Ram Darbar and Saraswati-devi Arrive at The Ashram
Shree Peetha Nilaya, 20 February, 2020
On 20 February, 2020, the Bhutabhrteshwarnath Mandir was the site of a day-long ceremony to install the newest additions to the deities of the main temple: Sri Kripanidhe Ramachandra Bhagavan, Sita-devi, Lakshman, and Hanumanji (known collectively as Ram Darbar) and Saraswati-devi!
Introducing the Deities
Jai Gurudev! Here you have Kripanidhe Sri Ramchandra Bhagavan, the Lord of mercy. He is holding in His hand the bow and the right hand is giving the blessing. He is dark in colour because He is everything. His eyes are very merciful.
Next to Him is His wife, Sita-devi, and to His right is Lakshman. Below is Hanumanji, and Hanumanji is so beautiful, looking at his beloved Lord. Then you have Ram Darbar as a Shaligram, which comes from Nepal. In this Shaligram, you have Rama and Sita sitting on the throne. At His feet is Hanuman, Narada, Narad Rishi, Brahma, Ganeshji, Shankar Bhagavan. You have the two brothers, Bharat and Shatrughna. And Lakshmana. And Valmiki is there also. In front is the padam of Sri Rama and in front of Sita is the padam of Sita.
Here is Srimati Saraswati-devi. She is so merciful. You can see Her purity. She is holding a veena in Her hand. In one arm She is holding the scriptures, the other one is holding the mala. She is sitting on a lotus and Her vahana is a swan. The swan symbolises the purity of the mind which is devoid of ignorance. So, through Her blessing, She is holding knowledge in Her hand, and through knowledge your ignorance is removed. The sound is a cosmic sound which elevates you. When you go in spirituality, you hear the cosmic sound of om where everything becomes one, everything; like Krishna said in the Gita, ‘The yogi perceives Me only.’ So, it’s only through the sound of om that one can rise and perceive the Lord everywhere. And how you will do that is only through japam, by chanting of His Divine Name. The mind gets cleared when the Name of the Lord takes its place there. Otherwise, one is always a slave to the mind and one is never free.
So, we ask Ma Saraswati-devi to clear the mind. Ask Saraswati-devi to grant you knowledge to understand things properly; because you like to read so many things, you like to listen to many things, but yet, understanding doesn’t happen. So, ask Her. She is the one who grants that understanding.
This relationship between the Lord and His devotee is amazing.
It’s so beautiful, this bhajan you are singing. [Duniya Chale Na Shri Ram Ke Bina]
To understand what she was singing just now, it’s says that the world can’t exist without Rama, but Rama can’t exist without Hanuman. It’s so funny to see that relationship between Lord Shiva and Rama. In the Shiva Purana, Parvati asks Lord Shankar, ‘You are Maha-deva, no? You are the great Deva, but on whom are You meditating like that?’ Because, you see, for many people, especially Saivites, Shiva is the ultimate. But Shiva is also the one who is the omnipresent one. So, when they personified Lord Shiva, they said, ‘On whom are You meditating?’ Then Lord Shiva said, ‘I am meditating on Rama.’ And Rama, when He closed His eyes, Sita asked, ‘On whom are You thinking?’ He said, ‘I am thinking of Lord Shiva.’
This relationship between the Lord and His devotee is amazing. Very often, you see people fighting each other, but to comprehend that relationship, you will see that Lord Shiva called Sriman Narayana “Prabhu”, and vice versa; Sriman Narayana called Lord Shiva “Prabhu”, and both bow down to each other. This relationship they hold has no separation in it. You can see that when Bhagavan incarnated in the form of Lord Krishna. Lord Shankar could not just sit in Kailash; he could not say, ‘Okay, I will just sit there and wait.’ No, he said, ‘For the Supreme Lord to incarnate on Earth is very rare. I must go and have His darshan.’
In Rama Avatar, Lord Shiva came in the form of Hanuman to be always next to Rama. So, he took that aspect to be there. And when the Lord came in the form of Krishna, it’s so sweet: when Krishna was still a baby, Lord Shiva wanted to have darshan of Lord Krishna as a baby. He said, ‘It’s not that common to have the darshan of the Lord in a human form.’ So, he came in disguise as a sadhu and went to have darshan of Krishna. But Yashoda didn’t allow it. Yashoda said, ‘Please, I’ll give you everything, I’ll give you diamonds, I’ll give you pearls, I’ll give you gold, but I will not give you my son.’
But then he said, ‘At least bring your child outside. I would like to see Him.’
Then Yogmaya came and said to Yashoda, ‘Oh, I told you when I went to Kashi there was this great Maha Purusha, and this is actually the one that I was talking about.’
So, then she was pacified, but she still didn’t give baby Krishna to Shiva in the form of the sadhu.
Then, later, when Bhagavan Krishna was doing His Ras-lila, again Lord Shankar could not resist. He had to come. He came disguised as a gopi. And, of course, Lord Krishna recognised him and said, ‘Okay, I will dance with you.’ This is how he was revealed; caught, actually, because only two people can do the Tandav dance, you know. Only Shiva and Krishna, nobody else. This is the cosmic dance of creation.
