by Pujya Sri Datta Vijayananda Teertha Swamiji
Jaya Guru Datta.
Photo Credit - Dattatreya Yoga Centre TT
Offering pranams at the lotus feet of Pujya Sri Ganapathy Sachchidananda Swamiji, our Sadguru.
Offering pranams to Hanuman.
We shall discuss Sundara Kanda from today for four days. We shall begin with a Ganapati Bhajan--a wonderful bhajan by Pujya Sri Swamiji!
Jai Jai Ganapati Mangalakari. I know, you all love Swamiji’s Bhajans a lot. I will feel very happy if you all join with me in singing. Will you? Yes!
Śantam śāśvatamaprameya managham
Nirvāna śantiḥ pradam brahma śambhopanīndrasevyamanisam
Vedanta vedyam vibhum
Rāmāgyam jagadiśvaram suragurum māyā manusyam harim
Vandeham karuna karam raghuvaram bhupālachulāmanim***
This prayer is in Rama Charitmanas. The beginning of Sundara Kanda. So, we did prayer of Rama before starting Sundara Kanda.
Bhajan: Jai Jai Ganapati Mangalakari
It is a custom we have to pray to Ganesha in all the pujas, Vratas, whatever we do. We have to praise, we have to pray to Ganesha, that is what our Sanatana Dharma says. Even seeing his face in your dreams also gives so many benefits. Seeing an elephant in your dreams is also very beneficial. So we have prayed to Ganapati to remove all the vighnas in vighnam kurumedeva sarvakāryesu sarvada. Nirvighnam kuru…"
What is vighna in Sundara Kanda?
Vighna is your mobile phone/cell phone, so switch off all cellphones. You may get messages, someone may call you then you remember what is happening outside. That is vighna. That makes our mind wonder, so don’t let it go here and there. We shall all listen and enjoy. Feel free, make yourself easy, happy, don’t stress much. Happily listen to Sundara Kanda. I am sharing some parts from Sundara Kanda, this is like a discussion.
This is a good discussion. Okay. Sundara Kanda says about Hanuman, right? Then why the name Sundara Kanda? Who is Sundara? Sundara means handsome or beautiful. So, who is beautiful? Who is handsome here, in Sundara Kanda? Who? Hanuman, Sri Rama, Sita Mata. Sundara Kanda Ramayana by itself is Sundara! It is very beautiful. But here in Sundara kanda, Hanuman is the hero, right? Who is hero in Ramayana? Sri Rama. But remember, we cannot say Sita is a heroine, she is also a hero. Heroine also has some importance in this story but not like a hero. That is why we should say Sita is also a hero.
The Ramayana is known as Sita Charita, we have three names for Ramayana: Ramayana, Sita Charita and Poulastya Vadha. Sita Charita is the history of Sita. The hero is Sita here. We talk about woman empowerment, when already in Treta Yuga, Valmiki Maharishi talked about woman empowerment. She taught us how to empower ourselves. There is a lot to learn from Sita Mata.
Then why is it called Sundara Kanda? He could have said this is Hanuman Kanda or Hanumad vijaya. Hanuman’s victory. We see Hanuman’s victory here. Hanuman’s victory is Rama’s victory. Why he named Sundara Kanda? Bala Kanda is the first chapter that describes the childhood of Rama.
Then Ayodhya Kanda. He describes Ayodhya and talks on Ayodhya, how Rama loved his people, how king Dasaratha took care of his people of Ayodhya and how Kaikeyi asked for two boons from Dasaratha, her husband. How Rama left without saying a word! That is Rama. Everyone thought, “From tomorrow Rama is going to be king.” Today it happened! Kaikeyi invited him and asked as if Dasaratha was ordering, “You must leave this place and go to the jungle.” He went without saying a word. In Valmiki’s Ramayana, Valmiki says he was not worried inside, not outside. Outside we may show, we may act, but inside it is difficult. Manasāpi, he was not worried inside! He was happy. He thinks, “I am going to the forest, I am happy. I wanted to see how the forest is, now I am going. I am happy.” He left Ayodhya happily and Sita Mata, she also requested Rama, “Oh Rama, don’t leave me here, I want to come with you.” Rama said, “No, it is not possible. It is very difficult for you to live in the jungle.” Sita Mata said “No, it is difficult for me to live in Ayodhya without you. I am coming with you".
