Today is Sri Rama navami - Rama’s birth day!
I used to think that it is not by chance
that the two most avoided-thithis, namely Ashtami and Navami
happen to be the birth days of the two most loved avatars of Vishnu.
These two days are special in the moon’s monthly sojourn
in that the earth will be the least tormented
by the pulls of the two luminaries, the sun and the moon, on these days, every fortnight.
We all know what a combined pull of the sun and the moon can do the fluids of the earth.
They influence even our thoughts, mind and fluids in our body.
But their combined effect will be the least on ashtami and navami
when they come at right angles to our earth.
These days are like zero-disturbance days.
It is even said in astrological texts that starting medication or doing a surgery
on ashtami is good.
It is because whatever medication is done to the body on that day
will start acting effectively without any disturbance from the luminaries!
It is for this reason any kind of mind- work or thought-work done on these days
can go on un-hampered.
The spiritual abhyaas or meditation or worship done on these days
can happen undisturbed.
The birth of the two gods in these two thithis,
had given a focus to meditate on them on these days.
Ramayana has been read, heard, discussed and debated for ages.
However this day propels me to write something on Ramayana.
And I choose to search for the messaeg of Ramayana in an encapsulated form!
The inspiration is from Bhagavad Gita.
The very first verse of Gita indicates the message of entire Gita.
The first verse starts with “Dharma” (dharma kshethre kuru kshethre..)
and ends with “jaya” (kima kurvatha San-jaya).
This is interpreted to mean that dharma always wins. (dharma – jaya)
This is the essence of Gita.
With this thinking if we analyze the very first verse of Ramayana,
we do get wonderful insight about the message of Ramayana.
Ramayana begins with the verse
“tapaH svaadhyaaya nirataam tapasvii vaagvidaam varam |
naaradam paripapracCha vaalmiikiH muni pu.mgavam || “
naaradam paripapracCha vaalmiikiH muni pu.mgavam || “
This means, “A thoughtful-meditator, an eternally studious sage in scriptures about the Truth and Untruth, a sagacious thinker, and a sublime enunciator among all expert enunciators is Narada, and with such a Divine Sage Narada, the Sage-Poet Valmiki is inquisitively enquiring about a man who is a composite for all merited endowments in his form and caliber:.
The very opening word is ‘tapaH’ and the verse ends with ‘pungavam’.
Tapah means meditating, gyaana, thinking etc.
Thinking about what or about whom?
It is 'thinking on the Absolute’, that Narada does always.
The verse indicates that Narada is a constant thinker of the Absolute.
And the word tapaH in this verse is about thinking on the Absolute.
The verse ends with pungavam
Pungavam means ‘the best’ or the ‘most eminent’.
It ends as muni pungavam – referring to Narada.
(The verse must be read like this to derive the meaning :-
tapasvii vaalmiikiH tapaH svaadhyaaya niratam vaagvidaam varam muni pumgavam naaradam pari papracCha).
The meaning of the verse is that Valmiki asks Narada, who is always bent on thoughts of the Absolute, who he thinks is the best man endowed with all meritorious qualities.
The essence of Ramayana seems to lie in the first and last words of this verse!
Thinking of that ‘meritorious man’ one becomes pungava –
the most eminent person like Narada
who lives for ever and moves in all the three worlds.
The one who is immersed in the glory of Sri Rama and
is always thinking (tapaH) about Him
will rise to be in the company of the eminent beings or Immortals
who enjoy special place of eminence in all the three worlds.
This is the message of Ramayana.
Rama has embraced all those (Guha, Hanuman, Sugreeva, Vibheeshana)
who were engrossed in his thoughts.
He will take us also in His fold if we think of Him always!
This seems to be the message.
In his concluding verse of Ramayana,
Valimiki says that just by listening to Ramayana,
one gets wisdom, longevity, health, fame, fraternity, intelligence, welfare and brilliance.
The phala-sruti (results) of Ramayana is this:-
“In this world, whoever person reads and listens to this foremost lyric derived from the speech of a sage, which is endowed with righteousness, conferring fame and longevity, fetching victory to kings and as written at first by Valmiki, that person is delivered from all misfortune.
On hearing the narrative of his coronation in this world, a person seeking for sons gets sons.
A person looking for wealth, gets the riches.
A king conquers the earth and overcomes his enemies.
Even as Kausalya, the mother has Rama as her living son, or as Sumitra has Lakshmana or as Kaikeyi has Bharata, the women likewise can become mothers of living sons, endowed with children as well as grand children and thus become happy forever.
On hearing this epic of Ramayana and all the episode of victory of Rama, who was unweary in his actions, a person gets longevity to life.
He or she, who hears with attention and with a subdued anger, this poetic composition done by Valmiki long ago, that person overcomes the difficulties.
Whoever hears this poetical composition written by Valmiki long ago, they at the conclusion of their absence from home, meet their relatives and get rejoiced.
All the gods get pleased with those who carefully listen to it.
Whoever carefully listens to the epic in his house, all obstacles come to an end.
A king conquers the earth.
A person staying away from home, fares well.
On hearing the epic, the menstruating women give birth to excellent sons.
The adorer and the reader of this ancient epic gets relieved of all sins and obtains longer life.
The epic is to be listened by warrior-class, after offering their salutation with their heads bent low, from brahmins every day regularly.
There is no doubt that the listener and the reader of this entire Ramayana will get lordship and the birth of a son.
Rama gets forever pleased with him who listens to or reads Ramayana daily.
He is indeed the eternal Vishnu, the Lord of preservation. Rama is the primordial Lord, clearly placed before the eyes the powerful Lord removing the sins and the great-armed; who has abode on waters (of the ocean of milk) Sesha (the serpent-god forming his couch is said to be Lakshmana.
Let there be happiness to you! Let the strength of Vishnu increase!
By studying and listening to this epic, all the gods get appeased.
By listening to this Ramayana, the forefathers forever get pleased.
To those persons who transcribe with devotion this collection of poems depicting the story of Rama residence in heaven is assured.
By listening to this highly meaningful and auspicious poetical composition, a person gets family-prosperity, augmentation in money and grain, superior women, exquisite happiness and all the acquisition of wealth on this earth.
This narrative is to be listened invariably by good people, seeking for wisdom, longevity, health, fame, fraternity, intelligence, welfare and brilliance.”
(Thus ends Ramayana)
If just by listening to Ramayana, one can get so many goodies,
what will happen to the one who is engaged in the thoughts of Rama, the Absolute?
He will become a ‘pungava’!
That is the message of Ramayana!