Wednesday, 25 June 2014

Untold Stories from Ramayan- part 13


All these stories were going through Hanuman's mind as he stood there before Shri Lanka, how Ravana got cursed in many places, and how he is so foolish.  Hanuman actually felt very compassionate, and he was thinking, "If I see Ravana, by any method, I will give him good advice.  I will tell him that he is very intelligent, and that maybe he could use his intelligence.  Just give back Sita, and everything will be alright."  Hanuman went into the city, and it was just before midnight.  The moon was present, and he could smell wine all over the city.  Practically 99.9% of the population was drunk.  Everyone was in the enjoying mode, and in Shri Lanka there was plenty of enjoyment to be had.  These demons went all over the world, and brought women from all over the world.  Ravana had more than 12,000 wives. 
All of them liked him, although he was a demon.  He had a brownish colour, but the form of his body was next to the beauty of Upendra (the brother of Indra, not the dwarf incarnation of Vishnu).  He had a very broad chest and a beautiful face.  Sometimes he is depicted as very ugly, but actually he was not ugly.  When he got angry or lusty, he could produce such ugly forms, but Ravana's true form looks very beautiful.  Vishnu Purana, Valmiki and all the narrators describe as a person of great granduer.  When Hanuman and Sugriva, or anyone for that matter saw him for the first time, they would think, "This cannot be Ravana, because his body is so beautifully designed.  This man must be full of good qualities.  He cannot be a demon.  We must have made a mistake."  He was so beautiful. 
He had this hole in his chest which was from the tusk of Airavata.  He had other holes in his body from Sampati, but he covered these with his silk cloth.  He had a beautiful hairstyle.  His speech of course was so excellent that he could speak and make day look like night.  These are the glories of Ravana.  Amongst his queens were nagas, and there were princesses from Satyaloka, Siddhaloka, Caranaloka, Gandharvikas, every species of life was present in his palace as queens.  They all liked him and respected him.  Ravana's country was so good.  There was plenty of fruit and food, and they had dharma which was followed.  Ravana was ruling wonderfully, and no-one had any fear in Shri Lanka.  They had no fear even from Indra, Candra or Agni, because Ravana was so respected.  So Hanuman was going from room to room.  "Is Sita here?  Is Sita there?"  In every room he found about ten beds and so many queens sleeping.  Hanuman was a naisthika brahmacari, and he was thinking, "Oh God, I have to do this.  All these queens of Ravana are sleeping here, and most of them are drunk."  It is not good for a brahmacari to see a woman while she is sleeping, and Hanuman had to do this.  At first he thought, "Should I do this?"  And then he concluded, "I am serving Rama, and if I don't look at all of them, Sita may be somewhere in between, and I will miss her."  So he made up his mind, "I'm not going to be attracted.  How will I not be attracted?  I won't stop chanting Rama's name."  So he was chanting, "Rama, Rama, Rama, Rama," and he was looking everywhere.  When Hanuman saw so many queens, their make-up and dress, their beds and their silk, he was completely shocked.  "What kind of place is this?  It is like a heavenly planet."  They had false eyelashes, they had shaven their eyebrows, and they had coloured in 12 tones from the eyelash up to the eyebrows.
 Hanuman actually saw this.  He got scared by looking at them.  He said, "If they are so beautiful, why do they have to put false eyelashes on?"  Hanuman saw all this, and he was very happy.  "This man, whatever he has done, is enjoying his senses very nicely.  At least he is good at that."  And then he came and saw in the middle of a room a wonderful bed made of coral and diamonds, and on top of it was white silk covering the bed.  There was a brown figure lying there with big shoulders and wonderful bodily beauty, and he was snoring.  Hanuman said, "So beautiful, but he is snoring and his mouth is wide open.  He must be very ignorant person."  Although Ravana has so much knowledge, still there is ignorance."  Then Hanuman looked around and saw that there was a white umbrella on the side of the bed.  That means he is the king.  So Hanuman looked at him, and then he walked backwards to get a better look.  And then closer and closer.  He looked from all angles.  "Oh!  What a great fighter."  Then he saw the hole, and he said, "I have heard about this hole.  This man would have fought with Airavata."  Hanuman was getting fired up, and he thought, "I would like to fight with him.  But if I wake him up everything will be spoiled."  And then he looked around on the other side, and he saw a very beautiful woman laying down on the bed.  The smell of wine was coming from her mouth.  Hanuman had never seen Sita.  He inspected the woman and said, "Oh!  A heavenly body.  This person must be Sita.  No, how can it be Sita?  She is the chaste wife of Ramacandra.  Here she is brought by the demon, and she is dressing herself nicely with silk and ornaments, and she's laying there with wine on her breath.  I am a monkey, but I do have some discrimination.  How can this be Sita?  Sita would be lean and skinny and crying with demonesses around her.  That is Sita, not this.  This is not Sita."  Then he looked everywhere but he couldn't find Sita.  So he came out of the palace, and he was thinking, "What should I do?  I was preaching to Angada, `Don't give up your body.  And don't try for some security.'  But now it looks like I will have to do that, jump in the ocean and die.  How can I go back and tell them, `Yes, I went across the ocean, I saw Ravana, but no Sita'.  What will they do to me?  If I go to Sugriva he will kill me.  Even Angada himself may kill me.  And If I see Ramacandra's dissatisfied face I will die myself.  What is the use of my existence?  Let me die."
 And then he was walking and crossing the gardens and coming to the ocean.  He thought, "Let me check once more."  He looked at the garden.  It was Ashoka-vana, Ashoka trees.  Very thick garden.  He thought, "Sita must be in this forest.  Why?  Because Ravana would have kept her in a nice garden, but she will be thinking of these Ashoka trees.  In Pancavati where Ravana lifted Sita from, there were Ashoka trees.  I remember Ramacandra telling me that he was going to the Ashoka trees and crying, "Oh Ashoka trees, please tell me where is my wife?"  So she must be remembering that when she sees these Ashoka trees.  She must have walked in here.  At least she must have been through here at some stage.  Let me ask the Ashoka trees, they may tell me"  In this way, Hanuman, with some little glimmer of hope came into the Ashoka forest.  There was a very tall tree which he climbed up, and when he got to the top he looked down.  To his surprise, under the same tree was Mother Sita. 
