- 1. Ramayan
- 2. Origin of some Names of Rama
- 3. Rama’s family and incarnations
- 4. Special features
A. The word Ramayan (रामायण) has been derived from two words ram (रं) and ayan (अयन). Ram ramayate(रम् रमयते) means to remain engrossed in one’s target. It is with reference to remaining engrossed in Bliss which is derived from spiritual practice. Ayan means the seven regions (saptalokas). The Ramayan preaches how to attain the Final Liberation (Moksha) crossing the seven regions, remaining engrossed in spiritual practice, that is in Bliss.
B. ‘In the quote “Samasya ayanam Ramayanam” (समस्य अयनं रामायणम्) “ayan” means speed, the path or to go. “Ramayan” is thus that which leads one to The Supreme Lord, Shrirama, inspires or enthuses one or rather endows one with the speed to reach The Lord or shows one the real path in life. It also means that, that which includes the main story of the destruction of the unrighteous Ravan by the righteous Rama is the “Ramayan”.Ayan also means shelter. Rama’s existence itself is the Ramayan.’
A. The Valmiki Ramayan: There are several Ramayans, but the Valmiki Ramayan is considered to be the standard among them. The Valmiki Ramayan does not include parts written by other authors just like the otherRamayans. The opinions of various researchers about this Ramayan are as follows.
- When the fisherman Valya undertook chanting for sixty thousand years he finally became Sage Valmiki. According to another school of thought Sage Valmiki’s real name was Ratnakar, not Valya the fisherman.Valmik is the name of a species of ants which builds anthills. These ants built an anthill on the body of a sage named Ratnakar. Hence people began calling him Sage Valmiki.
- Rama was born a hundred and fifty years after Sage Valmiki wrote the Ramayan. According to some theRamayan was written in the Satyayug and Rama was born in the Tretayug.
- Sage Dhoumya was a friend of Sage Valmiki and Sage Bharadvaj. He has written the holy text ‘Agnidhumavati’ on the spiritual practice by inhalation of smoke (dhumrasadhana). Sage Valmiki and Sage Dhoumya lived together for twenty-two years. Sage Dhoumya made twenty-four amendments in the original Ramayan. Actually what we call the ‘Valmiki Ramayan’ should be the ‘Dhoumit Ramayan’. The original Valmiki Ramayan was never available. The Valmiki Ramayan in use today is the one written in the Puranic period.Sage Valmiki had taken a vow of not leaving the ashram (kshetrasanyas); hence Sage Dhoumya propagated the Ramayan. It was He who preached to everyone that Rama would be born and that theRamayan would actually occur. He even told Sage Vasishtha whose ashram was situated at Prayag (Alahabad) in Vindhyachal about Rama.
B. The Purva Ramayan and the Uttar Ramayan: The Purva Ramayan explains how one should travel through the seven regions (saptalokas) by undertaking spiritual practice of the bijamantra ‘ram (रं)’. The Uttar Ramayanon the other hand describes the life of Rama who performed such spiritual practice.
C. The Jain Ramayan and the Buddha Ramayan: The biography of Rama is so ideal that in the later period the Jains and the Buddhists began to feel that even their religions should be enriched with it. Hence the Jain andBuddha Ramayans were written.
D. The Adbhut Ramayan: This has been written around the fourteenth century. It is also known asAdbhutottarkand. It is in the form of a conversation between Valmiki and Bharadvaj. In this Sita is depicted as the deity Kali instead of the usual sattvik (sattva predominant) chaste woman (pativrata). It is said that seeing that Rama was unable to slay Ravan She Herself slayed him.
E. The Adhyatmaramayan: This is in the form of a conversation between Uma and Shankar. Uma makes a prayer to Lord Shankar, “The Path of Devotion (Bhaktiyoga) is a superior one to attain The Lord. But due to varied opinions I am not convinced of His nature. So please endow Me with Your grace and reveal His true form to Me.” In response to this Shankar narrated the Adhyatmaramayan to Her.
The Valmiki Ramayan is the basis of this holy text, but in some places a few variations are seen. This holy text is also known as the Adhyatmaramacharit and the Adhyatmik Ramasanhita.
F. The Tulsi Ramayan: This is more devotional, while the Valmiki Ramayan is more historical. (This is akin to the Bhagvat which is more devotional and the Mahabharat which is more historical.)
This Name was prevalent even before the birth of Rama.
Rama’s original Name is only ‘Rama’. He is a descendant of the sun dynasty (suryavanshi). Inspite of being born at twelve noon He was not named with names such as Rambhanu which incorporate a name of the sun. Later from the incident in which as a child He obstinately cried to have the moon (chandra), He was probably named Ramachandra.
When Rama returned with Sita after His victory at Lanka He was called Shrirama. ‘Shri’ is an adjective used for The Lord. When Rama revealed that He was an incarnation of God, everyone started calling Him Shrirama. In the Valmiki Ramayan Rama is not referred to as God but is called ‘The Supreme Man (narapungav)’. [Hanuman is referred to as ‘The supreme monkey (kapipungav)’. However by itself the word pungav means a bullock.]
When The Lord incarnates other deities too incarnate along with Him. Based on this rule, when Lord Vishnu assumed the incarnation of Rama the other deities who followed suit as well as the other incarnations who accompanied Him are described in the following table.
|Rama and His family||Whose incarnation?|
|2. Sita||Divine energy (Shakti) of Vishnu|
|4. Bharat||The conch|
|5. Shatrughna||The discus|
|6. Maruti||The eleventh Rudra, Shiva|
A. The ideal son: Though Rama obeyed His parents, at times He also advised the elders. For instance when leaving for the forest He exhorted His parents not to grieve for Him.
