Saturday, August 15, 2015

Why Rama is my best friend?

                As the whole world celebrates Friendship Day, I am forced to ponder on whom we resonate with the most. I have to confess as I pen, rather type this article, I have been driven to write, not a choice. We idealize and idolize the ones we adore mirror ourselves. It is a psychological fact that we connect and like others whom we are like. This likeness may be incipient idea or maybe something exactly identical, while the former is easily spotted the latter is seen only in exalted states of meditation.

                It is also easily observed that the ones we think about constantly, our psyche molds itself to such a passionate outlook. In my personal experience, I have come across many couples married for few decades, who are still deeply in love with each other, resembling each other like brother-sister, though their wedding pictures show the contrary. Such an amazing transformation can be seen even in their thoughts for it has been observed such couple even communicate with each other without any words or gestures.

                If the above observations can be a guide, it is easy for us to interpolate having a greater ideal closer to the heart mold us into this higher state. For centuries Rama has been the ideal that guided the psyche of the masses. Even in Mahabharata times, he is being recounted as a model, as a person to emulate not mere avatar. Rama personifies the highest human ideals and no example can be better than his life.

                The Indian society has always emphasized reading Ramayana and Mahabharata on a daily basis to influence these values in a subtle way into our lives. Apart from this daily reading, there were pravachans, bhajans, kirtans etc which effused this divine aroma of greater ideals in our day-to-day living.

                Rama lived this highest ideal and hence he is lovingly adored as Maryada Purushottama. The standards set by Rama are very extraordinary and stretch the normal humans beyond their fixated basal stance of mundane existence. His virtues are countless as his nature. He sets the example of an ideal son by listening to the commands of his father, even though they were wishes of his step-mother. He demonstrates Tyaga. He is able to renounce the kingdom despite being the next in line.

                Rama sets an example for ideal friendship. He not only makes Guha, the boatsman and Sugriva, the vanara living in fear of his angered brother Vali, but also the enemy's brother who surrendered, Vibhishana as his friend, his brother and lives by that pact.  The ability to look past the negatives surrounding others is a great virtue lived by Rama. He does not give in to the doubts of even Lakshmana or Vanaras to view Vibhishana with suspicion.

                The idea is not enumerate the great virtues of Rama to emulate at this juncture. It may have to be for another day. But as easily understood these great innumerable virtues were seeping into the nation's psyche subconsiously and this has halted with the current way of living. Neither are these values extolled nor are the sources like Ramayana. In certain cases, due to motivated elements, great effort is being made to downgrade Ramayana as Iliad of Homer or some other great works of Shakespeare.

                Ramayana means in the Path of Rama. The nation that had been silently walking behind this ideal Rama is now marching to the beat of EGO. An interesting acronym for EGO is Edge God Out. As long as we were including Rama in our lives we were having his ideals and virtues as a guideline.

                Yajnovai Vishnu says Vishnu Purana. The highest Sacrifice that God has made is create this universe in one sense,though he has not left his true nature. This Universe will not be in existence but for his sacrifice to give up a portion of HIS nature. This example of the highest Divinity to do Tyaga is embodied in Rama Avatar.

                Rama doesn't hesitate to Tyaga the throne. Rama Tyag's the false values of pride and ego when he makes Guha, Sugriva and Vibhishana as his brothers. Rama Tyags ego when he demonstrates humility when he meets great Rishis and Sages. Rama chooses the higher dharmic path when it comes to Vaali vad, even though it has become controversial today. Interestingly, Vaali, the so called victim tells Rama that he did the right thing before giving up the last breath. Rama demonstrates this spirit when he asks Sita Mata to demonstrate her virtue by jumping into fire. Though it must have pained Rama the most, he is ready to do the right thing. (Rama does not actually ask Sita to jump into fire, Sita makes this call herself to protect Rama's honor. We will be seeing this exclusively in an upcoming article - Sita's Agnipariksha)

                Rama sets the bar for ideal ruling. Even today in India , we call a great rule as RamRajya. It is said all the denizens of Ayodhya entered Sarayu river and got Moksha when Rama left his body. But even with such display of Grace, there is a heart-wrenching episode of pregnant Sita Mata being asked to be left at Valmiki Muni's ashram. This evokes numerous question, did he even love Sita, why display such cruelty to a pregnant wife, etc.

