|Date: 21 April 2002||Occasion: Ramanavami||Place: Brindavan|
Sweeter than sugar, tastier than curd, sweeter indeed than honey
is the Name of Rama.
Constant repetition of this nectareous sweet Name gives one
the taste of divine nectar itself.
Therefore, one should contemplate on this sweet Name incessantly.
( Telugu Poem)
Embodiments of Love!
Ayodhya was the capital of the kingdom of Kosala. The name Ayodhya signifies a place where no enemies could enter. It was built by Emperor Manu. The river Sarayu, which originated from the Manasasarovar, flowed nearby. The Manasasarovar is the manifestation of the Will of Brahma.
Such a sacred place was ruled over by Emperor Dasaratha. In spite of having all the wealth and comforts, his life was devoid of happiness because he had no children. Dasaratha had a minister by name Sumantha, who was noble-hearted and highly virtuous. One day, he approached Dasaratha and said, "Oh king! I have a plan that would solve your problems and give happiness to you and the people at large. The country will attain plenty and prosperity if you perform an aswamedha yaga (horse sacrifice). There is another sacred ritual called putrakamesti yaga, by performing which you are sure to beget children." He said that the aswamedha yaga could be performed after the putrakamesti yaga.
Dasaratha was happy with the advice and commanded him to make the necessary arrangements. Sumantha asked Dasaratha to invite Sage Rishyasrunga as the chief priest to preside over the putrakamesti yaga. He felt that Rishyasrunga was well-versed with this type of ritual.
At that time, Padmapada was ruling over the kingdom of Anga, which was afflicted with famine. King Padmapada was also contemplating seeking Rishyasrunga's help to get over this crisis. One day, King Dasaratha, Sumantha, and Padmapada together went to Rishyasrunga's hermitage.
As per Dasaratha's request, Rishyasrunga came over to Ayodhya and performed the aswamedha and putrakamesti yagas. As the sacred ritual was in progress, there emerged an effulgent being from the flames with a vessel containing Payasam (sweet pudding). He handed over the vessel to Sage Vasishta, who in turn gave it to Dasaratha and told him to distribute it equally between his three wives. Since there were many composers of the Ramayana, like Kamba, Valmiki, Tulasidas, etc., each gave different versions of the proportion in which the payasam was distributed between the queens. But none of them gave the correct version. Dasaratha gave equal share of the payasam to each of his three queens in three different cups. Whether it is then or now, the principle of equality is most essential for man. Dasaratha told his wives to have a sacred bath and seek Sage Rishyasrunga's blessings before partaking of the payasam.
Kausalya was very happy, and so was Kaikeyi, but Sumitra was not elated. At the same time, she didn't want to disobey the command of her husband Dasaratha and Sage Rishyasrunga. After having a holy bath, she went onto the terrace and started drying her hair in the sun. She kept the payasam-cup by her side. As she was drying her hair, she started thinking, "Since Kausalya is the eldest queen, the son born to her will be the legal heir to the throne, or else as per the promise made by Dasaratha to the king of Kekaya, Kaikeyi's son will be crowned as king. My son will not have a right to the throne. Such being the case, what is the point in my begetting a son?" She was dejected, depressed, and lost in such thoughts as she was combing her hair.
Meanwhile, a servant-maid came running to her and informed her that King Dasaratha had asked her to come at once. She plaited her hair and was about to pick up the cup. Just then, an eagle swooped down and took away the cup in a trice. She was already feeling sad, and this incident increased her agony thousand fold. She was afraid that her husband and Sage Vasishta would be annoyed with her. She shuddered at the thought of being cursed by Sage Rishyasrunga. She ran to Kausalya and Kaikeyi and explained to them her predicament. "Sisters, an eagle took away the cup because of my negligence. No doubt, it was a mistake, but it was not done intentionally."
In those days, even stepsisters used to live in amity like children of the same mother. Kausalya consoled her. Immediately, she brought a similar cup from inside and poured half of her share of payasam into it. Kaikeyi followed suit. Sumitra was happy that her stepsisters were accommodative and considerate toward her. All this happened in a natural way. But some authors have given a different version of this. They described the payasam distribution based on their own mathematical calculations.
