Rāma’s Heart, the Essence of Rāma’s Truth
The following conversation between Parvati and Shri Mahādeva, Lord Shiva, about the qualities of Lord Rāma is from the Adhyātma-Rāmāyana. It is presented here in celebration of Rām Navami, Rāma’s birthday on March 31st.
I sing the praises of the lord of Jānaki, Lord Rāma, the embodiment of supreme knowledge, indestructible, who incarnated on earth at the prayers of the devatas, in the dynasty of the sun and took the human form. Who destroyed the demons, established his unshakeable quality to destroy all negative karma and finally merged with His absolute form of Brahma, 1.
Who is the sole cause of creation, preservation and destruction of the universe; who, in spite of being the support of Māyā, is not impacted by it; who is beyond all mental concepts; the storehouse of bliss; without the defaults of titles, self luminous. I offer my namaskārs to the absolute principle, the husband of Sitā. 2.
Those who, with complete concentration, regularly read or listen to this purifying Adhyātma-Rāmāyana, which is the essence of all the purānas, will be freed from the fruits of all negative actions and attain Shri Hari. 3.
If one desires to be free from the bondage of the world, then one should regularly read this Adhyātma-Rāmāyana. If one listens to it regularly, then the person will attain the fruits of donating thousands, millions of cows. 4.
This Adhyātma-Rāmāyana is like the Ganges that purifies the three worlds, that originates in the mountain in the form of Lord Shankara and merges with the ocean that is the form of Rāma. 5.
At one time, on the peak of Mt. Kailash, Pārvati, the daughter of the Himalayas, who is seated to the left of Shivā, the Lord of Lords, the three-eyed one, who is shining with the brilliance of hundreds of suns, who is seated on his jewel-studded throne in the meditative state in the white palace, who is served by the multitude of the siddhas, always fearless, the destroyer of karmā, the root of bliss, said the following words filled with devotion and with humility. 6.
Oh God! Oh omnipresent one! I bow down to you. You are the witness and the Lord of the inner core of all beings. I wish to ask you about the eternal principle of Lord Purssottam (Vishnu/Rāma) because you also are eternal. 7.
The beings who have had the great experience do not share the extremely secret subject with others. It cannot be told to anyone, yet they share these rare depths with their devotees. Oh Lord! I am also your devotee. You are extremely dear to me. Hence please describe what I have asked you. 8.
Kindly describe the knowledge through which humans can transcend this ocean of life and death, that illuminating complete knowledge of the Self that is filled with devotion and detachment. Please explain the science in simple words, such that, although I am an ignorant woman, I can understand it quite easily. 9.
Oh one who is lotus-eyed! I am also asking of you a very deep esoteric secret. Kindly answer that first. It is a universally established truth that the pure devotion to the essence of the universe, Lord Rāma, is a strong boat to swim across this worldly ocean. 10.
To be free from this ocean of life and death, devotion is the ideal way. There is no better practice. Thus through your pure words kindly destroy the knot of doubt from my heart. 11.
The siddhas who are without mistakes, state that Shri Rāmacandraji is the first, the one without the second, the root cause of all and beyond the qualities of creation. And they always repeat his name and attain the absolute state. 12.
But some say that although Rāma is Para-Bhrama, the supreme being, he is infused by his own māyā (illusive energy), he does not know his true self. Hence it is by the teaching of saints like Vashista and others that he came to know the principle of the soul. 13
Hence I am asking that if he knew the soul principle, then why was he struck with grief on losing Sitā? And if he had no knowledge of the self, then he was just like an ordinary person. Why then should his name be repeated, why should he be adored? What are your thoughts in this matter? Please relate in words that remove my doubts. 14-15.
Shri Mahādeva said:
Devi! You are blessed; you are a great devotee of the Lord. You have the desire to know about the principle of Rāma. Prior to this no one has asked me to describe the very deep and secretive essence, which is esoteric, extremely profound and subtle. 16.
Today you have asked this question filled with devotion, so I bow down to Sri Raghunāth (Rāma) and answer your question. Shri Rāma is without doubt beyond nature. He is the supreme soul, eternal, the root of bliss, the one without the second and the Supreme Being, 17.
