The following post is one from the Ramacharitmanas series by Hanuman Dass. Every week, we move forward in our journey through the Ramayana of Love, as spoken by the great Saint Tulasidas. The Ramacharitmanas has been described by the Acharya Vinoba Bhave as being similar to a cross between the Bible and Shakespeare. The Ramacharitmanas is like an ocean of love and bliss and the hope is that these posts will provide a sense of the bhava and how one can benefit by way of immersion in its waters. Above all else, the Ramacharitmanas is an journey in love, and as Neem Karoli Baba has said, ‘Love is stronger than electricity’.
The Lord, Shri Rama passed his time in merriment, teasing his mother and maids of the palace. Just like any innocent child his early years passed blissfully and filled with the endless love of his mother. It is inconceivable that the foundation of the cosmos, the truth of reality, that which the greatest sages could not grasp, was being chased and scolded by his mother.
As the Lord and his brothers grew older, the time soon came for them to study at the feet of the Guru. After receiving blessings from their parents and the sacred thread from their Guru, the Lord of the Raghus along with his brothers departed for the Guru’s abode. Within no time at all, the young children grasped knowledge which usually took years for other children to understand. What a great game it all was! Shri Rama, whose very breathe is the Vedas themselves, was sitting and studying the scriptures at school. Attentive to his studies, perfectly polite, living according to dharma and adhering respectfully to all of the customs in his Guru’s home, Shri Rama exemplified how to live as a student.
The children spent their spare time playing games in the forest groves; everyone who came into contact with them became enamored by their beauty and grace. Shri Rama would always wait for his brothers before taking his meals, he would always listen to his parents, he would wake at sunrise and listen to the chants of the Vedas and Puranas with great attention. Before leaving home he would always touch his parent’s feet, or his Guru’s feet, such was the respect this young boy showed. His father, the King was so proud of this perfect child–he who is without any attributes, all pervasive, beyond all name and form, without desire, performed this great game, this great show, for the sake of his devotees.
The belief is that Shri Rama came to show us a way to live and serve as an example of universal attributes for us to follow. Valmiki Ramayana, an earlier version of the Ramayana, explains that Shri Rama is full of virtue, understands right action, is conscious of good service, is truthful and speaks kindly, whose conduct is exemplary. Shri Rama is a friend to all beings. He is full of splendor, intelligent, eloquent, possesses complete mindfulness with all senses under control. His body strong and powerful and perfectly formed. He is intent on doing good by all people and very pure in his dealings; he supports the world. A protector of all living beings, he knows the truth of the Vedas and the Vedic sciences. He is both fair and kind and like the Himalayas provides a firm foundation for life. Equal to mother Earth in forbearance, equal to the God of wealth in prosperity, he is Dharma manifested perfectly.
The above is just a small excerpt from a huge list of attributes listed by the Shri Narada, It is hoped that by reading the Ramayana, we slowly but surely can take on some of these admirable qualities exemplified by Shri Rama.