Subtle Teachings From the Ananda Ramayana, Part Two
This talk was originally published in the the first issue of Shakti Journal.
Part One is available here.
Shri Anandi Ma’s Blessing from the 2009 Mahasamadhi Retreat in Antioch, California
Who was Ram, and what is the Ram tattva, the essence of Lord Ram? That is the main thing for us to understand, to realize on this path. In the Ananda Ramayana, this has been beautifully described by Valmikiji.
This is very profound in its essence, not something that can be grasped just by listening once or twice, but by reading over and over again and deeply contemplating. Then you begin to catch the subtle truths. So read it often and think about it deeply. Then you will get glimpses of the absolute.
Agaadha sanshayaam bhodi samuttaran taarinim
Vande vicitraartha padaam citraamtaam guru bhaaratim
Dear Brothers and Sisters,
I bow down and offer homage to the beautiful teaching of my Guru, which serves as a boat to transcend this fathomless ocean of doubts, and which is filled with words that express unique and very beautiful concepts. To that Guru, who can transform one’s entire being, one’s entire life, to such a Guru I bow down.
. . . this is not something that can be grasped just by listening once or twice, but by reading over and over again and deeply contemplating. Then you begin to catch the subtle truths.
Today, on the fifteenth anniversary of Guruji’s mahasamadhi, we remember Him with the memories that we have of Him. And with the puja that we performed on Partheshwar, we are calling Him so that we come closer to Him and particularly deepen our search for the absolute principle. The scriptures state that Shiva and Guru are one and the same principle. Shiva works through the Guru, and it is the Guru alone that can lead the disciple to that state of complete and absolute freedom.
Guruji attained perfection with the principles of both Ram and Shiva. Rama’s ishtadeva, His chief aspect of worship, is Lord Shiva, and Lord Shiva in turn has Ram in His heart and worships Him. At a deeper level of understanding, it is clear that at the subtle realms, the absolute principle, whether it comes from Lord Shiva or Ram or the Guru, is one and the same. The Shiva Sutras clearly state that the Guru who has attained the absolute state of Shivahood can alone and easily transfer that state of liberation to the disciple. This in itself indicates the greatness, the significance of the Guru.
At my birthday celebration last year, I spoke about the conversation between Lord Ram and Sitaji in the Ananda Ramayana. (See Subtle Teachings from the Ananda Ramayana, Part One, also published as Ma’s Blessing in the January 2009 Shakti, pages 4-6.) At that time, Sitaji asked Lord Ram a question. Lord Ram replied, and after His reply, He said to Sitaji, “I have given you a lot of knowledge, but what have you understood?”
Sitaji’s response is also extremely profound, and each and every letter of Her response is, within itself, a unique mantra. It is quite detailed, so I have written it down so that it is communicated to the fullest extent.
Just as the sky is infinite, with no beginning or end, similarly the absolute knowledge is without beginning or end. So every time you read this, there will be something new that you will understand and learn.
Last time we heard Lord Ram describe Himself in terms of the absolute principle, and He said to Sitaji, “I have given you a treasure chest of priceless knowledge.” Sitaji imbibed that chest of knowledge and stored it in the depths of Her heart, where She began to contemplate it very deeply, and then She began to understand Her own workings. The actions that She Herself was performing began to come to the light of understanding. As She was witnessing and understanding all that, She was smiling to Herself, until finally Sitaji bowed down and offered Her pranams to the Lord. At that moment, Sitaji was overflowing with tremendous levels of bliss. Tears of joy, tears of excitement were flowing through Her eyes. Each and every follicle of Her body was filled with prana. She experienced chills and goose bumps, and She lost external consciousness in that joy and was not aware of Her physical body.
Lord Ram was watching Her, and finally He said, “Oh Beloved, what have you discovered in that chest that I gave you that is bringing about such a state of mind and heart for you? Has your ignorance now been dispelled? Tell me what you have understood about me. Who am I? I want to hear from you directly, and if there is anything still missing, anything that is still lacking in your understanding, I will complete that for you.”
Oh Raghunandan, the Lord of the Raghus, you are the One who destroyed the ego of Ravana. I have looked deeply into the chest of knowledge that you have given me, with my intelligence, with my heart. And when I concentrated upon it completely and deeply, and repeated that process in my mind, I came to understand who you are. Oh Ram, you are the One who is without qualities and without form. And in spite of that, whatever you have done in terms of your play of consciousness, your leelas, in this physical creation with me, each and every act that you have performed has only one underlying purpose, and that is the welfare of humanity.
Whatever you have given me, I will relate to you. You have given me the sense of all knowledge in just fifteen slokas (verses). Whoever reads the different actions that you performed (whatever is described in the Ramayana and such scriptures) will no doubt attain that knowledge of you as the absolute being. You are the absolute form—that state of truth, consciousness, and bliss—and as the ocean is, similarly, it is from that aspect of Vishnu that you have incarnated. So in the state of Vishnu, you are like the ocean. Your desire to remove the weight of the negative karma on Earth is like a little wave of that ocean. And from that wave, the little drop that manifested into creation is the individual soul. The essence, or the very small aspect of the infinite, is the pure soul. The aspect of pure intelligence that comes about with the soul is symbolic of mother Kausalya. And Dasharathji himself is the father of the inner aspects of the entire thinking process, known as the antakarana. He represents the pure inner core of the thinking process of the human system.