She was sitting there with Vibhisana's daughter, Trijata.  Trijata was consoling her.  "I had dreams that Ravana was smearing oil all over his body and drinking oil with his two hands, and he was sitting on a chariot driven by monkeys.  This chariot was being driven through the southern side.  This means he will die.  I also saw that Shri Lanka was burning, and a monkey was flying over.  I also saw that Ramacandra was sitting in the coronation ceremony with you.  So don't lose faith.  Don't give up your body.  One day or other Ramacandra will come here."  Hanuman was listening to all this and he was so happy.  Then Ravana came and gave so much preaching to Mother Sita.  "You must marry me!"  She refused and he said to the demonesses, "You kill her if she won't listen to your advice."  The demonesses were preaching to her, and then when she wouldn't listen they decided, "We will kill her."  Exactly at that point, Hanuman jumped. 
As soon as they saw this monkey jumping, they all fled this way and that.  Sita looked at him and she said, "Ravana, you can take any form, but I'm not going to be attracted.  Why did you think that if you took a monkey form I would be attracted?"  Hanuman said, "Wait wait, I am not Ravana!  I am the servant of Rama, and I have come here to serve you."  So she said, "I don't believe it.  If you are from Rama, then how did you cross the ocean?"  Hanuman said, "Oh, that is very interesting.  I grew big."  "You grew big?  How can monkeys grow big?"  Hanuman said, "I will show you," and then he grew, and he touched the skies.  Sita got so scared, she said, "Maybe this is another demon."  While he was growing he was chanting, "Rama, Rama, Rama, Rama," and she thought, "Ravana would not chant so many Rama-namas.  It is not possible.  He can't be a demon."  Then Hanuman reduced this form, and said, "Here I have the sakshi, the evidence that I am coming from Ramacandra.  This is his ring."  Hanuman talked with Mother Sita and she gave him the hair ornament.  Hanuman took it, and after taking it he said, "I am a monkey.  I cannot just come like a saintly person and go, I want to do some naughtiness here in this forest.  You won't be affected, don't worry.  Some nonsense must be there.  You just watch."  So he put the cudamani hair ornament somewhere safe, and then he started uprooting the Ashoka trees, throwing them here and there.  There was a rock waterfall, and he destroyed it, and the water flooded all over the place.  He took the creepers and threw them this way and that. 
Then he took the demonesses and put them in his mouth, biting them and spitting them out.  He was shouting and slapping his shoulders.  He was yelling, "I am the servant of Rama!  Who will stop me?  I will destroy Shri Lanka!  I will swallow Ravana!  Anyone who is as powerful as me should come for a fight!  Challenge!  Challenge!"  And then he jumped up on the entrance of Ashoka-vana, and he was eating fruits and spitting everywhere.  The minister for Ravana in charge of the Ashoka forest came in front of Hanuman.  It had been a long time since he had landed in Shri Lanka, gotten in the gate, checked everyone, seen and spoken to Sita, but he had not passed water the whole time.  It had been six or seven hours.  When the minister came and opened his mouth yelling, "What are you doing?" he got Hanuman's blessing.  The minister said, "Hey!  Hey!  Stop!"  Hanuman said, "I am a monkey, what do you expect?"  The minister felt very bad, and he went into the forest and asked the demonesses, "What are you doing?  A monkey is doing so much harm."  They said, "What are you doing?  The monkey is doing so much harm, but why are you telling us?"  "Yes, what am I doing?" the minister said, and then he went to Ravana.  He said, "A monkey has passed urine in my mouth."  Ravana said, "You came to report this?"  And he gave him a slap.  "What kind of a caretaker are you?  You come and tell me that a monkey passed water in your mouth."  The minister said, "What was I supposed to do?  I was speaking to him."   Ravana said, "Don't you know that you never open your mouth when monkeys are around?"  The minister said, "Well you have  to do something, he has destroyed the whole Ashoka forest."  Ravana said, "What?  One single monkey?"  Vibhisana closed his eyes and he was thinking, "Hm, monkey.  Monkey.  Monkey smashing Ashoka forest.  I remember this."  Then he left the palace, and went to his place and he was sitting and thinking.  "Monkey, Ashoka forest.  Monkey, Ashoka forest. 
I heard it somewhere."  And he was trying to figure it out.  It took him two days to understand it.  He understood it.  Ravana said, "You call Prahasta's son Jambumali.  He is the first card."  This Jambumali is in a big lake of wine.  He is sleeping there, and whenever he wakes up he drinks a little bit.  And then again he sleeps, and he wakes up and drinks more.  He can't wait to go fill up the cup and drink, it takes too much time.  So he is in a lake of wine, and he is kept like that so that whenever war comes he can be used.  Jambumali was woken up.  They had some anti-liquor medicine, so they gave him that and he woke up.  He asked, "Why are you calling me?  You want to change the lake or put me in another one?"  They said, "No, a fight!"  Jambumali said, "Fight?  Aargh!  Yes, I am going!"  He came to Ravana and said, "With whom should I fight?  With Indra, with Agni?"  Ravana said, "No no, with a monkey."  "I'm going back," Jambumali said.  "No no, it's not an ordinary monkey.  It's a very great monkey.  He has finished our Ashoka-vana, so we must finish him.  Take 80,000 soldiers and go."  So 80,000 demon soldiers and Jambumali walked up.  He was a very young demon, Jambumali.  Hanuman was still sitting on top of the arch, and he was saying, "I am the servant of Rama.  Who is there to fight with me?  I can swallow Ravana.  Come on, challenge!  Challenge!"  Jambumali said, "Hey monkey, you are talking too much!  Do you understand that Ravana's son has tied Indra to a flagpost here?  Do you know that the nine planets are serving in the kitchen cutting subji?  What do you know?  You don't know the power of Ravana. 
You don't know the power of my father Prahasta.  He has eaten mountains and digested them."  So then Hanuman said, "All past.  What about now?  This has happened, that has happened.  But now you look, I can also tell you that the whole Ashoka-vana has been destroyed.  That has happened, and now something else is going to happen.  Don't waste time."  Jambumali said, "What?  You think you can fight with me?"  Hanuman said, "Why are you talking?" and he began to pick up rocks and throw them at him.  The rocks were coming so fast and furious, and he couldn't fight them.  Then he got on the chariot and started shooting arrows.  Hanuman said, "Oh, these demons are very cultured.  He is sitting on the chariot doing acaman, chanting mantras and firing astras."  All these astras were coming, and Hanuman was holding them, breaking them and giving them back.  No astra can affect Hanuman, that is a benediction.  Jambumali saw this and said, "Now I will have to do some magic," and he started growing, and he became so big.  Hanuman was only up to his ankle.  That is what Jambumali was thinking.  He was thinking, "That big?  All right, I will grow more." 