The three queens went to the puja (worship) room and partook of their share of payasam. Nine months passed. On an auspicious day, Kausalya gave birth to a son. That was the time when the five elements were in harmony with each other. Kausalya's joy knew no bounds. Before this good news could be conveyed to Sumitra and Kaikeyi, they also developed labour pains. Sumitra gave birth to Lakshmana first and after a few moments Satrughna. Then, Kaikeyi gave birth to Bharata. The four Vedas assumed the forms of Dasaratha's four sons.
On the tenth day, the naming ceremony was performed. Kausalya's son was named Rama, since he attracted and delighted one and all. Just as one sees one's reflection in the mirror, Rama would visualise the Atmic effulgence in everyone. He saw the effulgence in the form of a moon in the heart of everybody. Hence, He was called Ramachandra.
The two sons of Sumitra were restless and cryied non-stop right from birth. They neither would drink milk nor go to sleep. Seeing the pathetic condition of her sons, Sumitra was grief-stricken. "As it is, I am crying, thinking of my bad luck. Now, the children born to me are also crying. How unfortunate I am!" Thinking in this manner, she felt miserable. When there was no one around, she approached Sage Vasishta and explained to him the sad plight of her sons. She said, "Guruji, I don't expect anything from my sons. It is enough for me if they lead a happy and healthy life. They don't seem to be having any physical ailments. I am unable to understand why they are restless and crying incessantly right from their birth."
Vasishta closed his eyes and went into meditation to find out the reason for the children's strange behaviour. After some time, he opened his eyes and said, "Mother Sumitra, you are very fortunate. You are endowed with the noble virtue of samadrishti (equality). As your name suggests, you are a good friend of all. You don't need to be worried at all. With permission of Kausalya, put Lakshmana in the same cradle where Rama is. Likewise, seek Kaikeyi's permission and place Satrughna by Bharata's side, in the same cradle. Then, they will stop crying and behave normally."
Kausalya and Kaikeyi readily consented to Sumitra's request. They said, "Sister, bring Lakshmana and Satrughna at once. They are also like our children. Is it not a matter of joy for us to watch the four brothers develop unity and grow together?"
Sumitra did as per Sage Vasishta's advice. No sooner was Lakshmana placed in the cradle by Rama's side than he stopped crying. The same was the case with Satrughna. He stopped crying as soon as he was placed by Bharata's side. Lakshmana and Satrughna were extremely happy in the company of Rama and Bharata, respectively. They were all smiles and started moving their hands and legs blissfully. Watching her sons enjoying themselves thus, Sumitra felt greatly relieved.
A few days passed. One day Sumitra, finding sage Vasishta all alone, requested him to explain the strange behaviour of her sons. She wanted to know why Lakshmana and Satrughna were crying incessantly till they were placed by the sides of Rama and Bharata. Sage Vasishta started explaining, "Oh Sumitra! You are a noble soul. Your heart is pure and unsullied. You are totally selfless. So, it is not difficult for you to understand the reason behind this. Do you remember, when your share of payasam was taken away by an eagle, Kausalya and Kaikeyi came to your rescue by sharing their payasam with you. As a result, you begot two sons. Lakshmana is born from Kausalya's share of payasam and Satrughna from Kaikeyi's. It means that Lakshmana is an amsa (aspect) of Rama and Satrughna is an amsa of Bharata. So, it is natural that Lakshmana is blissful in Rama's company and Satrughna in Bharata's company." The Bhagavadgita says, Mamaivamsho jeevaloke jeevabhuta sanathanah (the eternal Atma in all beings is a part of My Being). Lakshmana, being the spark of Rama, was in His Company always. Likewise, Satrughna and Bharata were always together.
