Four Divine Brothers
The four brothers grew up to be
fine young boys -pampered
and equally loved by all their three mothers and their father.
In one of the poems Tulsidas
tries to compare what Sri Rama looks like. He finally gives up and claims that
Rama is so unique to behold, that he cannot be compared. Rama looks like Rama.
Finally it was time that the
boys started their education. They were sent to the forest with their family
According to Hindu tradition
great importance has been attached to the status of ‘Guru’, the Preceptor or
the teacher. Just like a teacher is required to acquire any kind of skill or
art, a Guru would be required to initiate one into the spiritual journey. As a
matter of fact the word Guru can be interpreted thus (according to the
The syllable ‘Gu’ Arial">—
means darkness, the syllable ‘ru’
— so the word ‘Guru’
would mean ‘the one who dispels the darkness of ignorance’.
According to another
interpretation Guru means the “weighty one”, thereby denoting the spiritual
quality in terms of quantity. He is heavy with wisdom and learning and ever
ready to pour to the thirsty. He is like a mature ripe fruit, which is ready to
fall on the hungry and deserving. Since the Guru becomes the means by which one
aspires to attain the Lord, it is not uncommon for the Hindu to treat God and
the Guru as one.
In one of the famous couplets,
one hears the devotee feeling puzzled as to whom to offer obeisance first, to
the Lord or to the Guru. He then is convinced that he should first bow to the
Guru, as he is the means through whom the Lord would be united to him.
The Guru is however different
from the family priest whose task is to perform religious rituals.
It is said in Hindu scriptures
that one ought to have implicit faith in one’s Guru which, the world; being as
commercialised as it is today, is difficult. However the scriptures also claim
that once an honest aspirant is ready, his destined Guru does materialise.
A Reader remarks:
"....... having implicit faith in one's Guru is very difficult
today as we tend to get carried away by the strong waves of the highly
materialistic world in which we are living. But it is not impossible as it is
also a question of personal will" where I think we CLEARLY situate a
person's free will in deciding to listen to the Guru,-true. readiness also
implies the willingness to surrender to the Guru but then very often it also
happens that later the aspirant does not always feel inclined to obey the
Guru so that it becomes important to discipline oneself in doing so-
hence highlighting the importance of obedience to the Guru if we want to succeed
both in the spiritual and material world.I think it would also be a
good idea to mention that countless are the fake Gurus in the Kalyug but that a
sincere and unswerving aspirant will always come to meet a true Guru.
In the hermitage of Guru
Vashishta, all the boys, be they Princes or of ordinary lineage, were treated
alike. The Princes were however taught archery and the art of defense.
In ancient India, emphasis was
not only laid on the academic and physical aspect, but also upon the spiritual
upbringing. Hence the four boys became well versed in ancient Hindu scriptures.
They not only learned them but also imbibed them into their soul.
Sri Rama emerged the most
brilliant and most rounded personality he was not only wise but was considered wisdom incarnate.
According to Hinduism God
assumes the form of a trinity as Brahma, Vishnu and Mahesh.
Brahma is the Creator of
mankind; Vishnu the God responsible for it preservation; Shiva or Mahesh the
According to the legend, Lord
Vishnu rests on a Milky Ocean. His wife Laxmi who is the Goddess of Wealth is at
his feet (as a Preserver of Mankind, he would have to own Natural Wealth). The
hoods of the serpent Shesh protect the Lord like an umbrella.
Despite Lord Vishnu having
temptations of wealth around him and lying on the turbulent sea with a serpent
over his head, he seems to be at unmatchable ease, which is shown by the fact
that he is reclining.
This is the quality that one
aspires for in life. One must be able to take temptations and ups end downs in
one life without getting agitated. This is what Sri Rama was able to do during
Rama’s ability to do his duty
with every member of his family, his compassion and understanding of human
nature, make him, according to Hindus, the symbol of knowledge, the Incarnation
of Lord Vishnu.
Lakshmana, the son of Sumitra,
is considered the incarnation of the serpent Shesh. A popular legend claims that
the world rests on this particular serpent. Hence this serpent never rests but
is ever alert Even when God, in the form of Lord Vishnu, rests, it is the fangs
of the serpent that protect the Lord in the form of an umbrella.
son of Kaikeyi stands for Dharma and Love. He loved and did his rightful duty
despite going through pain and criticism through no fault of his own.
the son of Sumitra seems to be the least talked about character in the
Ramayana, maybe because he hardly talks; yet he acts when necessary.
name Shatrughna, which means the destroyer of the enemy the destroyer of
Shatrughna’s character the Ramayana is probably trying to tell us that those
too serve, who stand and watch and act when necessary.
our Hindu philosophy it is a well-accepted belief that those serve most who talk
BOW AND ARROW
Bow that Rama always carries is curved on one side with a tight straight string
tied to it.
as God embraces all, the straight as well as the crooked.
After the formal education of
the four brothers was completed they returned back to the Kingdom of Ayodhya to
their parent’s home. After a while Vishwamitra, a sage, came to the court of
Dasaratha to seek permission to take the young princes with him, to kill certain
demoniac characters who were harassing the sages during their prayers.
The demoniac character is
symbolic of evil. The main purpose of Rama’s life was to eradicate evil. Rama,
with his brother, Lakshmana, therefore went with sage Vishwamitra where he
killed the demons and rescued his devotees from their plight.
When we are in true trouble it
behaves us to put in our efforts to improve the situation. When all else fails,
one appeals to God through a sage. God comes and redeems us from our troubles.
Once, during that trip, to the
forest, Rama was asked to do an unusual task. He was asked to touch a stone
statue with his feet and bring it back to life. Rama was informed that the stone
statue was once a living woman called Ahilya. She had done some wrong deeds and
hence had been turned to stone, with a promise that only Rama could restore her
back to her original form.
This story is symbolic.
When one continuously does wrong
deeds, one’s conscience dies and one’s heart literally can turn into stone.
It requires a divine word or a
divine touch to melt that heart and make it live again.
touch had that very magical soothing effect.
Ahilya was healed
from her sin. She regained her former purity and resplendence by the infinite
Grace of Sri Rama."