Ramayana and Beyondİ(online book)
Chapter 1 - Ramayana Story
Chapter 2 - Sri Rama and Sita, love and marriage in Ramayana
Chapter 3 - Ravana in Ramayana Story
Chapter 4 - Warfare in Ramayana Story
Chapter 5 - King Rama, Bhakti and Royalty in India
Chapter 6 - Conclusion
IntroductionThe present work is a commentary on the Ramayana story taking into account all versions of Ramayana particularly the original Ramayana written by Valmiki and the devotional version of Ramayana that being Ramacharitamanasa by the poet Tulsidasa. The story itself is about justice, bravery, love, the victory of forces of light over the forces of evil, the divine intervention on earth in order to put things right.
This commentary emphasizes on the integration between the issues of Karma as pertinent to the very basis of Ramayana story, the story itself and its relevance today. The eternal law, Sanatana Dharma is a subject made dominant in conjunction with the determinism at the cosmic level. Thus Lord Vishnu descends on earth as Lord Rama on a setup scenario masterminded in heaven in order to reinforce Dharma and teach the people on earth a valuable divine lesson. The present commentary takes into account spiritual issues both at cosmic and earthly levels and their implications.
This work develops systematically notions of cosmic Karma, a description of the story itself and the significance of the love story between Sri Rama and Sita. Subsequent chapters comment on forces of evil, the issues of warfare, ending up with topics of royalty, Bhakti and the relevance of Ramayana story in the present days India and a conclusion.
This work of commentaries on the Ramayana story was inspired by the unusual events started to manifest in India at Rikhia, a small village in the Deoghar district, Jharkhand State. There resides Swami Satyananda Saraswati a Hindu sage who has received a divine inspiration to reenact the celebration of marriage of Sri Rama to Sita (Sita Kalyanam) during a couple of years in a row. This celebration managed to magnetize thousand of people from India and from all over the world, the chanting of Ramayana and all festivities purifying the hearts of people participants. This short work is just a humble attempt to present in the larger perspective of Hindu Dharma the whole of Ramayana story, from the point of view of a full-hearted participant to the events.
Thus I hope that this commentary will achieve the purpose of creating a better understanding of the Ramayana story, its true message and the valuable lessons given to us for both the present and future times. May we all be blessed by Sri Rama and His story.
Ramayana stands along with Mahabharata as one of the two major epics in the Indian tradition. Accounts of timing of Ramayana assign the epic to be created before Mahabharata epic. From the epic itself arises the time of composition of Ramayana as being after the coronation of Rama that according to learned scholars was in the year 4400 BC.
The epic composed by the sage Valmiki, who was a contemporary of the events described in Ramayana, is held to be of a great beauty regarding the Sanskrit wording of verses. The original base structure is consider to be of 12,000 verses later on growing to 24,000 verses, that is the present form of Ramayana as assigned to sage Valmiki. Most scholars consider the real Ramayana to be contained within the first 6 chapters, chapter 7 (Uttara Kanda) being added later. It can be easily observed that this last chapter does not really fit into the whole structure of Ramayana, events described do not have a continuation from the previous chapter. We have to assume that on accounts of being so ancient, Ramayana was subject to various interpolations that naturally occurred in such a long span of time since the original composition of sage Valmiki more than 6000 years ago.
The work is largely seen as an allegory, in which various personages, human, demonic, animal or vegetation are sentient as the tradition of Hinduism is based on. Along with humans there are also monkeys (Vanaras), demons, bears, birds, etc. There are supernatural phenomena that do occur and involvement of traditional Hindu gods and goddesses is paramount. However, the whole of Ramayana cannot be understood unless the philosophical understanding behind the events have to be known.
As above, so below
The Hindu thought is a complete integration of the events that happen at the cosmic level and those that happen on earth. The Indian thought developed the concept of cyclical time through the doctrine of 'Yuga' or cosmic ages. In this cosmogony there are vast time cycles of cosmic creation (Sarga) and cosmic dissolution (Pralaya) repeated ad infinitum, the whole universe being seen as contained within Brahma, the Creator who lives for one hundred brahmic years. One Brahma dies then after a while a new Brahma emerges created by Lord Vishnu, the Supreme. Thus everything that exists within the universe can be explained as related to the three fundamental essences, i.e. space (Brahmanda), time (Kala) and causality (Karanatattva). All static and dynamic existence finds an explanation taking into account these three essences. In other words the matter itself being on the time arrow is both cause and effect of manifestations or vibrations.
These issues have considerable implications, as manifestations or vibrations once emitted are able to penetrate into a large scale of levels of existence, thus from one powerful manifestation a range of implications on other spheres of existence occurred. When the human factor is taken into account, extraordinary deductions can be made, and the implications at the human level become astonishing. Events that do happen in space have a reflection of earth at every level including human. Astrology is based on similar grounds, the Hindu astrology known under the name Jyotish is a very elaborated method of calculating implications at the human or societal level of the important movements and events in the cosmic space.
The idea behind these suppositions is that the determinism is more prevalent at the lower levels and the higher a level of existence is, the more independent becomes. In practical terms, a powerful cosmic event has important implications at the societal level on earth, and become more deterministic and difficult to avoid as the level of consciousness goes down. Humanity having a level of consciousness above one individual, whatever implications are at that level will be reflected in a more deterministic way at the individual human level. In other words the individual person will be simply dragged by the events, social revolutions, and any important happenings at a more advanced level. Less to say that the world of animals and plants and anything below the humans will be invariably dragged in a more powerful way.
This gives world events a deterministic view. It is precisely on these accounts that the Hindu tradition bases the grand events of humanity, all events being subjects to the concept of cyclical time through the existence of cosmic ages. We humans are subject to involuntary anthropo-cosmic experiences. Various layers of vibrations that interpenetrate each other give certain effects and implications to the various levels of influence on the time arrow. Thus the cosmic cause will affect the earth existence first at the level of society, in so determining multiple chain reactions in the form of implications at the lower levels. It is on this cosmic basis that Ramayana story is constructed.
Indian tradition is very rich as far as King Rama (Ramachandra) is concerned. Various scriptures and works do tell again and again in one form or another the story of Ramayana, the wonderful story of King Rama, his deeds and achievements as man and king. In the whole world literature there is not such a revered figure, no king alive or dead can be a recipient of lovely devotion Indians have for their beloved King Rama. Why King Rama is so praised by Indian tradition and hundreds of millions of people not only in India, but all over the world?
The human character known as Sri Rama has lived on earth before the common era (BC), his year of birth is considered by scholars to be 4439 BC. The story is not merely a narration of an ordinary king out of thousands of kings, but has a deep spiritual significance. According to scriptures, Sri Rama was an incarnation of Lord Vishnu, the Supreme existence, God behind everything manifested and non-manifested. Preliminary actions before Lord Vishnu as Lord Rama descends on earth did happen in heaven. What happened in heaven, according to the scriptures?
Gods and demigods were highly concerned about the spread of injustice and all negative manifestations amongst humans, theft, telling lies, violence, oppression of people, corruption, in short the large spread of lack of right behaviour. Thus the right conduct known as Dharma was almost entirely neglected, people on earth being preoccupies with greed, pleasures, violence, attachments of any kind and arrogance. Gods and demigods were also concerned that those oppressors of people on earth have acquired skills and abilities that match the powers of gods and demigods. The heavenly concern has been heard by Lord Vishnu, gods and demigods were asking him for help in order to reestablish Dharma on earth, a code of conduct that gods and demigods do abide themselves in heaven. To their satisfaction Lord Vishnu has agreed to incarnate as Sri Rama and solve the issue.
The historical incarnation took place according to the scriptures more than 6000 years ago (see above). The Lord took birth in the royal family of king Dasharatha, one of the kings of the Sun Dynasty, the Ikshvaku Dynasty. Along with the Lord Himself took incarnations as humans some of his powers or attributes as his brothers, Lakshmana, Bharata and Shatrugna. High spiritual souls also descended, the high priest Vasishtha being top of the rank. Various gods and demigods took also partial incarnations, the major gods like Indra, Vayu, Surya, Brahma were represented. Along with them, millions of other souls descended in order to assist Lord Rama in his tasks. They are known in the epic Ramayana as monkeys, bears, various birds, etc. Some of the souls took birth as demons thus the whole setup was determined in order to teach the ordinary human beings the path of Dharma.
