‘Lord Rama (BG 4.10)’ by Radhanath Swami, in Mumbai
janma karma ca me divyam
evam yo vetti tattvatah
tyaktva deham punar janma
naiti mam eti so ‘rjuna
One who knows the transcendental nature of My appearance and activities does not, upon leaving the body, take his birth again in this material world, but attains My eternal abode, O Arjuna.
The Lord’s descent from His transcendental abode is already explained in the 6th verse. One who can understand the truth of the appearance of the Personality of Godhead is already liberated from material bondage, and therefore he returns to the kingdom of God immediately after quitting this present material body. Such liberation of the living entity from material bondage is not at all easy. The impersonalists and the yogis attain liberation only after much trouble and many, many births. Even then, the liberation they achieve—merging into the impersonal brahma jyoti of the Lord—is only partial, and there is the risk of returning to this material world. But the devotee, simply by understanding the transcendental nature of the body and activities of the Lord, attains the abode of the Lord after ending this body and does not run the risk of returning to this material world. In the Brahma-samhita (5.33) it is stated that the Lord has many, many forms and incarnations: advaitam acyutam anadim ananta-rupam. Although there are many transcendental forms of the Lord, they are still one and the same Supreme Personality of Godhead. One has to understand this fact with conviction, although it is incomprehensible to mundane scholars and empiric philosophers. As stated in the Vedas
eko devo nitya-lilanurakto
bhakta-vyapi hrdy antar-atma
“The one Supreme Personality of Godhead is eternally engaged in many, many transcendental forms in relationships with His unalloyed devotees.” This Vedic version is confirmed in this verse of the Gita personally by the Lord. He who accepts this truth on the strength of the authority of the Vedas and of the Supreme Personality of Godhead and who does not waste time in philosophical speculations attains the highest perfectional stage of liberation. Simply by accepting this truth on faith, one can, without a doubt, attain liberation. The Vedic version tat tvam asi is actually applied in this case. Anyone who understands Lord Krishna to be the Supreme, or who says unto the Lord “You are the same Supreme Brahman, the Personality of Godhead,” is certainly liberated instantly, and consequently his entrance into the transcendental association of the Lord is guaranteed. In other words, such a faithful devotee of the Lord attains perfection, and this is confirmed by the following Vedic assertion:
tam eva viditvati mrtyum eti
nanyah pantha vidyate ‘yanaya
“One can attain the perfect stage of liberation from birth and death simply by knowing the Lord, the Supreme Personality of Godhead, and there is no other way to achieve this perfection.” (Shevatasvatara Upanishad 3.8) That there is no alternative means that anyone who does not understand Lord Kåñëa as the Supreme Personality of Godhead is surely in the mode of ignorance and consequently he will not attain salvation simply, so to speak, by licking the outer surface of the bottle of honey, or by interpreting the Bhagavad-gétä according to mundane scholarship. Such empiric philosophers may assume very important roles in the material world, but they are not necessarily eligible for liberation. Such puffed-up mundane scholars have to wait for the causeless mercy of the devotee of the Lord. One should therefore cultivate Krishna consciousness with faith and knowledge, and in this way attain perfection.
In this most beautiful famous sloka from the 4th chapter of the Bhagavad-Gita Lord Sri Krishna is giving us the information of who it is that is qualified to return to him at the end of this life.
mam upetya punar janma
samsiddhim paramam gatah
that the great souls they make their goal of life, the kingdom of God. They never make their goal in life any of the attainments of this world. Because, all the attainments of this world are duhkhalayam asasvatam. They are essentially the cause of all the miseries. Because to the degree we become attached to what we attain in this world to that degree we must suffer. The bondage of repeated birth and death, whether it is our wealth, whether it is our prestige, whether it is our fame, our family, our renunciation, our beauty, and our abilities. If we become attached to any of these things that very thing that is giving us so much joy becomes the cause of the repetition of birth and death. So therefore we should make our goal, the eternal abode of god. All the great wise men throughout history have agreed on this principle.
Qualification to go back to Godhead:
What is the qualification to attain the eternal abode of lord? Krishna explains right here. One who understands the transcendental nature of my appearance and activities never has to take birth in this world of suffering again but attains my eternal abode. And Krishna is so kind, He is so infinitely merciful. That he descends from his eternal spiritual abode into this material world only for the purpose of giving us the opportunity to understand the transcendental nature of His appearance and His activities. It is described previous to the sloka:
vinasaya ca duskrtam
sambhavami yuge yuge
In order to deliver the pious and annihilated the miscreants as well as to reestablish to principles of religion I have been myself millennium after millennium.
Appearance of Jiva and Eshwara:
What is the difference between the Lord’s appearance in this world and our appearance in this world? This is described here. Lord Kapiladeva has said, “karmana daiva-netrena” the conditioned soul is forced to take birth in a particular womb of a particular species of life due to his past karma. Therefore for the ordinary soul we say that is his birth day. But for the lord we never say birth day. We said his appearance day. Just like we say celebrate our birth days. Do you know what is really like at the time of your birth? Was that a joyous occasion? You are crying and screaming. You are about this big and you are being forced through and opening about this big. You are being crunched and your mother, my god, you know what she was doing? She was just screaming. She was crying. She was vowing at that time, I’ll never do this again. This is too much, right? Does not every mother?
Of course they forgot after time but while it is happening it is very very painful experience. Of course I cannot speak from my own realizations. I can only speak from what I heard. But the baby is crying and the mother is crying not in ecstasy but in agony, right. It is said when you cry cold tear that is ecstatic and when you cry hot tears that means you are in great distress. Both the mother and the baby are just crying hot tears like anything. The baby just crying and crying and crying and the mother is just smiling and in this way happy birth day. We love to remember that day. Every year we celebrate that day. Fortunately we forget what it was really like.
