Author Topic: About Ramayana  (Read 41 times)


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About Ramayana
« on: November 09, 2017, 11:47:50 AM »
About Ramayana
Ramayana is called an Itihasa. :) Itihasa literally means "this is how it happened". Most people interpret this to mean that Ramayana is really about history. Itihasa can mean, this is how it happened, but what happened ? We might think that this is how rama's story took place. That is one way to think about it. Another way to understand it is to think of it as purely allegoric. There is one person- could be you or me- he or she was just like us. And his this person's life there was suffering and he discovered a way out of it. This narration is about how he discovered liberation, moksha. How did he do that?

Rama = Brahman within this person, Ramyathe iti Rama. There are other names for it. Buddhism calls it Primordial Awareness. Self is Hindu name for it. Self does not mean an individual, it means something different. Another name for it is emptiness. But for now, we may take Rama to mean "me". what do i think "I AM" ? Well, i have some picture of myself. The Scriptures say, that these are all notions you have about urself and this is not the true you. Then what is the True me ? Well, that needs to be studied in the upanishads and the gita to gain clarity. The ultimate teaching of Upanishads is "you are of the nature of pure bliss". But then how is it that i suffer? I may be of the nature of pure bliss, but i suffer and this is my reality. Hinduism does not teach escaping from what is. One has to face what is and look deeply at it and as one looks deeply into the nature of reality one discovers the truth of the upanishads.

Sita = Peace, The bliss that upanishads talk about. She is said to be the daughter of a kingdom called Videha, which means "sans the body" :) ! what can that mean ? There is a peace that is not due to body. In Vedantic context, even our mind and psychological elements constitute what is known as subtle body. So This Peace , or the Bliss that is talked about by the Vedantic texts - it is not dependent on the body [and mind] and is also our true nature !

This is what the scriptures teach. But we need to realize it. ultimately my life is fulfilled only when i live it 24 7! I revel in my true nature 24 7, ever happy. We have examples of saints like Sri Ramana maharshi, Sri Ramakrishna paramahamsa, Gautama Buddha etc who reveled in this Truth. And we need to discover this within. How is this done ? We need to seek help from Hanuman for this, but before that ...

Ravana = Ego and Rajas aspect of Ego. That is the sense of I that arises from all the activities of life. our success - our story.
Khumbakarna = Tamas Aspect of Ego - ie, our desires for sense pleasures etc.
Vibhishana = Satva Aspect of Ego - our desire to calm the mind, charitable activities etc.

In order to discover our true nature to be pure happiness we need to seek the help of Hanuman. Hanuman is an intellect equipped with proper understanding about Rama. A guru teaches the truth of Vedantic texts and the vision has to be gained. Unless i gain the vision and see "how i am of the nature of pure bliss", i have not understood the teaching at all. So Hanuman is an intellect that has understood the truth about our true nature. But even after understanding our vasanas, or past tendencies seem to drag us down. In other words  the information and the logic gained with the teacher's help has not yet settled in. So there is a need to use this knowledge or vision provided by the teacher to cut open our own minds and operate upon them. Its like a surgeon operating on a wound. The knowledge from the scriptures is needed for us to not get lost and to be able to perform this operation. We need to start observing our own mind along with all the attachments, worries, fears, jealousies , desires etc. We need to face all these and then discover the Truth taught by the scriptures within ourselves. The teaching provides us with a vision and we need to validate it within by taking an inner journey where we observe our own feelings and thoughts and all the millions of desires and dreams we have entertained all along. Hanuman's journey to Lanka is really this inner travel - observing one's own mind. In order to do this, we need to leave the world where it is and look within. This journey is symbolically represented by Hanuman's crossing the ocean. And when Hanuman starts to cross the ocean, the first obstacle he faces is "surasa", meaning good or valid enjoyments. One can get caught in these and get lost in the journey. It could be merely intellectual thrill. one may start discovering intellectual thrill in the arguments of the scriptures and that is enough to get caught. But hanuman does not loose sight of his goal which is to discover the truth of his own nature. Then the second obstacle is Simhika which "Stalls progress" ... a feeling that i am not progressing. When we try to look within, this is a feeling that may arise. When we see this too as a feeling and observe it as a witness, it shall slowly dissolve too. And then hanuman reaches lankhini, a daemon that does not allow one to enter into the innermost recess of our mind. IT does not allow us to see our own subconscious clearly. When hanuman knocks this , the daemon says "you have almost won , already" !
Hanuman then observes the contents of the mind and what does he see ? women, wealth, intoxicants, riches of various kinds etc. and in there he sees mandodari , a kind of happiness one gains by ego satisfaction. she is the wife of ego = ravana. He soon sees that that happiness is because of the riches and the possessions and moves on ... and there he discovers sita, as long as ravana [ego] is in dominance this sita does not appear, it really appears very lean, unhappy... it does not appear as bliss of our nature. The place where sita is there its called ashoka vana, ashoka, there is no sorrow. one has to reach this place in the innermost regions of one's own mind.

Hanuman then uses the fire of knowledge and burns the entire lanka - mind. Its like a burnt rope now, it can no more bind. this is the meaning.

When Rama vanquishes Ravana, he asks Sita to prove her purity. This means to prove that Sita is the peace due to one's true nature and not due to some sense or ego gratification. There is peace that i may feel due to a certain circumstance in my life. Rama's Sita is that Peace htat is independent of the various situations of life. So Sita gives the proof by exposing herself to the fire of knowledge. The proof that one is experiencing this Peace is that one is unaffected as the physical and mental climate changes. As the situations of life change, this peace is unaffected and this is the proof. That is why Sita is asked to expose herself to fire as a proof. This is not some male ego in operation that needs to be defended using lot of logic. If we see carefully the entire search is for peace, sita ... not for rama. i suffer ... so i seek a way out of it. in the process i learn about my true nature which is rama and this is how i [hanuman] apply it upon myself to see its truth which is sita.
The knowledge of Rama [my true nature ] is incomplete until its united with Peace. Until i discover that happiness or peace 24 7, the knowledge is incomplete. Hanuman, the intellect equipped with knowledge of Rama , has the knowledge required to explore his own mind and resolve the conflicts within to discover Sita.

one has to take help from the satvic aspect [vibhishana] and observing our own mind , cross the ocean of samsara to discover the oneness of our true nature and Sita. This is the entire journey.

A lot of other stories would also make immediate sense. We see that Rama kills Vaali from behind the tree. The point is Vaali is one's desires
and emotions. One cannot kill it by fighting with it, because its me who am giving those desires strength in the first place. i make them strong by believing that they make me better and then if i try to fight my desires i will loose because half of my strength is already given to them by considering them valuable. So Rama sends in a decoy in sugriva to invoke the desire , as if calling it to fight... and then observes from a distance - witnesses it. the arrow released by Rama is of clear and focused attention that destroys vaali. the way to work with our desires etc is not fight them but to observe their operation as a witness with focused and relaxed attention.

This is itihasa, because this is how liberation happened and this is how it happens always. it might be based on some human life , a king perhaps ... but that is immaterial. what is important is ... this is how liberation is discovered ... and this is how it happened ... itihasa ... and this is infact how it happens ... :) This is why Ramayana is important. Why should we bother about the story of Rama ? Its not really about Rama .. its about ourselves ...every time we suffer, we are "missing" Peace, the Sita within. until we discover that our true self is one with that peace ... until then we cannot discover happiness 24 7 and so , Ramayana is extremely important. the proof of the pudding is in eating ... learn about the true nature of Self and with a pure intellect explore within, observing your own mind dispassionately to discover your peace. This is Ramayana.