Tattva: Thorns for self, Sprouts for the others- this is how great souls are.
Hare Rama! Hare Krishna!
Rama and Krishna are not different, only both of their Yuga/timeline and Jaga/world are. Since the environments were different, their style was different, that’s it. Hence we have the practice of keeping names as Raamakrishna, which is not two different names, but a single one. Thus both mean the same.
Today is the last day of Pravachana and the Raamavatara falls on this day. Surprisingly since Chaturdashi had fallen on two days, we have got this opportunity for Ramavatara. It is all God’s will, Rama’s will. All our topics start from there and also end there. Today’s Raamakatha is a part of Krishnakatha, but it won’t be the story told in the Ramayana; this is the Raamakatha told in the Bhagavatha.
Raama’s story, which has been told in the Raamayana, in 7 Kandas, 500 chapters and 24,000 shlokas, has been told in the Bhagavatha in just 2 chapters having 92(56+36) shlokas. It had made the Raamayana short and sweet. The Bhagavatha Raamayana fills one by a lot of emotion. As if this is not enough, His story has been described in one shloka thus – Raama was so great that he sacrificed his kingdom for his Guru. For his Guru? Vasishta did not tell him to, did he? Wasn’t it because of his father’s command and mother’s boon? Yes, he saw his mother, father and his preceptor as the Guruswaroopa.
The one who roamed the forests with lotus feet- His feet were so delicate. We have heard that Seeta’s hands too were very delicate. But softness of His feet were such that even Seeta’s touch was intolerable to them! With such feet he roamed the Dandakaaranya.
Anjaneya and Lakshmana would remove the tiredness of his travel. During their stay in the forest, the struggle Seeta faced because of the ugly Shoorpanaki, the anger that he got as a result, and the eyebrows that got knotted. The ocean shook because of the eyebrows and gave way to build a bridge across it. Later he vanquished Raavan and other demons and returned to Ayodhya to be known as Kosalendra. May Raama protect all of us. This is the feel brought about in the shloka. Whole Raamayana been told in this single shloka.
Not satisfied with this, going further, one Pada(one shloka has been divided into 4 Padas) has told the Raamayana. Today let us look at our favourite Pada. The entire Ramayana is described appropriately in one Pada.
स्मरतां हृदिविन्यस्य विद्धं दण्डक कण्टकै: |
स्वपादपल्लवं राम: आत्मज्योतिरघात्तत: ||
This describes the Raamanirvana. It gives details about parting away from Seeta and how difficult it was for Raama because of this. Later he merged in the Atmajyoti. The shloka tells what he did before that- “Sri Raama merged in the Atmajyoti by keeping those feet which were pricked by the thorns of Dandakaaranya in the hearts of the ones who think of him”
What has Raama left for the world? What has he kept? Has Raama gone? Did he really go? These have been answered in the shloka. Raama hasn’t left us. He has kept his lotus feet in our hearts. He is indestructible and immortal. What does it mean that he is no more? No more doesn’t mean he is not there, he can never leave us and go away.
He kept his feet in the hearts of those who thought of him, and his avatar was over. Means, his last journey too was an Avatar. It is a Padarpana in those hearts. The words which instill pain are these- the feet kept in the hearts of his bhaktas were pained by the prick of different kinds of thorns in the Dandakaaranya; those feet which could not even tolerate the gentle touch of Sita’s hands.
How many thorns would have pricked those feet! What would be their state?! Sri Raama kept those feet in his people’s hearts. This is the Tatva of today’s Pravachana- Thorns for self, Sprouts for the others. Sprouts means germination. Not only in Dandakaaranya, there were thorns and pain all the way from Ayodhya to Lanka, from Lanka back to Ayodhya. This is the story of great souls.
Great souls have all lived like this. Why thorns for them in the sense, because of the pain faced by all those who believe in them. That pain is not theirs because for that experience of pain, a sin/paapa must be there behind it; a great deed/punya behind happiness. Why would Raama have Punya or Papa? Then why those difficulties? Those were the difficulties of the devotees.
