[Advaita-l] Sundara Khanda - Talk 4

kuntimaddi sadananda kuntimaddisada at yahoo.com
Wed Oct 25 10:11:01 EDT 2017

Sundara Khanda  of Ramayan

This write-up is somewhat based on the discourses by Swami Advaitananda, at 2017 Chinmaya Maha Samadhi Camp held in Chicago July 29 – Aug. 3rd.

IVth and Final Talk:

Hanuman was brought in front of Ravana. Ravana angrily asks Hanuman four questions. 1. Who are you? 2. On whose strength you have killed my people, 3) Have you not heard my glories? And 4) What have my people done for you to kill them?

Hanuman answers the second question first. He sings the glory of Bhagavan and says without His support neither I nor you can do anything in this world.

We are remained of the story in Kenopanishat. After winning over the Rakshasas, all the Gods were having a party. At the party, each God was boasting that because of him only the Rakshasas were defeated. Suddenly a dazzling light with the form of a Yaksha appeared at a distance. All the Gods were surprised and wanted to know what that was. They deputed, first, the God of rain, who approached the Yaksha, and asked who he was.  The Yaksha, in turn, asked the Rain-God –‘Who are you?’ Rain-God responded saying that I am the mighty Rain-God who can cover the whole universe with the rain. Yaksha placed a blade of dry grass in front and said, ‘if you that mighty, let me see if you can wet this blade of Grass’. Yaksha tried hard but could not. Similarly, when confronted by Yaksha, the Fire-God could not burn it, and the God of Wind could not lift it. They all returned saying that whoever that Yaksha is, he is more powerful than us. Then the King of Gods, Indra, went there to find out who that Yaksha was. Indra stands for intellect.  When he approached, the Yaksha disappeared and in that place Goddess Uma stood there. Indra after prostrating to her asked who that Yaksha was. Uma stands for the Upanishads. She said ‘Yaksha is Brahman’ – that because of which eyes can see, ears can hear, mind can think, and without its presence nothing can be done. Thus He is the eye of the eye, ear of the ear, mind of the mind, discussed earlier in the Kenopashat chapters.  In addition, Brahman is that which cannot be comprehended even by the Intellect. In essence, Brahman is not an object of any knowledge, yet its present as the very substratum or support if there in everything that is seen, heard, touched, tasted, etc. That is, there is no knower-known duality. It is the very essence of knower, the subject, I, which cannot be known or cannot be objectified. It is causeless cause, and the ultimate cause for the whole universe.

Hanuman says, Rama is the very incarnation of Brahman, the totality crystallizing in the form of a human being as an incarnation or avatara; that is, the totality coming down for a purpose, specifically to punish the wicked and uplift the righteousness or dharma. He is, therefore, the ultimate cause or Bhagavan. He is not only powerful but the very source all powers in the universe.

In Vedanta, three types of descriptions are provided for Bhagavan. Bhagavan with a) With form and with attributes – saakaara saguNa, b) with attributes but no form – saguNa niraakaara, c) and no form and no attributes – niraakaara nirguNa. All the dashavataraas or ten incarnation of the Lord come under saguNa saakaara.  Thus we belive both form and formless expresions of the Lord. Lord forms antaryamin or indweller – formless one that support all forms. He pervades every form as Vishnu, and support both the movables and immovable. Krishna says –

mayaa tatami dam saram jagat avyakta muurthinaa, 

mastaani sarva bhuutaani, na ca aham, teshu avasthitaH.

I pervade this entire universe in an unmanifested form, or formless form, all beings are in Me or by Me – and yet I am unaffected by their ups and downs.

Hanuman says, Rama is the incarnation of Brahman, descended in the form of a human being just to punish you for your adharmic behavior. He is all powerful and with superior intelligence. In fact, the strength in you is only due to His grace. Without His presence in you, you cannot do anything. It is like electricity which provides the power needed for different types of gadgets to function. Without the required electricity providing the power, they are as good as dead. Yet, electricity itself is unaffected by the type of gadget that it activates. Whatever the strength you have is due to presence of the Lord in you as the very life-principle. Good people use it the right way while the bad people use it wrong way. Those who misuse it will be punished and that is the Law. Who am I? – I am the servant of the Lord, acting now as a messenger of the Lord Rama to give you a pre-warning to amend your ways so that you can save yourself.

About third question, yes I have heard about your fame. How Sasharabahu treated you as though you were a blade of grass. I also how the mighty king of Vanaras, Vali, bound you in his arm-pit and went around the seven seas. Yes, I know all about your episodes. Why I killed your people? Your people unnecessarily came and disturbed me when I was having my lunch. It is not my fault. If you want to live, you better take shelter under Rama by returning Sita mayya and confessing your fault. Rama may forgive you. I see you have everything in Lanka, but no bhakti towards the Lord. It is useless and everything will be destroyed.

There is a Meera Bhajan that says without the Bhakti, music of life is useless. There is also a telugu song by Tyagaraya that says – sangeeta jnaanamu, bhakti vinaa, sanmargamu kalade manasaa – without bhakti, the knowledge of music will be useless. True bhakti involves doing things that please the Lord. Once one’s life is surrendered to the Lord, the life itself becomes a beautiful and divine music. Without devotion, the life itself becomes like vast desert land. Unconditional love for the Lord, helps one to enjoy life with reverential attitude. Devoid of Bhakti all the sampatti will be destroyed.

Therefore Ravana!, surrender yourself to the Lord and with His blessing you can cherish your glory. Get rid of your moham or delusion that the happiness comes from the external objects. They only contribute to more bondage or samsara. Because of your delusion you have become an arrogant. Give up your ego and save yourself. If you don’t the consequences will be very severe not only to you and to all those who depend on you.

Ravana started laughing loud – more to cover up his own weaknesses.  He behaves as though he is the master of the situation, even though Hanuman pointed out his weakness. He orders that Hunuman be killed immediately, but Vibhishana intervenes, pointing out that a massager should not be killed. Ravana then orders that Hanuman’s tail should be burnt, since for monkeys like their tails.  Hanuman ended up burning the whole Lanka. This is a fire of grief of Sita or shokaagni. We have to burn our passions with the fire of dispassion. The fire burns away everything else leaving the seeker free, to the see the Lord in full glory. Hanuman stood in front of Sita, to get permission to go back to Rama with the message. She gives Hanuman her chudamani – crest jewel – and calls Rama as deena dayal – and requesting the Lord to come quickly and rescue her. Hanuman returns back to meet all the vaanaras and together they go and meet Rama with the good news. When they meet Rama, Hanuman did not say anything. It was Gambavan that reported the success story of Hanuman. Hanuman just says everything was done on the strength of Bhagavan. Rama was overwhelmed. He asks Hanuman what can he do in return.  Hanuman does not want anything in return. All he wants is unwavering devotion to the Lord. Upto this is called Shiva Kaachi. From then on the sundarakanda deals with Vishnu Kaachi – where the glory of Rama is described. That includes Vibhishana Sharanagati and taming the ocean and crossing the ocean by building a bridge over it. This part can be taken at some other time. With this the four lectures on Sundara khaanda was over.

Hari Om!


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