08 Apr Rama Navami Festival Lecture – Mumbai April 2014.
INTERNATIONAL SOCIETY FOR KRISHNA CONSCIOUSNESS
Founder-Ācārya: His Divine Grace A.C. Bhaktivedanta Swami Prabhupāda
The following lecture on the Pastimes of Sri Ramacandra was given by His Hosliness Bhakti Charu Swami in ISKCON Chowpatty on 08 April 2014.
Hare Kṛṣṇa kīrtana, Raghupati Rāghava Rājā Rāma kīrtana.
His Holiness Bhakti Charu Swami:
Gaur Premānande Hari Hari bol.
namo oṁ vishnu paḍaya krishna preṣṭhāya bhūtale
śrīmate bhaktivedanta swami iti nāmine
namaste sārasvate deve gaura vāṇī pracāriṇe
nirviśeṣa śūnyavādi pāścātya deśa tāriṇe
Śrīla Prabhupāda ki jaya!
So, as Gaurāṅga Prabhu mentioned that this morning we had a session on Lord Rāmacandra’s pastime. How many of you were here in the morning class? How many of you were not here in the morning class?
Okay, so I will briefly discuss about what we discussed in the morning. The first thing I discussed is about why the Lord came to perform His pastimes and who is Rāvaṇa and why Rāvaṇa got into a conflict with Him? Actually the personality… who is Rāvaṇa? He is a great devotee of the Lord. He is a resident of Vaikuṇṭha. What’s his name? The two brothers, who are the two gate keepers of Vaikuṇṭha? Jaya and Vijaya. Jaya and Vijaya felt that the Lord was not getting to experience the mellow of chivalry. The mellow of chivalry is experienced out of fighting. The warriors, by fighting with an opponent, they derive a great pleasure. The pleasure is called mellow of chivalry, or in Sanskrit it is called virya-rasa. And in Vaikuṇṭha who will fight with the Lord? In Vaikuṇṭha everyone knows that He is the Supreme Personality of Godhead and everyone in Vaikuṇṭha is a devotee of the Lord, so who will ever dare to or who will ever want to fight with the Lord? Therefore in Vaikuṇṭha the Lord doesn’t get this opportunity to experience this mellow of chivalry or vīrya–rasa. So Jaya and Vijaya intended, they wanted, if they could the Lord have experience this mellow and as soon as they wanted that, the Lord could understand what they wanted. And you know what is the wonderful quality of the Supreme Personality of Godhead? Whenever His devotee desires something, the Lord fulfills that.
[Jaya Śrī Śrī Radha-Gopinath ki jaya! Jaya Śrī Śrī Giridhārī Gopal ki jaya! Jaya Śrī Śrī Gaura-Nitāi ki jaya! Jaya Śrī Śrī Sītā-Rāma Lakṣmaṇa-Hanuman ki jaya! Jaya Śrī Śrī Rāmanavamī mahotsava ki jaya! Jaya Śrīla Jagad Guru Prabhupāda ki jaya! Samavetā Gaura-bhakta-vrnda ki jaya! Gaur premānande Hari Hari bol!]
So whenever a devotee desires something the Lord fulfills that desire. So Jaya and Vijaya wanted to give Him the pleasure of experiencing the mellow of chivalry. So immediately the arrangement was made. What was the arrangement? The Four Kumāras, the first four sons of Lord Brahmā [they looked just like five year old boys although they were the personalities who came next to Brahmā. You can say they are the oldest of people in this universe] But they look like five year old boys and they move about naked. Like five year old boys in India, four- five year old boys, they used to move naked. So they used to move naked. So seeing them Jaya and Vijaya obstructed their way, they didn’t allow them to enter into Vaikuṇṭha. As the gatekeepers of Vaikuṇṭha they stopped them and these four Kumāras became very upset. That these residents of Vaikuṇṭha, those who are supposed to be completely pure devotees, completely spiritually situated, they are discriminating, they are judging them according to their external appearance.
So they felt that these people, these two persons are not fit to remain in Vaikuṇṭha. They cursed them that: “You fall down to the earth planet.” You fall down to the material nature. So they cursed Jaya and Vijaya. And at that time the Lord also appeared there just to appease His, just to pacify His guests, these four Kumāras and the Lord on behalf of His servants begged forgiveness from them. He said you have done the right thing. You have cursed them. But then the Lord asked Jaya and Vijaya, “Look you have two considerations: you can go to the material nature but if you remain My devotees there, then you have to stay there for seven lifetimes. But if you become My enemy then you have to be there for three lifetimes.” So Jaya and Vijaya decided to take a short cut.
