Friday, April 3, 2009
Sri Rama-Navami 2009
Today is the most glorious appearance day of Lord Ramacandra, also known as Rama-navami. Lord Rama appeared in the Treta-yuga with His three brothers, Laksmana, Bharata, and Satrughna. They are all vishnu-tattva. Lord Krishna expands Himself as Lord Balarama to increase His transcendental pastimes. Lord Balarama expands Himself as the catur-vyuha: Vasudeva, Sankarshana, Pradyumna and Aniruddha. These four expands have appeared as Lord Rama and His brothers. They were born from Maharaja Dasaratha who had previously appeared as Vasudeva, Kashyapa, and Nanda.
Lord Rama was always accompanied by His younger brother Laksmana. In Sri-Caitanya-caritamrita, Srila Krsnadasa Kaviraja gives an in depth study of the character of Laksmana: "Lord Nityananda Svarupa formerly appeared as Laksmana and served Lord Ramacandra as His younger brother. THe activities of Lord Rama were full of suffering, but Laksmana, of His own accord, tolerated that suffering. As a younger brother He could not stop Lord Rama from His resolution, and so He remained silent, although unhappy in His mind." This not only gives us a psychological study of Laksmana but also the mood of Lord Rama's pastimes.
The Ramayana, written by Valmiki Muni, is the authoritative scripture that deals with the pastimes of Lord Rama. The Ramayana is considered to be one of the first epic poems written. In the adventures of Lord Rama, we find romance, drama, fierce battles and deep friendship.
It all began with Pulastya Muni's son, Visrava. He was a powerful brahmana who is also the father of Kuvera. He was approached by a rakshasi, demoness. Together they had many children. But since she had approached him at an inauspicious time, she gave birth to terrible demons. Ravana was born with ten heads and twenty arms. Kumbha Karna was a huge demon who was eating anything and anyone. But their last son was a great devotee of the Lord. His name was Vibhisnana.
Ravana was given many benedictions by Lord Brahma. He began terrorizing the universe. The demigods prayed for the Lord to appear. Lord Rama descended in the Raghu dynasty to appease the demigods. The Sri Ramarcana-dipika describes the Lord's birth: "During the ninth tithi, when five planets were exalted, when Jupiter was conjoined with the moon in the constellation Punarvasu in Cancer on the ascendent, and when the sun was in Aries, from the arani wood of Ayodhya was kindled a sacrificial fire of unprecedented power manifested to burn the palasa wood fuel (of a great host of demons)."
Here are some excerpts from the Ninth Canto of Srimad-Bhagavatam depicting the padtimes of Lord Sri Rama:
"To keep the promise of His father intact, Lord Rāmacandra immediately gave up the position of king and, accompanied by His wife, mother Sītā, wandered from one forest to another on His lotus feet, which were so delicate that they were unable to bear even the touch of Sītā's palms. The Lord was also accompanied by Hanumān [or by another monkey, Sugrīva], king of the monkeys, and by His own younger brother Lord Lakṣmaṇa, both of whom gave Him relief from the fatigue of wandering in the forest. Having cut off the nose and ears of Śūrpaṇakhā, thus disfiguring her, the Lord was separated from mother Sītā. He therefore became angry, moving His eyebrows and thus frightening the ocean, who then allowed the Lord to construct a bridge to cross the ocean. Subsequently, the Lord entered the kingdom of Rāvaṇa to kill him, like a fire devouring a forest. May that Supreme Lord, Rāmacandra, give us all protection."
"O King, the pastimes of Lord Rāmacandra were wonderful, like those of a baby elephant. In the assembly where mother Sītā was to choose her husband, in the midst of the heroes of this world, He broke the bow belonging to Lord Śiva. This bow was so heavy that it was carried by three hundred men, but Lord Rāmacandra bent and strung it and broke it in the middle, just as a baby elephant breaks a stick of sugarcane. Thus the Lord achieved the hand of mother Sītā, who was equally as endowed with transcendental qualities of form, beauty, behavior, age and nature. Indeed, she was the goddess of fortune who constantly rests on the chest of the Lord. While returning from Sītā's home after gaining her at the assembly of competitors, Lord Rāmacandra met Paraśurāma. Although Paraśurāma was very proud, having rid the earth of the royal order twenty-one times, he was defeated by the Lord, who appeared to be a kṣatriya of the royal order."
"O King Parīkṣit, when Rāvaṇa, who had ten heads on his shoulders, heard about the beautiful and attractive features of Sītā, his mind was agitated by lusty desires, and he went to kidnap her. To distract Lord Rāmacandra from His āśrama, Rāvaṇa sent Mārīca in the form of a golden deer, and when Lord Rāmacandra saw that wonderful deer, He left His residence and followed it and finally killed it with a sharp arrow, just as Lord Śiva killed Dakṣa."
"After constructing a bridge over the ocean by throwing into the water the peaks of mountains whose trees and other vegetation had been shaken by the hands of great monkeys, Lord Rāmacandra went to Lańkā to release Sītādevī from the clutches of Rāvaṇa. With the direction and help of Vibhīṣaṇa, Rāvaṇa's brother, the Lord, along with the monkey soldiers, headed by Sugrīva, Nīla and Hanumān, entered Rāvaṇa's kingdom, Lańkā, which had previously been burnt by Hanumān."
"After thus rebuking Rāvaṇa, Lord Rāmacandra fixed an arrow to His bow, aimed at Rāvaṇa, and released the arrow, which pierced Rāvaṇa's heart like a thunderbolt. Upon seeing this, Rāvaṇa's followers raised a tumultuous sound, crying, "Alas! Alas! What has happened? What has happened?" as Rāvaṇa, vomiting blood from his ten mouths, fell from his airplane, just as a pious man falls to earth from the heavenly planets when the results of his pious activities are exhausted."
Raghupati Raghava Raja-Ram
Patita Pavana Sita-Rama
Lord Sri Rama Ki Jaya!