Was Bhagwan Valmiki Ji a Dakoo?

 

An Age Old Conspiracy Revealed

 

One of the greatest conspiracies that took place in Indian history was committed by the Aryan society during their conquest and dominance of the Indian sub-continent. They introduced the Vedas into Indian society which split the people into higher and lower castes so that the lower castes could serve the castes above them. After creating the class distinction between the people, Manu-Simriti was introduced. Owning to the evil of Manu-Simriti caste system still exists to the present day. Quite amazingly, one wonders, how the suffering women of the higher castes have never stood up against the evil of Maru-Simriti for hundreds of years.

Over the years, many evils were committed by Aryan society against the native Indians and their religious masters. One of the worst plots was aimed at the greatest Maharishi born in India, namely Aadh-Kavi Bhagwan Valmiki Ji. They have tried to tell the society that the first poet of this world, the giver of the great volumes such as the Ramayana and Yogh Vashisth, was a robber (or Dakoo).

Dr. Dev Singh Asur has written a great chapter in his book ‘Brahm se Brahmand’ in which he writes on how the introduction of Bhagwan Valmiki Ji as a robber in the Hindu texts came about during the period of Bhaktiwaadh. It would be most appropriate to thank Dr. Dev Singh Asur for defending the name of greatest personality to have lived in India. The material for this particular article has been taken from Dr. Asur’s book. I am sure that we have similar interests and aims when it comes to revealing the true facts concerning Bhagwan Valmiki Ji and his character. Thereby vehemently condemn the evil Aryan people and their evil thoughts that here have called the great saint Bhagwan Valmiki Ji a robber, in order to promote their own interests.

Janki Nath Sharma writes in the first chapter of his book, ‘Sakandh Puraan’, that Bhagwan Valmiki Ji has been introduced as a robber by birth. The chapter touches on the well known malicious lies about how seven rishis lectured a robber and gave him Mara-Mara Jaap. The robber then chanted that Jaap for years and years, while his body got covered in dust and soil. In the end Brahma gave the robber a boon that he would become the first poet. When the robber came out of the pile of soil and dust (Valmik) his name became (Valmiki).

The truth of the matter is that the low thinking writers, without any serious studies of Inidan history have called Bhagwan Valmiki Ji a robber in their writing. In the Sakandh Puraan, four different stories have been written to defend the name of Bhagwan Valmiki Ji.

a)      Vashnav Kaand has a story of a robber who performs Jaap of Ram Naam and becomes the great sage Valmiki.

b)      Avantikaand tells of story concerning Agni Sharma who was a robber and how seven rishis (sages) reformed his thoughts and ideas and asked him to write the great Ramayana.

c)      Naaghar Kaand has a story of Lohjang who became a robber so that he could feed his family after the death of his parents. He meets seven rishis who reform him and teach him ‘Jaat Ghot Mantra’. Lohjang recites this mantra. Later on seven the rishis return and see Lohjang is covered in dust and soil whilst reciting the mantra they taught him. The seven rishis give Lohjang the new name of Valmiki and go on their way.

d)      Parishaskhand tells a story of Shamimukh Brahmin who has a son called Vaishakh who looked after his family by resorting to robbing people.  He then meets seven rishis and becomes a reformed person. To pay for his sins, Vaishakh becomes a recluse and goes away and performs Tapasya and Jaap for thousands of years. His body gets covered in soil and dust. When the seven rishis return, they see a head of mud which had covered Vaishakh and they gave him the new name of Valmiki and predicted that he would write the great Ramayana in the future.

All these stories have been put in the Sakandh Puraan with a view to degrade the character of Bhagwan Valmiki Ji. It appears that these stories are hollow publications to achieve and serve a definite ideal i.e. deface Bhagwan Valmiki Ji. This Puraan mentions Jagan Nath Mandir which, according to scholars, was built around AD 1264. Therefore the Sakandh Puraan must have been written during the 13th century. This points to the fact that the robber stories came into being much later in order to achieve a certain purpose.

Well known scholar Dr. Kamil Boulke writes in his famous book Ram Katha, that the facts of Sakandh Puraan are extremely dubious and baseless. Dr. Boulke writes that most of material work in Sakandh Puraan was written after the 8th century. A lot of material was added to this text at a later stage. When Ram Bhakti was popularised by the emergence of Brahmanism, the name Bhagwan Valmiki Ji was debased to bring Ram Naam to the fore front.

Well known scholar M.Weinternitz does not believe that the Sakandh Puraan is an ancient historic volume and does not compare with the ideals of Puraans either.

To conclusively prove that Bhagwan Valmiki Ji has been a victim of deliberate, malicious, hollow and fabricated wild yarns spun by low grade, low thinking writers to promote Ram Naam, one has to look into research carried out by some of the most noteworthy scholars.

Professor Prabahu Dayal Agnihotri writes in his book that the first poet (premier) Bhagwan Valmiki Ji’s character was degraded in rival Ramayanas to create doubts, so that the importance and popularity of Shiv-Puja against Ram-Puja could be brought about. In the 15th and 16th century Adhyatham Ramayana was written in simple language by Ram-Bakts. This made it easy to understand it. Of course, Ram-Bakts also made the altered texts of Ramayana popular through singers of the period.

Goswami, Tulsi Dass also used Adhyathma Ramayana to compile his written text. Tulsi Dass was, of course, an avid Ram-Bakt and he left no page unturned in twisting the facts of the original Valmiki Ramayana to suit the Aryan-Hindu society and at the same time uplifted and popularised the name of Ramchandra. This was a deliberate, malicious and well executed conspiracy by Tulsi Dass to undermine the character of Maharishi Valmiki Ji.

Dr. Swami Nath Sharma writes about Bhagwan Valmiki Ji in Navnit magazine. He said that Bhagwan Valmiki Ji produced the first poetic work of Sanskrit; therefore he became a highly respected and popular father figure. His moral and religious ideals were held in high esteem by all. The story about Bhagwan Valmiki Ji becoming a Sadhu from a robber and Mara-Mara Jaap (Ulta Jaap) were introduced at a much later stage. This story was first mentioned in Adhyathma Ramayana which was written around 1500 AD. The writer of this text deliberately called Bhagwan Valmiki Ji a robber so that he could tell people that Ramchandra was the incarnation of God himself.

Professor Johan Dobson writes in his book ‘A Classical Dictionary of Hindu Mythology’, regarding the Adhyathma Ramayana to be part of the Brahminanda Purana. He adds that it is a sort of spiritualised version of the poem in which Rama is depicted as a saviour and deliverer as a God rather than a man.

Great scholar M.Weinternitz writes in his ‘History of Indian Literature’ (Page 552) concerning the Adhyathma Ramayana, that Rama is the Supreme Atma and also Advaita and Rama Bhakti are taught in this text. The text is considered to be part of the Brahminanda Purana. The fact that Marathi poet Sant Eknatha, who lived in the 16th century, calls Adhyathma Ramayana a modern text proves that it cannot be ancient.

Dr. Father Bulcke also believe that their Adhyathma Ramayana was produced in the 14th – 15th century AD. In his essay, ‘About Valmiki’, the story of him being a robber is not true. He writes after the development of Ram Bakti movement, the Adhyathma Ramayana was modified in such a way as to illustrate the saving grace of the name Rama.

Dr. Manjula Sehdev writes in her book about the fabricated robber stories linked to Bhagwan Valmiki Ji, to have been produced in the Sakandh Puraan to emphasise and popularise Ram Naam. It appears that during this period Bhakti-Vaadh was at its peak and Ram-Naam was being preached and spread amongst people by followers of Rama.

Dr. Kamil Bulcke has stated after his intensive research, that Bhagwan Valmiki Ji gave India the great gift of Ramayana thus giving India and it’s civilisation an importance in the neighbouring countries.

Pandit Ami Chand Sharma says about people who have called Bhagwan Valmiki Ji a robber etc. should be asked the following question: can a swallow-wart tree produce sweet mango fruit? A tree is known by the fruit that it produces. So when we look at Maharishi Valmiki’s life, the fruits of his efforts produced the great Maha Ramayana, which is renowned in most of the civilised world. So who in his right mind would point fingers at Bhagwan Valmiki Ji. These are malicious lies by sick people in higher positions who have used and abused their higher status. Pandit Ami Chand Sharma has used the example of good tree and its good fruit to gauge the good virtuous qualities a person has. In the Hindu Bible (Page 9-10-18) it is written that a good tree yields good fruit and a bad tree yields bad fruit. If you class a tree as good, then class it’s fruit as good as well and if a tree is classified as useless, then its fruit should be classed as being useless. True nature of a tree is estimated on the fruit it bears. A good person’s mind is only capable of good thoughts and good deeds. A bad minded person would be just the opposite. But, of course, the selfish Indian society has ignored the message of the Bible. Instead of appreciating the great effort by Maharishi Valmiki Ji in producing the Ramayana and Yoga Vishishith, the selfish Indian society have degraded Bhagwan Valmiki Ji’s name but used his volumes for their own selfish motives. A great person such as Bhagwan Valmiki Ji produced such wonderful literary works  of political, social and spiritual value that, if followed with sincerity, can turn a simple Purush into Purshotam. Pandit Ami Chand Sharma says that he feels sorry on the mind set of people who have tried, over the years, to tarnish the reputation of a great person like Bhagwan Valmiki Ji by spreading baseless and useless stories about him. These senseless and childish people forget that this great person who became Sita’s guardian father and raised Luv-Kush as his students and gave them education in the faculty of arts, academics and taught them knowledge of warfare. He also gave them the greatest gift a person can get from a Guru, Naam Dhaan. Selfish Indian society may or may not stop from their wicked conduct towards the character of Bhagwan Valmiki Ji, but do you think the time has come for these selfish liars to finally tell the truth. No matter how hard you can try to bring down the name of Maharishi Valmiki Ji. It does nothing but rises like a shining beacon.

Pandit Ami Chand Sharma further throws light on the subject in question where he mentions 2nd sarg in Valmiki Ramyana in which it is written that Bhagwan Valmiki Ji watches a hunter killing one of the pair of two love birds. Upon seeing the dead bird and the suffering of the other bird, Bhagwan Valmiki Ji was in total state of shock. He got so upset that he cursed the hunter. This incident proves that a person who feels so much pain at seeing a bird killed could ever have the heart to be a robber and commit to inflicting pain and suffering on other people. Pandit Ami Chand Sharma firmly believes that to lift Ram Naam in society was the main reason to invent the story of Bhagwan Valmiki Ji as a robber.

