[Advaita-l] Ramayana Soudaryam - to revel on Shree Ramanavami.

Stephen Satzinger stevsatz at gmail.com
Tue Mar 27 12:20:53 EDT 2018

Thank you so very much, sir. I am proudly an admirant. Words fail me now.

On Mar 24, 2018 11:07 PM, "kuntimaddi sadananda via Advaita-l" <
advaita-l at lists.advaita-vedanta.org> wrote:

Ramayana Soundaryam

Soudaryam means beauty. What do we mean by beauty? When do we say that
something is beautiful? To start with, when an object appeals to our eyes,
we say it is beautiful. Beauty is that X-factor that makes us admire, that
which makes the object to stand out from its surroundings, that which is
aesthetically appealing to our vision, that which seems to have a
perfection, an order or a structure. For example, not many people can
appreciate the modern art, where deeper thinking may be required to
appreciate the message depicted by the artist – which has more appealing to
the intellect than the mind. In contrast, a beautiful object appeals
immediately to our emotions. Subsequently, we may also admire
intellectually the creator of that beauty and appreciate the intelligence
behind that creation. Soundaryam or beauty has immediate mental or
emotional appreciation, as our experience shows. Beauty is that which melts
our hearts and fills our heart with noble sentiments. For example, when we
see the beautiful flower that is in full blossom with all its fragrance,
which is radiating with the brilliant colors and textures, our vision gets
arrested, at least for few seconds. In those moments of admiration, we
forget the rest of the world, and we even forget ourselves since there is
no other thought that arises, other than emotional identity with that
beauty. The mind itself becomes silent, with no words to express or
verbalize it – other than some meaningless mantras – Oh!, Wah!, or What a
beauty!, etc. The intellect may step in later with some critical analysis
involving comparisons and contrasts with the things that were seen in the
past, with gradations in the scale of beauty, with a desire to own it, or
to be proud of it if it is already owned, or to be jealous of the person
who owns it . We do not understand what is satyam and jnaanam but we
understand sundaram, beauty and ananda or joy associated with it; the total
fulfillment even for few moments of joy in the vision of the beauty.

Thus, when there is a beauty, the mind is attracted to it. Hence attraction
is the expression of soudaryam, that which is beautiful. The perfection or
the order that exists in the object manifests as an attraction towards it,
which in turn invokes love and passion. This may degenerate later into the
desire to possess the object. Before the desire arises, there is an
emotional identification with the object of love, which is the object of
attraction, which is the object of beauty. There is a saying that the
beauty is in the eyes of the beholder. Thus beauty causes attraction and
expresses as love for the object; and that love involves an identity with
oneself bridging the gap between the seer and the seen, at least for those
moments. No words can reach to express that beauty, that love, that
happiness. Every object of beauty is a creative expression or vibhuuti of
the creator, the supreme.

At the sense level of perception, a thing of beauty is seen through the
order in the created object, expressing at the mental level as the love
that provides the momentary fulfillment, and thus happiness of one's own
ananda swaruupa, of the self itself. Those who are tuned intellectually
also can appreciate sometimes the beauty of the order in logic, where the
beauty expressing as admiration and then love that involves identity. In
essence, I love what gives me happiness; and in that love, the duality or
separateness of the subject and the object of love ceases. In a sense,
soundarym is different from aiswaryam, where aiswaryam means glory. In
contrast to love, Aiswaryam, invokes an intellectual admiration, a respect
or reverence; and sometimes may degenerate to even jealousy. There is a
gulf of distance between the subject and object. To bridge that gulf, the
subject may surrender to the object of reverence, only if the attitude of
reverence combines with the attitude of gratitude. This is the relation
between a disciple and his teacher, or between a devotee and his deity.

The story of Rama, every Hindu knows – from a child to the adult. Yet, one
still gets fascinated in hearing that story again and again. It is not
history but it is HIS story. When someone shows us their personal photo
album, we do not show much interest. Because of obligation we see through
the pages turning them as fast as we can. However, if it contains our
picture, then we are attracted to see. Even after many years, if it is our
picture, we do not like to throw that picture and would like to preserve it
for our later seeing. We do not lose interest to see it again and again –
because it is our picture, not others. In essence, if it is something that
is ours, we do not lose interest to hear or to see; that is called
mamakaara. If so, why do we want to hear the story of Rama again and again?
The love for Rama is the expression of love for oneself too. It is not
Rama’s story – it is our story.

