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Sorrow from Death – Rama’s advice to Vali’s wife Tara

When Rama killed Vali in the battle, all monkeys were terrified and ran back to the Kishkindha and told Valia’s wife Tara, “O Queen, your husband has been killed by Rama. Please direct the ministers to close down the gates of Kishkindha and protect your son Angada”. On hearing this, Tara became and very sad and cried that, “What interest I have in this kingdom when my husband is killed. I want to die along with my husband” and she ran towards Vali.

 

When she saw Vali’s dead body covered with blood and dust, she cried uncontrollably. Tara looked at Rama and said, “Oh Rama!! You killed my husband because my husband has not followed his dharma. I cannot live without my husband. Even in heaven, I am not happy if my husband is not with me. Ravana has abducted your wife and you know how separation from loved ones can cause grief. Please kill me also with the same arrow.”

 

Rama consoled Tara by saying, “why are you grieving foolishly? Who is your husband? Is it Vali’s body or his atman? If Vali’s body is your husband, it is still lying here. Then why are you crying? This body is composed of five elements (space, Air, water, earth and fire) and is produced by time and action (karma). This body is unintelligent and it is bound to decay. The intelligence comes from the Atman. It is neither male nor female. It is neither born nor dies. It is all pervading and everlasting.”

 

Tara asked Rama, “When the body is unintelligent like wood and the atman is all pervading, who is causing the pain and pleasure? Where do they come from?” Rama replied saying, “Your sense of identification comes from ahankara and when ahankara is superimposes the atman, it causes the bondage. A crystal is colorless but when it is brought near a colorful object red or blue, the crystal also takes the color of red or blue. The mind is incapable of knowing the true atman. Instead it can only recognize its creation thoughts, the unintelligent body. As long as the mind is focused towards external things that are perishable there is duality – birth & death, pleasure & pain. When the mind is directed towards the everlasting, exuberant atman, you realize the truth and you will not have any sorrow”.

 

After Rama’s discourse, Tara left all the sorrow and bowed in front of Rama and thanked him.

 

 

 

 

 

Kevat – The boat man who is in the same profession as Rama

Rama left the kingdom of Ayodhya for 14 years of exile along with his wife Sita and brother Lakshmana. In the forest, they had to cross the river Ganges at one place. They requested a boatman, Kevat, to drive them across the river. Kevat replied “With great respects to you, I cannot take you on the boat. I came to know that from the dust of your feet, a stone has turned into a woman. My boat is made of several pieces of wood. If the dust of your feet touches my boat, they can turn into several beautiful women. If that happens, I will not be able to support a large family. Please allow me to wash your feet to take the dust of your feet.”

Rama smiled at him and appreciated his innocent faith and agreed. Kevat washed his feet and asked Rama to step over his hand filled with Ganga water before stepping into the sandals prepared for Rama. On reaching the other bank, Sita gave one of her rings as the gift to Kevat.

Kevat refused to accept the award and said, “How can I accept anything as a payment from you? Two people from the same profession do not exchange tokens. A barber never takes a payment, when he gives a haircut to another barber. A washer man never charges a fellow washer man”. Rama was a little curious and asked him how both of them are in the same profession. Kevat said, “We both do the same work. I ferry people from one bank to another, and you ferry people from this materialistic world to moksha (eternal bliss). I have helped you cross the river today, and I request you to help me cross this material existence.”

Rama was so overwhelmed at his devotional request, he held out his arms and embraced kevat and blessed him.

 

Why Rama refused to come back from forest after the death of Dasaratha?

Ramayana

After the death of Dasaratha, ministers and other kings have proposed to crown  Bharata as king of Ayodhya in a grand coronation ceremony. But Bharata refused and said that he would bring Rama back and crown him as a king. Bharata travelled with his mother Kaikeyi, rishis like Vasishta, ministers and his army to request Rama.

Guha noticed a large army camp on the banks of Ganga and recognised that it is Bharata. Being a Son of Kaikeyi, Guha suspected whether Bharata had any evil thoughts and came to the forest to harm Rama.  Guha decided to meet Bharata and understand his true intentions. Bharata received Guha with lot of affection and said ”Guha!! I came here to persuade my brother Rama and make him the King of Ayodhya. Can you tell me where my brother is?” Guha felt euphoric hearing this and showed them the way to Bharadwaja ashram where Rama was staying.

