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ESSENCE OF RAMAYANA
by Swami Sivananda
Table of Contents
Ekasloki Ramayana 11 Salutations to Valmiki 11 Relationship of Hanuman with Sri Rama 11 The Kalpaka Tree 11 Sumitra's Instruction to Lakshmana 12 Sri Rama Mangalam 12 Ahalya’s Prayer 13 Story of Valmiki 14 Introduction 15 The Ramayana 15 18 Its Characters 19 Adhyatma and Tulasidas 21 Science of Astras 23 General 25
SYNOPSIS OF THE SEVEN KANDAS
1. Bala Kanda 27 2. Ayodhya Kanda 27 3. Aranya Kanda 27 4. Kishkindha Kanda 28 5. Sundara Kanda 28 6. Yuddha Kanda 29 7. Uttara Kanda 29
Bala Kanda 30 Ayodhya Kanda 40 Aranya Kanda 48 Kishkindha Kanda 60 Sundara Kanda 71 Yuddha Kanda 84 Uttara Kanda 94
CHARACTERS OF THE RAMAYANA
Sri Rama 99 Sita Devi 102 Lakshmana 113 Bharata 118 Satrughna 124 Dasaratha 125 Sri Hanuman 126 Jatayu and Sampati 132 Vali 134 Lava and Kusa 137
SRI RAMA’S TEACHINGS
Sri Rama’s Instructions to Lakshmana 141 Rama Hridayam 142 Rama Gita 144
SRI RAMANAVAMI MESSAGES OF
Glory of Ramanama 154 Be Devoted to Hari 156 Way to Rama Rajya 158 Lord Rama—Light of Truth 163
Rama Rajya Within
164 Let Sri Rama Be Your Ideal 166 Sri Rama, The Universal Ideal 168 Follow the Path of Righteousness 170 The Hero of the Ramayana 172 The Ideal of Highest Duty 174
Lesson of Ramayana
A DIVINE GARLAND FOR SRI RAMA
Rama Rajya 182 Svadhyaya 184
Sri Swami Sivanandaji Maharaj’s main purpose in life is to serve aspiring souls and humanity, and one of the forms it has taken has been the production of over three hundred books on almost all aspects of religion and culture of India.
Sri Swamiji has rightly called the Ramayana as being Dharma in theory and practice. It has influenced and moulded Indian life and thought for hundreds of years and is still a living force in the inner depths of Indian consciousness.
(Ramayana in One Verse)
Formerly Sri Rama went to the forest (where Rishis did penance) and killed the illusive deer. Sita was carried away and Jatayu was killed. (Rama) met Sugriva, killed Vali and crossed the ocean. The city of Lanka was burnt (by Hanuman). Ravana and Kumbhakarna were then killed. Thus (is recited) the holy Ramayana.
SALUTATIONS TO VALMIKI
I adore the lark Valmiki who, having climbed the high branch of poesy sings in nectarine accents the blessed and sweet Name of the Lord: "Rama, Rama, Rama."
RELATIONSHIP OF HANUMAN WITH SRI RAMA
Hanuman says: "Looked at from the point of view of the body I am Thy slave, from the point of view of the embodied self, a portion of Thy energy, from the point of view of the Atman, Thy own Self. This is my settled belief."
THE KALPAKA TREE
The seat of all good things, the destroyer of the impurities of the Kali age, purer than purity itself, the food for the journey of the Mumukshus (aspirants) who have started on the pilgrimage to the supreme abode of bliss, the only resting place, the very life-breath of virtuous men, the sages say, is the Name of Sri Rama, the seed of the Kalpaka tree (wish-fulfilling tree).
SUMITRA’S INSTRUCTION TO LAKSHMANA
Look upon Sri Rama as King Dasaratha, Janaki as myself (Sumitra) and the forest as Ayodhya city. Go thou, my son (to the forest) and be happy.
SRI RAMA MANGALAM
l. Mangalam (auspiciousness and victory) to the king of the Kosalas, the ocean of great virtues, the son of the great emperor (Dasaratha) to (Sri Rama) the emperor.
2. To Him who is known through the Veda and Vedanta, to Him of the colour of the dark cloud, with a form enchanting to the eyes of men, to Him with meritorious fame, let us pronounce Mangalam.
