Category Archives: Ayodhya

Let Lord Rama Reign Today (Rama Rajya today)

RAMA-RAJYA. The word strikes a note in almost every Indian’s heart. Rama-rajya was the ideal kingdom of Lord Ramacandra, Lord Krsna’s incarnation as the ideal king. Lord Rama ruled during Treta-yuga, some two million years ago, and the sage Valmiki recorded His acts in the epic Ramayana, still with us today. Stories from the Ramayana have been handed down for countless generations. Although told and retold every year, they’re ever fresh. After two million years, people still hanker for Rama-rajya.

The reign of Lord Rama was a truly memorable time. In the Srimad-Bhagavatam (9.10.51–53) Sukadeva Goswami says, “Lord Ramacandra became king during Treta-yuga, but because of His good government, the age was like Satya-yuga [the golden age of religion]. Everyone was religious and completely happy.

“O Maharaja Pariksit, during the reign of Lord Ramacandra the forests, the rivers, the hills and mountains, the states, the seven islands, and the seven seas were all favorable in supplying the necessities of life for all living beings.

“When Lord Ramacandra, the Supreme Personality of Godhead, was the king of this world, all bodily and mental suffering, disease, old age, bereavement, lamentation, distress, fear, and fatigue were completely absent. There was even no death for those who did not want it.”

What must we do to have Rama-rajya today? We need an ideal government. Srila Prabhupada says that for an ideal government both the ruler and the subjects must be ideal. According to Srimad-Bhagavatam, when Lord Ramacandra was king all the citizens were properly trained in their role in society. They followed the prescribed duties and codes of conduct for the varnasrama social system. And, most important, they were all Vaisnavas, devotees of the Lord. With good citizens, the society was happy, peaceful, and prosperous.

Without good citizens society becomes chaotic. Trying to bring about peace and order in such a society by enforcing laws is useless. Srila Prabhupada writes, “Throughout the entire world there are so many states, legislative assemblies, and parliaments, but still the citizens are rogues and thieves. Good citizenship, therefore, cannot be enforced; the citizens must be trained.”

There can be ideal citizens only when the leaders are ideal. The citizens naturally look up to their leaders for guidance, so the leaders must set a perfect example. In the Bhagavad-gita (3.21) Lord Krsna says, “Whatever action a great man performs, common men follow. And whatever standards he sets by exemplary acts, all the world pursues.”

Lord Ramacandra set the perfect example. He was the ideal king, son, brother, husband, and master. He is called maryäda-puruñottama, “one who exhibits ideal behavior.”

Besides good citizens and good leaders, the most important component of Rama-rajya is Lord Rama Himself, because wherever the Lord is, there also is His kingdom.

All the citizens of Ayodhya, Lord Rama’s kingdom, were great devotees of the Lord. They were completely surrendered to Him and therefore entitled to share in His opulence. But if we try for the kingdom of Rama without Rama, we are left with only suffering and illusion. We become like Ravana, who wanted to enjoy Sita (Laksmi, the goddess of fortune) without Rama. All Ravana gained was death.

Therefore, to truly achieve Rama-rajya we must first invoke the presence of Lord Rama. In a previous age the citizens of Ayodhya had Him in His physical form. In this age the Lord appears in the form of his holy name (kali-kale nama-rupe krsna-avatara). If we chant the Lord’s holy names purely and sincerely, and like the citizens of Ayodhya develop pure love for Him, He will certainly appear. Thus even in this age we can have Rama-rajya. Jaya Sri Rama!


Connection of 2 holy places : Ayodhya with Srirangam

The history of Sri Rangam, as told in various Puranas and other Vedic writings, traces back to the beginning of creation. Pleased by the penance of Brahma (the first created being), Lord Visnu (the Supreme Lord) manifested Himself in the form of Lord Ranganatha for Brahma to worship. Lord Ranganatha appeared with His Deity chamber, or vimana. Brahma worshiped Lord Ranganatha for a long time and eventually handed the worship over to Vivasvan, the sun-god, who handed it over to Svayambhuva Manu, the father of mankind. Manu passed on the worship to his son Iksvaku, a great king and the head of the dynasty in which Lord Krsna was later to appear in His incarnation as Lord Ramacandra.

