01 Jul Ramayana Day 5, Vraja, Pensylvania, USA
THE FOLLOWING IS A CLASS GIVEN BY HIS HOLINESS BHAKTI CHARU SWAMI ON THURSDAY JULY 1ST 2010, AT THE NORTH AMERICAN RETREAT, VRAJ, PENNSYLVANIA (RAMAYAN DAY 5)
Paramahamsa Parivrajakacarya Asatotara Sri Sriman AbhayaCaranaravinda Bhaktivedanta Swami Prabhupada ki Jaya! Ananta koti Vaisnava Vrinda ki Jaya! Namacarya Srila Haridas Thakur ki Jaya! Prem se kaho Sri Krishna Caitanya Prabhu Nitayananda Sri Advaita Gadadhara Srivasadi Gaura Bhakta Vrinda ki Jaya! Sri Sri Radha Krishna Gopa Gopinatha Syamakunda Radhakunda GiriGovardhana ki Jaya! Sri Sri Radha MadanMohan ki Jaya! Sri Sri Gaura Nitai ki Jaya! Samaveta bhakta vrinda ki jaya! Gaura premanande! Hari Haribol! All glories to the assembled devotees! All glories to the assembled devotees! All glories to the assembled devotees! All glories to Sri Guru and Sri Gauranga! All glories to Srila Prabhupada! Namo on visnu padaya Krishna prestaya bhutale srimate bhaktivedanta svamin iti namine namaste sarasvate deve gauravani pracarine nirvisesa sunyavadi pascatya desa tarine.
So today is the last day of our seminar. Actually originally I thought that on the last day I will divide you all into a few groups, maybe four or five groups and then ask you to discuss among yourselves about this topic ‘Understanding Sri Rama, Understanding Sri Krishna through Ramayana’ and then one person from each group would make a presentation kind of, have a sort of a workshop, like that. But I could not cover – the subject matter was so vast that I still haven’t covered the last chapter. So if I can cover the last chapter quickly enough, should we do something like that? How many of you would like to, kind of, have a discussion among yourselves and make a presentation? Okay, two, three, and four… Up or down? 🙂 Okay. (Laughter) Thank you. Sunil Muni Prabhu said that they have time because lunch will be late today. 🙂 (Laughter) Oh, I see. (Laughter) Okay, let us see how long it takes to cover this last chapter, Uttarakanda. How many chapters Ramayana has? Seven. So the 1st day we did 1st chapter, Bala-kanda. Then 2nd day we did Ayodhya-kanda, and Aranya-kanda. Then the third day we did Kishkindhya and Sundara-kanda and yesterday we did Yuddha-kanda. Are you all happy that Ravana is dead? (Laughter) That is the main thing about Ramayana, the conflict. Why does the Supreme Personality of Godhead come? Why does He incarnate to this material nature? paritranaya sadhunam vinasaya ca duskritam So actually one of the reasons why Ramchandra went to the forest was to give His association to the Sadhus, the saintly people. The saintly personalities, the Sages and Brahmans, they all were in the forest and so, in order to associate with them, Ramchandra – one of the reasons why He went to the forest. Of course there is a whole lot of intrigue behind that. And also the Rakshashas, the demons were causing a lot of difficulties to the Sages who used to generally live in the forest and Ramchandra killed them. And finally He freed this planet from the Rakshashas. How did you all like the story? I mean, I am sure most of you knew Ramayana. How many of you didn’t know Ramayana before? So all of you knew about the Ramayana. So did it help – this discussion? And how did it help?
Rupanuga Prabhu: …..Inaudiable.
HH Bhakti Caru Maharaj: You understood more. Okay. Rupanuga is saying there were more details. Anything else? KrishnaPriya? I was thinking, When you were in Ujjain, there also, at that time I also gave this seminar. So you heard it twice. Was it boring?
KrishnaPriya Mataji: …..Inaudible
HH Bhakti Caru Maharaj: I see. , and Oh I see, Okay. In Ujjain we had more time? You mean that the description was more elaborate?
KrishnaPriya Mataji: …..Inaudible
HH Bhakti Caru Maharaj: Okay, there, I think, we had seven days, here we had five days. There we had more time too.
KrishnaPriya Mataji: …..Inaudible
HH Bhakti Caru Maharaj: Thank you. Any other comment from anybody?
Prabhu 1: …..Inaudible
HH Bhakti Caru Maharaj: (Laughter) Well, because it’s juicy 🙂 (Laughter).
HH Bhakti Caru Maharaj: Yeah, Jaganath?
Jaganath Prabhu: Often for me I hear a story from the Ramayana over here and a story from the Ramayana over there. This time I heard the whole Ramayana, so the continuity was helpful. Thank you.
HH Bhakti Caru Maharaj: Ok, Yes?
Kapila Prabhu: Some people feel more comfortable with Rama’s pastimes and they find that there’s a difference between Rama’s incarnation and Krishna. And this made it a little more clear that it is the same Supreme Personality but acting in a different role and how He is the same Person but just changing the circumstances. So that made it more understandable, that how if you love this Personality, then you naturally will love this Personality as well.
HH Bhakti Caru Maharaj: Thank you. Incidentally, Kapila is a very good actor also. He’s not only a prasadam distributor and a book distributor; he’s a very good actor also. Maybe I should have told Yadunath about that. Yadunath is making a presentation tonight with Chandrasekhar and Steve, I heard. And Kapila plays the role of Hanuman (Laughter) 🙂 very nicely (Laughter) 🙂 Do you remember the dialogues, Kapila? 🙂 Maybe you can make some presentation tonight. 🙂
H Bhakti Caru Maharaj: Yes, Jaya Caitanya?