His Holiness Bhakti Charu Swami: They said, they opted for three lifetimes as an enemy of the Supreme Personality of Godhead and as a result of that in Satyayuga, these Jaya and Vijaya appeared as Hiraṇyakaśipu and Hiraṇyākṣa. Then in Tretā Yuga they appeared as Rāvaṇa and Kumbhakarṇa and in Dvāpara yuga they appeared as Śiśupāla and Dantavakra. They also appeared another time but that was not mentioned in the scriptures because then the Lord’s identity would become revealed. But the purpose of the Lord’s coming on the fourth time in Kali-yuga was hidden. His identity and in that pastime of the Lord, these two personalities’ identity was also kept as a secret. They not only came three times. They came four times but in the fourth time they got promoted from the gate of Vaikuṇṭha to Goloka Vṛndāvana.
His Holiness Bhakti Charu Swami: So who are they? Jagāi and Mādhāi. So this is how Rāvaṇa and Kumbhakarṇa came, two brothers. Born in a very exalted family; they are the sons of a brahmā ṛṣi. But from their childhood they developed demoniac tendencies. They are terribly powerful and they were extremely envious towards the Supreme Personality of Godhead. And they were extremely envious even to their relatives, those who are enjoying some superior facilities. Like his own brother, he became inimical towards him. His half brother was Kuvera and Rāvaṇa attacked him and defeated him. And Rāvaṇa achieved some special power by pleasing Lord Brahmā. He performed great austerity to please Brahmā. And what was he doing? Generally people offer oblations in sacrifice: svāhā; generally they put ghee or grains but what Rāvaṇa was offering? He was offering his own flesh. He was cutting his flesh and svāhā. Idaṁ brahmāya na mama but still Brahmā didn’t come but finally in utter desperation he was about to chop of his own head and offer it to the fire. We can see that these characters are extremely determined. Even the demons have some good qualities. But demons are demons; actually demons have many good qualities. Rāvaṇa was an exponent in Vedic scriptures. Rāvaṇa was an expert in chanting the mantras. Rāvaṇa was expert in performing sacrifice but why is Rāvaṇa a demon? Who will tell me? Why Rāvaṇa is a demon? Because he did not accept the Supreme Personality of Godhead.
So this way we can see that no matter how qualified a person may be if he does not accept the Supreme Personality of Godhead and surrender unto him, rather he becomes inimical to the Lord then he is identified as a demon. One may not accept the Lord out of ignorance that is understandable. They are called innocent. They don’t know the Lord, therefore, they are not surrendered to the Lord but when they get to know the Supreme Personality of Godhead, when they get to know about His glories and greatness, then they surrender unto Him. So that is the qualification of a devotee. Even an innocent can become devotee in proper association.
But the demons, the more they hear the glory of the Lord the more inimical they become towards Him. So Rāvaṇa pleased Brahmā. Finally Brahmā came and asked Rāvaṇa, “Rāvaṇa, what do you want?” What do the demons want? Demons want to become immortal. That is another characteristic of a demon. They want to become immortal. So Brahmā said, “Look, I can’t give you that boon. I can’t fulfill that desire of yours because even I am not immortal. In this material nature everyone is mortal.”Jātasya hi dhruvo mṛtyur dhruvaṁ janma mṛtasya ca,”Whoever is born, is bound to die.” Then Rāvaṇa said, “Okay, then give me the boon that I won’t be killed by any demigod; I won’t be killed by any demon; I won’t be killed by any rākṣasa; I won’t be killed by any Gandharva; I won’t be killed by Kinnara.”
