Matru Devobhava, Pitru Devobhava
Acharya Devobhava, Pathaka Devobhava
Rama – A name so powerful and beautiful, that if one did not know any other sloka or mantra and could just say this name, one would surely be on a firm path to salvation. It is said that the name of Lord Ram is more powerful than Lord Ram Himself, that where ever His name is chanted, Lord Hanuman shall come and sit and listen to it being chanted. That is why, whenever there is a Ramayana Pravanchanam, you will notice an empty chair with a silk cloth placed on it, as an asana (seat) for Lord Hanuman. We may not see him with our eyes, but so too, we cannot see the air we breath or the cells of our body. But isn’t our existence a reality?
When the great Sage Vashishta was honored with the task of naming the princes of Ayodhya, he chose their names with great care. Back in those days, naming a child was a task given to the Family Priest or Guru. Not for the parents to do.But why the name Rama?
Ramanthi Iti Rama – He who brings delight to everyone is Rama. No, inadequate description. He who brings bliss to everyone around him, is Rama.
Narayana Mantra: Om Namoh NaRAyanaya
Panchakshari Mantra : Om NaMAh Shivaya.
Taking the syllable “Ra” from the Narayana Mantram & the Syllable “Ma” from the Panchakshari Mantram, Sage Vashishta gave the boy the name “RAMA” – He who brings bliss to everyone around him – a name so easy to pronounce, that even a child can say it effortlessly.
As, we know from the previous blog, the human incarnation of Lord Vishnu was mandated due to arrogance and atrocities of Ravana. And as Ravana’s atrocities multiplied, so too multiplied the pleas of the Gods and Demi Gods for Lord Vishnu to incarnate. In Ayodhya, at the ripe old ago of of nearly 60,000 years, Emperor Dasharatha was craving for a heir. Yes, you read in correct, 60,000 years. Please examine the sloka below, where King Dasharatha is requesting Sage Vishwamitra to not take Lord Rama with him for killing the demons.
षष्टिः वर्ष सहस्राणि जातस्य मम कौशिक || १-२०-१०
कृच्छ्रेण उत्पादितः च अयम् न रामम् नेतुम् अर्हसि |
10b, 11a. koushika = oh, Vishvamitra; jaatasya mama = birthed, for me [from my birth]; SaSTiH varSa sahasraaNi = sixty, years, thousands [sixty thousand years passed]; ayam = this one [Rama]; kR^icChreNa = with tribulations; utpaaditaH cha = is produced given birth, also; raamam netum na arhasi = Rama, to take with you, not, apt of you.
“Sixty thousand years have passed from my birth, oh! Vishvamitra, and this Rama is engendered at this age, that too with tribulations, hence taking Rama with you will be inappropriate of you.
Here, you can see Emperor Dhasharatha proclaiming his age. How is it possible you make ask? We have discussed this bit of information in Blog 1 of The Legend of Sita. Do go back and take a look for further answers.
Coming back to Lord Rama’s birth, as we all know Emperor Dasharatha, decides to perform the Ashwamedha Yagna to beget children. After performing a Yagna, one is expected to perform an Ishti, to beget the desired wishes. And so, on the suggestions of Sage Rishyashringa (the name means one born with a shringa or horn on the head), Emperor Dasharatha performs the Putrakameshti (An ishti performed for putras or sons). As the oblations are poured into the fire, all the presiding Gods and Demi Gods line up over the Yagna Sala ( Sacrificial Hall) to receive their offerings. Back in those time, the Gods came to receive the offerings and humans could see the Gods & Demi Gods with their naked eye.
As soon as Lord Brahma arrived to receive his share of the offerings, all the Gods pleaded with him to find a solution to increasing atrocities of Ravana. Lord Brahma then tells the Gods present, that Lord Vishnu, in his human form, will be born in the house of Emperor Dasharatha and will slay evil Ravana. Just then, the Lord of the three Worlds, the Lotus eyed, four armed Lord Vishnu, appears and reveals to the deities present that he is about to incarnate in a human form.
Please find below a verse from the Valmiki Ramayana, where Lord Vishunu proclaims he is going to be born as Lord Rama.
भयम् त्यजत भद्रम् वो हितार्थम् युधि रावणम् |
स पुत्र पौत्रम् स अमात्यम् स मित्र ज्ञाति बान्धवम् || १-१५-२८
हत्वा क्रूरम् दुराधर्षम् देव ऋषीणाम् भयावहम् |
दश वर्ष सहस्राणि दश वर्ष शतानि च || १-१५-२९
वत्स्यामि मानुषे लोके पालयन् पृध्वीम् इमाम् |
bhayam tyajata = fear, get rid off; bhadram vaH = safety, be upon you; vaH hitaartham = your, for welfare’s sake; sa putra poutram = along with his, sons, grandsons; sa amaatyam = along with, his ministers; sa mitra j~naati baandhavaan = along with, his friends, cousins, and relatives; kruuram duraatmaanam = cruel, evil minded one; deva R^iSiiNaam bhayaavaham = for deities, and sages, dreadful one; raavaNam yudhi hatvaa = Ravana, in war, on eliminating; imam pR^itviim paalayan = this, earth, while ruling; dasa varsha shasraaNi = ten, years, thousand; dasha varsha shataani cha = ten, years, hundred, also; maanuSe loke vatsyaami = in human, world, I will reside.
“Get rid off the fear, let safety be upon you, on eliminating that cruel and evil-minded Ravana who became dreadful to deities and sages, along with his sons, grandsons, friends, cousins and relatives, ministers and forces too in war for your welfare, I will then reside in human world ruling this earth for eleven thousand years.” Thus Vishnu assured the gods.
Please examine the words “दश वर्ष सहस्राणि दश वर्ष शतानि च”. This means for 10 years x1000 and 10 years x 100. Which means 11000 years. From this it is clear, that at the time Lord Rama returned back to The Realm of Vishnu, by entering the River Sarayu, he was 11000 years old.
Lord Rama was born after 12 months in the womb of Queen Kausalya, in the Month of Chaitra in Punarvasu Nakshatra Yukta Navami thithi. Every year. this date in the Indian Calender is celebrated as Rama Navami
Now, here’s the difference between the birth of Lord Rama & Mata Sita. While Lord Rama was born as any other normal human being is, Mata Sita was born sans Uterus. While Mata Sita was divine from birth, Lord Rama was an ordinary mortal at birth. And so , the advent of Sage Vishwamitra is necessitated. In order for Lord Ram to become the hero he needs be, to slay Ravana, it is necessary for Mata Sita to combine her energies with him. In order to accomplish the purpose of his avatara (incarnation), Lord Rama must become Lord Sri Ram.
In the next blog, we will examine the importance of “Navami Tithi”, how Sage Vishwamitra played a crucial role in shaping Lord Ram for the future and most Epic of all Swayamvars – Sita Swayamvar.
Jai Sri Ram.