Tuesday, July 17, 2007
The Month Of Ramayana!
Today, is July 16th and the month of Ramayana begins!....In Kerala it is the month of heavy down pour ! Nature pours down its purging waters , and people of Kerala wash down their impurities with Ayurvedic Sukha chikilsas( full body treatments), coupled with intake of food apt for the purgatory process(karkidaka kangi).They squat before the lighted lamp and read or listen to Ramayana(aayana or journey through Rama's life).
Ramayana, the literary masterpiece of Valmiki is an epic poem, which reflects Indian ethos and values. This allegory not only quenches the spiritual thirst of the inquisitive listener but also the imaginative elevations of a curious child. Ramayana, portrays the divine birth, extraordinary childhood, exciting adolescence , and spiritual maturity of Rama the hero. It represents a story line where good triumphs evil, love triumphs lust, where virtue triumphs vice! Ramayana is not only the story of Treta yuga, it is also the story of Kali yuga. In Rramayana, there is war, battlefield, defeat and victory! the same strife, the same war, the same struggle is manifested in our inner world.... the Ravana in us alive.....we need to call upon the Rama in us to rescue us from this battlefield and mark victory ...: lead our path towards better evolution!
Valmiki , who authored Ramayana was said to be a great enlightened sage. He was not a born saint , nor was he born into a family of saints. He was an arrogant, ignorant hunter, who lived with his family in a forest and hunted and robbed for his livelihood. Once he aimed his arrow at a pair of birds... A great sage witnessed this and asked him , the reason for committing this sacrilege.... and warned him of the consequences! The hunter was confident that what ever he has to bear in his life for his sins, he will always have his family by his side! Back home, he realized that he will always have to suffer alone, when his family backed up from sharing the fate of his deeds! Realization dawned on him ... he badly needed to come out of this life's maze. He ran back to the sage and surrendered at his feet. The sage asked the hunter to sit in between two trees and just chant...aa maram(that tree) ee maram(this tree)....He sat as per the sage's directions and chanted aa maram eemaram .... for a very long time .. which eventually became rama rama rama rama....He was enlightened.....this was the power of rama mantra!(chants which take you beyond your "man" or mind).
I was first introduced to the rama mantra by my Appa(father).When I was fascinated by my own hand writing, when I began to hold my pencil right and drew alphabets on paper.....Appa introduced a routine for my brother and me. After our regular chores in the morning we were supposed to write down one page of rama mantra. I still remember chanting Sree ram Jai Ram JAI JAI RAM and writing it down in a book.The enthusiasm of writing actually sprung from the innate competitive spirit to outdo your sibling! My Appa still keeps our books. This helped us in improving our hand writing and also introducing us into mantra japa without our own realization.
I also remember waiting for Sunday mornings during my school days, so that I could watch the Ramayana story telecast on Television.
Later RAMAYANA came alive to me through the dance sequences taught by my mother.The literary magnum opus found expressions in dance and music , creating Rasa! I was awe struck by the dance potrayal of Ramayana by my Guru Dr. Padma Subramaniam.She lived Ramayana in her Ramayatubyam namaha!, where audience were enthralled and glued to their seats,and elevated to ecstatic states!
For the past few years I have been regularly reading Ramayana , during this month . This year I left my copy of Ramayana back in India. But I have started a story session with my kids , every morning, much to their excitement.
Sri ram Jai Ram Jai Jai Ram !.....as this mantra echoes in me ... it also enlivens sweet childhood memories!