Bhagavad Saptaha (XXV)

Thursday, 25 October 2012

Ram Katha
In the dynasty of great powerful king Bhagirath, King Khatanga, then Dirghabahu then King Raghu takes birth. The activities of King Raghu spreads everywhere, and from then onwards the famous name Raghu vamsha came into being. In this vamsha (dynasty) there was a king named Dasaratha who was great ascetic, lustrous and powerful. As his three queens, Kaikeyee, Kausalya and Sumitra were all childless, he performs Purtakamesthi yajna and under the guidance of Basistha muni the yajna gets completed. From the fire of yajnakundu (pit of sacrificial fire) Agnidev (god of fire) himself appears with khira churu (oblation of condensed milk) and tells the king, you take this churu and make the queens drink it, you will attain divine children. By the order of rishi Bashistha the king gives half of it to queen Kausalya and divides the rest half among the other two queens Kaikayee and Sumitra. The three queens become pregnant, the Ayodhya city adorns as a newly wedded wife and the citizens’ mind gets filled with happiness. In the month of Chaitra, sukla pakkha, nabami tithi (ninth day of the bright fortnight), abhijit muhurta (abhijit according to astronomy means the Vega star and muhurta means moment) at 10 am Sri Ramchandra son of Kausalya appears. “Avadhesh kumar Sri Ramchandra lala ki jay”. Mother Kausalya visualizes a gentle smiling face holding sankha (conch), charka (disc), gada (club), padma (lotus), lovely as deep clouds, immediately after birth Oneself reminds mother about the promise of former times – You wanted Me to be your son, Kausalya says I wanted You as my son, but You have appeared as my father otherwise will anybody come as a son with four hands. Than Sri Ramchandra hides His two hands and all other paraphernalia and becomes like an ordinary child.
            King Dasaratha gets the news of birth of his four sons, Kausalya – Raghubar Ramchandra, Kaikeyee – Bharat Maharaj, and Sumitra Devi gives birth to Lakhan and Satrughna. Maharaj Dasaratha’s joy knew no bounds and cause to perform jatsanskar (birth reformation). Until one month the birth festivities of Sri Ram continues unnoticed. King Dasaratha pays obeisance in the feet of adorable Bashistha and requests him to perform naamakaran (ceremony of giving names to children). Bashistha muni gets overwhelmed, thinks, an anami (unnamed) has to be named, since an ajanma (One who is never born) has taken birth so anami is also to be named. Alongwith 108 learned brahmanas rishi Bashistha sits in his seat in the yajna mandap (sacrificial arena) filled with all kinds of paraphernalia.
            Three Ram, Parsuram, Dasarath’s son Ram and Srikrishna’s brother Balaram. One spread bhaktiyoga, One karmayoga and One gyanyoga.
            One who is dham of all sulakhan (auspicious signs) he is Ram’s affectionate brother Lakhan. One whose lakhya (noticeable) is the lotus feet of Sri Ram, he is Lakhan.
            Rishi Viswamitra takes child Ram and Lakhan to his asrama and on the way perform pastimes of deliverance of Taraka demon. Then alongwith Viswamitra muni Ram and Lakhan comes to Janakpuri where sayaambar shabha (choosing of bridegroom oneself from amongst a number of suitors) of mother Sita is being held. In Janakpuri, the king Janaka has a bow of Lord Shiva which was built by Dadhichi muni. Many other renowned kings who came to Sayaambar shabha could not even move it, let alone break.
            Taking orders from His gurudev, Sri Ramchandra with extra gentleness pays obeisance to the bow, meditating upon Lord Shiva and worshiping Him, also paying obeisance at the feet of Dadhichi muni picks up the bow very easily and before a twinkle of an eye breaks it into two pieces. Maharaj Janak’s eyes becomes tearful, today is a great fortunate day for him, Janaki is the daughter of my soul, daughter of my emotion, my bhakti, my faith, she is not my legitimate child, she is my dharma putri (god-daughter), today she achieved great fortune and thus tears keeps rolling out of his eyes. Jaganmata (mother of universe) Janakidevi puts barmalya (garland for bridegroom) into Raghunandan Sri Ramchandra’s neck, what a pleasant sight it might be, says acharya Sukdev, this scene was visualized by the citizens of Janakpuri, they caught hold their eyelids so that it does not fall, does not create obstruction.