He closed his eyes and grew more.  Then he thought, "Now I have grown so much, Hanuman will be this big."  And then he opened his eyes.  He saw some big round thing in front of him.  He looked at it, and he thought, "What is this?  It is not Hanuman's face.  There is no mouth and no teeth.  It's just a big round thing."  He looked to the other side, and it was just another round thing.  "What is this one?" he thought.  He was looking, and he was so confused.  Then he heard a sound from way way above, "They're my knees Jambumali!"  He looked up, and Hanuman was way up there.  Jambumali thought, "My God, what a growth!  This is the topmost I can do, and I am only up to his knees."  So then Jambumali looked back, because he didn't want to discourage the soldiers.  Hanuman said, "What are you looking at?  I finished them all."  He had finished the 80,000 soldiers already.  There was a beautiful parliament hall called Caitya, belonging to Ravana.  This hall had very huge marble and diamond pillars.  Ravana took one of the pillars, and he just put it on top of the army.  They were nicely organized so that simply by a little work Hanuman could finish them all.  This happened while Jambumali was growing.  Jambumali was alone.  His chariot had been smashed and his horses killed.  Jambumali was standing there alone.  Hanuman said, "What are you going to do?  If you want to take shelter of my feet, they are way down there.  You will have to look for them."  So Jambumali was very insulted, and he said, "No!  This is maya!  You come before me in your original form!"  Hanuman said, "What are you doing then?  That is also maya.  You come in your original form."  So he came down, and then Hanuman came down also.  Hanuman said, "All right Jambumali, there are three minutes for you.  There is one nice mantra I will teach you.  If you chant this mantra while dying you will attain the Supreme Lord.  There is only two syllables in it.  Ra-ma.  Chant."  Jambumali said, "What?  I didn't come here to learn mantras.  I am here to fight with you.  I want to finish you." 
Hanuman said, "You cannot do that, so you might as well do this.  You cannot finish me, so why don't you do something within your means.  Just chant Rama, and then go back home."  Jambumali screamed, "Aaarghh!" and jumped on Hanuman.  Hanuman put his index finger in his navel and lifted him up, and then he circled and threw him.  All his liver and everything came out of his mouth, and then he died.  When the news came that Jambumali was finished, immediately Ravana's son Indrajit got up and said, "This must be a demigod, so he must be fought nicely."  So Indrajit came.  With Indrajit there were some scenes, and then Indrajit said, "I am going to use Brahmastra on you."  So he threw the Brahma rope.  Hanuman thought, "I have done enough harm now, so I must see Ravana.  If I get bound by this rope, I can see Ravana."  He looked at the rope and thought, "I will respect Brahma."  Then the rope came and tied him.  Indrajit was pulling the rope, and he pulled Hanuman to the court of Ravana.  As they entered there, Ravana said, "Hey, you mischievous monkey!  Who are you?"  Hanuman said, "I am a servant of Rama, and a messenger.  You please give me a seat."  Ravana scoffed, "A seat for a monkey?  You can climb up in the tree if you want."  Hanuman said, "No, that is not proper.  I have come here to talk politics, and I have come here to give you a message.  You must give me a seat."  Ravana said, "In my assembly, I don't give a seat to animals."  Hanuman said, "You mean that to get a seat in your assembly I have to be less than an animal?"  Ravana said, "Hey, you are talking too much."  By that time Hanuman had extended his tail and made a big big seat.  It was above Ravana's head, and he jumped up and sat on that.  Then he said, "So Ravana, I think this is a good seat for me." 
So then Ravana was looking up.  Then they had a discussion, and Hanuman gave a very good piece of advice.  "You please give up Sita.  I saw your palace.  You have so many beautiful queens.  Why do you want to take Sita?  I can tell you, Sita is not that beautiful."  Hanuman was using some sama dhana bheda danda.  He said, "Sita is not that beautiful.  Vandudari is a much more beautiful dancer.  Surely you must satisfied with that.  You can have so many others.  I will myself procure women for you if you want.  Just give up this Sita, for your own benefit."  Ravana said, "No, I won't listen to this.  I will keep Sita, and not only that, I will finish you."  Hanuman said, "Finish me?  How can you finish me?"  And Ravana said, "You are tied up."  Hanuman said, "I am not tied up, I am just holding myself.  And then he lifted his hands and Brahma's rope broke.  Indrajit's jaw dropped.  "What is this?  This monkey has broken Brahma's rope."  So then Hanuman said, "If you want you can use ordinary rope and tie me.  Only if I want to be tied can you tie me.  Now I allow you, tie me.  Let me see what sort of punishment you will give me."  So then they tied him with ropes, and great demons were pushing him on both sides with tridents.  He made no objection.  Ravana said, "Put fire to his tail."  So they set his tail on fire, and Hanuman said, "Wonderful, you gave me an idea.  I was just wondering what to do.  I wanted to do so many things, but I didn't want to do it myself, because Ramacandra will say, `Why did you do it?'  Now I have no problem.
 They put fire, and I was just jumping around and things happened to catch on fire.  I didn't want to burn Lanka.  Why should I? I am just a messenger.  A messenger cannot attack the opponent.  But what can I do?  They put fire on my tail, and I am a monkey so when I jump the tail goes this way and that way."  So in this way Hanuman was jumping from roof to roof, window to window, and everywhere he put fire.  Even in Ashoka-vana he put fire.  Everything was burning.  Hanuman was jumping up and down.  "Aah, wonderful!  Wonderful!"  And then suddenly he thought, "Maybe Mother Sita is also burnt!  What have I done?  Oh no!"  So he went into the Ashoka forest and he was looking, and he saw Mother Sita sitting in the Ashoka forest under a tree.  No harm was there.  So then he told her, "Why should you wait?  Just climb on my shoulder.  You know I crossed the ocean here, so I can also cross the ocean back.  You sit on me, and I will take you.  Before I fly from here, I will kill Ravana."  So Sita said, "No!  What are you doing?  You already told me that Ramacandra promised He will kill Ravana and take me back.  If you do this, my husband's promise will go in vain.  Ramacandra has one word, one wife and one arrow.  He uses only one arrow, he has only one wife, and if he says a word, he keeps it.  So don't do this, you are not supposed to do it.  Even if you are supposed to do it, I'm not going to sit on your shoulder.  On the way you may see some fruit that you like, and you will shake the tree and I will fall into the ocean.  I don't trust you completely.  So you enjoy yourself, and go back and tell my Lord that I am waiting.  And if he doesn't come in this many days, then I will leave my body." 

