[Advaita-l] Some Reflections on Ramayan

kuntimaddi sadananda kuntimaddisada at yahoo.com
Tue Jul 24 12:28:55 CDT 2012

Reflections on Ramayan
on recent talks by Swami Tejomayanandaji in Virginia)
Rama is para brahman, took the form of a human
to protect those who follow dharma and to destroy those who take up adharma. It
is the dharma that propels the wheel of action and results, sets it in motion
with the beginning of the creation cycle. Rama means the one in whom everyone
revels, since he is sat chit ananda swaruupa, the ultimate goal
of every being. Rama also means the one who revels in everyone, as the very
consciousness that enlivens every body, mind and intellect. Rama says there is
no Rama without Sita and there is no Sita without Rama. This Sita-Ram is one
expressed as two as the prakRiti and purusha or as Lakshmi-Narayana, and as
Krishna says the lower prakRiti and higher prakRiti.  Sita stands for emotional personality of the
mind that always dwells in Rama. She is the embodiment of Bhakti while Rama
stands for intellect that discriminates the right from wrong, dharma from
adharma. ramo vigrahavaan dharmaH, Rama is the embodiment of dharma, says
Maaricha rakshasa. As Valmiike says, Rama is maryada purushottama –
free from all faults - nirdhosham hi param brahma, says Gita
about parabrahma, as it is being infinite braham cannot have faults. Thus
faultless Rama stands for jnana swaruupam. Thus Sita-Rama
stand together as inseparable Bhakti and Knowledge. 
Shankara defines Bhakti as– swaswaruupaanusandhaanam or swaatma  tatva anusandhanam – Bhakti is contemplation
on one’s own real nature or constant inquiry into one’s own real nature as
one’s own real nature being jnanaa swaruupam. Thus Sita,
standing for bhakti is devoted to pure knowledge, Rama. In Vaishnava tradition,
it has been said only through Shree or Lakshmi one can reach Narayana, and
hence the philosophy is called Shreevaishnavism. Thus Sita standing for Bhakti indicates
that Bhakti is the essential means to reach parabrahma, as Shankara echoes –
moksha kaarana samaagryaam bhakti reva gariiyasi – of all the paths for
liberation Bhakti is the supreme.  From
Advaita point, Sita stands for the mind and only through the mind one has to
recognize the pure consciousness that illumines the mind.  
Rama leaves ayodhya when conflicts arose in the city to
go to aranyam, where there were no conflicts and which is the abode of santa
purushas. Aranyam means ranyam na vidyate – where is no
inner battle taking place, where there is always victory of good over bad.  Rama meets many sages including sage Atri and
Anasuya. Anasuuya means where there is no asuuya that involves guna dosha
darshanam, that is seeing bad even in good people. Anasuuya is the one who can
see goodness in everything or being, the highest good being the vision of the
supreme in everyone’s essence.
Sita-Ram slowly moves to
Pancavati at the recommendation of Sage Agastya to live there. Vati means
banyan tree.  The banayan tree symbolizes
the shraddha or faith as an essential ingredient to gain any knowledge, more so
for adhyaatmika
vidya. Lakshmana, who has purified his mind by karma yoga by serving
the Lord, gains the supreme knowledge at the feet of Rama in the pacavati only. Vata vRiksham is glorified in our
teachings. Young Dakshinamurthy teaches the old sages sitting under the Vata
vRiksham only. VaTaviTapi samiipe bhuumibhaage nishaNNam … andchitram vaTaror mule vRiddhaas shiShyaas gururyuvaa.. says DakshiNamurthy
Pacha vati involves the full
faith in five aspects required for knowledge to take place.
1.   Faith
in the existence of God.
2.   Faith
in the validity of the scriptures as the means of knowledge or pramaNa
3.   Faith
in the Guru, the knower of the truth and what he reveals is the truth expounded
in the scriptures. 
4.   Faith
in oneself –aatma viswaasam – that I can realize in this life itself.
5.   Faith
in the efficacy of sadhana, sadhana at karma yoga level and sadhana at jnaana
yoga level, the later involving shravana, manana and nidhidhyaasana. 
Once surrendered, Rama takes care of bhakta even if there
are fourteen thousands of obstacles that come in the form of Rakshasaas led by
Khara and DuushaNa, disturbring peaceful mind. There are two types of surrender
as per Vaishnava tradition – 1. Maarjaala nyaaya 2. Markataka nyaaya- roughly translated as kitten philosophy and the baby-monkey philosophy. In the
case of kitten, once surrendered it becomes the responsibility of the mother
cat to take care of its kitten. A devotee once surrendered, there is full faith
that Lord will take care of him. In such surrender it becomes Lord’s
responsibility to take care of his devotee. In the case of baby monkey’s, it is
the responsibility of the baby monkey to hold on firmly to the mother’s stomach,
and mother just allows the baby to hold on to her while she jumps from one
branch to the other in search of food. These two philosophical positions led to
Vadahalai and Tengalai sects, respectively, in Shreevaishnavism. 
Swami Tejomayanandaj beautifully describes the surrender
of a devotee – a devotee should have one hand under the feet of the Lord and
the other hand holding the feet of the Lord, so that devotee cannot run away
from the Lord neither Lord can run away from the devotee. However it is the
Lord assurance which is commonly referred to as the final teaching or charama
sloka – that says: 
dharmaan parityajya, maam ekam sharaNam vRija|
tvaa sarva paapebhyaH moksha ishyaami maasucaH|| 
Giving up all dharmaas completely surrender to me alone
and I will give liberation, removing all the sins committed in the past. That
requires complete faith - shraddhaa by establishing oneself in Pancavati. 
Hari Om!

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