And he named everybody, all species, except human beings and animals because he thought that the human beings are so insignificant. Who cares about them? But that was the loophole that was kept there. And then Rāvaṇa in course of- he became extremely powerful. He began to wander around the world defeating everybody. The demigods were defeated. And he defeated even his own brother, the king of the Yakṣas, Kuvera, not brother, half brother. And then he took away his kingdom. Laṅkā was actually Kuvera’s kingdom. Rāvaṇa snatched it away from him and Rāvaṇa also took away his Puṣpaka vimāna, a spaceship, but a very, very wonderful spaceship. That spaceship can accommodate any number of passengers. If there was one passenger it will be of the size just to fit one passenger. If there were hundred passengers, it will expand and accommodate hundred passengers, not cramped up like sardines but enough space . In this way Puṣpaka had the facility to expand to any extent to provide any number of passengers. For example, after defeating Rāvaṇa, when Rāmacandra was about to return to Ayodhyā, he had this chariot Puṣpaka vimāna and Lord Rāmacandra decided to take all the monkeys. So how many monkeys were there? Innumerable monkeys. They all fitted in that Puṣpaka and not only that. When they were flying above Kiskinda, the kingdom of the monkeys then Sītādevī said, “Look let’s take their wives also [Laughter].”
His Holiness Bhakti Charu Swami: So their wives were also accommodated in that. This is the capacity of Puṣpaka and Puṣpaka can move with the speed of the mind. That wherever- there was no steering or joystick to ride. Like Puṣpaka vimāna flies with the will of the driver, charioteer. Like he can say I want to go to the moon planet. Just Puṣpaka vimāna will take you there. So that is how wonderful this Puṣpaka vimāna was.
So Rāvaṇa became extremely powerful and as a result of that- when somebody becomes extremely powerful, extremely wealthy, extremely influential and if he does not utilize his wealth, power and influence properly, what is the outcome, the natural outcome? Do you know: what is the natural outcome of not properly utilizing these facilities? You start to accrue, you start to earn sinful activities, sinful results. Because when people become extremely powerful but do not become submissive to the Supreme Personality of Godhead, his false ego becomes inflated and as a result of that he starts to commit sinful activities. So that is why it is always safe to be a devotee of the Supreme Personality of Godhead otherwise you run the risk of committing sinful activities and offenses and the result of those offenses come in the form of sufferings as it happened with Rāvaṇa. Although he was extremely powerful he started to acquire sinful activities to his credit.
One of those few such mistakes that Rāvaṇa made was: one day Rāvaṇa was flying above Himalayas mountains and there he saw in a valley, beautiful valley a beautiful woman but she was looking like an ascetic and he became curious, “What’s a single woman doing here?” And he became attracted to her beauty and so he approached her and he proposed her, “What are you doing here alone? Are you married?” Then she said “No, I am not married. But I wanted to have Viṣṇu as my husband. That’s why I am performing this tapasya, austerity.” So Rāvaṇa proposed, “Why do you want to waste your time waiting for Viṣṇu? Come with me. Become my Queen. I am the most powerful person.” She said “Please get lost.”
His Holiness Bhakti Charu Swami: The Sanskrit word she used is “Go your way.” Go your way. It’s also kind of saying ‘get lost’ [Laughter] and leave me alone and go your way. So then Rāvaṇa became very upset and finally Rāvaṇa tried to forcibly molest her. So he caught her by her hairs. And this lady was so powerful that she cut her hair with her hand. Just she passed her hand and this is how she released herself from Rāvaṇa’s grip, but she said, “This body has become contaminated by your touch. This body is not good enough for Viṣṇu anymore. So I will give up this body but I tell you that I will come back again and I will become the cause of your death.” And by saying that she generated a fire from within herself and she gave her body, burnt her body to ashes.
Another mistake Rāvaṇa did: He was flying in Puṣpaka vimāna. All of a sudden his chariot came to a halt. And he couldn’t understand why it came to a halt like that. And then a personality appeared who had a very powerful body, dwarfish, very powerful looking but he had the face of a monkey. And so he very politely said, “Look this is the region of Lord Śiva. So please don’t come here, go your way.” And he said, “Who is Lord Śiva and why should I listen to his consideration? I am Rāvaṇa; I can go anywhere I want. And besides that who are you monkey faced that you want to say things to me what I should do?” So at that time this servant of Lord Śiva whose name is Nandi cursed him that: “Since you insulted me, calling me monkey faced, monkeys will be your greatest enemy. They will destroy you. They will be the cause of your destruction.”
So another mistake Rāvaṇa did was when he was in the heavenly planets, he came across a very beautiful celestial damsel. And he approached her and this lady told: “Look I am going to meet my husband, so please let me alone.” But Rāvaṇa forcibly molested her. Her name is Rambha. She was the wife of Nalakuvera, son of Kuvera. In that relationship she was actually Rāvaṇa’s daughter in law. His nephew’s wife but Rāvaṇa molested her. So she approached her husband but Nalakuvera did not dare to do anything because Rāvaṇa already defeated his father. So he knew Rāvaṇa was too strong for him, but he gathered all his pious activities together and he cursed Rāvaṇa, “That if you ever try to molest a woman against her will, then your head will crack into thousand pieces.”
