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Summer Course Discourse III - 17th May
HARMONY AND BEAUTY IN RAMAYANAs
creation is under the control of God.
That God is under the control of the Truth.
That truth is under the control of noble one.
The noble people are greater than gods.
Embodiments of love!
The society today is in utter need of Ramayana. We do not have
children who respect their parents, nor do we have parents who have great
affection for their children. We do not have disciples today who revere
their preceptors; nor do we have preceptors who have great love for their
disciples. We do not have homes where parents shine as role models for
their children. We do not have homes where brothers live with mutual love
and affection; nor do we have homes where wives and husbands shine as
ideals to others by virtue of their mutual love and affection. Good
manners and courtesies have vanished. The Ramayana today stands as an
ideal, in various fields of activity, for the trouble-torn society of
The parents of today do not bother to find out the ways and means of bringing up their children and keeping them under control. They think that their responsibility is over after admitting them into a primary school or a village school. Home is the first school for children. It is in this school that children should learn to respect their parents; to observe the Truth, Righteousness, Peace and Non-violence in the school; how to behave in the school; how to respect the teachers; how to behave with fellow students. They must know how to abide by the rules and regulations of the school and how to observe discipline. It is by learning these things the students turn into ideal students.
Wake up from bed, when the cock crows in
the sage Vishwamitra came to Dasaratha, the emperor received him with all
his courtesy, invited him to occupy a high seat and asked him the reason
for his arrival. When people come to our house, it is essential that we
treat them respectfully and give joy to them. The sage told the emperor,
"O Dasaratha! I have decided to conduct a Yagna for the welfare of the
world. But the demons cause many problems during the course of the Yagna.
I have the power and the strength to face them, for I have powerful
weapons at my command. But the rules of the Yagna forbid me to use my
weapons when I am engaged in the performance of it. Violence and bloodshed
are prohibited for a Rithvik performing a Yagna. I seek the help of your
sons to protect the Yagna, which I am going to perform for the welfare and
well being of the world."
These words came as a shock to Dasaratha. He did not like the idea of sending such tender children to the forests. He thought that it was unjust on his part to send such tender children to the forests. He told the sage, "Master, pardon me. I will assume the responsibility for the protection of the Yagna. These children are quite young, hardly thirteen years old. They are not well acquainted in the art of using weapons. How can they protect the Yagna?" Vishwamitra pretended to be angry when he heard the words of the king. He roared, "The descendants of Ikshvaku never go back on their promises. You have promised me that you would certainly honour my word. It is unfair on your part to go back on your word. If you think that you are correct I am going back."
Dasaratha took to heart the words spoken by Vishwamitra. He knew
that he should be extremely careful in dealing with snakes and sages. He
also feared that Vishwamitra might curse him. He called Vasishta, the
family guru and held deliberations with him. It satisfied Dasaratha to
some extent. Sage Vasishta looked at Dasaratha and said to him, "These
children are not ordinary children. You are downcast due to your
attachment to your children. They will fall upon the enemies like thunder
bolts. You are not able to realise their greatness." Then Vasishta called
for Rama. Rama came and stood in front of Vasista. Lakshmana also came, as
it was his practice to be with Rama always. Dasaratha introduced his
children to Vasista. They saluted their father Dasaratha, guru Vasishta
and sage Vishwamitra. They stood waiting there. Vasishta was transfixed
looking at the splendour of their faces. He desired to do namaskar to the
children. But it was not appropriate to do namaskar to the children
openly. So he saluted them in his heart.
The brothers Rama and Lakshmana, Bharatha and Shatrugna always moved together. Lakshmana followed Rama like a shadow. Shatrugna always followed Bharatha. There was a reason for this. When Dasaratha performed the Putrakameshti Yaga, the chosen deity appeared and offered the vessel of sacred offering to Vasishta. Vasishta handed over the sacred vessel to Dasaratha who in turn called Kausalya, his queen to share it with other queens Sumitra and Kaikeyi. Kausalya had the confidence that the son born to her would be the king of Ayodhya as she was the eldest queen. Kaikeyi also had the confidence that the son born to her would one day be coronated because Dasaratha had promised her father at the time of marriage. But the virtuous Sumitra had no such hopes. As the emperor did not make any promise to her, she thought that her son would only serve the king. She carried her share of pudding in a bowl and placed it on the parapet wall on the terrace while drying her hair. From nowhere an eagle came and carried away the bowl of sacred pudding. Horrified at this, she immediately ran down and informed Kausalya and Kaikeyi about what had happened. Since Kausalya and Kaikeyi were virtuous, they shared the sacred pudding with her.
