|Date: 18 May 2002||Occasion: Summary of Evening Discourse||Place: Brindavan|
of Divine Discourse
at the Summer Course
(Evening, 18 May 2002)
Bhagavan Sri Sathya Sai Baba
As long as one has ego, one will not be loved.
As long as one has anger, one will cease to discriminate.
With excessive desires, one's mind will never be under one's control.
The moment one rids himself of greed, one will gain happiness
Rama and Laxmana sought Viswamitra's permission to see the beautiful city of Mithila. As they went walking, all eyes were drawn to them as if a powerful magnet was at work! Everybody wondered who these divinely handsome young boys were. A young housewife from Ayodhya, who had married into a house of Mithila, explained that these boys were King Dasaratha's sons and extolled their virtues. Several ladies tried to attract the attention of the two boys toward them and dropped flowers and waved arathi lamps. Rama and Laxmana continued walking without being perturbed. Such was the sacred ideal of those times. The youth would not allow their vision to stray. They maintained the sacredness of their vision. Staring at ladies was unheard of.
After Rama and Laxmana had arrived to the great hall where the bow was displayed, they saw that all had failed to lift the sacred bow. As Rama opened the box to lift the bow, Laxmana was seen to tightly press down on the earth! When Viswamitra sought an explanation, Laxmana replied that he had to do that because when Rama would lift the bow of Siva, turbulence was certain, since the stability of the earth would be disturbed. He said that this was the least he could do to help his brother!
Such was the affection among the brothers that they appeared to live for each other. Once, Bharatha came crying to mother Kausalya and complained that despite his best efforts, Rama deliberately kept losing in games so that his younger brothers could win. Rama knew and believed that his own happiness lay in the prosperity of his younger brothers. He did not mind suffering in the process.
The sacred ideals exemplified by the youth of those days were indeed landable. The four brothers Rama, Laxmana, Bharatha, and Satrughna were to be married to the four sisters Sita, Urmila, Mandavi, and Srutikeerti respectively. As they sat on the dais, they would not rise their eyes look around or even look at each other. They attentively followed and obeyed the priest's directions but kept their eyes lowered in modesty and dignity. Even when Janaka offered Rama Sita's hand with his benedictions, Rama did not look at her. This is because Sita would become his wife only after he tied the sacred thread --the mangalasutra-- around her neck. Such was the strict discipline and control exercised in those days.
At the time of the garlanding ceremony, the brothers waited to garland their brides until Rama garlanded Sita. Similarly, the sisters waited till Sita garlanded Rama. But Rama, the broad-shouldered and tall her, would not bend to enable Sita to garland him. He was a valorous and strong prince, full of dignity. He had amply demonstrated it by lifting and breaking it in full view of all. He was not about to lower his honour and dignity by now baring his head! Finally, Rama signed silently to Laxmana who came to the rescue and broke the deadlock. He abruptly ran, fell at Rama's feet, and would not get up! Rama bent down to raise him and, grabbing the chance, Sita at once garlanded him! Such were the intricate ways in which the brothers interacted with each other.
The four sisters were not far behind their husbands when it came to setting model standards in honour and dignity. When Kausalya asked Rama to take her also to the forest with him, Rama advised her thus, " Your husband is your God. Father is now old, shattered and ill. It is your responsibility to serve him, give him courage and support. It is your duty to remain with your husband". However, when Sita wished to accompany Rama to the forest, he prohibited her. Sita then gently reminded Rama the advice he had given his mother. She said that she also considered her husband to be her God and could hence not be separated from him.
Laxmana went to Urmila and told her that he was going to the forest to serve Rama and Sita. Unlike Sita, Urmila did not demand to come with him. On the contrary, she wisely decided to stay back so that under no circumstances would Laxmana be distracted from his service. She even extracted a promise from her husband that he would cease to think or worry about her and instead concentrate on looking after the welfare of Rama and Sita. Hence, she gave the courage to her husband and sent him with her full support. She live up to her role of being a dharmapathni by helping her husband tread the path of righteousness.
Sumitra's laudable character also bears attention. She had a noble heart. When Kausalya grieved at Rama's departure, she consoled her by saying, " Sister! Rama is going to the forest for the emancipation of humanity. My son Laxmana will always be with Rama and Sita and will look after their welfare. This is all God's master plan and is bound to unfold. What is happening is essential for the upkeep of dharma and welfare of the world. If you cry when your sons leave, it will prove to be inauspicious". Thus, she consoled Kausalya and gave her support to bear her grief.
Laxmana stayed with Rama and Sita for 14 long years in the forest. Yet, never once did he look at Sita's face. When the bundle containing Sita's jewel was displayed before him, he could identify only her anklet! Rama asked him how he identified it; Laxmana replied that every day after his bath, he would respectfully touch Rama's and Sita's feet, considering them to be his father and mother. In the process, he would regularly see the anklets! Such was the steadfastness of his character. This is lavanya, which in Sanskrit means a steady and strong character.
When Rama and Laxmana accompanied Viswamitra to his hermitage, they came to the lovely land of Anga. Its king was Manmatha. He was extremely handsome and, due to Siva's grace, did not have a physical form --anga. Hence the kingdom was called Anga, a gift of lord Siva. The citizens of this kingdom welcomed the princes and the sage with open arms, lavishly hosted them, and then gave them a warm sendoff.
Rama and Laxmana reached a fearful forest where the Sarayu river merges with the Ganges, setting up a mighty roar. This forest was the realms of the demoness Surpanakha. Strangely, Laxmana started abruptly grumbling and bemoaning his fate. He criticized the injustice heaped on Rama and wondered why Laxmana had to suffer with him! Rama merely smiled and led him by his hand out of the forest. Atonce, Laxmana felt thoroughly ashamed of his outburst. Rama consoled him and explained that the forest was the domain of the evil Surpanakha and other demons. It was their bad vibrations that had got the better of Laxmana and forced him to behave thus. "Sthala prabhava (the effect of the place)" is demonstrated here.
Rama, Laxmana, and the sage then arrived at Siddhaashram, Viswamitra's heritage. This was the place where Varaha was born. It was said that Lord Siva once resided here. At the time of Viswamitra's yagna (ritual), Rama and Laxmana sincerely guarded the site of the yagna without any rest or food. They wholeheartedly dedicated themselves to the service of the great sage. At the conclusion of the yagna, Viswamitra received an invitation from Janaka, the king of Mithila, to attend the function where the sacred bow of Siva was to be displayed. Vishwamithra extolled the qualities of the divine bow and asked Rama and Laxmana to come with him. However, the brothers gently refused by saying that their father's orders were merely to guard the yagna. Viswamitra reminded them that they were also asked to obey the sage's command. In this way, all the three went to Mithila.
The Ramayana has several secrets and ideals to share with humanity. There are absolutely no contradictions in this epic --it is only the distortions introduced by various scholars. It is all Truth (Sathya), Eternal (Nithya) and Peaceful (Nirmala).