But we read when the supreme lord appears it is altogether different. He is not forced to take birth because of his previous karma. He appears in this world by his own sweet will. He appears in this world to annihilate the miscreants, to deliver the pious, and to reestablish the principles of religion. But actually it is the Lord who has to take birth Himself to perform these three activities. He can do this through the agency of His devotees. He can destroy the miscreants in any way He wants through the agency of this material nature, through the agency of his devotees. He could deliver the pious through the scriptures, through the saints. Similarly, reestablish the principles of religion. The actual real reason, why the lord has to come, is to attract the minds of the conditioned souls to His divine form to His divine pastimes and to His divine Lila.
The more we understand how the Supreme Personality of Godhead Sri Bhagavan Lila is completely transcendental, it is the total spiritual experience to that extent we become spiritually purified. And therefore the most important activity in our life is to hear the glories of the lord and to chant the glories of the lord. But we must hear from the authoritative sources. Otherwise you will not get the proper understanding. Just like there are so many people who have so many opinions of Lord Sri Krishna’s Lila or lord Sri Rama Chandra’s lila. You cannot understand the transcendental nature of the Lord’s appearance and activities unless you hear from those who are coming in a disciplic line of self-realized soul.
One who knows God can reveal God. Otherwise, we find there are so many people who know Krishna’s pastimes but they really do not know anything about Krishna. There are so many people who know Rama’s lila but they do not know nothing about Rama. People are seeing the Mahabharata every Sunday morning and as they watching the pastimes many of the defects of Mahabharata are actually what are written in the book. Some of them are changed and many of them are just like it is written in the book. But whether there is a little change or just like in the book, either ways, most people cannot really understand what is going on internally. They just see it is an entertaining story and they think because it is about god it must be pious. But to the really understand the message, to the really understand the nature of the lord’s activities in His divine lilas. It is impossible to understand without the explanation of the self-realized souls or those who are acting on behalf of the self-realized souls.
Therefore to hear the glories of the Lord in the association of sincere devotees of the Lord is the most important part of our life because it is only through the process that we can understand the transcendental nature of the appearance and the activities of the Lord and it is only by the processes that our mind becomes attracted away from the temporary pastimes of this world and attracted to the lotus feet of the Supreme Personality of Godhead. So tonight we are most fortunate, we are gathered together on the most sacred occasion of the appearance of the supreme Lord Sri Hari. As He appeared in His most beautiful and merciful form of the son of Dasaratha, Sri Rama Chandra. This story was originally told and written by the great sage Valmiki Muni.
Valmiki Muni as we know was a highway robber and hunter. He would torture and murdered innocent creatures as is very means of livelihood. But of course how many ever think of him like that. That anyone can condemn him for being like that? We glorifying for being like that because the more fallen person is the more glorious it is when he becomes great. Valmiki Muni although living in such a sinful and ruthless life, in the association of the great devotee Narada Muni he became purified. Narada Muni taught him that if you want to be purified from all your sins you must chant the name of Rama. Valmiki Muni was so sinful; he could not chant the name of Rama. Now someone thinks that I am so fallen and I am addicted to so many sinful activities, what hope is there for me to become self-realized.
Sometimes we become discouraged. Do we not? Thinking of I am addicted to so many bad habits. I have so many attachments. My mind is so uncontrolled. How is it possible for me to become liberated in this life in Krishna Consciousness? But every one of you in this room is able to chant the name of Rama, correct. Repeat after me. Rama. Rama. Raise your hand if you cannot chant the name of Rama. If you are so sinful that it is not possible to chant the name of Rama. Then you are all much more pious than Valmiki was. Because he could not do it. He was trying. Narada Muni was saying Rama, Rama and he was just not able to do it. Even Narada Muni convinced him of the sinful reactions coming upon him for all of his deals all of his crimes, he could not chant the name of Rama. So you know the acharya, he is not a self-righteous fanatic. He does not say, “You won’t chant the name of Rama that’s the bona fide mantra then I am going somewhere else. I am sorry, I cannot help you.”
The acharya is willing to adjust all the rules and regulations to somehow or other make a person Krishna Conscious. Now what acarya has ever taught previously to chant the name of the God of death. Can you think of anyone? What bona fide guru taught, chant mara. Which means death? Nobody does. But Narada Muni knew that this man is so attached to death, he is so intimate with killing that he will be able to chant the name of Mara with great feeling. So therefore we understand that this is the real acarya. He is not simply self-righteous just to maintain traditions, but he is willing to do whatever it takes to liberate those persons who he is preaching to. So he began to chant MARA, MARA, MARA. Then by chanting, what was his qualification. His qualification was simply, he was willing to try to obey his guru. He had no qualification; he was such a sinful demon. He was a demon. But because, he was simply willing to try to follow the instructions of his guru sincerely, all of his shortcomings were put aside by the supreme Lord Rama. In a very short time he was chanting the name of Rama purely.
Then he was given the vision of the transcendental pastimes of Sri Rama Chandra and he noted down for all the world and he wrote that is longer than the mountains, securely placed on this earth and as long as there are rivers flowing from those mountains to the sea, the holy name of Rama and the pastimes of Ramayana will be chanted by all pious man. Now Valmiki Muni wanted this great scripture to be chanted in the great cities of the world. So his two most intimates and pious disciples, he taught them Ramayana and they were so virtuous that by hearing once they learned by memory and they were dispatch to chant for Ramayana for the benefit of all living beings. Their names were Lava and Kusa. They happened to be the two sons of Sita and Rama, who from their time of the birth lived in the hermitage of Valmiki Muni after Sita devi was banished to the forest.
