the old. Rama thus represents all that is beautiful in nature.
Rama is the supreme example of how people should conduct themselves in the worid, how a country should be governed, how the integrity and morality of human beings should be protected. High-minded actions, ideal qualities and sacred thoughts are basic foundations of character. Rama is the very embodiment of these three attributes.
The Rama Principle is a combination of the Divine in the human and the human in the Divine. The inspiring story of Rama presents the triple ethical code relating to the individual, the family and the society. If society is to progress properly, the family should be happy harmonious and united.
For unity in the family, the individuals composing it must have a spirit of sacrifice.
Rama is immanent in the entire cosmos. Rama is present everywhere. Hence, you have to love all, serve all... then one becomes eligible for Rama's grace.
Rama Rajya is the reign of morality, truth and virtues. 'Rama Rajya' means that which engenders happiness (Ramayati) where there is no ill will towards anybody.
Sri Sathya Sai Baba
THE SPEAKING TREE
The True Essence Of Being Rama
Rama is a symbol of sacrifice, a model of brotherhood, an ideal administrator, a warrior unparalleled. The term Rama Rajya stands for the most exalted concept of a welfare state. Rama was not only divine; he was invested with the highest values of an enriched tradition started by Raghu. The essence of Rama is therefore the essence of excellence in every pursuit.
As an avatara Rama had to enact his 'leela' in human form. As a child he let Kaushalya enjoy the divine pleasure of treating him as a child, but he wanted her to share a cosmic vision of his real self. Goswami Tulsidas describes that once Kaushalya bathed and fed Rama and placed him in his cradle. Then she prepared prasad and offered it to the Kuldevata in the puja room. She went and checked if the child was sleeping. He was. She went to complete the puja and found Rama there, eating the prasad.
Kaushalya ran back to the cradle to find the child was asleep. But when she returned to the puja room, he was there, eating the prasad. She was dumbfounded. Then Rama revealed to her his swarupa, the universe itself, where birth and death, time and space, causality and effect were a seamless One. A bewildered Kaushalya, like Arjuna, was given a glimpse of the infinite. Overwhelmed, Kaushalya prayed that she be allowed to "see Rama as a child and nothing more. Infinitely compassionate, the Lord consented.
The principle of humanity is yet another essence of being Rama. When the ways of crossing the ocean were being discussed, and it was suggested that Rama should make the ocean dry up, he resisted. With great humility Rama initiated a puja to placate the sea god to allow for an opening. Three days passed but the sea god was unrelenting. Then Rama decided to use his divine astras, and dry up the ocean. This made the god appear before him. With folded hands he entreated Rama not to dry the "ocean, as it would mean death to all sea creatures. The compassion of Rama made the sea god suggest the expertise of Nala and Neela to bridge the ocean.
Rama, before crossing the ocean, installed the Shiva-lingam at Rameswaram, and said: "The Mahakaal is dear to me". Once he defeated Ravana, Rama anointed Vibheeshana as the king. Traditionally the victor had the right to the riches and the kingdom, but Rama was uninterested.
It has been said of Rama's reign in Ayodhya, "...it was such that no suffering of a mental, bodily or physical nature afflicts its citizens. There is no animus and every one is conscious of his duty There is no poverty, no untimely death, no want. The forests are lush and the ecosystem healthy".
Rama's philosophy was that the ultimate Dharma was doing good to the people. There was no greater adharma than causing others to suffer. When people do not perform their duties according to their dharma, they do not get the right results. Out of ignorance, they blame the cosmic scheme for their misfortunes. Rama in the Uttarkand speaks of action that seeks no reward, conduct which seeks no fruit, and faith which seeks no expectation.
Despite his divine nature, Rama the prince requested Sage Vasistha to explain to him the nature of the universe and the real truth of 'Being'. This great treatise, known as the Yoga Vasistha or the Maharamayana, is one of the clearest expositions of the core of Vedanta, holding that only Consciousness, the real truth, is the essence of Brahman.
(Ram Navami is being celebrated today.)
Celebrating Lord Rama's coming
Message from Bharath-Heritage, Dated : 30. 03.04
SRI RAMA NAVAMI
Om Sri Ram Jai Ram Jai Jai Ram
SALUTATIONS to Lord Rama, an Incarnation of Lord Vishnu, who is measureless, who is of the nature of pure. Consciousness and bliss, who is the consort of Sita, Master of Sri Hanuman, and the Lord of the three worlds, who took His birth at His own will in order to establish righteousness, destroy the wicked and protect His devotees.