The allegory starts with the events in the kingdom of Dasharatha, the pious king of Koshala. Sri Rama took birth as his son along with his half brothers, king Dasharatha having three wives. Rama grew up as a happy boy along with his brothers, all brothers were united and loved each other very much.
However, as the condition of Lord Vishnu descending on earth was not to be aware about his divine origin from the beginning, Sri Rama behaved like an ordinary mortal. Nothing suggested that he was more than an ordinary prince although he displayed beautiful human qualities, being highly intelligent, educated, respectful to his parents and very much abiding the right conduct (Dharma) in relation to everyone. These wonderful qualities were imbibed to Sri Rama from his revered Guru Vasishtha. This high-spirited soul was the traditional priest of Ikshvaku Dynasty and he will play a pivotal role during the whole epic.
As players emerged gradually, the epic starts to unfold its core and crucial events begin to happen. The first major event is the marriage of Sri Rama. The story describes how he along with brother Lakshmana and Guru Vishvamitra (another advanced soul) went to the kingdom of Videha where King Janaka resides. King Janaka had two beautiful daughters, Sita and Urmila. Beloved Sita was an adopted child and has reached the age of marriage. However King Janaka has setup a contest to win the hand of his daughter, the stringing of a mighty bow of Lord Shiva. This bow was so strong and even difficult to lift that none so far managed to do it.
As the small group from kingdom of Koshala arrived one episode is highly relevant, that of the first encounter of Sri Rama and Sri Sita in a garden. This encounter is full of strong feelings of love at the first sight, as Lord Vishnu met for the first time in this body of Lord Rama his beloved wife in heaven that was goddess Lakshmi (Sri) in the form of Sri Sita. Both of them were highly electrified by the encounter, Sri Rama almost loosing his control of feelings as he was always in control of every action. Sita was also highly touched by the encounter. Her heart started to function as only women can feel intuitively, she had the feelings of recognizing him. After this encounter Sri Rama started to question very seriously about himself of who he was, although he knew intuitively that was something special about him but was never able to figure it out.
The story continues with Sri Rama wining the contest by breaking in two the mighty bow of Shiva and thus marrying Sita. The marriage ceremony followed, Sri Rama's parents came along with the whole entourage of King Dasharatha, Sri Rama's earthly father. There was a beautiful marriage ceremony, a multitude of priests of various kingdoms came to participate and consecrate this marriage. However the high priest Vasishtha was the one who put Sita's hand in the hand of Sri Rama. There was happiness, dance, food, gifts and a joyful time as gods and demigods in heaven were witnessing the event, the heavenly damsels danced and flowers were showered from heaven. These actions of gods were however metaphoric referring practically to a certain astral configuration determining the events on earth.
The marriage of Sita and Sri Rama known as Sita Kalyanam is highly relevant. By this union the Lord has become aware about himself and his mission on earth. Sita Devi, that represents the manifested power of the Lord, known as Prakriti in scriptural terms, was thus able to awaken the Lord, practically with his awakening his mission started in motion. The power of love is thus acknowledged to be fundamental in any major event, even an Avatar like Lord Rama has to be awoken by love. This power of love is known in the Indian tradition as Bhakti, devotion/ love, Dharma itself, as eternal law (Sanatana Dharma) being based on Bhakti. Thus Lord Rama's mission starts to be consciously performed as Lord Vishnu has promised to gods and demigods in heaven.
From this point on the epic develops the allegory, Lord Rama being forced, as the play was enfolding, to live in the forest along with his beloved wife Sita Devi and faithful brother Lakshmana. During many years of forest happy life, Lord Rama managed to free the environment from the wrong doings of many Rakshasas ("bad people") that were killing Sadhus and other sages. However the turning point of the play arrives with the abduction of Sita Devi by Ravana, the demon king of Lanka. This abduction practically sets up the stage of the final battle between forces of good and forces of evil. Military alliances are formed and the setup is that of a war of great proportions. Both sites are using sophisticated weaponry, the all in one ultimate weapon being Brahmastra ("the weapon of Brahma"). Heavy fighting that resembles the modern warfare are described in details, finally Lord Rama is victorious and Ravana, the King of Lanka and most forces of evil are entirely destroyed. With this episode peace has settled and Lord Rama is able to return to Ayodhya, capital of kingdom of Koshala and installed as king by the same great priest Vasishtha.
From this point on the effects of Lord Vishnu's descend on earth as Lord Rama start to materialize. A period of prosperity, happiness and high achievements of the kingdom of Koshala followed, this time is known in the epic as Rama Raja, the Kingship of Lord Rama. Justice was properly administered and Dharma was attentively followed and all people were happy and secure in whatever they were doing in their rightful life.
The significance of Ramayana story
Such a beautiful story narrated in an allegorical fashion is highly appealing. It naturally attracts sympathy, by reading or thinking about the story the feeling of hope is installed in every heart. It purifies the human heart and the belief that there exists a right way of living for human is firmly established. This is supported by the feeling and certitude that the divine does really care about people on earth and can intervene when is necessary to put the good in place by force when any other method has failed to achieve it.
Sri Rama as a man is the ideal to follow. He is restrained and controlled in everything he does, he is a truthful and sincere man who does really care about people under his kingdom. He follows Dharma by abiding to vedic scriptures thus giving humans an example of how life should be spent on earth. Although a king, his life is simple, he does not waste resources and money of frivolities but only on valuable things and actions. Education of his subjects on the path of Dharma is one of Lord Rama's main goals, along with his care to the welfare of people and the administration of a true justice. The platform of Lord Rama as king is indeed very attractive. The question we might ask is that if there is a strict determinism in the whole content of actions as derived from the cosmic cause.
Determinism, Freedom and the human ideal
As above explained, the upper level we go with the causality of events the less deterministic things appear. Thus it can be assumed that only the main player that is Lord Rama himself is free indeed of any causality emanated from cosmic configuration. All other players' roles are deterministic as they follow from the actions of the Lord Himself. But as things appear, the Lord has mercy and finally with the help of virtuous people manages to construct a new basis for the world, a basis of Bhakti, devotion in any form. Lord Rama's example is done in such a way that humanity can follow Bhakti, the Lord uses in all he does only human means and abilities that are accessible to human beings. Thus the Lord Himself is not at all supernatural. He has a body like any other human being, he is subject to all human feelings of joy and suffering and gives a good example that it is possible in a human body to have excellent qualities that makes human life worth living.
In order to exemplify this, Sri Rama passes through various difficulties and tribulations in order to save his wife that was abducted by Ravana, the symbol of dark forces. In so the Lord gives a personal example to humans that they have to follow in the future such a course of actions and defend justice by their means. Thus humans have to take responsibility for keeping the world on the path of Dharma for the future. This is in fact the message Lord Rama leaves before his departure from the earth after completing his mission. The question we might ask is to what time the story of Ramayana applies. Is it a story of the past, present or future?
Past Present and Future
If we take into account the cosmic intervention as causality of events, Ramayana indeed has a potentiality of a triple placement in time. First we have to assume that the cosmic causality had happened before in time thus the divine play of Ramayana did also. For the same reason if the cosmic conditions are met, Ramayana story can even happen in the present time. Yet for the same reason we can assume that Ramayana will continue to be played in the future ad infinitum. The names of personages and places can change but the basic story remains similar as the Lord comes back to reinforce the Hindu Dharma, an action that invariably do happen again and again. This assertion is supported by Hindu scriptures particularly the scriptural story of Kaka Bhushundi, an immortal being that lives under the form of a crow since the beginning of the whole manifestation. Kaka Bhushundi is clearly represented in the well known work "Sri Yoga Vasishtha" where he gives testimony of world events he witnessed over and over again during various epochs. Thus the story and happening of Ramayana was being seen for many times and written by the same soul Valmiki again and again in order to reinforce Dharma.
