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Spiritual Import of Religious Festivals :Ch-3. Part - 17.

Chapter-3. Rama – The Apotheosis of Human Perfection ( Sri Ramanavami )


Part-17.


Terror was Rama, thunderbolt was Rama – says Valmiki.

But butter was Rama, a rose petal was Rama, all compassion was Rama – says the same Sage Valmiki.

In anger, Rama was fierce like fire – fire comparable only with the fire during the dissolution of the cosmos, and at the same time nobody could be so compassionate, goodhearted and simple as Rama himself was.

This is the dramatic contradiction of personality which Valmiki introduces into his epic, to bring out the greatness of the divine personality.




What are the characteristics of great men?

They are harder than a diamond but softer than a lotus petal.

The great Masters are harder than a diamond and, therefore, you cannot do anything to them and they will never budge from their principles.

You cannot shake them by your powerful logic and argumentation.

This is only one side of these great Masters.

The other side is that no person can be so good, mercifu…

Spiritual Import of Religious Festivals :Ch-3. Part - 16.

Chapter-3. Rama – The Apotheosis of Human Perfection ( Sri Ramanavami )


Part-16.


The bigger we are in the world, the worse we are from the point of view of spiritual strength and knowledge, because this self-importance, self-assertion, Ahamkara, personality-consciousness, body-consciousness, social-consciousness and status-consciousness – all these put together act as psychological barriers which shut off the forces of the cosmos from entering into us.

These forces of the cosmos are not absent.

They are just here, and the moment we think in terms of them, they enter into us.



When we think in terms of our own personality, they run away from us.

So contemplation on the Masters and Incarnations and the recognition of the forces of divinities which manifest as incarnations and sages are the ways in which a Sadhaka should observe Ramanavami, the day of God's incarnation or a celebration of a birthday of a superhuman Master.

Our birthright is to imbibe the grace of the Masters, to assu…

Spiritual Import of Religious Festivals :Ch-3. Part - 15.

Chapter-3. Rama – The Apotheosis of Human Perfection ( Sri Ramanavami )


Part-15.



You keep yourself open to the powers that are and allow them to enter into you, while up to this time you were preventing them from entering into you.

What are we doing now?

It is something like building a house with four walls, without any ventilation, and sitting inside in pitch darkness while the sun is shining outside in all its might and glory.

The sun has come up wanting to enlighten the whole world with its lustre and force.

But we live in a dungeon, covering ourselves with a blanket and closing our eyes so that the energy and the light of the sun may not have any effect on our personality.



This is what we do in our relationship with God and in our relationship with the forces of the universe.

The forces of the universe are just here, within this hall – wherever we are.

They are not far away in the skies.

You can keep yourself open to them or keep yourself shut to them.

Thoughts which are directed…

Spiritual Import of Religious Festivals :Ch-3. Part - 14.

Chapter-3. Rama – The Apotheosis of Human Perfection ( Sri Ramanavami )


Part-14.


The moment you begin to know what God thinks about you, you will not speak afterwards; your mouth will be hushed.

It will be hushed for two reasons.

One reason is that you would look so small and insignificant, a nothing, and all your importance vanishes in toto when you compare yourself in His light.

The other reason is that you would feel lifted up into a state of joy that the time has come for you to realise your true duty as a human being, which is nothing but realisation of God.

This is what Sri Rama teaches us in the Rama Gita, as His final message – how the soul should come out of the cage of flesh, like a lion breaking its boundaries and roaring in its majesty or power.



The moment you begin to recognise your true status in this world, you become powerful, not because you possess large wealth or you have a seat in the Parliament or in the cabinet, but because you have a seat in the constitution of…

Spiritual Import of Religious Festivals :Ch-3. Part - 13.

Chapter-3. Rama – The Apotheosis of Human Perfection ( Sri Ramanavami )


Part-13.


This is the difference between mortal men and divine incarnations who are immortal, eternal emblems moving on this earth.

So, in these contemplations today, as on similar such occasions, we should recharge the cells of our personality by introducing a new light of divinity into ourselves.

Let not the day pass in waste, in idle talk or merely hearing a few words about the Ramayana from someone.

These celebrations are only indications for you, pointers to you, to help you to raise yourself up to a state higher than you were yesterday.

If your days have not been spent without getting at least an iota of satisfaction or contentment that you have become a worthy child of God, in His eyes, you should consider your life as unworthily spent.



