Monday, October 14, 2013



Vijaya Dasmi the tenth day of Dasara Celebration of North India predominantly falls on October 14th this year.  Navaratri festival of dolls closed a day earlier culminating in the worship of Saraswati for the last three days of Navaratri.  Vijaya Dasmi Day is the day on which Rama completed his mission of his Avatar killing Ravana and redeeming Sita held in captivity with the help of his friends. It is the day that signifies victory over the evil and restoration of peace in all the three worlds.  It is therefore no wonder Rama Avatar is considered as Poorna Avatar. This is revealed for the first time In Ramayana itself by none other than Lord Brahma, the Creator. Read the narration in his own words given in Ramayana that follows. The faithful also complete their Ramayan Paath (holy reading) today culminating in Rama Pattaabhishekam (enthronement of Sri Rama). Rama who was human and humble by nature never revealed himself as an avatar like Krishna who was dominating and adventurous and did it often with his Viswaroopa, Cosmic Form.
According to Naraayaneeyam, a condensed Bhaagavatam, Rama’s incarnation was to show men how “intense affection (Kaama) will lead to pangs of separation (as Rama suffered from his loss of Sita) and how extreme addiction to Dharma, the letter of the law, will push one to Adharma”.  This is an echo of the Bhaagavata verse 5.19.5—6.  Rama devotees will not agree with this totally.  Rama and Krishna were two major Incarnations, the former being glorified in Ramayana and the latter in Bhaagavata. Both have been   equally important factors in the devotional life of India. Rama’s Incarnation depicts a model of manhood and human conduct which people are asked to follow, whereas Krishna is a Divine manifestation whose words are to be followed but not deeds. In some Vaishnava sects, Rama is therefore described as Maryaada-Purushoettama (Divinity who has restricted Himself by laws) and Krishna as Pushti Purushoettama (Divinity that bestows grace in ways that are not bound by laws and social norms).

If Rama and Krishna are both full avatars why not Rama considered out of avatar list and elevated to Jagadeesa (Sat--Chit--Aanada) by Ramabhaktas as Jayadeva thought about Krishna, by way of Dasavatara stotraas or songs or Bhajans? Incarnation of Rama is as popular as Krishna in Hindu worship.  Of course Rama was no match to Krishna as a diplomat and politician!  Rama followed scriptures true to their letters. Krishna interpreted scriptures to his convenience. Narasimha, Vaamana and Varaaha avatars follow these two avatars from Dasaavataara in popular worship though they are not all that popular as Rama or Krishna. 

The dominating importance of Krishna is so great that there are sects of Vaishnavism which hold that the Bhaagavata depicts Krishna as the deity and Mahaavishnu as an emanation of his. This idea rather difficult to substantiate is maintained on the strength of the Bhaagavata verse: “While all other manifestations mentioned before are only aspects of and parts of the Purusha, Krishna is Bhagavan Himself”. Though one may not agree with the above sectarian interpretation, it has to be granted that in Krishna all the Bhagas or divine qualities of the Bhagavan [Aiswarya (Lordliness, Veerya (Prowess), Yasas (Fame), Sri (Beauty–cum-auspiciousness), Jnaana (Wisdom) and Vairaagya (Renunciation)  are fully represented and therefore he is unique among Incarnations. Krishna is mostly referred as Bhagavaan in Bhagavadgeetaa.  Jayadeva belongs to this school of thought.  May be Jayadeva got inspired by Brahma's speech from Ramayana where Rama is addressed as Krishna meaning Sat-Chit Aananda! The name Krishna thus existed in Tretaayuga even before the birth of Krishna in Dwaaparayuga.

But, Sri Rama's dominating role as Vishnu cannot be better described than the excellent panegyric address given by Brahma the Creator himself in Ramayana, Yuddha Kanda Canto CXVII.  In fact Rama is addressed as Krishna by Brahma for the first time as you could see from the narration below. The word Krishna signifying Sat-Chit-Aaanada (Truth-Consciousness-Bliss) was revealed to us in Tretaayuga in Ramayana by Brahma and people waited eagerly for the descent of Krishna in Dwaapara Yuga.  Therefore please remember that in all these celebrations our focus should be on the Supreme Principle Brahman and not on Rama the Prince of Ayodhya. You now know why the divine combination name Rama-Krishna is so   popular with Hindus!