Hindu Dharma is certainly codified by the vedic scriptures. These scriptures show in clear terms a beautiful and dignified way of living a human life in which Bhakti in any form is held to be the basis of behaviour. India as recipient of the world most ancient culture, has preserved good codes of behaviour and can even be seen today being resistant to so-called "advanced ways of culture and civilisation". From Hindu Dharma's point of view the "advanced ways of culture and civilisation" are no more but way of life in which the human beings are falling more and more aside from the trunk of own origin of existence into a negativity that gradually envelopes everything. Other world religions in a specific popular manner do ascertain the fall of human beings and the punishment that will invariable follow.
Thus Ramayana itself might be called a book of punishment in as far as justice is pursued and a book of love in as far as the divine grace is applied to the rescue of the good and positive experiences of human existence. Although Ramayana is a product of India, its message is universal, and most important this makes India a custodian of Dharma of humanity. It has to be seen on this account that Lord Rama has taken his mission of mercy for the rescue of humanity entirely.
As course of actions and outer manifestations, Lord Rama as a metaphoric personage becomes India itself and his beloved wife Sita Devi becomes the symbol of all women of India. The significance of her abduction is no more but the present condition of women of India. They are abducted in the way they are forced to live, they suffer and are subject to abuse and violence, their condition as custodian of nurturing and education of society is not fulfilled. Lord Rama is thus a symbol of the renaissance of India after a long period of political and social events that produced large destruction and enslaved the free spirit of its population. This is in fact why India longs for Lord Rama and his Rama Raja more than ever in the present time.
India in the Past and Today
There have been numerous debates regarding the decline of Indian culture that subject being more relevant today then ever. Along centuries India flourished and declined like many other cultures of the world. However, there has to be mentioned that some cultures of the world have been completely extinguished, but the Indian culture managed to survive no matter how bad has been damaged. As history ascertains, the cultural destruction of India occurred during and after great violence, invasions and other forms of foreign interventions having the aim to conquer a territory and enslave its population.
For India particularly this happened at the beginning of the second millennium when foreign invasions have produced considerable destruction. Since then India never recovered as one foreign power was replaced by another the last foreign legacy being that of the British Empire. Hundreds of years of oppression and foreign rule have marked considerable the Indian way of life and the whole cultural structure of the population. It will suffice to mention the endemic poverty and wide spread corruption and violence, just to mention a few of the sicknesses of the big giant that India is in terms of population, territory and natural resources. In short India the way is seen by sociologists and the common man, is a big sick giant.
The last colonial legacy that of the British Raj is a paradox in as far as a colonial power that was a monarchy has left behind a secular society that really struggles to find its way to the surface. This legacy is practically left behind from the known British politics of dividing forces that wanted to conquer. India was a good ground for the colonial power to divide the internal forces thus believing that it can continue to be master of the land. But the political configuration was in such a way that India managed to force the conquerors out of the country, but the legacy of division remained. The British administration that was indeed very efficient left behind a population that was not accustomed to the European style of democracy of Greek and Roman origin, but to the royal kind of administration. Small pockets of the royal tradition have survived in the country, but they do not have effective political power that used to be in the past. In short the system of royal rule and administration was practically wiped out and replaced with the experiment of democratic rule of European style. What has all of these to do with Ramayana?
It has to do a lot. This is mainly because Lord Rama was a king and during his reign his kingdom was prosperous and justice was properly administered. That historical time was named Rama Raja ("Kingship of Lord Rama"), an ideal royal leadership that produced happiness and a dignified life for all subjects involved. Ramayana itself describes the idyllic past thus the work is more relevant in the present than ever.
Today the state of affairs of the country in India is very bad indeed. Centuries of foreign rule and occupation have left a legacy of poverty and despair. Large groups in the society are practically neglected, there is a spread of corruption and lawlessness that most of the population has lost hope that the divine exists, let alone that it will ever intervene to establish order and justice. However, the most enduring Indian spirit still exists and hope is not entirely lost.
The last couple of years have witnessed a revival of ideas contained into the epic Ramayana in its entirety. Hindus do look with great nostalgia to the past in order to solve the problems of the present and many organizations have been formed in order to bring the spirit of renewal back into the country. In practical terms has been seen that the Indian renewal cannot be brought by the political forces that are continuously struggling with the imported kind of democratic rule. This kind of politics is clearly proven to be inefficient let alone to be at the forefront of actions. It is the religious establishment that at the present wants to adopt the rules of Dharma that are very well exemplified in the Ramayana itself. Thus Sadhus, Mahatmas, Swamis and other Sannyasins are at the forefront of the Indian renewal.
The Sannyasins not only adopt methods of spiritual nature but also act as benefactors of the poor and neglected ordinary Indian citizens. Donations known as Prasad are done in order to improve the life of people in so creating conditions that new generations will be better educated and better off. The remarkable case is the happenings at Rikhia, district Deoghar in the state of the actual Jharkhand, the former south part of Bihar State. There resides Swami Satyananda Saraswati a Sadhu that has done considerable work in the area in order to improve the life of the people in the surrounding villages. Donations of necessities of life were continuously made in the last couple of years all in the name of Lord Rama (the Ishta Devata of Swami Satyananda), the symbol of prosperity and justice as mentioned above. The tradition is also upheld by performing various vedic rituals particularly Sita Kalyanam, the reenactment of the marriage of Sita to Sri Rama, chanting of the holly Ramayana either the Valmiki version or the devotional Ramayana known as Ramacharitamanasa by the great poet Tulsidas. Other Yajnas, vedic kinds of ceremonies are also performed.
The main ceremony, the marriage reenactment of Sita Kalyanam is according to the Hindu spiritual tradition a way to improve the social values by inviting the spiritual manifestations of the Hindu gods and goddesses, Hinduism overall being based on it. Year after year, thousands and thousands of people do participate at these ceremonies and the results are astonishing. The life of people around the compound at Rikhua has tremendously improved in so becoming an epitome of social change and transformation for the whole of India. It is on these accounts of examples and practical inspiration that the entire Ramayana epic is based. Yet it is on these accounts that entire India is longing for its beloved Lord Rama with hope and determination of renewal. I am confident that a Hindu will conclude this brief presentation of Ramayana with a popular expression today in India that indeed summarizes it all: "Awake Bharat!"
The story of Ramayana is not only a book of virtues and deeds performed by Sri Rama as Avatar of Vishnu, but is also a book of love. Love in various forms as Bhakti, is in fact behind the reason why Lord Vishnu has decided to take birth in a mortal body as Sri Rama and bring back to humanity the experience of true love which at that time seemed to be badly neglected. Humanity was very much engulfed in material life experience, the spiritual site of human life being almost forgotten.
The whole divine play ('lila') of Ramayana epic was orchestrated in heaven. Lord Vishnu has accepted to come to earth in a human form as Lila Avatar ('a divine incarnation in order to perform a divine play') as Sri Rama. The Lord accepted that in the beginning of his play on earth, not to be aware about his divine nature, but his awareness has to come in a natural way under the circumstances encountered. His beloved wife Lakshmi came along as Sita, so the Lord will not miss her, as she was his better half. Sita is thus born in the kingdom of Videha. Her birth was a mystery from the beginning. It was said that she was found in a container in the form of an egg on a furrow, on a day when King Janaka was doing some work in the field. This mysterious birth seems to have deep significance, Sita being thus born by the Mother Earth from an egg that signify any future creation. King Janaka took the 'daughter of the Earth' with him and rose her as his own daughter.
Since childhood Sita received a good education. She liked to sing, thus king Janaka arranged to train her in playing musical instruments. Her voice was sweet, her presence was lovely and enchanting. People around loved her very much. Her musical skills were so proficient that other versions of Ramayana beside Valmiki's, described her as being a Gandharva girl, a heavenly musical virtuoso. Thus her skills and abilities were able to match the best Gandharvas in heaven. But Sita was much more, as Valmiki and later on Tulsidasa in his devotional Ramayana known as Ramacharitamanasa has written.
After many years, the time for Sita's marriage has arrived and king Janaka knowing that something unusual was about his adopted daughter, has decided to marry her only with an unusual man. Thus he setup a contest involving Shiva's bow, a mighty weapon that was seen as impossible to be used by any mortal. King Janaka was convinced that his daughter has divine origin and only a man of similar extraction could marry her.