So these are the reasons why Rāvaṇa was actually creating his own destiny for destruction. In a way we can say Rāvaṇa was digging his own grave. So this Vedavatī, the woman who was performing austerities in Himalayas to get Lord Viṣṇu as her husband came as Sītādevī and it is because of Nandi’s curse, that demigods actually took birth as monkeys, extremely powerful monkeys. It was actually the order of the Lord Himself. When Viṣṇu decided to come to this planet to annihilate Rāvaṇa, then he also told the demigods to come. He said, “That without giving up your celestial responsibilities of maintaining different affairs of the universe you all take birth through your expansions. You expand yourselves on the earth planet as monkeys.” So these monkeys were born and they were extremely powerful.
As you heard, right after his birth, Hanuman feeling hungry, his mother went to look for food for the new born baby. Most probably the monkeys don’t breast feed their babies. So she went to look for food and Hanuman felt hungry. When he saw the sun in the sky rising, he thought it was a nice little fruit. And he jumped. So powerfully he jumped to swallow the sun and the sun became afraid. He started to wonder, “That this is not the time for Rāhu to come [Laughter] so why Rāhu is coming in such an untimely way to devour me.” And he took shelter of Indra and Indra hurled his thunder, vajra.
As a result of that Hanuman lost his senses and he fell on the ground. And his jaw was broken. And he was actually dead. And seeing his son dead, Pavana deva, the Lord of wind, became so upset that he took the baby and went to a cave, mountain cave and he stopped his business of controlling the air in the universe. And when the air stops, what happens? This is not just ordinary air. Even if you consider that there is no supply of oxygen what will happen? Everyone will die. So the condition became extremely precarious. So then all the demigods came they said Pavana what happened, what happened? And then Pavana said what happened. He said, “See Indra killed my son, just new born baby. So I decided that I won’t perform any duty. You all decide how you are going to arrange the affairs of the universe.”
His Holiness Bhakti Charu Swami: But without Pavana’s support, the universe was coming to a dead halt. So then all the demigods revived Hanuman. And different demigods gave different powers to Hanuman. Indra gave the power that thunder won’t do anything to him. Brahmā gave the power that Brahmā’s astra won’t work on Hanuman; It will work only for a time being. It will work only for a short while and then there won’t be any affect. So this is how different demigods gave different powers to Hanuman and Hanuman became extremely powerful.
Now can you imagine a little boy got such inconceivable power and the little children are mischievous, so little Hanuman was extremely mischievous, so he started to cause a lot of problems to the sages in the forest who were performing austerities in the forest. So they approached Brahmā and said, “Please do something about it. This little boy is causing so much disturbance to our meditation and sacrifice.” So then Brahmā said, “Okay, he will forget about his powers. He won’t remember about his powers. Only when Lord Rāmacandra will come then he will remember his power.” So until then Hanuman was not aware of his power and you remember, Jambavan actually reminded Hanuman, “Hanuman you are so powerful; you jumped to swallow the sun.” And then it occurred to him that yes I can do it. So this is how in the service of Lord Rāmacandra Hanuman’s power actually came back. So this is how- so Hanuman- these different demigods came as monkeys to support Lord Rāmacandra in His pastimes.
Now another thing is: the Lord performs His pastimes. Does it really need Him to come personally to take care of the demons? Not really. His Mayasakti, Mahāmāyā can take care of any demon. Lord doesn’t have to come Himself. But then why does He come? This aspect is there: vināśāya ca duṣkṛtām. But what is the principal cause of His coming paritrāṇāy sādhūnāṁ, ‘in order to protect His devotees’. Again protecting His devotees is not His main business, not to protect but to experience the loving exchange with His devotees is why the Lord comes. So that is why the Lord came.