(A true rendering and translation from Sanskrit from Valmeeki Ramayana)
“Oh Rama! You are the maker of the entire cosmos, the foremost of those well-versed in the spiritual lore, and the suzerain Lord! How do you not recognize yourself to be the foremost of the hosts of gods? You are the Vasu Ratnadhaama, who was formerly a lord of creation and the first creator of all the three worlds, their self-constituted Ruler. You are the eighth Rudra (mahaadeva) of the eleven Rudras and the fifth Veeryavan among the Saanadhya (a particular class of celestial beings). The twin Aswins, the physicians of the gods are your ears and the sun and the moon likewise constitute your eyes. You are seen at the beginning, at the end as also the middle of the creation”.

“Listen, O Lord of unfailing prowess, you are the Lord Naaraayana Himself, the glorious god  who wields the discus Sudarsana. You are the divine Boar with a single tusk, the conqueror of your bygone as well as future enemies. You are the imperishable Brahman, the Absolute, the Truth abiding at the beginning, in the middle, as well as the end of the universe. You are the Supreme Law operating in all the worlds. Your forces in the shape of your controlling agents are spread all round. You are the four-armed Lord Sri Hari. You are the wielder of the Saarnga bow, the subduer of the senses, the inner controller and the Supreme Person, the invincible Vishnu, the wielder of the sword Nandaka, as well as Krishna endowed with great might. You are the Lord Kaartikeya, the commander of the celestial army as well as the village headman.  You are the faculty of understanding, strength, forbearance and sense-control. You are the origin as well as the end of all. You are the Divine Dwarf, the younger brother of Indra as also the exterminator of the demon Madhu.

You are the creator of Indra, in the form of Prajaapati, a creator of beings, the Supreme Ruler Lord Vishnu who has a lotus sprung from his navel, who puts an end to all in combat. Eminent divine sages pronounce you to be fit to afford protection to all as well as the refuge of all. In the shape of Vedas you are the great Bull with a thousand horns in the shape of as many redactions and a hundred heads in the shape of as many percepts. You are the first Creator of all the three worlds and the self-constituted Lord of all. You are the refuge as well as the forbear of the Siddhas a class of demigods (saadhya sandhya devah) endowed with mystic powers by virtue of their very birth as well as of the Saadhyas, a class of celestial beings. You are the sacred syllable Vashat on hearing which the Adhvaryu priest casts the oblation offered to a deity into the sacred fire. You are the mystic syllable OM, an appellation of God and to the higher than the highest. People neither know your origin or end nor who you are in reality. You alone are manifest in all created beings, in the cows as well as in the Brahmanas (the knowers of Brahman). You exist in all the quarters, in the firmament, in mountains as well as in rivers. You are the glorious being endowed with thousands of feet, hundreds of heads and thousands of eyes.

You sustain all created beings, the earth as also the mountain.  On the disappearance of the earth at the end of the cosmic day you are seen lying on a huge serpent known by the name Sesha on the waters. You are the Cosmic Person, Lord Naaraayana supporting all the three worlds as also the gods, the Gandharvas, celestial musicians, and the devils. O Rama! I, Brahmaa constitute your heart, while Goddess Saraswati, your tongue.   The gods created by me are the hair on your limbs. Night has been recognized as the s closing of your eyelids and the day as the opening of your eyelids. The latencies of your mind appeared as Vedas. The visible universe does not exist but for you. The entire Cosmos is your body and the earth constitutes your firmness. Fire is your wrath and the moon constitutes your placidity. You are the Lord Vishnu who bears the mark of Srivatsa a curl of white hair on your breast. All the three worlds were covered by you in your three strides in the past. After binding the exceptionally formidable Bali, the ruler of the three worlds, the mighty Indra was crowned king by you.  Sita is none other than Goddess Lakshmi the divine consort of Lord Vishnu. You are Krishna who is all Truth, Consciousness and Bliss (Sat-Chit-Aananda) and you are the Lord of all created beings. For the destruction of Ravana you entered a human semblance on this earth. This aforesaid purpose of ours has been accomplished by you. O Prince of those upholding the cause of virtue! Ravana has been killed by you, Oh Rama, therefore highly rejoiced, return to your abode. Unfailing, O Lord, is your valor while your exploits never go in vain. Your blessed sight is unfailing in its effect;, singing your praises too never goes in vain. Those who are full of devotion to you will never be unsuccessful on earth. Those who are devoted to you, the primeval and eternal Lord, the Supreme Person, likewise attain all their desired objects here as well as hereafter.