Lord Ramacandra ruled in Ayodhya, in northern India, during the age known as Treta-yuga, millions of years ago. The pastimes of Lord Ramacandra are recounted in the epic Ramayana. Lord Ramacandra defeated the great demon Ravana, who had kidnapped the Lord’s wife, and placed Ravana’s brother Vibhisana on the throne of Sri Lanka, Ravana’s former kingdom. Because Vibhisana was a great devotee, Lord Ramacandra presented him with the Deity of Sri Ranganatha to worship in Sri Lanka, off the southeast coast of India.

While traveling to Sri Lanka with Sri Ranganatha (along with the Lord’s vimana), Vibhisana stopped near the Kaveri River, at a holy place called Chandra pushkarini, where a Deity of Ananta Sesa (the Lord’s serpent-bed) was worshiped. Dharma Varma, a king of that region, had seen Lord Ranganatha in Ayodhya and had been praying for some time to be able to serve Him. Lord Ranganatha blessed the king by promising to stay at Sri Rangam. When Vibhisana tried to continue his journey, Lord Ranganatha would not move.

Lord Ranganatha then blessed Vibhisana by promising to always look toward Vibhisana’s kingdom, Sri Lanka. So although most Deities in India face east, Sri Ranganatha Swami reclines on His right side with His head toward the west as He looks south toward His great devotee Vibhisana.