Pandit Krishan Dev Prasaad Gaur M.A.B.T states in his book, ‘Hamare Purvaj’ (our ancestors), that the Valmiki Ramayana is a great work of literature in the religious field. He says a lot of writers have taken material from Valmiki Ramayana to complete their Ramayana stories. Tulsidass Goswami has praised Bhagwan Valmiki Ji and considered him to be the master of all poets. He further adds whatever the case might be; greatness of Maharishi Valmiki can be measured from the work he complied. Pandit Gaur writes that the Valmiki Ramayana is beautifully written and a great text which cannot be written by an ordinary man. The writer surely must be a great scholar and a highly learned person. Surely Maharishi Valmiki must have ability to see the past, present and future. He says that Maharishi Valmiki is the crown of our country and is amongst the top most poets of all time. Surely according to Pandit Gaur, Bhagwan Valmiki Ji cannot be a robber but a victim of lowly and selfish elements if Indian society.

Dr. S. N. Vyas Ma Ph. D does not agree with the robber stories. In his English version of his book ‘India in the Ramayana Age’ he writes that the robber story has a mention in the Mahabharata. The story has clearly been invented to increase the influence of Ram Naam.

Pandit Ishwar Chand Sharma in his article ‘Establishment of Society during the Reign of Rama’ written in the Hindu paper ‘Sapt Sindhu’ (Sept. 1970, pages 50-54) states that during the reign of Dashrath and Rama. People were happy, trusting, virtuous, tolerant, learned and satisfied with what they had. Also, morally, people were of high standard. So where did a robber come from in such a society? And in shape of Maharishi Valmiki! This certainly does not sound right. Surely the lowly elements with low minds have blatantly resorted to lie that support their motives.

In the ‘Shandogyopnishad’, Raja Dashrath states that in his kingdom there is no robber, miser, drunkard, non-agnihotra or stupid person. Also there is no man or woman of low moral that existed in his kingdom. Surely this proves the argument that robber stories are baseless fabrications of later writers of Hindu society.

Pandit Ishwar Chander Sharma writes that if Maharishi Valmiki committed to the act of robbery, then the person answerable for his actions would be the ruling king of the land because in those days the state affairs in the kingdom was the responsibility of the king. The king of the state was responsible for good or bad deeds of his subjects. The other myth about Maharishi Valmiki about performing the Raam Jaap does not bare any truth because Raam Jaap came into the society during the period of Bhakti Vaadh which took prominence during present Yugh. So in truth it totally negates the story of Mara-Mara Jaap. Maharishi Valmiki did not consider Raam to be worthy of Jaap in any case. This proves that Bhagwan Valmiki Ji did not resort to Raam Jaap. If killing off the HERON BIRD produced such deep hurt and sympathy in Bhagwan Valmiki Ji, surely such a person would not have the heart to be a robber. This surely does not bare any believable truth or common sense. It appears that selfish and prejudiced preachers have spread such lies amongst the people to lead them astray. Also if one accepts that Bhagwan Valmiki Ji went into meditation thousands of years before Raam, who would have known Raam then. Pandit Ishwar Chand Sharma is absolutely right to suggest that Bhagwan Valmiki Ji never resorted to Raam Jaap which makes the Mara-Mara Jaap, the greatest lie of all time.

Dr. Vimal Chander Pandey also writes in his article that concerning the life of Bhagwan Valmiki Ji, all sorts of misleading thoughts have been existing to mislead Indian society. The Ramayana conclusively proves that he was not of inferior caste or evil in any way. The incident of Heron (Kronch) birds proves he was not devoid of pity or without education. It cannot be conclusively said when his name was connected with Kiraates or when he was called cruel natured or robber or belonging to a lower caste. But one thing can be said conclusively that all these misleading facts about Bhagwan Valmiki Ji came into being at a much later stage. Neither Ramayana or Mahabarata or such similar volumes have any material to prove these stories. Dr. Vimal Chander Pandey says that the most important quality highlighted in the Ramayana is how human life should be conducted in its true sense. This is one of the main reasons this great volume has great respect in India, Asia and many parts of the world.

Dr. Brijbihari Chobey writes in his book ‘Maharishi Valmiki’, the terminology used to address Bhagwan Valmiki Ji throws light on the high class life he must have lead. Reportedly the words used to address him describe him as very reserved, virtuous, spiritual, most excellent, great intellectual, rishi, ascetic, Bhagwan, Prabhu, moralistic, devotee, beautiful literary, wise, compassionate etc. Dr. Chobey says, the land of India has been extremely fortunate that it had the luck to have a great spiritual ascetic like Bhagwan Valmiki Ji to have his birth there and how lucky the land of India was to have been blessed by the hermitage of Bhagwan Valmiki Ji where chaste, faithful, destitute and abandoned women got protection and help.

Pandit Inder Raj Arya of Arya Prathinidhi Sabha, has written an article in Aryamitre (dated 4th Oct 1990) in which he categorically condemns the untrue prevalent mythical stories concerning Bhagwan Valmiki Ji of being a robber. From time to time, to popularise Ram-Naam Bhakti, writers have pointed fingers at Bhagwan Valmiki Ji which bears no truth at all.

Colonel James Todd, in his world famous volume, ‘Rajasthan Ka Ithihaas’ (Page 25), writes it is a very curious circumstance that Hindu legend give two of their most celebrated authors whom they have invested with a sacred character, as being descended from aboriginal and impure tribes of India i.e. Vyasa from a fisherman and Valmiki the author of the other grand epic the Ramayana, from a Budhek or a robber, an associate of the Bheel tribe of Aboo mountains. The conversion of Valmiki (said to have been miraculous when in the act of robbing the shrine of a deity) is worked into a story of considerable effect in the words of poet Chand but this story is extremely unbelievable. One cannot believe the poet Chand.

Mahant Naagarmal Choru writes in his ‘Vrahat Valmiki Parkash’ (Page 35), it’s quite clear that Maharishi Valmiki did not commit any robberies at all. From time to time in the period of Bhakti-Vaadh, to give importance to Raam Naam, Valmiki has been characterised as a robber by writers.This bears no truth Prof. Prabhu Dyal ‘Agnihotri’, Dr. Swami Nath Sharma, Dr. Father Kamil Bulcke, Pandit Ami Chand Sharm, Pandit Krishan Dev Prasad Gorh, Dr. Manjula Sehdev, Dr. S. N. Vyas, Pandit Ishwar Prasad Sharma, Dr. Vimal Chander Pandey, Dr. Brijbrihari Chobey, Pandit Inder Raj Arya, Mahant Naagarmal, Colonel James Todd and such other scholars do not regard Bhagwan Valmiki Ji to be a robber.

Vir Karan Chand ‘Shaadhi’ writes in his ‘Katha Maharishi Ratnakar Valmiki (page 20), that during the reign of the Moghul King Akbar, Goswami Tulsidass in his Rama. Chrit Manas has called Bhagwan Valmiki Ji a robber who chanted Mara-Mara Jaap. Goswami Tulsidass was a Ram Bhakt and obviously he had done this to popularise and uplift Ram Naam.

Maharishi Dryanand ‘sarswati’ in ‘Satyarth Prakash’ has condemned Goswami Tulsidass’ many stories as pure myth.

Veer V.S. Dayal in his article written in Urdu ‘Bhagwan Valmiki Ji, Maharaj or Dakoo?’ proves that this story is untrue. He says that Brahma himself advised his son Bhardwaj to become the student of Jagat Guru, Tatv-Veta Bhagwan Valmiki Ji. Can you believe that travelling sadhus can teach such a great Mahadev and teach him about Ram Naam. Have the story-tellers and readers forgotten that this happened when Rama and his father were not even born. Then where did this Ram Jaap story spring from? If Mukti-Daata Bhagwan Valmiki Ji became Brahm by chanting Ulta-Jaap, surely the proper Ram Jaap followers should have achieved much higher status than Bhagwan Valmiki Ji. These religious contracters, namely worshippers of Rama have in their everyday life sucked the blood of poor people like leaches and became fat cats. What other purpose do they serve? It is difficult to imagine how anybody had the audacity to create a ‘robber’ story against one of the greatest spiritual personalities to walk the earth. Even if Valmiki followers are deeply hurt about this situation which has been created by Aryan society they are almost helpless as how to free themselves from this dilemma. Valmikis are almost helpless as how the stains of Bakt, Dasyu, Dakoo etc. that have been attached to their ancestors, Gurus and great warriors.

Bhagwan Dass M.A. LLB, Adeeb Fazil in his book ‘Kya Valmiki Ashoot Thé’ (page 9) writes the first mention of Bhagwan Valmiki Ji being a robber came about in Skandh Puraan. This Puraan was written around the 8th century AD. It appears that an attempt has been made to revive the story of ‘Anguli Mala Robber’ of Buddhist era in a different world. In this Puraan, it has been tried to show that Vamiki to be a Ram Bhakt who was originally a robber. In this way Brahmins started calling Valmiki a robber.

Valmiki has been said to be a robber by the Buddhist era preachers who were trying to spread Buddhism they resorted to degrade the authors of Ramayana and Mahabharata. Rai Parmotha Nath Malik Banabur writes in his book ‘Maher Bharat Par Alochnatmic Adyhan’, the reported authors of the epics Vyasa and Valmiki were blackened in Buddhist age by making them the offspring of guilty intercourse and the other a robber. But the mischief failed to erase the grandeur of their noble characters, which had already got firm hold on the minds of people. They looked upon them as Gods or demi-God and no vilification or calumny could detract from their noble characters or dislodges them from their position of esteem and reverence in which they were enshrined. The Indian epics were degraded by the Buddhists with a well planned motive during the period of Buddhist ascendency.

