Adhyatma Ramayana (AR)

Dr. M. Giridhar giridhar at CHEMENG.IISC.ERNET.IN
Mon Apr 20 05:32:11 CDT 1998


        Shri Ravi had requested me to go through the archives of the list
for the past month since some people had echoed my sentiments that the
list should cater to Shankara's teachings. I did read a few posts and
found the post by Shri Anand on AR to be very interesting.

        The fifth adhyaya of the uttara kanda of AR is a conversation
between Lord Rama and his brother, Lakshmana. This is usually called the
Rama GITA. It is purely advaitic and very interesting to read.

        Some of the examples given by Lord Rama in AR are very nice.

1. A frog is being swallowed by a snake. Even though it knows that it is
going to be dead in a few moments, the frog puts out its tongue in the
hope it will catch some insects. Similarly, man is being swallowed by the
serpent of Time, but he is still running after transitory sense pleasures
instead of remembering Me.

2. A dog bites a dry bone thinking that there is some meat there. It goes
on biting the bone that blood starts to flow from its mouth. The stupid
dog, however, thinks that the blood is from the meat of the bone and bites
more and more at it. Similarly, man foolishly thinks that happiness lies
in external objects and hankers after that.  This results in wastage of
the body and mind. Instead, if he leaves the bone alone, he will find
happiness within.

        Both the above examples used to be quoted by Kanchi periyava in
His speeches to show that man is foolish for sense-pleasures even when he
knows that death is always round the corner. Similar sentiments are
expressed beautifully by Shankara in bhaja govindam.

dinayaaminyau saayaM praataH
shishiravasantau punaraayaataH .
kaalaH kriiDati gachchhatyaayuH
tadapi na muJNchatyaashaavaayuH .. 12..

Daylight and darkness, dusk and dawn, winter and springtime
come and go. Time plays and life ebbs away. But the storm of
desire never leaves.

aN^gaM galitaM palitaM muNDaM
dashanavihiinaM jataM tuNDam.h .
vR^iddho yaati gR^ihiitvaa daNDaM
tadapi na muJNchatyaashaapiNDam.h .. 15..

Strength has left the old man's body; his head has become bald,
his gums toothless and leaning on crutches. Even then the
attachment is strong and he clings firmly to fruitless desires.

        So, what should one do ? Again, Shankara,in His infinite
mercy, comes to our rescue and advises:

mUDha jahiihi dhanaagamatR^ishhNaaM
kuru sadbuddhiM manasi vitR^ishhNaam.h .
yallabhase nijakarmopaattaM
vittaM tena vinodaya chittam.h .. 2..

Oh fool ! Give up your thrist to amass wealth, devote your
mind to thoughts to the Real. Be content with what comes
through actions already performed in the past.

        Actions performed in the past have resulted in the present
prarabdha karma. That has to work its way out, when we like it or not.
The purpose for which the body was created has to be fulfilled, whether
the mind likes to perform its duty or not. Therefore, Shankara asks us to
be content, make our mind equanimous and concentrate on the real. Because
instead of ruminating about samsara, if we devote thoughts to the real, we
will ascertain the Truth. Where is the world/samsara when the Truth is
known ?  (GYaate tattve kaH saMsaaraH .. Shankara)

        There is also a very nice exposition of bhakti in advaita by Lord
Rama in AR. He talks to Hanuman-ji on how bhakti results in jnana ultimately.
The steps indicated by Him are very similar to the nine steps (shravana,
manana, pada6sevana,sharangati etc.) found in the bhagavatam. There
are some beautiful hymns on what bhakti is and what one should ask
God with Bhakti. These are from the works of Shankara, Tulasidas'
Ramayana (called Ramacharitamanas) and AR. I will post them in an article

AUM shaantiH
Giridhar Madras, Assistant Professor    Email: giridhar at
Department of Chemical Engineering      TEL     : 91 80 309 2319 (Work)
Indian Institute of Science                     : 91 80 338 4680 (Home)
BANGALORE 560 012, INDIA                FAX     : 91 80 334 1683
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