So Lava and Kusa came to Ayodha and in the holy streets of Ayodha they began to chant the beautiful glories of Ramayana. Although they had identical bodily features of their father Sri Rama Chandra they could not be recognized because they are living like ascetics, wearing the bark of trees with matted hair. When Lord Rama Chandra heard these pastimes being narrated, He invited Lava and Kusa into His palace court and invited all of His ministers and all the town’s people to listen attentively to the beautiful glories of story of Sri Rama.
The narration of the Ramayana begins by Kusa and Lava narrating these pastimes to Rama Himself. It is described that in the holy city of Ayodha which is situated in the holy banks of the river Sarayu. There was a great king of the name Dasaratha. He was the king of the province of Kosala and a great descendent of maharaja Ikshwaku of the solar dynasty. King Dasaratha was very pious and religious King. He was in the true sense of Rajarshi. He was simultaneously a saint and a King. He was pure devotee of God and everyone in his kingdom was thoroughly satisfied because he was teaching everyone to live perfectly and harmony with the laws of God.
The Kingdom of Ayodha because of the piety of this great king was flourishing with prosperity. There was no poverty. There was great opulence. The roads were beautiful and clean, scented with sandalwood and fragrant oils and the houses were made of marbles and decorated on the jewels. And all the people were dressed in beautiful coloring clothing and everyone was constantly singing the glories of Lord Hari. Dasaratha Maharaja had three hundred and fifty queens. We are talking about Tretayuga, where man lived tens and thousands years old. And great kings they were allowed to protect and care for as many women as they could satisfy. You imagine how great king Dasaratha was that he could keep 350 queens simultaneously fully satisfied. How many of you husbands can keep your one wife fully satisfied. Raise your hand if you can do that? I’ll not ask to you raise your hand if you cannot do it.
We can understand how great and glorious the king was. He was a Maharathi. In the battle he can destroy thousands of men at a time. One day he approached his ministers and he explained to them as well as the great saints and sages that he was feeling great distress in his heart because although he was growing very old he had not yet had a single son. And of course a king is very important to have a son, because, someone must continue the dynasty. So that he said, “All my wealth and with all my strength and although I have conquered the whole world I am the king of earth. Although all my subjects love me as their father, still my heart is empty because I have no son.” He said, “I desired to perform a sacrifice to Lord Vishnu in order to have a male son.”
At that time his guru Vaisistha Muni, he said my dear king I’ll make arrangements for the sacrifice. Then his very loyal and faithful minister Sumantra took him aside. He said, so many years ago the great sage Sanatkumara gave you a benediction. He told you that you would have one daughter and you should name her Shanta. And that you should marry her to a great sage Rishyasringa and the same sage Rishyasringa would perform a sacrifice to Lord Vishnu and from that sacrifice you will have four illustrious and glorious sons. So my feeling is you should go and find Rishyasringa. What happened is after he had the beautiful daughter Shanta there was a king by name Romapada. He was the king of Anga Dynasty. He had no children. So Dasaratha was feeling very much for him. So he gave him his only daughter. And she grew up as the princess of Maharaja Romapada. Maharaja Romapada under Dasaratha’s instruction married his daughter to Rishyasringa.
So Dasaratha went to that place and there were cordial greetings and there was warm friendship. After one week he brought Rishyasringa back to Ayodha. Then in the presence of all the great sages and saints and all the friends of Dasaratha he began to exclaim his great distress. And Rishyasringa replied, “My dear King! I’ll perform an Ashwamedha Yajna to Lord and I promised you the supreme Lord Himself will appear in four forms as your son.” So he began to perform the sacrifice. And when the time came to offer oblations to the various demigods, all the demigods appeared on the scene, headed by Lord Brahma. And they all took apart their share of the sacrifice. At that time all the demigods approached Brahmaji. They took the opportunity and with folded hands and tears in their eyes they began to explain Brahmaji, “the great Rakshasa Blood seeking demon Ravana was completely causing havoc throughout entire universe. He was killing innocent people sucking their blood; he was destroying the sacrifice of the brahmanas. He was harassing the demigods and exploiting their property. In this way the whole universe is in great anxiety and he was so powerful because you have given him this benediction that no one can defeat him. So Brahmaji please do something. You are our father. You are our guide.”
At that time Lord Brahma, began to think. What is to be done? And he began to pray Lord Vishnu. And just at that time from behind the clouds almost beautiful effulgent light was beheld by everyone in the assembly house of Maharaja Dasaratha. There, shining like millions of suns appeared Lord Narayana, descending on His bird Garuda and Lord Brahma began to pray. “Lord Narayana! This demon Ravana is causing so much distress and you are the only one that can annihilate him.” And Lord Vishnu explained,”I will soon come. I’ll appear as the four sons of Dasarath and Ravana will be killed.” And after confirming the fulfillment of their desires Lord Narayana again ascended to Vaikuntha and disappeared. Then Lord Brahma “tene brahma hrdaya adikavaye” who is receiving information from Krishna in his heart, he explained that, “All you demigods, Vishnu wants you to help him in this great battle against Ravana. So therefore you should all expand yourselves and take births as monkeys in the jungle of Kiskindha and you should expand yourself with all the power and all the strength you have now and very soon the supreme Lord Hari will come and together He will relieve the earth of the burden of Ravana and his Rakshasa Dynasty.”