Lord Rāmacandra came to give His personal association to the demigods who appeared in the form of the monkeys. Why did Lord Rāmacandra go to the forest for fourteen years? Yes apparent reason is that He was cursed? But what is the main reason? Where were the devotees of the Lord at that time? In the forest. So to give His association to the devotees and to derive joy in associating with His devotees the Lord went to the forest. So in this way the Lord went to the forest and spend fourteen years, just to give pleasure to His devotees and paritrāṇāya ‘He was killing demons, even when He was in the forest and He was- the rākṣasas He slaughtered left, right and center and in this way the Lord came to perform His pastimes. And the wonderful pastime is, as you know Sītādevī was stolen by Rāvaṇa. This is also one thing we discussed this morning that the Lord’s pastimes are like a drama. In a drama, you see, anyone who knows about drama knows that drama means conflict. There is not a drama without conflict. If there is no conflict it won’t be a drama then it will be a documentary.
His Holiness Bhakti Charu Swami: It is the conflict that makes a drama, a drama and more the conflict, better the drama. And this conflict takes place with- there is a hero and there is a villain and in the middle the heroine [Laughter]
His Holiness Bhakti Charu Swami: So in the Lord’s pastimes, the Lord is the hero, the demons are the villains and Lakṣmīdevī, the Lord’s eternal consort is the heroine. And Rāmacandra’s pastimes are a perfect drama actually. Mahābhārata is a perfect drama. In Mahābhārata of course the Lord is not the hero; His devotees are the heroes, the Pāṇḍavas, especially Arjuna. The heroine is Draupadī and the villains are Duryodhana and his associates. So this is how the Lord actually performs His pastimes and by performing His pastimes, He enjoys and He allows His devotees also to become submerged in an ocean of ecstasy, ocean of joy.
In Damodarastakam do you remember the third verse? You all chant it during the month of Damodara. What is the third verse? itidrk-sva-lilabhir ānanda-kuṇḍe sva-ghoṣaṁ nimajjantam ākhyāpayantam. Itīdṛk, ‘in this way performing His pastimes’ sva-līlābhir ānanda-kuṇḍe sva-ghoṣaṁ nimajjantam, ‘He drowns His devotees’, svaghoṣaṁ means ‘His devotees’, nimajjantam means ‘drowns’. He drowns His devotees in ananada kuṇḍe, ānanda, ‘bliss’ and kuṇḍe ‘is a pool or reservoir or you can even say ocean’. He drowns His devotees in a pool of ecstasy.
So this is the purpose of Lord’s pastimes and you will see these pastimes, through these pastimes the Lord Himself enjoys and those who take part in the pastimes, they enjoy; those who witness the pastimes they enjoy and those who even hear they enjoy, just like you are doing. Are you enjoying or are you getting bored?
His Holiness Bhakti Charu Swami: Okay, [Laughter] so in this way the Lord, by performing His pastimes drowns His devotees in an ocean of ecstasy and an ocean of joy. itidrk-sva-lilabhir ānanda-kuṇḍe sva-ghoṣaṁ nimajjantam ākhyāpayantam. So that is why the Lord comes to perform His pastimes and the conflict becomes intensified. Like first different personalities are placed in different situations, playing different roles. But ultimately we can see that all those who are taking part, they are actually devotees of the Lord. Like we see the demons, those who are playing the roles of demons, they are two devotees the biggest demons Hiranyakasipu- Hiraṇyākṣa, Ravana- Kumbhakarṇa. Just by hearing their activities our blood starts to boil. Doesn’t it [Laughter]? Like so abominable are their activities but actually they are two devotees.
That’s also another quality of a good actor. You know what’s the quality of a good actor? Bombay is a land of acting, so I am sure you all know [Laughter] the land of Bollywood. The quality of a good actor is that he or she forgets her or himself and becomes that role. And who is the best actor you know? Kṛṣṇa Himself. That’s why, when He plays the role of a cowherd boy, He is a perfect cowherd boy and He forgets that He is the Supreme Personality of Godhead. A good actor forgets himself and becomes that role that he is playing. So Jaya, Vijaya forgot who they are and they are playing that role, perfect demon and you know in these pastimes of the Lord, who is the director or directress? Yogamāyā. She is the director, she is the casting director. If you want to take part in Lord’s pastime you have to be casted by Yogamāyā. She will give you the role to play. Without Yogamāyā’s mercy there is no way of entering into Lord’s pastimes. So that’s why we take shelter of Yogamāyā.
