The birth-day of Sri Rama is being celebrated to-day and to-morrow
25th & 26th March, 2018
Rama was a Treta-yuga avatar of Vishnu, when the unmixed goodness of the earlier Krita (Satya) yuga got diluted by wide-spread wickedness from Indra down to mortals like Ravana.
Mother Earth could not put up with so much of outrage, she begs help from Vishnu who assures to remedy this. After planning with his associates about disposing of the Ravana threats, Vishnu chooses to be born as Rama to kill him, assisted by other Gods and demi-Gods to incarnate on earth. Lakshmi, for her part, plays the key-role of Sita and aids the plot superbly.
Rama is banished from the Kosala kingdom for fourteen years, to enable Bharata succeed Dasaratha. Kaikeyi plays the most unenviable, detestable role to ensure this happens; to this day, she remains unrehabilitated. More, Bharata neutralises and humiliates her by staying away from home and made Rama’s sandals rule the kingdom instead.
Only Rama was banished but Lakshmana intimidates and overpowers him for permission to accompany. Without his role, the golden-deer episode was not possible. Sita was never on the radar to go either, but she first requests, then insists, finally humiliates Rama (says he is a woman in man’s garb) to be part of the team.
Without her, Ravana would not become vulnerable and, without Hanuman, the Ramayana would be like ‘Hamlet without the Prince of Denmark’.
Ravana sets a time-limit of two months for Sita to surrender and be his consort, when Hanuman confronts her in the Ashoka-vana. Sita exhibits her worry over Rama’s ability to cross over the sea and rescue her, Hanuman offers to fly her back, Sita feels trapped. Being resourceful (somewhat sharp-tongued too when occasion demanded) she turns down the offer saying ‘ it will be unbecoming of her illustrious husband’s valour’ to be rescued that way. True to his faith, Hanuman mentions this to Rama. Thereafter, the story moves on predictable lines, save the initial rejection of Sita by Rama and the patch-up by the Gods who intervene.
Throught the great epic, Rama seldom discloses his divinity, it does exhibit on a few occasions though, he behaves like any ordinary mortal, would easily win the Oscar for ‘best acting performance’.
‘Consistency’ was his chief trait, ‘self confidence’ his strategy. He never did anything on the sly or against the established norms. When finally, Ravana was toppled from his chariot, fallen on ground with no one to lift, another arrow from Rama would have finished him off. Rama tells him ‘ You fought well, you are tired, utterly helpless. go home and rest well for the night, come back to-morrow, fully armed and assisted, ‘THEN, SEATED ON YOUR CHARIOT, YOU SHALL SEE MY PROWESS’ .
For a contrast, Sri Krishna came during the Dwapara Yuga (Dharma had lost two of its four legs) and consistent with the times, He was a strategist par excellence, ends mattered more than means,
He was happy to be just one among the many. Born in jail, abandoned by biological parents ( He met them in jail only after killing Kamsa) his entire life was full of toils and turmoils. We of the Kali-yuga (Dharma has lost three legs already) find easier purpose with Sri Krishna rather than with Sri Rama, possibly why more temples exist for the former.
Finally, would recall what I heard as a boy of fourteen from one of the traditional story-tellers. Rama was born on Navami (number 9) and Krishna on Ashtami (Number 8), the preacher said ‘Number 9 has consistency, multiply it any number of times, add the product numbers, it will still be 9, ‘ad infinitum’. Number 8, on the contrary will do the vanishing trick, one by one. Do the same type multiplication and add the product nos. it will go on decreasing, one at a time.
RAMA symbolises CONSISTENCY, KRISHNA represents the transitoriness of the Universe.
Greetings on Sri Rama Navami.