At that time all the demigods left. They all returned to their abodes and then they all began making their plans. First the king of heaven Indra he expanded himself and begot a child, his name was Bali. Bali possessed all the strength and potency of His father Indra. Then the sun god, Vivasvan, he begot the most illustrious and faithful Sugriva, who is equal to him in all respects. Kuvera, the great treasure of the demigods he begot the great monkey child, Ghandamadana. And Agni, he expanded himself as Susena and Brihaspati, expanded himself as Nala. The Aswini Kumaras they expanded themselves as Mahinda and Vivida. In this way the monkeys were very powerful. They could lift mountains. They could make the earth tremble by their foot steps.
At the end of the sacrifice Rishyasringa took the mahaprasada, the payasanna, and told King Dasaratha that you give this payasanna to your wives. And whoever drinks this Lord Narayana will come to your son. So, he first divided prasad in half. And he gave the first half to the principal wife Kausalya and she drank it. And he took the other half and divided that in half and gave half to Sumitra and then he took that half and divided into half and gave half to Kaikei and the other half to Sumitra. Very soon after drinking this divine mahaprasada all the three mothers became pregnant. This is the transcendental nature of the appearance of the lord. He does not have to come into the world through the same medium that we do. Rama was born from the union of His mother eating mahaprasad.
And one year after the sacrifice on the most auspicious time when all the constellations were in perfect order the Supreme Personality of Godhead appeared as the son of Kausalya in his most beautiful form of Sri Rama. Then Bharata was born of Kaikei, and Lakshmana was born of Sumitra and his brother was Satrughna. And these four children, they were none other than the four expansions of Vasudeva, Sankarshana, Pradyumna and Anirudha. They were all Vaikuntha Murti’s of Sri Hari. It is described that they were so beautiful. All auspicious signs decorated all of them. But of all of them Rama was the most beautiful. His eyes were like lotus flowers. His every limb was delicate and soft but at the same time most powerful and strong. His arms extended to His knees. It is described that on his feet and on his hands were the signs of the conch shell, the disc, the lotus flower and the club. And Visishista Muni performed the birth ceremony and he also performed the name giving ceremony. When these beautiful sons appeared as the princes of Dasaratha there was great celebration throughout the city of Ayodhya for years and years. Everyone was waiting for Dasaratha’s child to be born. So Dasaratha Maharaja would giving tens and thousands of beautiful cows with golden ornaments and golden horns to the brahmanas. He was giving mountains of grains and beautiful jewels and silks in the charity to the Vaishnavas. He was preparing wonderful Prasad and delivering it to all living beings. In this way there was a celebration and all the inhabitants of Ayodhya were singing and dancing. It was a festival that no one has ever seen, all celebrating the beautiful appearance of Sri Rama. And actually this is the way we should all every year celebrate the appearance of Sri Rama.
The residents of Ayodhya described, they were singing, they were dancing, they were just joyful, eating nice Prasad, distributing nice Prasad, giving gifts, receiving gifts, because, everyone’s mind were emerged only on the beautiful form of this child of Rama. They completely forgot the miseries of material existence. As they began to grow older, it is described they began to learn how to walk and the three mothers Sumitra, Kaikei, and Kausalya their love just no bounds and Dasarath Maharaja sharing that love. He was perfectly satisfied twenty four hours a day simply seeing the beautiful form of Rama. Indeed every inhabitant of Ayodhya shared the same love for Rama. He became as he grew older most learned in Vedas, the most expert archer and most expert charioteer and the whole city was simply waiting the auspicious day when he would be coroneted as the king.
It is described that when Lord Sri Ramachandra was sixteen years old, the great sage Visvamitra Muni came to the Kingdom of Ayodhya. Visvamitra was living in the jungle. He had no material possessions. He was a hermit. He was beggar and Maharaja Dasaratha was the king of the world. But when Visvamitra came into the Kingdom, Dasaratha greeted him with great humility and devotion. He got up from his own throne and put Visvamitra on his throne and he washed his feet and worshiped his feet. You see, this is the secret that makes great kings great. The great kings understood that the greatest kings are those who have renounced all attachments to this material world. You see the crown of a king is considered insignificant compared to the opulence of the robes of renunciate, because, the opulence of renunciation is the greatest opulence. One who conquers all the lands is not as great the man who conquers his senses. You see in our history there are people, great souls who have conquered so many lands. But they could not control their own senses. So one who has conquered the senses, he was considered great. That is why a king is called Maharaja. But a renunciate is also called maharaja, great king. But there are different kinds of kings—one who has the crown and one who wears the bark of the tree or a simple dress of renuciate. But out of the two maharajas, the qualification of king maharaja is that he bows down and worships as the menial servant the renunciates, who have given their lives in the service of the God. So Maharaja Dasaratha, understood that the real treasure of his whole kingdom and of his whole life was completely dependent on blessings of the great souls.
Sometimes people think that those in the renounced order are lazy. But Maharaja Dasaratha was not thinking about like that for Visvamitra. He was not saying why not you have a job. In fact maharaja Dasaratha was just waiting for the day when he could give up his job and be like that. But, he knew it is more difficult to do than to maintain his job as king of the world. So he worshipped Visvamitra. This is the glory of grihasta is that he humbles himself before those who have sacrificed everything in the service of the lord. So Dasaratha Maharaja said to Visvamitra Muni I want to offer you everything in my kingdom. Whatever you like is yours? Now you’ve to be very careful when you say like that to a saddhu. He said, “I will offer you anything you like. Whatever you desire is yours. After all I am a representative of god. I am the king. I can fulfill any desire you have.”