Ramayana like a family history
There is a big discussion between Rama and Sita in Ayodhya Kanda. That’s a wonderful part in the Ramayana! We can see how cleverly Sita Mata requested Rama, and Rama was forced to take her to the forest. Then Lakshmana came, His brother Lakshmana. So, there is a lot to learn from Ramayana. It is like a family history you can say. How a family should be is discussed in the Ramayana. That is why it is always alive. Ramayana was written in Treta Yuga and Dwapara Yuga. Dwapara yuga also went by! Now we are in Kali Yuga. Even in Kaliyuga, Trinidad Ashram, we are discussing Ramayana. That is the greatness of Ramayana. Ramayana. It has 24000 shlokas; it is difficult for us to chant and listen.
Photo Credit - Datta Balroop
Shatashloki Ramayana. Keeping this in mind, our Pujya Sadguru Ganapati Sacchidananda Swamiji blessed us with the Shatashloki Ramayana. Keep chanting Shatashloki Ramayana, you will understand the Ramayana. It has the essence of Sampoorna Valmiki Ramayana. The whole Ramayana you can understand in Shatashloki Ramayana.
And then the three started their journey. This is their journey, Ramayana.
Meaning of Ramayana
What is the meaning of Ramayana? I don’t know, I’m asking you. I am here to learn, not to teach. I want to know from you.
Ramayana is Rama's journey. Ramasya ayanam Ramayanam. Like Narayana, there is also one ayana there, Narad Ayana, Rama ayana. Ramayana, Rama's journey. No, no, no, this is not a right meaning of Ramayana. It is cheating us, ok. I can say it is cheating. Rama's journey is not the right meaning. It is also a meaning, but not the right meaning. Then, what is the right meaning?
Journey to Rama is Ramayana.
Rama Ayanam, going towards Rama is Ramayana. Rama's journey had already happened right? So why we need to discuss about his journey? He travelled, that is all. That story is finished. It is not happening. What is not happening, we should not worry about that, that is what Shastra says. So that means we need not discuss about Ramayana. Then our Sadguru says, “No, Ramayana is journey to Rama”. That is Ramayana. See, we should travel to Rama. We should reach him. That is Ramayana, Ramaya ayanam. There is fantastic grammar in sanskrit. Sanskrit grammar is very glamorous you can say. It’s very nice. You can say Ramena ayanam, travelling with Rama, travelling to Rama, travelling of Rama! Travelling to Rama, travelling for Rama, travelling of Rama, travelling in Rama, you can say so many meanings. Ramayana---Travelling itself is Rama. Rama eva ayanam Ramayanam Rama prathiayanam Ramayanam Ramena ayanam Ramayanam, Ramaya ayanam Ramayanam. Ramaatayanam Ramayanam.
What is Ramaat ayanam? This journey is because of Rama. That is Ramaat ayanam. Ramasya ayanam, the journey of Rama that we have discussed. Ramayanam, journey in Rama, okay. Fine. Now tell me, what is the meaning of Rama? ‘Hare Rama’, we know, Rama with one bow, arrow, with kireeta, (crown) all decorations. He is Rama, yes, that is the form of Rama, but what is Rama? What is Rama?
Photo Credit - Dattatreya Yoga Centre TT
RAMA IS NOTHING BUT SACHCHIDANANDA! That is Rama—Ananda is Rama, joy, happiness- Bliss is Rama. Now you understand what is Ramayana, right? So, if you see the word “Ramayana” this way, then you will understand what is Ramayana and why Ramayana is required all the time. Why Ramayana is required in Kali Yuga, in 2019. What is the date today? 11th of April. Now you understand it is always required. It is always necessary for everyone. Who doesn’t want bliss? Everyone is wishing for happiness, right?