Sunday, 22 June 2014

Untold stories from Ramayan -Part 12


Ravana made the biggest mistake in his life by kidnapping Sita. Ravana was a great scholar and pandit. He was known as Shastra-jna. He knew all shastras, in all the Vedas he was expert. Nobody at that time had the expert pronunciation of Ravana. Even in the demigod's assembly sometimes when they held sacrifices, they would bring Ravana for chanting verses. If someone is chanting Sanskrit verses, that does not necessarily mean he is a great devotee. Demons are also chanting Sanskrit verses. Vedais ca sarvair aham eva vedyah. Ravana read all the Vedas, yet due to his lust he could not even accept that another man's wife should not be taken. Ravana's lust was exemplary. Once he was performing a fire sacrifice, and Agni appeared there with his wife, in spite of Brahma telling him not to go there, this Ravana was a trouble-maker. Agni said, "Look at his chanting, so perfect. Such wonderful installation of fire, so I must go there personally."
Brahma said, "All right go, but don't take your wife." So then Agni said, "How is it Vedic that one goes without his wife? If I go without her I will only be 50%. I must go with my wife." Brahma said, "Well, if that is written in your head, what can I say? You go." So Ravana was circumambulating the fire with folded hands chanting mantras, and then Agni came. "Ravana! I am here." Ravana looked around. Not only was he there, but Agni's wife, Swaha, was also there. She looked so beautiful, as beautiful as fire. She is actually the flame of the fire. When Ravana looked at her, he immediately lifted her and flew away in the middle of his yajna, before completing it. The priests were shouting, "Ravana! At least do the purnahoti!""What purnahoti?" Ravana replied. "Woman is more important." So Agni was shouting, "Please, please Ravana, give me my wife back! I'll give you anyone, but don't take my wife." Every husband thinks like this, "If my wife goes, how will I eat?" The wife is supposed to be the saha-dharmani, one who helps the husband in his religious practices. After Ramacandra had said, "I will finish all the demons in Dandakaranya," Sitadevi was looking so worried that Ramacandra asked her, "How come you are so unhappy after your husband made such a wonderful promise, and flowers fell from the heavens?" She said, "You took the vanaprastha life to live in the forest for fourteen years, as an ascetic. Only for defending me did You say you were carrying your bow and arrows. You have come here, and now, instead of living as an ascetic, You are beating on Your shoulders, saying You will kill the demons. That is one point. Another point is that a king of noble quality should not become the enemy of someone unless that person has given him some trouble. The demons have given you no trouble. They are eating rishis, but they are not troubling you. And if rishis are being eaten then it is the responsibility of Bharata, he is the king. You are not the king, and You said that you did not want to be, so you are breaking your word." Women give very technical arguments, but sometimes they are totally useless. At least in this case they were. Sitadevi was saying this, but then another time when Gautama Rishi's wife gave her cosmetics which were in two big heavy baskets, she asked Laksmana, "Can you please carry this for me?" Laksmana said, "But mataji, we are in the forest. We are supposed to be wearing tree bark. Only because Dasaratha begged did you get some silk saris, and I am already carrying one basket full of silk saris. We have to climb mountains, cross rivers, I have to carry sword, shield, bows and arrows, an axe, and now cosmetics? What for?" Anasuya, Gautama's wife, was no ordinary woman. She had heavenly cosmetics. You only had to put this make up on once every five or six days. You can take bath, do anything. Laksmana was complaining, "These cosmetics will smell for ten kilometres distance. It is dangerous. We are moving in the forest, and ten miles around we are propagating that we are here. It is unsafe. A tiger, a lion or even some demon may come." Actually these cosmetics were so dangerous that she had so many problems. Even demigods were attracted to her. "But I won't use them," Sita argued. "Then what is the use of carrying them?" Laksmana said. This is also traditional for women to carry things that they never use. Poor Laksmana left his wife in Ayodhya, and he had to carry these cosmetics for fourteen years. Even when they crossed the ocean he had to carry it. She said, "When I am back in Ayodhya I will use it." When she was sitting in the Ashoka-vana, she was lamenting, "What did I do? I said such bad words to Laksmana who was carrying all that weight for me. He was even carrying all those useless cosmetics on his shoulder. I criticized him, `You want to enjoy me, that is why you are not going'. Why did I say that? Now I am suffering because of it." In this way Mother Sita was lamenting. So back to the original story.
Ravana knew all these mantras, but why was he a demon? Being the son of Vishravas, he is a Brahmin, not a ksatriya. He is the grandson of Brahma, and a very learned pandit. Still he is a demon. What makes him a demon? He does not accept that the Supreme Lord is the enjoyer, the Supreme Lord is the controller and the Supreme Lord is the friend. Bhoktarama yajna tapasam sarva loka mahesvaram / suhrdam sarva-bhutanam jnatva mam santim rcchati. So Ravana lost his shanti, he had no peace. Why? Because he was not accepting the Supreme Lord's sovereignty. Ravana was thinking, "Why not me? I am the lord." That is why he called himself, "Trilokeshvara Ravana." This means "the controller of the three worlds." That was his ambition, even while he couldn't control a common cold. But still he was Trilokeshvara. In any case, Ravana got so many curses. He was cursed that a monkey would burn his city down. Another curse was that monkeys will spit on his face. When a