|Date: 22 May 2002||Occasion: Summary of Evening Discourse||Place: Brindavan|
of Divine Discourse
at the Summer Course
(Evening, 22 May 2002)
Bhagavan Sri Sathya Sai Baba
True education is that which facilitates universal peace,
which destroys any scope for mean thoughts to germinate, and
which fosters unity and co-operation.
A true student must acquire such an education
The sacred story of Rama is ageless. It does not satiate one's heart even after one listens to it any number of times. He who sings, hears, or narrates this sacred story is indeed blessed.
Mother earth has enormous powers hidden in her depths. There has not been any investigation that has succeeded in probing this secret. Sita is the daughter of mother earth. At the time of the swayamvara, mother earth saw that among all the princes and kings gathered for Sita's hand, Rama was the most ideal. Hence, even nature helped Rama when he lifted the sacred bow of Siva and broke it. Rama is depicted as lifting the bow with his left hand, which is normally weaker than the right hand. This is just to show to the world that there is nothing called a difficult or impossible task for the Divinity.
Man is the storehouse of every mineral, metal, and energy that the earth contains. He has in him the electric, magnetic, and several other forms of energy. Sadly, man does not realise this. There is the enormous strength of Divinity latent in him that enables him to do anything that he sets his mind to. Man's achievements such as bringing the dust from the moon are glimpses of the great potential that is latent in him. All he needs is the will and the determination to realise this strength and potential.
Ravana abducted Sita to Lanka. He wanted to influence her by showing off his opulence, power ,and acquisitions. He took Sita to his inner palace. But Sita was only lost in the contemplation of Rama and would not even look up. Mandodari, Ravana's wife, was extremely unhappy with her husband's behaviour. She cautioned Ravana, "Lord! Surely your destruction is near; otherwise, you would not plan and commit such dastardly acts! Sita is a highly chaste and pure woman. She is already wedded to Rama. You are inviting your doom by abducting here. Being away from her lord, she will never be happy even if you put her in this great palace. Keep her in a simple peaceful place where she can contemplate on her lord and can derive some solace!" Listening to her words Ravana accommodated Sita in the beautiful Asoka gardens.
Mandodari further warned Ravana, "Lord! Instead of spending time in 'Rama chinta' you have become a slave to 'Kamachinta' (lust). Why are you inviting your own death? One must never let a woman suffer. If you make a woman shed one teardrop, you will yourself shed thousands." Her advice fell on deaf ears. She then visited Sita and pleaded to pardon her husband for his mad adventure and protect her from widowhood. Sita was thinking only of Rama and therefore couldn't hear anything else or talk to anyone else.
None in Lanka was happy with Ravana's deeds. Fearing his wrath, they kept silent. Vibhishana's wife, Sarama, and daughter attended to Sita. One night, both of them had a dream that Lanka had become an arid and barren land; the trees had all withered and fallen; the palaces and houses were all in ruin and Ravana himself was seen stumbling about seeking water. Sarama realised that doom was inevitable to Ravana as well as Lanka. She resolved to serve Sita better and make her as happy as possible.
When Hanuman reached Lanka, he searched through all the inner palaces for Sita. At once, He felt that it was inappropriate to look at all the women there. But to accomplish the task of searching Sita he had no choice but to continue. Finally when he saw her sitting forlorn under a tree at Asoka gardens, his joy knew no bounds. He jumped on to the tree and started singing Rama's praise. Sita was overjoyed for a moment. But later she thought that it was just another trick orchestrated by Ravana's demon servants to win her attention. It was only when Hanuman showed her Rama's ring that she relaxed. The ring was gifted by king Janaka to Rama during the wedding.
Seeing Sita's plight of being away from her lord, Hanuman offered to place her on his back and take her back.
Sita replied, "If you were to do that, it would be a repetition of the same mistake that Ravana did. Rama has to come to Lanka; kill Ravana and take me. Please tell this to my lord." She gave Hanuman a jewel to be presented to Rama on her behalf. It was one amongst the several jewels presented to her by Anasuya, sage Agastya's wife.
Hanuman assured Sita that he would do what she had said and was prepared to leave. But before returning, he destroyed the beautiful Asoka Vana and proceeded to cause enormous destruction to Lanka in order to teach a lesson to the asuras (demons). While doing this he was caught and brought before Ravana.
Ravana was furious and demanded, "O, monkey! Who are you and who sent you here? You have caused such enormous destruction!"
Hanuman retorted, "Foolish fellow! I am here as a messenger of the One who cut off the ears and nose of your sister!"
Taken aback, Ravana said, "How dare you address me thus! No one has the audacity to use such words with me!"
Hanuman replied, "Maybe it applies to the gods, demi-gods, gandharvas (celestial musicians), and others whom you have subdued. But I am Lord Rama's messenger and will use these words because you deserve nothing better."
After reaching back safely, Hanuman described Sita's sorry state and how she was eagerly awaiting Rama's arrival. Lakshmana excitedly wanted instant action! Rama calmed him down and told him that one must not leap into action without assessing the situation properly. Plans were made and Sugreeva mobilised his army to reach Lanka.
As the hordes of vanaras occupied every space on hills and land in Lanka, the city shivered in the thought of their looming doom. The earlier destruction caused by Hanuman was still fresh in their minds. He had come back and had brought several more of his kind!
The terrible battle was fought. Indrajith, the mighty son of Ravana, who had conquered Indra himself in a battle, appeared in the battlefield and caused a great deal of destruction in the Vanara army. Vibhishana told Rama the secret of Indrajith's apparent invincibility. Defenseless now, Indrajith was killed in the battle.
Ravana's second brother, Kumbhakarna, met a similar fate and died. Then Ravana himself came to the battlefield. Vibhishana revealed the secret of Ravana's weak point and told Rama to shoot the arrow at that point. As the arrow hit there, Ravana fell dead. Mandodari wailed, "Lord! I warned you repeatedly not to foster lust and not to abduct chaste and pious ladies. But you never ever listened to a sane advice. You have now got the punishment for your sins."
When Sita was brought before Rama, in order to prove to the world her chastity, Rama had her pass through the fire. She emerged unscathed. Meanwhile, Vibhishana brought the aerial vehicle --Pushpaka Vimana. Rama, Lakshmana, Sita, Sugriva, and all others got into it and flew toward Ayodhya. Pushpaka Vimana earlier belonged to Ravana's stepbrother. Ravana defeated him and took away the Vimana.
Bharatha meanwhile emerged from his self-imposed exile and kept a chariot ready for receiving Rama. Satrughna too arrived from Ayodhya with a garland. Wonder of wonders! Satrughna could not distinguish between Rama and Bharatha! Bharatha had spent 14 years meditating on Rama and had acquired his attributes. Lakshmana finally helped Satrughna to garland Rama. Then they all proceeded to the palace.
Sumithra was very happy at this sight and blessed all the sons. Urmila fell at Lakshmana's feet. She had vermilion on her forehead, as was the custom of those days. Lakshmana's feet were anointed with that vermilion as she kept her forehead on his feet. Kaikeyi appeared and profusely blessed Rama, Lakshmana, and Sita. Though she had earned disrepute, it was for a good purpose. The truth is that Rama in His young age while learning archery from her, had already explained to her His Divine Mission. She was merely playing out her role. She was as thrilled as Sumithra to see the successful completion of the Divine mission. Sumithra and Kaikeyi were in peace completely. They had no more aspirations in the world. They died peacefully and contentedly seeing the return of Rama from exile.
All the people in Ayodhya were very happy to get back their beloved princes and their wives. They rejoiced and decked the city up grandly. Their Rama was back home.