Sri Rama by Sri Swami Sivananda

Baba Times Digest© | 8 April 2014 17:28 EST | New York Edition

Sri Rama

Divine Life Society Publication: Hindu Gods and Goddesses by Sri Swami Sivananda

Om Sri Ram Jai Ram Jai Jai Ram

O Lord Rama! O Raghava!
Thou art an ocean of mercy.
Thou art Maryada Purushottama.
Thou art the refuge of devotees.
I have filled my being
With Thy love.
I installed Thee
In my heart.
Om Sri Ramaya Namah.

The Birth of the Lord

King Dasaratha who was endowed with good fortune, who was devoted to truth, who vas brave and famous, was without a son.  Dasaratha brought the Rishi to Ayodhya and performed the sacrifice. The God of Fire appeared from the fire of the sacrifice. He had a golden vessel full of divine Payasa(sweet porridge). He said, "O best of kings! Take this Payasa made by the gods in heaven. Give it to your worthy wives. You shall beget by them mighty sons."

Dasaratha obtained the permission of Vasishtha and Rishya Sringa and gave the Payasa half and half to his queens Kausalya and Kaikeyi. Sumitra also went there. She also wanted to take a portion of the Payasa. Kausalya joyfully gave her half of her share. Kaikeyi also gave her half of her share with immense joy. All the queens became pregnant.

On the ninth lunar day of the bright half of the month of Chaitra, under the star Punarvasu, and Lagna Karkata (the auspicious zodiacal sign of cancer), the five constellations in the ascendent, appeared on earth the great and prosperous Sri Rama with mighty arms, the eternal Lord, the Master of the world, the joy of Dasaratha was born to queen Kausalya. Bharata was born to Kaikeyi. Sumitra gave birth to two sons, twins, Lakshmana and Satrughna.

Vasishtha conferred the names. Kausalya’s son was named Rama, because He gave joy and happiness to all, because the Munis found in Him delight through Knowledge in order to cross this ocean of ignorance.

Bharata was so named, because he protected all, Lakshmana, because he was endowed with auspicious attributes, and Satrughna was given that name, as he was the destroyer of enemies.

Sri Rama was an Avatara of Lord Hari; Lakshmana was an Avatara of Adisesha; Bharata and Satrughna were Avataras of Conch and Discus. Sita was an Avatara of Sri Lakshmi.

All the sons of Dasaratha were heroic and virtuous. They were patient, brave, truthful and firm. They soon captivated the heart of the public. Sri Rama excelled His brothers in bravery and truthfulness.

The Divine Virtues of Rama

Rama was well accomplished, beautiful and endowed with royal marks. He was valiant and glowing with splendor. He was in no way inferior to Indra himself in battle. He was well-versed in holy scriptures and equal to Brihaspati in wisdom. He was skilled in every science. He was an object of love and reverence with all people. He had His senses under perfect control. Even His enemies were pleased to see Him. He was the terror of the wicked and the protector of the virtuous. He was endowed with keen intelligence. He could never be vanquished by anyone.

Sri Rama’s glory and powers were unlimited. He was peerless on earth. He was free from malice. He was gentle and was the protector of His people. He always addressed the people in gentle words. He never used any harsh words even when somebody addressed Him rudely.

Sri Rama was wise and virtuous. He was effulgent like the sun, in forgiveness like the earth, in intelligence like Brihaspati, in frame (physique) like Vasava, in prowess like Indra. He observed ascetic vows and honored saints. He would forget hundreds of evils done to Him, but would gratefully remember a single act of kindness ever shown.

In the leisure when He was not engaged in His martial exercises, He had discussions on the Shastras with the wise and the aged people. He always followed the right in every walk of His life and never swerved from His royal duties.

Rama was a friend of the poor and chastiser of the wicked. He was a cosmic benefactor. He was well-versed in religion, social customs and laws. He looked after the welfare of His subjects, and the people too loved Him immensely.

Sri Rama never spoke a lie even in extreme danger or peril. He was brave, candid and modest. He was the source of all good. He always respected His superiors. He was free from idleness. He was ever vigilant. He sought no evil. He had perfect control over anger.

Sri Rama was happy in adversity, calm in miseries, intrepid in dangers.

Sri Rama’s Dedication to Truth and Duty

Sri Rama, the hero of Valmiki’s Ramayana, is an embodiment of every social and domestic virtue. His sense of filial duty is unparalleled in the history of the world.

He kicked off the throne and the pleasures of the senses and the world to fulfil the words of His father.

Sri Rama’s life was a life of holy obedience, of stainless purity, of matchless simplicity, laudable contentment, commendable self-sacrifice, and remarkable renunciation. He paid equal respect to His mother and His step-mothers, and revered His Guru.

Sri Rama is known as Maryada Purushottama. He adhered to the injunctions of the Shastras. He led the life of an ideal householder to teach the world the Dharmas of a Grihastha. He never swerved an inch from truth and duty.