3. Let us chant Mangalam to the Lord who was dear to sage Visvamitra, to Him with attractive form and fully ripe fruit of the fortune of the King of Mithila.
4. Mangalam to Ramabhadra, who was always devoted to his father, together with Sita, and his brothers and who delighted the whole world.
5. Mangalam unto the Lord who left Ayodhya and lived in Chitrakuta, adored by all sages, who was ever kind and brave..
6. May Mangalam be to my Lord who is worthy of being served at all tunes with devotion, the Lord who lived in the forest with Lakshmana and Janaki, with bows and arrows.
7. Mangalam to Him who lived in the Dandaka forest, who destroyed the enemies of the Devas, and who bestowed emancipation on the devoted king of birds, Jatayu.
8. Mangalam to the extremely amiable Rama who accepted with great love and affection the fruits and roots of Sabari and Him who is all-full and kind, who is all Sattva.
9. Mangalam to the great hero who was ever served by Hanuman, who fulfilled the desires of the devotee of Hari (Vibhishana) and who destroyed the wicked Vali.
10. Mangalam to the great hero Sri Raghava who crossed the ocean over a bridge, who overcame the Rakshasas in fight, who was chivalrous in battle.
11. Let us chant praises of Mangalam to the King of kings, Sri Ramabhadra, who, reaching the divine city of Ayodhya, was crowned together with Sita.
Ever do I bow unto that Hari who has in this incarnation assumed a human shape and is called Rama, who is of a delightful form, who carried the bow, whose eyes are large like the lotus. I bow unto no other.
The dust of whose lotus-feet is to be sought for through the Vedas, from the lotus of whose navel sprang forth the lotus-seated Brahma, whose name is ever cherished by the God, Siva, that Ramachandra do I cherish in my heart day and night.
I take refuge in Him whose deeds in various incarnations are sung in the world of Brahma by Narada, Siva and Brahma and the rest, as well as by the goddess of speech with tears of joy running down her breasts.
This Rama is verily that supreme self—the ancient Purusha, the self-illumined, without limitation, beginning of all. Assuming a human form through Maya, he deludes the world. This is his supreme grace.
This Rama who is free, full and the self of all, is alone the cause of creation, preservation and destruction of the world. Through his Maya, he becomes reflected in the various attributes of goodness, activity and darkness and assumes the names of Brahma, Vishnu and Siva.
O Rama! Reverence to thy lotus-feet which were lovingly placed on her breast by Lakshmi. Only one of thy feet pervaded the three worlds in days of yore. They are now meditated upon by Munis devoid of egotism.
Thou art the beginning of the world. Thou art the world itself. Thou art the refuge of the world. Thou art unattached to everything, thou shinest as the supreme self of all.
O Rama! Thou art that which is expressed by the syllable OM. Thou art the Purusha, beyond the range of speech. Thou art verily the world itself.
Thou alone, O Rama, appearest under the various distinctions of effects, causes, actors, fruits of actions and means of attainment thereof, through thy Maya of many forms.
Deluded by Thy Maya, O Lord, people do not know Thee and think Thee who art the Lord of Maya to be a human personality.
Like Akasa thou art everywhere, inside and outside, undefiled, unattached, unmoving, ever permanent, ever awake and one without a second.
O Lord, how can I, a foolish and ignorant woman, know Thy true nature. Therefore, O Rama, with a single heart do I make hundreds of reverences to Thee. O Lord, wherever I may incarnate, may I always be attached to Thy lotus-feet and have firm devotion to Thee alone.
Reverence be to Thee, O thou chief of men! Salutations to Thee, O thou who art ever dear to thy devotees! Salutations to Thee! O thou Lord of the senses. Salutations to Thee, O Narayana! Salutations to Thee!
STORY OF VALMIKI
Thief Ratnakar became Valmiki Rishi. Ratnakar lived in the country of the Kiratas. He was brought up amongst them. He was a Brahmin only by birth. He was always devoted to the practices of a Sudra. He begot many sons through a Sudra woman. He became a thief when he was in the company of thieves. He destroyed many creatures. He always moved about with bow and arrow in hand.