Visvamitra Muni, he looked at Dasarath Maharaja. “Yes, my dear king I know you are true to your words. In the forest we are performing our sacrifices. There are two very very powerful asuras, rakshasas who are constantly spoiling all of our spiritual activities by contaminating the sacrificial arena. Their names are Maricha and Subahu. I want to take Lord Rama, your son into the forest because it is only he who could destroy these demons.” My god, when Dasaratha heard this he was stunned. “How can you ask this? Who are these demons? I am a maharathi, I will leave my armies and I’ll take one akshauhini divisional soldiers. I’ll leave the ranks and we’ll destroy those demons. Leave Rama at home. What is the problem? let me do it. But Rama is just a young child. He is hardly sixteen years old. He is not very experienced at fighting. He is still learning His lessons in the school. He has a very frail and young body. How can He fight against these asuras? Tell me more about these asuras.”
Visvamitra said they are the associates of Ravana. When Dasaratha heard this, he became very afraid. He said, “No one can touch Ravana and his associates. They are very powerful. Even I cannot stand up against them. Even Indra cannot stand up against them. He said take my whole kingdom, take everything but not Rama. I cannot bear separation from Him. I cannot give you this.” Upon hearing this Visvamitra became very angry. He became so angry that the earth began to tremble. He said, “Dasarath Maharaja! If you relinquish truth, if you go back on your words, all your piety and your entire kingdom and your entire fame of your dynasty will be finished today. I’ll leave this place and along with me will be the end of everything in your life.”
At that time, Vaisistha Muni told King Dasaratha, ”This Visvamitra is very powerful. You do not want to offend him. Give him your son. Your son is the Supreme Personality of Godhead. No one is going to defeat Him. Even if you think He will. If He is under the care of Visvamitra Muni, Visvamitra Muni could destroy all the Rakshasas single handedly. He is the all powerful of all sages. The only reason, why he is asking for your son is he wants your son to be glorified.” So on the advice of Vaisistha Dasaratha said, ”Alright please take care of him.” And then Visvamitra muni took Rama into the forest.
As they wandered through the forest, they came into a jungle and this jungle was very very serious. There was practically no life in the jungle except fearful bees and vultures. Rama said what is happening. Why is this like this? Visvamitra told Him, “There was great female Rakshasi of the name Tataka. She was the mother of Maricha. He said one time this forest was very holy place, where great sages and saints would come to perform sacrifice. But she has simply come and she has destroyed everything. She eats everything in site. She loves to taste the blood. She absolutely horrified everyone with her deformed features and her ghastly roar. Rama you should kill this demon.” So Rama took His bow and He just pulled the string and it made such a noise that all the rakshasas those who are the associates of Tataka became very afraid. But she became outraged, who has come? She began screaming and roaring and she came into the forest and attacked Rama and Lakshamana. They were covered with a cloud of dust and she began to shower stones and rocks upon them. Then she was screaming a hideous sound. At that time Rama took His bow and He cut of her two arms. She was even more angry and she went upon to the sky and Lakshamana cut of his nose and ears. And she began to shower all sorts of abominable things and shower them with rocks and stones. In this way she was so angered that at last she plunged Rama with the seed of Indra’s thunderbolt and Ramachandra took His celebrated bow and shot an arrow into her breast and she fell down screaming and in a moment she died. And everyone was very happy.
Then the forest again became an auspicious place and they took rest that night. The next morning they came to the hermitage of Visvamitra. And then they began to perform the sacrifice. And Rama and Lakshmana stood up day and night with Visvamitra waiting for Maricha and Subahu to come. They stood up for six days. On the final day all of sudden the sky became very dark. And they heard screaming sounds. And Maricha and Subahu very very powerful rakshasas came down onto the sacrificial arena and began to throw stool and puss and urine and bloody human mutilated all over the sacrificial arena. Rama took His bow and He took His arrow and shot at into Maricha and it was so powerful that threw him 800 miles into the middle of the ocean. Then he took another arrow and appears to Subahu’s heart and he died instantly. Then he took another arrow that was the arrow of vayu (air). Then He shatterd all other rakshasas to flee for their lives. Thus Visvamitra was very pleased.
Then Rama very humbly approached Visvamitra who is now His guru and He said is there any other service I can render for you. In the evening Lord Sri Ramachandra would massage the legs of His spiritual master along with Lakshamana. They would go out and collect wood for their spiritual master to perform his sacrifices. Indeed they wood perform the most menial insignificant services. And everyday they would enquire with great humility from Visvamitra Muni to instruct them on the goal of life and the science of Vedas.
One person asked, do we really need guru? Ramachandra appeared to show every human being how he must live? Do you think Jagat guru Bhagavan Sri Ramachandra needs a guru? He is the knower of past present and future. He is the author of Vedas; he is the goal of Vedas. But just to show us whoever you are, however great you are, you must humble yourself and submit yourself to a spiritual master. Some people say I do not need a guru, I know Krishna. But even Krishna, He will not even say that. Even Krishna accepted guru. So the supreme Lord, who is the enjoyer of all sacrifices, “bhoktaram yagnya tapasa”, who is the proprietor of everything, who is the master of all, living beings, to set the example for us, everyday and every night he would massage His guru’s lotus feet. He would inquire submissively for Him. And His goal was simply to please His spiritual master. So Visvamitra was very pleased.