Years rolled by, and the four brothers matured into young men. Dasaratha decided to perform their marriages. One day, when he was thinking on these lines, a messenger entered and informed him the arrival of Sage Viswamitra. Everything happens according to time, situation, and circumstances. God creates the necessary circumstances to fulfil His Divine plan. Dasaratha personally went up to the entrance and welcomed the sage, saying, "Swami, it is our great good fortune that you have come today. I am contemplating on performing marriages of my sons. So, I am extremely happy and indeed blessed to have you amidst us today. Please tell me, what can I do for you. I will certainly fulfil your desire."
Viswamitra said that he had come to take Rama with him to protect his yajna (ritual sacrifice) from demons. Dasaratha felt as though an atom bomb had exploded in his heart. "I begot these children as a result of performing several rituals and sacrifices over a number of years. Moreover, Rama has never entered a forest or seen a demon. He has no hatred toward anybody. He is full of love and forbearance. How can I send such a tender-hearted Rama to the forest to fight the demons, who are very cruel?" Such were his feelings. He said to Viswamitra, "Oh venerable sage, my sons are very young. How can I send them to forest?"
Viswamitra said, "Oh king! You promised that you would fulfil my desire. Now, you are going back on your word. Kings belonging to the Ikshvaku clan never failed to keep up their promise so far. If you go against your word, you will bring disrepute to your clan. So, decide whether you want to put your clan to disrepute or send your sons with me."
Dasaratha thought for a while but was unable to decide. He called Sage Vasishta and sought his advice. Vasishta said, "Dasaratha, your sons are not ordinary mortals. They are born to you because of Divine Will. They are born out of fire, which means they are the embodiments of power and wisdom. So, no danger can ever befall on them. So, uphold your promise given to Sage Viswamitra."
Here there is an important point to be noted. Viswamitra had come to take only Rama with him. Rama was prepared to go with him. He did ask Lakshmana to accompany him. Neither Viswamitra nor Dasaratha had asked him to follow Rama. Lakshmana followed Rama of his own accord because he was an amsa (aspect) of Rama. Just as shadow follows an object, Lakshmana accompanied Rama. Seeing this, Viswamitra thought to himself, "Everything happens according to the Divine Will."
Prior to his departure, he said to Dasaratha, "Oh king! There is no power in this world that is not in me. I am endowed with all mighty powers and all types of knowledge. But once I undertake yajna deeksha (vow of yajna) and start performing the ritual, I am not supposed to involve myself in any act of violence. This is the discipline prescribed for the one performing a yajna. Hence, I cannot kill the demons on my own. That is why I am taking Rama with me."
When they reached the banks of the Sarayu river, Viswamitra said, "Rama come here." He called only Rama, and not Lakshmana. Though he was not called, Lakshmana also went and sat by Rama's side. Viswamitra said, "My dear ones, I am taking you to Siddhashrama, where a yajna is going to take place. You have come here to protect the yajna from demons. I don't know how many days you have to stay in the forest. You are used to royal comforts and delicious food. But there is no one to prepare food for you in the ashram. You may have to stay awake day and night, forgoing food and water, in order to protect the yajna. So, I will teach you two mantras: Bala and Atibala. With the power of these mantras, you can remain without food, water, and sleep for any number of days."
Knowing fully well that Rama was the Divine incarnation and had the power to protect the yajna, why did Viswamitra teach him these mantras? These are only external activities meant for the world. Rama and Lakshmana chanted these mantras and consequently had no hunger, thirst ,or sleep during their stay in the Siddhashrama.
When the yajna was in progress, the demon Maricha tried to disrupt the proceedings. Rama killed him with a single arrow. and his body was thrown to a great distance by the impact. Then came a thunderous noise. Rama asked Viswamitra, "Swami, what is this noise? It sounds as though mountains are falling apart."
Viswamitra said, "It has nothing to do with the mountains. It is the voice of the demonness Thataki. She makes everyone tremble with her voice. Be prepared to face her. She is coming." Rama had a doubt whether it was proper for a Kshatriya to kill a woman. Viswamitra said, "Rama, when it comes to protecting a yajna, you don't need to be concerned whether it is a man or a woman who is disrupting it. Your main duty is to ward off all demons.