But, before considering the marriage of Sita to Rama, some issues about Sri Rama has to be taken into consideration. Rama was the elder son of King Dasharatha, his mother being Kaushalya. Rama's birth has also mystery involved, his mother becoming pregnant only after drinking a divine essence (Payasa) that was obtained by King Dasharatha after a successful performance of Putra Kameshti Yajna fire-sacrifice. All Dasharatha's queens became pregnant approximately in the same time period, giving birth to four sons at short interval one of each other. However Kaushalya was Dasharatha's major queen and Rama was born first of all brothers. These issues have also significance. Rama's brothers were, according to the divine plan masterminded in heaven, Vishnu's manifestations or attributes. Thus it was from the very beginning that the four brothers were all united and all love each other very much. However Rama emerged as leader of all brothers, his qualities and way of behaviour were in such a way that all brothers obey naturally to their elder brother Rama. As Ramayana story unfolds, various other forms of Bhakti are practiced and expressed by Sri Rama, the brotherly love was just one of them.
Rama's youth was full of joy and marked by a solid education given by the family high priest Vasishtha. Vasishtha was an important player of the entire game. As one of the seven seers (Sapta Rishis) Vasishtha was a star in the Ursa Major constellation and came along with Lord Vishnu as Sri Rama to participate actively in the entire play. Other gods or demigods came also by taking partial or full incarnations all players being well described by Ramayana story all along. Some gods and demigods stay in heaven and were watching closely the development of the play. Ramayana describes them as being attentive to what was going on. During significant occasions, gods and demigods in heaven were showering flowers, Gandharvas (heavenly minstrels) were singing and Apsaras (heavenly nymphs/ damsels) dancing. Thus it might be considered that one party was taking place on earth and another party in heaven, gods and demigods witnessing Vishnu's play by monitoring his moves, decisions and the entire game with great interest.
However, the play started really in motion when Vishvamitra, a seer a Gayatri Mantra, arrived at Ayodhya in order to ask for Rama and Lakshmana's help. Dasharatha reluctantly agreed, later on it was proved that Rama and Lakshmana have indeed successfully protected Vishvamitra's fire-sacrifice. Then, Vishvamitra, Rama and Lakshmana, they all went to the kingsdom of Koshala where King Janaka was reigning. On their arrival they found out about the contest for Sita's hand and Rama under Vishvamitra's advice decided to compete. The news spread out and Sita heard also about two princes from Ayodhya visiting King Janaka but she has not seen them yet. From this point on the story takes a significant turn with the chance encounter of Sita and Rama in a garden.
Sita was a lover of flowers and nature. While she was walking as usually in her favorite garden she saw a handsome young man collecting flower and perspiring. Sita was very much surprised by the seeing of the young man and could not understand why he was perspiring from such an effort of picking up flowers. On the other hand Sita was mesmerized on the spot my seeing Rama. Her feminine intuition was telling her that is something special about this man. She has the feelings of recognizing Rama: "Oh, this is my darling!" she said to herself. However the reason intervened in Sita's thought and a multitude of questions arose, but certainly she could not explain what was going on.
On his turn Rama was spell bound by seeing Sita. His emotions were so high that he spontaneously started to sweat and Sita has seen him in such a condition. Rama's feelings run high, he has the urge to go and embrace that lovely girl, but reason came along telling him to control himself from such a behaviour, as Sita was not his wife. The two young people were deeply marked by the encounter and Sita has inquired about that young man she saw in the garden. On learning that he was prince Rama from Ayodhya, she was trilled at first by knowing this. But later on Sita became worried about Rama's prowess to be able to lift and string the mighty bow of Shiva, as she saw him perspiring in the garden by simply collecting flowers.
With the first encounter between Sri Rama and Sita the most significant moment of the whole play has arrived. The condition set up in heaven was that both Rama and Sita will be aware about their divine origin gradually. Although Rama was educated by a high priest like Vasishtha, he did not awaken by studying scriptures or listening to holy Satsang, although he has the inexplicable feelings of being something unusual about himself. However, Vasishtha knew about Rama's divine origin but he kept this secret canceled considering that Rama was immature and unable to be awakened by anything but his divine Shakti.
There is a deep significance in this. Rama as embodiment of the pure consciousness that is Lord Vishnu cannot be manifested in nature without the help of Maya, that being his manifestation in the universe. His Maya in the form of Sita on the other hand, does not have awareness but only the power of manifestation as the classical Advaita Vedanta philosophy points out. Thus the process of awakening of the two main protagonists of the play, Sri Rama and Sita, started. From that moment on, a process of gradual awakening occurred, both of them becoming more and more aware about their divine nature.
The divine plan starts to develop quickly. Rama manages to lift, string and break the bow thus he wins Sita's hand. It was a great jubilation both on earth and in heaven, as gods and demigods shower flowers, Gandharnas sing and Apsaras dance. Preparations for the marriage begin, envoys were sent to King Dasharatha to invite him and all his entourage to the great ceremony.
It was the greatest marriage the world could ever seen. This is mainly for the deep significance of the event, as God in the form of Sri Rama descends on earth to set things up right. But the marriage was great also at earthly level, as both Kings Janaka and Dasharatha have done their best to provide everything needed. Although King Janaka was responsible for providing all necessary for to wedding to be performed, the high priest Vasishtha has used the power of his divine cow Surabhi to provide anything else needed for the event.
Many people were present, Brahmanas, sages and priests from other kingdoms came to participate in the event. Various gods and demigods were present, the most relevant being Lord Shiva's presence. Lord Shiva's presence with his retinue was paramount. As scriptures say, Lord Rama was Lord Shiva's Ishta Devata, he was even present when Sri Rama was born. Food, music and dance were in abundance. For a couple of days the joyous atmosphere was penetrating far beyond the area of earthly compound, the whole heaven was in a joyous mood as their Lord Vishnu as Lord Rama marries his beloved. Participants were well dressed as much as everyone could afford, there were gifts to Brahmanas and people around, all in the name of Sri Rama himself. As appropriate to his position as bridegroom, Sri Rama has received various gifts. However for Sita, the beauty of ornaments of gold, grand saris and other feminine articles could not be described. Rama was highly enchanted by the beauty of Sita so nicely dressed and his love for her grew deeper.
The moment of performance of the marriage itself has arrived in the last day. The time for various priests to do their duties was ready. There were many priests from other kingdoms, followers either of Sun or Moon traditions. One by one the priests consecrated the marriage of Sri Rama to Sita in their traditional way, but it was King Janaka who put Sita's hand in Rama's. This handling is highly significant, the moment marks the marriage of consciousness (Cit) to nature (Prakriti). God becomes manifest and nature becomes conscious. It was a high spiritual moment marking the setup in motion of Sri Rama's mission on earth.
However the two protagonists, Sri Rama and Sita were not carried out totally by events. Although they participated fully into all the happenings, the process of merging one in each other has stared. It was music and happiness around but Sita's mind did not loose the attention towards her Lord, as Rama's mind was towards Sita also. Divine love manifested in their every move, Lord Vishnu has found his Shakti after a brief break that was a personal sacrifice indeed.
The marriage ceremony concluded, people went to their homes but Sri Rama and his new Sita Devi stayed for a couple of more days in Janaka's palaces. The divine play of love started to be beautifully manifested between the two lovers. Kaushalya, Rama's mother, has taken the duty of instructing Sita about Rama, what he likes and how he should be treated in order for him to be happy and for Sita to gain the best out of their love. Rama was very happy that Sita has taken such good lessons from his mother and just adored Sita seeing how she behaves and how much she was devoted to him.
It was definitely Madhurya Bhavana, the attitude of manifesting with sweetness of feelings one to each other. King Dasharatha enjoyed very much to see his favorite son being happy and adored by such a beautiful and lovely woman. He was deeply moved by seeing scenes of tenderness and affection of the new couple. Being very old King Dasharatha was contemplating the idea of being born again in the next life as a child of such divine lovers, Rama and Sita.
The lovely couple gradually learned about their divine origin and their purpose on earth. As they became aware of what they were doing on earth, what followed was no more but a play in which they consciously participated. Thus things will develop according to the plan, gods and demigods in heaven monitoring the game and taking delight in seeing the forces of evil gradually annihilated.