Eager to meet Rama, Bharata walked very briskly ahead of all others. As soon as he saw Rama, Bharata fell on Rama’s feet and greeted him very respectfully.  Bharata told Rama and Lakshmana that Dasaradha has passed away.  By hearing that, Rama, Lakshmana and Sita grieved uncontrollably.  Accompanied by rishis, brothers Rama paid final respects to his father in Ganga (tarpanam)

Next day, after the morning prayers, Bharata said ”brother! It is my mother who is responsible for your exile. I hate her for her selfish behaviour. Even our father, Dasaratha, was overpowered by his love towards his wife. He made a big mistake by asking you to leave Ayodhya. Do not consider the words of an old fool, with blind love towards his wife as final. Please return to Ayodhya, and we will coronate you as King”. Rama said” Bharata! Father is not a fool, he was not blinded by a woman’s love. He just carried out his promise for fear of being untruthful. There is no greater fear than being untruthful. Father has given the kingdom to you and forested to me. If I take up the throne, I will be untruthful. I cannot return to Ayodhya.”

Kaikeyi came to Rama and said, “Rama, please forgive me. I am ashamed by selfishness and made a blunder mistake by asking for your exile. Please return to Ayodhya and rule the kingdom just like your father.” Rama replied by saying “Mother, I have neither any disrespect nor ill will for you. I will return to Ayodhya only after 14 years of exile. Neither Bharata nor I have any interest in the kingdom. Our father’s promise binds we both, and we will obey it.”

After hearing this Bharata was very disappointed and said “brother, I cannot return to Ayodhya without you. I will also stay in the forest along with Lakshmana and Sita. Otherwise, I will stay on fast until death”. Rama looked at Vasishta and requested him to persuade Bharata. Vasishta told Bharata “Please listen to your brother. Return to Ayodhya and rule the kingdom as a deputy under Rama’s authority. By doing so, neither you nor your father will be untruthful”.

Bharata got convinced and decided to return and rule the kingdom as a servant of Rama. Like his brothers Rama and Lakshmana, he also decided to dress like an ascetic, and he carried the sandals of Rama on his head and returned to Ayodhya. He placed the Rama’s sandals on the throne and ruled the country with utmost sincerity.

Source: Adhyatma Ramayana

Who to be blamed for our miseries? Lakshmana’s advice to Guha

Rama at forest

Rama started from Ayodhya along with Lakshmana and Sita to forests in a chariot driven by Sumanthra. Rama reached the banks of the river Ganga to a place to Sringiberapura.  Guha, the king of the place, dear to Rama, a hunter, well endowed in military strength having heard Rama’s arrival went to him, accompanied by his ministers and relations.

Guha offered some fruits and roots. Pleased by his gesture, Rama, however, said to him in reply, “I shall not enter a town, village or house for fourteen years and I shall not take fruits and roots given by others”. Guha asked Rama to stay in his kingdom forever and give him the pleasure of serving Rama. But Rama disagreed and said, “I cannot disobey the words of my father and the promise given my father to my stepmother Kaikeyi”.  Unable to convince Rama, Guha asked Rama to stay at least for that night.  Rama agreed to his request and decided to take rest there.

Rama and Sita slept beneath the tree on grass. While guarding Rama and Sita,  Lakshmana along with Sumantra and Guha started talking to one another. Guha said “I am not able to control my sorrow after looking at Rama sleeping on the grass. Rama is a prince and I am aware how luxurious and comfortable life he used to live there. Because of Kaikeyi, Rama had to leave all his wealth, luxury and comforts and live in this forest along with wild animals, eat fruits and roots and sleep on the grass. I curse Kaikeyi. Had she not done such worse deeds Rama would have been a king of this great country and enjoy all the power”.

Lakshmana said “It is not proper to blame kaikeyi. One’s misery or joy does not from another person but it is a result of one’s action. Joy and misery are like Day and night and both are unavoidable. There is joy in the midst of misery and misery in the midst of joy. Like mud and water, they cannot be separated. Those who are wise, do not pay attention to these external factors and do their actions without associating with results of their deeds.”

After listening to Lakshmana, Guha has understood the reality. The sky became clear and Rama woke up. After performing their morning rituals, they continued their journey.

Source: Adhyatma Ramayana