1.      Gita Press, Gorakhpur, Srimad Vaalmeeki Raamaayana, Ayodhyaa Kaanda, India
2.      Swami  Tapasyananda, Naraayaneeyam, Sri Ramakrishna Math, Chennai, India



(Contributed by By BRG Iyengar,Bengaluru)
AsmadGurubhyo nama:
AsmadparamaGurubhyo nama :
Asmadsarvagurubhyo nama :
Sri SeethaaLakshmana Bharatha Shatrughna Hanumatsametha
SriRamachandra Prarabrahmane nama :
Here is a brief note on Sri Rama/Ramayana written at the time of SriRaamanavami.

It is impossible to make a comprehensive note on such a great Paramapurusha /
great Epic. This is only a modest attempt to share my thoughts with other Raamabhakthas.
The Lord incarnates himself in several forms, whenever there is decline of Dharma and rise of Adharma .

Yadaa Yadaa hi dharmasya glaanirbhavathi Bhaaratha
  Abhyutthaanam adharmasya tadaatmaanam srujaamyaham   “

 “Parithraanaaya saadhoonaam vinaashaaya cha dushkruthaam
  Dharmasamsthaapanaarthaya sambhavaami yuge yuge” 

 Of the innumerable incarnations of the Lord, Srimad Bhagavatham refers to the following.
Hayagreeva, Kumaaras ,Varaaha, Naarada, Nara-Naarayana, Kapila,  Dattathreya , Yajna, Rushabhadeva, Pruthu, Matsya , Koorma, Dhanvanthari , Mohini , Nrusimha, Vaamana  Parashuraama ,Vyaasa ,Sri Raama, Balaraama,Sri Krishna, Buddha and Kalki.

Among these   incarnations,  Dashavatharas (Ten avatharas ) are commonly referred to. These are Matsya, Koorma, Varaaha, Nrusimha, Vaamana,  Parashuraama, Sriraama, *Balaraama, Srikrishna, (*Buddha ) and Kalki.

(*Some include Balaraama and some include Buddha in the list above. Mohini and Hayagreeva are also included in  some puranas with different composition).
SriRaama, the Hero of the great epic SrimadRaamayana and the subject of this note is the seventh of the Dashavatharas. Raamaavathaara and Krishnaavathaara are considered as poorna avathaaras.
Lord Brahma’s four maanasa putras (Kumaaras), Sanaka, Sanatana, Sanandana and Sanatkumara went to SriVaikuntam to have a vision (darshan) of Lord Vishnu. They were stopped at the Gate by dwarapalakas (gate-keepers)) Jaya and Vijaya. The Kumaaras felt aggrieved and cursed Jaya and Vijaya to descend to earth and be born as asuras. Jaya and Vijaya sought forgiveness. At that moment, Lord Vishnu appeared and gave darshan to the Kumaaras. He also told Jaya and Vijaya that they could choose to be Vishnu’s friends for seven births and then return to Sri Vaikuntam or they could opt to be the Lord’s enemies for three births and then return to Sri Vaikuntam.

Jaya   and  Vijaya who   could not   bear separation from the Lord for a long time, chose to become enemies of Vishnu for three births and return to Sri Vaikuntam. Accordingly, they were born as Hiranyaaksha - Hiranyakashipu in Krutha Yuga, Raavana - Kumbhakarna in Threthaayuga and Shishupaala-Danthavakthra in Dwaaparayuga.

