In the previous episode we witnessed a very important aspect of our Indian Dharma – Chanting of a “Manthra”. We witnessed in the course of yesterday’s discussion that, any “Manthra” should be chanted as per the procedure designed by our great maharishis and only then it would bear the fruits. Moreover, the “Manthra” should be obtained through a proper channel – From a highly realized Spiritual Master. Today, let’s move on with the next event of the Ramayana story.
Till now we’ve seen that Sage Vishwaamithra sets out with the two children Rama and Lakshmana and they walk all along the southern bank of the river Sarayu. It is quite a long and a tiring journey for all three of them. Sage Vishwaamithra, given his stature of a “Brahmarishi”,obviously has the ability and the knowledge to talk about high-level Vedantas, but will these two children understand all that? They are just 12 years old! Hence, all along the way, Sage Vishwaamithra narrates numerous interesting stories to these children. Valmiki Maharishi explains each of the stories in the subsequent “Sargas” (Chapters). We shall see a few of them here too, one by one. As part of these stories, Sage Vishwaamithra also narrates his own story – How was he born, what did he do till date, etc. He also narrates the historical significance of each place through which they walk, significance of various rivers that they cross, etc. There are extensive discussions about the rivers of Ganges, Shrona, Ghantaki, Sarayu, etc. in the Valmiki Ramayana and are very interesting. In the due course, he also gives a beautiful narrative of how did the river Ganges originate in this earth and what is the story behind it, the significance of Lord Shiva and Paarvathi Devi and birth of Subramanya (Lord Muruga). Thus, Sage Vishwaamithra narrates each of these stories to these two kids as they walk along to finally reach Mithilapuri.
Now the three of them reach a place called “Kaamaashramam”. By the time they reach this place, it was late evening and they halted here for the night. They spend the night here and it is now 4 AM in the morning. Sage Vishwaamithra wakes up first and he sees these two beautiful children in their sleep. He admires their beauty and forgets himself with tears in his eyes, and in the course of time, he tries to wake up Rama and Lakshmana. Valmiki Maharishi beautifully portrays this in the following sloka:
“Kaushalyaa suprajaa raama poorvaa sandhyaa pravarthathe!
Utthishta narasaardhoola karthavyam deivamaanhikam!!”
As I mentioned before, it is 4 AM now and Sage Vishwaamithra starts to wake up Rama and Lakshmana during the “Brahma-Muhurtham”. The moment he looks at the beautiful face of Rama, he immediately thinks of Kaushalya – How fortunate is she to enjoy the status of a mother to this noble child!! When he says “Kaushalya suprajaa raama”, it means that Kaushalya Devi is perhaps the luckiest woman in the world to be a mother of this child! What kind of an austerity did she practise, so as to be blessed with such a son?
Here is an important message for all of us – The significance of a mother: It is interesting to see how much of significance is placed in our Shaastraas for a mother. Even in today’s world if a boy or a girl is extraordinarily successful in this world, we immediately praise their mother for her contribution to their success. Not many praise the father of the boy or the girl! Sometimes it might make us feel that there is no contribution from the father’s side for the success of the boy or girl. But there is a reason behind this. The mother is the one who has undergone the pain of bearing the child within her for 10 months, which nothing in this world can be equal to! We need to understand that! Sometimes in the modern day, we come across many instances wherein some people disregard and disrespect their aged parents, torture them, chase them out of the home, put them in some old-age homes, etc. It is really painful to see such situations happening in this modern day. All of us have to remember one thing – As a son or a daughter, it is our bound duty to take care and protect our parents during their old age. This is a very important Dharma that is given to us by Bhagawan. In this context too, why is it that Sage Vishwaamithra praises Kaushalya Devi? It is because of the significance that she is the person who has undergone that pain in giving birth to Rama. Through this, we can see the amount of significance that our Shaastras place for a mother and we should understand this. Only if we understand this, we would be able to practise this Dharma in our day-to-day life.
Now, coming back to the context of Sage Vishwaamithra, Rama and Lakshmana, we are currently witnessing that Sage Vishwaamithra is trying to wake up the two children. This is a very important sloka that we are discussing currently and hence we are taking lot of time to understand this phrase by phrase. Sage Vishwaamithra continues.. “Poorvaa sandhyaa pravarthathe..”, which means that “It is the auspicious time of the early morning”. He further says, “Utthista” (Please get up!), “Narashaardhoola” (The boy who is like a tiger amongst all human beings in this world) “Karthavyam Deivamaanhikam” (The regular morning duties and spiritual practices need to be done). In a nutshell, Sage Vishwaamithra says, “Oh Rama, the beautiful son of Kaushalya Devi! It is morning 4 AM, and the daily spiritual practices need to be performed! Hence, wake up from your sleep!”
There are many more important discussions behind this one sloka itself. What are they? Let’s continue this trail of discussions in the next episode!