After a while, King Dasharatha's entourage returns to Ayodhya and the life continues until the next ingredient of the play arrives. Rama instead of being installed as King in waiting, he is forced on moral reason, to go and live in the forest for 14 years. Being well aware about this development he takes along with him Sita and Lakshmana and goes to live in the forest traveling south of India. However the so called punishment is not quite so, both Rama and Sita find great peace and contentment to live in the forest amid of beautiful rivers, birds, forest animals, grass, trees and flowers that enchant the three people. Lakshmana, Rama's brother, was very careful to provide any facility that makes Rama and Sita happy, he constructs huts and provides food in abundance.
During the forest life, Rama and Sita were happy indeed. They left the city life, the noise and many obligations to settle in such an environment where love could blossom and the earthy life is made a paradise. The epic describes in beautiful words the life of Sita, Rama and Lakshmana in the forests. Many acts of bravery were done against demons infecting the forests. During the forest life Rama, Sita and Lakshmana have the chance to visit many hermits, retired sages that were part of the play itself. Famous high spirits like Agastya, Atri and his devoted wife Anasuya, Bharadvaja, Shabari, Sharabhanga, Sutikshna were visited and many blessings obtained. At this point, the epic has to develop in a more conclusive way and the episode of Sita's abduction has arrived.
Sita's abduction is in fact the allegory of separation of lovers. When love that flourishes is interrupted, disaster struck and great tribulations arrive. The reason for the big confrontation, that of abduction of Sita by Ravana, the King of Lanka is well chosen. Thus interruption of love is seen as a great sin and whoever did it deserves severe punishment. Confrontations occurred and a big war seems to escalate, as Sita was kept safely guarded by women in a grove mountain. As Sita is far away, Rama was able to concentrate on his main work as Avatar, that of destroying forces of evil humanity was almost mastered by. He forms strategic alliances and manifests great bravery. Finally the forces of darkness led by demon king Ravana are being destroyed. Sita is safely recovered and Rama, Sita and Lakshmana go back to Ayodhya where the faithful brother Bharata has acted as proxy on the royal throne on behalf of Rama.
From this point on love takes another twist, Rama's coronation takes place and finally he is installed king by the high priest Vasishtha and Sita becomes his queen. They have obligations in their royal duties, their love takes now more the form of love for humanity. This love is more difficult that any other love, various versions of Ramayana end up with a different story regarding how the story concluded. Some scholars consider Valmiki's Ramayana ending with chapter six containing Rama's return to Ayodhya, his coronation and the teachings he gives to humanity. A so-called trial of Sita's purity occurred in various versions. However, the conclusion of Ramayana story has to come as consistent with the whole writing. Interpolations can occurred usually after such a long span of time since the writing of Valmiki's Ramayana (during the 3rd millennium BC), the base of all Ramayana versions.
There are good reasons to consider this. Gradually, as progress is made in the development of the epic, all Rama's qualities are well explained, his love for justice, his good conduct and behaviour towards people, his exemplary love for his wife, etc. All the good teachings are already explained in the six chapters of Valmiki's Ramayana. The last chapter containing the banishment of Sita to the forest to live in the ashram of Valmiki does not make any sense and does not look at all to be a logical continuation of chapter six. As Valmiki's Ramayana is the oldest version, all other Ramayanas created later on, even they might integrated very well into the new version the disputed last chapter of Valmiki's Ramayana, this integration is really non relevant. This is a statement on logical grounds.
But there is also a spiritual ground that is even more relevant. Why Lord Vishnu as Lord Rama has to banish his beloved Lakshmi Devi as Sita Devi? The goal of vanquishing the forces of evil has been achieved. Reconstruction of moral values of the new humanity had started and Dharma was revitalized. The Lord did not come to teach humanity that God could listen to the nonsense of folk people and fulfill their gossiping by taking the decision to banish to the forest his beloved eternal Shakti. Ramayana is a story of bravery, dignity and moral values of the Hindu Dharma and has nothing to do with an intrigue that is a way of life at the level of village people. It was such an intrigue inserted in the Ramayana story that basically triggers the so-called banishment of Sita by Rama in order to make happy his subjects.
This act cannot be Dharma, but just another trick of the forces of evil that were able to modify the original Ramayana of Valmiki and create confusion for the prophecy to be fulfilled later on. This confusion has created a lot of anguish over many centuries, people trying to find an explanation of Rama's act of banishing Sita on moral grounds of Dharma in various ways. But these kinds of explanations are really nonsense, the so-called banishment of Sita is another trick forces of evil play.
By coming to earth in order to teach Dharma, the Lord has clearly indicated from the core of Ramayana of Valmiki his exemplary love for his eternal wife. The whole episode of banishing Sita to the forest by God Himself does not look to be a valuable teaching at all. Such an end to a beautiful love story will throw humanity in chaos and the whole lesson to humanity done by Lord Rama after such a great effort will be seen as futile. If Rama as God is not able to protect his own wife who else is able to do this then? After all, after such a great war and destruction occurred in order to save his wife, it appears without any consistency that he will decide to depart with his beloved wife because some people in a village do question her chastity according to their village rules. By doing this Rama's status as hero would be considerably diminished and unable to recover no matter what other acts of virtues he might do in the future for his subjects in kingdom of Ayodhya.
Rama's separation from Sita will deny his very quality as God and the embodiment of Bhakti because the consort is inseparable from him. The whole Hindu tradition has a firm foundation in Bhakti and the belief that major gods have the dual inseparable aspect as male and female. Divine love goes beyond the common understanding, there is no way of separation of a divine couple and there is no valuable teaching to follow without a happy end to a love story. This is Sanatana Dharma of the spotless eternal love of Sri Rama and Sita.
The Ramayana story has a multitude of personages positive and negative by nature, Sri Rama being the epitome for the light side and Ravana for the dark side. Ravana as a leading figure of the dark forces, the people known as Rakshasas, cannot be taken as an easy to defeat villain. Not only he is powerful in terms of physical prowess, but also he is versed well in scriptures and is highly intelligent. These qualities of Ravana make him a strong adversary able to match the prowess of Sri Rama himself. During the entire epic, Ravana uses his abilities in order to defeat the light forces, and as the battle goes on for one year and a half, as Ramayana relates, Ravana almost succeeds to defeat Rama and his allies.
The Ravana character is complex and intriguing. He is a refined man, his entourage is made of many learned people, beautiful and chaste women, people of high intellectual capacities, the capital city shines and is full of light and abundance. However, as the epic of Ramayana points out, the kingdom of Rakshasas has a murderous foundation and is continuously kept on feeding itself with murderous acts in order to exist although there is prosperity, gold, wine and party mood everywhere. In other words there is a shinning and polishing picture all over the community but the foundation is rotten.
The successful story of such a community in terms of material gains and the joy of life as explosion of sense gratification, does resemble a lot the present capitalist society that is also a consumer society. However there is a big difference in the fact that Ravana and his entourage is not only engulfed in sense gratification but in the meantime he is also aware about gods and holy scriptures and does a lot of worship of the unseen forces that are the gods. Ravana in fact has gained his powers from these very religious practices, his empowerment coming practically from the Creator, god Brahma Himself. This makes Ravana a mighty adversary, as Ramayana story points out, the gods themselves could not defeat Ravana the case of god Indra as being defeated by Ravana is much relevant.
If such a society was existent on a murderous basis in the city of Lanka, its inhabitants the Rakshasas continue to use similar methods to maintain such a community. Ramayana story points out the violent behaviour of Rakshasas against various Sannyasins in the forests, their arrogance and the habit of stealing women, the stealing of Sita Devi being in fact the reason for the big war that followed between the forces of light and the forces of darkness. But the Rakshasas did employ many other methods in order to sustain and support themselves and all the typical negative acts were widely practiced.
During the whole conflict it can be witnessed the panoply of tactics and maneuvers the dark forces use. There are various attempts to divide the forces of light by spreading lies, creation of false images of positive people being killed (like a image of Rama or an image of Sita being decapitated), and many other tricks. The dark forces play a game of deceiving, trickery and lack of honor and dignity in order to secure a victory by all means over the forces of lightness. To understand better these kinds of tricks it is like somebody spreading lies about the relationships between Hindus and Christians, and a kind of hit list allegedly created by Hindus to kill Christian leaders all over the world was created in order to divide these groups. Such a lie that is against the foundations of Hinduism, can induce hatred even it is known that Lord Jesus is much respected by Hindus and is documented that the Lord lived in India and even left his mortal body in India.
