Ramayan: A Yogic Allegory

Ram symbolizes a Yogi-Sahdhak. He broke Shivdhanushya into pieces- this is the Avayava Chhedan of Merudanda (spinal chord). This experience can be achieved by superior Yoga practice only. Ram broke Shivdhnushya and got married to Sita (self-experience). He gave up worldly life and along with Sita (self-experience) and Laxmana (discretion/ prudence) eminent Yogi Ram lived in the forest Dandakaranya (for doing the penance of Merudanda Sadhana). After carrying out such Sadhana for 14 years with maturity and prudence, a Sadhak can become one with his soul. Some studies suggest that, 12- 14 years of celibacy also helps gather enough virility for a sadhak to potently direct the kundalini towards its goal.

Dandakaranya is a forest, where the house namely Panchvati is made of five senses. Ram cuts ears and nose of Shurpanakha (Avyava Chhedan or desire for women) and kills the golden deer i.e. covetousness. He has left his kingdom too. Thus, Ram is ready for Sadhana after giving up his all materialistic wishes. As Laxman (prudence) follows him Ram performs his Yog-Sadhana. Royal self-experience (Sita) is taken away by Brahmadnyana Ravan. When Sita, self-experience is lost, Ram becomes desperate and yearns for her. Laxman keeps his balance. The air element, Hanuman, meets Ram at Pampa Sarovar, the water element, and helps him to find out Sita. Hanuman, is one with the hanuvati, a chin. The dasa (servant) of atma ram (the self god) is Hanuman.  Sita is found at Brahmarup Ravan. Since Ravan has taken her away, Ram has to fight with him to get her back. This is the battle between good and evil attitudes. In this battle Ram kills Kumbhakarna who symbolizes Sadhana done by only listening. Other ill wills are also killed in this attitudinal war of Ram and Ravan. Egoistic Ravan has a son Indrajit, who has command over his limbs. Ram asks Laxman to kill Indrajit who is busy performing Yadnya. Brahmavastha is in the form of Ravan. He is egotistic as he has mastery over Vedas and knowledge. So Ram has to target his heart, meaning thereby, he has to change the mind-set totally and nurture that good attitude. Ravan is thus merged into Ram. Sita, self-experience, acquires grace of Brahmadnyan but has to go through an ordeal. Now, Sita is sacred, pure and symbolizes divine self-experience. She is also waiting to meet Ram after her stay with Brahmanubhuti. Ram and Sita and Laxman return to Ayodhya, a place where there is no war but peace. Ram symbolizes a Yogi-sadhak leading a peaceful life. Sita conceives two virtues namely Lav (time) and Kush (penance). Thus Ram achieves authority for Samdahivastha. But Story of Ramayan continues.

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Which is the highest or best Yoga practice?

I love answering this question always and my answer, as always is, none. Yoga, is the end, not the means to achieve the end. Yoga is communion with the self. So whatever means suits you catches your attention, or strikes you as pragmatic and effective.

  • Ha tha Yoga
  • Kundalini Yoga
  • Sahaj Yoga
  • Kriya Yoga
  • SIddha Yoga
  • Tantra

among other instruments, to achieve this communion, are just instruments. Everything that we possibly need, is already there with us. Samkhya Cosmology maintains that there are 25 tattvas that manifest in this universe or creation. Incidentally (or not?), research shows that the human body contains 25 elements including some trace elements (not all) from the current periodic table, that play significant biological roles. Some may argue that there are 58 known elements or even all of them in our body. So be it.

The point here is, the human body is perhaps one of the most complex systems to have evolved. It encompasses the best known biological, chemical, electrical, magnetic and physical systems within it. It is not a wonder then, human beings are amongst the sentient species known. The human body is the best available tool, equipped with a powerful mind, to probe beyond the observable, to inquire the supernatural and to discover the metaphysical. Ultimately, to merge with the spiritual.

Anyways, I digress, coming back to which Yoga practice is the best; I would like to use the western movie analogy here. A cowboy who could draw fast, was the one who could shoot the others. He may or may not have the best hand gun in the world. His foes and contestants could even have rifles, cannons, shotguns. But, the gun was  and is as good as the hand that uses it. And, the hand is as fast as the mind that uses it. This was true, even when all shootists trained hard for precision and speed.

Similarly, in all yogic practices the body and the mind have to be trained. Scriptures, texts, tutelage, music, dance, entheogens, chanting, exercises and practice are all part of the training. This training is more to restructure the conditioning of the mind, to  be able to comprehend or accept that is inherent and within,  to better make sense of the day to outwardly experiences that we accumulate post birth.

Like the Oracle says to Neo in the Matrix, ” You have already made the choice! You are here to understand why you made it.”

There have been seers, religious revolutionaries like J. Krishnamurti who sought freedom from the Guru, the book, the tradition and the authoritarian voice of another. “Truth is within you”, he said, and to discover the truth in the luminous light of perception was to transform the very nature of thought and consciousness. It was to awaken intelligence, insight and abundant compassion. The total responsibility lies with the individual. No one, according to J.K. can free another.

