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87. More Beautiful Than The Moon

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 a journey in love, and as Neem Karoli Baba has said, ‘Love is stronger than electricity’.  

Inwardly, the two lions, Shri Rama and Lakshmana returned to their Guru.  Shri Rama explained to Vishvamitra how they had seen the beautiful princess in the palace gardens.  The sage, understanding the feeling within Shri Rama’s heart, blessed them both with the flowers they had brought.  Together they enjoyed their evening meal while their teacher recited old stories from the scriptures.  As they retired to their rooms for the evening, Shri Rama paused by the balcony to look up at the moon.  He said to himself:

People say that the moon is beautiful, but this queen of the night bears no resemblance to Princess Sita.  Dim and obscure by day, with a great blemish on her body, how can the poor moon be compared to the beauty that I have seen?

Time and again the moon appears and disappears–waxing and waning as if cursed by lovesick damsels, and during an eclipse she is devoured by Rahu.  She causes anguish to many birds and even causes the lotus flower to wither in the night.  O moon, there are indeed many faults with you.  It would be a crime to compare you to the beauty that I have seen.

Before going to sleep Shri Rama extolled the feelings which were rising within his heart to the moon.  The next day at dawn Shri Rama woke up and looked at his brother Lakshamana, and said,

Dear brother, the day has arrived to the delight of the lotus flowers, to the delight of the singing birds and to the delight of the whole world.

Joining his hands together in prayer, Lakshmana said,

The day has indeed dawned dearest brother!  The lilies have faded away and the brightness of the night stars have also faded away.  Just as the news of your arrival has dimmed the minds of the princes who have gathered to win the hand of Princess Sita.

The twinkling of the night stars are not enough to remove the darkness of the night.  Just as all of the princes put together can not break Lord Shiva’s bow.  Just as the birds and bees and lotus flowers rejoice at the end of the night, even so my Lord, the lovers of God will rejoice as the bow is broken.

Behold, the sun has risen and the darkness has automatically disappeared.  The stars are nowhere to be seen and light pervades the entire world.  The rising of the sun should be a teaching to all of the princes that there is but one essence in the world.  It is in order to reveal this truth that the lila of the bow breaking has been put into place.

The Lord smiled and pulled Lakshmana closer and hugged him.  He, whose very nature is purity, then performed his morning prayers and devotions before going to bow down to their Guru Vishvamitra.  Meanwhile at Janaka’s palace preparations for the Swayamvara were taking place.  Janaka sent his spiritual guide Satananda to ask Vishvamitra to bring Shri Rama and Lakshmana to the auspicious event.

This is a beautiful moment to pause and reflect on what is being discussed.  Our egos and minds are like the bright stars in the dark night sky, often thinking that they can light up the night sky with their exploits.  Unfortunately, however much they try, they are unable.  But then there is the sun!  The light of the sun removes all of the darkness in the sky.  The individuality that we perceive is merged into oneness when the sun’s light pervades all things.  There is nothing else we need to do to  feel the warmth and light of the sun, it is effortless!  We can see things clearly.  Although at times the world can seem like a dark, cruel, and lonely place, when you feel the divine light of the sun pervade all of existence, there is nothing but light.  Jai Shri Rama!

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