And so Rāvaṇa became extremely powerful. He defeated all the demons, all the demigods, Gandharvas, Kinnaras all the different personalities… And the demigods approached Lord Brahmā. They said, “Please do something about him. He is impossible. He is causing so much distress to this Universe. Everyone is in utter anxiety due to him.” So then Brahmā said, “Yes, he said that the only person who can deal with Rāvaṇa is the Lord Himself.” Isn’t the drama unfolding now? Why did Jaya and Vijaya come to the earth, material nature? To fight with the Lord. They wanted to give Him the pleasure of chivalry. So now they came, right? So the Lord has to come now. The opponents have come to fight with Him. So the Lord has to come. So the arrangement is made. Brahmā then told the demigods. The only person actually who can deal with them is the Supreme Personality of Godhead, Viṣṇu. So,they approached Viṣṇu and Brahmā reminded when He gave him the boon, he actually left one loop hole open and that is: he will be susceptible to the human beings. So my Lord please take birth as a human being. And in the mean time king Daśaratha who did not have any son performed a sacrifice to get a son. And as a result of that sacrifice the Lord agreed to come. So you see how all the bits and pieces are coming together to create the perfect scene.
So the Lord needs to come as a human being. Daśaratha performed a sacrifice to the Lord to have a son, so he was the most qualified candidate to appear as His father, I mean to appear as his son. So, Daśaratha had three wives. From the sacrificial fire a celestial personality appeared with a bowlful of nectar, sweet-rice and he gave it to Daśaratha and said, “Give it to your queen.” Daśaratha had three queens. So he divided this nectar to half and he gave one half to his first queen, Kauśalyā and he gave the other half to his favourite queen, Kaikeyī. And Kaikeyī and Kauśalyā decided to give a part of their share to the middle wife, other wife, Sumitra. And as a result of that Lord Rāmacandra appeared as the son of Kauśalyā. Bhārata appeared as the son of Kaikeyī and Lakṣmaṇa and Satrughana appeared as the twin brothers of, twin sons of Sumitra. But they are -who are they? They are the Caturvyuha. Vāsudeva, Saṅkarṣaṇa, Pradyumna and Aniruddha. Vāsudeva came as Rāmacandra, Saṅkarṣaṇa came as Lakṣmaṇa and Pradyumna came as Bhārata and Aniruddha came as Śatrughna. And they grew up in the royal palace of Daśaratha as the most favourite sons and they were all endowed with divine qualities; naturally they are the Supreme Personality of Godhead Himself. And anyway, now let us go to some different parts of the pastime.
Rāmacandra was banished to the forest for fourteen years. Daśaratha decided to coronate Rāmacandra as the successor to the throne. Daśaratha was already quite old. So he decided: “Let me just coronate Rāma on the throne.” And just the decision was made so abruptly that the next day was supposed to be the coronation of Lord Rāmacandra. At that time Bhārata was not there in Ayodhyā. He was in his uncle’s house and Kaikeyī was informed in a haste that Rāma was being coronated but Kakeyi was naturally very happy. So when the news was brought to her by her maidservant who was the chief of her maidservants, a hunch backed lady, hunch backed woman called Mantharā, Kaikeyī became so delighted to receive that news.
She just gave her… Immediately she took off her necklace, a solid diamond necklace studded with gold I mean beautifully studded with different gems and gold. And she just gave it to her for bringing that news but Mantharā’s reaction was very strange. Mantharā threw away that very, very precious necklace and said that “You stupid woman, you do not know what’s happening to you. It is not the time to rejoice that Rāma is going to become the crown prince. The thing is when Rāma becomes crown prince your Bhārata will be reduced to His servant and you won’t have any importance. Now you have such an importance as a dear queen, as a favourite queen of Daśaratha, but when Rāma becomes the crown prince then all the importance will go to Kauśalyā and you will be reduced to a maidservant of Kauśalyā. Daśaratha will not even look at you.” So in this way she started to vitiate Kaikeyī’s mind and so finally Kaikeyī’s mind was so vitiated and she was so affected by her treacherous advice that she also started to think in this way. As I said, look what a wonderful drama isn’t it? So then she asked, “Well but what to do? Rāma is the natural successor to the throne.” Because in the Vedic culture the eldest son inherits the wealth of the father. He is the natural successor. But then Mantharā reminded, “Look, when Daśaratha was fighting with the demons on behalf of the demigods, he became very, very wounded, very wounded during the battle and at that time you took care of him and you cured him and brought him back to life. And at that time Daśaratha wanted to give you some boon. Two boons he wanted to give you. He asked you, “Ask for anything.” But at that time you said, “Look, what do