Sunday, April 17, 2016

Sri Ramanavami Festival in ' White House Apts ', Bengaluru 560 032

  • - P.Natarajan.

Sri Ramanavami was celebrated at White House premises in the evening of Friday, the 15th April 2016. Group singing of Nama Ramayanam - “ Suddha Brahma Paratpara Ram “ was rendered in a melodious voice in chorus, followed by ‘ Hanuman Chalisa ‘. Carnatic vocals were sung by children which were lifting in rhythm and moving in appeal, filled the atmosphere with a sense of devotion. The Temple Committee had made arrangements for the function which includes a discourse on Ramayanam.

Sri Rama Pattabhishekam

Swamy Shiva Prakash Ananda delivered the discourse on ‘ Ramayanam ‘ from 7p.m. to 8p.m.
Swamiji spoke in simple English with great clarity.  Let me try to focus on what he said :-

“ Ramayanam “ - the word is built by two words Rama plus Ayanam.  Rama means ‘Ramayathe ithi Rama ‘ , that which pleases everyone . Rama is dear to all . Ramarajyam means successful ruling. The verse in Vishnu Sahasranama “ Sri Rama Ramethi Rame Raame manorame; Sahasra Nama tat tulyam Sri Rama Nama Varanane “ ampli subscribes that pronouncing 'Sri Rama, repeat Sri Rama' is equivalent (tulyam) to singing the ‘sahasranamas’ of Vishnu.

Let us see what ‘Ayanam’ means which word follows Rama. Ayanam means route or Journey. Ramayanam means ‘ The Story of Rama’s Journey’. We all know that when the Sun takes the Northern route, Uttarayana begins. And Dakshinayana begins when the Sun takes the Southern direction. Rama followed the ‘Dharmic’ path. The great epic Ramayanam explains the righteous path led by Sri Rama even when he faced himalayan difficulties. Sri Rama encountered all the acid tests precisely in line with what is prescribed in Vedas, Upanishads and Scriptures. He never deviated even by a margin of 1 in 1000. Predominant among the virtues he adhered to was ‘ Pitru Vakya Paripalana’ and ‘Eka Pathni Vratham’.
He also protected the Rishis to continue performing ‘tapas’ and killed the rakshasas who interfered with such religious ‘karmas’. His avatar established the doctrine of ‘ Dharma Samsthapanarthaya’ and ‘Paritranaya sadhunam and Vinasaya Cha Dushkritam” !

The Swamiji’s discourse picked up interest when he quoted the Vedas and Upanishads at appropriate places in a loud and clear voice. Having explained the meaning of ‘ Ramayanam’ he went on to explain the nine forms of worships and cited examples from Ramayanam itself who excelled in each form of worship. The sanskrit verse which describes the nine forms :-

! श्रवणं   कीर्तनं स्मरणं  पादसेवनम्  अर्चनं  वन्दनं  दास्यं  साख्यं  आत्मनिवेदनम्  !

(1) Listening, (2) Namasangeerthanam,(3) thinking of God always, (4) Worshiping the feet of the lord, (5) Singing in praise of the God, (6) Offering worship with folded hands, (7) Service to God (dasa), (8) Being a Friend, (9) Offering oneself - are the nine forms of worship.

  1. In Ramayana , Hanuman excels in ‘Sravanam”. He is present wherever ‘Ramanama’  is sung. There is always a seat reserved for Hanuman to occupy wherever discourse on Ramayana takes place. Hanuman is seen with his eyes filled with tears of ananda as he listens to Rama’s glory. ‘ Yatra Yatra Raghunatha kirtanam, tatra tatra kritha mastha kanjalim,  Bhashpavari paripurna lochanam Maruthim Namata rakshasantakam.
यत्र यत्र रघुनाथकीर्तनं तत्र तत्र कृतमस्तकांजलिम् i
बाष्पवारी परिपूर्णलोचनं मारुतिं नमत राक्षसान्तकम् ॥

(2) Keerthanam :- Valmiki Rishi stands outstanding in singing the entire Ramayana which is well known as ‘Valmiki Ramayanam’.  The Ramayana consists of 24,000 verses in seven books (kāṇḍas) and 500 cantos (sargas ) and tells the story of Rama (the seventh avatar of the Hindu Supreme-God Vishnu). Ramayana explores the human values and concept of dharma.