When you look at the deity, you will see Hanuman is always sitting. But he is not just sitting. You know, when you are sitting, you are left, right, your eyes are going like that, your mind is wandering left, right. But he is sitting with single-pointed mindedness; he is fixing his gaze upon his beloved Lord. And Rama is also acknowledging him, because when one takes the Lord as their Beloved, the Lord and the lover become one. There is no difference. Each one blends with each other. Even if they stay separate, their quality doesn’t; Rama resides in the heart of Hanuman and Hanuman resides in the heart of Rama. That’s why this bhajan is so beautiful, saying that they can’t stay without the other. And that is that kind of love that you really call love, you know. That you can’t stay without each other. Even though Rama has gone to Vaikuntha, in Hanuman’s heart He is eternally present. And for Hanumanji there is not a single moment that Ram Nam is not upon his lips. There is not a single moment, even if his lips are not moving, that he doesn’t vibrate the Name of Rama.
...Rama is saying, ‘You are equal to my brother, Bharat.’ Bharat was the dearest to Rama. And next to Bharat is Hanuman. So, this relationship is very deep in itself, because Lord Shiva can’t stay without Narayana and Narayana can’t stay without Lord Shiva.
In India, they have this greeting. ‘Radhe, Radhe’ is only in Vrindavan, nowhere else. But everywhere else, people greet you as ‘Ram, Ram’. They don’t say only one ‘Ram’, they say two Rams. You see, if you count it in the Sanskrit alphabet, ‘Ram’ makes the number 54. And when you say ‘Ram, Ram’, you are chanting 108 ‘Ram’. That’s why they greet everyone with ‘Ram, Ram’.
Let’s observe a little bit of the quality of Rama. You all have read the Ramayana or have seen the movie. When we look at Rama, He’s a very confusing figure. Rama’s story is not a wonderful story. He was 14 years in exile. His wife was kidnapped by a villain, Ravana. Do you think He was a happy person? He was always crying. But what makes Him great is the quality which He stands for: when He gave His word, He didn’t go back on His word. That’s what made Him great. When He gave His word to His wife, He stuck to His wife. Even when somebody had stolen His wife, still, He stood by His wife, He went to save His wife. Nowadays, what it would be? Somebody comes and steals your wife, what would you say? ‘Please, take her, I will pay you. You have rendered me a great help.’ But Rama no. He went to search for Her, He went to look for Her. This is when He met Hanumanji. And when they met, Hanuman didn’t recognise Him at first. Although on the outside he didn’t recognise Him, inside he said, ‘I know this person.’
When we look at Rama’s life, he appeared very human. But Hanuman is always there. When you look at the story of Hanuman, he is so powerful in everything, even if he forgot about that power, as it says in the Hanuman Chalisa. He was harassing the saints so much that they made him forget who he was; because he was very powerful and he had all the devas’ blessings with him. But yet, his loyalty, his devotion and dedication to Lord Rama was what made him great. Rama even took him and said, ‘You are equal to My brother, Bharat.’ Forget about whose incarnations they were, but here, one to one, Rama is saying, ‘You are equal to my brother, Bharat.’ Bharat was the dearest to Rama. And next to Bharat is Hanuman. So, this relationship is very deep in itself, because Lord Shiva can’t stay without Narayana and Narayana can’t stay without Lord Shiva. They worship each other, they bow down to each other, but yet, they recognise that each one has their own play to do. So, when he came in the form of Hanuman, he showed his strength, so very powerful, and said, ‘Yes, I will go.’
He never for one moment doubted Rama, but he said, ‘Everybody says You are the Lord of the Universe, but yet, how come You can’t just go and get Your wife?’ This would be in the mind of anybody: ‘You are God, why do You have to send Hanuman to Lanka to find out where Sita is?’ Is there any difference between them? No, it is the same Lord. In one form, He is taking the aspect of a devotee; in another, He is taking the aspect of the Lord Himself.
Hanuman chose to be a servant: he chose to serve Rama and His devotees eternally. When Rama left, He blessed him and said, ‘No, you stay here eternally. You stay here and look after My devotees.’
Bhagavan will come in whatever form you feel close to. And Hanumanji will always help.
Goswami Tulsidas had darshan of Hanuman. How did he have darshan of Hanuman? He heard a voice from a tree and that voice told him, ‘You will recognise Hanumanji because wherever the Name of Rama is being chanted, he will be the first one to come and he will be the last one to leave.’ Because everybody goes for their own convenience, but Hanumanji comes for Rama, because he relishes that nectar of hari katha. So, this is how Goswami Tulsidas met him. Hanuman was sitting there in the form of a sadhu and Goswami Tulsidas said, ‘Prabhu, I know you are Hanumanji.’ And Hanumanji said, ‘No. What are you taking about?’ Goswami Tulsidas said, ‘I will not let you go until you reveal yourself to me.’ He said, ‘You are a mad man, go away!’ And Goswami Tulsidas said, ‘I may be mad, but I will not let go of your feet.’ So, Goswami Tulsidas held the feet of this sadhu. When everybody was gone, Hanuman was pleased with his devotion and he revealed himself and said, ‘Look, I am the servant of the Lord and the Lord will come to you, but you have to recognise Him.’