Once he saw the seven Rishis in the forest and ran after them in order to plunder them. The Rishis said, "Why are you following us?" He said to them, "I have come to take away from you what you have. My many sons and wife are starving. I roam about in the hills and forests to maintain them."
The Rishis said to Ratnakar, "Ask your people as follows: Will each of you become a sharer in the sins which are committed by me daily?’ We shall remain here till you return after settling this point."
Valmiki went home and duly repeated to his sons, wife, mother and father what the Rishis had told him. They said, "All the sins are yours. We shall share only what you bring. Ours are only the gains."
On hearing this Ratnakar became disgusted and went to the place where the Rishis were sitting. His internal nature became purified by the mere sight of those Rishis.
He threw away his bow and arrow; prostrated himself before them and said, "Save me, O Rishis, I am sinking in the ocean of sin." The Rishis took pity on Ratnakar and said, "Repeat always with a concentrated mind the divine Name ‘Rama, Rama’." Ratnakar said, "I am unable to pronounce even that name. Please suggest me some other method." The Rishis said, "If you cannot repeat Rama, Rama’ then repeat ‘Mara, Mara’."
Ratnakar repeated this word with concentrated mind and forgot the outside world. He sat in the same place for a long time. An ant-hill accumulated around him.
At the end of a thousand Yugas those Rishis came back. They said to him, "Come out." On hearing this he got up immediately. He came out of the ant-hill like the sun out of the mist. The Rishis said, "You are Valmiki because you are born a second time from an ant-hill." So saying the Rishis departed.
Thus thief Ratnakar became Rishi Valmiki by his Tapas and repetition of the name of Sri Rama. Even the inverted repetition of syllables raised a thief to the status of divinity. How powerful is Sri Rama’s name. Glory to his name.
Salutations to the great Valmiki, Lord Rama and other heroes of the Ramayana, and Sri Sita Devi, a remembrance of whom removes all obstacles in life and bestows prosperity, auspiciousness and success in all undertakings.
The Ramayana of Valmiki is perhaps the most ancient and glorious epic in the world. It is known as the Adikavyam, the first poem.
Valmiki Ramayana contains 24,000 Slokas which have been grouped into 500 chapters and again into seven Kandas or sections: Bala, Ayodhya, Aranya, Kishkindha, Sundara, Yuddha and Uttara Kanda.
Ramayana is a marvellous book which contains the essence of all the Vedas and all sacred scriptures. It is a treasure for man. It is a reservoir which contains the nectar of immortality. It delineates the character of a son who renounced the throne and the pleasures of the world to fulfil the words of his father and lived in the forest for a period of fourteen years. It depicts the character of a father who sends even his most beloved son in exile in order to keep up his word. It delineates the character of an ideal, chaste wife who is devoted to her husband till the end of her life and shares the adversities of her husband and serves him untiringly in the forest, and who also regards her husband as her God. Above all, it also points the character of a brother who places brotherly affection above everything else in this world and follows his brother to the forest leaving all the pleasures of the palace, and leading the way to ward off all dangers.
In Sri Rama we find a dutiful son, an ideal husband and king. In Lakshmana we find an ideal brother who shares the joys and sorrows of his eldest brother in city and forest. Can a Hindu wife have a more nobler exemplar than the peerless Sita? The very names of these great personages produce a holy thrill in every Hindu heart and in the hearts of all those who read the Ramayana.
Ramayana exercises a great moulding power on the life of man. It contains object lessons for husbands and wives, parents and children, brothers and sisters, friends and enemies.
Ramayana is highly beautiful, melodious and soul-stirring. It contains genuine classical Sanskrit poetry. Rama’s young sons, Kusa and Lava, were the first reciters who sang to music this reputed work. It can be easily understood even by boys. It is suitable for beginners in the study of Sanskrit. It contains the highest ideals of Hindu culture and civilisation. It is a textbook of morals for the youths to inspire them to lofty and sublime ideals of conduct and character.
Ramayana is a book that is studied by all—man, woman or boy in India. The teachings of the sacred book are wrought into the very life of every Indian man, woman and boy. Mothers tell the stories to their children, teachers to their students, the old to the young. It is a non-detailed textbook for students in schools.