Ramacandra`s Childhood

Now Lord Ramacandra took His advent on the earth planet, and he was growing up. He was learning archery in the ashrama of Vasistha. When the first lesson started, Vasistha told Dasaratha, “I don’t want you to be here when your son is learning archery.” Dasaratha said, “It is the tradition that the king sits there and watches the son, how he holds the bow.” Vasistha said, “Yes, but it is not the tradition that you produce children from sweet rice (referring to putra kamesthi yajna).” So Dasaratha went back, and the education started in confidence. When Ramacandra, Laksmana, Satrughna, and Bharata were sitting, Vasistha got up from his seat and circumambulated them. That is why he got Dasaratha out, otherwise there would be confusion. And then Vasistha said, “You always do this. Whenever you take an incarnation, You select a rishi to become Your guru. And he has to teach You this knowledge of which You are the source. So please excuse me if I commit some offence. “One day Rama and Laksmana saw a girl walking one day with a huge nose ring. she had this huge nose ring, and she was walking with a water-pot. Laksmana looked at it and he laughed. He said, “Look at that nose ring! It’s so big.” Ramacandra said to him, “Vasistha is looking away, so let us do some pastime.” So they looked around and they saw an arrow. They took that arrow, but they had not been taught yet how to do archery. “I will make this small,” Laksmana said, and he shot the arrow. While the girl was walking, the arrow came next to her nose and started pouring some sort of mystical substance on the nose ring, which became so small that it got stuck on her nose and she couldn’t breathe. Then she dropped the water-pot, and she was trying to breathe but she can only breath in one nostril and she was very confused, so she began to call, “Help! Help!” Laksmana said, “Oh no, now Vasistha will hear and we will have a problem.” Ramacandra said, “Don’t worry,” and he shot another arrow. That arrow made it big enough that she could breathe. So she turned around and said, “What is this you are doing to me?” Laksmana replied, “Oh, we made your nose ring small, but it was too small so then we made it big. “”You made it big and then small?” she asked. “I don’t believe it. “”Oh, you don’t believe it?” Laksmana asked, “So then we will take it off.” Laksmana then shot another arrow which took the nose ring out of her nose, and all this was happening without touching her face. And then the nose ring was flying in the sky, and she began to cry out, “My nose ring! My nose ring!” Very quickly Rama fired another arrow and put the nose ring back in the nose. These were some of the childhood pastimes of Ramacandra. All these childhood pastimes are all archery and bows and arrows. Anyway, Rama was growing up and oneday a rishi came, Visvamitra Muni. He came in the entrance of the palace, and he said to the messenger, “Where is that Dasaratha? You tell him that Kaushika is here.” He is known as Kaushika because he is coming in the dynasty of Kusha. Kusha and Kushanabha were great kings. In the Bhagavatam you read about them. So Kaushika was known for his anger. If he gets angry, he would curse and he will use all his tapobalam, all the strength of his austerity simply to place some obstacle. On one occasion he was sitting doing his meditation, and a bird passed stool on him. It’s natural for a bird to pass stool, andit’s natural for a rishi to sit under a tree. But stool on the headwas not natural, and Visvamitra was very upset. He looked at thebird and burnt it. In burning that bird he used 50 years worth oftapovalam, because that bird had a long lifetime and he reduced itand suppressed it by his tapobalam, so now he lost the strength ofthat austerity. Then he got up and said, “This situation will makeme remember that incident always, so now I will go to another tree.”Then he would perform more austerity for another thousand years, andhe was spending his whole life like this. So Dasaratha looked atVasistha and said, “Kaushika is here. What am I supposed to do? Idon’t know what wrong I did, why he came to my palace, because heonly goes to curse people or kill a demon or something.” Vasisthasaid, “First of all, you must go from here to the messenger, and tellhim to say that `The whole kingdom is yours. I am just taking twominutes to walk to the entrance. Please don’t lose your temper’.”So the messenger went back to Visvamitra and said, “King Dasarathasaid that the whole kingdom is yours. He will take only two minutesto walk here. He wants you to be peaceful and take this nice asana.”Visvamitra said, “I don’t want any asana! Where is the king! Bringhim here!” By the time Dasaratha got there, he fell at his feet andsaid, “What do you want? If you want the whole Kosala then pleasetake it.” “What?” the rishi asked. “I am not into kingdoms. I hada kingdom too.” He was a great prince, a ksatriya, and by somearrangement of the Lord he had become a Brahmin. “I do not want yourkingdom,” he said. “I have come here to ask something, and you musttell me that you will give it.” Dasaratha was thinking, “I wonderwhat it could be that he wants? Maybe my head. I don’t mind givinghim that, but please don’t let him ask for Rama.” Visvamitra said,”What are you thinking? You are trying to save something.”Dasaratha said, “No no, you just ask and I will give it.” So thenVisvamitra said, “I want Rama and Laksmana.” Dasaratha immediatelyfainted. When he woke up, Visvamitra said, “See! You fainted, this means that you don’t want to give. And you lied to me! I am rishi and you lied to me that you will give everything, and now you won’t give. I’m not going to take them away forever, I only need them for a small purpose. I am doing a yajna, and someone is passing stool and urine on it. I want these children to come and play there, and then these demons will go away.” “What? Demons?” And thenDasaratha fainted a gain. He couldn’t bear his sons being taken to demons, so he said, “I will come. I will defeat them!” Visvamitrasaid, “Don’t you think I can defeat them? I could easily defeat them, but I want Ramacandra and nothing else. What do you say?””All right,” Dasaratha said. “But please take good care of my son,and also teach Him something since you know so many things.”Visvamitra said, “I know what I will do with Rama, and he is coming with me. Now.” Dasaratha said, “But you have come a long way, you should rest a while in my palace.” “I don’t stay in palaces,”Visvamitra said. “Where is Rama and Laksmana? Give them to me.” So he took Rama and Laksmana and he left. They were walking, and as they were crossing so many rivers and going through so many different forests, Visvamitra was telling them stories, and Rama and Laksmanabecame so happy because there was no class and no study, this waslike a complete vacation for them. They were swimming here andswimming there, and Visvamitra was such a nice teacher that he wouldswim with them and play with them, tell them far-out stories ofdemons and goblins and ghosts. They were so happy. In the eveningtime at sunset, Visvamitra told them, “Now you do your sandhya, andthen you sit here and listen to these mantras. I’m going to teachyou some great, powerful mantras. One is known as Bala, strength.Another is known as Adibala, great strength. You may need them forthese demons. So Rama and Laksmana sat down and listened to Bala andAdibala, and then they massaged the teacher, Visvamitra. Visvamitratook rest. The next day Visvamitra woke them up and they reached theashrama of Visvamitra and they began a yajna. Then came this demon,a very famous demon called Marica. Marica was a great magician.Whenever he would come, then you would see that trees would befalling, the rivers would be flying up in the sky, and stars would befalling. The animals would also go crazy, the birds would scream,and the rishis would die as Marica’ s breakfast was saintly persons. For lunch he ate something else like ksatriyas or kings, butbreakfast was sages. He was a cannibal, human eater. So Marica wascoming there, and with him was Dusana. His very name is the same ashis character. Dusana means “all bad things.” His father named himlike that, so it must have been a good family. Dusana and Maricawere flying in space and were coming. So Rama and Laksmana weresitting there and Visvamitra was the head priest, he was offeringghee into the fire. He looked at Rama to signal that the demons werecoming. Rama looked at Laksmana and said, “So Laksmana, what are yougoing to do?” Laksmana said, “Yes, we will do something.” So hetook several arrows and shot them into the sky. They went up intothe sky about three or four miles, and then from each arrow came amillion arrows, and all together they formed a huge wheel of arrows,and this wheel started circling on top of the fire. So Marica andDusana came and all that they saw was a wheel and some spokes.”Where is the fire?” Dusana said, “I told you I wanted to pass waterthree hours ago and you said I should wait till we got here. I havebeen holding it in, and I can’t see the fire. What are you doing tome? Let me go pass somewhere.” “No no,” Marica said, “Visvamitra’sfire, that is where we should pass.” “But I can’t see the fire, Ionly see this wheel.” Then Marica said, “This must be the trick ofthese Brahmins. Let me come closer and see.” So he came closer, andas he came close he got stuck with one of the spokes of the wheel,and he was thrown miles away. While he was already thrown,Ramacandra took one blade of grass, and he threw it at Marica. Itgot stuck on his back and carried him to the ocean. He fell in theocean, and after that he never touched the Indian land again. Heopened an ashrama and became a babaji somewhere in Sri Lanka, anddidn’t even go back to see his family. That was what happened to Marica, and Dusana was killed. All this killing was done by grass.Then the yajna was over and Visvamitra came to Ramacandra and hesaid, “What a great, wonderful thing you did! I saw Marica flyingaway and falling into the ocean.” Then Visvamitra said, “There’sonly one small question I want to ask You.” “What?” Ramacandrareplied. “What about Bala and Adibala and all those mantras I gaveYou?” Ramacandra said, “That is for an emergency, then we will usethese ones. Grass is sufficient for these demons.” Then Visvamitrasaid a famous verse, that for a mighty person even grass becomes anastra. Ramacandra is so mighty, He’s the source of all Bala. So whyshould He take Bala and Adibala? In this way He finished the demons.