Who through his own māyā (illusive energy) creates the universe and permeates it inside out, like the sky; and who, through His form, as the soul is established in the inner self of all beings (completely hidden from their vision) and with Māyā, keeps the universe active. 18.
Just as when in the vicinity of a magnet the inert iron attains activity, similarly when in the presence of whom the entire universe begins to move around in all directions, that Supreme Being, Rāma, cannot be known by those ignorant persons whose hearts are covered by the lack of knowledge of the soul. 19.
These ignorant souls, project their ignorance on the absolute, pure and intelligent Supreme Being. That is, they believe Him to be ignorant like themselves. They are always attached to their wives and children and, as ordinary souls, remain involved in the multitude of karmā, thus remaining in the infinite cycle of this world. 20.
These ignorant beings are not aware of the supreme soul, Rāma, within their own hearts just as they are unaware of the gold necklaces around their own necks. In reality, just as there can never be any darkness in the sun, similarly, being beyond nature, the embodiment of pure knowledge, the form of light, that supreme god, that supreme soul, Rāma, can never be in a state of ignorance. 21.
And just as when a person spins around and everything external also appears to be swirling around, similarly people superimpose their actions (egoistic) performed by the body and senses (body and mind perceived as the doer) on the supreme Self and get attracted. 22.
Just as there is never any differentiation in the state of light within the sun and hence no difference between night and day—it is always equally bright—similarly, in the pure and super- consciousness, Rāma, how can knowledge and ignorance reside simultaneously. 23.
Therefore within the absolute, blissful, storehouse of knowledge, witness of ignorance, lotus-eyed lord Rāma, there is no trace of ignorance because he is the establisher of Māyā and hence she cannot attract him. 24.
Oh Pārvati! In relation to this subject matter I will share with you the discussion of the practice for liberation between Sita, Rāma and Hanumanji, which is highly secretive, closely guarded and very difficult to attain. 25.
In the earlier age, during the time when Rāma had incarnated; and Rāma, after killing Rāvana, who was like a thorn for the devatās, along with his sons, army and vehicles, had returned to Ayodhyaa and was surrounded by Sitā, Sugriva, Lakshmana, Hanuman and other monkeys, 26-27.
After returning, the coronation was performed, surrounded by Vashistha and other great saints, and Rāma took on the brilliance of millions of suns and sat on the throne. 28.
At that time, the one who had accomplished all the tasks of seva and wanted nothing in return, to such a great-minded Hanumanji who had no desire to attain anything of pleasure, and seeing him standing with folded hands in front with the wish to attain pure knowledge, Rāma said to Sitā, “Sitee! This Hanuman has deep devotion for the both of us; that’s why he is without fault and is an appropriate candidate to attain knowledge. Therefore, you give him the teaching of my absolute principle.” 29-30.
Then the daughter of Janak, the one who attracts the world, Sitāji, said to Rāma,“Very well,” and began to relate the definite aspect of Lord Rāma, to the surrendered Hanuman. 31.
Sitāji said, “Son, Hanumān! You must consider Rāma to be the absolute, the one without the second, the storehouse of truth and bliss, the supreme Brahma himself. Without doubt he is beyond any description of words and titles (adjuncts). He is the sole authority, beyond the subjects of mind and senses, full of joy, gentle, peaceful, the formless, the one without blemishes, changeless, omnipresent, self-luminous and the supreme soul without any sin. 32-33.
Understand me to be the root nature, energy of creation, maintainance and dissolution. It is I who, simply by being in His presence, tirelessly creates this universe. 34.
Yet although it is I who creates simply by being in His presence, the ones without intellect establish that fact in Him. He took birth in Ayodhyā in the extremely pure Raghu dynasty. 35.
Then he helped Vishwāmitra; he protected his yagnyas (fire ceremonies); he freed Ahalyā from the curse; he then broke the bow of Mahadeva. 36.
Then he married me, after which he destroyed the ego of Parshurāma. We stayed in Ayodhyā for twelve years. 37.
