Monday 22 April 2024

The Birth Of The Ramayana - 5

It is not sufficient if the student alone is properly equipped; the teacher also must be well equipped, endowed with wisdom and enlightenment. Välmīki got as his master the saintly Narada, who is described as tapassvādhyāyanirata, muni pungava, and vägvidam vara; that is, he was devoted to study and self-control, was a great seer, and master of the art of speaking. Knowledge of the Self alone will do to attain liberation for oneself. But to be a teacher of humanity, a thorough knowledge of the great scriptures is necessary, in addition to Self-knowledge. Narada, who was a teacher of Valmiki and Vyāsa, was a student of the eternally perfect Sanatkumāra. Närada was well versed in all the branches of secular and spiritual lore. He had pored and pondered over them for long and deeply, and had imparted his mature wisdom to many a worthy seeker. He was a master of the art of speaking and teaching. And that is very essential for a teacher. The word 'Narada' means one who makes man realize his real nature by imparting to him spiritual knowledge: Naram paramātma- vişayakam jñānam dadāti iti Näradah.

Thus, Valmiki's teacher was one who was well versed in the scriptures and endowed with spiritual insight and attainments, one who had a tender heart for his fellow beings and who expressed his fellow feeling by devoting himself heart and soul to the enlightenment of mankind about God.

What will a discerning disciple want to learn from such a great soul, if he were lucky enough to meet one? A good man will speak only of things which are beneficial to the world at large as well as to himself. And what did Välmīki ask of Narada? About a man then alive who was the best of men, the most virtuous, honest, grateful, self-controlled, sympathetic, beautiful, non-jealous, fearless, and a terror to the wicked. A man endowed with these virtues is verily God Himself. In reply to Valmiki's question, Narada narrates the history of Rama of the Iksväku dynasty, and assures that the noble
Rämäyana, which is as sacred as the very Vedas, washes away all stains of man:

Idam pavitram päpaghnam punyam vedaiśca sammitum;

Yah pathed Ramacaritam sarvapāpaih pramucyate.

(Balakända, 1. 98)

Concentration, instruction from a master, the blessings of the great ones, and transcendental vision alone will not make one a poet. Something more is necessary. The gift of the muse must be inborn in oneself. That, too, is not enough. There must be favourable situations that will invoke and provoke the innate gift. All these were happily combined in Valmiki.

- 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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