Ravana's forces are full of trickery and they cannot be taken lightly in their tactics, but to be seriously considered on this basis. Thus Rama's forces did not fall pray to these maneuvers and by employing the help of Vibishana, that was a brother of Ravana inclined to good deeds, Rama and his people managed to counteract all the maneuvers of the dark forces in time. Vibishana's help was crucial, it was in fact Rama's wise decision to accept Vibishana as an ally even in the beginning some of the commanders of his forces did not want to accept Vibishana on grounds that he was a Rakshas. Rama's wisdom proved once more that the forces of evil can be converted, the need to destroy these forces is not necessary if there are signs of goodwill and practice of good actions. This of cause might generate the question of what is evil and what is good, not only in Ramayana but in the whole of Indian tradition?
This topic is treated extensively in the Indian thought by the concept of Bhakti, devotion. Bhakti is seen as the capacity to concentrate and hold that concentration with the entire body and mind merged in the object of concentration. Bhakti is thus a quality a human mind can have, the way such a capacity can be used being another topic.
It is on the account of its usage that gives Bhakti a certain direction and people can be called in different ways depending the way this capacity is used. First there is the use on the light site, the positive actions backed by the quality of Bhakti. This positive use is present in the people called Bhaktas, those who use such a capacity in the service of God in any of the forms accepted by Hindu tradition. The Indian tradition has recorded a few of these people whose devotion produced wonders and great transformations in personality happen to people able to practice Bhakti. Love in its purest form is a Bhakti experience, the case of love story of Sri Rama and Sita is much relevant.
The other direction capacity of Bhakti can be used is towards the forces of darkness, that is precisely the way Ravana from Ramayana did. Ravana was in fact presented in the story as a great Bhakta of god Brahma and god Shiva, from such devotional practices he managed to acquire great powers and extraordinary abilities that were very well used during the great war that will follow after his Bhakti practices. Ravana can be named 'The Fallen Angel' a parallel in the Judeo-Christian tradition would be Satan.
As the Ramayana story concludes the dark forces are defeated, Ravana is killed and the remnants of his people will be put under the leadership of Vibishana. Thus the process of conversion towards the light site of Bhakti starts, as Vibishana is the exponent of the Rakshasas people turned to the goodness, honesty and the practice of good deeds. The Bhakti principle is applied once again and humanity takes another lesson from Lord Vishnu, the Divine that descended on earth as Lord Rama in order to reinforce the eternal Dharma that inevitably has to eradicate the forces of evil resistant to the change.
Ramayana story is an allegory of a divine plan in order to eradicate evil and revive Dharma subject to cosmic Karma, the eternal law that even the heaven obeys. Thus, some facts and descriptions in the Ramayana story cannot be taken ad literam. There are reasons to believe that many of the happenings from the time of Rama's departure in the company of his brother Laksmana to assist sage Vishvamitra, are typical allegories. It seems that the reason for this is to create a smooth transition from Rama as a young prince to Rama as exponent of justice. The whole episode of the protection of Yagya of sage Vishvamitra by Rama and Lakshmana seems to be just an allegoric introduction to the events that will follow in the kingdom of Videha where King Janaka resided.
After all, Rama and his brother Lakshmana were two young boys not having real experience in the warfare, their father King Dasharatha being very much concerned from the beginning by Vishvamitra's request to take Rama and Lakshmana to protect his fire sacrifice against ferocious Rakshasas living in that forest. The reader is thus introduced to the idea that this display of bravery of Rama and Lakshmana is a tiny beginning of what was to happen later on.
With the arrival of the small group of sage Vishvamitra, Rama and Lakshmana at King Janaka's royal court, the divine play ('lila') performs the preliminaries before a full manifestation of the Avatar Rama will start to manifest in what will follow. Their arrival will trigger a gamut of actions, all in order to create the transition in an attractive and logic way for a reader to comprehend how things developed to a participation of millions of people.
After Rama's encounter with Sita in the garden and their beginning of the awakening process as divine incarnations, the second major event is the breaking of Shiva's bow. This bravery was King Janaka's condition for Sita's marriage to a powerful man who was able to do it. This mighty bow was described as being very heavy and very difficult to string. The allegoric story did add already a bit of spice related to this mighty bow by describing Sita as a child lifting without much effort the same bow that was not able to be lifted by strong and capable men ever.
The story of Shiva's bow is a typical allegory. It shows that the stringing of the bow is clearly not a matter of physical force but of ability. Even being young and just recently started to be aware about his divine origin by the encounter with Sita in the garden, Rama's ability is not contested, but Sita's ability could indeed be contested. The story describes how Sita was able to lift the bow while she was playing with her doll when she was a little girl. Seeing this, King Janaka has decided to marry her only to the man who is able to lift and string the bow, Sita's symbolic action showing in allegoric form that she was instrumental to the events that will follow. Thus we are left with the supposition that the story of lifting, stringing and breaking Shiva's bow is an allegory showing that Rama at this point in time is able to match Shiva's potency. The story continues with the most important development that being the marriage of Rama to Sita.
Sita Kalyanam, the marriage of Sita, was described as the greatest marriage the world can ever see. This was not because the grandeur (although grandeur was present as much as Kings Janaka and Dasharatha could afford), but because of the Dharma implication of the marriage itself. The spiritual significance was that God as Rama has married Maya, his manifestation as Sita. In so God becomes manifest in the material world and from this point on, divine manifestation becomes very real and divine intervention in the affairs of the world is a factual event.
The great marriage of Rama to Sita was followed by the episode of the important encounter of Rama with Parasurama. Thus, Lord Rama, the new Avatar has obtained along with the transfer of energy, the mandate of the new mission on earth represented in an allegoric form as the mighty bow of Vishnu that was later on used as the main weapon during the entire warfare events. Thus one Avatar was able to transfer affairs of the world to the next Avatar that was Lord Rama. After that episode, Rama went back to Ayodhya with his beloved new Sita Devi and the whole entourage of King Dasharatha.
Rama's mission was already setup in motion by his encounter with Parasurama and the story describes how Rama has to be banished to the forest by the intrigue of a certain hunchback woman named Manthara. In fact as the divine play ('lila') was mastered in heaven, Manthara was a heavenly nymph (Apsara) assigned to play the role of intrigue in order to give mission a full start. Rama was thus forced on moral grounds to go to live in the forest. His faithful wife Sita decided to accompany him along with his devoted brother Lakshmana. Thus Rama goes to the forest where he has the chance to continue his crusade against the forces of evil, in so eliminating many demons and evil spirits that infected those forests. Many sages and saints living in those forests were grateful to Rama's actions, in many occasions they were waiting for him knowing already by their yoghic powers about his coming to do justice.
It was a time when gods were walking of earth to participate in the entire play setup in heaven and led by Lord Vishnu himself incarnated as Lord Rama. Many souls have come to assist Lord Rama in order to perform this 'Lila', various gods being involved either by direct participation or just by monitoring the entire development of events. Lord Indra, who was in charge with affairs of war, was also present in a couple of occasions in the story, once having the chance to meet Rama, but refused by saying that he will see Rama only after his mission was fulfilled.
The warfare story takes a swing with the episode of Shurpanakha, Ravana's sister. Ravana, as the powerful king of kingdom of Lanka, was in fact behind all atrocities against sages in the forests. His armies of Rakshasas played havoc killing at ease the peaceful people in the forests, none of these sages being able to oppose effectively to the powerful Rakshasas, the demons. Some sages managed to acquire a truce between themselves and Rakshasas by using various yoghic powers, the case of sage Atri is most relevant. But the vast majority of saints living in the forest were at the discretion of demons. Sometimes the Rakshasas were described as eating those saints and stealing their daughters to be taken to Lanka.
Acts of hypocrisy, stealing, lying, killing, were actions typical for Rakshasas. A Rakshasas kind of behaviour was used by Shurpanakha, Ravana's sister who no more or less wanted to become Rama's wife on the spot. Rama having a good sense of humor was amused by this approach and played a game together with his brother Laksmana. Things started to deteriorated when Shurpanakha wanted to get rid of Sita that was seen the main obstacle to achieve her wish to have Rama as her husband. By seen this, both brothers became upset and in the very tradition of Kshatriya warriors, Lakshmana disfigured Shurpanakha at once by cutting her ears and nose. Being the sister of powerful Ravana, the actions unfold with great speed and the setup of war comes into picture.
Ravana, Shurpanakha's brother heard about these events and became angry. Military maneuvers and actions have started. Rama and Lakshmana confronted a couple of armies, managing to defeat them. But things needed a stronger reason for the escalation of war and this reason came with the abduction of Sita by Ravana. Such a reason is powerful indeed. It has been used along centuries as a typical motive for two men to fight for a woman. With the abduction of the beloved wife of Rama things have escalated and the spectrum of a big war came clear at the horizon.
It is at this point when Rama's warfare abilities of grand scale come into attention. Rama showed extraordinary intelligence and strategic skills. He manages to form strategic alliances and promise rewards for all those who will help him during the tension that gradually builds up. The main players, Sugriva, Hanuman, Vibishana arrive on the scene and the entire play enfolds with great speed, the issue of weaponry and their effectiveness becoming crucial.
Rama's army manages to cross the water by building a floating bridge in order to reach Lanka. His army is made mainly of Vanaras, monkeys having extraordinary fighting abilities that have proved to be very effective in fighting the Rakshasas and their allies. However, as the story narrates, the big events seem to be at personal level of encounters, the main fighters and their bravery being largely described. There are big players, Rama, Lakshmana, Hanuman, Ravana, Kumbhakarna, Indrajit, being the top of the list. Ravana gradually sends to the battle the most powerful people he has under his command before himself will be engaged in the final fight with Rama.
However, all encounters between these powerful fighters are very relevant, as sophisticated weaponry was used. The arsenal is not much described, but the epic gives a lot of attention to what those weapons can do. The main attention it is on Rama's main weapon, the Vishnu's bow. This bow seems to be not an ordinary weapon at all for the fact that not only the bow is able to send arrows, but those arrows are themselves not ordinary arrows being able to spread fire, produce destructive sounds, follow the enemy until is killed, etc.
Taking a close scrutiny, it seems that the weaponry employs sophisticated technology as relevant to that epoch that was Treta Yuga. The fight with Indrajit, Ravana's son is most relevant. Indrajit was able to become invisible and send powerful shots, Rama's army being unable to locate those sources. This reminds us of something of quantum physics phenomena. Similarly Hanuman is somehow caught not by any rope but by something that makes him unable to maintain own will, thus reminding us once more of a modern explanation like a temporal paralysis of will functions. There are also manifestations of what could be called today holographic projections when images of Sita and Rama were shown to Rama's army as being decapitated, but were in fact illusions in order to demoralize his army.
Such descriptions of warfare would be quite strange if were to be presented in front of a group of military commanders one century ago, but not today. This denote that the military technology of the time of Ramayana, was at least at the level of the present time, all the military skills presented could have an explanation for the current level of science. This of cause, gives us some clues of what was really effective in war at that time and how the technology was practically used in warfare, Rama's bow being no more but an allegory of what sophisticated weaponry can do.
As Ramayana story describes, Rama himself was engaged in the fighting, a bravery not usually taken by high commanders, the last relevant high commander during world wars events is seen to be Alexander the Great. In the Western literature the most relevant kinds of personal bravery are largely described in the Greek epic Iliad. This epic has much resemblance to the Ramayana itself, the motive of war being also the abduction of a woman. Other events have a high degree of similarities, the war campaign, the existence of brave fighters on both sites, the victory of forces of goodness, the participation of gods during the whole events. Thus it is not excluded the possibility that the real events that happened during the time of Ramayana were later on described in two independent ways by Valmiki in Ramayana and Homer in Iliad. Thus a superimposition of these descriptions could be considered in order to really understand what happen at that time in the history of humanity.
After Rama's victory his coronation occurred and he become King Rama. Prosperity followed, humanity enjoyed a time when heaven was considered descending on earth, the time known as Rama Raja. The devastation of wars were gradually healed, it was no need for any other conflict as King Rama was very tolerant with his subjects and dependent kings. Religion was seen mostly as good deeds and less as exclusive revelation from the divine given to a certain form of religion. Other creeds and religious practices enjoyed freedom during King Rama's reign and were able to practice their religious rites in any place. The chanting of holy scriptures of any religion were allowed to be performed in any other temple or church as God was seen not to be bound by sectarian rules and behaviour but His presence was everywhere.
The wonderful story of Ramayana, one of the national epics of India along with Mahabharata, is not a simple story to enchant the mind for an evening or a day. Ramayana has deep implications inside the Indian spirit. The narration made in an allegoric fashion represents the very soul of India and its struggle to find itself and the roots India is based on. Naturally we might ask what are the very roots of India?
To this question the answer according the Hindu scriptures is very straight. The very roots of India are the gods themselves. India is the repository of Sanatana Dharma, the eternal law of virtue and as such there are commitments, observations and injunctions not only at the national level, but also at the level of humanity. Hinduism, as scriptural and practical infrastructure is a religion and way of life that is not the product of a single mind. Although God can talk to a single mind and give inspiration to write divine messages, Hinduism evolved during thousand of years and is still in evolution. God speaks all the time, in all epochs and to all people. Whatever contemporary religions held the belief that they have the last words of God are in a big error. To find a realistic answer to the question "When God spoke to us?" is to ask the question "Why God has to give a final answer to any of the religious creeds and beliefs?" It is simply a commonsense question and the answer has to be a commonsense answer.
But there are more commonsense questions. Why God would tell to some religious groups or people his last words? Is He going to die? Is the world going to disappear? If so there is no need for any last words or revelations. The truth is that the more some religious groups believe that they has the last words of God, the more the gap between them and God is wider. This gap is seen in a practical way as violence, crimes and lawlessness in short anything that is opposed to God, the demonic behaviour, mentality and actions. The story of Ramayana is very much related to the facts described above.
It is precisely for this reason that Lord Vishnu has decided to take birth as Lord Rama and rid the world of the ideas that led people in big errors. There are thus millions and millions of people who live in error. They chant or do the prescribed religious ritual and after this they commit again crimes and wrong doings. To all these people there are some questions worth to ask: "Are you a better person because of your religious practices and beliefs?" "Why are you ready to kill in the name of God?" "If you are ready to kill in the name of God because of the books you believe in, why God needs your help to kill?" "If your books of inspiration gives you freedom to kill, are they inspired and written by God or by other killers?"
These questions nevertheless will create some deep inquiries inside honest minds. In other minds the questions will be not relevant as these minds are already setup on the ideas emanated from their books and there is no way to use reason or commonsense in such a bad condition somebody's mind can be. These reasonable and simple facts have in fact to be analyzed and investigated very deep by anyone who has religious inclinations and do religious practices. All other people are of cause busy with the illusion of their lives and the questions do not even make any sense to them. What this has to do with Lord Rama himself?
The Lord as Ramayana story points out, did come on earth in order to reestablish Dharma and to create an environment that humans will find satisfaction and happiness the way they are created by God. This applies nevertheless to all that is available to human beings, health, joy, love, the awareness of personal existence and many other experiences compatible with humans. The Lord exposed Himself to hardship and tribulations in order to give a lesson. He wants to say to people in simple and straightforward way that it is not necessary to despair and loose hope of a dignified life in this very human body. This lesson is paramount, Lord Rama as God having himself a human body.
This is Bhakti, and is precisely the foundation of Hinduism as a religion. This religion is destined to endure persecution and tribulations for its Bhakti foundation. Even more, genocide and great suffering has happened as history gives testimony of that. Other religions may take justice in own hands, but Hinduism is very reluctant to pay violence with violence for the fundamental idea that God will finally do justice. This nevertheless along many centuries of suffering and violence, has left Hinduism badly wounded, the creed itself shrinking from one mighty religion that was thousands of years ago to a creed that is kept merely by beggars and other people who do not have much influence in society. The intellectuals of India are nowadays busy with politics emanated from the foreign Western style of life, accumulations and glory, in so forgetting who they are in fact, the custodians of virtues of humanity, keepers of Sanatana Dharma.