The Story of Lord Rama

Millions of years ago, according to Vedic sources, the Supreme Lord appeared on this planet as the warrior Rämacandra to execute His will and display the pastimes of the Personality of Godhead. The pastimes of Lord Räma are revealed in the famous Vedic scripture called the Rämäyana, written by Sri Välmiki. The Rämäyana is written down as a historical epic, but it contains the essential information of the original Vedas. The Rämäyana and the Mahäbhärata (of which the famed Bhagavad-gitä is a chapter) are especially recommended for the present age, even more so than the highly intricate Vedas or the philosophical theses of the Vedänta-sütra—all of which are prone to misinterpretation in this fallen Age of Quarrel.

The Rämäyana tells of how Lord Rämacandra appeared on earth in human form. He was of greenish hue. His bodily luster like fresh green grass.

What is written in the Rämäyana, we should note here, is best understood as it is. When the pastimes of the Supreme Personality of Godhead are narrated, there can be no question of allegory. Allegory means a given text conveys a truth higher than the literal one. But the highest realization of spiritual perfection is that the Absolute Truth is a person. This precludes the possibility of going beyond Him to some higher truth. Although out of kindness to His devotees Lord Räma appeared as a man. He is the Supreme Lord, and His birth is transcendental in every respect and free of all material taint. Therefore, His history is marvellous and filled with wondrous feats.

Rämacandra was the son of King Dasaratha. He was the darling of His father and mother, Queen Kausalya, He was also the hero and darling of all Ayodhya, the capital of what was then the single world kingdom.