                Rama wanted to provide an encore example. He again displays Tyaga. As a ruler, he sets aside his personal likes, dislikes and puts the subjects of his kingdom at the core of his actions. The smallest rumor from the worst critic can flare up to consume the peace in the kingdom. No amount of proofs can silence the nature of tongue wagging detractor, except such a clinical approach. Rama showed that swallowing such a poison has evoked criticisms only on his actions thereby nullifying the potential critic's focus on his beloved's chastity.

                All this came together in my mind's eye when I heard Swami Tejomayananda recite an incident where Ramakrishna Paramahamsa was asked to give a concise insight into Bhagavad Gita. He simply kept chanting Gita..Gita..Gita..Gita.. till it phonetically flipped and appeared as Tyagi Tyagi. Tyaga is the real essence of Gita. Tyaga is at the heart of Indian spirituality. There is no one who signifies Tyaga better than Rama.

                Hence Rama, despite radiating all great virtues outshines the other virtues when it comes to Tyaga. Rama has guided millions over time. May this real boatman, Rama be my guide to cross this Sansar of misery and ego. May his grace continue to guide all those who chose to emulate his life. May we cultivate Tyaga, not based on vrakti(dejection) or vairagya(dispassion) or situational compulsion, but one based on choice. This Tyaga will help us to discover our real state of our mind and rise from the basal animal state. May Rama be our moral compass, our hero but most importantly our true friend and guide. May his life be a milestone when we reach cross-roads in our own lives.  May his examples continue to be a beacon in our lives filled with all sorts of distractions.

Om Tat Sat


  1. Nice, Simple yet powerful culling of the essence of the great epic-RAMAYANA
    WELL DONE, keep up the literary flow, there is so much spiritual thirst around ...

  2. This is beautiful, uncle ! It is not easy to put a message across through spiritual language.... this is simply outstanding !
    Do keep writing !!

  3. Well depicted dear with immense knowledge of the Epic ..hatsoff to your dedicated reading thrust. Would appreciate to epitomize with the current scenario of the world and human beings confrontations in life . Best wishes

    1. Thanks for your kind words. If we can bring Ramayana and Mahabharata back to our daily lives, the world will be a much sweeter, grander place and life will be in constant evolution to the Higher SELF.

  4. It was really elighting to read your interpretation on Sri Ram. There is much more and will take a lifetime to understand the relationships depicted in Sri Ramayanam. To start from Jaya and Vijaya the gatekeepers of Vaikunta, Ramayana gets even more interesting. Appreciate your effort and eagerly waiting for more.

    1. Harih OM! Thanks for taking time. I have attempted to classify the topics. If you observe the rightside panel, under labels, you will find Rama and more writings to come. You may also like to read

  5. Thou i have read ramamyan couple of times you have awesomely seen in a different angle as Rama - a Friend. Nowadays friendship and friends are not seen in relationship but in dictionaries. Please keep writing more articles as its an eye opener to many.

    1. Ramayana or Rama's example can be discussed till the end of Cosmic dissolution. We all approach Itihasas/puranas usually as to what is lacking in the world and it is generally a reflection of our own lack. Never miss any opportunity to hear from any speaker or writer on those topics, as different people bring their inner experiences. I can spend my entire lifetime just listening to the known story, yet undiscovered gems inside. Rama and Sita are the most idealized examples of humanity. Meditating and constantly thinking about them help us in raising ourselves closer to this Ideal Eternal Reality

  6. Namashkaar Shri.Satchitaanandaji,
    Rightly said, Lord Rama knew that Maatha.Ahalya willingly united with Indra and got cursed by her husband Gauthama Maharishi. Raama liberated Ahalya from the curse. And Lord Rama gave salvation to Maatha.Shabari a daughter of nishaada/hunter.Lord Raama was compassionate and forgiving. So it was the same Raama who was liberal to his female subjects but took the blame of sending Sita to forest. In Bhavabhuthi's Uttara rama charitha, this incident is covered in a different way.That's a very beautiful story which totally defends by creating an altogether different scene. You will be knowing it. Just reminded.
    Shri.Raama sets an example of Thyaaga which is an essential component for a king and now for all politicians who aspire to rule the country. All politicians who aspire to become leaders should read both SrimadValmiki RaamayaNa and KrishnaDwaipaayana Mahabhaaratha. Not just climbing the ladder of power,should become leaders. As always you have written it very beautifully.
    Thankyouji Sri.Raama's friend !

