Sunday 21 April 2024

The Birth Of The Ramayana - 4

Swami Vivekananda says that the first requisite for proper education is concentration. The greatest tapas is the control and concentration of the senses and the mind (manasaśca indriyānām ca aikāgryam paramam tapah). And Välmiki was endowed with this prerequisite abundantly, as is evi- dent by the use of the adjunct 'tapasvī' in the verse quoted above. The story goes that the poet was a robber in his early days, who, on the advice of some sages who fell victim to his villainy, performed severe austerities for such a long period that he was covered over with valmika, white ants' mound. When he came out of the mound, he was a changed man: he had turned out to be a sage. Since he had a resurrection through the valmika, he came to be known as Välmiki. So his very name is indicative of very severe tapas. Tapas makes one a qại, a mantra- drastā, a seer of the saving truths about God. The Ramayana is the result of Val- miki's spiritual vision; it is a garland of mantras. The poet promises an honour- able place at the feet of the Lord for the man who devoutly listens to the Ramayana in full or even in part:

Srunvan Ramayanam bhaktyā yah padam padamova va;

Sa yati Brahmana sthānam Brahmaņā pūjyate sadā.

(Uttarakanda, CXI. 24)

This is the reward the poet offers to the student of his sacred book.

Thus far we have spoken of one-pointed- ness and transcendental vision. But these alone are not enough to make one a great poet. One has to acquire knowledge from a noble teacher. How can one gain knowledge from another? Humility, earnest ness, and obedient service are the essential pre-conditions to acquire wisdom from others. An enlightened teacher will most gladly transmit his knowledge to such an earnest student. How did Välmīki approach his teacher Narada? The opening verse says, paripapraccha, humbly and earnestly did he inquire.

- by Swami Siddhinathananda (courtesy : Prabuddha Bharat 1965 Oct)

To be continued ..

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मुक्तसंग्ङोऽनहंवादी धृत्युत्साहसमन्वित:।
सिद्ध‌‌यसिद्धयोर्निर्विकार: कर्ता सात्त्विक उच्यते ॥१८.२६॥

Freed from attachment, non-egoistic, endowed with courage and enthusiasm and unperturbed by success or failure, the worker is known as a pure (Sattvika) one. Four outstanding and essential qualities of a worker. - Bhagwad Gita : XVIII-26

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