I need? You have given me everything.” But Daśaratha told you, “Okay, in future some day if you want something from me you can remind me, you can get that from me.” So Mantharā said, “Now is the time for the boon. And what should you ask? Your first condition should be that instead of Rāma Bhārata should become the crown prince. Bhārata should succeed you in the throne and for fourteen years Rāma should be banished into the forest.” And that is what happened. Kaikeyī, she went to the sulking chamber displaying her -she was and then Daśaratha came looking for her and found that she took off all her ornaments, she took off her beautiful saree and she was wearing just an ordinary piece of cloth and Daśaratha asked, “What happened?” And then she revealed her mind, “Remember Lord, remember my Lord, you wanted to give me two boons and I want these two boons .” “What are the boons that you want.” “I want Bhārata to be the king and I want Rāma to go the forest for fourteen years.” Daśaratha couldn’t believe his ears. He told her, “Kaikeyī you must be joking. You don’t want that because Rāma is so dear to you. You never see any difference between your Bhārata and Rāma. Sometimes you have displayred more affection to Rāma then to Bhārata and how come you want something so terrible like this.” And then Kaikeyī told him in a very very cruel way, “No this is what I want.” When this news went out, the seniors of the family and their kula-guru Vasiṣṭha even told Kaikeyī that, “Kaikeyī this boon is going to be the cause, what you are asking from your husband is going to cause him to die. You will become a widow. Please don’t ask for such a boon.” But Kaikeyī was adamant. And eventually although Daśaratha didn’t want, Daśaratha finally said, “I am not going to fulfill your promise. I am not going to fulfill my promise. Whatever happens, let it happen but I will not fulfill your promise. I will not grant that desire of yours, even though I will subjected to deviate from the path of truthfulness. Still I don’t care.” But when Rāma got to know about it and when he heard that his father is even considering to refuse to grant this wish of Kaikeyī then Rāma stood his. He said, “No, I will or rather I cannot let the words of my father go in vain.” For the sake of establishing his father’s truthfulness, Rāmacandra decided to go to the forest letting Bhārata to be the king. But then we see Bhārata, when he got back, he got so upset hearing that. In the mean time his father already died. When Rāma left, due to his separation from Rāma Daśaratha left his body and the messenger was sent to bring Bhārata and his messenger didn’t tell him what happened. He said, “There is some urgent business in the kingdom, so you have to come back.” So Bhārata came back.
When he came back then he found: generally his father would greet him when he came home but this time he didn’t see his father. So he questioned, “Where is father? Where is Rāma, Lakṣmaṇa?” Then he got to know what happened that Rāma went to the forest just for his sake, his mother’s treacherous plan and he was so angry with his mother. He just started to blast his mother. He went to Mantharā and started to hit her on her hunchback. And so this is how the whole scene turned into a very tragic turn. And then Bhārata decided to go and bring Rāmacandra back. He went to the forest, met Rāmacandra but Rāmacandra refused to come. So Bhārata actually came back. When he could not bring Rāmacandra back, he made Lord Rāma stand on a pair of wooden shoes and he brought those shoes to the kingdom to let these shoes of Rāma be placed on the throne. And he could not even live in Ayodhyā because Ayodhyā was so full of painful memories of his father of his brothers, Rāma, Lakṣmaṇa, of Sītā that he couldn’t stay there. So he shifted his kingdom capital at that time to Nandigrāma and there he started to rule the kingdom from there as a representative of Rāma, placing His shoes on the throne. So this way we can see such wonderful exchanges of loving relationships through these pastimes of the Lord.
And it has been mentioned that actually for Bhārata, the austerities that Bhārata performed for those fourteen years were more severe than the austerities of Lord Rāmacandra. Bhārata started to live like an ascetic, like a forest dweller while residing in the palace. While taking care of the affairs of the kingdom, while managing the kingdom, he was living like an ascetic. He did not wear proper clothes. He did not wear proper clothes, he was wearing tree bark. He had grown his hair matted like an ascetic. He slept on the floor with no bedding. So that’s why it is said that Lord Rāmacandra was in the forest and He was living the life of an ascetic. It was quite alright, quite easy for Him, but for Bhārata to live the life of ascetic in the palace was far more difficult, far more austere for Bhārata. So in this way sometimes it is said that in Rāmāyaṇa that Bhārata’s character is actually the most brilliant, such detachment, such righteousness, and such respect for his elder brother.