B. The ideal brother: Even today people quote Rama-Lakshman’s love as the ideal illustration of brotherly love.
C. The ideal husband: Rama was devoted singly to His wife.
Even after abandoning Sita, Rama lived in detachment. Later when He performed a sacrificial fire (yadnya) He placed Sita’s idol by His side but did not choose another wife. During those days it was a practice for kings to have several consorts. Taking this background into consideration this depicts His faithfulness to only one wife.
D. The ideal friend: Rama helped Sugriv, Bibhishan, etc. during catastrophes in their lives.
E. The ideal king: When His subjects expressed doubts about the chastity of Sita, ignoring His personal relationship with Her, He abandoned Her in accordance with the code of Righteousness of the ruler (rajdharma). In this context, Kalidas a famous poet has written a meaningful verse (shloka) - ‘कौलिनभीतेन गृहन्निरस्ता न तेन वैदेहसुता मनस्त: ।’ which means ‘fearing social stigma Rama drove Sita out of His home, but not out of His mind’.
F. The ideal enemy: After Ravan’s death when his brother Bibhishan refused to perform his last rites, Rama told him, “Enemity ends with death. If you do not perform his last rites, I will. He is My brother as well.”
He followed all the bounds of Righteousness. Hence He is referred to as ‘Maryada-purushottam’, the Supreme limit of Righteousness.
A. Generally when one has to emphasize a point one says ‘I am speaking the truth thrice’. Similarly, the word ‘Shantihi (शांति:)’ is recited thrice. The word ‘thrice’ is used with the following two meanings.
- To speak taking the oath of the trinity, Brahma, Vishnu and Mahesh.
- The word trivar (त्रिवार) meaning thrice is derived from tri (त्रि) and var (वार), that is three days. If one gets the same dream on three consecutive nights, then it is said to be a spiritual dream. One should either act accordingly or ask a spiritually evolved person about it. Similarly only if something is heard thrice should it be considered to be the truth. Rama however, was true to His word, that is once He uttered something it was the ultimate truth and there was no need to emphasise that point again three times.
B. In Sanskrut grammar there are three nouns, singular (ekvachan), dual (dvivachan) and plural (bahuvachan). Rama was ‘singular’. This implies that one should merge into Rama, that is traverse from three (many) to one. In Spirituality, progress occurs as one goes from many to one and then from one to zero. Here, zero refers to the absolute incarnation, Lord Krushna.
C. According to geometry three depicts the three dimensions but Rama is unidimensional.
Rama could strike the target with an arrow at the first shot. There was never a need for a second one.
Rama displays emotions of happiness and unhappiness just like human beings. Hence one feels more attracted to Him than to other deities. For instance, after Sita’s abduction, Rama became melancholic. However in such circumstances how the God principle in Rama was intact will be clear from the ensuing conversation between Shiva (Shankar) and Parvati, quoted below.
Parvati: Just see how the one whose Name You chant is grieving for His wife like an average mortal.
Shankar: That grief is namesake. He has to do that as He has assumed a human form.
Parvati: Rama is wandering about embracing the trees. That proves He is really pining for Sita.
Shankar: Why don’t You experience whether what I said is true or false, Yourself ? Assume the form of Sita and appear before Him. Then observe His behaviour.
Parvati did as Shankar had said. Seeing Her Rama offered obeisance to Her and said, “I have recognised You. You are the Great Illusion (Adimaya).” With this Parvati was convinced that Rama’s bereavement was but a superficial display.
Rama’s servant (Ramadas): This word has two meanings.
- The servant (das) of Rama
- The one whose servant is Rama!
Rama’s kingdom (Ramarajya)
- During His times, that is in the Tretayug Rama alone was not wise, His subjects too were prudent. Hence during His reign not a single complaint was brought to His court.
- The real kingdom of Rama (implied meaning): Absolute control over the five sense organs, five motor organs, mind, subconscious mind, intellect and ego by Rama (Atmaram - the soul principle) dwelling in the heart itself is Rama’s real kingdom.
The meaning of these words is given under the point ‘Principle, ability and manifest energy’.
- Principle: Vishnu principle 75% (Vishnu / God = 100%)
- Ability:Creation 20%, sustenance 50% and dissolution 30%
- Manifest energy: 75%
(Like God (Ishvar), Vishnu too utilises only 10% of His energy to accomplish His mission. This energy is referred to as the manifest energy. The dormant energy is called the unmanifest energy. If the mission is such that more energy is required then the proportion of manifest energy is higher.)
Look at the picture of the fivefold family of Rama (Rama panchayatan) including Hanuman, given below and decide from whom one can experience energy? Only then read further.
The table below enumerates whether Energy or Bliss was experienced from each of the figures by the 29 seekers attending one of our satsangs (spiritual meetings).
|Looking at whom?||Presence or absence of a|
|1. Rama||Present 2|
The average spiritual level of the seekers was 35%. During a satsang (spiritual meeting) at times the spiritual level of a seeker can even become 40-50%. The spiritual level of an average person is 20% while that of one who has attained the Final Liberation (Moksha) is 100%. If average individuals participate in the experiment, they do not perceive anything. Hence in such experiments everyone does not get spiritual experiences. Only those who have attained a spiritual level of 35% and above and are able to perceive something of the subtle dimension are able to give answers.
10 out of 29 seekers did not perceive anything. Out of the 19 who perceived something, half that is 10 of them sensed the energy in Sita. This experiment illustrates why Sita is referred to as the Energy of Rama. 5 seekers experienced Energy in Maruti. From this one will realise why the manifest energy in Maruti is much greater than in other deities.