The four divisions of that absolute being have manifested as your four brothers—Ram, Bharat, Lakshman, and Shatrughna. These are the states of consciousness, and amongst them, the most superior state of consciousness, known as the turiya avastah, is you yourself. Oh Ram, you are the absolute consciousness. Amongst the four, you are the best, you are the most superior, just as the turiya avastah state of superconsciousness is the most superior.
The state of being awake, always on the alert, is Lakshmanji.
Ma’s comment:* Lakshman never slept for fourteen years while doing seva for Ram.
The text continues: The state of the dream is Bharat. The state of sleep, being dormant, is Shatrughna. The space of the heart that you have described correlates to the kingdom of Ayodhya. To be able to still the mind and make it stable, to get control of the mind and senses, is symbolic of your going to help Vishwamitra be rid of the negative forces. Your killing the demoness Tadaka is analogous to stopping the activity of the unstable mind. To be able to stop the aspect of the mind that is constantly active and unstable is analogous to the fact that you broke the bow of Shiva, when you went to Janakpur, the kingdom where Janak ruled and I resided. Breaking that bow is having absolute control of the mind, stilling the mind. By the breaking of the bow, you made a resolution, made the sankalpa that you and I would be married, and that union is the aspect of maya and the jiva joining together.
Then Parasuram came in and argued and challenged, but you finally broke his ego, and that is like breaking the seeds of past samskaras that are embedded in the chitta (mind stuff). After that, the entire episode of Kaikeyi came—springing up in her mind a negative aspect of her own intelligence. As a part of that, you had to be exiled and roam in the forest, and that is so typical of the soul endlessly lost in the cycles of life and death. This is the forest that the soul goes through.
The exhibition, or the feeling of pride, or false ego, in the way that people think or feel “I am in control”—those aspects of the mind, which are false, represent the other demons that you killed. When you killed the demon Virat, that is like the destruction of the beliefs of the mind that “I am in control,” or “I am superior.”
Then you went to live in the forest and the little hut was made, which is representative of the five elements of which this physical body is composed, and your living in that hut is analogous to the soul’s living in this human body. The soul’s attaining a human body provides a superior place for you to reside.
Your killing of Khar and Dushan represents the destruction or control of lust and passion (Khar) and anger (Dushan).
Ma’s comments: Khar and Dushan were two demons that Ram killed simultaneously.
The text continues: The killing of the next demon, Trishira, is again representative of the control of excessive desires, of lust. One aspect of human life is always hope, and false hopes become restrictive, so when Shurpanakha came with false ideas and hopes, her injury, but not absolute destruction, is representative of getting rid of those false hopes and attitudes from the mind.
When Maricha was destroyed, it is like your helping the individual be free from attachments.
Ma’s comments: All of us are deeply attached, and it is difficult to get rid of that. A lot is talked about by individuals, but when it comes to action, it is a very difficult thing to do.
The text continues: In the forest, when that entire aspect of preparing for Ravana to take me away was beginning to manifest, when you gave me a seat or an asan in the left side of your body, that is analogous to the union of the individual with the pure subtle aspects of maya—not that which is binding, but rather that aspect of maya at the superior level where, in fact, it becomes liberating. Then as I had to go through the fire, that is analogous to the destruction of tamasic maya, at its lowest level of darkness and ignorance and inertia. The fact that Ravana kidnapped me represents that lower level, the tamasic level of maya, and that is the false state of being happy. The separation between you and me is the most severe and profound agony and pain. After that, as you killed the next demon, Kabandh, it is the destruction of despair.
When you joined hands with Sugriv and became friends with him, this, in itself, is ashraya—support from the absolute. Your meeting with Hanuman is the rising of the highest level of devotion. Your killing Vali is the destruction of ignorance, and your friendship with Vibhishan, Ravana’s brother, is the state of enthusiasm. The formation of the bridge, the setu, between Lanka and India is representative of transcending ignorance. Your taking residence on that particular hill in Lanka, Trikoot, is representative of the three qualities that manifest in the physical body. The three qualities take residence or take support of the physical state, just as you took the support of that physical aspect within Lanka to carry on the next level of work. The destruction of that aspect of Kumbhakarana, who was so heavily tamasic, is the support from you to the soul to be rid of those qualities and tendencies of lust and greed within.
Ma’s comments: Kumbhakarana was famous for eating, sleeping, and drinking — those lower tendencies that are absolute greed, laziness, darkness, and inertia.
The text continues: Meghnad, son of Ravana, whom you killed, was representative of envy and jealousy.
And when you killed Ravana, the biggest of them all, that is the key, the destruction of ego.