Since it was the command of the guru, Rama implicitly obeyed him and killed the ogress. But she was not the one to be killed easily. A fierce battle ensued. But we don't need to go into its details. Once Thataki was killed, the surroundings of Siddhashrama became peaceful, and everyone rejoiced. The demigods showered flower petals. The yajna was completed successfully.
In the meantime, a messenger from the city of Mithila arrived and handed over a letter to Viswamitra from King Janaka. It was an invitation to Viswamitra to take part in a yajna that Janaka was going to perform. Viswamitra at once set out for Mithila. Being a sanyasi (renunciant), he had no luggage to carry with him. He asked Rama and Lakshmana to follow him, but Rama was reluctant to do so. He said, "Guruji, my father sent Me to protect your yajna. I am not interested in the yajna that King Janaka is going to perform."
In order to arouse interest and enthusiasm in them, Viswamitra said, "The yajna is not an ordinary one. In the palace of king Janaka, there is Siva dhanus (bow of Siva), which ordinary mortals cannot lift. It is very difficult to even move it an inch. One day it happened that Sita, the daughter of Janaka, lifted the bow. That day, Janaka decided that he would give his daughter Sita in marriage to someone who couold lift the bow. This yajna is arranged in this connection."
Viswamitra persuaded Rama and Lakshmana to accompany him to Mithila. The entire city of Mithila had assembled. Kings belonging to various countries had arrived. Ravana was one among them. Ravana was very powerful and had a fearsome personality. He was the first one to come forward to lift the bow. As he was proceeding toward the bow, kings were surprised at his gait and personality. They thought, "If he is able to lift the bow, King Janaka has to give his daughter in marriage to him. The very sight of him is terrifying. How can Janaka give his daughter to him? Anyway, let us see what is going to happen."
Ravana first tried to lift the bow with his left hand. But it did not move. He used all his strength and tried with both his hands. Yet it did not move. In the process, he lost his balance and fell down. He could not bear the insult. One with ego is bound to face humiliation. He cannot receive respect and honour in society. Ego leads to ruin.
Seeing the mighty Ravana falling down in such a manner, all the kings were surprised. They said to themselves, "If Ravana cannot lift it, nobody else can." They were afraid even to come forward to try to lift the bow. At that moment, Viswamitra gave a meaningful look to Rama. Rama understood its implication and got up. He was only fifteen years at that time. As he was walking majestically toward the bow, people were attracted by His divine splendour. It looked as though all powers were following Him like a shadow. People were mesmerised by His divine form and were unmindful of what was going to happen.
Smilingly, Rama went near the bow, adjusted his upper garment and put his left hand on the bow. And lo! It just stood up. It had to be bent to tie the string. As He was bending it, the bow broke with a deafening sound. The onlookers were stunned at Rama's mighty power. Immediately, Sita was brought by her maids with a garland in her hand.
Viswamitra asked, "Rama, are you ready for the marriage?" Rama said, "Swami, my father sent me to Siddhashram to safeguard your Yajna. I don't have his permission to come here. I will not accept this proposal without his consent."
Viswamitra whispered this into Janaka's ear. He also supported Rama's view, since he was well versed with rajaneeti (code of conduct prescribed for a king). Immediately, he sent his messengers to King Dasaratha to bring him and his family with royal honours. Three days passed by the time King Dasaratha and his family arrived in Mithila, during which Rama and Lakshmana did not move out of their room.
Dasaratha, with his family members, friends, and relatives, arrived in Mithila accompanied by thousands of soldiers and citizens of Ayodhya. The four brothers were extremely happy seeing each other. The holy wedding took place on the fourth day, about which I described in detail many a time. Sita was born of mother Earth and Urmila was Janaka's own daughter. Sita was to wed Rama and Urmila was to marry Lakshmana. Janaka's brother had two daughters Mandavi and Sruthakirti. Their wedding was fixed with Bharata and Satrughna ,respectively. It looked as though each one was made for the other.
During the wedding, Sita had to garland Rama. Since she was short in stature and Rama was ajanubahu (tall personality), she could not do so. Rama was expected to bend His head before Sita so that she could garland Him. However, He would not do so, lest people should say that Rama, one of valour, bowed His head before a woman. Woman in those days would not look into the face of men. Hence, Sita was looking down holding the garland in her hand.