Rama means one who revels in everyone and He is the one in whom everyone
revels. The one who revels in everyone is the Lord himself -I am in the
heart of everybody says the Lord, heart being the seat of love. In essence,
it is the self that is the core of one’s individuality. The story of Rama
is the story of righteous over evil, the story of Dharma over adharma, the
story of success against all odds, the story of the self, which we cherish,
which we ourselves would want to be. Rama was the beauty incarnated.

Bhagavan Tulasidasji describing the beauty of Rama, says his eyes are like
a lotus flower, his face is like a lotus flower and in fact his every organ
was like a lotus flower, so delicate, so full with fragrance. Why is the
analogy with lotus, we may ask? Lotus is that which grows out of muddy
waters (pankaja, born out of mud). Yet, in spite of it, it stands out with
all its beauty and fragrance untouched by the surroundings and even
glorifying them. Rama’s beauty was so captivating that even the Rakshasas
like Khara and Dushana said that they have no heart to fight with him. The
name is so captivating and glorifying that even the chanting of it in
reverse as mara, mara,.., converted a butcher into a sage (Valmeeki). While
the presence of Rama had blessed the people of Ayodhya as well as many
sages and saints at that time, but the name has is become even more
powerful, since it has been blessing millions since then. Such is the
beauty of Rama, in name and form.
Many have written on Ramayana. One famous poet says- it is not famous poets
who wrote on Ramayana, but the ones who wrote on Ramayana became famous
poets - that is the glory of Ramayana. The sage Valmeeki, when he first saw
a hunter killing one of the two birds that are in love, he could not
contain the sorrow or shoka. Words came out of his sorrow and become the
first sloka. The shoka (sorrow) is transformed into sloka (poem), even to
the surprise of the great Rishi, and made him ultimately into a poet, in
fact as the first poet. As he was pondering on the sloka, getting concerned
of why he cursed the hunter in the form of sloka, Brahmaji appeared, and
blessed the sage, saying that Goddes Saraswati herself expressed in the
form of Sloka. He advised him that he should compose the story of Rama that
he heard recently from the Sage Narada.

Rama means the one who loves all and also the one whom everyone loves. That
is the very self within. Pujya Gurudev described a Vedantic significance
for the story. He is born in ayodhya, meaning where there are no internal
conflicts, to Dasharatha, meaning the one in whom all ten sense organs
(five sense organs and five organs of action) are fully under control. He
has to leave ayodhya when conflict arose, to dwell in forests where
meditative sages are there contemplating on the self with a pure heart. The
whole of ayodhya was trying to follow Rama.

In the forest of the world, the mind (Sita) gets carried away or gets
side-tracked with the fascinations of the glittering world that lures in
the form of a golden dear, gets lost and gets captured by the sense
indulgence even deceptively in the form of Dahshamukha, the ten-headed
monster (five sense organs and five organs of action), whose whole life is
all the time centered in stomaching all those enjoyments, by hook or crook.
When the mind later repents and longs for Rama, the self within, He has to
come as a teacher and destroy the ego with Brahmaastra or aham brahmaasmi,
aiming at the stomach which is the center of indulgence. Sita, the mind,
after the complete purification by fire of spiritual sadhana joins back
with Rama, the self within. Thus Ramayana has inspired many authors where
the purpose of life is being pointed – it is not just a story that
fascinates children but a message of the very purpose of one's life, the
story of dharma, the story of the longing mind which is in search of one's
own love, the happiness that one is, and uniting with that source of
happiness. It is the story of duty bounded by love, the story of a message
to whole humanity for its evolution.
------------ ---
Based on the introductory talk by Swami Tejomayanandaji on Sundara Ramayana
during mahasamadhi camp in LA in 2010.
Hari Om!

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