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Symbolism of Ramayana – 2


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Does materialism provide anything more than mere physical comfort? It is not a solution to the problem of life. Spiritual and cultural values alone can save the world. This idea is brought out in the Ramayana.

Laksmana represents tapas (austerity). He had no reason to go to the jungle. But he left of his own accord, and he lives in perfect brahmacharya, even without sleep. It is a perfect tapas. But then, one cannot live in tapas. The delusion of the other world will force you to give it up. The moment Sitā hears the sound of Rāma’s voice, she forgets Rāma’s glory and might and becomes anxious about His safety. She even urges Lakşmana to go to her husband’s aid. And when Lakşmaņa assures her that the great Rāma will never come to any harm, for there is none to match Him in skill and valor, Sītā severely rebuffs him. Even an ordinary cheap woman would not employ such language. Why? Once you get intoxicated with a desire, the leprous ulcer of the mind will ooze out pus and blood. When the beautiful ideal woman Sītā utters such malignant words, Lakşmana is shocked into silence. He goes away, drawing a line of demarcation around the hut, urging her not to go beyond it.

Once desire enters your bosom, as an ordinary individual, you cannot constantly live In tapas. But you can at least draw a line – thus far and no further. But once tapas has been given up, such lines are of no use. You readily step over them. And when you do this, instead of Daśaratha, you are confronted by Dasamukha, the opposite character. The latter is an extrovert as the former is self-controlled. The sensuous materialistic power persuades Sītã to cross over the line because, as long as you are within the moral boundary, secularism cannot affect you. You go beyond it, and permissiveness Starts and Dasamukha ensnares you.

Dasamukha does not mean having five heads on the right and another five on the let, with one neck in between. The five jñānendriyas and the five karmendriyas together constitute the Daśamukha. An extrovert man lives in the flesh, for the flesh, and by the flesh; it is the rule of the flesh. Such a man is a sensualist and a total extrovert. Materially he can become great as did Rāvaņa who ruled over a prosperous land, Lañkā. Compared to this land, Ayodhya was underdeveloped and village-like with perhaps bullock carts plying on the roads, while in Lankā the country boasted of the Puşpaka vimana-the herald of the age of space travel.


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