ShrIrAmanavamI information (3 levels of rAmAyaNa)

Anand Hudli anandhudli at HOTMAIL.COM
Thu Apr 2 10:35:35 CST 1998

 Ravi wrote:

>As Govind pointed out kamba rAmAyanam is revered in TN. It is one of
>the longest epics in tamizh. In this version of rAmAyanam, shrI rAmar
>is not treated like mortal at any place. As an avatar of Lord vishhNu
>is rightfully revered throughout the text.   In this avatar, even
>though shrI rAmachandra mUrthi puts on the act like a mortal, the fact
>that he is the Ishwara who has incarnated  to establish dharma is
>emphasized by kambar.
>From hearsay information I gather that vAlmiki does not offer such a
>position to shrI rAma. I do not have a first hand knowledge on this.

 I have not read Kamban's rAmAyaNa, but I have read most of the
 Vaalmiiki rAmAyaNa, the adhyaatma rAmAyaNa, and a translation
 of Tulsidas' rAmyaNa, the rAmacharita-mAnas. I have tried to
 analyze below the many versions of rAmAyaNa from karma-bhakti-jnaana
 points of view. I encourage any comments on this analysis.

  Many years ago, during my student days, I read the Vaalmiiki
 RaamAyaNa upto the end of the yuddha-kANDa. The uttara kANDa
 which follows the yuddha kANDa is considered by many to be a
 later addition to an existing epic. The yuddha kANDa ends with
 the return of Raama, Siitaa, LaxmaNa, and the vAnara chiefs
 to ayodhya, after the war,  and Rama's assuming the role of the
 king of ayodhya.

 My impression is that Vaalmiiki has acknowledged that Raama is
 divine, but he (Vaalmiiki) has chosen to depict rAma primarily as
 a perfect human being - a hero, who upholds dharma, a dutiful son,
 a faithful husband, an affectionate brother, a trustworthy friend,
 and so on. The intention of Vaalmiiki is perhaps to depict rAma
 so that He may be a lofty ideal that all of us human beings should
 strive for. So everyone should try to emulate rAma in our day to
 day dealings with our fellow human beings, the core message being
 that we should always stick to dharma. This is the intention of
 Vaalmiiki, as far as I can understand.

 Next, consider versions such as the adhyaatma rAmAyaNa, where the
 author never misses an opportunity to point out that rAma is God.
 From the very beginning, there is no doubt left in the reader's
 mind that rAma is the very same as the four-handed ViShNu, the Lord
 of LakShmI. The intention of the author here is to evoke bhakti
 towards rAma, so that we may worship Him, be engaged in reciting
 His glories, delight in chanting the "rAma-nAma", and so on. The
 role of rAma as a human being, and the difficulties He had to face
 in His life on earth, are secondary to the role of rAma as the
 incarnation of ViShNu. In fact, the adhyaatma rAmAyaNa, and possibly
 many other versions that I have not read, point out that all the
 hardships that rAma underwent were just His mAyA and not real. For
 example, in the adhyaatma rAmAyaNa, what rAvaNa kidnapped is not
 the real sItA, but a fake sItA. So we must conclude that the
 real objective of such versions are to make us turn towards

 Finally, there is the Yoga vAsiShTha rAmAyaNa. Here the main message
 is not karma, not bhakti, but jnaana. Here rAma plays the role of
 a sincere disciple approaching a Guru (vAsiShTha) for instruction
 on jnaana. Since rAma Himself is God or Ishvara, one may ask how
 is it that rAma could be subjected to ajnaana or ignorance which
 had to be removed by the jnaana received from vAsiShTha? The answer
 is simple. rAma could not really have been under ajnaana. Ishvara
 can never come under the influence of ajnaana. He only sought
 the instructions of vAsiShTha for the benefit of those of us who
 are helpless victims of ajnaana.

 So one may study rAma in three ways. We may emulate Him in
 our dealings with society and the world by following dharma. This is
 the way of  karma yoga. We may worship rAmA as God, let our
 minds be absorbed in bhakti. This is the way of bhakti yoga.
 We may study the instructions that rAma received from vAsiShTha
 in the Yoga vAsiShTha, reflect on those teachings which repeatedly
 assert the unreality of the world and reality of the Self. This
 is oriented towards jnaana yoga.

 The Vaalmiiki rAmAyaNa teaches more of karma mArga than bhakti and
 jnaana. (This does not mean that there are no elements of bhakti
 and jnaana at all in Vaalmiiki's version. I only mean that such
 elements are not predominant.) The adhyaatma rAmAyaNa teaches
 bhakti as a way to attain jnaana. It asserts in more than one place
 the mithyaatva (unreality) of the world, but recommends rAma-bhakti
 as a means of freeing oneself from ajnaana. rAma is the parabrahman
 which remains after ajnaana is destroyed. The Yoga vAsiShTha, of
 course, upholds the jnaana mArga.


>ulagam yaavaiyum taamuLavaakkalum
>nilai peRuttalum nIkalum nIngalA
>aLaviLA viLaiyATTuDaiyAr avar thalaivar
>annavarkE charaN nAngaLE
>                                kambar

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>From  Thu Apr  2 14:47:17 1998
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Date: Thu, 2 Apr 1998 14:47:17 -0500
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To: "Advaita (non-duality) with reverence" <ADVAITA-L at TAMU.EDU>
From: Ram Chandran <chandran at TIDALWAVE.NET>
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Ravi Mayavaram <msr at REDDY20.TAMU.EDU> writes:

> As a member of the list, I can hit the D key on many such posts, which
> I do often. But as maintainer, I cannot remain silent. This is list is
> for advaita-vedanta.  This forum is not for discussing Buddhism, and
> definitely not for discussing new-age philosophies.  Personally I
> remain silent like many others because, I do not want to write
> something non-vedantic and pollute the forum. Like others, I learn
> from many who write so well on the issues of Advaitam like
> Vidyasankar, Anand, Sadananda, Jaladhar Vyas and few others.  I am
> grateful to them.

> I request that this forum need not be used for discussing one's pet
> theories and be used only to discuss advaita vedanta as taught by
> Shankara and his disciples. Personally I would prefer silence to a
> daring display of ignorance. Of course, where you draw the line is
> upto you.

Greetings Ravi:

I also prefere silence to a daring display of ignorance!  Consequently,
I have decided to quit this forum so that there will be lesser needs to
use the D Key!

Hari Om!

Ram Chandran

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