Sita once told Rama to seek shelter in a safe place and to let the forest dwellers alone, as there was much danger there. Rama’s reply revealed His firm determination to adhere to truth and to His duty, as a king, to protect those who took shelter under Him. Sri Rama said, "O Sita, I may even give up life, or you, or Lakshmana; but can never give up the performance of My word, given particularly to helpless Brahmins. Rama speaks but once and never fails to keep up His promise."

Rama Rajya

Lord Rama was Maryada Purushottama. He was a Prema Murti. He was an ideal son, an ideal brother, an ideal husband, an ideal friend, and an ideal king. He can be taken to embody all the highest deals of man. He led an ideal life of a householder to teach humanity. He ruled His people so nicely that His rule came to be called Rama Rajya, meaning the rule of righteousness, the rule which bestows on all happiness and prosperity.

Rama Nama Mahima

Rama Nama or the Name of Lord Rama is a blessing which millions of Hindus have treasured in their hearts since ages past. It is the supreme purifier of the mind of man, the bestower of perennial joy, the giver of peace and the key to the gate of immortality.

You must learn to take the Name of Rama with full devotion and faith. When you study the Ramayana of Tulsidas, you will learn how great the divine power of that blessed Name is.

The word Rama is interpreted in the Ramarahasyopanishad as the combination of the essence of the Narayana-Ashta-Akshara and the Siva-Pancha-Akshara, i.e., Ra and Ma, without which the Ashtakshara and the Panchakshara not only do not give their proper meaning, but give the opposite meaning. Rama Nama is also considered as the essence of the Thousand Names of the Lord. It is the Taraka Mantra, the vessel which takes the mortal across the ocean of Samsara or death. The power of the Name is well realized when it is known that even the incorrect pronunciation thereof turned rogue Ratnakara into sage Valmiki.

Rama Nama burns ignorance, passion and sin. With knowledge or without knowledge, correctly or incorrectly, when the word Rama is pronounced, it showers a rain of good on the devotee. Sri Rama Brahma Tarakam.: Sri Rama is Brahman who takes one across Samsara. Rama is one in whom Yogins sport (Ramante) i.e., the Self within. Once you take refuge in Him, your welfare becomes His responsibility.

The Name of Sri Rama is sweeter than the sweetest objects. It is the haven of peace. It is the very life of pure souls. It is the purifier of all purifying agencies. It quenches the consuming fire of worldly desires. It awakens the knowledge of God which is dormant in our hearts. It bathes the aspirant in the ocean of divine bliss. Glory to Sri Rama and His Name.

Let no ideas of purity or impurity enter your mind. There is no unholy object in this world. Should there be any, it becomes the holiest of the holy by contact with the Lord’s Name. Illusion, notwithstanding all her efforts, fails to get hold of him who remains deeply absorbed in the Lord’s Name and love.

Why Lord Rama Behaved Like a Man

Why did Rama, the Supreme Being, forget His real divine nature? If Rama always knew His true Self, why did He grieve for the loss of His wife Sita?"

The answer to this question is that verily Rama was the Supreme Self. He never moved or did anything. He was never subject to joy or sorrow, birth or death, pleasure or pain. Through His life, Sri Rama behaved like an ordinary man only. He had to do that, because Ravana had a boon that he could not be killed by Devas, Asuras, Rakshasas, Yakshas, serpents, bears, etc. He belittled the strength of man in his pride. Ravana could only be killed by a man. So Sri Rama had to show that He was an ordinary man only. Otherwise, He would be disqualified for destroying Ravana, if He exhibited Himself to be a God, according to the boon of Brahma.

The Transcendent Divinity That Is Rama

To a devotee, Rama is not simply a good and great person, but God Himself. Rama is the son of Dasaratha, the King of Ayodhya, as well as the divine, omnipresent God; Self, Atman or Brahman. The destruction of the ten-headed Ravana by Rama is the annihilation of the mind with the ten senses. Worship of Rama is the worship of the Virat Purusha Himself. Read the prayers offered by Mandodari and Brahma in the Yuddha-Khanda of the Valmiki Ramayana. They refer to Rama as the one Creator of the universe, the God of all, the Ruler of all.

Sri Rama Navami

Rama Navami falls on the ninth day of the bright half of the month Chaitra (March-April). This is the birthday of Sri Rama, the seventh divine Incarnation. In India, Sri Rama Navami Utsava is celebrated for nine days with great fervor and devotion by the devotees of Lord Rama. Some keep strict fast. Temples are decorated and the image of Rama adorned with costly ornaments. The Ramayana is read in the temples.

May you all attain the final beatitude of life through intense devotion towards Rama! May you live immersed in the ecstasy of divine love and Suddha Prem! May Sri Rama, who is effulgent like million suns, who is adored by the gods and devotees, protect you all!

May Lord Rama bestow His choicest blessings on you all! May you all live drowned in the ocean of divine ecstasy through constant repetition of Lord Rama’s Name.

May peace be unto all! May prosperity be unto all! May happiness be unto all!

Let us all sing:

Om Sri Ram Jaya Ram Jaya Jaya Ram
Om Sri Ram Jaya Ram Jaya Jaya Ram.

Excerpts from:

Sri Rama   - Hindu Gods and Goddesses by Sri Swami Sivananda

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