(3) Smaranam :-  Sita thinks of Rama and nothing else. She retrieves the image of Sri Rama in her heart and worships by the sankalpa she chooses in her mind. Sita leads in this bhava of worship - ‘ Smaranam ‘.

(4) Pada Sevanam :- Bharatha installs the Paduka (slippers) of Sri Rama in Nandigram, symbolic of Rama’s Rule and worshipped the paduka during the time Rama stayed in the forest for 14 years in obedience of Dasaratha’s commitment to Kaikeyi. Bharatha thus leads ahead in this form of worship.

(5) Archanam:- Sabari Mata was an old woman attained moksha through her devotion to Sri Rama. The story of Sabari demonstrates to the world that devotion is more important than caste, creed or value of offerings. Her eyes became wet when Sri Rama entered her hut in search of Sita. She offered the fruits chosen by her by tasting them first. She kept only those that were sweet like honey for offering to Sri Rama. Her Guru Matanga rishi advised her to remain alive till Sri Rama Visited her. Thus Sabari’s worship stands unparalleled in ‘Archana’ bhava.

(6) Vandanam:-  Vandanam is the basic trait of worship by folding the hands and bending the head in reverence to the almighty. Vibhishana Saranagathi explains the implicit surrender by Vibhishana to Sri Rama when the former left Ravana who showed no change in his attitude towards Sita. Vibhishana had no fears to leave his mighty brother as he was fully aware ‘Vandanam to Sri Rama’ would protect him for ever. Vibhishana lives as a Chiranjeevi’ even to day.

(7) Dasyam :- Rama-Dasa spells service to Rama as a form of worship and Lakshmana followed Sri Rama like a shadow when Sri Rama left for the forest. He accompanied him faithfully. He performed all the commands of Rama and was ready to sacrifice even his life in service to Sri Rama. True Devotees call themselves Dasa's Dasa's Dasa.

(8) Sakhyam :- A friend in need is a friend indeed. Sugriva’s association with Sri Rama was exemplary. He needed Rama’s help to win over his brother Vali. Vali was killed by Sri Rama and Sugriva got back the Kingdom. Sugriva rendered his services to Sri Rama as a true friend in search of Sita in Sri Lanka and in crossing the Ocean with his ‘Vanara Sainya’ to wage war with the army of Ravana.

(9) Atma Nivedanam ;- To offer oneself to God is the greatest sacrifice and Jatayu excelled in this form of worship. He fought with Ravana while he was abducting Sita in his ‘Pushpaka Vimana’. Ravana severed the wings of Jatayu who fought tooth and nail to protect Sita for Rama's sake. He remained alive till he met Sri Rama only to convey the news of abduction of Sita by Ravana. Sri Rama was moved by Jatayu’s ‘atma nivedanam’ and offered moksha which is known as ‘Jatayu Moksham’.

Swamiji’s discourse was a revelation of the main characters of Ramayana who excelled in one of the nine forms of worship. All of them were the true devotees of Sri Rama.

Swamiji prayed for Sri Rama’s blessings to reach all those who listened to the story of Ramayana and its devotees.

ॐ सर्वेषां स्वस्तिर्भवतु । सर्वेषां शान्तिर्भवतु ।
  सर्वेषां पूर्णं भवतु । सर्वेषां मङ्गलं भवतु ।
  सर्वे भवन्तु सुखिनः सर्वे सन्तु निरामयाः ।
  सर्वे भद्राणि पश्यन्तु मा कश्चिद् दुःख भाग्भवेत् ।
  ॐ आनन्द । ॐ आनन्द । ॐ आनन्



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