Shri Aubrey Minon in his book ‘Rama Retold’ (page 4) writes it is true that Maharishi Valmiki was the first person to have been accepted as the most intelligent and wise literary amongst all humans. After thorough investigation of known literature, it becomes quite clear that all the unfounded allegation against Bhagwan Valmiki Ji have no basis at all. The great soul who has given Amrit Vanni (i.e. Ramayana) as the most priceless treasure to the whole of the world, was discredited in the later religious volumes which were written between the 8th and 16th century. This was the period of Bhaktiwaadh at its peak. In the volumes, the mischievous lowly minded writers have tried to emphasise the impact of Ram Naam on ordinary people, thereby maligning the name of Indian literary diamond that possessed all the qualities of a great soul, just to increase the importance of Ram Naam. There is no other literary work comparable to the Ramayana that is loved by people and read and listened all over the world. Even in these modern times the top scholars are still researching the great sage Valmiki. Hence for 100’s of years Indian scholars, teachers and lecturers will present words of Bhagwan Valmiki Ji as a true reflection of correct human behaviour.

If Bhagwan Valmiki Ji had been a robber, surely then he would have educated Luv and Kush to be robbers as well. In Padham Puraan (page 220) Bhagwan Valmiki Ji says to Rama that Luv and Kush have listened to all religious volumes and all literary work on spirituality from him. Also Bhagwan Ji gave them education on the art of warfare, religion, magic, sorcery, and music. The truth of the matter is that under the guidance of Bhagwan Valmiki Ji, Luv and Kush got fully conversant with all the knowledge that any person could possibly have. Bhagwan Valmiki Ji tells Rama that Sita, whose purity is unquestionable, that she has the utmost respect for you. Listening to these words of Bhagwan Valmiki Ji, Rama and Lakshman applauded and greeted him.

The first poet Bhagwan Valmiki Ji should be a matter of pride for all Indians and should be regarded as a priceless treasure of India. The base of his literary works is a single incident that made his heart cry. The incident took place when he was walking by the river Tamsa. He said two heron birds embracing each other in a tree. A warrior pulled out an arrow, took aim at the birds and killed one of the two birds with his arrow. This incident shocked Bhagwan Valmiki Ji to the core of his heart and compassion and pity over took him. He cursed the warrior that he would suffer in the same way as the bird who lost its mate, for the rest of its life. Bhagwan Valmiki Ji was of such tender nature that this incident provoked the first verses out of him which turned out to be the greatest works of literature.

Swami Vivekanand says that the first poet’s compassion turned out the first poem of this world. This incident points to the fact that Bhagwan Valmiki Ji truly taught the world the meaning of pity and compassion. So wrongful accusations aimed at Bhagwan Valmiki Ji are certainly out of order and these publications have come way after Bhagwan Valmiki Ji’s life.

Goswami Tulsidass in his ‘Ramchrit Mans’ writes about hermitage of Bhagwan Valmiki Ji. The merciful Bhagwan Valmiki Ji has such infinite and divine strength that even the animals have abandoned their normal instinct and co-reside with each other happily.

The hunters and the hunted are happily co-existing. Does it not make you think that pillar of non violence Bhagwan Valmiki Ji with his soul strength has transferred the animals into pious beings. Such a Mahapurush must possess great power and strength (Shakti). Bhagwan Valmiki Ji, sea of compassion, was fully aware of the pain and suffering a woman can be subjected to. On orders of Rama, Sita was abandoned by Lakshman near hermitage of Bhagwan Valmiki Ji. He found Sita and showed great sympathy towards her. Sita told Bhagwan Valmiki Ji that she was pregnant and God had given her life to undergo every conceivable suffering one can get in one’s life. She was quite happy to drown herself in the river but killing herself would mean that Rama would not have an heir to the throne. The feelings of Sita can only be experienced best by a woman.

The idol of fairness Bhagwan Valmiki showed Sita, who was completely drenched in distress, destitute, helpless and in tears he said to her when you were brought here, I had already foreseen that. I know already of your story because whatever happens in this world, I am familiar with it. Bhagwan Valmiki Ji said to Sita, through his spiritual powers and meditative powers he knows that Sita is innocent and free of blame. He further told her that since she had come into his refuge, thereby she can forget all her worries. In this way Bhagwan Valmiki Ji neglected the orders of the king of Ayodhia who had discarded helpless Sita and gave refuge in his hermitage.

Bhagwan Valmiki Ji’s students Luv and Kush captured the horse of king Rama after their ‘Ashwameha Yagh’ and through the blessing of their master; Bhagwan Valmiki Ji defeated the great king Rama and the rest of his great warrior arm. Neither King Rama nor his great soldier had any chance of survival against the power they were blessed with by Bhagwan Valmiki Ji in actual fact when Sita pleaded to Bhagwan Valmiki Ji to save her ‘Suhaagh’, Bhagwan Valmiki Ji produced Amrit by which Rama and his soldiers were revived back to life. The Amrit left over was buried in the land of 5 rivers (Punjab). This Amrit was later discovered by incarnate Gurus from Luv and Kush.

After this battle Rama invited Sita back to his Palace. It was quite possible that Sita could have been made a sacrificial lamb to prove her honour but her mental efforts had torn her heart apart. Rama challenged Sita, in front of all present in his court, to prove her honour and purity of character, she felt insulted. The picture Sita had of Rama’s love and respect disappeared into oblivion and she burst out in tears. Watching the scene merciful Bhagwan Valmiki Ji could not keep quiet. He spoke in a very serious tone and said to king Rama through his divine powers he had known that Sita’s mind and thoughts were pure and without blemish. It was her purity of character that made him accept her into his protection and guardianship after he found her near a stream. Listening to Bhagwan Valmiki Ji, Rama looked at Sita for a moment, and then clasped his hands in front of all present in his court. Asking their forgiveness, he addressed Bhagwan Valmiki Ji and said, ‘O Brahmgyani, your words regarding the character of Sita and her purity and chasteness have lead me to believe Sita is totally blameless.’ He asked Bhagwan Valmiki Ji’s forgiveness for the offence he committed in misjudging the character of Sita. Rama said to Bhagwan Valmiki Ji that Raghukul would be forever indebted to Bhagwan Valmiki Ji and thanked him for salvaging him from misjudgements committed.

French historian Dr. Michelet was of the opinion, which he gave in 1864 concerning Valmiki Ramayana, whoever is responsible for producing such notable works and great aspirations should first take a deep sip from the cup of life and youth. In the West all things are mixed up and tight. Greece is a small country and thinking about it I get suffocated. Judea is hot and I get breathless there. Let me look at great Asia and north India, what I get there is my favoured and greatest poetic works i.e. Adhikavya Ramayana, which is blissful shining sun as vast as the Indian Ocean, and it contains traditional sweetness, love and kindness. It is a sea of forgivness. The truth of the matter  is that after reading Aadh Kavi’s Valmiki Ramayana, holy Yogh Vishisht, Akshar-Lakhshya and Sri Ram Samvandh, one realises what a great person Aadh Kavi Bhagwan Valmiki Ji was. After searching the personality, is wisdom one gets familiar with a genius that he possessed. Maharishi Valmiki Ji was for most ascetic in the society, great poet, father of Indian culture and civilisation, protector of Mata Sita , fosterer and teacher of Luv and Kush. He was founder of social customs, firm believer of truthfulness and justice and was pillar of morality.

Taking into consideration aforementioned religious volumes and opinions of scholars one arrives at a decision that Bhagwan Valmiki Ji’s ultra pure and blameless life has been wrongfully tainted by a malicious idealism. All charges against the character of Bhagwan Valmiki Ji, in truth are lies, baseless and without any truth. One thing is certain that Bhagwan Valmiki Ji was not a robber but a great literary, Godly person, a rebel, merciful, great musician, mathematician, knower of past, present and future, holy soul, almighty, first poet etc. He deserves great credit for all the favours he gave to society in his time and to the times that followed right up to now and time coming ahead. In the democratic India, we should respect and portray the true image and character of Bhagwan Valmiki Ji. It will be great injustice, not only to India, but the rest of the world. If the true picture was not disclosed to the modern generations who deserve to know the truth. If you want India to become a respectable nation in the eyes of the others, then India needs to respect it’s ancestors, wash away the untrue, baseless and hateful charges towards the most respected Purvaj.

Once again thanks to Dr. Dev Singh Asur for his efforts to enlighted millions of Valmiki people and the rest of civilised world by bringing forth the true picture regarding the character of Bhagwan Valmiki Ji.

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Episodes from the Ramayana – Chapter 8

The Guru and the Pupils…Continued

Rama stayed mostly indoors. He did not bathe at fixed hours as he was doing so far. He had a dislike to wear royal robes; he desisted from delicacies; he never sat on the golden throne; he appeared as if he was immersed in the contemplation of the Absolute, of something beyond the senses and the mind. Since their brother appeared so morose and was ostensibly sulking, the three younger brothers always kept near him. They never left his presence, for games or for any other reason.

The four used to gather in a room and holt themselves in. The mothers had to tap the door at intervals to bring in their food! However hard they tried to discover why they behaved so, they never revealed the reason! Rama alone deigned to answer their queries thus: “This is my nature; why seek to know the reason for my being so?”

The mothers soon felt that this state of things could no longer be kept away from gaze; they informed Dasaratha; he sent word that the boys be brought to his apartments. But, finding that the sons, who previously would have rushed in, took a long time to come, he was filled with wonder and worry. He made ready to proceed to their room himself. Just then, the attendant announced that the princes were approaching! The father was overwhelmed with bliss; he embraced them and held them tight to his breast; he sat, with the sons on both sides; he enquired from them about things, light and serious. Formerly, if he asked just one question, the boys used to reply to ten: but, that day, when he asked ten, they scarce replied to one.

Dasaratha drew Rama on to his lap, and pleaded fondly with him, “Son! Why this refusal to talk? Why this silence! What is it that you desire? What else have I than you in the world? Tell me what you need? I shall fulfil it immediately, without fail. Since you do not mix with the brothers and play with them as formerly, they too are unhappy.” Though the King lovingly stroked the chin and looked at the face of Rama, Rama did not say anything more than that he was quite content and needed nothing! Watching this strange behaviour, Dasaratha grew anxious and agitated; tears welled up in his eyes. The boys remained unaffected by his grief. The father spoke some soft words to them about how sons should conduct themselves and sent them to their apartments in the Palace.

He called Sumanthra so that he might confer with him; he asked him whether anything had happened during the pilgrimage to put the boys out of gear or whether he had brought them back too soon when they were themselves eager to visit a few more places of interest to them. Dasaratha plied him with so many questions that Sumanthra was filled with surprise and apprehension. His lips quivered as he replied: “Nothing happened during the journey to displease the Princes, no difficulty was encountered. Every wish of theirs was honoured and carried through. I gave away in charity as much as they wanted; I got built, wherever they suggested, houses for pilgrims; there was no hesitation or delay. They never told me about any happening which they did not like. Nor did I notice any such. The pilgrimage was one long journey of joy and adoration”.