You see when the spiritual master is pleased with disciple; the spiritual master shares his life with the disciple. So Visvamitra began to take Rama and Lakshmana on a pilgrimage through the forest. One day they came to the very holy city of Mithila. When they saw the beauty of the city they were struck with wonder. How clean and how fragrant of the flowers and how beautiful and charming was the gardens of the forest and how peaceful and pure hearted were all the residence. Visvamitra Muni began to explain that this is the great king Janaka, who rules over this holy land of Mithila. He explained that in this city there is a mighty bow of Lord Sankara and people have been coming from years and years from all over the universe to try to lift this bow and bend it, because, whoever does it, attains the most beautiful goddess of fortune, Sita Devi as their wife in marriage. Now we are coming to Mithila and let us see the beauty of the place.
It is described that as they came into the kingdom, when the word came that Visvamitra Muni arrived, King Janaka and all of his ministers with great devotion worshipped his lotus feet and took them into their palace. After sometime, Rama and Lakshmana with the permission of their guru began to wander to see the beauty of this great city. They came into a particular garden, which is the garden of Sita. In that garden there was a temple of Goddess Parvati and Sita devi would daily pray to her and worship her. When Sita’s friends saw the beauty of Lord Ramachandra, they were immediately stuck with wonder. How can anyone be so beautiful as Him? He is the perfect match for our Sita devi. So they went on and got Sita. “We want to show you something, come here.” And Sita she looked through the bushes and when she saw the beautiful form of Rama, immediately the eternal love between the Lord and His consort was awakened within her heart. Then Sri Rama when He saw the beauty of Sita that unlimited infinite divine love awakened within His heart. When they looked at one another, Sita Devi being very shy, immediately looked toward His lotus feet and fixed her eyes on His lotus feet. And through her eyes she engraved the form of His lotus feet within core of her heart. In this way in the hearts of Sita and Rama, the seed of love began to grow.
At that time Visvamitra asked Janaka, “Where is the great bow? and tell us about it”, Rama had joined with them at that time with Lakshmana. Janaka said, “One time Lord Siva gave as a gift this great bow to the demigods and they gave it to my forefathers. This bow is so powerful that no man has ever even been able to lift it. But I have made a vow. He said, on the day when I was watching my beautiful little daughter Sita cleaning, she lifted this bow and dusted under it and put it back. How is it possible? Even the greatest demigods, the greatest Rakshasas, the greatest kings they cannot lift it and my little daughter lifted it. So I vow that will take the man who cringe this bow to marry my daughter. But he said unfortunately I think my daughter will have to die a kumari(unmarried girl) because there is no one in the whole universe to lift this bow. Visvamitra said Rama can lift this bow. You bring it. For thousands of man had to drag this bow into the assembly. And thousands of people came into the arena to see. At that time He effortlessly lifted the bow and He pulled the string and the bow cracked. When that bow broke it made such tumultuous and thunders sound that the universe began to shake.
At that time beautiful Goddess Sita whose heart was set fixed on the lotus feet of Rama. She puts the garland of victory around His Lotus neck. This most beautiful and wonderful union of the Lord with His eternal consort brings great joy to the life of all devotees. You see a devotee’s pleasure is giving Krishna pleasure and giving Rama pleasure. The residence of Mithila, the residence of Ayodhya and all great devotees of the Lord they are constantly in transcendental bliss because their only pleasure in seeing the pleasure of Rama. The perfection of life is to forget what do I like, what do I want, what do I need, and to simply think in terms of what will please Rama. To that extent we give up our own selfish interest in life and make our only pleasure in pleasing Krishna to that extent we become transcendental to all the miseries of this world. This is bhakti.
Understand the residents of Ayodhya and Mithila. They were not jnanis, they were not yogis. They were ordinary people. They had jobs, they were merchants, they were politicians, they were warriors, they were housewives. But they were the most fortunate and the most highly spiritually advanced. Why? Because, their only pleasure in life was giving pleasure to Sita and Rama. Of course we would be very happy to continue on the narration of Ramayana. But I think it would become very late. So one drop from the ocean of Ramayana all we have time to taste this evening. But the real message that we would like for everyone to understand is what is real value in our life? To put aside all things that we consider valuable and strive for those things that Rama feels valuable. It is said when we decorate the deity of the Lord, because you find such great pleasure in seeing Krishna’s satisfaction, you will leave all desires to decorate you own dying body. When you cook nice food for the pleasure of the Lord, you loose all desire to cook nice food for your own fastidious senses. When you work and offer as sacrifice the fruits of your actions for the pleasure of the Lord you become indifferent to your own ineffaceable lusty desires for more and more fame, more and more power, more and more prestige, more and more wealth. By watering the root of the tree we become satisfied. Rama is the root. He is the root of the all existence. So by hearing this transcendental pastimes of the lord, let us understand how the supreme personality of godhead, is appearing in such a wonderful and attractive way just, so that we will be attracted to please Him, to serve Him, to glorify Him. And in the association of devotees this message comes to life in our heart. So let us associate with devotees. Let us follow in the foot steps of the residents of Ayodha and the residents of Mithila. And in this holy day of Rama Navami, let us reconfirm our vows in life. Let us reconfirm the direction of life, we want to strive for.
atagh pumbhir dvija-srestha
Whatever your occupation, whatever you position in society the goal is to please Krishna, to please Rama. Even if the whole world hates you, if you please Rama, your life will be perfect. But if the whole world glorifies but Lord Rama is not pleased then your life is a useless waste. And what pleases the Lord more than anything else.