And another personality who is also brilliant in these pastimes is Laksmama. When Lord Rāmacandra came back after defeating Rāvaṇa, killing Rāvaṇa and rescuing Sītā, everyone was glorifying Lord Rāmacandra for his wonderful achievement. At that time ṛṣi Agasthya, sage Agasthya, he said, “No, actually the credit goes to Lakṣmaṇa.” So everyone started to wonder why. The killing of Rāvaṇa, it’s Rāma who killed Rāvaṇa; it’s Rāma who rescued Sītā, so why you are saying that the actual credit goes to Lakṣmaṇa? Then Agasthya revealed that actually Rāvaṇa couldn’t have been killed had Indrajit not been killed and only Lakṣmaṇa could kill Indrajit. Because Indrajit had the boon he would be killed by somebody who has been a brahmacārī for fourteen years and who did not eat anything for fourteen years. So the point came up that an ideal brahmacārī doesn’t even look at the face of a woman. So Sītā was there, so for these fourteen years, so can one say that Lakṣmaṇa was a brahmacārī for fourteen years? So then Agasthya said, “Yes Sītā was there, but Lakṣmaṇa never looked at her face. His eyes were always fixed at her feet.” Then Rāmacandra admitted that, “Yes that’s true because when the monkeys showed the ornaments that Sītā dropped and Rāmacandra showed them to Lakṣmaṇa and said, “Lakṣmaṇa, do you recognize? Aren’t these the ornaments of Sītā?” Then Lakṣmaṇa said, “Look, I can recognize only one thing- her anklet or whatever it’s called, that ankle ornament that she was wearing around ankles.” Rāma said, “Why can’t you recognize any others?” So Lakṣmaṇa said, “Because I never looked, I always looked at her feet, so that’s why I can only recognize only that ornament. I don’t recognize any other ornaments.”
Then Rāmacandra questioned, “ But what about fourteen years, you said that one had to be an anahari, one did not eat for fourteen years but every day I used to give Lakṣmaṇa a fruit. So he took the fruit. So how can you say that he was anahari.” So Agasthya then said, “Why don’t you ask Lakṣmaṇa? What did you do with the fruits?” So Lakṣmaṇa said, “Yes, brother,You gave me the fruits but You said, “Take it but You never said: eat it.”
His Holiness Bhakti Charu Swami: That’s why I took the fruit and gave it back to the forest.” So Rāmacandra said, “Hanuman, by the touch of Lakṣmaṇa’s hand, the fruits have become imperishable. So these fruits must be there in the forest. So you go and count the fruits [Laughter]. Bring all the fruits that Lakṣmaṇa kept in the forest.” So Hanuman brought all the fruits and they counted and they found [Laughter]
His Holiness Bhakti Charu Swami: [Laughter] four fruits are missing.
His Holiness Bhakti Charu Swami: So Rāmacandra said, “So that means that for four days you have eaten the fruits.” Lakṣmaṇa said, “No my dear brother, on those four days You forgot to give me the fruits.
Devotees: [Rejoicing and applause]
His Holiness Bhakti Charu Swami: The day You got the news that father left his body; the day Sītā was kidnapped; the day I was struck by śakti and another day [I forgot].” So then Rāmacandra said, “Yes that’s true.” And that’s why at that time Rāmacandra said, “Look appearing as a younger brother you had to go through so much difficulties. So in My next pastime you will become My elder brother [Laughter] and that’s why in Dvāpara–yuga when Lord Rāmacandra came as Kṛṣṇacandra, Saṅkarṣaṇa became his elder brother, Balarāma.
Jaya Śrī Rāmacandra ki jaya.
Jaya Śrī Śrī Sītā Rāma Lakṣmaṇa Hanuman ki jaya.
Rāmanavamī mahā mahotsava ki jaya.
Śrī Śrī Radhagopinath ki jaya. Śrī Śrī Giridhārī Gopal ki jaya. Śrī Śrī Gaur Nitāi ki jaya.
Jagad Guru Śrīla Prabhupāda ki jaya.
Samavetā bhaktvrnda ki jaya.
Gaur premānande Hari Hari bol.
Transcription : Anonymous helper
Editing : Rāmānanda Rāya Dāsa