Then there was, who I dare to call the nihilist yogi, U. G. Krishnamurti. He was an Indian thinker who questioned enlightenment. Although necessary for day to day functioning of the individual, in terms of the Ultimate Reality or Truth, he rejected the very basis of “thought” and in doing so negated all systems of thought and knowledge in reference to It.

“Tell them that there is nothing to understand.” he said.

Although many considered him an “enlightened” person, U.G. often referred to his state of being as the “natural state.” He claimed that the demand for enlightenment was the only thing standing in the way of enlightenment itself, if enlightenment existed at all. Incidentally, to clutch on to nirvana was also a desire and not a fool proof mechanism, as per the Buddha.

The legendary, Shri Ramakrishna Paramahansa, changed his religion several times to explore the ideology and philosophy behind each. Changing a religion for a Hindu was then and even today is a great taboo. Ramakrishna Paramahansa saw the mother goddess Kali in his wife and remained a celibate thereafter.

All said and done, all perceptions, ideas, beliefs and systems can be changed, broken, reused,  Religious doctrines, texts, philosophies, teachers, yogic systems all exist in abundance for men to extract what facilitates their quest and discard what they cannot. This does not imply, however, that we disrespect the means or belittle the efforts of others. Talking, listening, reading, following, imitating, meditating, self-enquiry, questioning, all are part of the process. Like a clay sculptor, who adds and removes clay as needed to sculpt, we must learn to imbibe and let go as need be. Adapt and Improvise.

Caste Away

Purushasuktam

 The Purusha Suktam, to quote wikipedia, “gives a description of the spiritual unity of the universe. It presents the nature of Purusha or the cosmic being as both immanent in the manifested world and yet transcendent to it.[2] From this being, the sukta holds, the original creative will (later identified with Brahma, Hiranyagarbha or Prajapati) proceeds which causes the projection the universe in space and time.[3] The Purusha sukta, in the seventh verse, hints at the organic connectedness of the various classes of in the society.”

This is a verse from the Purusha Suktam.
Brahmanoasya mukhamasida bahu rajanyakritah. Uru tadasya yadvaishya padabhyam kshudro ajayat. (Rigveda 10.90.12, Yajurveda.31.11)

Despite other rich spiritually meaningful verses the sukta offers, this particular verse stands out. It seems to have deeply affected the development of Hindu beliefs and traditions as we know today.  The Hindu caste system or the Varnas, have an inseparable association with this verse. The inception of the varna {class} system can be traced back to this innocuous verse from the Vedas. 
 
Literally translated, the verse means, Brahmanas are the mouth of the Purushaha, Kshatriyas his arms, Vaishyas his thighs and Kshudras his feet. 
 
Gross misinterpretation of the Sanskrit verse, could be a probable cause of all contemporary communal feuds.  The Purusha suktam describes and glorifies the “Cosmic Being”. It quantifies and qualifies the physical, metaphysical and spiritual properties of the Purusha. Like in poetry, the opulence of the Purusha are metaphorically and exotically presented.
Since the sentiment is to describe the qualities of the Purusha, let us revisit the verse, with this sentiment. 
Brahmano-asya mukham-aasid
The mouth, more appropriately the quality of speech of the Purushaha is that of all the brahmanas combined. Thus the cosmic being possesses the collective knowledge of all creation.
Bahu rajanyakritah
The arms represent the collective strength of all the warriors. It should be noted that warriors were also called “Bahu balis” the one with strong arms. Thus the Purusha is poetically said to have immeasurable proportions of strength in his arms.
Uru tadasyad-vaishya
 Vaishyas represent, tradesmen, merchants, craftsmen and skilled workers who form the central support system of an economy. Comparable, to the femur (thigh bone), which  is closest to the centre of the body in all vertebrates. It is also the strongest and the largest bone in the body. The Purusha’s thighs are comparable to the combined reliability of support that all the Vaishyas have to offer. 
 
Alternatively it can also signify the sedentary working style of the Vaishyas and might be an allegorical reference to the ones who are seated all the time.  
 
Padavyaam kshudro ajayat
Those who perform hard labor, masons, laborers et al, are the foundation of development of a system. The Purusha’s body is such a system, of which the feet are the foundation. Again an allegorical attempt.  
 
The stratification of the zones of the Purusha’s body are allegorical representation of delegation of responsibilities within a system. It does not dictate or suggest any economic discrimination or social discrimination. Any individual is free to choose any of the four responsibilities, with the implicit urge to fulfill the responsibilities reliably. 

The path to salvation is open to all the four sects of responsibility.  

 

Primordial Lord

The all pervasive, all permeating essence.
Dark and beautiful.
Who holds the flute of seven holes (seven chakras)
Breathes the divine life force into the holes
Creates divine music
Primordial, Pristine
The Dark Energy that embalms the infinite universes is his consort
The Gravitational Potential energy (Bala) his brother
सर्व आकर्षति इती क्रष्ण: