|Date: 30 March 2004||Occasion: Sri Rama Navami||Place: Prasanthi Nilayam|
Sweeter than sugar, tastier than curd,
sweeter indeed than honey is the Name of Rama.
Constant repetition of this sweet Name
gives one the taste of divine nectar itself.
Therefore, contemplate on the Name of Rama incessantly.
The Vedas are the quintessence of profound, immeasurable and infinite wisdom. In the Treta Yuga (era), the four Vedas assumed physical form and incarnated as Rama, Lakshmana, Bharata and Satrughna. While Rig Veda assumed the form of Rama, Yajur Veda, Sama Veda, and Atharvana Veda manifested in the forms of Lakshmana, Bharata, and Satrughna, respectively.
Divine Power of Mantras
Rama symbolized Rig Veda.
He was Mantraswarupa
(embodiment of mantras).
Lakshmana was Mantradrasta
(one who contemplated on the mantras) and he put the teachings of Rama
into practice. He followed Rama faithfully. He considered Rama Nama (repeating Rama's
name) as the taraka
(liberating) mantra. He, in fact, considered Rama everything --mother,
father, Guru and God.
Bharata was the embodiment of Sama
Veda and chanted Rama Nama
incessantly with bhava, raga, and tala (feeling, melody, and
rhythm). While Bharata was engaged in nirguna worship (worship of
formless God), Lakshmana rejoiced in saguna worship (worship of God
manifested itself as Satrughna, who followed his three elder brothers
and conquered not only the secular world but achieved victory over the
kingdom of senses also.
The Vedas thus incarnated in the Treta Yuga (era) to impart a most precious message to mankind. The two great sages Vasishtha and Viswamitra declared to the world that the four Vedas had taken birth in human form as Rama, Lakshmana, Bharata, and Satrughna. As a consequence of great merit earned by Dasaratha, the four Vedas incarnated as his sons. If anyone asked Sage Viswamitra any questions about the Vedas, he replied, "All the four Vedas have incarnated as the four sons of Dasaratha to set an ideal to the world." Hence the Vedas are not formless; they have a form.
The mantras contained in the Vedas
are of immense significance. When Sage Viswamitra realized that the rakshasas (demons) wanted to
stop the chanting of Vedic
mantras and destroy righteousness and truth on earth, he sought the
help of Rama and Lakshmana, who symbolized the divine forces that
descended on earth to destroy the demonic forces and establish peace in
the world. With the power of mantras taught to them by Sage Viswamitra,
Rama and Lakshmana annihilated the Rakshasas. This incident signifies
the fact that with the power of Vedic
mantras man can destroy his demonic qualities. By engaging themselves
in the chanting of the mantras, the people of Treta Yuga annihilated their
Symbolising the divine powers of the Vedas, Rama, Lakshmana,
Bharata, and Satrughna destroyed demonic forces and fostered divine
forces in the world. The four brothers thus established the supremacy
of the Vedas as
manifestation of the aspect of God with form.
Each mantra has a form. It has also its own inner significance. When chanting is done with contemplation on form, it leads one to the path of self-realisation. The Vedic seers declared, "Vedahametam Purusham Mahantam Aditya Varnam Tamasah Parastat (I have seen the Divine Being who shines with the splendour of a billion suns beyond the realm of darkness)." The seers and sages transcended the darkness of ignorance and visualized the effulgence of the Divine. They chanted the mantras, contemplated on the form of the Divine, performed yajnas (sacrifices and rituals) and attained peace and bliss. They made use of mantra, tantra, and yantra in the performance of yajnas, which ensured peace and prosperity of the people in Treta Yuga. With the help of the mantras, they quelled the rakshasas (demons) and established the reign of gods.
Namasmarana for Man's Liberation
But the people of the Kali
Yuga (the present age) have forgotten these mantras with the
result that Kali Yuga has
verily become Kalaha Yuga
(the Age of discord and conflict). Even brothers quarrel with each
other. They live and eat together in the same family, yet there is
hatred and conflict between them.
Different means for man's liberation have been prescribed for each of the four Yugas. While meditation is prescribed as the primary means of liberation in the Krita Yuga, performance of yajnas and chanting of mantras forms the means of liberation in the Treta Yuga. Similarly, archana (worship of God) is the chief means of liberation in Dwapara Yuga. But it is namasmarana (repetition of the name of the Lord) that is the main means of man's liberation in Kali Yuga. Since the people of Kali Yuga do not have the strength and capability to carry out rigorous sadhana (spiritual practices), they have been advised to do namasmarana.
Harernama Harernamaiva Kevalam;
Kalau Nastyeva Nastyeva Nastyeva Gatiranyatha.
In Kali Yuga, there is no other means
than the chanting of Divine Name for man's liberation.
The Ramayana is not an ordinary story. It contains the direct
message of the Vedas.
Rama symbolizes the wisdom of the Vedas.
