RAMA GOES TO THE FOREST
During Rama’s sojourn in the
forest he met various devotees. One of the most interesting of such encounters
is that with Kevat, a simple boatman. Sri Rama wanted to cross the river and he
asked the boatman Kevat to ferry him across. Kevat refused to take Rama on his
boat until he was allowed to wash Rama’s feet.
In Hinduism washing the feet of
one’s beloved God or teacher is considered a great privilege not accessible to
Kevat, after having washed Rama’s
feet, took the divine trio Rama, Sita and Lakshmana across the river. When Rama
wanted to give him a ring as a payment for Kevat’s services, the latter
He had recognised Rama as God.
Kevat claimed that both Rama and he were in the same profession. Both ferried
people across; he, Kevat, did it across the river whereas Rama ferried his
devotees from Earth to Heaven, from Death to Immortality.
Kevat told Rama that since Rama
owed him a service, he should promise to safely ferry Kevat to God’s land of
Love and Plenty when his time comes.
believe that only a Bhakta (Devotee) has he privilege to talk on such a personal
level. A Bhakta truly loves, and love makes one fearless.
came to Kevat. Kevat did not have to go to Rama.
above is symbolic.
Bhakti (the path of Love) one just loves and surrenders to that Love. God being
Love does the rest.
He comes to you.
Bharata and Shatrughna returned from their maternal grandparents’ home, they
were shocked at what had transpired in Ayodhya during their absence.
refused to acknowledge Kaikeyi as his mother.
would wonder how Bharata, who is symbolic of Love, could disown his own mother.
has been mentioned that Bharata did not only stand for Love, he stood for
Dharma, he stood for “What is right”.
sometimes takes the form of a Doctor who inflicts pain on a patient to relieve
him of a greater malady.
was angry with his mother to the point of disowning her to make her aware of
the great harm she had done due to her false attachment, which she mistook for
her love for her son Bharata.
also refused the throne. He decided to proceed to Chitrakoot, a nook where Rama,
Sita and Lakshmana had made their abode in the forest.
decided to go there to persuade his brother to return to Ayodhya to take his
rightful place on the throne.
journey to Rama and Sita in Chitrakoot is symbolic of an aspirant’s spiritual
first, the forest-dwellers Bharata met on the way to Chitrakoot felt that
Bharata was a hypocrite pretending to be a saint. However Bharata urged them to
come along with him.
true sage has such love and compassion that he does not want to go to God alone.
He wants to take all whom he comes in contact.
is also symbolic of love.
his way to Chitrakoot, Bharata reaches the great pilgrim centre Prayag Raaj.
There he proclaims that he does not desire anything but to be able to serve Rama.
that what true love only desires?
Rama and Bharata meet. Sri Rama however feels that he cannot return to Ayodhya
despite Bharata’s desire.
is made to understand that even though love is greater than duty, love never
demands. True love allows freedom to his beloved to do what he deems right.
Rama promised to accept the throne after 14 years and in the meantime urged
Bharata to be its caretaker.
asked for Sri Rama’s wooden sandals.
wooden sandals Bharata kept on the throne while he executed the duties of
running the kingdom.
said he wanted to constantly remember that he was only a caretaker.
only we could remember that we too are caretakers of our possessions! All we
possess truly belongs to God, which is to be returned ungrudgingly whenever
the time is up.
greatness of the Ramayana lies in the idealistic behaviour of its characters.
brothers all know the art of giving and in that sacrifice lay their happiness.
this to the strife prevalent in today’s world where one is not satisfied with
what one possesses and wants to usurp our so-called near and dear ones’ rights
by unfair means, if need be.
can we then have peace of mind? In our Hindu philosophy it is said one cannot
expect flowers, where one plants thorns.