Dasaratha knew his minister well. He said at last, “Sumanthra! You are a great good man. I know full well that you are incapable of neglect or error. But, for some inexplicable reason, I find the boys have undergone a transformation after the pilgrimage; they have developed distaste for food and fun.

“However much the people around persuaded him, Rama did not answer, nor did he indicate the reason for his strange behaviour. He was immersed in his own awareness of the falsity of things. I am surprised at this. The queens, too, have taken this so much to heart that they are being consumed by anxiety”. When Dasaratha spoke thus to Sumanthra, the loyal Minister replied, “If permitted, I shall meet the children and try to diagnose the ailment.” Dasaratha said, “Quite right! Proceed at once. Once we find the cause, the remedy isn’t difficult, the cure isn’t far”.

Sumanthra hurried to the children’s apartment, heavy with a load of anxiety in his heart. He found the doors bolted from inside, the guards standing outside them. When Sumanthra tapped, Lakshmana opened the door and let him in. He closed the door behind him and conversed with the boys for long on various matters, in order to draw out from them the reason for their malady. But, he could not delve into the mystery. He noticed the difference between the confiding spirit of camaraderie which he enjoyed during the months of pilgrimage, and the distance that had grown in recent months. He pleaded with Rama with tears in his eyes, for revealing to him the reasons for his melancholy. Rama smiled and said, “Sumanthra! What reason can be given for something which is my very nature? I have no wants; I have no desire. You need have no anxiety on that score”.

Unable to do anything else, Sumanthra came to where Dasaratha was and sat beside him. “I feel it will be good to invite the Guru tomorrow and consider which measures are proper”, he said and departed from the presence, after taking the King’s permission to leave.

The King was sad; he neglected everything else; he ignored the demands of empire and spun many theories in his mind to account for the behaviour of the children. They are entering the years of adolescence and so, such temperamental revolutions are natural, he surmised. He shared this opinion with the Queens and set his mind at rest, for a little while.

When they learnt that the Preceptor Vasishta was arriving at the Palace, the queens made the preparations necessary, and waited for him at the family altar. Just then, the Guru arrived; all fell at his feet; they showered eager questions on him about the peculiar malady of the boys and the change that had come upon them. They were all in tears. Noticing the agitation of the King and the Queens, Vasishta turned his attention inwards and sought the reason for the sorrow, through inner Vision. The truth was quickly revealed to his penetrating purity.Within seconds, he  turned towards the Queens and assured them. “There is nothing wrong with the boys. These are not just ordinary children. They are free from the least trace of worldly desire. Their minds are untarnished. Do not get anxious. Bring them to me; you can retire now to your apartments.” 

The King and Queens were happy at this assurance; they sent for the princes and left. Lakshmana, Bharatha and Satrughna quickly got ready to meet the Guru, when the news that he wanted them reached their ears. But, Rama evinced no haste. He was immersed in himself, as usual. So, Lakshmana touched his feet and prayed, “It is best we go without delay; or else, our parents will grieve that we dared disobey the command of the Preceptor”. Lakshmana pleaded with Rama insistently for a long time, advancing various arguments. Finally, Lakshmana, Bharatha and Satrughna were able to proceed to the altar room, with their eldest brother. There, they fell at the Feet of the Guru and reverentially stood before him.

Seeing them, Vasishta asked them with great affection to draw near and sit beside him. They all sat close to him, but Vasishta wanted Rama to come still nearer. He fondled Rama lovingly, playing with his hair and patting his back. He said, “Rama! Why have you thus become quiet and silent? Your mothers and father are suffering from grief and fear, unable to explain this inscrutable change. You have to pay heed to their happiness too, isn’t it? You have to demonstrate the validity of the precious axioms, Mathr devo bhava (Treat the mother as God) Pithr devo bhava (Treat the father as God) by your own action, isn’t it?” Vasishta placed before Rama many such lessons and truths for his consideration.

Rama sat smiling, listening to the Guru. When he had finished, he spoke calmly, “Master! You speak of mother; but, who exactly is ‘mother’? Who exactly is ‘son’? Why, what exactly is ‘body’? And what is the ‘Jivi’ (the individual)? Is this objective world real? Or is the Supreme Soul real? This body is but the image of the Supreme Soul isn’t it? The five elements that comprise the substance called ‘body’ are also the substance of the entire Universe. This Universe is but the concatenation of the five elements, isn’t it? The elements persist, in spite of all permutations and combinations. They have also a deeper base. Without realizing this, if this created Universe is itself assumed to be real, and if one yields to the fascination of this falsehood, if the truth be discarded for the sake of the lie, what are we to say of such colossal ignorance ? What can the individual gain by ignoring the Eternal Absolute Real Reality, the Atma?”

When Vasishta observed Rama raising such profound philosophical problems, he noticed also a halo of bright rays of spiritual splendour that emanated and surrounded his face! He knew that the Light was an indication of Divinity, attempting to surge outwards! So, he wanted Rama himself to provide the answers to the questions that Rama put forward. And the replies and explanations Rama gave were verily the Voice of God. Vasishta could see this fact clearly. He bowed his head before him, mentally, for fear of being noticed. He said, “Son! I shall see you again in  the evening”, and left the palace, without even meeting Dasaratha; he was so overcome by the illumination of the occasion. He fondled the children with a joyous sense of gratitude and love.

Dasaratha saw the princes after some time; he too saw the strange Glow of Divine Awareness shining in their countenances. He could not understand how, it happened and he awaited the arrival of Vasishta in the evening. No sooner did he enter the shrine than the children, the mothers and Dasaratha fell at his feet and sat in their places with palms folded in prayerful humility.

All of a sudden, Rama surprised every one by asking a series of questions: “The Jivi, the Deva, the Prakrthi (Soul, God, Nature) what is the inter-relation between these? Are these three, One? Or are they distinct entities? If One, how did it become three and for what purpose? What is the unifying principle underlying these? What benefit is gained by recognizing them as different, giving up the cognition of the Unity?” The parents were aghast at the profundity of these questions and the tender age of Rama. They became fully merged in that stream of instruction and inquiry, that showered precious axioms which shed light on the problems raised, as if Heaven answered the questions raised by Earth! They forgot that Rama was their own child; the hours of the night rolled by in the analysis and understanding of the great monistic wisdom.

Vasishta saw that the words that flowed from the lips of Rama were indeed drops of the Nectar of  Immortality,  which can ensure Peace for mankind; he blessed the King and Queens and returned to the hermitage. The dialogues between Rama and the Preceptor form the text of  ‘Yoga-vasishta’, a treatise which is meaningful and mellow. It is also referred to as the Ramagitha.

Rama spent his days immersed in Vedantha, communing with himself, talking while alone to himself, silent in company, and often laughing at nothing in particular. Dasaratha grew concerned. He was worried what would happen to the brothers; he sought to keep the younger three apart; but, they never agreed to be isolated from Rama; so, they had to be left in his company always.

The King and the Queens were very much depressed, for all their dreams of joy and glory had come to naught. They became desperate, for they saw no sign of recovery or transformation in the sons. They counted hours and minutes, passing the time in anxiety and prayer. Rama had no interest even in food and so with irregular and indifferent meals, he appeared weak and wasted in health.

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Episodes of the Ramayana – Chapter 7

The Guru and the Pupils…Continued

When they were in their eleventh or twelfth year, one day, Dasaratha called to his presence the minister Sumanthra, who was the repository of virtue, and commissioned him to arrange for teaching the princes the spiritual Science of Liberation. He said that however proficient a person may be in secular sciences the Science of Liberation alone can give him the strength to carry out his Dharma (Rightful duties). The highest moral culture must be imparted to them at this tender age itself.

Success or failure in later life was built upon the Impressions and experiences gained in the early stages of life. The early years are the foundations for the mansion of later years. Therefore he said, “Take the princes around the kingdom and let them learn not only the condition of the people but also the holiness of sacred places. Describe to them the sanctity of holy places, the history of the temples and of the saints and sages who have consecrated them, and let them drink deep the springs of divinity that are hallowing those spots. I feel it will be good if they do so. As they grow, they will be prone to sensual desires and urges. Ere they fall a prey to such tendencies, it is best to implant in them reverence and awe, and devotion to the Divine, that is immanent in the Universe. That is the only means to save their human-ness from demeaning itself into animality. And for rulers of kingdoms, it is essential. Consult the Guru and the preceptors and arrange the tour without delay.”

Elated at the prospect of the princes getting this great opportunity Sumanthra had all preparations made to his satisfaction; he got ready himself to accompany them. The Queens came to know of the pilgrimage that the Princes were undertaking. They were delighted that the Princes were going on such a holy venture and they made many things ready to render it as happy and useful as possible. They arranged a few nurses for them and some comrades of their own age to accompany them. The Princes too, were beside themselves with joy at the prospect of visiting the sacred places of the land. They enthused their companions and sought from the King equipment and clothes for them also.

The next day, when the auspicious hour specially selected for the journey was on, the Princes bowed before their parents, touching their feet with their foreheads; they fell at the feet of the Preceptor; the mothers placed holy dots on their foreheads and cheeks to ward off the evil eye and to guard them against evil; they discarded royal robes and put on the habiliments of pilgrims, that is to say, silk dhotis round the waist and silk shawls wrapped round the shoulders and, taking leave of all, they ascended the chariot. The palace resounded with shouts of victory rising from thousands of citizens who had gathered to see them off. The chariot moved on with guards before and behind.

Days, weeks, even months rolled by! They went to every temple and sacred spot; they imbibed the holiness of each place; they worshipped at each shrine with faith and devotion, they learnt after deep enquiry the history of each place and the antecedents of the shrines; they ignored every other thought or activity during all that long period. Sumanthra was describing to them the sanctity of each place so graphically and intimately that their hearts were thrilled. The Princes plied him with questions demanding further and deeper elaboration of his narrations, Sumanthra was overjoyed at the insatiable yearning of the boys, and he gave even more information and inspiration,

Thus they journeyed from Kanyakumari to Kashmir, and from the eastern sea to the western, spending more than three months. They had their eyes open to the sufferings of the people and the discomforts of the pilgrims in every region of the empire, and whenever they observed these, they pleaded with Sumanthra, the Minister, to set things right and to provide the needed amenities.