Growing old, King Dasaratha desired to confer the kingdom on his eldest son, Räma. As a joyous Ayodhyä prepared to, coronate the beloved prince, one of the queens of King Dasaratha, Queen Kaikeyi, plotted to remove Räma from the kingdom so that her own son, Bharata, would take the throne. Persuaded by a crooked maidservant that Rämacandra would have Kaikeyi’s son killed if He became king, Queen Kaikeyi I took advantage of two boons she had received from her husband in gratitude for service she had rendered to him. She called her husband to her rooms and requested the following boons: Let Rämacandra be banished to the forest for fourteen years. And let Bharata be installed as king. When King Dasaratha heard these requests, he fainted away in shock.

As an ideal ksatriya king, Dasaratha would stand by his promise to grant two boons to his queen, even when it meant a fate worse than death. His religion was truth, and he had to keep his promise.

When Lord Rämacandra received the awful news. He only replied, “Very well. I shall go from here and proceed to the Danaka forest for fourteen years with an unwavering mind.”

The wife of Räma was the beautiful and chaste Sita. Lord Rämacandra had gained Sita when, in the assembly where Sita was to choose her husband. He had broken a bow that was so heavy it had to be carried by three hundred men. Räma thus satisfied Sita’s father, Janaka, and married Sita, who was endowed with transcendental qualities. It is understood that, as Lord Rämacandra was Viñëu, the Supreme Lord Himself, so Sita was actually Laksmi, the goddess of fortune. Being the daughter of the royal saint Janaka, she was accustomed to the life as a princess. Yet when Rämacandra informed her that she must stay in the kingdom under the protection of Bharata during His exile, Sita replied with an offended air: “If You repair to the forest, I shall go in front of You and make smooth the path by crushing the thorns under my feet. I shall not leave Your company, nor will You be able to dissuade me. I shall feel no sorrow in passing a long time with You.”

Laksmana, Rämacandra’s beloved brother, had been there while Räma was speaking with Sita. He caught hold of Rämacandra’s lotus feet, as it was unbearable for him to be separated from Räma. Räma tried to dissuade him. But nothing could turn Laksmana. Laksmana was determined to accompany Sita and Räma to the forest for their long exile.

Forest life for a royal prince was supposed to be an abominable insult, but Rämacandra managed to cheer Sita by pointing out the beauty of the natural setting. A forest is said to be a place in the mode of goodness, just suitable for cultivation of spiritual life.

While Räma, Sita, and Laksmana were exiled in the forest, the horrible Ravana entered their lives. Ravana was a great demon who had almost everything. Through long performances of austere penances he had gained great power. For the sake of war-mongering he had conquered the demigods Kuvera and Indra. He reigned on the island of Sri Lanka and possessed vast wealth and opulence. He and his “Rovers of the Night” roamed about killing and eating hermits engaged in spiritual practices in the forest. Ravana also had made a career of violating beautiful women wherever he found them, and he had a harem of hundreds who had surrendered to his material influence of wealth and strength.

Ravana believed himself to be unvanquishable. He disdained God. Perfect materialist that he was, he challenged even the existence of God. He challenged everything good and listened to no cautious counsel about the bad reaction that follows sinful acts. In challenging Rama by the abduction of His wife Sita, however, Ravana was choosing death, and he rushed headlong toward his inevitable fate.

To implement the abduction of Sita, Ravana called on his warlord, Marica. Ravana asked Marica to take the form of a golden deer and frisk in front of Sita. When Sita should wish to have the deer for her own, Rama and Laksmana would follow it and Sita could be abducted.

Thus Marica, in the form of a wonderful deer with silver spots and the sheen of jewels, appeared before Sita in the forest. He drew the mind of Sita, who asked Ramacandra to catch him for her. Ramacandra was, of course, cognizant that this might be the Räksasa magic of Marica, but He decided to go after the deer. If it proved to be Marica, He would kill him. After firmly ordering Laksmana to stay with Sita, Ramacandra pursued the deer. It became elusive, even invisible. Finally Rama resolved to kill it. He shot one deadly shaft, which entered Marica’s heart like a flaming snake.

But with his last breath, Marica cried out loudly, “Alas, Sita! Alas, Laksmana!”

Waiting with Laksmana in the cottage, Sita heard the cries and believed them to be Rama’s. She told Laksmana to go at once to help Rama. Although Laksmana dismissed the idea that Ramacandra could be in danger, Sita insisted that Laksmana go and find Him. In that way Ravana was able to find Sita alone, and he carried her off by force.