Ramnavami or the birthday of Lord Rama falls on the 9th day of the bright fortnight of the month of Chaitra (March-April). Rama was the Lord Hari Himself, incarnate on earth for the destruction of Ravana. He was well accomplished, beautiful and endowed with royal marks. His glory and prowess were unlimited. He was peerless on earth. He was free from malice. He was gentle. He was the protector of all His people. He always addressed them in gentle words. He never used any harsh words even when somebody provoked Him. He held sway over the whole world.
Let Sri Rama be your ideal. Ideals are remembered and adored for the purpose of adopting them in your own life. The Ramnavmi celebration or the Vasanta Navaratri every year is an opportune period for us to saturate ourselves with the spirit of Lord Rama. We love and adore our ideals because we express thereby our yearning to unite with them. In our worship of God it is implied that we should be virtuous, good and perfect even as God is. Hence the wise instruction: "One should become divine in order to be able to worship God". One cannot be a real worshipper of Lord Rama unless one makes an honest attempt to grow in the virtues that the Lord represents. On the other hand, worship of Lord Rama is itself the surest means to develop such virtues.
One who approaches Sri Rama with love and worshipfulness becomes large-hearted, pure in spirit, good-natured and dispassionate in thought, word and deed. A true devotee of Lord Rama is His representative, with His power and His knowledge.
Lord Rama was the prince of the Ikshvaku race. He was virtuous and of manly strength. He was the Lord of the mind and the senses. Brave and valiant, He was yet gentle and modest. He was a sage in counsel, kind and sweet in speech, and most courteous and handsome in appearance. He was the master of all the divine weapons, and a great warrior. Ever devoted to the good and prosperity of His kingdom and His subjects, He was a defender of the weak and the protector of the righteous. Endowed with numerous wondrous powers of the mind, He was well versed in all sciences--in military science as well as the science of the Self.
Deep and unfathomed like the ocean, firm and steadfast like the Himalayan mountains, valiant like Lord Vishnu, He was the joy of Kaushalya. Though fierce like fire on the battlefield, He was calm like the cool breeze of the Mandara Hills, patient like Mother Earth, bounteous like the god of wealth and righteous like the lord of justice himself. In the pains and the griefs of His people, His heart swiftly sympathised with the sufferers. In the festive scenes which held them in joy, He like a father, shared their joys. By His honour and heroism, as well as by His gentleness and love for His subjects, He greatly endeared Himself to the hearts of His people. Such a great person was the Lord Rama!
Lord Rama was the best of men with a sterling character. He was the very image of love. He was an ideal son, an ideal brother, an ideal husband, an ideal friend and an ideal king. He can be taken to embody all the highest ideals of man. He led the ideal life of a householder to teach the tenets of righteousness to humanity. He ruled His people so well that it came to be known as Ram-Rajya, which meant the rule of righteousness, the rule which bestows happiness and prosperity on all.
The noblest lesson embodied in the Ramayana is the supreme importance of righteousness in the life of every human being. Righteousness is the spiritual spark of life. Cultivation of righteousness is the process of unfoldment of the latent divinity in man. The glorious incarnation of the Supreme Being in the form of Lord Rama has exemplified the path of righteousness. Let mankind follow His footsteps and practise the ideals cherished by Him, for it is only thus that there can be everlasting peace, prosperity and welfare in this world.
None but the righteous can be truly happy. None but he who has the correct sense of duty and the will for its implementation can be said to live worthily. One must be imbued with a definite conviction about the supremacy of moral principles, ethical values and spiritual ideals. These ought to guide one's day-to-day actions and serve as powerful means for the culture of the human personality. That is the purpose of life. That is the way to Self-realisation. That is the message and the mission of Lord Rama's fife on earth.
To a devotee, Sri Rama is not simply a good and a great person, but God Himself. Rama was the son of King Dasaratha of Ayodhya, but He is also the divine omnipresent, omnipotent and omniscient God. The destruction of the ten-headed Ravana signifies the annihilation of the mind or the ten senses. Worship of Lord Rama is worship of the all-pervading Godhead Himself. Read the prayers offered by Mandothari and Brahma in the Yuddha Kanda of the Ramayana. They refer to Rama as the one Creator of the universe, the God of all, the Ruler of the universe.
Devotion to God is not a simple emotion. It is the result of intense dispassion and purity of heart and attitude. You should strive your utmost to possess the good qualities that are extolled in the Ramayana and exemplified in the life of Lord Rama. Otherwise, emotion may rise up in you temporarily to a kind of ecstasy, but you will not experience divine consciousness thereby. Devotion is a fruit which ripens gradually through the processes of self-restraint and virtue. Without intense dispassion there can be no real Sadhana for Self-realisation. Only after detachment from the world of things, is it possible to attain the Supreme Godhead. Remember this.