The queens were noble without an iota of selfishness. They shone as examples of harmony, understanding and mutual love. Their conduct is worthy of emulation in the current times. The three queens closed their eyes in prayer and partook the sacred pudding. Kausalya gave birth to Rama, Sumitra to Lakshmana and Shatrugna and Kaikeyi to Bharatha. The sons of Kausalya and Kaikeyi were happily playing in the cradle whereas the sons of Sumitra were wailing all the time, day and night, without taking food also. She went to sage Vasishta and told about her wailing children. Sage Vasishta closed his eyes and went into yogic vision. The truth dawned on him. He said to Sumitra, "As you partook the sacred pudding given to Kausalya, you gave birth to Lakshmana who is an amsha [aspect] of Rama. As you ate the pudding given by Kaikeyi, you gave birth to Shatrugna who is an aspect of Bharatha. Keep Lakshmana by the side of Rama and Shatrugna by the side of Bharatha. They will rest peacefully." Sumitra did as instructed by Vasishta. All the children slept peacefully without crying. Sumitra felt very happy at this and said to Kausalya and Kaikeyi "Lakshmana and Shatrughna are your gifts. My children will serve your children. Lakshmana will serve Rama and Shatrugna will serve Bharatha. It is my good fortune that my son will serve others."
Rama and Lakshmana, Bharatha and Shatrugna were intimately connected. Wherever Rama went, Lakshmana followed him. Rama would not eat food unless Lakshmana ate with him. Similarly Bharatha also would not eat food unless Shatrugna was in his company. They would not celebrate their birthdays without the company of the other brothers. When Bharatha went to see his grandfather, the King of Kashmir, Shatrugna followed him to Kashmir though no one told him to do so. When Rama was leaving for the forest, Lakshmana also started following Rama though Rama had not told him to accompany him. Rama even told Lakshmana, "Brother! You should remain in Ayodhya to serve our parents who will be pining away in my absence. It is your duty to console them and giving happiness to them." To this, Lakshmana answered, "Brother! My mother has sent me to serve you. You are going to the forest in obedience to the command of our father, whereas I am following you in obedience to the command of my mother." Lakshmana followed Rama wherever he went. Similar was the case of Shatrugna also.
When the four sons of Dasaratha returned to Ayodhya from Mithila accompanied by their consorts, Dasaratha was overjoyed. He told them, "When I set my eyes on all of you [his sons], I feel as though I am watching the Ashtagrahas [8 planets]. Since you are accompanied by your four consorts, I feel as though I shine with the splendour of the Shodasakalas [16 splendours]. These four consorts of yours are highly noble and virtuous. I will look after them as though they are my daughters. It is by the Divine grace that I have such daughters-in-law. Where is Mithila and where is Ayodhya? It is Divine wish that all of them should be united like this." These four consorts of the four sons of Dasaratha were of exemplary excellence. Sita and Urmila were the daughters of Janaka, and married Rama and Lakshmana respectively. Mandavi and Shruthakeerthi who were the daughters of Kushadwaja, Janaka's brother, married Bharatha and Shatrugna respectively. As the four daughters-in-law were ideal women, the home of Dasaratha was an ideal home.
Vishwamitra took the permission of Dasaratha to take Rama with him for the
protection of the Yagna, Lakshmana automatically followed Rama. As they
started moving in the forest led by Vishwamitra, the sage taught them two
mantras to Rama and Lakshmana. He taught them the mantras Bala and Atibala
so that they would not suffer from hunger and sleeplessness. Though
Vishwamitra knew that Rama and Lakshmana were divine children, he came
under the spell of Maya and taught them the sacred mantras. Vishwamitra
taught these mantras so that they would not suffer from hunger and
sleeplessness in the forest.