Lakshmana was the incarnation of Adisesha, who carries the mother Earth on his hood. Rama looked at Lakshmana as if to say, "Look, why don't you raise that part of earth where Sita is standing to enable her to garland Me." Then Lakshmana indicated to Rama that it was not possible to raise any particular area. If he tried to raise that part of earth where Sita was standing, simultaneously Rama would be raised and so also others.
The onlookers became anxious and were wondering why Rama was not bending his head to enable Sita garland him. Lakshmana, being one of intelligence, thought of a plan to solve the problem. All of a sudden, he fell at the feet of Rama and would not get up for a long time. Rama bent down to pick up Lakshmana and, seizing the opportunity, Sita garlanded Rama.
Once, Saint Thyagaraja sang a song extolling Rama's mighty power:
But for the power of Rama, could a mere monkey cross the mighty ocean?
Would Lakshmi Devi, the goddess of wealth, become his consort?
Would Lakshmana worship him?
Would the intelligent Bharata offer his salutations to him?
But for the mighty power of Rama, would all this happen?
Indeed, Rama's power is beyond all description.
The wedding took place in a glorious manner and all of them returned to Ayodhya. As the saying goes, "The pleasure is an interval between two pains". On the way to Ayodhya, there was a minor conflict with Parasurama. Rama conquered him and reached Ayodhya.
A few days passed. One day, at three in the morning, Dasaratha had a dream. It was his belief that whatever one dreams in the early hours of the day would come true. He had dreamt that he had become very old and that his hands and legs were trembling. He woke up with a disturbed state of mind, having dreamt many bad things. He felt that he might not live long. Hence, he decided to coronate Rama immediately. When the king decides to do something, who can stop him? He thought that there was no time to make elaborate arrangements for the coronation. He sent word for Sage Vasishta and obtained his consent. He called Rama and informed him about his decision. Rama treated everybody with equal-mindedness. This was the social dharma He practised. He was of the view that all are equal and there should not be any differences whatsoever. All are one. God is one. Rama's aim was to bring about such unity in diversity.
When Dasaratha told Rama that he was to be made the crown prince the following day, Rama remained silent for some time. Being an obedient son, He did not want to say anything against His father's wish. He thought for awhile and said, "Father, Bharata and Satrughna are not here. Shouldn't we wait for their arrival?"
But Dasaratha was firm in his resolve. He said, "You don't need to be concerned about it. You have to obey my command."
Rama said that He was prepared to follow his command, but only sought a clarification in this regard. He said, "Four of us were born on the same day, under the same star. We were born from the same yajna payasam. Our namakaranam (naming ceremony), aksharabhyasam (initiation into learning), upanayanam (sacred thread ceremony), and marriages were performed simultaneously. Then why only am I chosen to become the crown prince? Let all four of us be crowned simultaneously."
Dasaratha was indeed surprised at Rama's observations. He quickly added that four kings can't rule over one kingdom.
Rama said, "Divide the kingdom into four parts and each of us will rule each part. Let our coronations take place at the same time. Let there not be any differences."
Dasaratha was stunned at Rama's argument. He had no answer to give. He sent him away and consulted Sage Vasishta who later tried to convince Rama and said, "For the past many generations, our kingdom remained undivided. If it has to be divided now, it may lead to problems in future."
But Rama was not convinced. He said, "I am not asking you to divide the kingdom, but let each of us rule a part of the kingdom." At the same time, Rama felt that Dasaratha was getting old. As the age advances, one's mental faculties will not be sound. Since Dasaratha was not in a position to understand the reality, Rama said "Let Bharata and Satrughna also come." It would take at least fifteen days for them to arrive in Ayodhya. In the meantime, one could think leisurely and arrive at a proper conclusion. This was Rama's plan. The mighty power of Rama and His master plan were highly mysterious and most wonderful. There should be equality in society. This is the main teaching of Bharatiya (Indian) culture. Loka samastha sukhino bhavantu (May all the people of the world be happy!) Rama upheld the principles of ancient culture. The coronation did not take place at that time.