Devotion has absolutely nothing to do with age, caste, creed, position or sex. Generally, the worldly-minded people say: "We will practise meditation and devotion when we retire from service." This is a serious mistake. How can you do serious Sadhana after squeezing out all your energy in working? How will you be able to practise the strict Yogic discipline in your old age? Is there any certainty in life? No, the spiritual seeds of discipline and devotion must be sown in you while you are young, while your heart is tender and untainted. Then only will it strike a deep root, blossom forth and bear fruit when you become old and retire. Only then can you bravely face the god of death and meet him with a smile!
I shall tell you the means of attaining the final release from the great cycle of births and deaths. Devotion to Lord Rama is a great purifier of the heart. From devotion arises knowledge. From knowledge comes the realisation of the pure Self. Knowing this perfectly, one goes to the Supreme Abode and merges in the Supreme Self.
Without first developing devotion to Rama who is the Self, who lives in the hearts of all beings, who is all bliss and who is peerless, how can man cross the ocean of worldly life which has sorrow, pain and misery for its waves?
Do thou therefore worship Lord Rama who is Vishnu and the consort of Sita who is Lakshmi. Abandon all foolishness and enmity. Take to the service of Lord Rama.
The Lord is extremely fond of those who have surrendered themselves to Him. He has given this promise in the Ramayana: "To anyone who once takes shelter under Me and solicits 'I am Thine', I bestow fearlessness from all beings. This is My vow".
Even a great sinner who is full of evil qualities and who is fond of other people's wealth, is freed from all kinds of faults that pertain to worldly life if only he remembers the Lord always. He attains purity and goes to the supreme abode of the Lord.
The Name of Lord Rama is the greatest purifier of the heart. It wipes away all one's sins. Not only this, but it wipes away the sinful tendencies as well. The Name is sweeter than the sweetest of objects. It is the haven of peace. It is the very life of pure souls. It is the purifier of all purifying agencies. It quenches the consuming fire of worldly desires. It awakens the knowledge of God. It bathes the aspirant in the, ocean of divine bliss. Glory to Sri Rama and His Name!
O Devotee! recite His Name, sing His glory and serve His Lotus Feet. Enthrone in your heart Lord Rama of dark hue, whose image is reflected in the heart of Lord Shiva. Blessed is the pious soul who uninterruptedly drinks the nectar of Sri Rama's Name which has been churned out of the ocean of the Vedas, which removes the impurities of the Kali Yuga or the iron age, which lives constantly on the lips of Lord Shiva, which is a sovereign remedy or unfailing specific to cure the disease of worldly existence and which is the life of Mother Sita.
Ram-Nam burns ignorance, passion and sin. With or without knowledge, correctly or incorrectly, when the word "Rama" is pronounced it showers a rain of good upon the devotee. Sri Rama is Brahman who takes one across the ocean of worldly existence. Rama is one in across whom the Yogis sport, that is, the Self within.
Lord Shiva tells His consort Parvati: "This Ram-Nam is equal to the Lord's thousand Names, or repetition of the Mantra a thousand times".
I call this the anti-gossip tonic. When you find that you are wasting your time in gossip, repeat His Name several times. You can make up for the time lost, and the mind will be slowly weaned away from the habit of gossiping.
Sri Rama is also a wish-fulfilling tree. He will bestow upon you whatever you want! Just read what Lord Shiva further says:
"The seat of all good things, the destroyer of all impurities of this age of darkness, purer than purity itself, the food for the journey of aspirants on the path to salvation, their only resting place, the very life-breath of virtuous men, is the Divine Name of Sri Rama. So say the sages".
On the auspicious Ramnavmi day take a firm resolve that you will repeat Ram-Nam with every breath and that you will endeavour to lead a righteous life.
Ramnavmi is one of the most important festivals of the Vaishnava sect of the Hindus. However, even those who adore Lord Shiva celebrate the occasion. Some observe a strict fast on the day. Temples are decorated and the image of Lord Rama is richly adorned. The holy Ramayana is read in the temples. At Ayodhya, the birthplace of Sri Rama, a big fair is held on this day.
In South India the Sri Ramnavmi Utsavam is celebrated for nine days with great fervour and devotion. Those talented in the art of story-telling narrate the thrilling episodes of the Ramayana. The Kirtanists chant the holy Name of Rama and celebrate the wedding of Rama with Sita on this great day. It is an extremely colourful ceremony, highly inspiring and instructive, too.