            Sri Ramchandra has long arms and a stout body, but mother Janaki is not so much tall to place the garland in His neck, the sakhis gestures Sri Ram to bow down, to look at Janaki’s feet. Raghunandan gesticulates; Raghukul (lineage of Raghus) does not know to bow down before anyone. Then the sakhis approaches Lakhan, but Lakhan says it is not possible because in every action there is a question of maryada (dignity) and so the elder brother cannot be told to bow down. So Lakhan straightaway goes and fells down at the feet of Sri Ram and when Sri Ram bows down His head to see what happened to His affectionate brother, immediately Mother Janki places the garland in His neck. Such a beautiful and wonderful sight, a purifier of eyes, all the demigods of heaven starts drizzling flowers. King Dasaratha alongwith Bharat, Satrughna and others reaches there and performs marriage of Sri Ram to Janaki Sita, Urmila to Lakhanji, Mandabi to Bharatlal and Srutakirti’s marriage to Satrughna.
            So much happiness sometimes does not endure everybody, thus goddess of obstacles enters Ayodhya from the maternal uncle’s house of Bharat and Satrughna. King Dasarath fixes to ceremonially coronate Sri Ramchandra. Queen Kaikeyee’s affectionate servitor Manthara poisons her intelligence by offering ill advices. Kaikayee approaches King Dasaratha and ask him to fulfill the two boons he had earlier promised. One boon is to make Bharat the king of Ayodhya and other one is Ramchandra’s banabash (banishment to the forest). Acharya Sukdev says rajan, “Ramo bigrahaban dharma” Sri Ramchandra is the deity of religiosity.
            Following the orders of His mother Sri Ram, Lakhan and Sita departs to forest and the citizens of Ayodhya also start following them. At the banks of river Tamasa, leaving everybody in a sleeping state Sri Ram, Lakhan and Sita proceeds towards the forest. On the way meets Guhak the king of the Nishad who makes them cross the Ganga in the early morning. Then Sri Ram, Lakhan and Sita comes to the asrama of Bharadwaj muni and alongwith him goes to the asrama of Balmiki rishi. In the meantime due to separation from his affectionate son, Sri Dasaratha crying hey Ram hey Ram passes away. He now exists sharing the throne of devaraj Indra. In the creation of Brahma there are two strange characters one is Bharat and another is Manthara, one is endowed with all good qualities and the other is bereft of any good quality, this is the variegated-ness of creation. Bharat alongwith citizens of Ayodhya goes to forest to bring back Sri Ram but could not succeed, so returns back with the charanpaduka (wooden footwear) which he places in the throne as a mark of Lord Ram and himself goes to a village where he starts living in a cave. For fourteen years the citizens of Ayodhya did not lit lamp in their houses, did not smear oil on their head and body, did not wear shoes etc. Sri Ramchandra goes to the asrama of mother Anuswya who confers blessings and benediction to mother Janaki. From there Prabhu goes to the asrama of Satikhyan and from there to Agastya muni’s asrama and in this way reaches Panchabati. There are five very nice trees at Panchabati and at present it is named Nasik. At Panchabati Sri Lakhan constructs a nice cottage where arrives Ravana’s sister Surpanakha. Ravana has two mothers, first mother’s son is Kuvera and his own mother has three sons namely Ravana, Kumbhakarana and Bibhisan and one daughter Surpanakha. Surpanakha was married to a demon named Bidyutjihaba who was killed by Ravana. Infatuated by the beauty of Sri Ram, Surpanakha takes the form of a beautiful young girl and tries to attract Sri Ram. But as she approaches, Sri Ram foils her plan by addressing her as a mother, mother tell Me what can I do for you. The female demon says, but I have come to search a husband, but Sri Ram says that it is the duty and responsibility of parents. Later on, Sri Ramji sends her to Lakhan and after some arguments Sri Lakhan cuts off her nose and ears. In the scriptures it is mentioned that nose is heaven and ears are sruti means Veda. One who speaks a lie in front of Paramatma he neither goes to heaven nor his Vedic succession continues. After this great insult Surpanakha approaches Ravana and narrates the whole incident resulting to a severe war.