People go through the Ramayana. They have books on the Ramayana as big as pillows. They learn the slokas (verses) by rote, but what is the use? They don't understand the essence.
Mother Kausalya was highly virtuous. Being the eldest queen, everyone respected her and obeyed her command. Kaikeyi was the youngest queen. Nobody could go against her wish. Dasaratha was a puppet in her hands and would dance to her tune. But Sumitra was not given much importance. The noble qualities of Sumitra and Satrughna cannot be described in words.
Later, it happened that the coronation of Rama did not take place, and Rama had to spend fourteen years in exile. Before going to the forest, Rama went to mother Kausalya to seek her blessings. She wept inconsolably. Not only she but everyone in the antahpura (inner chamber) was in tears. When Lakshmana went to mother Sumitra and sought her blessings, she said, "My dear one, don't think that you are going to the forest. In fact, this Ayodhya is like an aranya (forest) for us without Sita and Rama. The forest where Sita and Rama live is verily Ayodhya for you. Rama is your father and Sita, your mother. Let nothing come in your way of serving them."
Will any mother speak in such a manner? "As per the boon granted to Kaikeyi, only Rama is supposed to go to the forest. Lakshmana, you don't need to go with him." Any mother would have argued in such a manner and stopped him from going. But Sumitra, being a noble mother, didn't think on those lines. She had all the virtues that are expected of an ideal mother.
Then Lakshmana went to his wife, Urmila, to inform her about his decision to go with Rama. Urmila was King Janaka's daughter. She was highly virtuous. Her spirit of sacrifice and generosity is unparalleled. Being unaware of the happenings, she was painting a picture of Rama's coronation. She wanted to send it to her father Janaka.Since she was deeply engrossed in her work and all of a sudden Lakshmana entered and called her in a raised voice, she was startled and at once stood up. As she got up in a hurry, she accidentally spilled paint on the picture she was painting. She felt sad for having spoiled the picture.
Lakshmana said, "Rama's coronation is stalled because of Kaikeyi, and the picture of the coronation that you are painting is spoiled because of your husband, Lakshmana. So, don't worry about it." He informed her that he was accompanying Rama and Sita to the forest to serve them.
Urmila was happy with his decision. She didn't ask him to allow her to accompany him. She said, "Dear husband, my mother-in-law Sumitra gave birth to you and your brother Satrughna to tread the path of service. You are meant to serve Rama and Satrughna is meant to serve Bharata. So, discharge your duties. But at no point of time should you think of me during your fourteen-year stay in the forest. If you think of me even for a moment, you won't be able to serve Sita and Rama wholeheartedly. Think of their well-being always, and serve them diligently. Forget me altogether for the next fourteen years."
Will any wife speak in such a firm and selfless manner? No. Her broad-mindedness and utter selflessness moved Lakshmana to tears. He praised her saying, "Urmila, I never knew that you were so broad-minded. I will always treasure your noble intentions in my heart."
Urmila said, "Don't think of my noble intentions. Think of the nobility of Sita and Rama and obey their command. See to it that they are never put to any inconvenience." You may search in all the worlds, but you cannot find a noble mother like Sumitra and a virtuous wife like Urmila.
During the war between Rama and Ravana, Lakshmana fell unconscious one day. Seeing his dear brother in such condition, Rama was highly depressed. He shed tears, saying, "If I search this whole world, I might be able to find a wife like Sita but not a brother like Lakshmana. How can I live without him?"
The doctors present there said, "Lakshmana could be revived with the help of an herb called Sanjivini, which is available on a particular mountain." Hanuman at once flew to the mountain. Since he could not identify the herb, he uprooted the entire mountain and started his return journey. As he was flying over Nandigrama with the mountain, Bharata mistook him for a demon and shot an arrow at him. Hanuman fell down, along with the mountain. People of Nandigrama and Ayodhya came running and surrounded him.
