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."

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