monkey spits on his face, the tenth day after that he would die. He would be killed by human beings who were surrounded by monkeys. This was all predicted, but the foolish Ravana with his ten brains couldn't accept this, because of lust. Ravana did not carry his ten heads all the time. If he lost one head, another would come. And if he lost that head, the previous one will come back again, because his life point was somewhere else, not in the neck or the chest. This was one trick of the demons. They would keep their life point somewhere else. It may be in a bird, a lizard or a lotus flower, and from here they extend their power. If you killed him, slashed him or did anything to him, he wouldn't die because his life was somewhere else. So these heads were coming whenever one was removed, and these ten heads possessed ten kinds of intelligence. This was the benediction he got from Brahma. One head was expert in politics, one in Vedic dharma, one in administration, one in how to enjoy, another in travelling plans, etc. In this way when he was going to take Sita, he consulted all the ten heads. Nine heads refused, "Don't kidnap Sita." Only his own head refused to listen to that instruction. So many powerful things he had, but by exploiting the property of the Supreme Lord, Ravana met his death.
Once he even challenged Narada Muni. Narada was flying, and Ravana saw him. He called out, "Hey! Come here." Narada Muni thought, "Why should I be of any trouble? Let me go there." Ravana said, "You teach me the meaning of om, right now." Narada said, "No. Meaning of Om is not to be taught to people like you. I won't teach." Ravana said, "Why not? I am a disciple, and you are a guru. You must teach me." This started in Treta-yuga, the disciples telling their guru what to do. So then Narada said, "This is not for this age, Ravana. You please wait."Ravana said, "No! Do you know who I am? I am Trilokeshvara Ravana. Here is my sword!" He had a sword called Candrahasa. This sword was so wonderful, that you can just tell the sword, "You go and kill him." It will chase you through the fourteen planetary systems, kill you and then return. Such a missile he had. Candrahasa can go through steel, through brass, even through illusion. Suppose a person creates an illusion by magic, Candrahasa would go through the illusion and kill that person. This is the sword he used when fighting with Airavata, the white elephant. So Narada said, "You are showing me some sword, and you think you are going to frighten me into teaching you the Vedas? This is not the principle for learning Vedas. What kind of knowledge will you get from me? That knowledge will become useless, so I will not teach you." Ravana said, "All right Narada, get ready.""I am always ready," Narada said. "What do you mean? Get ready now!" So he took the Candrahasa sword and slashed Narada. It went right through him, but nothing happened. Narada was standing there smiling. Ravana got so angry. "I am going to finish you!" he screamed and took his trident which emits fire, which is only used by Lord Siva and which is more powerful than the Brahmastra. It went right into him, but Narada was still standing there chanting, "Hari! Hari!" Ravana took all his astras and weapons at his command and threw everything at Narada, who was catching them and giving them back, "Don't lose this, you may need it." So then Ravana put all his weapons aside, touched Narada's feet, and gave him a seat. "Please tell me," he inquired. "How come you arenot killed?" Narada said, "This is a benediction from the Supreme Lord, that I have got a spiritual body. You don't understand this. Once upon a time you also had one, but you lost it because of some mistake. Don't waste time trying to kill me, because I won't die." Ravana said, "That's what I want also! Can you teach me the trick?" Narada said, "Very simple, just accept Visnu as the Supreme Lord. Surrender to him." Ravana's face screwed up. "Oh! Aaargh! Again that Visnu! I don't want to listen to this name! Get out of my palace, you and your transcendental body. All bogus!"
So then Narada Muni said, "But Ravana, you have unnecessarily used your anger on me, so this will not go in vain. A monkey will spit on your face, and the tenth day after that you will die, although you are thinking you are so powerful." Narada Muni cursed him. Actually it was a benediction. All curses by Narada are benedictions. Because of that curse that he would get spat on by Sugriva, he got the arrow of Rama in his chest. Sometimes when a Vaisnava is agitated, that is also auspicious. But we have to be a demon to agitate a Vaisnava. If we are not a demon, and he becomes agitated, he may not curse us but the material nature will take action. In any case, Hanuman thought, "Let me go and find Sita."

Thursday, 19 June 2014

Eighteen has been an important number in Mahabharata


In the context of Mahabharata, eighteen is quite and important figure. It is no incidence that  Duryodhana's army had 11 Akshauhinis (2,405,700 soldiers) while Yudhishthira had 7 Akshauhinis (1,530,900 soldiers). The chapters in Mahabharata are eighteen and these are called as Parvas and last, but not the least, This battle was fought for 18 days. 

A detailed and interesting account of events of 18 days are available here.
A brief description of Mahabharata story will be interesting to read.

Untold stories from Ramayana - Part 1


There are innumerable Vaikuntha planets, and in each planet there is a predominating deity who is an expansion of Vishnu. He has three expansions, and then there are the quadruple expansions, and then there are servants and devotees. In this way the Vaikuntha planets are full of activity. The top of Vaikuntha, before one reaches Goloka, the gateway to Goloka is Ayodhya. In Ayodhya is Lord Sri Rama, and Laxmana, Bharata, Satrughna, Sumantra, Dashratha, Kaushalya, all these characters we find in Ramayana are eternal citizens of this Ayodhya. 

