Good education is that which teaches the method of achieving world peace; that which destroys narrow - mindedness and promotes unity, equality and peaceful co-existence among human beings. (Telugu poem)
Good education is not merely reading several books, gathering bookish knowledge and teaching it to others. There is no use acquiring mere bookish knowledge. By acquiring bookish knowledge, you may perhaps become a book yourself. Real education is that which promotes unity, equality and peaceful co-existence with fellow human beings. Merely reading books and periodicals and acquiring bookish knowledge is the so-called secular education. Several people in the world today are pursuing this type of education only. But, this cannot be termed as real education. Real education flows from the heart and is termed as 'Educare'. There is a lot of difference between 'education' and 'educare'! Educare is the basis and foundation for all types of education. Educare is the adhara (support) and education is the adheya (supported). All the texts we read teach only education to us. But, this is totally inadequate. We must pursue educare alongwith education.
Sage Valmiki in the Treta Yuga wrote the great epic Ramayana. It emerged from the great sage as a spontaneous expression of his divine feelings. So too is the Bhagavatha composed by the great Rishi Veda Vyasa. These great Rishis gave expression to their divine feelings emerging from the depths of their hearts in the form of such great epics. That is why they became immortal works teaching eternal truths. These great epics teach about the divine life and message of the great Avatars. They were composed by great Rishis who themselves had the vision of God.
When Sita was living in the forest along with Rama during their fourteen year exile, Rama taught her many things. She did not reveal it to anyone, but she was following those teachings carefully. After the completion of the period of exile, Sita, Rama, and Lakshmana returned to Ayodhya. Rama was crowned the king of Ayodhya. Days rolled by. One day, he called Lakshmana and commanded him to take Janaki in a chariot and leave her to herself in a deserted place with no human habitation on the banks of the river Ganges and return. Obeying Rama’s command, he left Sita in the forest and returned to the capital. Sage Valmiki was passing through the forest on his way back to his hermitage from the river Ganga where he had gone for his ritual bath. The grief stricken words of Sita fell on his ears. Having listened to Sita’s tale of woe, he consoled her and brought her to his hermitage. Sita spent her days in the hermitage in constant contemplation of Rama and his glory. When she was left in the forest by Lakshmana, she was already pregnant. After the completion of nine months, she gave birth to the twins Lava and Kusa. Under the loving care and tutelage of sage Valmiki, the twin brothers grew up as great warriors and worthy sons of Rama.
One day, Sita was lost in deep contemplation of Rama. She was thinking of the happy days that she had spent in His company and was feeling utterly dejected at the turn of events. Meanwhile, Kusa and Lava returned to the hermitage and saw their mother in tears. They could not understand the reason for her grief. They enquired why she was in tears. They tried to console her saying, “Mother! Why should you shed tears, when you have such brave sons who are more powerful than Lord Rama Himself? Do not underestimate our strength and valour.” Sage Valmiki who was observing this dialogue between Sita and her sons advised Sita, “Amma! Please control your emotions. These children are not ordinary children. They are not only well-read, they are capable of taking an appropriate decision after deeply contemplating over an issue. They have great sense of discrimination and analytical ability.”
While Rama was ruling the kingdom, he desired to perform the Aswamedha Yaga mentioned in the Vedas, for the destruction of all foes and to ensure peace and prosperity in the Kingdom. For this purpose, a horse, immaculately white in colour, was selected and a gold plate with a message to all the rulers of the land was placed on its brow saying that those strong may hold it, if they dared; or else, they should accept Rama’s sovereignty over them and they should pay Rama tax and tribute; or else make themselves scarce. The horse was let out into the country followed by a huge army under the command of Satrughna. During the course of their march, they vanquished several kings and brought them under the rule of Rama. While the horse followed by the army was thus moving, one day, it came near the hermitage of Sage Valmiki. The twin brothers, Lava and Kusa, saw the sacrificial horse and the army following it. They caught hold of the horse, read the inscription fixed to the forehead of the horse and decided to confront Satrughna and his army. They took the horse under their control and kept it at the hermitage of Valmiki. They came back to fight with the guardians of the horse. In the fight that ensued, the twin brothers subdued all their opponents one after the other.
First, Bharata and Satrughna confronted them. They made a last-ditch effort to dissuade the twin brothers from fighting the battle saying, “You are still children; you have not faced any difficulty in life so far, being under the loving care of your mother and Sage Valmiki. Please give up the idea of fighting a battle with our army; return to your Ashram. If you still insist on fighting with us, we are ready”. The children could not, however, be persuaded to return to their Ashram. They had no fear of the battle at all. They therefore responded by saying, “We are also ready for the battle”. So saying, they started the battle against Bharata and Satrughna in right earnest. Bharata and Satrughna could not withstand the shower of arrows released by Lava and Kusa anymore and they fainted. The news was conveyed to Rama in Ayodhya. Then, Lakshmana was sent to continue the battle. He too met with the same fate as his brothers Bharata and Satrughna.