Jaya Caitanya Prabhu: Hare Krishna Maharaj. This is actually the first time I realised the scope and perspective of how many years Rama was on the earth and how long He ruled compared to how short… this whole Ramayana takes place in such a short portion of His life. I never really thought about the scope and perspective of that before. I think that was my biggest really grasp on this time. And I also didn’t know Valmiki’s Ramayana didn’t have Laksmana drawing the circle. I was so familiar with that pastime. I didn’t know that was not part of it.
H Bhakti Caru Maharaj: Yes, SyamaHari
SyamaHari Prabhu: …mentioned that you will be talking about service, meeting Rama.
H Bhakti Caru Maharaj: Yes, somebody brought it up and we did briefly discuss. Actually there are many things that I didn’t mention. And we also didn’t discuss about Ahalya. That’s another…Anyway, as I mentioned this idea; the purpose of these retreats or these seminars is to generate the interest in you to read the scriptures. Ultimately it is you who have to derive the juice.
H Bhakti Caru Maharaj: Yes?
Mataji: …For me when you explained that’s a drama and we need to just watch without questioning it and when I just listened, without, you know, just visualising it and not trying to logically understanding it, it was just really relishable.
H Bhakti Caru Maharaj: Thank you. Yes, SyamaMohini?
SyamaMohini Mataji: Like was mentioned before, so many things many of us were just brought up hearing which was not true and how you emphasise that we should stick to the books that are recommended by our sampradaya acarya. I thought that was a very strong point. Especially when Ramayana is so commonly… like in India, everyone hears and says. That’s why it is very important for us to safeguard ourselves against that. Thank you.
H Bhakti Caru Maharaj: Thank you. Yes, Steve?
Steve Prabhu: Hare Krishna, Maharaj.
H Bhakti Caru Maharaj: Hare Krishna.
Steve Prabhu: One of the things that draw me to you is your kindness and your just gentle peaceful way and you can describe Ravana eating monkeys and blood dripping down his mouth and yet you make it sound so sweet. (Laughter) 🙂 So that’s very helpful to me. 🙂 Hare Krishna.
H Bhakti Caru Maharaj: Yes, Pallavi?
Pallavi Mataji: Maharaj, after I heard the pastimes that you’ve shared with us this morning, the kids were enacting the Ramayana drama. They were rehearsing it and there were a few things I was changing. And Vidhura came up and was asking “Ma, but this is how it worked”. Then I said ‘No, Maharaj said that is not what it is”. So what I’ve been telling him all these years I had to say, ‘No, that’s what I said is wrong. But this is what it is. So there are few things…
H Bhakti Caru Maharaj: For example?
Pallavi Mataji: One was the Laksmana rekha itself, because the kids were doing that. The kids said, “No you shouldn’t”. Vidhura was Laksmana – so he was drawing rekha and I said “Don’t do it.” And he said, “Why not?” And I said, “No, Maharaj said Laksmana does not do that, so you shouldn’t be doing it that. The other one was he was confused about Indrajit shooting Laksmana and Laksmana falls down onto the lap of Rama. That was something that I didn’t know that Ravana shoots Laksmana and then Hanuman goes and brings it. So those were the two instances I had to tell Vidhura.
HH Bhakti Charu Maharaj: Actually Indrajit also did that. You see, Indrajit when he first came to the battlefield, he actually injured both Rama and Laksmana with, you know, arrows empowered by Brahma. And those arrows were the snakes that became the arrows and bound them. That was when Garuda came and rescued. Another time, yes. Indrajit did encounter Laksmana also. But according to Valmiki Ramayana, the shakti was hurled by Ravana. And then Sushena suggests that Hanuman brings the herbs from the mountain and he carries the mountain. Valmiki Ramayana actually describes Hanuman carrying the mountain twice. One time both Rama and Laksmana were wounded. Anyway these are certain descriptions that may differ and …Okay so Tulasi Ramayana says that Indrajit wounded Laksmana. Yes these are the things I don’t know why they… Say for example that if he is a devotee of Rama, then why is he not accepting the authority of Valmiki? Because Valmiki is the authority. Ramayana came to exist because of Valmiki. Of course there are other descriptions that in Puranas, they are like fillers. Valmiki’s Ramayana is the main content, the main substance. Yes?
Mataji: Guru Maharaj, I’ve heard before that some of these pastimes that happen they happen in different universes and therefore some of them are varied slightly because they happen in different universes and we get different information based on that. Is that true?
HH Bhakti Charu Maharaj: That is yeah, that is okay. But those descriptions are generally the descriptions of Puranas. Not somebody comes and gives a description and says it. The authority had to be there. If the Purana there is some contradiction then we accept that contradiction as kalpabheda. That is called the difference of kalpa. But, you know, Tulsidas is not such an authority. So his business should have been to stick to the description. Of course Ramayana also has various other aspects from Puranas. Like which I was mentioning yesterday about Kaikeyi appearing as Devaki. That has been described in the Puranas. Laksmana appearing as Balarama. That reason has been described in the Purana. Why Rama felt so indebted that he did not want Laksmana to suffer as a younger brother anymore. “Okay in My next pastime, You become the elder brother, and I will be the younger brother”. So these kinds of things are there. There are some other descriptions also. Like Ravana goes to Bali Maharaj. And Bali Maharaj advises Ravana not to fight with Rama, telling him that, “Look I mean He killed Hiranyakasipu and Hiranyaksa.” And he gave a whole lot of advice. Then there is the story of MahiRavana and things like that. They are there. But there as I said they are like fillers. And the bottom line is that from our Acharyas, Bhaktivinod Thakur and Srila Prabhupada and Bhaktisidhanta Sarasvati Thakur, we have this thing, this comment or this understanding, that Tulasi dasas Ramayana is not really bonafide, in that sense. But that has become most popular. Especially in Northern India. In Bengal there is a Ramayana by Kritrivasojya. That is another Ramayana which is very popular to the Bengalis. But that also has a lot of things that have been introduced there, like Rama worshiping Durga. Now, in Valmiki Ramayana that is not there. Yes, Ramachandra worshipped Lord Shiva that is understandable. But that is more like, again our understanding is that, not that Rama is worshiping Lord Shiva, therefore Shiva became greater than Rama. Ramchandra worships His devotees. Ramchandra that is the greatness of the Supreme Personality of Godhead. He establishes the supremacy or the appropriate position of His devotees. But that does not mean that the devotee becomes greater than the Lord. The Lord worships His devotees. Sudhama went to Krishna. Krishna washed His feet. Now, does it mean that Sudhama became greater than Krishna? Or, will Sudhama ever think that He is greater than Krishna? So, these understandings have been clarified by the acaryas. And, in the same Ramayana, Valmiki Ramayana, there is a description in Uttara-kanda that Lord Shiva came to fight on behalf of his devotee when the challenge horse, the asvamedha-yajna was sent out. And the thing is that why was Lord Siva fought on behalf of his devotee? Because he wanted to have the darshan of Lord Rama. And this is how sometimes the devotee fights with the Lord’s army. Like in Krishna’s pastimes also there are incidents like that. Like Suvarna Sena, you know those of you who have been to Mayapur parikrama? Do you remember Suvarna Bihar, a place called Suvarna Bihar? Suvarna Sena was a king. And when Yuddhistira Maharaja, the challenge horse was sent for Ashvamedha-yagya, Suvarna Sena actually captured the horse, challenged Bhima. And he defeated Bhima. And the purpose of his doing that was to make Krishna come. Because he knew that if Bhima is in distress then Krishna will come to rescue him. So, that’s how he will get to see Krishna. Also in Krishna’s pastimes we have seen how Lord Shiva came to assist his devotee, Banasura. When Banasura was fighting with Krishna, he came to side with Banasura and fight against Krishna and he was defeated. So Krishna defeated Lord Shiva, and then Lord Shiva came to his senses and begged forgiveness, saying that why do I forget about your position. Like I have this Ishavara power that I think that I am the greatest. And as a result of that I even fail to recognize You and fight with You. Any other comment? Yes, Shantosh.
Santosh: With Bhagavad-Gita, Srimad-Bhagavatam, we have Srila Prabhupada’s purports, but for Ramayana, which purport can we refer?
HH Bhakti Charu Maharaja: Actually, Bhagavad-Gita has a purport because it needs explanation, Srimad-Bhagavatam has a purport, but I don’t think anybody gave any commentary on Ramayana in that way. Like our acaryas have given commentary on Bhagavad-Gita and Srimad-Bhagavatam, but I don’t think there is any commentary as such by any of our acaryas.
Santosh: If we want to read Valmiki Ramayana is there any book which ISKCON recommends?
HH Bhakti Charu Swami: Valmiki Ramayana, in ISKCON there are three translations of Ramayana that I know, one was translated by Krishna Dharma Prabhu, and another one is translated by Purnaprajna prabhu. And later on I found out that Purnaprajna prabhus Ramayana has been actually printed in the name of Bhakti Vikasa Maharaja. But that actually was the translation of Purnaprajna prabhu. So, generally I like the one that is by Purnaprajna prabhu. That is the one that I have been following. , Purnaprajna prabhu is our God brother, he is very scholarly and he translated Mahabharata also. And the same is with Krishna Dharma Prabhu. And prior to that, when there was no translation, the one that I used to like, was Kamala Subramanian’s, she also translated Valmiki’s Ramayana, her writing was very nice, translation was quite good but in ISKCON we have these two translations : Krishna Dharma Prabhus and Purnapranja prabhus. Yes
Matajee: My question had to do where we were speaking about how Rama banished the Rakshasa race. Then we see again in Krishna Lila the Rakshasas are turning up again. My question is two parts, one part of my question is when Vibhishan was put in charge of Lanka, when you have a devotee ruling the Rakshasas, or even like with Bali how does that affect the Rakshasa-community?
HH Bhakti Charu Maharaj: Yes, actually in English again, all have been lumped in as one, but there are things like asuras, Daityas, Danavas and Rakshasas. They are generally of these four categories. Danus sons are Danavas. Diti’s sons are Daityas. Like Hiranyakasipu and Hiranyaksa are Daityas. And the Rakshasa race actually came from Pulasta, Pulasta’s son is Vishrava and from Vishrava came Ravana, etc. Actually prior to that, from Pulaha there were two sons, Heti and Proheti, from them the Rakshasa line actually started. From them, there grandson was Malavan, Malavan’s daughter was Kaikeyshi. Kaikeyshi actually conceived three sons. And they became Rakshasas because that mother’s line was Rakshasa. The point is actually yes that they were wiped out, but in Krishna’s pastime still they were there. Like Vibhishan was there and other Rakshasas were there but under Vivishans rule they became quite civil. Whereas under Ravanas they were very, very heinous. So, Kumbakarna and the Rakshasas are still there but in Krishna’s pastimes we don’t come across upon so many Rakshasas as such. What we come across are the asuras that is Kamsa and his associates, many of them are actually borne in the ksatriya families but because they did not accept Krishna, or because they were not following the injunctions of dharma, they were branded as asuras. Like for example Ravana was born in the same family as Surasena, He came as Surasenas son, in the same dynasty of course as the son of an aura’s this is how in Krishna’s pastimes we don’t find rakshasas as such, we find asuras, Kamsa-asura, Agasura, Bakasura, Putana, yes, Putana is considered to be a rakshasi. Maybe one or two were there like that. Or maybe the female asuras were described to be rakshasis. Like Trinavartasura, Agasura, Aristasura, Kesi-dhanava. Okay Yes?
Mataji: Hare Krishna Maharaj. When we chant the Hare Krishna mahamantra, that time we say Hare Rama Hare Rama Rama Rama Hare Hare, So what Rama? Is this Rama or Radhika Ramana Krsna?
H H Bhakti Caru Maharaj: Hmm, very good. It will depend upon the sambandha jnana. With what understanding one is actually approaching. Or in simple words, we can say whose devotee he is. If he is Ramacandra’s devotee it will be Rama, if he is Balarama’s devotee, from this Rama, he will understand Balarama. But if he is a Krishna devotee, then he will see Krishna as this Rama. You get the point? See the name Rama, the same name. Those who are devotees of Lord Ramacandra, they will think that this Rama, Hare Rama is Lord Ramchandra. Those who are Balarama’s devotee, they will think that this Rama is Balarama, and those who are Krishna devotees, they will see this Rama as Sri Krishna Himself, as you said Radha Ramana Rama. So it is according to one’s sambandha jnana. Sambandha jnana means relationship that he has with the Supreme Personality of Godhead. Accordingly he will see that. Yes?
Prabhu: In my childhood I used to do Hare Rama Hare Rama Rama Rama Hare Hare Hare Krishna Hare Krishna Krishna Krishna Hare Hare. Then it got… when I came to ISKCON I learnt the other way. So what is the change or why? I mean, what is the difference?
H H Bhakti Caru Maharaj: Yes. My first question will be, in your childhood when you were chanting Hare Rama Hare Rama, which guru gave you this mantra?
Prabhu: No Maharaj, no Guru Maharaj, just family bhajans. We sit down with the family and do the bhajans.
HH Bhakti Charu Maharaj: Yes, so that is the point. You see, we take the mantra the way the guru gives. The way to get the mantra is through the guru. And then the next point is that in the scripture the mantra actually has been mentioned as Hare Rama Hare Rama. Hare Rama first before Hare Krishna. But when Caitanya Mahaprabhu presented it, He gave Hare Krishna first. And there is a saying that generally the understanding is that the mantra, Vedic mantras… only the Brahmans have access to Vedic mantras. But since Caitanya Mahaprabhu was giving it to anyone and everyone, therefore He reversed the mantra to keep the honour of the scriptures. The understanding is the scriptural mantras should be chanted only by the Brahmans. But when He was giving it to everybody, He just reversed the mantra.
And we have to understand that in Kali Yuga this how the mantra is. Because Caitanya Mahaprabhu gave it in this Age, so this is how it should be chanted. And ultimately when you chant whether Hare Krishna first or Hare Rama first, doesn’t matter. It is just going. In the cycle when you keep going do you know where is the beginning? Yes Haritun
H Prabhu: Guru Maharaj, this is in continuation to Mataji’s question. This Mataji with us. So when we consider Rama as Lord Ramchandra, then the Hare associated with that, would be Sita?
HH Bhakti Charu Maharaj: That is Hari, then that Hare is Hari, not …
H Prabhu: When we say Hare Krishna, Hare refers to Radharani and Krishna to Lord Krishna?
HH Bhakti Charu Maharaj: Yeah, that is one way of seeing it. Another way that can… You see Hare is the vocative of Hara which means Radharani as well as Hari. When you call out, sambodhan, vocative. In vocative Hari also is addressed as Hare and Hara also is addressed as Hare. So in that case when sambandha is Rama, then this Hare will indicate Hari not Hara. Ha?
H Prabhu: Lord Krishna?
HH Bhakti Charu Maharaj: No, not Radharani.
H Prabhu: Lord Krishna.
HH Bhakti Charu Maharaj: Hari. Hari. Vishnu. Narayana.
H Prabhu: For Balarama also, it will be same?
HH Bhakti Charu Maharaj: It will be same. Hari. There Hari, Balarama, Rama and so forth. Only in case of Krishna it is Hara, Srimati Radharani.
Hare Krishna. So, okay. So we just go into Uttara-kanda briefly. So Ramchandra has killed Ravana, rescued Sita. Then He came back to Ayodhya. Yesterday we discussed all that. Then Bharata handed over the kingdom to Lord Ramchandra. For these fourteen years when Ramchandra was away, Bharata was ruling the kingdom as Ramchandra’s representative, putting Ramchandra’s wooden sandals on the throne. And Bharata did not stay in Ayodhya, the capital, but he shifted. He went to Nandigram and there he was. From there he was ruling the kingdom. And it has been described that Bharata at that time also matted …Probably you remembered when Bharata went to Guha’s place? So then Bharata, when he heard Lord Ramchandra matted His hair, Bharata also matted his hair. Those days the ksatriyas used to keep long hair. Like, the way, we see the Sikh’s keep long hair, they are ksatriyas therefore they keep long hair. Guru Govind Singh actually introduced that custom, which was actually the traditional. Kshatriyas used to keep long hair, because long hair they used to tie on top of their head and that used to act as a helmet. They also used to wear turban. See how scientific all the customs are. So scientific! So they had long hair and the way to mat the hair is, they used to put the sap of Banyan tree. Banyan tree gives out a milky sap which is like glue. So that used to mat the hair. So Bharata matted his hair and he used the sleep on the floor. He used to live in a cottage, sleep on the floor, not on a bed. He used to spread some kusha grass and he would lie on that. For these fourteen years he just ate fruits and roots. No cooked food. So this is how austere Bharata actually was. And this shows, actually in Ramayana, these characters are so illustrious. Bharata’s character is so outstanding. Laksmana also. Like, I did not mention, that when Rama met Sugriva and the monkeys, they actually saw, they recalled that they saw one Rakshasa was carrying one woman away through the sky. So he… when Sugriva… And then she dropped her ornaments, tied up with her upper garment. And when they showed that to Rama, Rama recognised that they were Sita’s. Then Rama asked Laksmana whether he also recognises them to be Sita’s, belonging to Sita. Laksmana could not recognise anything. Because Laksmana never looked up beyond her feet. Only when he used to come every morning, offer obeisances to Sita, he used to see her feet. Although for fourteen years he was there with her, he never looked at her face. So he didn’t know which ornaments Sita was wearing. And it is… this is again not from Valmiki Ramayana but is from one of the Puranas. In Uttarakanda, it has been described that when Agasta was describing, he described that the biggest impediment to winning the battle was actually Indrajit. And only Laksmana could kill Indrajit. Of course Rama could kill anybody. But the way the situation was; only Laksmana could… Because Indrajit had a condition, when he asked the benediction from Brahma that he asked. One of the conditions he had that only a person who had been a brahmacari for fourteen years and who didn’t eat anything for fourteen years could kill him. And it was Laksmana. So it was considered why Laksmana is considered to be a brahmacari? Because a brahmacari never looks at a woman according to the strict standard. But Sita was there so how can it be considered that Laksmana was a brahmacari? And then it has been replied that although Sita was there, but Laksmana never looked at her. So Laksmana was a perfect Brahmacari. Then Rama told ‘Everyday I used to give him a fruit.’ And then Laksmana said ‘Yes, You gave me a fruit saying that “Laksmana, take it.” So I took it but I never ate it.’ So, anyway these are the illustrious personalities whom.., I mean only the Supreme Personality of Godhead and His expansions can act like that. Such loyalty, such dedication.
Where did you get this yellow dhoti, Syamlal? (Laughter) Where did you get the brahmacari dhoti? Oh, okay. (Laughter)
Anyway so, these are some amazing acts in the pastimes of the Lord’s associates. Then Hanuman also, you can see what an illustrious character. And the question now arises, I mean, Are they real? Now it’s left up to us, whether we are going to accept it or not. And those who are devotees, those who are properly situated on the conviction of the scriptures, they will accept them as the truth and nothing but the truth. So, the Supreme Personality of Godhead was then coronated on the throne. Bharata handed the kingdom over to Him. And Rama was coronated on the throne. And then one day Rama was informed by Laksmana that the Seven Sages, Saptarsis and Dhoma, Kanva, Kausika and other such great sages also came. Agastha, so they came. So Ramacandra immediately went and received them and with great respect He invited them to the palace. So when they all sat down they started to glorify Lord Ramacandra. They thanked him for ridding the planet of the miscreants, Raksasas and specially Ravana. Because Ravana had been tormenting the saintly people for a long time. Even the demigods couldn’t deal with him. So Ramacandra came to annihilate and they recognised that Rama is the Supreme Personality of Godhead and they started to glorify Him in that way. And then this question actually came up when Agastha Muni mentioned about Indrajit. And it was practically impossible to defeat Indrajit. Indrajit defeated Indra. Ravana defeated all the demigods. So who could actually deal with them? Ravana also did not defeat Lord Siva but he challenged Lord Siva. Although he was smashed after that challenge. But then he became a pet of Lord Siva. Lord Siva is Asutosa, One who becomes pleased very quickly. And the demons often take advantage of that. As a matter of fact, most of the demons are Siva’s devotees. Not that all the devotees of Siva are demons, but the demons mostly are devotees of Lord Siva. That is because they can get their benedictions very quickly from Lord Siva. And Ravana praised Lord Siva when he was smashed. Actually maybe I will come to that, in course of time. In course of description I will describe that. So Ramacandra asked, ‘Why are you saying that?’ So then he gave the history of the Raksasas, Agastha. And he described how Ravana was born, which I briefly mentioned yesterday. The original Raksasas who were Heti and Praheti and their three grandsons became very, very powerful, Malyavan, Sumali and Mali. And for the Raksasas, Visvakarma actually built Lanka. And so they started to torment the saintly people in such a way that Vishnu came. And in a battle He defeated them. And out of fear of Vishnu, they ran away from Lanka and they went to the netherworld, Rasatala.
They were residing in Rasatala and in the meantime the sage Pulastya had a son called Visrava. And Visrava got married to Bharadvaja’s daughter and a son was born. His name was Vaisravana. Visrava’s son is Vaisravana who assumed the position of Lord Kuvera. Kuvera is the treasurer of the demigods and he also was a Lokapal. Brahma was very pleased with him and Brahma awarded him one of the most exalted positions among the demigods. And Kuvera received Pushpaka chariot from Brahma. And when he asked his father where he should reside, Visrava Muni told him that Lanka is now vacant so he could occupy Lanka. So he was in Lanka. This Lanka was built by Visvakarma with pure gold and so Malyavan had a daughter, Kaikashi. And he was looking for a suitable husband for Kaiskashi. And when he came out of the lower region and he came to the upper part of the universe, then he saw Vaisravana flying in a chariot. And he was quite impressed with that. And upon enquiring, he found out that Vaisravana is the son of Visrava.
So he then… he thought that Visrava is a suitable husband for his daughter and he also felt that only his son can bring him such prosperity to the Raksasa dynasty. So thinking that, he sent his daughter to Visrava. And Kaikashi approached him and Visrava seeing her could understand why she came. And he told her, “I know why you came. So I will fulfil your desire. But because you came at an inauspicious time, your children will be Rakshasas. Your children will cause a lot of distress to the people, to the living entities. So she was unhappy with the idea. So she said, ‘Please don’t make my sons as such miscreants.’ Then he said that, ‘It is going to happen but since you want a pious son, good offspring, your third son, youngest son will be very, very virtuous.’ And in course of time Ravana was born. Ravana was born a hideous looking creature with ten heads and twenty arms. And because he had ten heads, his name actually was Dasagriva. Dasa means ten, and griva means head, ten headed. Dasananadasagriva. And then the second son was Kumbhakarna. And the third son was Vibhisana. Vibhisana was virtuous, very pious. So all three went to perform austerities, because they knew the way to get power is through performance of austerities. So Ravana performed austerities for ten thousand years without eating and drinking. Terrible austerity actually. And not only that, at the end of every one thousand years, he would cut off one head and offer it to Brahma. And when finally on the ten thousandth year, when he was about to chop off his tenth head, then Brahma came to him and asked him, ‘What do you want?’ So he said, ‘Make me immortal.’ So Brahma said that, ‘I can’t make you immortal. Even I am not immortal. At some point I also have to die. In this world everyone has to die.’ So then Ravana told, ‘Okay. Give me the benediction that I will have immunity to, from all the demigods, the Raksasas, the Daityas, the Danavas, the Nagas, the Kinnaras, Gandharvas and all. But he forgot to ask about the humans … Not forgot. He thought the human beings are so insignificant there is no need to ask any kind of immunity from them. So at that time Brahma actually told that he should be careful about human beings because… So Ravana said, ‘Yes, I don’t care about the human beings.’ And then when Brahma was about to give benediction to Kumbhakarna, so Kumbhakarna already created so much distress. Like, he had eaten up so many Apsaras, so many Gandharvas and… That the demigods were very afraid. That without even getting any benediction he is causing such distress. So when he gets the benediction what will happen? So they approached Brahma and said, ‘Please do something about it.’ So then Brahma called Sarasvati and as I mentioned yesterday, then Sarasvati entered into Kumbhakarna’s mouth and just made him say, ‘I want to sleep.’ (Laughter) ‘Let me sleep.’ But then Kumbhakarna realised what has happened. And Ravana appealed to Brahma that, ‘Please do something here. I don’t know why he asked such a thing. This is obviously he didn’t ask for such a benediction. (Laughter) For the sake of such a benediction, he performed such great austerities.’ So then Brahma said, ‘Okay. He’ll sleep for six months and then stay awake for one day. After six months he will stay awake only for one day. And then when it came to Vibhishana, Vibhishana just said that, ‘Please bless me. Give me the benediction that I never deviate from the path of dharma. And I should always remain fixed in the injunctions of the scriptures.’ So Brahma granted.
And after that Ravana became extremely powerful and extremely arrogant. And then after Malyavan got to know that Ravana got this benediction from Brahma, so he told him that, ‘Now go and take away Lanka from Kuvera.’ So Ravana first said, ‘He’s my half brother, elder brother. How can I fight with him?’ But then Malyavan reasoned with him that, ‘Look you have…. There had been many instances where brothers have fought with each other. And he gave the example of Diti’s sons and Aditi’s sons, the demigods and demons, Daityas and Adityas. Hiranyakasipu and Hiranyaksa fought with their brother Indra. So being inspired by Malavan Ravana attacked Lanka. He first sent Prahasta his commander in chief to Kuvera saying that he wanted to have Lanka and he should either vacate Lanka, leave Lanka or he should fight. So Kuvera told that him why should we fight? And after all this place had been given to me by my father, so I have right to stay here. But if Ravana wants we can share this place and live here peacefully together. When Prahasta was gone Kuvera went to his father Visrava and told him what happened. Visrava said that Ravana already came to him and made this request to him. So, Visrava chastised him and after being chastised he became even more arrogant. So he said, just leave Lanka and go to Kailash. Upon being instructed by his father he left Lanka to Ravana and went to Mount Kailash. Kuvera was a great devotee of Lord Siva so he took shelter of Lord Siva. And then Ravana started to rule over Lanka and tormenting this people those who have accepted the authority of the Supreme Personality of Godhead. That is where actually the conflict starts.
They want to establish themselves as the supreme whereas the devotees of the Lord do not want to accept that. And as a result of that they become their enemy. They think that by performing yajna they derive their power, these personalities, and the devotees. Therefore they try to plunder their sacrifices and kill them and eat them up. Then one day, when he saw Kuvera was flying with the pushpak chariot, he wanted to have the pushpak chariot, Ravana. And he approached Kuvera and fought with him. And in this battle Kuvera was wounded and then finally Ravana actually took away the chariot. With the chariot he was flying over the sky and at that time all of a sudden his chariot stopped and Ravana wondered what happened. Then Lord Siva’s associate Nandi came out and told him, ‘please don’t go any further, this is Kailash, the abode of Lord Siva. And he is sporting here with Parvati so no one should disturb him. Ravana was so arrogant, he asked, ‘who is Siva? Who is Shankar? I will kill him.’ Nandi tried to make him understand Lord Sivas’s position but Ravana became very arrogant. He insulted Nandi. Nandi’s face was like that of a monkey. He laughed at Nandi and Nandi cursed him. That face, which you are laughing at, the creature with that face, is going to defeat you in a battle. I could have killed you but I won’t do that. Because unnecessarily I don’t want to dirty my hand. So Ravana became so arrogant that he wanted to lift Mount Kailash and when he lifted Mount Kailash, when he was trying to lift Mount Kailash, and lifted Mount Kailash, Kailash shook and Parvati, sitting next to Lord Siva, lost her balance and she just grabbed Lord Siva out of fear and losing her balance. So, seeing that Lord Siva understood what happened, with the tip of his toe, he just pressed the mountain and that mountain crushed Ravanas hands and Ravana screamed, his scream was so loud that even Indra stumbled, hearing the sound when he was walking down. Ravana was in great difficulty so his ministers, knowing Lord Siva, one who can be very quickly pleased by glorification that, they asked Ravana to sing Lord Siva’s glory and Ravana started to sing Lord Sivas glory. Ravana by the way is a very good musician also. In this way, Ravana for a long, long time he kept on singing the glory of Lord Siva and Lord Siva was finally pleased and released the pressure and Ravana could free his hands from that situation being crushed by the mountain. In this way Ravana became Lord Sivas devotee. And then when Ravana was flying over the Himalayas he saw this extremely beautiful girl alone, performing austerities. Ravana immediately approached her and proposed to her. And she very politely told that who she was. She was the daughter of King Kushata, who became a brahmarshi. Her father wanted her to get married to Vishnu and that’s why she came to Himalayas to perform austerities to find Vishnu, to get Vishnu as her husband. But Ravana tried to persuade her to go with him, saying ‘who is Vishnu? I’m the greatest!’ As I told earlier that the demons have that tendency. That’s their mentality. They think that they are the greatest, they are the supreme enjoyer. Yesterday somebody mentioned that Ravana is symbolising lust – Kama. Ravana actually was extremely lusty. Wherever he would see a beautiful girl he would just steal her. Not only abduct her but before doing that he would kill all the relatives and then abduct her. So, when Ravana tried to forcibly take her, then she left her body with a curse that she would come again after giving up this body and she would be the cause of Ravanas death. And then she appeared on a lotus as a little girl, Vedavati. So Ravana took that girl with him but his ministers could recognize that this little girl is going to be the cause of Ravanas destruction. So they told Ravana to get rid of her. So, then Ravana threw her on a lotus in the ocean. And eventually this girl appeared in king Janaka’s sacrificial area. On the tip of his plough, that is Sitadevi.
So in this way Agastha told about Ravana’s exploits. Another thing he described was in the Iksvakhus dynasty there was a king, an illustrious king called Anuranya. And Ravana was challenging the ksatriya kings, the demons and the demigods and everywhere he was travelling over the three worlds challenging different people. So, in a big battle, in a very fierce battle, Anuranya was mortally injured. And before dying Anuranya told Ravana, that a personality would appear in his dynasty that was going to kill him. So, in this way Ravana received two curses, Sita’s curse and Anuranya’s curse. Another time when Ravana was in the Kailash, then he saw Ramba going, the celestial damsel, apsara. And Ravana forcibly molested her. So Ramba then went to her husband Nalakuvera and narrated him the whole story. So, she also cursed him, Ravana. Brahma also cursed Ravana that, if you forcibly tries to molest any woman, then his head would split into pieces. So, in this way Ravenna’s history was described. At that time, another personality that Ravana had an encounter with, was Bali, Sugriva’s brother. And this also I described yesterday. Bali was so powerful that he took Ravana under his arm and went around the universe like; there are four oceans in four sides, southern side, western side, northern side and eastern side. So then, after that, Ravana was so impressed so he asked him who he was and he made friendship with him. And so in this is how Bali and Ravana became friends. So at that point Lord Ramchandra asked Agasta that Sugriva was Hanumans friend. When Sugriva was driven away by his brother and his wife was taken over by him, then Hanuman, who is even more powerful than Bali, why did he not reinstate Sugriva. Then Agastha told the story of Hanuman, which also I’ll skip because yesterday I narrated that story. Hanuman’s birth and how Indra hurled Vajra, and Hanuman died and then his father Pavana, the took him to a cave and Pavana started to withdraw from everything. And when the life air was withdrawn, everyone was suffocating. So, then they all approached Brahma. Then Brahma, understanding the reason, he told them, that it is Pavana’s doing. And so, Brahma took them all to where Pavana was with Hanuman and Brahma revived Hanuman and told the demigods that this monkey is going to benefit you, he came here for your welfare. So, you all bless him. Then different demigods blessed Hanuman with different benedictions. And in this way, Hanuman became extremely powerful. Already he was so powerful that with one jump he could actually go to the sun planet, just after his birth. And now, after getting all these benedictions, we can well imagine how powerful he became. And being so powerful, he used to, as a little child, he used to create disturbance to the sages in the forest. So, the sages made a condition that Hanuman would forget about his power, until Lord Ramchandra came. So the point is that this power that Hanuman had, was actually for assisting Lord Ramchandra. It is often seen with the devotees also, that before they become devotees, they do not display their actual qualities, but after they become devotees, then all of a sudden their wonderful qualities become manifest. So in the case of Hanuman that was very, very significant. That’s why Agastha told Him, that Hanuman was not aware of his power. He just considered himself to be an ordinary monkey. But it is only when Jambavan reminded Hanuman, who he was and what his power was, he became aware of it. And to assist Lord Ramchandra he performed all kinds of wonderful feats.
Then, one day Ramchandra was sitting with Sita. At that time Sita was pregnant. And they were in the garden, they were talking. Ramchandra asked, what do you want? Is there anything that you want? Then Sita told that she wanted to see the ashramas of the sages on the bank of Mandakini. Ramchandra noted that that she wanted to see the ashrams of the sages. The next day, Ramchandra called his spies and asked them to tell Him how the citizens are feeling. So, different spies gave their descriptions, they are all very positive. People are so happy, they are so prosperous. But the sixth spy actually told about a washer man, what he told his wife. He suspected the character of his wife and then he told her that do you think that I am like Rama? That although his wife was kidnapped by somebody and stayed in his house for so long and still he accepted her back. I am not going to accept you. When the spy heard that, he was about to kill that person, pulling out his sword. But he remembered that in his kingdom no one should be killed. So, he restrained himself. And Rama recorded that incident. The next day He told Laksman to take Sita, He decided to banish Sita. Anyway, you all know that incidence. I don’t want to elaborate on that. And personally I find this part is so painful that I don’t even like to recall them or dwell on them. So, Sita was taken by Valmiki Muni in his ashram. And the ladies of the ashram were taking care of Sitadevi.
And at that time some sages came and reported to Rama that a demon is causing a lot of disturbance in Madhuvan. So Rama sent Satrughna to get rid of the saintly people, the rishis. So Satrughna went and he got rid of the demon. And he stayed there for twelve years. So, when Satrughna came, in the mean time Ramchandra was feeling very distressed due to killing Ravana. So, when He was lamenting in this way about his sinful act about killing Ravana, a Brahman. Ravana was actually a Brahman, a son of a Brahman. Then Vasistha suggested that He performed the horse sacrifice. So, the arrangement was made to perform the horse sacrifice at an auspicious moment. The challenge horse was sent out. The horse went all over. Some kings surrendered to Rama, most of the kings allowed the horse to go through their region without any obstacle. But some kings obstructed the horse. And as I mentioned it was mainly due to getting the darshan of Lord Ramchandra. The party consisted of Satrughn, Satrughna was leading, assisted by Pushkal, the son of Bharata and Hanuman. And Sugriva also was there. Finally the horse came to Valmiki’s ashrama. In the mean time, Sita devi gave birth to a twin. And Valmiki got them sanctified with kusa grass. The eldest son, with the tip of the kusagrass, he brushed his body. That’s why his name was Kusa, the eldest son was known as Kusa. And the younger son was brushed by the bottom of the kusa grass. That’s why his name was Lava. So Kusa and lava were the two brothers, the two sons of Rama.
So Lava was with the sages in the Valmiki ashram, he saw the horse. So, he saw the horse, he was quite impressed with that horse. And then he saw on the head of that horse, on a golden plaque, it was written, that this horse belongs to Rama, Lord Ramchandra, for the sacrifice of Ashvameda yajna. And it is guarded by Satrughna. Those who accept the authority of Rama, they would let the horse pass. Otherwise, Satrughna will deal with them. And seeing that, Lava became quite excited, so he held the horse. And he tied him up on a tree. So searching for the horse, when the party came and they found that Lava has taken the horse in captivity, so they first appealed to him to release the horse. But Lava would not listen. So a big fight actually ensued between Lava and Rama’s army, headed by Satrughna. And in the battle Satrughna was wounded, Hanuman was wounded, Sugriva was wounded, Puskal was wounded, but finally when they came back they regained their consciousness and in the later onslot Lava was defeated. When Lava was defeated and unconscious, he was brought back to Valmiki’s ashram, at that time Kusa came back from a pilgrimage. And when Kusa saw Lava’s condition he became furious. So he went to fight against Satrughna. And he defeated Satrughna and Rama’s army. And he tied up Hanuman and Sugriva together. (Laughter) And he brought Hanuman and Sugriva tied up together to the ashram of Valmiki. Both of them were unconscious. So Sita recognized Hanuman and Sugriva. She asked: “What happened ?” So he told what actually happened, about the horse and the horse was led by someone called Rama. So Sita told him that that is your father. And these are the monkeys, Hanuman and Sugriva, so release them. And in this way, Hanuman came across Sita again and he worshiped her. So did Sugriva. And the report, message went back. And they already noticed, Satrughna noticed, that this boy, when he saw Lava, it looked exactly like Rama, when Rama was young.
So, finally Valmiki told them, who they were. Then Rama sent his envoy to take Sita, along with Lava and Kusa. Then they came back, brought back to Ayodhya. And Valmiki also came with them. So Rama again expressed His concern about what people may think about Sita, because she was in the house of Ravana for so long. He proposed another fire test. This time, Sita could not tolerate that. Sita prayed to Bhumi, mother earth to take her back. So, earth split and mother earth personified came out and took Sita back to her.
And in this way, Rama ruled for eleven thousand years. And then, once time personified appeared on the request of Lord Brahma. Brahma told time personified to come and tell Rama that the purpose has been served. So, on His request He came and now He can go back to Vaikuntha. So time personified came to Rama and told Him that I have something very confidential to discuss with you. And when I am talking to you, nobody should come in the house, in the room. And if he came, then you have to banish him forever. So Rama agreed and told Laksman: “Laksman, get rid of the guard and you guard the door.” So, Laksman was standing guard and time personified, Kala Purusha, told Rama, gave, conveyed Brahma’s message to Him. That the purpose of your coming has been served. Now you can go back to Your abode. So, when they were discussing, Durvasha Muni came there, who was known for his anger and curse. When he came, he told Laksman, that he wanted to see Rama. So, Laksman told him, that Rama is having a discussion with somebody and I have been told to stand guard. And no one should come. Durvasha became very angry. He said: “Go and tell Him, otherwise I will curse that Rama and everyone will die!” So, Laksman thought that better I take the curse, then others and everybody else. So he went inside and told Rama. And Rama told him that “Why did you come?” He told him that Durvasa was so upset. So then Rama had to banish Laksman from Ayodhya. Laksman left Ayodhya and he went to the forest, which means actually that He went back to Vaikuntha. And then after that Ramchandra also decided to leave this material nature. So He divided His kingdom, and He gave the northern part of His kingdom, Koshal, to Kusa and the southern part to Lava. And He walked away from His kingdom. When He was walking, all the citizens were also following Him and eventually Rama entered into the river Sarayu. And in this way, Rama entered into the spiritual sky. And it has been said that those who were following Rama also went to the spiritual sky. In this way, we have to understand that Ramchandra came with His associates from the spiritual sky and after performing His pastimes, He went back to the spiritual sky. Sri Ramchandra Ki Jaya! Jaya Sri Sri Krishnacandra Ki Jaya!
Transcription : Ranga Radhika Dasi, Bhaktin Ramola, Shyama-Mohini Dasi, Sacikumar Dasa, Ramananda Raya Dasa
Editing : Hemavati Radhika Dasi