They were responsible for the repair and improvement of many temples, the provision of drinking water wells, the planting of avenue trees, the opening of centres for the distribution of water to thirsty wayfarers, the building of  caravanserais, and the establishment or health centres. Whenever Rama expressed a desire that such amenities be provided. Sumanthra never hesitated to agree; he saw to it that they were immediately provided to his satisfaction. The Princes derived great comfort that the empire had such a loyal and efficient Minister as Sumanthra; they said to each other that when they had such ministers welfare and progress were assured.

Accounts of the pilgrimage of the Princes were conveyed to Ayodhya by special couriers who ran in relays, forward and backward with news they collected. Whenever delays occurred the Queens were weighed down by anxiety. They prayed to the Preceptor Vasishta to give them correct information regarding them. Vasishta had the yogic attainment to discover what was happening to them; so, he used to tell them the reassuring news that they were happy, healthy and hearty and that they would soon be returning to the capital. The mothers derived courage and confidence therefrom. The Preceptor blessed them and repaired to his hermitage.

Meanwhile, the news-gatherers brought good tidings. They said that the Princes were nearing Ayodhya; they must be reaching the City within two days! Arrangements were therefore made at the main Gateway of the City to welcome into the Imperial Capital the four Princes, who had successfully gone through their long and arduous pilgrimage and earned meritorious renown by their devotion and compassion during their triumphal tour. Rosewater was sprinkled on the roads to make them dust-free. Arches and festoons were put up. On both sides of the road, women stood with plates on which they had placed lamps, with bright flames, which they desired to wave before them as they passed along.

The Princes arrived at the Gate, as announced; lamps were waved before them; they moved along the main high-way, which was strewn with petals of fragrant flowers; parties of musicians and minstrels singing welcome songs proceeded slowly in advance. Brahmins recited hymns invoking the blessings of God upon the distinguished scions of the Imperial family. Sumanthra came alongside the Princes, who were shining with an ethereal glow on their faces.

When they reached the palace gates, many rites were gone through to ward off the effects of the evil eye; they were then led into the inner apartments. The mothers whose eyes were longing to look upon them were awaiting them there; the boys ran towards them and fell at their feet. They were raised up and held fast in close embrace for five or six minutes, during which they lost themselves in the thrill of joy, which enveloped both mother and son in the bliss of Mergence with the Divine! The tears that rolled from the eyes of the mothers out of the surgence of the love bathed the heads of the boys. They took hold of their sari ends and wiped the heads dry with them. They stroked the hair, they fondled the head, they seated them on their laps, and fed them fondly with sweet rice and curd-mixed rice.

Ah! The excitement and thrill of the mothers were indescribable. The pang of separation which they had suffered for three long months could be assuaged a little, only by having the children in their care and custody, day and night, for a few days. They wanted them to relate the story or their pilgrimage, and the boys narrated in sweet, simple, sincere style the sacredness of each holy place, as explained to them by Sumanthra. They listened to these narratives with such ardour and faith that they too seemed to experience the exhilaration each shrine provides for the earnest pilgrims.

Dasaratha celebrated the return of the young Princes from their holy journey by offering oblations to the Gods, and arranging a magnificent banquet for all Brahmins who had successfully completed the pilgrimage to Kasi and Prayaga. He gave the latter monetary gifts too. Thus, since the day when the princes were born, it was one continuous round of festival and feast in the capital city and in the kingdom. The city of Ayodhya shone with uninterrupted rejoicing. Feasting and festive entertainment knit the populace into a family, bound by love and gratitude. Every month, the days on which the children were born (the ninth, tenth and eleventh days of the bright half) were filled with gorgeous ceremony, to mark the happy event. Even when the boys were away on pilgrimage, these days were celebrated as grandly as if they were in the City; except for functions where their physical presence was needed, all else – the feasts, the gifts, the games, the dance – were all gone through with enthusiasm. The parents noticed a change in the boys as a result of the pilgrimage. The transformation was very surprising and they hoped that the strange ways or life they had assumed might weaken with the passage of days. They watched their behaviour and attitudes with great attention. But they continued, with no sign or diminution.

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Episodes from the Ramayana – Chapter 6

The Guru and the Pupils

The brothers lived in the guru’s house and served him with devotion. They renounced the comforts of the palace and gladly underwent the hardships. They carried out the wishes of the master in humility and with loyalty. They finished their studies in a very short period and mastered the subjects they were taught. One day Emperor Dasaratha proceeded with his Minister to the home of their teacher. He was beside himself with joy when he saw them reciting Vedic hymns and heard the sacred formulae rolling out of their tongues, clear and fast, like a cascade of bright pearls. He was happy that his sons had learnt so much.

Rama rose and fell at the feet of his father. Seeing this, the three brothers too came forward and prostrated before him. The teacher invited the Emperor and the Minister to seat themselves on raised seats covered with deerskin. Dasaratha began conversing with the teacher in order to find out how far the children had advanced in studies. Rama signed to his brothers that they should not overhear their talk; he left the room with the permission of the guru, carrying his books with him and calling on the others to follow him. The brothers took the cue from Rama in all matters and so they silently obeyed his merest gesture.

Vasishta and Dasaratha noted this incident; they appreciated the upright conduct of Rama, his understanding of the trend of the teacher’s conversation and the immediate reaction of humility and the way in which he was an example and ideal for the three brothers. They were glad that they had learnt so much discipline.

Vasishta could not contain himself. He said, “Maharaja: Your sons have mastered all the arts. Rama has mastered all the Sastras. He is no ordinary mortal. As soon as I began teaching him to recite the Vedas, he used to repeat them as if he knew them already. Only He who has inspired the hymns can repeat them so, not any other. The Vedas are not ‘books’, which he could have perused while at leisure! They have come down from guru and disciple, through recitation and listening only. They are not available anywhere, except from the guru! That is the reason why it is referred to as Sruthi (That which is heard). It is the Divine breath of God that has shaped itself into these manthras. I have not seen so far any one who has mastered them as Rama has done. Why should I say, ‘seen’? I have not even ‘heard’ of any one who has accomplished this remarkable feat!

“I can tell you of many more superhuman achievements of your son. Maharaja! When I think of my good fortune in securing these boys as my pupils, I feel it is the reward for the asceticism I practiced so long. They need learn nothing further. They have now to be trained in bowmanship and archery, and similar skills appropriate for royal princes. They have completed their studies under me and become efficient in all that I can teach. The day too is very auspicious. Take them back with you to the Palace”.

At this, Dasaratha, who was afflicted for months with the pain of separation, shed tears of joy. He could not contain his delight. He turned towards the Minister by his side, and directed him to convey the good news to the Queens and ask them to come over to the hermitage with the offerings that the pupils have to present to the guru while leaving his custody. Sumanthra proceeded very fast to the Palace, and communicated the news. He got ready the gifts and returned quicker than anticipated.

Meanwhile the boys had their belongings packed at the suggestion of Vasishta and the articles were loaded into the chariot. As directed by their father, the children worshipped the Guru according to prescribed ceremonial, gave him the gifts, and fell at his feet, asking his permission to leave for home.

Vasishta drew the boys to his side, pressed their hands and patted them on their heads. He blessed them and most unwillingly allowed them to leave. The pang of separation brought tears in his eyes. He walked up to the chariot with his pupils. The boys ascended the vehicle, and it moved away. They turned back towards the Guru and looked in his direction with folded palms, for a long distance. The guru, too, stood at that place, his cheeks wet with tears. Dasaratha noticed this bond between the teacher and the pupils; he was greatly pleased.

They reached home. The guru entered the hermitage with a heavy heart. Wherever his eyes were turned, he noticed darkness and no light. He feared that the attachment he had developed might confirm itself as a shackle; he decided to sit in Dhyana in order to suppress the rising tides of memory. Soon, he overcame the outer illusion and merged himself in inner Ananda. He realized that the boys were embodiments of Dharma, Artha, Kama, Moksha – the Four Goals of Human Life (Righteousness, Welfare, Endeavour and Liberation) and that they had taken human form in order to re-establish on earth these grand ideals of gracious living. This gave him unruffled peace.

Dasaratha resolved to supplement the education the boys had received, by training them in the use of arms; so, he called in expert archers and others and made arrangements to teach them the science of attack and defense. But who can claim to be the teachers of these boys who were already pastmasters in every field of study? They were only ‘acting’ the roles of humans and pretending to learn.

To Him who holds the strings of this puppet show, who can teach to pull the string? Men who could not recognize their Reality underneath the camouflage of Maya sought to train them and teach them the objective skills useful for external living. They have come to save the world from disaster; so, they have to be in the world and of the world, respecting the conventions of the world, so far as they subserve their purpose. Men could not understand their acts, for, they are beyond human intellect or imagination; they will be helpless if asked to explain them. But people must learn the ideals they put into practice. So, Rama was presenting himself as a cinder covered with ash, or a lake with a thick float of moss or the moon hidden by a curtain of clouds. The brothers were following the footsteps of Rama.

Rama and Lakshmana were revealing knowledge of stratagems and skills which even expert instructors did not know about. They were wonder-struck and were even a little fear-stricken. But, the four Princes never shot an arrow at an animal or bird. They never broke the vow taken solemnly by them that they will use arms only on occasions of great urgency, not for the pleasure of killing or wounding. The trainers took them often to the forest for hikes and game-shooting; but, when they spotted animals or birds and invited them to shoot, they remonstrated and said, “These arrows are not to be used against innocent targets; they are to be used for the protection of the good, the welfare of the world, and the service of the people. That is the purpose for which they are with us; we shall not insult them, using them for these silly pastimes”, they averred and desisted. The teachers had to accept their arguments. Every word, every deed of Rama demonstrated his compassion. Sometimes, when Lakshmana aimed his arrow at a bird or animal, Rama came in between and protested “Lakshmana! What harm has it done to you or the world? Why do you long to shoot it? It is quite against the code of prescribed morals for kings to punish innocent beings; don’t you know?”

The Emperor often sat among his ministers with the princes near him, and discussed with those around him the problems of political administration, judicial trials and the application of moral principles in the governance of the state. He related stories of their grandparents and others of the royal line, how they earned the love and loyalty of their subjects, how they fought wars with ‘demons’ and for ‘gods’ and how they won the Grace and support of God in their endeavours. The father and the sons were both exhilarated when these tales were told. Many a day, the ministers took turns in this pleasant task.