On a chariot pulled by asses, Ravana, often heads and twenty arms, flew through the sky clutching Sita. This act completely sealed Ravana’s doom. Not only would he die for capturing another man’s wife, but he would not even be able to enjoy her in the meantime, not even for a moment.

Unable to forcibly have his lust satisfied, Ravana could only threaten Sita that if after twelve months she did not turn to him, he would cut her into pieces and have his cooks serve her to him for a feast.

In the absence of Sita, Ramacandra was plunged into unalloyed grief. Laksmana attempted to draw off Rama’s despair, but He was paid no attention. Finally the brothers found signs of Sita, pieces of her clothing from her struggle with Ravana and ornaments that had fallen from her as she had risen up in Ravana’s chariot. Rama and Laksmana also received information from the dying Jatayu, ancient king of the birds, who had tried to stop Ravana as he had flown away. Jatayu informed Ramacandra and Laksmana that Ravana had kidnapped Sita. For help in getting her back, Jatayu recommended they form an alliance with Sugriva, the king of a race of monkeys.

Sugriva did indeed help, mobilizing his forces and sending them out in search of Sita. After months of futile searching, the armies began to lose hope. Some returned, and some dispersed to foreign lands. It was Hanuman, the chief counsellor to the king, who learned of the kingdom of Lanka, far away in the Indian Ocean.

Hanuman resolved to travel through the air in search of Sita. Being the son of the wind-god, Vayu, Hanuman had the faculty for flight. In one leap he crossed the ocean to Lanka.

Reducing himself to the size of a cat, Hanuman steadily entered the capital of Ravana, carefully noting all the details. As a servitor, he was very concerned that at any moment he might be caught and ruin the project. “If I lose my life,” thought Hanuman, “great obstacles will crop up for the fulfillment of my master’s project.” To this very day, Hanuman is eulogized by all saints and scholars of Vedic science as the ideal servitor for his unwavering dedication to Lord Ramacandra.

Hanuman searched all over for Sita, finally locating her in the heart of the dense Asoka forest. He assured her that he was coming from Ramacandra and promised her that They would soon be reunited. As Hanuman left, the island of Lanka, he single-handedly destroyed thousands of raksasa warriors and set the entire city on fire.

In millions, the army of the monkeys mobilized and marched to the ocean. The Lord then had His faithful servants, like Hanuman and Sugriva, hurl huge boulders into the sea, and by the Lord’s supreme potency they floated on the water, forming a bridge to Lanka. The army then marched into Lanka under the very nose of the lord of the Raksasa. Soon hand-to-hand combat began, and great heroes from both sides fought to the death day after day. Finally, one by one, the great Raksasa chieftains fell before the unlimited powers of heroes like Hanuman, Laksmana, Sugriva, and Ramacandra. At last, Lord Ramacandra slew Ravana with a brahmastra weapon released from His bow.

Valmiki tells of the origin of this weapon. It was handed down by Lord Brahma and passed from sage to sage. The brahmastra was smeared with fat and blood, and smoked like doomsday fire. It was hard and deep-sounding, and when shot by Ramacandra it cleft Ravana’s heart in two, depriving him of his life.

Rama was then reunited with Sita, and the fourteen-year exile having ended, they returned to Ayodhya on a flower-bedecked airplane.

His Divine Grace A.C. Bhaktivedanta Swami Prabhupada explains the Lord’s appearance as Ramacandra thus: “The comparative studies on the life of Krsna and Ramacandra are very intricate, but the basic principle is that Ramacandra appeared as the ideal king, and Krsna appeared as the Supreme Personality of Godhead, although there is actually no difference between the two. A similar example is that of Lord Caitanya. He appeared as a devotee and not as the Supreme Personality of Godhead, although He is Krsna Himself. So we should accept the Lord’s mood in His particular appearance, and we should worship Him in that mood. Our service should be compatible with the mood of the Lord. Therefore, in the sastras there are specific injunctions. For example, to worship Lord Caitanya, the method is chanting Hare Krsna.”

Sri Valmiki declares that he who always listens to this epic becomes absolved from sins. He who listens with due respect meets with no obstacles in life. He will live happily with his near and dear ones and get his desired boons from Ramacandra, the Supreme Personality of Godhead.