Hanuman offered his obeisance to everyone. He turned to Bharata and said, "Your brother Lakshmana has fallen unconscious in the battlefield. The doctors there wanted the Sanjivini herb to be brought in order to revive Lakshmana. Since I couldn't locate the exact herb, I am carrying the entire mountain with me."
On coming to know that Lakshmana had fainted and Rama was grief-stricken, everyone assembled there started shedding tears; the ladies in particular were inconsolable. When Hanuman looked around, he found everyone in tears except one lady. She was none other than Sumitra, the mother of Lakshmana. "Rama can never be put to any harm. My son, Lakshmana constantly chants His Name. Every cell of his body is filled with the divine Name of Rama. So, nothing untoward can happen to him also." With such conviction, she was composed.
Bharata took Hanuman to Urmila and introduced him. She never stepped out of her room. She remained in the same room where she was at the time of Lakshmana's departure to the forest, for fourteen long years, until his return. Such was her determination. She asked Hanuman where he was coming from. Hanuman told her in detail what had happened right from the time Lakshmana fainted in the battlefield. On listening to Hanuman's tale, Urmila laughed and said, "Hanuman, don't you know even this? The very breath of Lakshmana is filled with the divine Name of Rama. How can any danger befall such a person?"
The sense of devotion and surrender of Urmila and Sumitra is not mentioned with prominence anywhere in the Ramayana. In fact, they were the embodiments of righteousness and love. Their ideals shine like beacons in this world. Everyone should become a Su-mitra (good friend) and a Su-putra (ideal son). The country today needs ideal men and women. Though thousands of years have passed, the glory of the Ramayana has not diminished one bit. It has remained ever new and ever fresh in the hearts of people. One who chants Rama's Name and has the vision of His divine Form will not be born again. That is why Sage Valmiki extolled the greatness of Rama's power and His Name.
Bhagavan sang the bhajan, "Rama Kodanda Rama". Then, He continued the discourse.
Embodiments of love!
There is no amruta (divine ambrosia) greater than Rama's Name. Today, people have forgotten nama chinthana (contemplating the divine Name). They repeat the names of cinemas, but they don't repeat God's Name. That is why the country is facing hardships. The educated, intellects and scientists don't think of God at all. Some people deem it below their dignity to apply vibhuti on their foreheads. They have it on their foreheads when they are at home and rub it off the moment they step outside. This has become a fashion! Why should one be afraid of chanting God's Name? Let people talk as they like. You don't need to be afraid. Spread the glory of Rama's Name in every nook and corner of the world. You can chant any Name of your choice --Rama, Krishna, Govinda, Siva, etc.
Since people have forgotten the divine Name, every home is in turmoil. There are conflicts even among brothers. Since there is no purity within, unsacred feelings have crept in. People are running after money and power. Can money and power give you protection? You find so many in this world who have plenty of money and occupy positions of authority. Are they able to enjoy peace and happiness? No, no. Only the divine Name can grant you peace and happiness. One who neglects God's Name is bound to be ruined.
The letter 'ma' is the life force of the Siva Panchakshari mantra, Om Namah Sivaya. If 'ma' is removed from this, it reads na Sivaya, meaning inauspicious. Likewise, the letter 'ra' is the life force of the Ashtakshari mantra, Om Namo Narayanaya. The life force of the Panchakshari mantra, 'ma', and that of the Ashtakshari mantra, 'ra', together form the divine Name RAMA.
Only chanting of the divine Name can protect you. Money and power are like passing clouds. Don't clamour for them. One may join politics and attain some position of authority, but how long can one remain in power? Any moment, one may be dislodged from power. One should not get carried away by politics; instead one should take refuge in the divine Name. He alone is truly blessed and meritorious whose heart is filled with the divine Name.
People who do not relish the divine Name may make fun of you. Somebody may tell you there is no God. What should be your reply? "He may not exist for you but He exists for me. Who are you to deny the existence of my God?" No one has a right to deny God. Never forget the divine Name, wherever you are and under any circumstances. Sarvada sarva kaleshu sarvatra Hari chintanam (everywhere, at all times, under all circumstances contemplate on God).
Bhagawan concluded His discourse with the bhajan, "Rama Rama Rama Sita".