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92. Rama Breaks Shiva’s Bow

When Lakshmana realized that his brother’s eyes glanced towards Shiva’s bow, the hairs on his body tingled. He stepped forward and said:

O sacred animals who hold the earth steady, Shri Rama seeks to break Shiva’s bow. Listen for my command as what is about to happen may make the the world shake.

As Rama took delicate steps towards Shiva’s bow, the men and women present that day put their hands together in prayer.   They prayed to the gods to use all of the good karma that they had accumulated in their lives for the lord’s victory. The ignorance, egoism and anger of the princes, the worry of Janaka, the distress of Sita, the anger of Lakshmana…all of these tendencies were like people on a boat made of the bark of Shiva’s bow.  Only by the strength of Shri Rama could they cross the boundless ocean of suffering.

Rama looked towards the crowd with great compassion.  They looked motionless, it was as if he was looking at a picture.  Filled with love, he turned his glance towards Sita who seemed full of distress. Every second that passed for her was like the lifetime of a star.  A thirsty man dies for want of water, even a lake of nectar is useless once a man has died.  Even the monsoon rains are useless if the crop has already withered away.  But what good is there in crying over spilled milk?  The lord was pleased to see Sita’s devotion.

Shri Rama prayed to his guru Vishvamitra, and then lifted the bow with ease.  The bow shone like a bolt of lightning in the sky.  He strung the bow, pulling it tightly with ease…the bow snapped in his hands.  The thundering sound of the bow breaking reverberated throughout the three worlds.

The sun god strayed from his course, the elephants guarding the four directions called out aloud, the earth itself trembled, the king of serpents and other sacred animals all became agitated by the mysterious happenings.  Gods and demons alike covered their ears until they heard that Shri Rama had broken the bow, then they chanted, ‘Victory! Victory!’

The bow of Shankara was the bark for the boat, but it is with the strength of Shri Rama that the ocean of suffering is crossed.  The selfish princes who out of ignorance followed their own egos were broken like the bow.

Shri Rama tossed the bow to the floor and the celebrations began.

The parable of Shri Rama breaking the bow is similar to events in our own lives.  Ram Dass calls this ‘grist for the mill’.  It’s all our spiritual practice.  It’s all an opportunity to celebrate and rejoice in the presence of God.  

The worry, the stress, the anxiety, the anger,  all of these fleeting emotions come and go in life.  We cannot help but have them, but what we can do is not add bark to the fire.  We can witness each event and honour God.  In this way, we can sanctify all of our actions and use them as a boat to cross the ocean of suffering rather than drown in it every time the boat breaks.  

Maharaji said, “Everywhere I look I see only Ram and that is why I’m always honouring everything.”  He saw nothing but God everywhere.  No more stress, no more suffering, only love and compassion.  Let every moment of your life be an occasion to honour the God in every being and allow that divinity to remove the suffering in the hearts of others.  

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