The description of nature in the Ramayana is most sublime and beautiful. One can actually feel that the hills, the rivers, the trees and the birds are really one with human joys and sorrows. The description of battle scenes is magnificent. The chief characteristic of the Ramayana is simplicity. Pathos and tenderness run through the whole poem. Poetry and morality are charmingly united. There is loftiness of moral tone.
Ramayana has historical basis. It is a book of great antiquity. It is not a mere allegoric poem. It is an inspiring and marvellous book for all times. It has loomed large for centuries over the destinies of many millions of people and will certainly continue to do so for ages to come.
Ramayana has been translated, both in verse and prose into Italian, French, English and Latin.
The sage Valmiki taught the Ramayana to his little disciples, Lava and Kusa who were the first to sing it to the world. They came in the garb of ascetics from the hermitage of their teacher and sang the wonderful poem in the presence of their father and other heroes of the story.
Those who study the Sundara Kanda daily with faith and devotion attain wealth, happiness, sons and prosperity.
Valmiki once asked Narada, "O venerable Rishi! Please tell me whether there is a perfect man in this world who is at once virtuous, dutiful, truthful, noble, steadfast in duty and kind to all beings."
Narada replied, "There is such a one, a prince of Ikshvaku’s line, named Rama. He is virtuous, brave, gentle and wise. He is a great hero. He loves his subjects immensely. He is the protector of Dharma. He is firm and steadfast. He is just and liberal. He is well versed in the Vedas and in the science of arms. He is unique in the possession of virtues and matchless in beauty. He is an obedient son, a kind brother, a loving husband, a faithful friend, an ideal king, a merciful enemy and a lover of all living beings. All people adore him."
Valmiki, reflecting over this glowing description, was walking along the banks of the river Tamasa. He happened to see a pair of Krounchas (birds) sporting with each other in love. Suddenly the male bird was shot dead by a cruel fowler and the female, seeing her mate rolling on the ground in the agony of pain, screamed out pitifully her lamentations. The sage felt great pity at the sight of the fallen bird and his grieving spouse and burst forth in the exclamation: "Never, O fowler, shalt thou obtain rest, as thou hast killed a Krouncha in the midst of his love." These words came out spontaneously in the form of a musical verse having four feet of eight syllables each (Anushtup metre).
Then Brahma Himself, the creator of the world came before the poet and said, "Sing Rama’s charming story in the same melodious metre. As long as this world endures, as long as the stars shine in heaven, so long shall thy song spread among men." So saying, Brahma vanished. He inspired the poet with the knowledge of Sri Rama’s whole story.
Then Valmiki sat down in meditation and saw every event in Sri Rama’s story in detail in his Yogic vision. Then he began to write the Ramayana. The melody of the Ramayana was born from the heart of love and pity for the wounded bird. When applied to the Ramayana, the verse of Valmiki, sung out of pity for the Krouncha, can be interpreted thus: Sri Rama and Sita represent the two birds; Ravana represents the cruel hunter. Sita was cruelly separated from Rama by the hunter Ravana. There is a slight similarity in both these cases. The hunter’s cruel act was a forerunner to Valmiki’s inspiration to narrate the Ramayana.
Sri Rama, the hero of Valmiki’s Ramayana is an embodiment of every social and domestic virtue. His sense of filial duty is unparalleled in the history of the world. He was an ideal king and his government was styled as "Ramarajya," i.e., an ideal or perfect government. He was an ideal husband and father and a model of all the domestic virtues.
His adherence to duty was remarkable and illustrious. He even abandoned his wife who was his life, heart and soul and sacrificed his personal happiness to ensure the good of his subjects. He was prepared to sacrifice his very life even to secure the contentment of his people and to stick to duty.
He was endowed with inborn humility, noble generosity and largeness of heart. When Lakshmana referred to Rama the evil plot of Kaikeyi and Manthara, he passed it over and was ready to forgive the evil others had done unto him. His fortitude in calamities and adverse conditions was unique and matchless.
The word "Rama" means "he who sports in all beings."_ "Ramabhadra" means "good Rama." He is the supreme Purusha from the ideal of truth and duty set by Him.