In the age of Kali Yuga it is described
krishna varnam tvisakrishnam
Yajanti hi su medhasah
By performing the sacrifice of attentively chanting the holy name, more than anything else this gives pleasure to Krishna. It is so simple you may say why is He pleased to simple thing to chanting His holy name? Because in Kali yuga that’s the best you can do. The way to please Him in other Yugas, it is impossible for you today. But if you simply chant attentively His holy name and associate with His devotees, there is nothing to please Him more than this. So now it is time for the arati for Sri Rama Chandra and we will not go beyond the conchshell tonight. So Prasad will be in 25 minutes. But it is an opportunity to please Lord Ramachandra just as the residents of Ayodha and Mithila did on His birth. On Sita’s birth, they were also dancing and chanting and on Rama’s birth they were also dancing and chanting. So Today is Rama’s appearance day. So let us celebrate His coming into our lives in this most auspicious occasion by chanting His holy name by dancing and by remembering his mercy in our life. Thank you very much. Hare Krishna!
The history of Ravanas incarnation is an interesting one. Originally Ravana and his brother Kumbhakarna had guard the gates of Vaikuntha, the supreme Lord eternal abode. At that time their name was Jaya and Vijaya. Because they offended the four Kumaras, who are great sages, the Kumaras crushed them to take birth in the material world. When the supreme lord Vishnu informed them that they could take seven births as His devotees or three births as demons, they chose the shorter exile as the demons. Because the residents of Vaikuntha deplore separation from the Lord’s lotus feet, they did however receive the boon of never forgetting the lord while on earth. Thus they are considering eternally liberated associates, nitya-siddha or Lord Vishnu. Even by thinking of the lord inimically as demons do, one can liberated.
Of course we should think of God favorable. But it is significant. That he is so powerful that even demons can be purified by thinking of Him. Wanting to exhibit his provost in fighting, the supreme Lord chose Jaya and Vijaya to be His opponents. By his grace they became so strong that only the Lord Himself could defeat them. Therefore Jaya and Vijaya took their birth as Hiranyaksha and Hiranyakashipu. They were killed by the Lord appearing as Lord Varaha and Lord Narasimha respectively. In their second birth they came as Ravana and Kumbhakarna and they were killed by the Lord Ramachandra. In their third birth they appeared as Sishupala and Dantavakra and were killed by Lord Sri Krishna. Then they were able to return to Vaikuntha and resume their post as guards at transcendental abode.
After hearing the demigods petition to lead the universe of the troublesome Ravana Lord Considered various solutions. Finally Bramha said indeed, I have granted a great boon to Ravana, where by he cannot be killed by any gandharva, demigod, Rakshasa, Naga or inhabitant of the lower planetary system. However he did not ask for invincibility against human beings. Therefore O demigods be confident that very soon the lord will lead the universe of this demon. As Brahma was speaking to the demigods, the Supreme Personality of Godhead Lord Vishnu suddenly appeared in the sky riding on the back of His wind carrier the great bird Garuda. As the supreme Lord approached to His transcendental effulgence illumined everything in all directions. The Lord wore yellow garments and in His four hands He has a conchshell, disc, lotus flower and club. He was begot with golden ornaments and on His chest with the Kasturi Mani jewel on the mark of Srivatsa. Upon seeing Him all the demigods offered obeisances. Then Lord Brahma said, “O all mighty Vishnu! You are the master of all the demigods including Lord Shiva. Please incarnate on this earth as the son of King Dasaratha and kill the demon Ravana, who was killing the three worlds with fear. This mighty rakshasa is pressing all the demigods and sages because we wish him annihilated. We have come here to seek your protection. O chastiser of force, you are the supreme resort and shelter of all of us. Please descend to this material world and destroy our enemies.”
Hearing the demigods’ humble appeal, Lord Vishnu agreed to accept King Dasharatha as His father by taking birth in the wombs of King’s principal wives. Then bidding farewell to the demigods, He returned to His abode in the Vaikuntha. The sage Rrishyasringa completed the Ashwamedha sacrifice and King Dasaratha gave half of the Lord’s prasadam the holy sacrificial foods to his wife Kausalya and the other half to his wives Kaikeyi and Sumitra. After the sacrifice Lord Brahma spoke to the demigods, “Please beget personal manifestations of yourselves within the wombs of Monkeys. You should equally unite in strength. Be well versed with vedic literature and endowed with all mystic powers. They should be very intelligent, swift, and expert in warfare. They will assist Lord Vishnu in killing the chief of the Rakshasas, Ravana as well as his followers. Indeed Jambavan has already taken birth from my mouth. By hearing this all the demigods, rishis, and sages, begot thousands in the role of monkeys for the purpose of aiding Lord Vishnu. Lord Indra the chief of the demigods begot Bali who equaled to Him in strength. The sun god Vivasvan begot Sugriva the younger brother of Bali. The sage Brihaspati, the spiritual master of the demigods begot the mighty monkey Tara who is most intelligent. Kuvera the lord of wealth begot the monkey Gandhamadana. Visvakarma the architect of the demigod begot the powerful monkey name Nala. The fire god Agni begot the glorious Nila. The rich and beautiful Ashwini Kumaras begot the monkeys Mahinda and Vivida. Varuna the demigod of water begot the monkey of Susena. Hajanya the god of the rain begot Sarava and the wind god Vayu begot Hanumana. Of all the monkeys Hanuman was the strongest and most intelligent. He could with the stand with force of thunderbolt and he was swift of Lord Vishnu Himself.