As they grew with the passage of years, the ministers became confident that they could be entrusted with some fields of governmental activity. The people dreamt that when they came of age and took hold of the reins of government, the earth will be transmuted into heaven. When people saw the princes they felt a bond of affectionate attachment springing between them. The conversation that ensued among them was marked by sweet concord. The city of Ayodhya had no one who did not love those simple, humble, virtuous, selfless Princes, or who did not evince a desire to watch them. They were as dear to the children of Ayodhya as their own bodies, as precious to the city as its own heart.

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Episodes from the Ramayana – Chapter 5

Secret of the Princes

Sumitra had nothing to do now for her children; but, since she loved her twins as her dear life, she spent some of her time with Kausalya and some with Kaika, fondling the children and attending to their needs. She moved from one palace to the other and relished her chore as a maid caring for the comforts of children. “I am not destined to mother them”, she sometimes pined in solitude. Often she wondered how this strange situation arose of her children being happy with those mothers and not with her.

At last, she went to the guru and prayed to him to allay her anxiety. He laid bare the real reason: ‘Mother! Lakshmana is a ‘part’ of Rama; Satrughna is a ‘part’ of Bharatha.” Even as these words fell from his lips, Sumitra exclaimed, “Yes, Yes! I realize it now! I am glad I know from you the truth”, and she fell at the feet of Vasishta and left for the inner apartments.

She said to herself, “When the eagle carried away in its beak the precious payasam (Divine food) given by the Divine Messenger, I was so frightened at the prospect of the King becoming angry at my negligence that I informed Kausalya and Kaika about the calamity; she poured out for me a share from her cup and the other sister poured out another share from her own cup; so, I alone of the queens had twins, as a result of the twin shares I consumed! O, the will of God is mysterious. It is beyond any one to know His might and majesty. Who can alter His decree?”

“Yes”, she consoled herself, “I bore them for nine months; I went through the pangs of delivery. But, their real mothers are Kausalya and Kaika, there is no doubt”. She was confirmed in this belief and she gladly entrusted her children to Kausalya and Kaika, and joined them in fondling and fostering them. 

The maids as well as many kinsmen of the royal family derived great joy watching the children at play. After they left, Kausalya used to insist that rites to ward off the evil eye were performed scrupulously. She was so affectionate and considerate towards the children that she never recognized the passage of day and the arrival of night or the passage of night and the dawn of a new day. She could not leave them out of sight even for the fraction of a second! While taking her bath or when she was engaged in worship inside the shrine, her mind was on them and she would hasten towards them as quick as feasible. All her work she did in a hurry so that she could spend more time on their care.

One day, she bathed Rama and Lakshmana; she applied fragrant smoke to their curls in order to dry them and perfume them; she carried them to the golden cradles; she sang sweet lullabies and rocked them to sleep. When she found that they had slept she asked the maids to keep watch and she went into her rooms, and prepared the daily food offering to God, in order to complete the rites of worship. She took the golden plate of food and offered it to God. Some time later, she went into the shrine in order to bring the plate out and give a small quantity of the offering to the children. What was her surprise, when she found in that room, before the altar, Rama sitting on the floor, with the offering before Him, eating with delight the food she had dedicated to God! She could not believe what her own eyes told her! Kausalya wondered: “What is this I see? Do my eyes deceive me? Is this true? Can it be true? How did this baby which was sleeping in the cradle come to the shrine? Who brought it hither?” She ran towards the cradle and peeped into it, only to find Rama asleep therein! She assured herself that hers was but delusion; she went into the shrine to remove from there the vessel of payasam she had placed before the idols. She found the vessel empty! How could this be, she wondered! Seeing the child in the shrine might well be a trick of the eye; but, what about the vessel being empty? How could that be an optical illusion?

Thus she was torn between amazement and disbelief. She took hold of the vessel with the remnants of the offering and hastening to the cradle, stood watching the two babes. She could see Rama rolling something on his tongue and evidently enjoying its taste; she was amusingly watching his face, when lo, she saw the entire Universe revolving therein. She lost all consciousness of herself and her surroundings; she stood transfixed, staring with dazed eyes, on the unique panorama that was revealed.

The maids were astounded at her behaviour; they cried out in their anxiety, but she did not hear them. One maid held her feet and shook her until she awoke to her surroundings. She came to, in a trice, with a quick shiver. She saw the maids around her and stricken by wonder, she sat on a bedstead. Turning to the maids, she asked, “Did you notice the child?” They replied “Yes; we are here since long. We have not taken our eyes away from him.” “Did you notice any change in him?”, Kausalya enquired in eager haste. “We did not notice any change; the child is fast asleep as you can see” was their reply. Kausalya had her problem: Was her vision a delusion? Or fact? If true, why did not these maids notice it? She thought about it for long and, finally, consoled herself with the argument that since the children were born as products of Divine Grace, Divine manifestation was only to be expected of them. She nursed them and nourished them with deep maternal solicitude. They grew day by day, with greater and greater splendour, as the moon does in the bright half of the month. She derived immeasurable joy in fondling them and fitting clothes and jewels on them.

The childhood of Rama was a simple but sublime part in his life. Very often, forgetting that He was her child, Kausalya fell at His feet, and folded her palms before him, knowing that He was Divine. Immediately, she feared what people would say if they saw her bowing before her own child and touching Its feet in adoration. To cover up her confusion, she looked up and prayed aloud, “Lord! Keep my child away from harm and injury”. She used to close her eyes in contemplation of the Divine Child and begged God that she might not waver in her faith through the vagaries of His Maya (power to delude). She was struck by the halo or light that encircled His face. She was afraid that others might question her sanity if she told them her experiences. Nor could she keep them to herself. She was so upset that she behaved often in a peculiar manner, as if carried away by the thrill of the Divine Sport or her child. Sometimes, she was eager to open her heart to Sumitra or Kaika when they were near her; but, she controlled herself, lest they doubt the authenticity of the experience and attribute it to exaggeration, or her desire to extol her own son.

At last, one day, she made hold to relate to Emperor Dasaratha the entire story of wonder and thrill. He listened intently and said, “Lady! This is just the creation of your fancy; you are over fond of the child; you imagine he is Divine and watch his every movement and action in that light and so, he appears strange and wonderful. That is all”. This reply gave her no satisfaction; so, the Emperor consoled her with some specious arguments and sent her to her apartments. In spite of what Dasaratha affirmed, the Queen who had witnessed the miraculous incidents with her own eyes remained unconvinced. She was not convinced by his words.

Therefore, she approached the guru Vasishta and consulted him on the genuineness of her experiences. He heard her account and said: “Queen! What you have seen is unalloyed Truth. They are not creations of your imagination. Your son is no ordinary human child! He is Divine. You got him as your son, as the fruit of many meritorious lives. That the Saviour of Humanity should be born as the son of Kausalya is the unique good fortune of the citizens of Ayodhya”. He blessed the Queen profusely and departed. Kausalya realised the truth of Vasishta’s statement! She knew that her son was Divinity itself; she derived great joy watching the child.

Months rolled by. The children, Rama, Lakshmana, Bharatha and Satrughna learnt to crawl on all fours, sit on the floor, and move about. Special arrangements were made to keep watch over them at all times, lest they fall and hurt themselves. Many varieties of toys were procured and placed before them. The mothers with the children, the children with the mothers and nursemaids, spent the days, with no sense of the passage of time, in one continuous round of joy. The children could raise themselves up and stand, holding fast the fingers of mother or maid. They could hold on to the wall, and get up. They could toddle forward a few steps on their feet. Their efforts and achievements gave merriment to their mothers. They lisped in sweet parrot voice a few indistinct words and made them burst into laughter. They taught them to say, Ma and Bap and were happy when they pronounced the words correctly.

Every day at dawn they rubbed medicated fragrant oil over their bodies; then they applied detergent powder and bathed them in the holy waters of the Sarayu. Then, they dried curls in perfumed incense, applied collyrium [eye ointment] to their eyes, placed dots on their cheeks to ward off the evil eye, and put ritual marks on their foreheads. They dressed them in attractive soft silk and helped them to recline in swings, where they slept soundly to the tune or melodious lullabies. Engaged in this pleasant task, the mothers felt that heaven was not far off in space and time; it was there all around them.

And what of the jewels for them! They were newer and more brilliant, each new day! Anklets, tinkling waist strings of gold and precious stones, necklaces of the nine gems! For fear that these might hurt by their hardness the tender body, they were set on soft velvet tapes and ribbons.

The plays and pastimes of the little boys defied description. When they were able to walk, boys of the same age were brought from the city and together they played games. The city children were given tasty dishes to eat and toys to play with. They were also loaded with gift articles. The maids who brought them to the palace were also fed sumptuously. Kausalya, Kaika and Sumitra had no care for their own health and comfort while bringing up their children; so happy were they with them.

After this period of nourishment and growth in the interior of the palace, when they reached the age of three, the children were taken by their governesses to the playground, where they ran and rollicked to their hearts’ content. When they returned, the mothers welcomed them and fostered them with great love and vigilance. One day, Dasaratha while conversing with his queens, mentioned that the children will not learn much that is worth while if they moved about with the maids; their intelligence and skills cannot be developed that way. So, an auspicious hour was fixed to initiate them into letters; gurus were called in to inaugurate the studies.

From that day, the charming little kids took residence in their teacher’s home; they gave up the costly royal accoutrements and wore a simple cloth wound round their waists, and another thrown over their shoulders. Since education cannot progress well if children are in the atmosphere of parental love and care, they had to live with the teacher, imbibing lessons all through the day and night; for more is learnt by service to the teacher, by observing him and following his example. They had to live on whatever was given to them as food by the teacher. They shone like embodiments of the Brahmachari ideal (the Seekers of Truth). When the mothers felt the anguish of separation and desired to see them, they went to the house of the teacher and made themselves happy, noting the progress of the children.

The teacher was also quite happy when he observed the steadfastness and enthusiasm of his wards; he was surprised at their intelligence and powerful memory, and he was filled with wonder and joy. Among all the four, he noticed that Rama had outstanding interest in his studies. He grasped things so quickly that he could repeat any lesson correctly, when he had heard it just once. The teacher was amazed at the sharp intelligence of Rama; he resolved that his advance should not be slowed down by the need to bring the others to his level. So he grouped the other three separately, and paid individual attention to Rama who learnt very fast.

