Simplicity and Faith
October 22, 2017
We all either recently celebrated Diwali as an utsav. How does a festival feel? It is a feeling of being lighthearted. We sing and dance, but it is restricted by space, time and matter. When the singing stops, the feeling stops. What if we could invoke this feeling all the time so that it never stops?
Living is hard. We can all relate to difficulties. In our Arati prayer, we sing about “Bhakta Jano ke Sankata”. The Katha we are reading is about hardship. Lord Rama, Sri Bharata all face hardships in the katha. Vedanta softens what is hard. It makes it more manageable and meaningful. Ramayana has a dimension of beauty and joy. People think they know and understand Ramayana. They should give up their ego that they know Ramayana and should understand the Vedanta in Ramayana.
Reviewing last week’s lecture, when Lord Rama hears Sri Bharata (he cannot see Sri Bharata as Sri Lakshmana is in front of him), he drops his weapons and rushes to embrace Sri Bharata. There is so much love inside Lord Rama for Sri Bharata, that he does not need any weapons. What we can learn from this is how to become more accepting and find a higher purpose in life. When we are less accepting, we have a lower purpose. Lord Rama detaches himself from weapons because he had so much love. As Swami Tejomayananda ji says, where love is thick, fault becomes thin. Where love is thin, fault becomes thick.
244th Section of Chowpais/ 4th Chowpai/ Line 1 (page 405)
Of all the Queens, the first Queen Lord Rama goes to meet is Mother Kaikeyi. Even though she was responsible for sending Him to the forest, Lord Rama goes to meet her first before meeting his own mother, Mother Kausalya. The reason for this is because Lord Rama is simple (sarala). 9th form of Bhakti is simplicity. Being simple means Bhakti is practiced daily. One has to be Arjuna- straightforward, simple before trying to be Krishna. Lord Rama does not get bogged down by emotional baggage and does not blame Mother Kaikeyi. Mother Kaikeyi is overwhelmed. She thought Lord Rama would blame her and ignore her, but Lord Rama did not get angry at her and did not blame her / did not hold anything against her. The best way to teach people is to live by the teachings, live by forgiveness. Mother Kaikeyi prays to Mother Earth to swallow her. When Mother Earth does not do so, Mother Kaikeyi next prays to Lord Yama. Both Mother Earth and Lord Yama tell Mother Kaikeyi they do not want her and that she has to remain on Earth. They are not able to forgive her, but Bhagavan does.
Everyone in Ayodhya is eagerly waiting to see Lord Rama. So Lord Rama manifests himself for everyone to see Him at the same time. Mother Sita also manifests herself so everyone can see her at the same time. All the Queen Mothers are looking at Mother Sita, thinking she looks frail and weak. But Mother Sita is not frail or weak. She is Shakti. This Katha is about Bhagwan and Shakti. We should learn from Bhagwan and Shakti and not get swayed with emotions.
When Lord Rama manifests himself for all the people to see him, Goswami-ji takes a step back to see this infinite form of Lord Rama. What we can learn from this is when we are busy, we cannot think with clarity. When we are less busy, we can think clearly and we are blessed. When we are busy and stressed, we cannot see God.
Lord Rama stops speaking when he hears the sad news about his father’s death. Everyone felt Lord Rama’s sadness. When Lord Rama performs the last purification rites, Goswami-ji says purification itself became pure! It is important to study Vedas and know where Vedas came from. If you feel Bhagwan behind rituals,they become more meaningful.
Expression of joy is love. We know a person is happy when they love their family. The tribal people of the forest served the people of Ayodhya with love and joy while the people of Ayodhya felt bad that they were being served by the tribal people. Our lives are dictated by perspective. Though illiterate, the tribal people had vision and joy and were happy to serve the people of Ayodhya.
254th Section of Chowpais/ Doha on page 412 -
Sri Bharata has a meeting with Rishi Vashishta*, all the ministers and advisors to get ready to meet with Lord Rama. Rishi Vashishta tells them that if they did whatever Lord Rama wished them to do, it would be the right thing to do. How do they convince Lord Rama to return to Ayodhya? It is decided that the best thing to do is to ask Lord Rama & Sri Lakshmana to return to Ayodhya, and in their place Sri Bharata and Sri Lakshmana would stay on in the forest. When they do finally come face to face with Lord Rama to talk to him…Sri Bharata looks at Lord Rama to take the lead, Lord Rama in turn looks at Rishi Vashishta, who in turn looks at Sri Bharata…so it comes right back to Sri Bharata to say something. We will know what happens in our next class…
* Rishi Vashishta is revered by everyone as he is one of the greatest sages known. He is a sage who can see the worldliness and the divinity, see the absolute, the relative, and the tactile. He was born to Lord Brahma, but he did not want to be born, as he already knew that to be born in this world, would mean to be bound. Lord Brahma makes him understand that he should be born, and cheerfully so as he would become the Kulaguru of Bhagavan himself in Treta Yuga, when Bhagavan is born as Lord Rama. Dvapara Yuga was to come after Satya Yuga and then Treta Yuga, but Rishi Vashista was too impatient and changed the order of the Yugas so after Satya Yuga came Treta Yuga and after Treta Yuga came Dvapara Yuga . These are some examples that show us Rishi Vashishta was no ordinary person. Another amazing feat of Rishi Vashishta is that he was able to grant Raja Dasharatha a child after thousands of years, King Dasharatha who was childless in spite of having 365 wives.
Vedanta meaning — Rishi Vashishta was supposed to be in tune with Brahman, and the one who is in tune with Brahman is Brahman himself. With infinity, any finitude is possible. He was thus able to grant a child to Raja Dasharatha even after thousands of years. We all lack the faith that within infinity, any finitude is possible. If we had the faith, then even before thinking about it, it could happen. One could change how time flows.
Sri Bharata says he and Shatrugna will stay in the forest to allow Lord Rama to return to Ayodhya. Sri Bharata is sad not because he will be separate from Lord Rama. He is not separate from Lord Rama so does not feel separation.What Sri Bharata is suffering from, is Lord Rama’s suffering in the forest. The best way to live is — inside Lord Rama, outside all drama. That’s how Sri Bharata lived. Whatever may be happening outside, inside there should be Lord Rama or joy. Inside Advaita, outside Dvaita. With time, the inside becomes soft.
Group discussion topic: How to cultivate faith?
Fairfield: Give care, love, attention, give time and you will see faith manifest itself.
Acharya Vivek-ji’s observation: We know matters in general. We do not know the specifics. Let us work on knowing the specifics — Vyashti shravana. If the coffee we ordered at Starbucks did not turn out the way we expected it to be, will it matter 1000 days from now? If you engage in Vyashti, it will become Samashti. Do not think of what is going to happen next (Vyashti mananam), and it will come automatically (Samashti Mananam), so look at the Samashti perspective.
Each day, we should read scriptures that we can relate to. We may think we know the scriptures, but that’s just our ego tricking us. We should read in an environment that allows us to concentrate, not while we are listening to music.
You will have faith when you have clarity that the message you are receiving is real. Once we know that Lord Rama is not a mythological character, but is real, we will have faith.
What kind of scriptures should we read to be inspired?.
- Pathways to Peace
- Self Unfoldment
- Bhaja Govindam
- Bhagavad Gita
How to cultivate faith in children?
First we, as adults, have to have faith. When parents lack self esteem, their kids also lack self esteem.
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