In the previous episode we witnessed that Rama, Lakshmana and Sita continue their treacherous journey in their forest towards the southern direction wherein they confront the demon by name Viraadha. Rama & Lakshmana take him on and defeat him as they move on further south. In the meanwhile we also witnessed the geographical location of the “Dhandakaaranya” forest area. We saw that this forest area is located in Central India between the present day Indian states of Madhya Pradesh and Maharashtra.
Now moving on, Rama, Lakshmana and Sita move further south and reach the ashram of Sarabhanga Maharishi. Rama is about to enter the ashram and at this time, a unique incident takes place – Just before Rama, Sita and Lakshmana reach Sarabhanga Maharishi’s ashram, someone had just passed by and entered – That someone was none other than Indra himself! All of us might know that Indra is the leader of the “Devas” or the “Celestial beings”.
Upon realizing that Indra is in the vicinity, Rama stops mid way and doesn’t proceed further! Rama being the incarnation of Lord Vishnu thinks to himself, “I’m currently in the human form and it’s not appropriate to meet celestial beings with this human body!” Thinking thus, he conveys to Sita and Lakshmana, “Let us wait outside till Indra leaves the ashram and then we can enter!”
After sometime, Indra comes out of the ashram and he too realizes that Rama is in the vicinity! However, he also realized that Rama is not interested in meeting him and hence he left back to the “Swarga Lokha”! Thus, Rama was very straightforward and true to his way of incarnation! However, during the time of the Krishna Avatara, all the Devas used to come down and happily meet Lord Krishna! It is also to be noted that the Devas conveniently come and meet Lord Krishna and also get beaten and bruised by him! 🙂 For instance, Indra himself got into a tangle with Lord Krishna! Lord Brahma too wasn’t an exception in this! All of them wanted to test the power of little Krishna and they were rightly shown their place by him! However, Rama is an embodiment of truth and honesty! He never crosses the line on anything! That’s why even today when we go to Ayodhya or any temple in North India, people address Rama as “Mariyaadhaa Purushottham Raam” which means, “Lord Rama who commands respect amongst all his devotees!”
Thus, after Indra leaves the place, Rama along with Sita and Lakshmana are going to enter the ashram of Sarabhanga Maharishi. The moment when they are about to enter, Rama said to Lakshmana, “Oh Lakshmana! We are now entering a Brahmana Maharishi’s ashram and it is not fair on our part to carry this big bow inside! Hence, let us keep our bows and arrows here and enter inside!” Thus we can again see how straightforward and respectful Rama was! He knows how to respect great Maharishis although he is a great and an invincible Kshatrya prince! This is what we need to learn here – Whomever so we may be, we must learn to respect elders and obey their words!
Thus, as Rama arrives, Sarabhanga Maharishi welcomes him and accepts the due respects that Rama & Lakshmana offer to him. While interacting with him, Rama asks if there is a nice place around this area for him to reside with Lakshmana and Sita.
“Aashramam sarabhangasya raaghavo vidhikaamaha!
Sameebhe sarabhangasya darharsha mahathatbhutham!!
Asamprusantham bahudhaan dadqrsha vibudeshwaraam!”
Thus, Valmiki Maharishi through the above slokas describe Rama’s entry into Sarabhanga Maharishi’s ashram and Rama asks him for a nice place to stay. Upon which Sarabhanga Maharishi replies, “Oh Rama! I’m in the process of preparing myself to attain ‘Moksha’ and go to “Vaikunta” after our meeting is over! How can I show you a place? However I’ll tell you one thing – In this direction, go towards the west! You’ll reach Sutheekshna Maharishi’s ashram. You may consult Sutheekshna Maharishi and according to his guidance, you may find a good place to reside!”
Thus, Rama, Lakshmana and Sita acknowledge Sarabhanga Maharishi’s words and thank him for his guidance. With his blessings, the three of them proceed westwards towards Sutheekshna Maharishi’s ashram. We shall also proceed westwards with Rama, Lakshmana and Sita for the whole of today and wait till tomorrow as they reach their next destination! We shall wait till the next episode to find out what Sutheekshna Maharishi is going to say! 🙂