Shri Rama Avatar

And from this planet Lord Rama expands into His Rama-avatar, through milk ocean Vishnu, Ksirodakasayi Vishnu. In every Treta-yuga there is Rama-avatar. One may think, "Oh that must be boring. Every time the same activity." But it is never boring. How many times have we heard these Ramayana stories, but still when someone is reading Ramayana, everyone comes. To hear is not boring, so to experience it can't be boring at all. That is the proof. Ramayana has been heard generations and generations. In all countries. In Indonesia they have their Ramayana. In Malaysia they have their Ramayana. In Thailand, even in Jamaica and Africa. Just a little bit different for every culture. Indonesian Ravana is a big crocodile, and they carry him on sticks. In Bangkok, Thailand all the roads are names Rama 1, Rama 2, Rama 5 etc. So the purpose of the avatar is described in Brahma-samhita: 

 lilayatena bhuvanani jayaty ajasram 
 govindam adi-purusam tam aham bhajami. 

The living entities have forgotten their relation with Krsna. And they have been conquered by maya, illusory energy. Krsna bahirmukha haya bhoga vancha kori / nikata stha maya tare japatiya dhare. The conditioned soul has been caught by maya. The Lord comes to reconquer them. That is the mission of the avatar incarnation of the Lord.

Dashratha's desire for a child

Rama appeared in the Iksvaku dynasty. He is known as Iksvaku Kuladhana. Kula means "dynasty" and dhana means "property" or "valuable jewel." So he is the jewel of the Iksvaku dynasty. Dashratha was known as such because he could fight in ten directions simultaneously. Dashratha was such a great fighter that sometimes Indra would summon for him when there was a fight with the demons. So Dashratha would go to the heavenly planets and fight with the demons. And these demons were so expert with maya, they would create darkness, expand into various forms etc. So Dashratha would fight in ten directions, and when you looked at his ratha, his chariot, it would look as though there were ten kings and ten chariots fighting simultaneously. Dasa means "ten" and ratha means "chariot". That is how he got the name Dashratha. So Dashratha was famous for fighting for demigods and righteous kings. And he married Kaushalya. From Kaushalya, only one daughter was born. She was named Shanti, or "peace." But Dashratha had no peace, because he only had one daughter, and that daughter would only get married and go to another dynasty. The Vedic system is that when a woman marries, she belongs to the husband's gotra or family line. So if Shanti married to another dynasty, she would belong to it. What about the Iksvaku dynasty? Dashratha was so worried. Then he married Sumitra. At least Kaushalya had a daughter, but Sumitra had no child. Then Dashratha was getting old. He gave up the idea of producing dynasties. As he was getting older he saw that some less powerful kings were doing small yajnas, so he did big yajnas.

They were trying to get their name known, because once Dashratha died Kosala would be broken. The kingdom of Kosala started all the way from what they now call the Dalai lama's line. From up in the north, in Tibet, all the way down to the river Godavari in Andhra Pradesh. So this was Kosala, practically it was the whole of India, not the democratic India but the Vedic India. So he was very worried that this kingdom will be broken to pieces and some small-timers will become emperors. Then Vasistha advised him to go to Kaikeya. This kingdom was right on the border of Afghanistan. They now call it the Sind region. Kaikeyi was the only daughter of the king of Kaikeya. The king's name was also Kaikeya. And when Dashratha came for marriage negotiation, Kaikeya told him, "You have two queens, and they both have no children. Now you will marry my daughter, but what will happen to her if the other wives have children?" Dashratha replied, "I don't think they will have children because they have had none up to now.

Dashratha's promise to father of Kaikeyi

I am also getting old. They're not going to get any child. Only Kaikeyi will get a child." So Kaikeya said, "That's all right, but you must give this in writing." There is a system in the ksatriya marriage known as kanya-sulka. Sulka means "will". When you accept a virgin in marriage, you must give in writing what properties she will enjoy as your wife if you are a ksatriya. This is kanya-sulka, the "will of dowry." So Dashratha wrote kanya-sulka. He said, "Whoever is born to Kaikeyi will enjoy my kingdom, even if my other wives produce children later." This kanya-sulka was known to three people. Of course, now we all know it, but at that time only three people knew it. Vasistha knew it,Dashratha knew it, and Kaikeya knew it. It was kept a secret, because otherwise they would blame Dashratha, "What is this? He is giving the kingdom to a younger woman." So this kanya-sulka was kept secret. But at the time of the marriage, due to great attachment, Kaikeya told his daughter this secret, that whoever is your son will rule this kingdom. Kaikeyi kept this at heart. Once Vasistha advised Dashratha to perform asvamedha-yajna. He was telling him, "If you perform asvamedha-yajna, then all the demigods will personally come to accept the oblations." There are two kinds of offering oblations to the yajna. One is that Agni will take the oblations and offer it to the different destinations. Another is that the devas will personally come in the sacrificial arena. They will stand in the sky holding their hands open, and when you offer in their name in the fire then the harvest will get up from the fire and go into their hands. And they will eat it right there in front of everyone,.

These types of sacrifices are considered first-class, because the devas have come in person. So Dashratha should perform asvamedha, and all the devas will come. And then Dashratha will tell them, "You have your kingdom only because of my fighting. So why don't you continue my dynasty and give me blessings that I can get some son?" That was the plan. There was a big arrangement for asvamedha-yajna, and wherever Dashratha's horse went, no-one objected. Asvamedha-yajna means that you have to select a horse with certain lakshanas or qualities. The ears have to be a certain way, the nose a certain way. There has to be a black part behind the tail. The hooves have to be a certain shape, 35 degrees bent. There is a whole description in karma-khanda. So you have to find out that horse, and after finding it you have to tie a golden leaf on his head. There it will be written, "This horse belongs to King Dashratha. He will perform asvamedha-yajna, so everyone should donate liberally. And whoever stops this horse will have to meet the army of King Dashratha." So this horse will go around the whole world, and if any king dares to stop the horse there will be one army which is following about 100 metres behind the horse. They will have to meet that army. This army would consist of the best fighters in the army, all the generals, and if one can defeat that then more army would be sent. In this way the challenger would have to fight and prove that he is the emperor. So asvamedha-yajna was already started, and then when the yajna was going on, Sumantra (the minister of Dashratha) came to Dashratha and said, "I remember one incident when Sanat-kumara came to our assembly, when you were a prince." At that time Dashratha was not married, and Sanat-kumara was visiting Dashratha's father, Aja.

