Wednesday, February 25, 2009

Symbolic Meaning of Rama - 5

Transformation of demonic nature to divinity

Witnessing the grandeur and beauty of Lanka with its huge mansions and beautiful gardens---and seeing the sacrificial fires burning in every home, Hanuman at first wondered whether the ruler of such a paradise on earth could commit the heinous crime of abducting Sita. Later Hanuman realised that Lanka was like the fig fruit, which is very attractive on the outside but is full of worms inside. Inspite of all its external beauty and grandeur, Lanka contained within it, forces of evil and wickedness. The conversion of such an abode of evil into a kingdom of righteousness by the installation of Vibhishana is the climax of the Ramayana story.

Good exists in the midst of evil and vice-versa 

The epic theme of the Ramayana is the transformation of the demonic nature to divinity. During the war in Lanka, an arrow released by Lakshmana struck a child whom its mother was carrying. Lakshmana noticed that the mother, instead of caring for the dead child, was fleeing to save herself. He remarked to Rama that this callous lack of maternal affection revealed the demonic nature of the woman. Rama counselled patience and told Lakshmana that the woman's heart had been purified by seeing Rama. She had given up all desires and attachments. He asked Lakshmana to beckon her and ascertain whether she was running away for the sake of personal safety or for higher reasons. A monkey was sent to fetch her. When questioned, the woman said: “Ramachandra, it is not as if I have no love for my child. Unfortunately, for the decree of fate it has passed away, while I have survived. I wish to live so that, after defeating Ravana, when Rama takes the Rakshasas to Ayodhya, I shall be able to serve Rama and feast my eyes on him. Some day Rama will bless the people of Lanka and take them to Ayodhya. I shall then be able to render service in Rama's palace. I am keeping alive only with this hope."

The moral of this episode is that there is good in the midst of evil and evil in the midst of good. Likewise purity prevails amidst impurity and impurity exists in the midst of purity. That is why the answer to the question, "Where is the Lord to be found?" is "Out of unrest peace ensues; from peace results illumination; that illumination reveals the supreme effulgence of the Divine; in that effulgence is Divinity." Thus Santhi (peace) exists within asanthi(restlessness). But it is said that no one who lacks peace cannot have happiness. This is not quite correct. Instead of bemoaning the state of peacelessness one should strive for real peace with courage and faith. This is the difference between the optimist and the pessimist. 

Looking at a glass half full of water, the pessimist says, "the glass is half-empty." The optimist says, "it is half-full". The pessimist sees only the thorn in the rose stalk, while the optimist enjoys the beauty of the rose. Everyone should develop a hopeful and optimistic outlook. The hopes' should be centered not on worldly things but on self-realisation. Even in the Rakshasa dominion of Lanka there were seekers of the Atma. In Ayodhya all persons appeared to be virtuous and pious devotees of God. But even in such a sacred land, there were some petty-minded men who were ready to cast aspersions on Divinity itself and find fault with God's ways. It was a
washerman's disparaging remarks against Sita and Rama which led her banishment to the forest.

Source: Discourse in the Prashaanthi Mandir on 7-4-1987.

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