How to lead a happy life is Ramayana.
Wherever you are, whatever you get, BE HAPPY. Try to be happy. Rama taught us this, right? He left Ayodhya happily, not ‘cryingly’. We may also live , but we cry. If someone asks us to leave our place and go, we also leave because we are left with no choice. We leave, but ‘cryingly’ leave. Rama did so happily, that is the difference between Rama and ourselves. He left Ayodhya happily. That is Rama, and Sita Mata also followed him, that is Sita Mata. Lakshmana also followed him, that is Lakshmana! Bharatha, Shatrugna were not there at the time. They were somewhere in Keykeyi Raja. This is Ramayana.
Then came Aranya Kanda.
Aranya Kanda is very important for Datta devotees, for everyone, especially Datta devotees. We like Aranya Kanda very much, because in Aranya Kanda, Rama went to the place of Atri Maharishi, Atri and Anasuya. Who are Atri and Anasuya? Parents of our Datta Prabhu, so Aranya Kanda is very important. He visited all the ashrams. You have to keep visiting Ashrama. It is very good for you. Shrama means tiresome tiredness. If you visit Ashrama, that Shrama goes, that is why it is Ashrama. It gives us some rest. We can rest here, resting not like sleeping. Don’t do that. Swamiji once told me that is what you do here. Everyone is sleeping. Sleeping is not rest.
Resting is keeping your mind without any tension. That is resting. You should rest in Ashram. That tiresome feeling goes away from the mind, so keep on visiting Ashram. How wonderful our Ashram is, Trinidad Ashram! Keep coming!
Pujya Sri Appaji is Dattatreya.
That is why Rama visited all the Ashrams in Ayodhya Kanda, Aranya Kanda and he went to Atri Maharishi’s place. Some scholars say Rama wanted to see Dattatreya, that is why Rama went there. But he was not there. He’s always roaming like Appaji. Appaji is Dattatreya, Dattatreya is Appaji! So HE is also always roaming. He was not there! People think, "We may see Appaji in Mysore Ashram.” They come, but they find Appaji is not in Ashram. They say, “Appaji, we came to Ashram, but you were not there.” Then Appaji says, “Come to the place wherever I am. You can see me.” Never think that Swamiji is always in Mysore Ashram. No, he’s always roaming. We request and pray Appaji to stay in Mysore Ashram. That is a different thing. But he is always roaming and roaming!
Photo Credit - Dattatreya Yoga Centre TT
Hope you are following me okay? Let me make sure.
Rama went to Atri Maharishi’s ashram. that incident that ghata, that chapter is very important for Datta devotees so we shall take some dohas from Rama Charitra Manasa and discuss on that chapter, that ghata, Aranya kanda then we enter into Sundara kanda.
I remembered I should tell you why it is named Sundara kanda. I will tell you after this, after discussing Atri Maharishi’s ashram.
Alokyayasyaatilalamaleela, sabhagya bhajou pitarou krtatou, tamarbhakandar pakadarpa chodam sri janaki jivana manatosmi. Sri janaki jivana manatosmi.
Jai Bola ramachandra prabhuki! Jai Jai Bolo Pavana Suta Hanumanki, Jai!
Jai Bola Sita Mahalakshmi ki, Jai!
Jai Bolo Lakshmana Swamiki Jai!
Bhajan: Sri Rama chandra krpalu bhajanmana Harana. Bhavan Bhaya darunam.
Mantra : Bandaunama ramaraguvara ko he tu krpa subhanu himakpra ko bidihariharamaya vedapranaso raguva hanupama gunanidanaso. Maha mantra joyi japatamahesu kasi mukutihaitu upadesu.