It is precisely the Indian politics that has created condition for corruption, injustice and all the sickness of the Indian society. The foreign style of politics infused by former colonial power, the British Empire has left a legacy that erodes the country at the very foundation of it, the Bhakti base. This is not because it would be wrong to employ science and technology in the use of society, but because the Bhakti foundation is neglected. Thus, as long as Bhakti is neglected according to Dharma, society cannot progress and India is thus destined to become like any other western country where greed, competition and fight for survival is the way this kind of society is based on. On these accounts the spiritual India longs for its beloved King Rama, the embodiment of truth and justice, prosperity, performance of duties and ritual obligations (Yajnas) and fulfillment of Dharma, the very existence of the Indian spirit and according to scriptures the very purpose Indians do exist on earth itself.
India is longing for King Rama, to this issue has to be given a serious consideration. Royalty has been from ancient times the way Hindu society existed and flourished. This glory is firmly attested in epics and the whole Indian ancient history is full of deeds of royalty and its subjects. Glorious kings and queens have ruled the territory according more or less to the Dharma way of life. Thus when Dharma was prevalent prosperity arrived, when Dharma declined suffering and tribulations were experienced. But, what is happening today with royalty in India?
Except a few Maharajas left as merely ordinary Indian citizens, the tradition of Indian royalty is almost destroyed. The few Maharajas left are according to the present law, private citizens without having any glory and power that made India great in the past. This is incontestable the biggest revenge against India of the former British colonial power that was itself a monarchy and still goes strong and healthy on royal basis. In other words, the former colony India still suffers the punishment for its freedom of self-determination.
The kingship of Lord Rama becomes thus a longing that is entranced very deep into the Indian soul and mind. Thus it has to be assumed that the remnants of royalty existent in India at the present time are the only hope that India has at hand in order to recover and enter again in contact with its very roots of foundation. What is thus left of royalty in India? A few royal houses that struggle to ascertain own dignity and show people what was great in the past about royalty, but without much success. The politics is too powerful as a tool of maneuvers, glory and money for people to pay respect or listen to any present royalty of India. The case of Maharaja of Jagannath Puri is most relevant.
The great Maharaja of Jagannath Puri has a special mandate for the fact that he is the royalty of a place of such spiritual emanation that is the city and temple of Puri in Orissa State. Lord Jagannath, the presiding deity of the place is according to holly scriptures, Purushottama of the Veda and as such is Lord Vishnu. Maharaja of Jagannath Puri has the mandate to reconstruct the royalty of India by being able to install a king on scriptural basis. It has not to be a unique king to rule over the entire India, but gradually to consecrate local kings as used to be in the past. Naturally the state of India will be preserved and ultimately an all India king be recognized.
Thus the possibility of reconstruction of Indian royalty still exists and the longing of Indians for their beloved King Rama is at hand. However, as the epics points out, things have to be settled only when the whole area of India is cleared of demons, Rakshasas and other malefic creatures in order to make the life safe and worth living. Only than, Rama Raja can come and the prophecy fulfilled. I am confident that a devout Hindu will agree to conclude this brief article with the popular expression: "Raghuramachandra Maharajaki Jai!"
To conclude a story like Ramayana is not only to give a brief of the content of the present work but also to integrate Ramayana into even a larger frame and try to explain it from a scientific point of view. A larger frame of integration of this story has to be within the Hindu philosophy framework itself, particularly the Advaita Vedanta philosophy that is focused primarily on the relationship between consciousness and matter. It is on this account that Ramayana as divine play ('lila') falls into the category of Advaita Vedanta way of thinking. Thus according to Advaita Vedanta, nothing really exists but consciousness and whatever seems to be created is just Maya, the illusory play that is unreal and without any consistency. Following such a vision of existence we might nevertheless ask who is real and what is the extent of the whole lack of reality, illusion as Maya as is pertinent to Ramayana story?
Players like Rama, Sita, Dasharatha, Vasishtha and all the others, they do not exist as far as the material body is concerned but do exist at the conscious level as far as their individual consciousness is manifested. Advaita Vedanta philosophy points out in clear terms that the level of existence of anything is given by the level of consciousness. Thus Rama and Sita as embodiments of the divine itself have the most advanced level of consciousness although their bodies are as perishable as of any other human being. As the story tells, the two major incarnations of divinity gradually become awaken and able to understand their material condition, material bodies as shells constructed over the only reality that is the consciousness. All other players are subject to merit and evolution according to the role they play, the only exceptions are Rama's brothers who are embodiments of Vishnu's manifestations and as such are always dependent on Rama that is Lord Vishnu himself. The whole scenario unfolds as the conditions of the cosmic Karma are ripe and things have to happen in a certain way.
The cosmic Karma is of utmost importance. Once the cosmic radiation has produced the necessary changes at the level of consciousness of humanity things start to manifest and actions evolve as such. Many questions arise. How are players selected? How do they become aware that they have a certain role to play? What is the degree of freewill and of determination? How various groups or communities manifest in such circumstances?
First of all the cosmic influence occur at the level of the entire humanity and does not target any particular group. By group is understood not a certain community of people linked to a specific geographical area but any individual who shares the same values at spiritual level. As such, although we might say that Hindus live mainly in India, but people who share similar interests from another part of the world belong to the Hindu group. Thus the cosmic emission once manifested, affects all the people on earth with the same intensity, but any particular group reacts in a specific way according to own degree of maturity as far as the divine revelation is concerned. Certainly a story like Ramayana can be accomplished only by a community that is the custodian of the virtues of humanity at that time. Thus when the cosmic emission arrives, the necessary conditions for the fulfillment of such a story begin to materialize primarily in the area where that community form a majority and on other individuals of similar affinity that are dispersed all over the world. That community creates also conditions for the specific players to arrive. A man like Valmiki is born, other saints and sages incarnate in that environment in order to fulfill the cosmic Karma and as such to reinforce Dharma. As Ramayana tells, players awaken each other, they gather one by one and construct the circumstances for the divine play to start. High spiritual people descend from heaven in mortal bodies, gradually they become aware about what they are suppose to do and the play starts in full swing.
Although there is a high determinism entrenched within the whole drama, there is free will as well. In so, all souls involved can acquire merit or can even be downgraded as far as their next incarnation is concerned. All souls descended except Rama, his brothers and Sita are subject to spiritual evolution if they play well or involution if not. Thus such a play is a serious game having deep consequences both on earth and the parallel world, the world of heaven.
Today's science is very much concerned with the issue of parallel worlds triggered at the beginning of the 20th century by the advent of quantum physics. The evolution of the concept of quantum physics has deepened science into a crisis of identity especially in the last 20 years. The issues are of utmost importance as the very existence of the material world that was firmly entranced as being real before the emergence of quantum physics, is at stake. Experiments in quantum physics point out without doubt that the world at atomic and subatomic level are non existent as far as having an independent reality but are dependent on the observer. In other words the consciousness of the observer is the main cause to produce a reality that is detectable with our senses. As the universe is made of atoms, the inescapable conclusion is that the universe is not real. Thus the material universe exists only as far as its inhabitants create it out of their consciousness. These findings create enormous implications, the Ramayana story itself can be seen from such a perspective.
The entire game of Ramayana is a divine play (lila) triggered by causes at cosmic level. But these cosmic causes have to create a reality on earthly ground and as such influence the consciousness of people to create conditions and run the whole play. As only consciousness is able to create, the creation that follows is dependable on various minds to produce the necessary reality of the entire game. Thus some powerful minds are necessary in the beginning in order to start, these minds being able to create future players and the entire material configuration necessary. Once the conditions are properly done, the divine is determined to intervene and as the story tells in own words "the divine gives a boon" that is a blessing in a form that the Tapasvin ('one who performed austerities') asks for. These kinds of blessings are of a great variety as the Hindu spiritual literature is full of such stories, but the biggest blessing is when the divine is determined to come as incarnation that was the case of Lord Rama as 'lila Avatar'.
I hope that the present work has given to the reader the idea of integration under one identity that unifies such concepts as Ramayana story, Advaita Vedanta and quantum physics.
Article taken from http://www.punditravi.com/dating_of_the_ramay.htm