Finally, the news reached Rama that the young boys had subdued Laksmana, Bharata and Satrughna and their army and that they were eager to confront even Him. Rama now had no choice but to come to the battlefield with his army consisting of Hanuman and other warriors. A lengthy argument ensued between Rama and the twin brothers. Finally, Lava and Kusa decided to take on Rama for a full fight, though Rama tried to convince them to leave the horse and go away since He did not want to fight with them as they were too young. While the war of words was thus going on between Rama and the twins, news reached Sita through Hanuman that a catastrophic war was about to start between Rama and her sons Lava and Kusa. On hearing the news, for a moment, Sita closed her eyes and envisioned the turn of events.
She lamented, “Why has this great calamity fallen upon my sons? I understand they are going to fight with Rama. How great and invincible is Rama! On the other hand what is the strength of my sons! They are children still unable to realise the consequences of this disastrous battle, should they fight with their own father Rama! What a matter of shame!” Thus she lamented helplessly at the turn of events. She thought to herself, “Rama is a noble king and an ideal father. He will not fight with his own sons. He will fondle and caress them lovingly. A father will never fight with his own children. He will teach them virtues”.
Sita expressed her anguish to Hanuman thus: “Dear Son! These children are my own children. They are the sons of Ramachandra. But, they are not aware of it. They know only that Rama had sent Sita to the forest and put her to great suffering. That is why they decided to fight with Rama’s brothers and their army and, if necessary, even with Rama Himself. However, I am convinced that it is not proper on their part to fight a battle against Rama. It is only up to Rama either to protect me or punish me. He might have put me to suffering as a consequence of my destiny. All this is for my good. They have nothing to do with it. I do not regret it at all and blame anyone for my suffering. The more frequently gold is put in fire and refined, the more it will shine. Its shining increases each time it is subjected to that process.”
Hanuman himself is no ordinary being. He is a great soul. He is well known for his inner peace, virtues and great physical strength. He felt great joy hearing the sacred words of Sita. He thought to himself, “Mother Sita is a woman of great virtue. None can excel her in virtue”.
Sita rushed to the battlefield and advised Lava and Kusa to withdraw from the battle saying, “Dear sons! It is not proper to fight a battle against your father. It is a great sin. The father has to be revered, worshipped and persuaded to agree to your point. But, one should not try to subdue him by waging a battle against him. It is foolish to entertain such ideas. Whatever be the circumstances in which you are placed, a father is a father and revered as such. You should not go against his command. Dear children! You are deluded to think that you are great warriors and adepts in the art of archery. You think you can win over any great warrior, with your battle skills. All this is your arrogance born out of ignorance. Keep yourself away from such ignorance. Rama is Lord Narayana verily. He is the Divine in human form. You should not embark upon a path of confrontation against such great Rama. If, in spite of all my advice, you still decide to fight a battle against your own father Rama, I will not live on this earth anymore. It will be a matter of great shame to call you as my sons. Please do not indulge in such heinous acts”. Thus Sita warned her sons Lava and Kusa.
It was then that Rama realised that Lava and Kusa were none other than his own sons. Likewise, the twin brothers also realised that their fight was against none other than their own father and immediately fell at the feet of Rama, begging for pardon.
Thus, Valmiki composed the great epic Ramayana exactly as the events took place without any imagination or fabrication of events. The great sages and seers in those days spoke nothing but the truth.
Sri Rama always followed the twin principles of Sathya (Truth) and Dharma (Righteousness). His entire life was a saga of these great human values. Not only he followed these great values, but also used to exhort everyone, Sathyam Vada (speak truth) and Dharma Chara (follow righteousness). His emphasis was not on mere lip service for Dharma, but sincere practice of Dharma. Since then the practice of daily parayana (reverential reading) of Ramayana has come to stay in the Indian culture Indian ethos. You might have observed that even in our Ashram, it is the practice to sing / recite the glory of Ramayana, Bhagavatha and Sapthasathi during the Veda Purusha Sapthaha Jnana Yajna held every year.
You must develop faith in God. If you give room for doubt, even that flicker of faith you have will be extinguished. Hence, faith in God is the essential prerequisite for every human being. What is the meaning of the word ‘Manava’ (human being)? It means one who has faith in God. In present times, unfortunately, man is gradually losing that faith. God fulfils His avataric mission through the medium of human beings. The essential commands which God expects man to obey are Sathyam vada (speak Truth) and Dharmam chara (follow righteousness). But, man today is going against the wishes of God and distorting these principles as Sathyam vadha (kill the truth) and Dharmam chera (imprison righteousness). The country will prosper only when this trend is reversed and people follow these principles in their proper perspective. Truth is eternal. “Truth is God; speak Truth”. Truth only will protect you. I will elucidate this point tomorrow in greater detail.
Embodiments of Love!
God loves every human being. He does not hate anyone. In fact, the terms like anger, hatred and violence etc., do not exist at all in the kingdom of God. Such a ‘Loving God’ is being criticised now-a-days in ever so many ways. The avataric mission is meant to bring about a transformation in the hearts of human beings. You must be able to recognise one fact. The global transformation of human beings has already begun. Within a short period, you will notice that the entire human community will come together and live in peace and unity in keeping with the ideal cherished in the Vedic prayer:
Let us live together, let
us grow together
I assure you that the golden era is very near. The personal rivalries, differences and hatred against fellowmen will become a thing of the past in Bharat and the world at large.
Embodiments of Love!
(Bhagawan concluded His divine discourse with the bhajan “Rama Rama Rama Sita …” and Srimad Ravikula ...”)