Rama married Sita, who represents Brahma
Jnana (knowledge of Brahman). When Sita is taken away by demonic
forces, Rama and Lakshmana search for her desperately.
The Ramayana contains thousands of slokas (verses). Since it was
not possible to remember all the slokas
of the Ramayana, the sages recommended the chanting of the Name of
Rama. When the disciples of Vasishtha asked him what Divine Name to
chant, the sage said, "It is enough if you chant the name 'Rama'. The
Name of Rama will make you free from raga (attachment) and roga (disease)."
As I often tell the students, the name Rama has two syllables, Ra and ma. These two powerful
syllables are derived from the names of Vishnu and Siva. The syllable ,
Ra comes from the ashtakshari (eight syllabled)
mantra Om Namo Narayanaya.
It is the life-breath of the ashtakshari
mantra. Similarly, ma is
the very soul of the panchakshari
(five lettered) mantra Om Namah
The ashtakshari mantra Om Namo Narayanaya and the panchakshari mantra Om Namah Sivaya become meaningless when ra and ma are respectively removed from the words of these mantras. Without ra, the ashtakshari mantra becomes Om Namo Nayanaya, which is meaningless. In the same way, the panchakshari mantra without ma becomes Om Nah Sivaya, which is inauspicious.The Name Rama is the life-breath of both the Vaisanavites and Saivites (worshippers of Vishnu and Siva).
In the Treta Yuga,
when the sages and seers were engaged in the chanting of the Divine
Name of Rama, Ravana, Kumbhakarna, and other demons tried to put
hurdles in their way. They thought that if they abducted Sita, who
symbolized Brahma Jnana
(knowledge of Brahma), Rama would lose His power. The Name would lose
its potency without Jnana,
just like sugarcane loses its sweetness without Rasa. Hanuman resolved to bring
this rasa back to Rama
and rejoiced in drinking Ramarasa
(ambrosia of Rama's Name).
The people of the Treta and Dwapara Yugas considered the Name Rama to be the essence of all sweetness and enjoyed its nectarine taste. Instead of tasting the delicious spiritual sweetness of the Name of Rama, people today devour worldly sweets and expose themselves to the risk of becoming diabetic patients. Worldly sweets cause diseases, whereas the delicious sweet of Rama Nama rids one of all diseases. In ancient India, even the cowherds and shepherds chanted the Divine Name while tending their cattle and sheep. There were not many diseases in ancient times. Rama, Lakshmana, Bharata, and Satrughna propogated the glorious power of Vedic mantras to free the world from diseases and suffering.
Never Neglect the Teachings of the Vedas
Mandodari, the queen of Ravana, strived hard to save her husband
Ravana. She gave wise counsel to him, but Ravana paid no heed to her.
When a husband takes to evil ways, a virtuous wife acts as his wise
minister to put him on the right path. Mandodari was one such wife.
Bharya (wife) is not
the one who provides worldly pleasures to her husband; she is the one
who does good to him by leading him to the path of wisdom and
righteousness. Mandodari was a true sati (wife), who tried to mend
the ways of her pati
Sita also tendered wise counsel to Rama and advised Him not to destroy all the demons. She suggested that only those who committed the evil deeds should be punished. Justice does not lie in destroying the entire clan. Women are great because they show the right path to man. They are, in fact, the light of wisdom in the world. They, therefore, deserve protection and reverence. Sita symbolizes jnana tattwa (principle of wisdom). Sita told Rama that goodness was universal, regardless of caste, creed and community. It is because of women like Sita that men have made progress in life.
There are numerous species in this world. Every one of them has a definite purpose to fulfill in God's creation. Some of them may appear more beautiful than others. One cannot say whether a cow is more beautiful or a bull. But virtues are more important than physical beauty. Observing the good and bad in the world, the students should develop discrimination to choose the former. They should strive hard to cultivate virtues. Right from an early age, they should inculcate good qualities and develop good character. Wherever you go, character is of utmost importance. When the students develop good character, the entire country will become good and great. It is virtues that lend greatness to any person. Rama shines in the Ramayana because of His sterling virtues. Virtues are more important than bookish learning.
In spite of his education and
man does not give up his mean-mindedness and evil qualities.
He has no knowledge of the Self.
Modern education leads to argumentation,
not to total wisdom.
Students -- Boys and Girls!
You should try to attain total wisdom. You should make right use of
eyes, ears, and tongue, which God has gifted to you. Whoever is able to
control these three will achieve greatness. One should therefore
cultivate right vision, right hearing, and right speech. Always speak
sweetly and softly. One who cultivates these three virtues will verily
become divine. This is the primary objective and fundamental basis of
all your education. Those bereft of these virtues are virtually demons.
This is the essence and the message of the Ramayana. The four Vedas and other scriptures
exhort man to follow these principles.
Dear students! Never neglect the teachings of the Vedas. They are for the emancipation and redemption of mankind. Put them into practice in your life.
(Bhagavan concluded His Divine Discourse with the bhajan, "Rama Rama Rama Sita".)