Predictions of Sanath Kumaras

Sanath-kumara made some predictions. "Maharaja Dashratha will become very famous throughout the three worlds, and he will perform a putra-kamesti yajna, a sacrifice for getting a son. So in this sacrifice, the  yajna-purusha, the personification of fire, will come there and give him some sweet rice. And out of this sweet rice Dashratha will get the Supreme Lord as his sons." This was predicted by Sanat-kumara. At that time Dashratha was just an unmarried prince, a brahmacari. So Sumantra was a very old man and he suddenly remembered this. He came to Dashratha and said, "You are doing asvamedha for getting a son, but Sanat-kumara told you that you should do putra-kamesti." So then there was confusion over which yajna should be performed. In Treta-yuga everything was yajna. For material benefits, for spiritual realization, for anything tretayam yajato makhaih. Makha means "yajna". Now Dashratha got confused. So he went to Vasistha's house and prostrated himself before him. "Guru maharaja, we have spent 60% of the treasury, and now we come to know that this is not the proper yajna, that there is another yajna. How am I supposed to do this?" So then Vasistha said, "Oh yes, I remember too now. Sanat-kumara said this. It is not a very expensive yajna, but the purohit, the priest who performs the yajna must be a very special person. That is the difficulty. That person must have not seen a woman until the time of his marriage. He should not have even known what a woman is. Such a great personality must perform the yajna. Then only can the putra-kamesti be performed with the purnahoti and we will get a son." Then Dashratha said, "You must tell me where this person is." Vasistha was a walking encyclopedia, because he had been there three lifetimes with the same remembrance. There is no-one in this world who knows better than Vasistha. So Vasistha said, "Yes, there is a person like that." Dashratha said, "Who is this person? He has never seen a woman or known what a woman is until marriage? At least he must have known about his mother! What kind of a person is he, that he has never heard of a woman yet he has taken birth?"