The home of Dasaratha was an ideal home where all the mothers lived in great harmony. The queens of Dasaratha also lived in great unity and understanding. Nowadays it is difficult to lead one's life with a single wife, what to speak of three wives? But the home of Dasaratha was an exception. Great harmony and understanding prevailed there. One may entertain the thought "why Kaikeyi behaved in a selfish manner demanding Rama's exile for fourteen years?" She was working under the divine dictates of destiny, for it was destined that Rama should go into forest to kill the demons. People entertain the notion that Mandhara poisoned the mind of mind of Kaikeyi by her evil counsel. Kaikeyi was not a lady who would listen to the words of a servant. She was a lady of character, endowed with great virtues. She loved Rama more than her son Bharatha.
When the Devas and sages approached Brahma with a complaint to save them from the atrocities of Ravana, Brahma told them, "I gave the boon to Ravana that he would be killed neither by gods nor even by kinneras and kimpurushas but he did not mention Manava (Man). Hence Ravana would be killed at the hands of Rama, who is an incarnation of Vishnu." Everything was happening according to the divine will. Even Lankini gave utterance to the divine will. When Hanuman had hit her, she said, "Bad times are ahead of Lanka." It was prophesied that when a monkey would hit her, the downfall of Lanka would begin. In fact, when Hanuman hit her, Lankini fell flat on the ground. Lankini was a demoness of enormous strength who was guarding the city of Lanka at the portals of the fortress.
Hanuman was also closely connected to Rama, Lakshmana, Bharatha and Shathrughna as he was born to Anjani Devi out of the sacred rice pudding that the queens of Dasaratha had partaken. Because of this reason Hanuman felt a close link with the four brothers.
Embodiments of Love!
The Ramayana stands out as a great ideal to the entire mankind. It lends ideals in every field of life. It shows how brothers, sisters and parents should live as ideals. The Ramayana is an ideal not only for the ancient times but also for the modern age. Every man is born in this world to shine as an ideal, but not to be a piece of decoration. Every man should stand out as an ideal to the best of his capacity. The Ramayana demonstrates what the ideal family and ideal manners to all.
When Sita, Mandavi, Urmila and Shruthakeerthi were leaving for Ayodhya along with their husbands, their parents did not shed tears of sorrow as parents do now. Their parents thought that the four women had to play an important role in the home of Dasaratha. The parents of these four women thought that their daughters were duty bound to go to the home of Dasaratha. They did not think that that they were going to another home. They did not shed any tears of sorrow. It was with tears of joy that they would send their daughters to the home of their husbands. Such were the ideals that the people of those days upheld.
It is a general feeling that Kausalya shed bitter tears when Rama was going to forest. In fact, this was not the case. On the other hand, she told Rama, "My son, it is God's will that I am your mother and you are my son. We should play our roles according to divine destiny. Don't feel bad that you are going into the forests. Ayodhya without you is a forest for us, and a forest, in your company, is Ayodhya." These were the ideals upheld by the great women of those days.
There are many ideals that the Ramayana upholds for the entire world. One day Dasaratha noticed that the child Rama was massaging his own feet. He did not ask the services of the servants to massage his feet. Dasaratha, on looking at Rama's condition sent for the servants immediately to massage Rama's feet. Rama told Dasaratha, "I don't want the services of these servants. I will do my own work. These are my legs and not someone else's. So I should massage my own legs without depending on others. All are servants in this world."
Dasaratha was an emperor who exercised control over the Dasa indriyas (ten senses). As he could control his ten senses, he could get a son like Rama. To have a son like Rama, one should have the sense control of Dasaratha. Even Kaikeyi, who is usually misunderstood as a selfish queen was not an ordinary mortal. She was a lady of superlative virtues and sublime conduct. She loved Rama more than Bharatha. Kausalya was also a great woman. She did not shed tears when Rama was going on exile. She believed that it was divine destiny that Rama should go into exile for fourteen years.
Rama was full of lavanya(beauty). His character was the cause for His beauty. In fact, Rama and Krishna were ever youthful. Have you ever seen a picture of Rama or Krishna sporting a beard, moustache and grey hairs? Have you ever seen a picture of Krishna with signs of old age? Have you ever seen Him as a grandfather? All avatars are ever youthful. This body of mine is seventy-seven years old. I do not know any weakness and I can walk quickly. It may look funny if I walk quickly at this age. It may make people laugh. People will definitely laugh if a toddler walks with a walking stick in his hand. It will look funny if a old man plays with toys. As the old man playing with toys will be a laughing stock, in the similar way, I may become a laughing stock if I run and jump. We should conduct ourselves according to the time, place and circumstances. I conduct Myself according to these.