Lakshmana, Bharatha and Satrughna too learnt their lessons admirably well, but they pined for the company and comradeship of Rama so much that, as soon as Rama was out of sight, they lost interest in study and in their duties towards their teacher. As a result, they could not catch up with Rama; they were following him a session or two behind.

Lakshmana dared tell his teacher once or twice that they had no need for any lessons or learning; they would be happy if they could but get the company of Rama! Rama was the very life of Lakshmana. The teacher observed this strange relationship between the two and drew much inspiration contemplating on it. He reminded himself of the statement of the sage Vasishta that they were no other than Nara and Narayana, the inseparable Divine Forces.

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Episodes from the Ramayana – Chapter 4

The Princes

Dasaratha had arranged elaborate banquets for all who attended the ceremony; he filled with joy every one who had come; he offered each one the hospitality and presents that the status of each deserved; he showered enormous gifts as charity and as ritual penance he distributed cows, lands, gold and other valuables to the poor and the needy; he paid attention to the needs of every one, so that no one was discontented or disappointed; and, after the ceremony was over, he gave them leave with due civility to return to their homes.

The children grew fast on the fond care of the mothers. But, one curious thing was noticed early. It was observed very soon that Lakshmana always sought Rama and Satrughna always sought Bharatha! Since the day of his birth, Lakshmana was always wailing! The nurses, the nannies and others tried various remedies and palliatives; but nothing could alleviate his misery or stop his wail. Internal pain was suspected and medicines galore were tried. They were of no avail. So, Sumitra was certain that the child’s pain was beyond the reach of drugs; she sent for the guru Vasishta; she fell at his feet as soon as he entered the room. ‘Master’, she appealed, ‘this Lakshmana is weeping since birth, and clamoring for something I am not able to discover. I have consulted doctors and treated him, as advised. But. the wailing is increasing day by day; he does not relish even mother’s milk! As for sleep, it is totally absent. How can he be healthy and hearty if he goes on like this? Kindly tell me why he is behaving so, and bless him that he may give up this continuous wail’.

Vasishta thought within himself for a while. Then he said: “O Queen! His pain is unique and you are trying to cure it by familiar means and drugs! Do as I tell you and the child will be quiet and happy. The moment you do so, the child will cease wailing and begin playing about with gusto. Take him now and lay him beside Rama, the child of Kausalya”. After this, Vasishta left, leaving his blessings on mother and child. Hearing his words, Sumitra took her child to where the other child was, in its cradle. She laid him by the side of Rama. From that very moment, the wailing stopped! Laughter and play began!

Those who saw this transformation took it as a great wonder! Lakshmana, who was until then suffering, began to prattle aloud in joy, kicking his feet about, waving his hands in glee, as fish do when they are thrown back into water, gliding gleefully along, in quick darts. He was in the presence of Rama, immersed in bliss and aware of the grace Rama showered.

The story of Satrughna was also on similar lines. He was melancholic, averse to food and play. He appeared very weak and tired. Sumitra was worried at this development. So she invited the guru to the palace and inquired from him the reason, Vasishta smiled again; he said, ‘Mother! Your children are not common. They are born to enact a divine drama! Place Satrughna on the same bed as Bharatha! Then his daily routine will be joyful. He will be extremely happy. You need not worry any more’. Vasishta blessed her and left. Sumitra followed his instructions immediately. Since then, Satrughna spent time in the company of Bharatha. The children were in unbounded bliss together; their progress was beyond measure! Like the splendour of the Sun, they grew in intelligence and glory from hour to hour.

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Episodes from the Ramayana – Chapter 3

The Sons

The Queens finished the Ceremonial Bath (as advised by Vasishta); they entered the Palace Shrine where the altar of the Family Deity was: Vasishta completed the ceremony of worship. The payasam (food) that the Divine Person presented was then placed in three golden cups. Then, Vasishta called Dasaratha in and said, ‘Raja! Give these cups to your wives – first to Kausalya, next to Sumitra and last, to Kaika’. The King acted as ordered. The Queens held the cups and bowed at the feet of Vasishta and Dasaratha. Then, Vasishta directed that they should partake of the payasam, only after touching the Feet of Rshyasrnga, who officiated at the Yaga.

The Queens went back to their palaces. Kausalya and Kaika kept their cups safe in the shrine itself and went among their maids to dry their hair. Meanwhile, Sumitra stepped on to the terrace, and, keeping her cup on the short balcony wall, she dried her hair in the sun, thinking all the time on her peculiar plight: “She was the second Queen! The son of the eldest queen will ascend the throne, as of right; the son of Kaika, the third Queen can ascend the throne according to the promise made by the King at the time of his marriage with her!” But, Sumitra wondered. “What will happen to the son I would get? He will be neither here nor there. Why have a son at all, to suffer as a nobody without status and sovereignty? It is far better that a son is not born than be born and get neglected.”

But that was only for a moment. Soon she reconciled and felt that what God decides must happen; no one can stop it. She remembered that it was the command of her guru and the order of the King; so, she went towards the cup, determined to eat the contents, when suddenly, an eagle flew in from somewhere and whisked it off in its beak, far, far into the sky.

Sumitra repented for her negligence of the precious payasam; she felt that the King would be very upset if he came to know of the mishap. She could not decide on her next step; she went straight to her sister Kausalya and related the whole story to her. Just then, Kaika too came there with the golden cup, after tying up her dried hair. The three were very loving to each other, like sisters bound by one single thread of affection.

So, to avoid breaking the saddening news to the King, they had another golden cup brought and Kausalya and Kaika poured into it a portion each from their own share, so that all could take their seats together in the shrine. They ate the payasam, while Rshyasrnga was pronouncing his blessings and other elders and scholars were chanting auspicious Vedic hymns. The Queens then sipped sanctifying water and prostrated before the altar; they bowed at the Feet of Rshyasrnga and proceeded to their own palaces.

Time rolled by; news that the queens were pregnant spread among the people. The bodies of the queens took on a shining complexion. The ninth month arrived, maids and nurses awaited the happy event and watched over the queens with vigilant care. Meanwhile, they came to know that Kausalya had the pains of labour; they hastened to her palace; while on their way, they learnt that she had delivered a Prince! On the second day, Kaika gave birth to a son. The glad tidings filled the entire palace with joy. The next day, Sumitra had the pangs of labour and she gave birth to twin sons.

Auspicious signs were seen everywhere. The happy news filled all with immeasurable joy. The earth covered herself with green; trees blossomed all over! Music filled the air. The joy of Dasaratha knew no bounds. While for years he was immersed in agony that he did not have even a single son, the birth of four sons gave him indescribable satisfaction and happiness.

The King invited priests and gave them gold, cows and land gifts in plenty. He arranged for the distribution of money to the poor, and of clothes; besides he gifted houses for the homeless. He gave food to the hungry. Wherever one cast his eye, he could see people acclaiming the happy event, shouting jai jai. The subjects gathered in huge assemblies to express their joy in music and dance. ‘We have now princes in the royal line’, they prided themselves; they were more exhilarated now than when they themselves had sons born to them. Women offered worship to God in gratitude for this act of grace, for they were sure that the birth of the sons to their King was a signal act of divine mercy.

Dasaratha invited the guru of the royal dynasty, Vasishta, to the palace and according to his suggestion, he got a learned astrologer to write down the horoscopes of the new-born. He announced to them that the child of Kausalya was born at a most propitious moment – Uttarayana (the Divine Half-year), Chaitra month, the bright fortnight, the ninth day, the Punarvasu star, Monday, Simhalagna, (the zodiacal sign of the Lion) and the abhijith period (the period of Victory), when the world was resting happily, when the weather was equable (neither hot, warm nor cold). Kaika’s son was born the next day – Chaitra, bright half, tenth day, Tuesday gandhayoga. The third day were born the twins – Chaitra, bright half, eleventh day, Aslesha star, Vriddhiyoga. These details were communicated to the astrologer and he was asked to chart and write the horoscopes in consonance with science and inform the king of his inferences there from.

Then, Dasaratha prayed to Vasishta to fix the auspicious time for the naming ceremony of the children. The family guru sat still for a few seconds lost in meditation: he saw revealed in his yogic vision the future years; rousing himself from that vision, he said: “Maharaja! Your sons are not just ordinary mortals. They are incomparable. They have many names; they are not human; they are divine beings who have assumed human forms. They are divine personalities. The world’s good fortune has brought them here. I consider it a great chance that I could officiate at the naming ceremony of these divine children”. The King fell at the feet of Vasishta in thankfulness for this favour and the guru left for his hermitage.

The astrologer approved the day for naming the babies and started writing down the list of materials that had to be kept ready for the ritual. He gave the list into the hands of the chief priest and left, loaded with the presents that the King granted him. Dasaratha had invitations written for the ceremony, and sent them to the feudatory rulers, the nobles, courtiers, sages and scholars throughout his empire, addressing them as befitted their rank and status. The messengers who carried the invitations were either ministers, court pundits, officers or Brahmins, their status being suited to the rank and status of invitees.

Ten days passed. The City of Ayodhya was brightened and beautified, and made most charming to the eye. The melody of music filled the air and spread over the length and breadth of the kingdom, making people wonder whether celestial angels were singing above. Fragrance was sprinkled on the streets. The city was overflowing with visitors. The Sages and the Courtiers could enter the inner apartments of the palace and no others. The rest, whether prince or peasant, had separate quarters arranged for them. They had erected seats in the courtyard of the palace to seat all the guests and invitees. They were accommodated there so that they could watch the Naming with all its attendant ceremonials.

Very soon, music rose from the Durbar Hall; the chanting of Vedic hymns by Brahmins could be heard; the  three Queens entered the elegantly decorated Hall, with the babies in their arms. They shone like Divine Mothers carrying the Gods, Brahma Vishnu and Shiva. The bliss and the splendour that pervaded their faces were beyond man’s powers of description.

As soon as the people noticed their entry, acclamations of ‘Jai’ rose from their hearts. Women waved auspicious lamps before them. Three special seats had been placed there for them. Kausalya took her seat first, followed by Sumitra and Kaika. Emperor Dasaratha sat by the side of Kausalya on her right.

