Tuesday, 28 June 2011

The Incarnations of Shri Krishna and Shri Rama

The incarnations of Shri Krishna and of Shri Rama have similar stories attached to them. It is written that Devaki, the biological mother of Krishna and Yashoda his adopted mother, prayed to Lord Vishnu for a son by having great devotion, dedication, renunciation and meditation. Vishnu appeared before them and inquired of their desires. They asked for a son just like Vishnu himself. Vishnu told them that there was only one Vishnu and if he had to grant them that wish, then he himself would have to come and that was not possible. Vishnu however assured them that they would receive a son with similar qualities and attributes as he himself. Krishna was born to Devaki and raised by Yashoda according to the story. On the other hand and much later in the cycle, Kausalya, the wife of Dasarath also prayed to Vishnu for a son as the story goes. Vishnu again appeared and told her the same thing. Kausalya performed a yagya and it is related that blessed food was prepared and divided into four equal portions. Kausalya had one portion and had a son whom she christened Ramachandra. Sumitra ate two portions and had two sons named Lakshman and Satrughn. Kakayei had the fourth portion and had a son named Bharath. This was the incarnation of Shri Ramachandra together with his three brothers.

So who is Vishnu? What is the relationship with Krishna, Sat Narayan and Rama? In the path of devotion, devotees chant ‘Jai Sat Narayan swami ji’ and ‘Shri Krishna Govinda Hare Morare, hai Nath Narayan Vasudeva’. All these chants describe the deities as they visualize them from the memory of the intellect in the golden age. The image of Vishnu is also that of SatNarayan. Vishnu is the dual form of Lakshmi and Narayan, two hands each represents the male and female attributes. Maha Lakshmi is no different in meaning to that of Vishnu ji. Just for a one solitary moment, churn, why do we all worship and pray to MahaLakshmi at Divali time and not invoke Sita ji instead, when it is widely believed that Divali is associated with the return of Ramachandra and Sitaji to Ayodya. All the deities of the golden age are adorned with the ornaments, but Ramachandra carries the bow and arrow. Why the bow and arrow? The meaning of these ornaments and their significance are explained as follows:

The Ornaments on Vishnu and the Deities
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Deity Vishnu is adorned with four ornaments, one in each of these four arms. In the top upraised right hand is the "<span>swa</span> <span>dharshan chakra</span>" and the "mace or gada" in the lower right hand. In the top upraised left hand is the "conchshell or the shank" and the lotus in the lower left hand. The swadharshanchakra represents the lifestyles and spirituality of the four main ages. It is symbolic of the cycle of self-realization. One who knows the past, present and future of the cycle, one who knows where he came from and where he is going, one who knows his identity and who always has pure and positive thoughts is called "swadharsanchakadhari". The mace represents the symbol of controlling power or authority. It is prominent on the speaker’s chair in the parliament. Hanuman and Bheem are famous for the mace. The conchshell or shank represents the dissemination of knowledge. Literally, the conch resides in the ocean and the shell is used for making a sweet sound when blown. Symbolically, God Shiva is the ocean of knowledge and the shank is symbolic of one with a sweet temper and knowledge. The conchshell is therefore symbolic of the dissemination of the knowledge of the Gita by Brahma as taught by Shiva. The lotus flower is symbolic of purity and a life of detachment. The lotus flower grows mainly in the swampy wetlands and yet it’s fragrance and beauty is but a wonder. It stands above the water level and welcomes the morning sunrise by opening it’s royal petals. This means one who can live a life of purity even in a degraded vicious environment.

Most deities are adorned with some sort of ornament, if not all, meaning that they are pure, perfect human beings and possessed that specialty in the confluence age. Krishna and Rama incarnations of Vishnu mean the incarnation of all the divine qualities in human life, because neither Krishna nor Rama had four arms. Therefore, incarnation with these ornaments means having these divine qualities in the corporeal form. When self-realization is present there is peace and sweet temper. So Rama is always shown as one with a calm mind and cool and gently life. Vishnu represents the dual form of Lakshmi and Narayan, because when you sing the praise of Sat Narayan ji, you chant ‘ Jai Lakshmi Ramana’. The name Sat Narayan itself means the perfect elevated man of Satyug with complete purity. The ‘bow and arrow’ is symbolic of one who was still battling with ‘gyan and yoga’ in the confluence age and hence the symbol carried by the katriyas in the form of the ‘bow and arrow’. Just for information, the merchant clan was those souls who believed that they could give donations and charity in exchange for blessing and fortune. The shudras were those who were always asking for blessing and forgiveness from God, but they continued the same old decadent life without any effort to change.