Some people say: "Sri Rama is only an ordinary man. He is not an incarnation of God. He wept very bitterly when he lost his wife. His bewailing rent the clouds when his brother Lakshmana fell down on the ground in an unconscious state, being struck by the arrow of Indrajit. Why did Rama, the Supreme Being forget his real divine nature? He was sunk in the ocean of sorrow at the ordeal of Sita. If Rama always knew his true Self why did he grieve over the loss of Sita?"
The answer to this question is that verily Rama was the Supreme Self. He never moved or did anything. He was never subject to joy and sorrow, birth or death, pain or pleasure. Throughout his life, Rama behaved like an ordinary man because Ravana had a boon that he could not be killed by Devas, Asuras, Rakshasas, Yakshas, serpents, bears, etc. Ravana, in his pride, belittled the strength of man. Ravana could thus be killed only by a man. So Sri Rama had to show that he was an ordinary man only. He would not qualify for the destruction of Ravana if he exhibited himself to be God, according to the boon of Brahma.
Sri Rama is known as Maryada Purushottama. He adhered to the injunctions of the Sastras. He led the life of an ideal householder to teach the world the Dharma of a Grihastha. He never swerved an inch from truth and duty.
The period at which Sri Rama lived was the closing of Treta Yuga. Dvapara Yuga began when he departed from this world.
Sita is the heroine of the Ramayana. She is the ideal of womanhood itself. She never led a life of ease and comfort. She was serene and firm amidst sorrows and trials. She was matchless among women. She was put to very severe tests in which her purity, courage, patience and other virtues were severely tried and she came out nobly successful. She was the Hindu ideal of womanly virtues. She was the most charming picture of feminine excellence. Hindu women have glorious reputation for their disinterested love and self-sacrifice. Sita was a peerless embodiment of these virtues. She never thought of her own comforts and happiness. She lived to serve Sri Rama and make him happy.
Lava and Kusa were the little disciples of Valmiki Rishi. They were brought up under his direct guardianship. They were well-versed in the Vedas, music and the science of archery.
Lava was a boy-warrior. He was modest, noble, simple and guileless. He resembled his father in every respect, in his features and outward form. He possessed the same voice, the same modesty and the same natural dignity which his father had. He was bold and humble. He had the sense of duty to a high degree. He could not brook the overbearing attribute of his rival however great he might be. He paid his due respects to elders and Gurus.
Kusa was a worthy brother to Lava. The martial fire was burning in him. He also possessed noble qualities like his brother.
Ravana was a Rakshasa. Though he was a Rakshasa he was a Brahmin. He was a Rakshasa by Svabhava or nature. Despite his evil qualities he was a great Tapasvin and a great Sama-singer. He propitiated Lord Siva by chanting Sama verses along with the musical instrument whose strings were made out of his own nerves. Asuras and Rakshasas were famous for their Tapas. No one could compete with them in doing rigorous austerities. Hiranyakasipu did Tapas till all his flesh and fat were absorbed.
Ravana obtained a boon from Brahma Himself through his Tapas. The sun could not burn him, nor could the wind blow him. The mighty ocean dare not stir at his sight. He could not be slain by any being save man. In his pride Ravana did not include men among his opponents.
Although he was cruel, although he did atrocious and cruel deeds, yet he went to the abode of Vishnu. This clearly shows that he earned merits to ascend to Vishnu’s heaven and he was a good devotee. Ravana was one of the attendants of Lord Vishnu in Vaikunta. He was cursed by the boy-saints Sanaka, Sananadna, etc., to undergo the miseries of worldly life in the earth-plane for three lives as opponent of Vishnu in each incarnation. Vishnu is so kind that he bestows immortality even to his bitterest enemies.
Adhyatma and Tulasidas
The Adhyatma Ramayana consists of 64 chapters and 4,200 verses. It also contains seven Kandas like the Ramayana of Valmiki. It is a part of the Brahmanda Purana. It treats of Bhakti and Jnana. It is a dialogue between Lord Siva and Parvati on the divinity of Sri Rama.