Hadn’t Raamarajya risen? There was happiness everywhere! Nobody was touched by untruth, where did it all go? How did the people’s troubles and pain vanish? Raama accepted all of that. Every blame anybody would get had come to Raama, like Seeta had suffered! All those who had to loose the power did not. Raama lost his kingdom. All those who might go far away from loved ones did not, Raama did loose friends, people, family and went to the forest. All the fights which were to be done by others was done by Raama. Raama lost everything which had to be lost by others. He suffered and gave solace to those who believed him. What was the need to go to the Dandaka forest? It was for us. He would be the king of Ayodhya, but why did he go to Lanka? That is also for us. Death of Raavan was wished by many beings and it was most necessary for the world. If not there is no existance of the world. Journey to Lanka was for this. Between this, there were fights with many demons and people. He sustained the betrayal, deceit, grudge of demons. The middle part of the Raamayana is completely filled with the kindness. All the sadness of SeethaRaama are not theirs but ours. It was all taken by them. Some of the sadness were taken by Seetha and some by Raama. It is difficult to tell who suffered more. If Raama took everybody’s sorrow, then Seetha took his. Raama is fineness. How would baala(child) Raama be? He was taken by the Vishwamitra to forest for protection while doing Yajna. They slept on the grass and spent the night. It started from there, the series of sorrows. Bhagavatha has depicted this impressively. Bhagavatha has amazingly explained the pain of Raama of being away from Seeta that it was difficult for the lord Ishwar too to see that. He is Ekapatnivritasta(having only one wife). He had not hurt anybody. But Ayodhya gave him forest life. He got life in forest in return for giving Raamarajya to Ayodhya. We think many a times that why has Ayodhya ruined like this. Why is this situation today? Ayodhya is sacred for us. But the pain it gave to Raama and Seetha and the curse of Seetha is the reason for it to become like this now. People on the roads were talking about Seetha’s character. That intensively hurt Raama. That would have hurt Seetha much more.
Once being born as human,that has to happen,right? All that has to affect Him, right? It is not possible to stay unaffected, He tried to bear all the pain of Seeta’s parting with all His inner power, but it wasn’t possible. The memories that He had with Seetha, different situations, Her qualities, everything made Him incapable of bearing the grief. Seeta was like that, gem of a person, lady like a boon she was. Perhaps, things could be said about Raama for debate sake, but not a single word could be uttered about Seeta.
Hence, the way She walked throughout Her life, the heights She reached in those situations, Her qualities, were all revived by Raama.
This grief was unbearable by the Paramatma, Parameshwara Himself. The meaning of the word Eshwara is that the one who has predominance, the one who has control over the body, mind, all the senses and furthermore predominance over the whole universe. Inspite of that He couldn’t control this grieve. He moved on from there and attained long celibacy, immersed Himself in Yajna, later left this realm. That is what is told in the Bhagavata, आत्मज्योतिरघात्तदा। Hence, we have to remember His name. We should keep in our minds that all those thorns that pricked His feet were for our sake. Not just for the sake of people back then, if He hadn’t lived like that then, we wouldn’t have got Ramayana now. Today, Ramayana is leading us to salvation. It has made our lives bloom like a flower. Our thorns also pricked Him. They say that, the devotees are punishment to the Lord sometimes, like that these lives have pricked Him like thorns, saying the pain is Yours. He received that, digested it and gave Ramarajya at that time, gave Ramacharita, Ramanaama for us today. He kept His feet in our hearts and merged into the light of His soul.
Let’s all get together to remember His name. The end of Tatva Bhagavatam should be like this, how else should it be? One sight should be towards Vaikunta and another sight should be towards Ayodhya and recite Hareraama Hareraama. While reciting Harekrishna also, one sight should be towards Vaikunta and the other one should be towards Mathura and meditation must be done. With the feeling that Vaikunta has come to the earth, let’s all sing in that devotion.
TattvaBhaagavatam a special discourse by Sri Sri RaghaveshwaraBharathi Mahaswamiji: full Video :