The union of the three of us is the union of the two aspects of maya —the sattvic and the tamasic — and the two again merging with you, is the union of the three of us together.
Ma’s comments: That is when Sitaji was separated in what is known as an image, or shadow. That image’s returning into her, and the two of them merging with Ram, is the union of the three.
The text continues: The fact that you stayed on that hill and never entered Lanka and you finally left it is the leaving of the physical body.
Your return to Ayodhya is to finally reach that space within the heart. And your coronation and becoming king and ruling Ayodhya, that alone is that state of absolute bliss that needs to be experienced. When finally I will have to leave you and go to the forest again and live with Valmiki, that is representative of giving up or sacrifice. So when I will have to leave you and go to the forest, that is analogous to being free of maya.
Ma’s comments: This conversation occurred years before Sitaji left for Valmiki’s ashram in the forest.
The text continues: Then later on, your accepting me again is the union with pure or sattvic maya. This union of the sattvic states of maya with the soul is the residence of the two of us together.
And finally you talk about the union of the hridaya akash, the space of the heart (individual consciousness) with the maha akash, the greater or the eternal sky or space (universal consciousness). That is analogous to your taking all of Ayodhya with you to your abode — Vaikunth — where you live eternally.
And the state in which you will give up the form of Ram and return to your original aspect of Vishnu, that is, to merge into that final state of consciousness — of truth, consciousness, and eternal, absolute bliss — is the journey of the soul.
Ma’s comments: At the beginning, Sitaji said, “You are that infinite aspect of Vishnu as the ocean—the state of bliss, of absolute truth and eternal consciousness. So returning to that state is the journey of the soul. And your giving up this human incarnation of Ram and taking back your original form as Vishnu is the state of your liberation.”
The text continues: Oh Lord Ram, this is what I have understood. And any actions you have performed and will perform in this role or incarnation of Ram, are all with the intent or purpose of helping humanity evolve. In spite of that, whatever else you do, it’s all perfect. Even in the state where you don’t do anything, you’re actionless, you are still the absolute action, because you are separate from karma. You are not attached; you have nothing to do with that aspect. You are truly formless, you are truly quality-less, you are the absolute state of joy and knowledge.
Ma’s comments: Sitaji said this was all that She understood from that chest of knowledge.
Then She continued: By contemplating this, I have been liberated while still in the body. The priceless knowledge that you have given is like unique jewels that I have worn as a necklace. Whosoever also wears this necklace of jewels around his or her own neck will, without any doubt, also attain that absolute state. Oh Ram, you have given me this Ramayana, the deha Ramayana. (deha is the body.) This is unique and so filled with depth that no one has presented it thus far, and no one in the future will be able to do so. Only you can present it. No one knows this deha Ramayana, and very few will be able to imbibe it and attain that absolute truth. Whoever has the opportunity to hear this Ramayana will be free from all negative karma.
When Lord Ram heard all this, He addressed Sitaji and said, “Oh, Vaidehi, you are an absolute incarnation of detachment. You are very virtuous. May greatness be yours. You have truly understood what I have given you and understood my absolute, my real form. Those who dive into this scripture with pure intellect and understanding will be free from all attachments.”
Ramji also told Sitaji: “Please share this with only those who have faith.”
Ma’s closing: Again, deha means ’the body’, so the entire sense or body of the Ramayana can be found within these few mantras. It gives both the aspect of joy while still in the body and that absolute joy of liberation and beyond.
At Guru Purnima, I said that Guruji is one of those masters who granted both the joys of the world and the ultimate freedom. With what you have heard today and what you have received from Guruji, I pray to Lord Ram, may He grant you both those states of bhukti and mukti. And I pray to Lord Shiva, that by His grace may you attain the darshan of Ram and Sita and have the absolute experience of that absolute principle. I pray to beloved Guruji, may He help you attain the union of your self with Shiva. And finally, I pray to Lord Shiva, here as Partheshwar, may He help us all achieve the goal of reaching Mount Kailash, both internally and externally.
. . . read it over and over and over again, think about it deeply, very often. Then you will get glimpses of the absolute.
This is very profound, very deep in its essence, and as was told last time, too (See Subtle Teachings from the Ananda Ramayana, Part One, also published as Ma’s Blessing in the January 2009 Shakti, pages 4-6.), this is not something that can be grasped just by listening once or twice, but by reading over and over again and deeply contemplating. Then you begin to catch the subtle truths.
So read it over and over and over again, think about it deeply, very often. Then you will get glimpses of the absolute. Just as the sky is infinite, with no beginning or end, similarly the absolute knowledge is without beginning or end. So every time you read this, there will be something new that you will understand and learn.
May God help you all achieve the welfare of your being.
Editor’s note: In Her usual manner, Ma ended this talk by chanting the Prayer for the Welfare of All Beings.
Editor’s Note: Ma’s comments are additional and are not a part of the original text.
Image: ⓒ British Library Board (Add.15296(1) ff.126r)
Part One is available here.