A devotee who associates his Lord with all auspicious attributes will not listen to any imperfections of his deity. Therefore the Adhyatma Ramayana speaks of the divinity of Sri Rama whereas the Ramayana of Valmiki describes Rama as the best of men and tries to show how man, despite his weaknesses, can rise to the status of divinity by placing before him the noble ideals of truth and duty as Rama did. Nothing is known of the author of the book.
Tulasidas like the Adhyatma, makes the real Sita enter the fire and an illusory Sita plays all the subsequent parts. He says in the Aranya Kanda thus: "After Lakshmana had repaired to the forest to gather roots and fruits Sri Rama said to Sita, Listen to me, O beloved Sita. I am going to play a wonderful act. Enter the fire till I have finished the annihilation of the Rakshasas.’ Sita entered the fire and left only an image of herself (Maya Sita), of the same appearance and the same characteristics." But Lakshmana was not aware of this great mystery.
When Sita entered the fire after she was abandoned by Rama, both Tulasidas and the Adhyatma say that the illusory Sita only entered the fire. Tulasidas says, "The image and the social disgrace were alone burnt in the fire. No one knew the doings of the Lord. The gods, men and Rishis all remained looking."
The vast majority of people do not study Ramayana with faith and reverence, under great souls. They jump to hasty conclusions by mere superficial reading of the Ramayana here and there. They read the epic like reading novels with the attitude of curiosity-mongering and cavilling spirit. That is the reason why they are not able to comprehend the truths, the depths and secrets of the Ramayana.
The allegoric meaning of Ramayana is this: Ravana represents Ahamkara or egoism. His ten heads represent the ten senses. The city of Lanka is the nine-gated city of the physical body. Vibhishana corresponds to intellect. Sita is peace. Rama is Jnana. To kill the ten-headed Ravana is to kill the egoism and curb the senses. To recover Sita is to attain peace which the Jiva has lost on account of desires. To attain Jnana is to have Darshan of Rama or the Supreme Self.
He who crosses the ocean of Moha and destroys the Rakshasas, Raga and Dvesha (likes and dislikes), is a Yogi who is united with Santi or peace, ever resting in Atman and enjoying the eternal bliss of the soul. He is an Atma-Rama.
Sri Rama stands for the "Good" (Sattva); Ravana for the "Evil". Sri Rama and Ravana fought with each other. Eventually Sri Rama became victorious. Positive always overcomes the negative. Good always overcomes evil.
Science of Astras
This is the divine science. This is Dhanur Veda. Lord Siva, Lord Krishna, Lord Rama are Lords of this supreme science. Parasurama learnt this from Lord Siva. Dronacharya, Kripacharya, Arjuna, Bhishma and Visvamitra were experts in this science. Bhishma learnt this from Parasurama. Indra also is an adept in this science.
The arrow is charged with the Mantra. It is the Mantra that does all the work. Mark how powerful is a Mantra. Each Mantra is filled with countless divine potencies. The nature of the work done by an arrow depends upon the Sankalpa of one who sends the arrow. One may aim at the destruction of a particular man or place. One may protect oneself with a cage of arrows.
The sum total of all bombs of the present day such as incendiary bombs, flashlight bombs, high explosive bombs and the rest are nothing before a Brahmastra, a Pasupatastra or a Narayanastra. These Astras can burn the three worlds. Unfortunately this divine science has become extinct at the present moment.
The Mohanastra will make a man unconscious. Gandharvastra will delude a man. This produces delusion.
Sri Rama sent an Astra on Ravana’s party. All the Rakshasas appeared as Rama. They killed one another.
Ravana discharged on Rama the Nagastra arrows that became serpents full of poison. The arrows had their mouths like serpents and vomited forth fire all round. Then Rama discharged Garudastra. The arrows became Garudas and cut off the serpent arrows on all sides. Garudas are the enemies of serpents. Garuda nullifies the effect of Nagastra.
Parvatastra gives protection against Vayuastra. It is like a shield. Sri Rama threw Maricha into the ocean with the Manavastra.
If one throws away one’s bow and arrow and bows before the Narayanastra that Astra will not produce any effect. This is called Astra Santi. Withdrawal of Astra is called Upasamhara. Arjuna sent his Brahmastra on Asvatthama and withdrew it together with the Brahmastra discharged by Asvatthama who was unable to withdraw it.