Then we went to the forest, followed by the slaying of the demon Virādha. Then the illusive golden deer Māric was killed, and my abduction. 38.
Thereafter Jaṭāyu and Kabandh were liberated, and Sabri worshipped the Lord and the friendship with Sugriva came to pass. 39.
Then Vāli was killed, the search for me unfolded, the bridge across the ocean was built and Lankā was surrounded. 40.
The wicked Rāvana was killed in battle along with his sons and after giving the kingdom of Lankā to Vibhishana, Ram returned with me to Ayodhyā on the Pushpak (airplane). Then the coronation, etc. all these acts were performed by me, yet the ignorant establish them in the formless, the universal soul, Rāma. 41-42.
This Rāma (in reality) does not walk nor stay in one place. He does not despair nor desire, He does not abandon and performs no other action at all. He is just the form of bliss, never changing, with no end result and as He is the embodiment of the qualities of māya, just appears to be that way. 43.
Thereafter, Shri Rāma himself addressed Hanumanji who was standing in front of him. “I will disclose to you the tattwa of the soul, the non-soul and the supreme soul. Be attentive and listen. 44.
In the water, three aspects of the sky are clearly visible. First, the great sky that is spread everywhere; secondly, the sky within the water that is limited to the space of the water (water bodies); and third, the reflected sky that is reflected in the water. Just as the three major differences of the sky are seen, 45.
Similarly, the consciousness is also of three types. First is the consciousness complete and spread everywhere; secondly, that which is permeating the intellect; and third, that which is reflected in the intellect. 46.
From these there is action in the intellect only in association with the witness consciousness, meaning that along with the intellect it is the universal consciousness that does everything. But the ignorant under delusion, project the actions on the indivisible, unchanging witness consciousness. That is, they believe that it (the jiva, or the individual soul) is the doer, the enjoyer. 47.
[An alternative translation of verse 47:
Ignorant persons impose on the partless and unchanging witness consciousness the sense of agency of the consciousness reflected in the intellect, whose movements and distortions are all assumed by the reflected consciousness as its own. 47]
Within the one whom we have called the jiva, the witness consciousness, is false. The intellect is a function of ignorance so therefore false as well. Thus both of these are false and the supreme soul is in reality without analysis or viccheda (division). That is to say, that the viccheda, or divisibility, is believed due to vikalpa, the attributes of words or adjuncts, which are unreal. 48.
In this way, by eliminating the titles or adjuncts, the witness egoistic consciousness, or the jiva (the individual soul), is shown to unite with the absolute complete consciousness through the great mantras like tattwamasi (thou are that) and such others. 49.
In this manner, with the great mantras, when the knowledge of the unity of the individual and universal soul is achieved, then all ignorance is destroyed. There is no doubt about that. 50.
When my devotee understands the absolute principle, he becomes worthy to attain my form, but those who instead of being devoted keep on roaming in the pits of the scriptures can never attain knowledge nor attain liberation even in a hundred years. 51.
This great essence of my soul form, Rāma, is my heart, which I have manifested and related to you. If you are offered wealth even greater than the kingdom of heaven in spite of that never share this with a person who has no devotion for me and is not pure.” 52.
Shri Mahadeva continued: Oh, devi! I have told you the extremely hidden, the one that wins the heart, deeply purifying, the destroyer of all karma–the heart of Rām. 53
This absolute essence, the root of all Vedānta has been told directly by Lord Rāma Himself. Whosoever reads this regularly with devotion will, without any doubt, attain liberation. 54.
By reading this, the negative sancit karma of several lifetimes, even intense ones like the killing of a Brahmin are destroyed without doubt, as Rāma‘s promise itself is such. 55.
Even if one is extremely fallen, one who has been always proactive in the wealth and women of others, a thief, a killer, one who has committed karma of killing one’s own parents and performed acts to hurt the saints and yogis, yet after performing puja to Lord Rāma, if one reads this Rāma’s Heart such a person will attain the supreme state of worship, a state attained by the devatas that is difficult even for the yogis. 53.