I don't know any weakness. Usually, old people have wrinkles on their faces and they suffer from deafness and cataract. I don't have any signs of old age. There is not a single wrinkle on my face. My eyes shine like bulbs and my ears are like loudspeakers. People go for a cataract operation in their old age. My eyes are in perfect condition. I can see anything, which is at a distance. Nobody knows My power and strength. But I use them according to the need and the situation. I use my senses discreetly with discrimination. Speed brakers are meant to control the speed. They are necessary and they ensure the safety. I have full control over my senses. These are all the signs of My Divinity. You will know My Divine signs slowly and steadily in course of time. Though I have a human body, I am free from human attachment. Though the body is human, I am entirely Divine. The body has to perish one day or the other.
Though Rama and Krishna were born with human bodies, people entertained the wrong notion that they died in ordinary way. Rama and Krishna did not shed the body in the human way. Rama stepped into river Sarayu and vanished. He had earlier sent away Sita. Similarly, Krishna went to Dwaraka. Uddhava saw Krishna sitting under a tree, and then Krishna immediately vanished. It was not a body to be killed by a hunter. You must earn the capacity to understand Divinity.
Embodiments of Love!
Since I eat like you, play with you and sing with you, you are deluded into the belief that I am also a human being like you. It is sheer ignorance to think of Me in that way. Lady devotees think that there is something wrong with My legs when I walk slowly. I do not have any trouble with My legs, I am happy and there is nothing wrong with My health. I walk slowly with measured steps because of the robe I wear. The robe I wear is stitched to the very hem preventing Me from taking long steps. My walk is slow, gentle and soft, without any roughness. I am all sweetness and softness.
I shall explain to you in the coming days the influence of educational
institutions. What you need to know today is that all strengths and powers are
there in India. All knowledge and sciences have had their birth in India. It is
the ancient Indians who discovered the fine arts like music, literature and
poetry. Why are we then neglecting such a holy land? This is the mark of
ignorance of a high degree. Students cannot recognize this truth and are today
striving to earn worldly pleasures. These will never be obtained. Even if
obtained, they will not last long. Hence we should realize that in this puppet
called the human body lie all forms of strengths.
At one time, during the Second World War, there was a danger that external forces would invade India. A communist leader approached me and said, "Boy! I understand that you can compose excellent poems. Will you compose one on our leader and sing it?" I then asked him to fetch a cradle and composed a song on the spot. It sounded like a lullaby.
Do not cry, O' infant, do not cry my child ;
If you cry you will not be called a valiant son of Bharat.
Go to sleep, my child, go to sleep
Did you get scared that the terrible Hitler has invaded the invincible Russia and cry?
Go to sleep, my child, go to sleep
Do not cry my child, for the red army is marching under the heroic Stalin;
They will put an end to atrocities of Hitler
Go to sleep, my child, go to sleep
All the countrymen shall unite and fight to win freedom;
Go to sleep, my child, go to sleep.
I would compose several such songs with deep meaning and cause joy to the villagers by having them sung. Many of them wondered as to how this tiny tot Sathyanarayana Raju had come to know of Hitler and Stalin. These names were unknown to most of the people in that region. Know that there is nothing that Sai does not know. Yet I pretend as if I am not aware. I ask some people, "When did you come?" They may bemoan that Sai Baba is even unaware of when they have arrived! I do know. But I still ask the question to give you the happiness of having spoken to Me. My only intention in asking such questions is to make you happy. I do not entertain the thought that you may doubt me. I do not allow such assumptions to prevent Me from giving you this joy.
People used to address me as Satya. Some students came to me and requested that I versify into a poem an entire drama that they were planning to enact. I agreed and I asked for two students. I taught them the song and sent them out to sing
What are these times that have descended on us,
O' folks! What are these times that have descended on us!
The talcum powder has formed a cheap substitute for the turmeric powder;
O' folks! What are---------!