Raavana practised   intense tapas. Brahma, pleased with this, granted an omnibus boon to him. This made him  invincible. Emboldened by this new power, Raavana  started  tormenting all beings. Devas went to Vishnu seeking   protection. The Lord told them that to kill Raavana  he would  incarnate himself as a  human  being  (nara)  and exhorted the gods to become vaanaras on earth. Raavana did not include  naras and vaanaras in his  invincibility list  as he felt  these two categories to be   insignificant. The Lord sought Dasaratha as his father (…pitharam rochayaamaasa….).

Dasaratha, the mighty king, had no progeny. He performed Puthrakaamesti yajna as advised by his preceptor, Vasishta. At the conclusion of the ritual, Yajnapurusha came with divine paayasam (sweet pudding) and offered it to Dasaratha, and, asked him to give the same to his queens. Kousalya and Kaikayee shared their own part of paayasam with Sumitra, the other queen.

In course of time, Raama, Bharatha, Lakshmana-Shatrughna made their appearance-Raama as Kousalya’s son, Bharatha as Kaikeyi’s son and Lakshmana--Shatrughna as Sumitra’s sons.

The   present   note will   primarily cover SriRaama.

SriRaama incarnated on Chaitra Shukla Navami day in Punarvasu star in Karkataka lagna - with   five planets  Sun, Mars, Jupiter, Saturn, and Venus being in uccha sthaana,  peak position (SrimadRaamaayana 1-18-8, 9,  10). This day is celebrated as SriRaamaNavami.

“Tatho yajne samapthe thu ruthunaam shat samatyayu :
Tathashcha dwadashe maase Chaitre naavamike tithau  “       II
“Nakshatreadithidaivathye swocchasamstheshu panchasu
Graheshu karkate lagne vaakpathavindunaa saha   “             II
“Prodyamaane jagannaatham sarvalokanamaskrutham
KousalyaajanayadRamam sarvalakshanasamyutham  “        iI
“Vishnorardham mahaabhaagam puthramykshwakuvardhanam  “II
“Kousalyaa shushubhe thena puthrenaamithatejasaa
Yathaa varena devanaam Adithirvajrapaaninaa    “                 II

There have been intellectual debates on whether Sri Raama was a man who was treated as   God   or was God come down to earth as man. I personally feel   this exercise is like counting the leaves and forgetting the tree.

If one were to consider him as God come down to earth, His Soulabhya (His grace) and Sousheelya (His Kind disposition) in leaving His abode and taking human form out of infinite mercy to mankind are to be recognized. If one were to treat him as a mere mortal, his sterling qualities as brought out in the opening verses of Valmiki (Listed below), elevating him to Divinity, merit detailed understanding and admiration.

SriRaama himself says, out of total humility , “ Atmaanam maanusham manye”, but several episodes in the epic point out to his Divinity- Thaatakaa vadha (aanihilation of taataka), Ahalyaa shaapa vimochana (relieving Ahalya of the curse), Shiva dhanurbhanga (breking the Siva-bow), Parashuramagarvabhanga(vanquishing parasurama), Shabari moksha (salvation to Sabari), Jatayu moksha (salvation to Jatayu), Khara-Dooshana vadha m(annihilation of kaera and d Dooshana), Saptha thala bhedana (seven trees uprooting), Vaali vadha (killing of vaali), Sethu bandhana (bridge acroos the ocean), Raavana vadha(annihilation of rtaavana) ,VibhIshana pattaabhisheka (Crowning  of Vibheeshana), Sthothras  by Garuda and Brahma, Thaara and Mandodari ( praised by Garuda,  Brahma, Thaara and Mandodari) --to name a few.

Valmiki asked Narada whether, at that point of time, was  there was in this world anyone with the sixteen  sterling qualities (epithets in italics? Narada said it was indeed very rare to find one with all the traits mentioned by Valmiki, but then went on to say that Raama of Ikshwaku race was one who was endowed with exquisite qualities. The list (Again in italics) is formidable and a great testimony to Raama.

Tapasswaadhyaayaniratham  tapasvee vaagvidaam varam
Naradam paripappraccha  Valmikirmunipu