The Brahmins started the ceremony, with due attention to detail. They lit the sacred fire and poured oblations with the recitation of appropriate mantras. Rice grains were poured and spread on golden plates; soft silk cloth was spread on the rice; then, the babies were placed on the cloth by the mothers. The child of Kausalya stared at Vasishta as if he was a familiar acquaintance! Vasishta was overwhelmed with joy; he shed tears of joy; he had to wipe his eyes and control himself with much effort; then, holding a few grains of rice in his hand, he said, “King! The child born to promote the joy of Kausalya will do the same for all mankind. His virtues will bring solace and contentment, joy and happiness, to all. The Yogis and seekers will find in him a great source of joy. Therefore, from this moment, his name will be Rama, “he who pleases”. And, the sages welcomed the name as very apt and meaningful. They exclaimed, “Excellent, Excellent!”

Then, Vasishta gazed upon the twin children of Sumitra. The elder one, he felt, would be a hero, a stalwart fighter, and endowed with vast wealth. He knew that he would take delight in the service of God; that service would be for him like the very breath of life. So, he chose the name Lakshmana for him. His younger brother, Vasishta knew, would be a formidable destroyer of enemies, and withal a contented follower in the footsteps of his elder brothers. He therefore blessed him with the name, Satrughna, (the slayer of enemies).

Later, he gazed on the child that was the source of Kaika’s joy. That child, Vasishta knew, will fill all hearts with love and joy; he will amaze all by his unbelievable adherence to Dharma; he will rule over his subjects with great compassion and affection. So, he gave him the name, Bharatha (he who rules). The people were happy when they heard the guru speak on the glorious future of the children; they were filled with love for the princes and called them from that day as Rama, Lakshmana, Satrughna and Bharatha.

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Episodes from the Ramayana – Chapter 2

No Progeny from his Loins

The King consulted priests, pundits and ministers and when he knew that their desire confirmed the earnest prayer of Kausalya, he married another wife, Sumithra. Sumithra lived up to her name, for she was indeed full of companionable virtues. Kausalya and Sumithra were bound to each other by ties of affection, far stronger than those between a mother and child. Each yearned to give joy to the other; each had deep fortitude, detachment and sympathy. But, in spite of the lapse of many years, no signs of the King securing a successor to the throne were evident. Moved by despair, the King married a third wife, at the instance of the two queens. She was Kaika, the exquisitely charming daughter of the King or Kekaya in Kashmir.

The King of Kekaya, however, laid down certain conditions, before agreeing to give his daughter away in marriage! He insisted that the son born of Kaika should have the right of accession to the throne; if the King of Ayodhya could not agree to this, he declared, he would not consent. Garga. the Court Priest, brought back the message to Ayodhya. Kausalya and Sumithra recognized the ardour of the King to wed the princess of Kekaya, whose beauty was being extolled highly by all; they felt that the duty of a true wife is to obey the least wish of the husband and do her best to help the realization of that wish; they also knew full well that the Imperial Line of Ayodhya can never be polluted by a son who would transgress Dharma. Though Dasaratha might promise that the son of the third wife could succeed to the throne, the son of Kaika born in the dynasty would certainly be an embodiment of righteousness, free from such blemish: so, they pleaded with him, with palms meeting in prayer, “Lord! What greater happiness have we than yours? Accept the conditions laid by the King of Kekaya and wed his daughter and ensure the continuity of this dynasty of Raghu. There is no need to spend even a minute’s thought upon this”.

The words of the queens fanned his native ardour to an even brighter flame; therefore, the King sent Garga back with many presents agreeing to the terms and informing the King that he was following fast for the wedding ceremony. The ceremony itself was celebrated with lavish magnificence.

Dasaratha returned to his capital, shining like the moon amidst the stars, when he passed through the streets in procession, accompanied by the three queens. The King treated each of them with equal consideration; they too, evinced equal love and respect towards each other and the King. They adored him and were afraid to displease him. They endeavoured their best to carry out his wishes and not to hinder his desire, for they revered him as their God, in the tradition of the true wife. They lived with such intimate mutual love that it appeared as if all three had but one breath, though they moved about as three bodies!

Years passed. The King and the queens crossed the bounds of youth and middle age and approached the realm of old age; there were no signs of a son. Therefore, though the women’s apartments of the palace had all the comforts and accessories needed for happy existence, the hearts of the queens were torn by unrest, anxiety and despair.

One evening, the four (the King and his queens) sat in a room or the palace spending hours of anxiety over the future of Ayodhya, and the prospects of its prosperity and safety; and each attempted to answer intelligently and pleasantly. At last, unable to resolve the problem, they rose, heavily dejected and decided that they should consult the family Preceptor, Vasishta, and accept his advice.

At break of dawn, Vasishta was respectfully invited to grant his Presence; many Pundits and Counselors were also called for consultation. The King placed before them the problem of finding a successor to rule the vast realm between the two seas, the Imperial domain under the sway of the Raghu dynasty. Overcome by despair, Dasaratha prayed to the elders in plaintive terms for beneficial suggestions.

Vasishta dwelt long in thought; at last, he opened his eyes and spoke thus: “King! You need not grieve thus. Ayodhya will not be rendered masterless. She will not suffer widowhood. This domain will be happy and prosperous, in unbroken festivity and evergreen with festoonery. She will be the guardian of right living, reverberating with music and joy. I will not agree to the raising of a prince from some other dynasty to the throne of Ayodhya. The Grace of God is a gift inscrutable. The Vow of Righteousness which you are fulfilling will surely bring you the supreme joy of having a son. Do not delay any further! Invite the sage Rshyasrnga and perform, with him as the High Priest, the sacred Yaga (Sacrifice) called Puthrakameshti (the Yaga prescribed for those desirous of begetting a son). Make all the necessary ceremonial and ritual arrangements for the Yaga forthwith. Your desire will be achieved without fail”.

The queens listened to these reassuring words, spoken so emphatically by Vasishta. They were filled with joy! The bud of hope bloomed anew in their hearts. They retired into their apartments, praying most earnestly.

Meanwhile, arrangements for the Yaga were put through, on the bank of the sacred Sarayu river. Attractive sacrificial altars were constructed, in conformity with sacred injunctions. The City was decorated with flags and festoons.

As was anticipated, the great sage Rshyasrnga entered the city of Ayodhya, to the great delight of all, with his consort Santha.

Emperor Dasaratha welcomed the sage at the main gate of the Palace; he ceremonially washed the feet of the distinguished saint; he placed on his own head a few drops of the water sanctified by his feet; he then fell at the feet of Vasishta and prayed to him to enquire from Rshyasrnga the proper procedure for the contemplated Yaga.

Rshyasrnga wanted that the ministers and scholars be seated in appointed order; he directed the King also to sit on his throne. Then he described the various processes of the ceremony, so that the court priests could note them for their guidance. He gave them in such detail that every one even knew where exactly he was to sit in the sacrificial hall!

The sage decided that the Yaga shall begin on the stroke of seven, the very next day. The news spread all over the City in a trice. Before dawn every street was decorated with green festoons, every road was packed with people pressing forward to the vast open space on the bank of the Sarayu, where the Yaga was to be performed. The river bank was thick with the eager populace.

Rshyasrnga, with his consort Santha, entered the specially built Yaga Mantap, with the King and Queens, while Vedic chanting and the music of bugle, trumpet and clarinet and the cheers of the people resounded from the sky. Rshyasrnga was installed as the ‘Brahma’, or the Chief Organizer for the Yaga; he assigned various tasks like worship, recitation, chanting, propitiation, etc. to scholars, in consideration of their qualifications. The offerings were placed in the sacred fire with the prescribed formulae by Rshyasrnga himself, with scrupulous exactitude, deep devotion and faith.

From the fire that was scripturally fed, there arose before all eyes, a Divine Person who shone with the blinding splendour of a sudden stroke of lightning! He held a bright vessel in his hands. At this, the vast concourse including the priests were petrified with wonder, awe, fear and joy. They were overwhelmed by the sudden onrush of bliss and mystery. The King and Queens shed tears of joy; they cast their looks upon the Divine Person and prayed to Him, with folded palms. Rshyasrnga continued the formulae with undisturbed equanimity, as the texts prescribe, offering oblations in the fire. Suddenly, a Voice resounded from the dome of the sky. Rshyasrnga sat aghast and sought to listen to the Message from above. “Maharaja! Accept this Vessel, and give the sacred ‘payasam’ food brought therein in appropriate shares to your three queens”, the Voice announced. Placing the vessel in the hands of the King the mysterious Person who had emerged from the flames disappeared into them.

The joy of the people, princes, pundits and priests who witnessed this great manifestation knew no bounds. Soon, the final rituals were completed and the Maharaja returned in procession to the Palace, with the sacred vessel gifted by the Gods in his hands.

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The second teachings of Bhagwan Valmiki

He is the knower, the knowledge and all that is to be known. He is the one that sees, He is the one doing the seeing, and all that is to be seen is Him. He is the doer and the receiver: therefore salutation to Him (who is all) knowledge himself.

Yoga Vasistha Ch1. V2.

In the verse above, Bhagvan says that God is all that is to be known. He is the one that knows everything in totality and he is all knowledge.

He is the spirit and life force within us. It is this spirit or life force that separates a living person from a dead body. This spirit or life force is often referred to as Atma. Atma is a tiny part of God, just like a drop of water is a tiny part of the great ocean but essentially they are the same thing.

This Atma or God within us allows us to see, hear, act, think and exist.

Bhagvan says that God is seeing through our eyes and receiving everything we take in through our eyes, ears, mouths, hands and minds.  Take a moment to reflect and ask, is everything I take in through my senses fit for God to receive?

Bhagvan invites us to know God and God alone as he is all knowledge.

Bhagvan’s Second Teaching

God is all knowledge and all that is to be known.

 

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Episodes from the Ramayana – Chapter 1

King Dasratha and Queen Kausalya: Father and Mother of Lord Rama

King Dasaratha illumined all quarters of the Palace in the City of Ayodya. Like the rays of the rising Sun, he had the intrepidity and skill of ten charioteers rolled into one and so, the name Dasaratha (The-ten-chariot hero) was appropriate. No one could stand up against the onrush of his mighty chariot! Every contemporary ruler, mortally afraid of his prowess, paid homage to his throne. The world extolled him as a hero without equal, a paragon of virtue, a statesman of highest stature.

Read the rest of Episodes from the Ramayana – Chapter 1

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