            Ravana dispatches Marichi in the form of a golden deer and mother Sita sends Sri Ram to go and catch it. At that time Ravana taking a form of an ascetic kidnaps mother Sita. Ravana comes to beg taking a form of a sadhu but while kidnapping he returns back to his own form. Although being a demon, still did not destroy the dignity of a sadhu, but nowadays, the opposite of it is done by the imitating sadhus.
            On the way Jatayu (a kind of bird) obstructs him and starts a strange fight. As his feathers got cut off, Jatayu fall down to the ground, later on Raghavendra Prabu liberates him. Upon whom mother Janaki casts her eyes, his liberation is inevitable, whether it is Jatayu or it is Sugriva. Jatayu was even kept in the lap of Sri Ramchandra who says, may you live for thousands of years. Yatayu says, Prabhu how will death be more beautiful than this and thus leaves his body in the lap of Sri Ram.
            Going to the cottage of Sabari, Sri Ram gives her very nice advices. Sabari was disciple of Matanga rishi.
            Alongwith Sugriva, Sri Hanumanth Lal becomes companion of Sri Ram. Bali was an assailant; Sri Ram delivers him and says - your conduct is adverse to Veda, so you should get punishment. Bali’s son Angad was enrolled in the army of Sri Ram. Followed by army of monkeys Sri Ram begins to search mother Janaki. But the most important issue was who will go to south. Here seeing the prowess of Hanumanji Sri Ram was astonished, Hamumanji is very merciful and nobody can be as compassionate as him. Some demigods may have influence in satyajuga, some may have in dwapara, but Hanumanji is “Charo jug pratap tuhara” Hanumanji is powerful in all the four jugas (eras). Hanumanji goes to Lanka the kingdom of Ravana, there he had the darshan of mother Janaki, gives her impression of Sri Ram and later on set ablaze Lanka on fire. He brings a crown jewel from mother Janaki and hands it over to Sri Ram, which pleases Sri Ram very much. Bibhishan brother of Ravana takes shelter of Sri Ram.
            Thus begins the great battle of Ram-Ravana which could not be compared to any other battles. Kumbhakarna gets delivered; Lakhan gets hurt by shaktishel (dreadful mythological missile), Hanumanthlal goes and brings Sanjivani-buti (root which infuses life) and saves Lakhan’s life. Again starts the terrible war. The army of Sri Ram consisting of monkeys serves Him with their body and mind. The demigods send their chariot to Sri Ram. By the gesture of Bibhisan, the arrow of Sri Ram hits the navel of Ravana by which his life comes to an end, thus Sri Ram Chandraji Maharaj delivers Ravana. The demigods start drizzling flowers. Agnidev (demigod of fire) surrender mother Janaki to Sri Ram and says, mother Janaki is as sacred as me and Ganga, You please accept her. Dasaratha comes from heaven and blesses Sri Ramji. Kuvera presents his airplane and Harumanji goes to Ayodhya to pass this message. The number of days there are in 14 years, so many lamps are alighted in the house of the citizens of Ayodhya and that day is celebrated as Diwali, “Bhagavan Sri Ram Chandra ji ki jay”.to be continued
(A part of the Summary of Srimad Bhagavattam translated from the diary of Sri Gurudeb)