One of the central questions in your spiritual diary should be, "What am I in the eyes of God?"

But this question is never put and you do not want to know the answ…

Spiritual Import of Religious Festivals :Ch-3. Part - 12.

Chapter-3. Rama – The Apotheosis of Human Perfection ( Sri Ramanavami )


Part-12.


It is an occasion for intensified contemplation on the Spirit, God, or Sri Rama, as we call Him.

It is a day of self-control and an occasion to raise our emotions, feelings and understanding to the level of the understanding of Valmiki or Tulasidas or Kamban, or of Sri Rama Himself.

These contemplations are processes by which Consciousness, our own Self, establishes relationship with the powers of the cosmos. The observation of the birthday of Sri Rama, or the celebration of Sri Ramanavami, is not a day of mere rejoicing or feasting, but a day of spiritual contemplation and self-restraint by which we become en rapport with the forces of the world. What was the power of Rama? Why was He so powerful and forceful?



We say that He was an incarnation of God.

But, why is God so powerful, while we are not?

What is the difference? What makes these masters, heroes and incarnations centres of such energy, force and…

Spiritual Import of Religious Festivals :Ch-3. Part - 11.

Chapter-3. Rama – The Apotheosis of Human Perfection ( Sri Ramanavami )


Part-11.


This is all the Ramayana we know.

Everyone knows only this much of it.

But this is not the whole of Ramayana, whether it is the Ramayana of Tulasidas, Valmiki or anyone else.

The real Ramayana is the spirit that is manifest in its words when we read the original of the Masters.

Whether it is Kamban's Ramayana or Tulasidas's Ramayana or Valmiki's Ramayana, ultimately it makes no difference because it is said that all great men think alike.

All these masters thought alike and they had a common purpose.



One wrote in Tamil, another wrote in Hindi and the third wrote in Sanskrit, but the spirit expressed by these is similar and common, and it is directed to the same purpose of transforming human nature into divine perfection.

I will now give an outline of the background of the writing of the Ramayana and the purpose behind the epics of India.

The other more important aspect relevant to a Sadhaka o…

Spiritual Import of Religious Festivals :Ch-3. Part - 10.

Chapter-3. Rama – The Apotheosis of Human Perfection ( Sri Ramanavami )


Part-10.


And the other side of the teaching of the epic is that through humanity we reach Divinity.

Sometimes, we are told that the ten Avataras – incarnations of Vishnu beginning from the incarnation as Fish, the Matsya Avatara; the incarnation as Tortoise, the Kurma Avatara; the incarnation as Boar, the Varaha Avatara; and so on – represent the process of the evolution of the human consciousness to the perfection of its Realisation.

From this point of view of understanding of human nature and its evolution, the stage which was enacted by Rama, God in human form was the penultimate step which Consciousness takes in its attempt at Self-realisation.



He showed what human perfection is and how it becomes a stepping-stone to divine perfection.

This we can know only when we read the whole of the Ramayana from the beginning to the end, reading also between the lines.

Most of us do not know what the whole Ramayana is.

W…

Spiritual Import of Religious Festivals :Ch-3. Part - 9.

Chapter-3. Rama – The Apotheosis of Human Perfection ( Sri Ramanavami )


Part-9.



While Rama himself thinks that he is only a man, Brahma speaks of Him as Narayana and wants Him to go back to His Abode, as His drama in this world is over.

These interesting dramatic contradictions are brought into play by the genius of Valmiki, deliberately, to fulfill the purpose of the epic.

Otherwise, there would be no meaning in the play itself.

It was not at all given to Rama to proclaim Himself as Narayana.

That was not the purpose of the Avatara at all.

It was to defeat the purpose of Ravana who had a poor opinion of human beings.



Being a demon, he thought that human beings and monkeys were only a morsel of food for him.

On account of this, he deliberately omitted men and monkeys from the list of his possible future enemies when he asked for boons from Brahma.

"May I not have death from any one – Gods, Kinnaras, Kimpurushas, Daityas, Danavas, all superhuman beings," was the boon he aske…

Spiritual Import of Religious Festivals :Ch-3. Part - 8.

Chapter-3. Rama – The Apotheosis of Human Perfection ( Sri Ramanavami )


Part-8.