Pictorial representation of Bal Kand

Sunday, 15 June 2014

Untold Stories from Ramayan- part 11


Sri Lanka was built on top of a mountain called Tri-kuta Giri. This Tri-kuta was a piece of rock that broke from Mount Meru. Long ago, there was some discussion between two Gandharvas. One Gandharva said, "Vasuki is such a powerful strong snake, that when the Lord took incarnation as Matsya, he used Vasuki as a rope to tie the horn of that fish to the boat where Maharaja Satyavrata and the sapta-rishis were travelling. In the dissolution water, this boat was kept safe due to Vasuki binding Matsya and the boat." The other Gandharva said, "Maybe he is strong, but do you think he could be as strong as Vayu, Varuna or Agni?" The other said, "He must be stronger than them, otherwise why did the Lord select Vasuki?" While they were discussing in this way, Vayu, the god of air, who is present everywhere, he couldn't tolerate this discussion. He personally came in front of them and asked them, "What is this useless discussion?""Who are you?" they enquired. "I am Vayu," he replied. "Is there anyone as strong as me? Why do you even discuss these things?
Don't you know that I am everywhere and I am listening to these things?" One Gandharva said, "Well, I have seen Vasuki. I was the last one to creep into the water at that time. I've seen how strong he is." Vayu said, "Bring that Vasuki, and we can test." Then Vasuki was brought, and he challenged Vayu. "What do you mean? I am so strong! Every time the Lord selects me, so there must be some reason." Vayu said, "Then we can test our strength." Vasuki said, "I will coil around the Meru three times, and you blow and see if you can open my coils." But they never consulted Mount Meru whether they could do it. Around Mount Meru were so many insects and creatures. All the planetary systems were going around it. Vasuki went on there, and Meru did not mind. So many snakes were on there already. But he didn't know there was going to be some sports. Vasuki coiled around Meru three times and started getting tighter and tighter. And then Vayu started blowing against Mount Meru in full force. Mount Meru started moving back and forth, because Vayu was using all his strength, and Vasuki was not going to give up. So it was not just Vasuki, but Vayu had to work on both, the strength of Mount Meru and the strength of Vasuki. And then Mount Meru started complaining and screaming. "What is this? There are three parties involved in this, but I was never consulted. Why am I being given trouble like this? I am going to turn upside down and create trouble. All the planetary systems will fall." Brahma heard all this, and he appeared on the scene, telling Vayu and Vasuki, "You have your kind of strength, and he has his kind of strength. In your kind of strength, you are the most strong. And in his strength, blowing, that you cannot do. So in that way he is strong." When Vasuki uncoiled after the sports, one rock was broken from Mount Meru, and it fell in the salt ocean.
This rock had three peaks, so it was known as Tri-kuta. It was on the salty ocean for a long time. And then Visvakarma, for the purpose of making a nice palace for the pastimes of the demigods, he made this Sri Lanka city on top of Tri-kuta mountain. Later, Kuvera, the cousin brother of Ravana, took over this place. He also got an appointment as the treasurer of the demigods, so they didn't mind him using it. Kuvera was there for a long time. When Ravana, Vibhisana, Kumbhakarna and Surpanakha went there for performing austerities, Ravana's mother Kaikashi became very envious that Kuvera was sitting on this wonderful Sri Lanka city, so she told Ravana, "Why don't you perform some austerities so that you can get a benediction and kick him out of this place." Kaikashi was the wife of Vishravas, and Vishravas had another wife through whom Kuvera was born. These were co-wives, and they were rivals. Kaikashi was inciting Ravana, "You must perform some tapasya, some great austerities." Ravana performed austerities, Kumbhakarna performed austerities, Vibhisana performed austerities, and Surpanakha also performed austerities as well as Khara and Dusana. Each one was born with 1 hour 45 minutes difference between them. Ravana, then Kumbhakarna, then Vibhisana, then Surpanakha, then Khara and Dusana. So they were all in Himalayas performing austerities. When Brahma appeared before Ravana, he asked for all kinds of greedy benedictions, and he got them. Kumbhakarna was thinking to ask for a benediction by which he will live forever. The word in Sanskrit is "nitya-tvam." nitya means eternal and nitya-tvam means eternity. "I want eternity."
But somehow the material nature tricked Kumbhakarna. The word devata, the power of speech, came in his tongue, and tilted his tongue. Instead of nitya-tvam, he asked for "nidra-tvam." Nidra means "sleep", so he asked for sleep.Brahma said, "Tadastu, you can have it." Kumbhakarna said, "What? No! I wanted to live forever, not sleep! Please stop this benediction!" Brahma said, "No, I have given you this benediction, I cannot take itback." He begged, "This is not fair! It is a trick of the demigods! I did so much austerity, and now I am simply going to sleep. This is not proper! Why would a person ever perform austerities so that he can just sleep forever, and then die at the end?" So Brahma felt very compassionate. "All right, Kumbhakarna, you sleep for six months. And then you get up, and you eat for six months." So Kumbhakarna went to sleep. At the end of the sixth month, waking him up was very difficult. They had to bring a huge army. The army would march on his body. Elephants and camels would walk over him, and they would play bugles and put fire on his chest. Still he would be snoring and wouldn't get up. After all the army marched past shooting astras and creating a lot of noise, then slowly he will feel some pain somewhere and then he got up. When he got up he would smash half of the army. He was a huge big figure. As soon as he got up he would ask, "Where is food?" He hadn't eaten for such a long time, so he eats for six months. This is what he did before he went back to sleep again. While he ate, his education was done. Pandits would sit on both sides and read books to him. He would be simultaneously eating and listening to the shastras. In this way, he also became an expert archer. He got other benedictions also. He was a great yogi, and while sleeping he would come out of his body in his subtle body, and he would travel around and find out everything.
One body was asleep, but in his sukshma-sharira, Kumbhakarna visited Kailash, performed austerities and got astras from Lord Siva. Only his gross body couldn't be seen. Vibhisana was also praying, and when Brahma came, he said, "Give me devotion to the Supreme Lord." Ravana said, "Oh no! One more in the family. First Prahlad, and now him! What are you doing? Brahma is here, so get something worthwhile. But no, `devotion to the Supreme Lord.' What will you do with this? You have become a demon!" For the demons, a devotee is a demon. "You are not against Hari, you want to worship Him."sind him using it.  Kuvera was That was Vibhisana's benediction. And Surpanakha got a benediction for changing her form. Whatever form she wanted she could take. That was how she was trying to attract Laksmana and Ramacandra. She became a beautiful girl, and she was saying, "Ramacandra, I'm so attracted by you." Ramacandra said, "Yes, anyone will be attracted by me. The only problem is that my wife is here. If she was not here, I wouldn't mind. But look at my brother! He is also married, but his wife is not here. You check with him." Laksmana said, "How is it possible? When my elder brother is in front of me, how can I do it? You go to my elder brother, he is just jokingwith you." So she went back to Ramacandra, and said, "Your younger brother is not interested in these things. You are the older one, why aren't you interested?"
He replied, "Yes I am the elder, but the point is that my wife is very wild. If she ever finds out that I am talking to you, I don't know what will happen. He is free, an individual separate from his wife.Go to him." She went to him, but Laksmana said, "Yes his wife is wild, but she is not here now. You should be utilizing this opportunity. You go try with him, and if that doesn't work you just come back to me." So she went back to Ramacandra, saying, "See? Your wife is not here now." Ramacandra said, "Yes, my wife is not here, but this brother is very political. When she comes back, he will tell her. So you first go to him, and if he is happy then he won't tell." So she ran back to Laksmana. By that time Sita came. Surpanakha said, "All this trouble is because of you!" And she ran and picked Sita up. As soon as she did that, Laksmana came with his sword, and cut off the tips of her nose, ears and breasts, and the original Rakshasi form came out. She was crying, and then she disappeared into the sky. Then Khara and Dusana came with 14,000 able fighters from the demon dynasty. Ramacandra finished all of them with one arrow. Janasthan was a very strategical point. Janasthan was the last point in the mainland. If anyone could conquer the soldiers in Janasthan, then they could dare to cross the ocean and come to Sri Lanka. Ravana was so happy because Janasthan was there, and Khara, Dusana and Surpanakha were just exploiting the area, eating rishis every day. He was so happy. "Who can come to Sri Lanka?" But then, this so-called human being, Ramacandra, he told Laksmana, "Don't even move. I will do it." He killed 14,000 demon soldiers, and Khara and Dusana were destroyed. When the news reached Ravana, he was thinking, "No this is not true. It cannot be true. How can a human being kill 14,000 demons?" Always Ravana was thinking, "No, it's not true. It's not true." But it was true. Everything he heard seemed to him to be like it was not true. When he went to Marica and said, "Please go and become a deer,"
Marica said, "What? Become a deer and do what? What can a deer do to Rama? I still remember how he pushed me right across the mainland and threw me into the salty ocean with only a blade of grass. That is why I became a babaji, not for searching after the Absolute Truth. In fear of the blade of grass I became a babaji, an ascetic. Don't drive me in front of Ramacandra again." Ravana said, "If you don't go, I will kill you." Marica was thinking, "Ravana will kill me anyway. Ravana or Rama, but it's better to die in the hands of Rama. Why die in the hands of this demon?" So Marica said, "I will go." Ravana said, "Ahh! I always knew you had great affection for me." "No, I don't have any affection for you." "Then why do you want to go?" Ravana asked. "Well who wants to die in your hands?" Marica said. "I would rather die in the hands of Rama. And I know I will die, so I am going."... to be continued
[In the previous installation, Ravana has just dispatched Maricha to pose as a deer so that he could kidnap Sita.]