This is the thing. How would you recognise Him? Because when you look, you look only on the outside. That’s what Lord Krishna said: ‘Fools look only on the outside and then they think that I’m just a mere human being that they see.’ So, Goswami Tulsidas was making chandan, and then these two young fellows came and asked him, ‘Will you give us some chandan?’ When he looked up, he saw not with his physical eyes, but with his inner eyes, and he recognised Rama and Lakshman. But to confirm that, Hanuman was in the tree.
This is just as a reminder that so many devotees of Lord Rama had darshan of Him in that form. You see, Bhagavan will come in whatever form you feel close to. And Hanumanji will always help. When you look at this deity there, he is so cute, I tell you. The way he is looking at Rama! If people would look at Bhagavan like that, when their hearts really melt, do you think He will not come? He will come!
It’s really a wonderful day. Yesterday was Ekadashi, and today is already the beginning of Maha Shivaratri, and you all are here. Like every year, Maha Shivaratri is a great night of Lord Shiva, but it is where your mind rises to connect to something that is higher. That’s what we are celebrating. All these days are blessed days, and this Grace is pouring upon all of you so that you carry this, and you become an instrument of this Grace. Above all, you become an instrument of Love. Nowadays in this world there is everything, but love is lacking. You have corona virus, you have all these things. You know, this is all to boost up your fear. The more fear there is, the more you are vulnerable.
People think that when you have love inside of you, you are weak. Of course, when you have love and you expect something, you will get weak due to that expectation. But if you have true love inside of you, true love is the love of serving. Like Hanumanji, what makes him powerful and strong is his service to Lord Rama. That’s what made him strong: that love that he had for Lord Rama. But when you look around nowadays, you see how Nature is reminding humans to be human. When you look all the Chinese eating so many things, it’s scary. Sorry, there is one Chinese mataji here, but… Somebody sent me a video of the market and how they were killing these poor animals, everything, all kinds of animals. Not only that, they eat even the foetus of unborn babies. They make soup and they eat it. So, there are reminders that human beings are not meant to eat these things: you have mad cow, you have chicken flu, you have all these kinds of things to remind you, so when will you learn? Eh? Now you have corona virus. You just walk around and then you fall down and die, finish! Do you have to wait till that moment comes to remind you about what you are putting inside of you? To remind you that you have to become a human being first?
What is a quality of a human being? It is through love that you can call yourself human.
If you don’t have love inside of you, you can’t call yourself a human being. And that’s what makes you a human being: the quality of love. And that love makes you strong. Don’t think that love is weak, because, as I always say, to love you must be very strong. You know why? Because in loving, there is complete acceptance of the person just as they are. If you don’t have love, you can‘t accept that person as they are. Only through love can you accept the person as they are. People tell you, ‘Yes, we love you, we love you, we love you’ and if tomorrow they hear that you have become spiritual, they will run away from you. Have they ever loved you truly? No, they have never loved you. If they would have truly loved you, they would find always an excuse to love you more. Even if you have a hundred faults, they will always find one good excuse to love you. This is what love does.
So, beyond these reminders of this love, be a human being and remind everybody of that. Whether they laugh at you, whether they criticise you, it doesn’t matter. Be yourself, be how you are. If they love you, they love you; if they don’t love you, it doesn’t matter, but you love. And that’s what Hanumanji stands for. When he is looking at Lord Rama, he is looking at Lord Rama with full compassion. And at the same time it is said that there is no difference between Bhagavan and His devotee. ‘You are in Me and I am in you.’ This is how it is.
When we were travelling in Maharashtra, Swami Aniruddha was in one place in Karnataka, and there is a saint called Shridhar Swami. I don’t know whether you have heard about him, but we have one of his walking sticks here. It’s funny, this Shridhar Swami, was a great devotee of Ramdas, Samarth Ramdas. But when Swami Aniruddha went there, he met the head of the ashram. The head of the ashram looked like Shridhar Swami. Why do you think it is like that? It’s that devotion, that love and that surrender. And that I have noticed in many ashrams. Maybe tomorrow when you see somebody start looking like me here, you will know they have surrendered. Well, probably they will have to get a bit darker. But this is funny, we were talking about that and laughing, but I remember I went to one ashram in Maharashtra, I can’t remember where it was, there was one story of one saint. Actually, she was a woman first. The story goes that she had so much love for her Guru that automatically she became a man. Yes, physically, everything. (I don’t want to go into detail!) But what intense surrender you must have for even your body to transform! So that means normal people can do it. You also can do that. Look at Hanumanji and how he is surrendering to Rama and take him as an example.