    1. And we Indians used to follow RaamayaNa and our Rishis gave this verse exalting Ahalya, Taara Vaali's wife as members of Panchakanyas. "AhalyaDraupadiTaarataaramandOdharitatha panchakanyaa smarEnnithyam mahaapaathakanaashanam"

    2. Thank you for your kind thoughts and taking time to ponder.

      I dropped the idea to elaborate on the Panchakanya due to the feminazis who will exploit it. Maybe later.

      On Ahalya, even Gautama rishi forgave her right after the incident. He instructed her to spend the time to live a life of deep thought, as she acted almost like insentient. One view is she lived like a rock till she came in contact with Sri Rama. (not a physical rock)

      Krishna in BG 6.5 says one must elevate from the lower SELF to a higher SELF. Only Rama's contact could such a fallen consciousness. The deeper message for all amongst us who are feeling guilty, Rama Nama alone is able to lift us from this deep tamas.

      Jai Shri Ram

    3. Shri.Satchitanandaji,
      I am not a feminist. But think that AHalya mustn't have been punished. We see lot of such incidences in MahabhAratha starting from Prachethasas, Sathyavathi,etc. Vyaasa himself narrates a story after Draupadi swayamvara about a Bharadwaja vamsha or Gouthama vamsha woman having married to 7 men,Don't exactly remember the name. But Gauthama was also indirectly punished by losing all the powers gained by penance. Just my thoughts.

    4. Personally I think there is nothing to feel guilty!
      With due respects, A difference of opinion on this Ahalya issue!

    5. Harih Om,

      Sorry for coming across wrong. I didnt mean you are feminazi. I said with feminazis and the anti Ayyappa brigade in force, I had to shelf the idea to write about Panchakanyas and also about women in Mahabharata.

      Many times, we take incidents in one source. If for instance, if we cross refer this incident in Padma Purana, where it is dealt in more elaboration, we reach different conclusions.

      The idea is not whether punishment should be meted as she was already a victim. If we superimpose a rape victim of today will have scars for life much more than even the criminal, even if punished.

      Gautama was not punished nor did he lose powers. He merely goes off to do more penance after cursing Indra. The standards of the Rishis were way higher. Remember the one instance when Renuka, mother of Parasurama, wife of Jamadagni got enamored by the reflection of Ashwinis. Definitely doesnt warrant the wrath of Jamadagni.

      That is why there is a saying "Where even Kama (desire) cannot enter, Krodha (anger) can". We see it time and again with lots of examples.

      In case of Ahalya, her only mistake was two fold, she knew it was definitely not her husband due to way Indra acted in lust and she was unable to suppress her kama when she was supposed to be getting ready for some puja/ritual. Gautama instructed her to return to him once she gets Rama's blessings. He did not look down upon her. In fact her name itself is Ahalya, one without blemish.

      Many times, we think the curse is a bad thing, only when we realize that highly evolved use that shock treatment to root out the malady.

      Ahalya got the greatest opportunity to be purified by the feet of Sri Rama. Gautama used the situation to get her to live a life of meditation thinking only on Sri Rama. We all have the same chance. Let us stay focused on holding to his lotus feet.

    6. AcchO..... No SOrries. I didn't think that you took me as a feminist. My point was in olden days(that period) it was permissable. Maybe since she was a rishi pathni, divine woman and she had to follow the path of Gauthama Maharishi.
      I later realized that Panchakanya stotram is of a recent one not during the time of RaamayaNa or Mahabhaaratha. People out of reverence for our Ithihaasas must have composed it. During Ramayana Period, Draupadi wasn't there.
      THankyou for acknowledging my comments,Very nice of you!
      PraNaams !