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The Spiritual Essence of Ram Navami

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Sri Sri Ravi Shankar
‘Ra’ means light, radiance. English words like rays and radiance come from Ram. ‘Ma’ means myself. Ram means the light within me, the light in my heart. That which shines forth within you is Ram. That which is radiant in every particle of the being, of creation, is Rama.
Ram is known for his truthfulness, he is considered to be perfect in all human behavior and an ideal king. Mahatma Gandhi once said, ‘You take away everything from me, I can live. But if you take away Ram, I cannot exist.’
Lord Rama was born to Dasharatha and Kaushalya. Dasharatha means ‘the ten-charioted one’ in Sanskrit. It signifies the five sense organs and the five organs of action. Kaushalya in Sanskrit means ‘skilled’.
The skillful driver of the ten chariots can give birth to Ram. When the five sense organs and the five organs of action are used skillfully, radiance is born within. Rama was born in Ayodhya, which means ‘the place where no war can happen’. When there is no conflict in the mind, then radiance dawns. Just realize that you are radiant.
The whole Ramayana is happening right within us. Rama is the Self. Lakshmana is the awareness. Sita is the mind and Ravana is ego. Sita got enamored by the golden deer. The nature of mind is to waver, similar to how the nature of water is to flow.
Our mind gets enamored by objects and goes towards them. It gets abducted by the ego and gets separated from the Self. Hanuman is also called Pavanputra, the son of wind. Hanuman helps Rama get Sita back.
So, with breath and awareness (Hanuman and Lakshmana), the mind (Sita) gets united with the Self (Rama). What is pranayama? It is breathing with awareness. Just a few days of continuous practice of meditation can silence the mind and change the quality of your life. Our breath holds a lot of secrets because, for every emotion in the mind, there is a corresponding rhythm in the breath. When one cannot handle the mind directly, it can be handled through breath. The mind is like a kite and breath, the string. You don’t have to take Prozac if you can attend to the breath.
The creation is made up of five elements and the ten organs. What is more important – objects or the senses? Senses are more important than objects of the sense. Your eyes are more important than television. Ears are more important than music or sound. Many do not realize this. They think sense objects are more important than the senses. They know that watching too much TV is not good for the eyes, yet they don’t care about their eyes and keep watching television. They know that their system does not want a lot of food, yet they will give into the taste and eat more.
Mind is more important than the senses. When mind is not cared for and only senses are given into, you can get depressed. When your craving for things becomes more important than the mind, then you will find it difficult to be happy. The mind is kept alive by cravings and aversions – shoulds or should not’s and wants.
So, how to stop the fight of the mind? Meditation and breathing techniques is the answer. Through this, people can experience bliss. To be in bliss is total rest. They also help in maintaining health as well as purify the mind, intellect and emotions and your inner space, the space that rules your life. It is the space from which all thoughts and emotions emerge, of which you are simply a puppet.
When your emotions rise high, you become a victim of your own emotions. If your thought patterns are prejudiced, then you behave in a prejudiced manner. We seldom take time to look at our own emotions, look at our own thought patterns, at what’s happened inside. We act before thinking; we act before even resolving our feelings. Inner rules are just like the watchman, the doorkeeper, but the emotions are the owner of the home. So when the owner barges in, the doorkeeper just gives way. And this is exactly what happens.
When the mind settles down, only then ‘total rest’ or meditation happens. The mind that has come back home, to the source, is meditation. Mind that becomes ‘no mind’ is meditation. Train the mind a little to live in the present moment. Drop the stress, tension and strain that you are carrying for nothing. When the flight of the mind stops, you experience, total rest and complete alertness. In that state, all the ten organs cooperate with you and you become one with the creation. And then, Rama is born.
(The author is a spiritual Guru)

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