Rama Nama Mahima
What happens if we take Rama’s name? What is the power of Ramanama? This is Rama nama Mahima from Rama charitramanasa. He says Tulsidas Goswami Maharaj. He enjoyed, he experienced Rama Nama like Valmiki Maharishi. He experienced, you need to experience, you don’t understand. Because Maharishis, today even today they are trying to understand Ramanama. That is what Tulsidas Gos Swami Maharaj says.
In Kashi if you leave your body, Kashi is the place where the Maharishis wish to leave a body because we can attain moksha. One who leaves his body in Kashi, there Shiva appears. While leaving our body he comes and does some upadesha. What is that upadesha?
Rama --THE mantra Many Maharishis have this question. So they ask Narada, “ Oh Narada Maharishi, what is the mantra Shiva chants in the ears of those who are leaving the body in Kashi? Then Narada Maharishi says to all the Maharishis, all the saints, “Shiva comes and utters Rāma Nama in Kashi, that is the taraka mantra –Rāma Nama! Rama Nama is taraka mantra which can make us easily cross the ocean of Bhava Sagara. Bhava means this creation. We are always in this creation, that is why we are not able to see Him. We are not able to see the Supreme Soul. That is why Shiva makes us easily cross this ocean of troubles, of Janma Marana, taking birth, dying, death and birth!
This is like a chakra, a big wheel. When he, Shiva, comes, he takes Rāma Nama and says,
“Kashi mukuti hetu upadeshu, Mahima jāsu jāna gara Jāna Gana Rāhu pratama pujiata nāma prabhāvu, Jāna ādikabhi nama pratapu bhaya vishuddha kari ulata jāpu.”
Bandaunama ramaraguvarā ko he tu kṛpā subhaanu himakarako ko bidihariharamaya vedaprānaso raguva hanupama gunānidānaso, Maha mantra joyi japatamaheshu, Kashi mukutihai tu upadesu.
Kashi mukuti hetu upadeshu, Mahima Jāsu Jāna gara Jāna Gana Rāhu pratama pujiata nāma prabhāvu, Jāna ādikabhi nama pratapu Bhaya vishuddha kari ulata jāpu.”
Valmiki Maharishi was not able to take RāmaNama. Rāma—it was very difficult for him to say ‘Rāma, Rāma’.
It was very difficult for him to say ‘Ra’, to take that letter. He said, “ No, I cannot chant Rāma. It is very difficult for me.”
Then Narada Maharishi with so much compassion, said, “Okay, you can say Mara. Say "Mara, Mara, keep saying ‘Ma Ra, Ma Ra, Ma Ra Ma Ra." It became Rāma. Ulata Japa. He started chanting Ma ra, Ma ra, Mara, Mara Mara. Then he realized, “ It is very easy, oh Narada.”
“ Then chant!” He chanted Rāma Rāma Rāma Rāma …ulata jaapa.
Then he became a poet. Now we have Valmiki Ramayana because of these two letters, Ra-ma. He chanted “Rāma Rāma Rama Rama Rama, Ulata Japu.”
Sahasranama Sama Suni Shiva Pāni
Japi Jehi piya sangha bhavani
Karashe hetu he ré hara hi ko piya bhushana
Piya bhushana ti ko, nāma prabhu vu Jāna si vane ko, Kāla bhuta balu deena ami ko.”
The power of Rama's name
People ask how Shiva swallowed poison, venom, kāla bhoota pischat. Now Tulsidas Swami says, “Because, Shiva chanted Rāma Nāma, so he was able to swallow kāla bhoota pischat -that is the power of Rāmachandra!”
Jai bolo Rāmachandra prabuki Jai!
Rāma is Ananda. Don’t forget. Rāma is Ananda. Ananda is Paramātma. Ananda is Supreme Soul. Right? Rāma means Supreme Soul. Before Rāma’s incarnation, there was this word Rāma. Sometimes even Rāma takes his own name. “Rāma,” he says, “Rāma, Rāma.” We should not doubt him.
He is taking his own name, no, he is taking Paramātma’s name. He, himself is Paramātma. That is different. Rāma Nama has that much power!
(To be continued next issue)