Healthy brass bracelets have given way to cheap trinkets and chains;
O' folks! What are----------!
In this way, I used to propagate to the public lessons that needed to be taught.
People hang a silver disc from a leather strap on their left wrists - and call it fashion!
Grotesque appearances are made that cannot be seen by the eyes - and they call it fashion!
Long moustaches have been cut to small blips -and they call it fashion!
I would compose such songs that poked fun at some of these modern fads and try to draw the public attention, particularly the youth, towards ancient customs and traditions.
Karnam Subbamma was a noble and pious lady. She loved Me a lot. I was then just seven years of age. It was not habitual to go to her house as soon as she called Me to! She would keep asking Me, "Child! Why do you not come to my house?" I would respond, " I am not a beggar to keep visiting others' houses. I shall come only if invited and not otherwise". She then prayed, "Son! My husband is taking to immoral ways and ruining himself. Can you help me in correcting him?" Bhagawan replied, "I shall take a very strong action on him. You need not have any fear or trouble on this account." I then taught some small boys to sing in front of him. Karnam Subbamma was worried that he would get angry. I comforted her saying, "A person's anger is his own enemy. It cannot harm Me." I would then train the small boys and leave them to sing in such a way that he learnt a very good lesson. This was a task that could not be achieved by mild and soft words. Only hard-hitting words would prick him and make him feel guilty. The children were scared. I gave them strength by saying that I would be with them."
The Karnam was called Narayana Rao. I wrote a poem specially to correct him, passages of which ran as follows:
You will become an outcaste among your own community ;
Your relatives will not entertain you and will drive you out ;
Your friends will beat you with their slippers if they see you!
I used such harsh words and advised him to give up his misdirected ways. The bolt hit home! The Karnam learnt a good lesson and gave up his vices. Subbamma was thrilled. Though I was a small boy, she ran and fell at My feet and thanked Me profusely. I told her to stop it since I was much younger to her. She brushed my objections aside and said, "Your physical stature may be small, but in that is hidden an enormous Divine power. There is none else who can be so daringly forceful and set right so powerful a figure as the Karnam!" She then turned to Pedda Venkappa Raju and said, "Venkappa! You consider this small boy as your son. You are deceiving yourself. He is very powerful. He will set ideals for the whole world to emulate in future. You must stop developing the feeling that He is your son. Send Him to my house." Pedda Venkappa Raju replied, "It is not in our family to give out children for adoption. Whatever be our limited capacity, we shall look after Him ourselves. I cannot send Him to another house."
In this way, I did not allow Myself to be caught by anybody. I lived a life of solitude with courage. It was a free life because I had no defects or shortcomings. So what did I have to fear? I went forward cheerfully and fearlessly.
I had also written some dramas. It is raining today and that is why I am narrating these stories to you. Otherwise, I would never tell them! I had several small plays staged by the small children. One such drama was entitled: "Cheppinattu Chestara" (Do they act as they speak?) The central characters were the mother and father at home and the teacher. The mother in the drama would conduct a Satsang in the evening for a few ladies in which she would expound the inner meanings of the holy texts. Her name was Kameshwari. This character was based on the wife Panchaangamu Ramappa's wife. Whenever she discoursed, I would sit there. She would read the highly philosophical Vedantic texts. She would actually find it difficult to understand these and even had the handicap of not knowing the alphabets properly. She would still try to somehow go on. She used to explain the various attributes of God and describe Him as highly righteous and as the Embodiment of Truth. I then wrote a song that ended with the words "Taarakamu sootigaa Erukavalenanna". She would struggle to explain its meaning verbatim! I would then take a suitable opportunity to go and explain to her that it would be better if she could explain the verses rather than simply read them out.
Women were hardly educated in those days. They would assemble near such erudite ladies and spent their time listening to sacred hymns and stories about the Divine. I was hence organising such groups right from those days. I used to encourage the effects of good company. I had assembled the little children and organised the Pandari Bhajan group. They would wear anklets that tinkled, cymbals that clanged and would enthusiastically sing and dance along the streets, waking up slumbering villagers. Earlier, these people would not rise till 7.00 a.m. But when I started organising the bhajans with the children they would be up by 5.00 a.m., have their baths and offer prayers to God.