What we see is the form of their lives and what we cannot see is the essence, the meaning and the significance of what they live. In the Ramayana,


we have such a contradictory picture of the personality of Rama, presented by Valmiki, where we are asked sometimes to look upon him as the perfected man and sometimes as a perfection of Divinity itself manifest.


It is in the Yuddha Kanda of Valmiki's Ramayana, (I am not talking of Tulasidas's Ramayana because that has a different approach altogether) for the first time, we have a proclamation of the divinity of Rama, where Mandodari in deep sorrow over the death of Ravana, her husband, exclaims that it is Narayana that has come as Nara which fact is unknown to Ravana and due to his ignorance, he has mistaken Rama for a human being.



The contradiction which Valmiki brings out is that while he puts these words in the mouth of Mandodari, he puts a differen…

Spiritual Import of Religious Festivals :Ch-3. Part - 7.

Chapter-3. Rama – The Apotheosis of Human Perfection ( Sri Ramanavami )


Part-7.



Hence, even the elite and the intelligentsia of mankind today think of God in the epic parlance, and not in the Upanishadic parlance.
When you and I think of God, we think of the epic God only and not the Upanishadic God or the Vedic God.

The meaning is that we think of a humanised relationship between ourselves and the Creator.

When we dehumanise the Creator or take Him above what the human mind is capable of conceiving, the relationship between man and God gets snapped, and the vast majority amongst us, excepting perhaps the very few spiritual heroes, fall down to a level lower than that of the human being.




So the need was felt to bring home to the mind of man that concept of Perfection and Divinity which can be contained in the human mind, in the form of human perfection, animated by the force of that which is superhuman.

Such was the personality of Sri Rama, the superhuman element infusing a personali…

Spiritual Import of Religious Festivals :Ch-3. Part - 6.

Chapter-3. Rama – The Apotheosis of Human Perfection ( Sri Ramanavami )


Part-6.



Nevertheless, they are principles, and the masses do not live on principles.

When we talk or when we move about in the streets, we do not think of the principles behind speaking and walking.

We work with the peculiar manifestation of our personality which is spontaneous in its nature.

Principles somehow have the aroma of fixity and rigidity.

They cannot be changed.

But, emotion seeks a spontaneous expression of itself and this feature, this peculiarity of human nature, was taken notice of by the sages of the Vedic times.



In the Srimad Bhagavatam, one among the eighteen Puranas, at the very commencement itself we are told that Vyasa felt the necessity of composing the Mahabharata and the Srimad Bhagavatam.

And for a similar reason was the Ramayana composed.

We believe what we see with our eyes, what we hear with our ears, what we perceive with the other organs, and what we feel from our hearts.

We are inca…

Spiritual Import of Religious Festivals :Ch-3. Part - 5.

Chapter-3. Rama – The Apotheosis of Human Perfection ( Sri Ramanavami )


Part-5.




There were some over-enthusiastic orientalists in the West particularly, and sometimes in the East also, who began to believe that the culture of India is in the Vedas and the Upanishads.

But, if we bestow a little thought on the actual situation, it will become clear that if the Vedas and the Upanishads were the sole basis of the culture of India, the Indian culture would have been wiped out like the cultures of Egypt, Greece or Rome.

These cultures are only names to us now.

They do not actually exist any more.



They vanished in the process of time on account of their inflexibility, their rigidity of character and their emphasis on a particular aspect of human life.

If, as people often believe, the dicta of the Vedas and Upanishads alone were to be taken as the foundation of Indian culture, there would have been no Indian culture today.


It would have gone to the winds, because what we have in the Vedas an…

Spiritual Import of Religious Festivals :Ch-3. Part - 4.

Chapter-3. Rama – The Apotheosis of Human Perfection ( Sri Ramanavami )


Part-4.


These two parallel movements of epic stories, known as the Ramayanam and the Mahabharatam, give us a complete picture of the process of the advancement of the human soul towards its Perfection.

It is not to be taken as a surprise that the culture of Bharatavarsha is a culture of the Spirit, so that anything that is said and done or believed in, is directly or indirectly connected with the march of the Spirit towards the recognition of its Perfection.

We have no other culture here except the culture of the Spirit.

A connecting of the visible phenomena with what underlies the phenomena is the significance of the epics.

And these two masterstrokes of genius given to us by Valmiki Maharishi  and Vyasa  Maharishi, in the form of the Ramayanam and the Mahabharatam, give us the religion of India.


Swami Krishnananda

To be continued  ...