The ancient heroes or warriors of India used Astras or weapons of various kinds in the war such as the Nagastra, Agneyastra, Varunastra, Pasupatastra, Vayuastra, Vajrastra, Gandharvastra, Mohanastra, Indrastra, Garudastra, Narayanastra, Ardha-chandrastra, Devastra, Parvatastra, Manavastra, Vijnanastra and Brahmastra. Indrajit directed Nagastra on Lakshmana which made him senseless and bound him. Sri Rama used Brahmastra to kill Ravana. This is the weapon of the highest potency. This is charged with Gayatri Mantra recited in the reverse order. Asvatthama and Arjuna used Brahmastra against each other. Even a piece of straw charged with Mantra becomes a powerful weapon. It is the Mantra that does the work. Mark how much there is in a Mantra! Varunastra is water weapon that will neutralise the effects of Agneyastra, the fire weapon.
One is surprised when one reads in the Ramayana that Sri Rama had an army of monkeys. They begin to question: "Why should Rama have an army of monkeys? Can monkeys talk and do intelligent things which can be done only by human beings?"
The monkeys were all incarnations of the Devas. Sugriva was an Amsa of Surya. Hanuman was the son of Vayu. Vali was an Amsa of Agni. Nala was an Amsa of Visvakarma.
Once Ravana ridiculed Nandi. He said to Nandi, "Your face is like that of a monkey." Nandi pronounced a curse upon Ravana and said, "Your city of Lanka will be burnt and destroyed by monkeys." Therefore the Devas had to take the form of monkeys.
Ramalila is celebrated every year in almost all the principal towns of Upper India in the month of Asvin. It reminds the Hindu of the story of Rama and attracts thousands of people everywhere. If the actors are of good character, the staging of the drama would produce a most marvellous influence on the minds of the people.
Generally professional people do this performance with a mercenary spirit. Boys and girls with no character act the part of Rama and Sita. Therefore no influence is produced on the audience. People flock to hear some music and spend the time in some sort of amusement. Good Sannyasins and Sadhus should take part in enacting Ramalila. Then it would be a blessing to the people.
In Kali Yuga, most of the illiterate persons are devotional and they are all doing some kind of Tapas, Japa, prayer and meditation. Hindu ladies are devotional in their very nature. The Hindu religion is maintained through the devotional nature of Hindu ladies. Devotion to God is a peculiar characteristic of a Hindu lady. It is only those who have imbibed western education and have scientific knowledge who have become confirmed atheists. They have no faith in chanting Mantra. Their fate is highly deplorable. Justice Woodroffe has written a most valuable book entitled "Garland of Letters". There he has treated this subject quite rationally. The only remedy for them to acquire devotion is Satsanga. Satsanga will overhaul their worldly nature, change their materialistic Samskaras and infuse genuine Bhakti. Hear the famous couplet of Tulasidas:
Bin Satsang Viveka Na Hoi
Rama Kripa Bin Sulab Na Soi.
The grace of Rama cannot be obtained without the help of Satsanga and discrimination.
Japa of Rama Mantra is of three kinds, viz., mental, low or semi-verbal, loud or vocal. The repetition of low Japa gives a reward a thousand times more than verbal. The mental Japa gives a reward a crore times more than verbal.
May the blessings of the bow-holder of Ayodhya ever be upon us all!
This "Essence of Ramayana" may be read easily by even the busiest man who finds no time to go through the voluminous original texts. Long details have been condensed nicely in this book.
Glory to that immortal Valmiki, the author of the Ramayana! Glory to Ramayana, the most sacred book in the world! Glory to Sri Rama, the hero and Sri Sita, the heroine of this celebrated epic! May their blessings be upon you all!
Ananda Kutir, 25th July, 1943
1. BALA KANDA
Rama helps Visvamitra by guarding his sacrifice. He slays Tataka and Subahu. He frees Ahalya from the curse. He breaks the bow of Siva and marries Janaki. He annihilates the pride of Parasurama.