Difference between Shri Rama and Shri Ramachandra

Shri Ramachandra was the son of Dasarath and Kausalya, the brother of Lakshman, Satrughn and Bharat and the husband of Sita. He was a silver age soul and ruled the moon dynasty or treta yug. Ramachandra took a corporeal form. On the other hand Shri Rama was bodiless or as we say Nirakaar. He was the incorporeal, bodiless Rama, the one who incarnated to destroy irreligiousness and to reestablish dharma. Recall when people die, family and friends chant with great devotion the following,

‘Ram Naam Bolo. Ram naam satya hai. Satya bolo ghat hai.’ This simply means that at the time of death, if you keep chanting the name of God whose name is Rama, God will remove all obstacles in the journey of the departed soul.

When they chant, they focus on the incorporeal God Rama and not Ramachandra, the corporeal one with the bow and arrow as evidence by the saying:

‘Ake Ram jo sab se nyaarra. Ake Ram bhi sakal pasaraa.’ which means the one God who is distinct and beyond physical form meaning the incorporeal Rama who is Lord of all. It is clear as time progressed many stories got mixed up until people no longer understood that incorporeal Rama and corporeal Ramachandra are distinct and separate in time, age, purpose and duty.

Knowledge, Devotion and Disinterest (Gyan, Bhakti and Viragya)

The terms gyan, bhakti and vairag are commonly used. When translated, they mean "knowledge, devotion and disinterest". The ages of gold, silver, copper, and iron, together with the confluence age completes a cycle. The golden and silver ages were called the "kingdom of Rama" which was characteristic of purity, peace and prosperity and the reign and rule of the deities. The deities and the elements were pure and satopradhan and they followed the path of knowledge that they received at the confluence age. This knowledge is the teachings of the Gita as spoken by God Shiva when he incarnated in the confluence age. They had the awareness that they were souls and that they had to take another body at old age. They did not know about death because they had the knowledge of immortality. Going from one body to another was based on happiness for they simply had a vision when the time came to take another body and this was done through yoga or meditation. Procreation was by divine or yoga power in the kingdom of Rama, whereas procreation was by lust or physical contact in the kingdom of Rawan. This is the difference between a "divine birth" and one as they say to be "born of sin". This was possible because the deities were of the "same image and likeness of God" meaning they had the "same pure qualities and attributes of God". This is the essence of the ‘Amar Katha’. Image does not mean idol or statue, it means a description of the divine godly qualities and attributes in artistic form called iconology.

Bhakti or Devotion

The deities were "worship-worthy". This is why the deities are called gods and goddesses and this brought great confusion in later ages and even more doubt today. At the end of the silver age, the purity of the deities declined to about 10-14 degrees celestial relative to the time they entered the cycle. By the beginning of the copper age, the deities were fast changing from being virtuous to being vicious. This is the reason that some of the deities are portrayed in nude and suggestive sculptors in many temples in India. The copper and iron ages are called the "kingdom of Rawan". This was the beginning of bhakti were temples were constructed and images of the deities created and placed in the temples to be worshipped. Thus the same worship-worthy deities of the kingdom of Rama were now worshippers in the kingdom of Rawan. The first temples to be built were those of "Shiva". The "Shiva Lingam" was created as an image of Shiva, whose form is an oval-shaped point of white conscient light resembling a twinkling star. This was pure unadulterated bhakti at the beginning of the copper age. The Somnath temple was built with pure gold studded with diamonds in praise of Shiva. These temples were looted and ravaged, motivated by greed and power of copper and kali-aged people. Let me assure you, don't anger yourself, because all the stolen wealth of Bharat would be returned soonest.

The vices of anger, greed, ego, lust and attachment, also known as the ‘five evil spirits’ or Rawan first entered at the beginning of the copper age. Bhakti or devotion was pure at first and devotees worshipped Shiva directly with great love, but later people began to worship the deities Lakshmi and Narayan whose childhood days were those of Radhe and Krishna. Later they turned to worshipping the Shaktis such as Saraswati, Durga and Kali as well as Hanuman, Ganesh followed by Rama and Sita. Today in kaliyug, the elements, the planetary system and all things possible are worshipped instead of having yoga with God Shiva. Today, they have yoga with science and its trappings and God is remembered only when they are in sorrow. This is but the pomp and splendor of maya or Rawan.

During the dark ages of copper and iron, Rawan has done such and excellent job of causing confusion in religion, dharma, people, languages and distribution of power and food. People are now totally confused and skeptical. They do not know who or what to believe anymore. This is the reason it is said that when the incarnation comes to free us from the jail of Rawan, He would receive great defamation. It is only at the end they would get this realization of the incarnation called the "Kalki Avatar", but by then it would be too late. The words kalki, kalanki or eklangi mean defamation and hence the explanation of the ‘Kalki Avatar’. Tulsidas advised as he quotes:

"Seekh waakyo deeji-yay. Jo ko seekhh sahaa-e-yay.
Seekhee bandar na deeji yay. Jo haani har kaara e yay"

This means when you wish to give people this knowledge, you have to be clever in knowing who will accept this knowledge. Give this knowledge too only those who will use it wisely for there are many who will use it to cause harm and defamation to you and others.

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