The principal Apsaras, Vidyadhara women the wives of the Nagas and Gandharva women also gave birth to the children in the form of monkey with gigantic bodies and mystic powers. Each monkey had the strength of thousand of elephants, with their arms alone the monkeys could uproot gigantic trees and throw huge rocks with great force. They all had extremely sharp teeth, claws, capable of tearing out the heart of any rakshasas. In fact they could agitate the sea with their great strength and the earth simply by walking. Their legs were so powerful that they could leave great distances and jump as high as clouds. Their hands were so strong that they could seize elephants and they were roaring with so great that they could not verge from the sky. Moreover these monkeys could as soon inform at will. Living in the mountains in the forest they saw the protection of their chiefs. Some monkeys follow Bali and Sugriva, where others follow Nala, Nila, Hanuman and others. All the monkeys however considered Bali to be their king and Lord. The monkey chief is so great that they looked like massive clouds covering the peaks of the mountains. Indeed they were given the gigantic bodies just to assist Lord Sri Ramachandra. After the successful Yajna directed by the great sage Rishyasringa, King Dasarath joyfully ruled his capital. His principal wives were pregnant having taken of Vishnu Prasadam from the sacrifice. And they appeared more effulgent as the sun feeling greatly satisfied. The king waited for the supreme Lord Himself to take birth as his son. After the sacrifice when the star Punarvasu was sending the sun on Aries, Mars was on Capricorn, Saturn was on Libra, Jupiter was on Cancer and the moon was on the Pisces.
The eldest of King Dasaratha’s queens Kausalya gave birth to Lord Rama, who is the Lord of the universe, the Supreme Personality of Godhead himself, Lord Vishnu. Rama is the greatest descendent of the line of Kings – was endowed with all auspicious divine markings. His eyes were tinged with red and his lips were also red. His long arms extended down to his knees and the symbols of Vishnu, the lotus, conchshell, disc, and club and other markings could be seen of His hands and His souls of His feet. King Dasaratha’s next son named Bharat took birth from the womb of queen Kaikeyi. Being a manifestation of the Supreme Personality of Godhead Bharat also possessed great strength. After Bharata’s birth queen Sumitra gave birth to Lakshmana and Satrughna, who are also expansions of the supreme Lord.
Upon the birth of Lord Rama, all the demigods in the heavenly planets began singing and playing musical instruments. The heavenly apsaras danced and all the gandharvas, kinnaras, and vidhyadharas assembled in the sky to offer prayers to the lord and shower the earth with flowers. Everyone in Ayodha rejoiced to the appearance of Lord Ramachandra. Many people danced and chanted and everyone felt jubilant. All the roads leading to Ayodha were filled with sweet songs and King Dasharatha being very pleased performed splendorous name giving ceremony for his sons. Giving mounts of brilliant jewels, thousands of cows, and many other valuable gifts to the brahmanas. The priest Vaisistha Muni performed all the purificatory ceremonies for the four divine boys. Rama, Bharata, Lakshamana, and Satrughna.
In due course, other ceremonies from bestowing of names to the presentation of sacred thread were performed by Vaisistha muni. Very soon King Dasaratha’s four illustrious sons became masters of Vedas and heroes intent on benefiting everyone. Lord Rama was expert at chariot fighting and riding elephants and horses. His special love however was archery and always He was devoted to his father’s service. Lord Rama’s younger borther Lakshmana was deeply attached to Rama and tried to satisfy Him in everyway. Rama loves Lakshsmana so much, that he could not even sleep without him. Rama would not even eat, when His brother was not present. Whenever Lord Rama was riding on horseback or took out a chariot Lakshmana was with Him guarding Him in all sides. Just as Lakshmana served Rama, Saturghana served Bharata. In this way the four sons were inseparable and very dear to one another. Seeing their excellent qualities King Dasaratha was extremely delighted. Indeed the four boys always dwelt in the core of his heart. This is the nature of love. The beloved dwells in the core of one’s heart and cannot be forgotten even for a moment.
As Lord Krishna says His pure devotee is always within the core of His heart and He is always in theirs. They are most dear to Him and He is most dear to them. The devotees do not know anything but their worshippable Lord. There is no question of separation neither in this world or the next, for the Lord and His devotees they are internally and transcendentally blissful far beyond the mode of cares of this world birth and death. Because King Dasarath was always merged in thoughts of the Supreme Personality of Godhead, in the form of his first son, he knew full happiness in his heart was completely satisfied. Sri Ramachandra ki Jay!
On this special day we should be very very attentive to attract the mercy of Lord Sri Ramachnandra by always thinking of Him by speaking of Him and by hearing of Him. Whatever time we have at our disposal we should be reading the pastimes of the Lord and discussing amongst one another, this most beautiful and wonderful lila as depicted in Ramayana. And of course we should work very hard and attentively in our devotional activities and we should strive to consciously to offer our every act, every thought and our every word in the loving service of our guru maharaja, for the glorification of Sri Rama. So let us invite Sri Ramachandra to appear on this holy day of Rama Navami within the core of our own hearts by sincerely calling upon His holy names, by sincerely finding relish and satisfaction in describing his glorious pastimes.
In this way the lord appears in this world to display His super excellent opulence, primarily to attract our minds, away from the things of the senses and again towards the shelter of His lotus feet. How holy and special is the day of Rama Navami? Of all Lord Sri Krishna’s incarnations Lord Sri Ramachandra has displayed such an exciting and beautiful and sweet pastimes manifesting the beautiful loving reciprocation of pure love with His devotees. Displaying His super excellent power to defeat and annihilate all demoniac forces. Lord Sri Ramachandra appeared to guides human being to show by his own example, how the perfect human being should behave. He also appeared as a king to show the world by His own example, the duties of great king. In this way Sri Ramachandra was absolutely perfect example and everything He did for all humanity to follow. So let us meditate upon the mercy of Sri Ramachandra and then it is for certain that divine love for His lotus feet will awaken within our hearts and we will taste the sweetness of pure devotion and then our love our lives will find great fulfillment in His divine service. Thank You very much.