Taking cymbals in the hand,
Tying them up firmly to the hand,
Clanging the together to beat out desire and anger from within,
Let us take the path to Shirdi,
Let us sing 'Jai Jai Ranga'
Let us sing 'Jai Jai Sai'
Let us sing 'Jai Jai' and hurry towards the Lord
Thus began the idea of Nagarsankeerthana - waking up the villagers with sacred songs. I started Nagarsankeerthana when this body was 7 years only! Subbamma would quietly join the group as well, enthusiastically beating the cymbals, but worried as to what I would have to say to her!
This body, right from birth, has always engaged itself in imparting and discriminating knowledge and passing on the sacred teachings. The Pandari bhajan group was so popular that villagers would rush in even from the neighbouring villages to participate. They would all be lost in bliss. Subbamma would feel very happy. For Rs. 2, a sackful of sweets could be got. She would arrange to have it distributed as prasadam to all.
It is essential to develop such sacred feelings right from childhood. I was sent to Kamalapuram for the sake of education. Kamalapuram lies between Cuddapah and Tadipatri towns. There, Kote Subbanna discovered My capability to write poems and came running to Me with a request. He said, " Raju! I hear that You compose excellent poems." I told him, "It is not that I compose poems. Whatever I utter is itself poetry!" He said, "I shall get a pair of shirt and trousers stitched for you." I told him at once that he must not approach me with such cheap bartering offers. I am not waiting for you to donate alms to Me. There is no need to talk to you if you do this!" I hence admonished him.
He then explained that he had stocked a brand new medicine in his shop. He wrote down and gave me a detailed list of the prowess of the new medicine. It was called "Bala Bhaskara". He requested that I compose a song on the "Bala Bhaskara". He pleaded with me to teach it to a group of children and make them go round the streets singing the song. I told him to come back in an hour! The classes were going on and Kondappa was an extremely strict teacher, but Mehboob Khan was very kind. I did not want to give up my responsibilities. I hence told Kote Subbanna to come an hour later, after the classes and collect his poem. I then set the tune and composed the song. It ran as follows:
There it is! There it is! O', children! Come, come!
There is the medicine Bala Bhaskara;
Be it an upset stomach or a swollen leg;
Be it a joint pain or flatulence;
Be it any ailment, known or unknown;
Take this Bala Bhaskara for an instant cure!
If you wish to know where it is available:
There is the shop of Kote Subbanna;
It is in that shop that you can pick it up.
Come here boys! Come here!
It is an excellent tonic
Prepared by the famous Gopalachari himself
Come here boys! Come here!
Kote Subanna's joys knew no bounds when he heard the song. He brought a big basket of laddoos and deposited it with Me in gratitude. I directed that they be distributed to everyone present there. I never took sweets right from My birth. Why do I need to when I have all the sweetness within Me? My mind is sweet, My love is sweet. Why then do I need these sweets?
In this way, my only primary task was to help everybody, ease their suffering and give them joy. I showed them the right path and encouraged them to be happy.
Embodiments of Love!
Our Vice-Chancellor has prayed that I should speak about the sacred source of joy - Ramayana. I am not satisfied with the present educational scenario. People are studying as much as they wish. But what is the use of this education? They are hankering after wealth and not after character. Wealth is no doubt essential. But it is not critical. Character is also equally important. All educational achievements will be forgotten at some point of time. What is needed is the spiritual education. It is said: "Adhyatmika Vidya Vidyanaam" - Spiritual knowledge is the highest form of knowledge. It is this knowledge that needs to be taught to the heart. This sacred knowledge is available in the sacred Ramayana. Ramayana is an ancient text. It has survived the vicissitudes of time, vacillations of history and several other turbulences and still stands tall as an ideal. There are several secrets in Ramayana that are not even understood by many.
I shall extract these tiny fragments, expound and grow them as huge trees and making you sit under their cool shades, I shall try to make you relax and rest. This shall be My effort from tomorrow onwards.
(Text of the Divine Discourse delivered by Bhagawan Sri Sathya Sai Baba on 17th May 2002 as part of the Summer Course on Indian Culture and Spirituality held at Brindavan Campus, Bangalore)
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