2. AYODHYA KANDA
Preparations are made for installing Rama as the heir apparent. His step-mother Kaikeyi stands in the way and sends him into exile. Raja Dasaratha becomes very much afflicted at heart on account of his separation from Rama and dies on account of grief. Rama, Lakshmana and Sita are entertained by Guha, a hunter-chief. They cross the Ganga and meet the Rishi Bharadvaja. They then go to Chitrakoota on the advice of the Rishi. They build a cottage made of grass and leaves there. Bharata comes and asks Rama to return and take back the administration of his kingdom. Rama refuses. Then Bharata returns and takes Rama’s sandals. He places the sandals on the throne and rules the kingdom in the name of Sri Rama. He himself lives at Nandigram.
3. ARANYA KANDA
Viradha, a giant, attacks them in the Dandaka forest. Rama kills him. They then pay a visit to the Rishis Sarabhanga, Suteekshna and Atri. Anasuya, wife of Atri, gives an inspiring discourse on the duties of a wife to Sita. Then they meet Rishi Agastya. Rama receives celestial weapons from him. They encounter the giantess Soorpanakha in the Panchavati forest. She is disfigured by Lakshmana, who cuts off her nose and ears. Khara and Trisiras, brothers of Soorpanakha, were very much enraged. They fought against Rama and Lakshmana. They were slain in the battle.
Maricha, uncle of Ravana, assumed the form of a golden deer and appeared before them. Sita requests Rama to get the deer for her. Rama proceeds to catch the deer and kills it. Ravana carries away Sita in the absence of Rama and Lakshmana. Jatayu, the king of the vultures, challenges Ravana, but he is mortally wounded. Sri Rama obtains all the information about Sita from the dying Jatayu. He is very much afflicted at heart. Subsequently Rama and Lakshmana kill Kabandha near the lake Pampa. Then they meet the pious Sabari. She offers them roots and fruits.
4. KISHKINDHA KANDA
Sri Rama meets Hanuman on the banks of Pampa. They proceed to Mount Rishyamuka and make an alliance with Sugriva. Sugriva kills Vali with the help of Sri Rama and he is crowned the king of Kishkindha. Rama consoles Tara.
Thereupon Hanuman with a party of monkeys proceeds in search of Sita. He takes with him the ring of Sri Rama as a token. He makes a vigorous search and is not able to find Sita. Jambavan finds Sampati, brother of Jatayu, in a cave. Hanuman climbs up the top of a hill on his direction and from there he leaps across the ocean.
5. SUNDARA KANDA
Mainaka, an island peak, invites Hanuman to rest on its top at the request of the ocean. In his aerial journey Simhika, a monstress of the ocean, drags him down by catching his shadow. Hanuman kills her.
Then he gets a distant view of Lanka and enters the city at night. He finds out Sita in the Asoka grove. He gives her Rama’s token and message. The Rakshasas imprison Hanuman. Hanuman frees himself and sets fire to Lanka. He returns to the place where Rama is staying and gives Sita’s gem to Sri Rama. Sri Rama is highly delighted when he receives Sita’s token and message.
6. YUDDHA KANDA
Nala builds a bridge across the sea on the advice of the ocean. The heroes with a large army of monkeys cross the ocean and reach Lanka. Vibhishana joins them and tells them how to destroy Ravana and his army. Kumbhakarna, Indrajit and Ravana are killed in battle. Sita is rescued. Vibhishana is then crowned as king.
Sri Rama, with his party returns to Ayodhya in the flying car called Pushpaka. Rama is crowned as Emperor. The people of his kingdom feel extremely happy.
Sita’s honour is tested in the fire. She comes out more glorious and effulgent than ever.
7. UTTARA KANDA
Sri Rama’s reign is called Rama Rajya. There is righteousness everywhere. Everywhere there are plenty and prosperity. There are neither dacoits nor thieves. There is neither disease nor sorrow. There is no cheating in the markets and shops. There is no adultery. The pilgrims visit safely the sacred places and shrines. Property and life are quite safe. A purse of gold may be exposed without danger in the midst of a highway.
The four castes duly observe their Dharmas. Sri Rama goes back to His supreme abode after a long and prosperous rule.
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Last Updated: Monday, 11-Apr-2011 19:38:36 EDT
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