1 May 2020
Sita Rama Katha
Ramayana – The Divine History!
Welcome to all of you. It has been announced that there are many festivals and Vai?nava tithis in the upcoming 7 days till 7 May. There is Sita Navami, Rukmini Dvadasi, Narasimha Caturdasi and on 7 May there is thea appearance day of Madhavendra Puri and Radha Raman Deity of Vrindavan. The Sila became Radha Raman. There will be katha for 7 days. I was thinking whether we should do katha from 6.30 to 7.30 am or 8 to 9 am?
Let’s discuss this. We don’t have much time. Temple brahmacaris are also sitting here. What do you think?I think it’s good if everything gets done in one sitting. Otherwise you will also need to come back – first for chanting and then for katha. It’s better to have the chanting and katha in one go. Many devotees are in favour of 6.30 to 7.30 am. Katha will end at 7.30 am. I am of the opinion that the katha should be conducted between 6.30 to 7.30 am. Let’s do it then. We will not do kirtana as japa is kirtana itself. You have to stop chanting by 6.30 am. This class will be released in the evening on YouTube as well. This will be broadcasted later.
This can be called a katha mahotsava or ?ravanotsava sapta. There is netrotsava also – festival for the eyes. Darsana of Lord Jagannatha opens in Jagannatha Puri one day before Ratha-yatra. Jagannatha temple remains closed for some days and when it opens again, devotees eagerly gather to receive darsana of their Lord, thinking that for so many days they didn’t have darsana and that day they will have darsana. It is a feast for the eyes. Prasada is a feast for the tongue, darsana a feast for the eyes and katha a feast or festival for the ears.
Srila Gopal Guru Goswami has written a commentary on the Hare Krishna maha-mantra.
sva-presthena saha svabhista-lilam sravaya
O Radha! O Hari! O Ram! O Sita! Please let me hear about your pastimes that you performed with your beloved. (9th Hare, of maha-mantra. Radha Krishna Smaran Paddhati, Gopal Guru Goswami)
This is ?ravanotsava. Then later he has said, sva-presthena saha svabhista-lilam darsaya
O Radhe! O Hari! Please show me your pastimes that you performed with your beloved. Let me have darsana!(11th Hare, Radha Krishna Smaran Paddhati, Gopal Guru Goswami)
jagann?tha? sv?m? nayana-patha-g?m? bhavatu me
May that Jagannatha Svami be the object of my vision
In this katha, there will be hearing and then darsana also. There can’t be darsana without ?ravana. Of the nine forms of devotional service sravana is the first. This will be a ?ravanotsava for the ears, then netrotsava for the eyes.
santa? sadaiva h?daye?u vilokayanti
ya? ?y?masundaram acintya-gu?a-svar?pa?
govindam ?di-puru?a? tam aha? bhaj?mi
I worship the primeval Lord, Govinda, who is always seen by the devotee whose eyes are anointed with the pulp of love. He is seen in His eternal form of ?y?masundara, situated within the heart of the devotee. (Brahma-samhit? 5.38)
By hearing about the Lord, when will streams of tears glide down from our eyes? When this happens, we will have darsana of the Lord. As Rama Katha takes place, we will be taken to Treta-yuga. When there is Rukmini Katha, we will be taken to Dvapara-yuga and when Narasimha Katha takes place, we will be taken to Satya-yuga. This katha will allow us to have darsana of all these three yugas.
There will be katha of Sita Rama for the first 3 days. Then katha of Rukmini Dvadasi for the next 2 days which will include Rukmini Dvarakadish, Rukmini Haran. On Mohini Ekadasi, we will hear about the glories of Vitthala Rukmini and Pandharpur Dhama. Then there will be katha on the Appearance of Narasimha dev and on the last day on the appearance of Madhavendra Puri and Radha Raman.
Katha of Rama Sita is not just a story of a King and Queen. The story could be fiction also. But this is not a story, it is a history. There was a time in Treta-yuga when Lord Rama was there. Lord Rama and Mother Sita appeared from Saket dhama. Ayodhya dhama is in between Vaikuntha and Goloka. Lord Rama appeared from there. Lord Rama was on this planet for 11000 years.
dasa sahasra dasa shatani ca
Dasa sahasra means 10000 and dasa satani means 1000. For 11000 years, Lord Rama, Sita and Their associates lived in Ayodhya. They went to Lanka and returned to Ayodhya by Pushpak plane. Lord Rama became the King of Ayodhya. If rule or governance has to be there, then it should be like that of Lord Rama. Ramayana and Mahabharata are histories and the one who has written this Ramayana history is Valmiki Muni. He did not witness it, He was given special ability by Lord Brahma.
Ramayana was written by Valmiki Muni on the banks of Ganga in his asrama while Lord Rama was performing His pastimes. Only a few years had passed of the 11000 years and Bala-kanda was completed. There are 7 Kandas (cantos), 500 sargas (chapters) and 24000 verses in Ramayana. There is Bala Kanda, Ayodhya Kanda, Aranya Kanda, Kishkindha Kanda, Sundara Kanda, Yuddha Kanda and Uttara Kanda. Rama Vijay mahotsava had happened. Lord Rama killed Ravana, returned to Ayodhya and became king.
One time Lord Rama was roaming in His kingdom to get to know what the people of His kingdom think about Him. He heard one washerman chastising his wife. ‘Lord Rama might have accepted Sita Devi, but I won’t accept you.’ He was blaming Lord Rama. When Lord Rama heard this blasphemy, He ordered Laksmana to send Sita Devi away. Lord Rama was strict. Laksmana didn’t want to send Sita into the forest again, but Lord Rama was Agraj (elder) and Laksmana was Anuj (younger) even though They had appeared on the same day. Everyone respected Lord Rama. It was an order from Sri Rama and Laksmana fulfilled His order. Laksmana thought, ‘When We appear the next time, I won’t appear as a younger brother but as an elder brother and Lord Rama will appear as a younger brother.’ Hence in Dvapara-yuga, Laksmana appeared as Balarama and Lord Rama appeared as Sri Krsna. He didn’t leave Mother Sita just anywhere, but near the asrama of Valmiki Muni. Valmiki Muni gave shelter to Mother Sita. At that time Mother Sita was pregnant. When Prahlada Maharaja’s mother was pregnant, she was also given shelter by Narada Muni. Sita started to stay in Valmiki Muni’s asrama when she was pregnant. Luv and Kush were born and grew up within his asarama.
This is now the 7th and last Uttara Kanda taking place. Lord Rama had just returned to Ayodhya after exile. He went to exile once and sent Mother Sita to exile twice. At this time, Valmiki Muni had compiled Ramayana. The 1st sarga of Bala kanda is also known as ‘Sankshipta Ramayana’ or ‘Mool Ramayana’. It comprises of 100 verses. This sarga is compiled by Narada Muni.
One time Narada Muni came to Valmiki Muni’s asrama. He keeps on chanting the names of Radhika Raman and Sita Rama. Valmiki Muni asked Narada Muni,
ka? nu asmin s??pratam loke gu?av?n ka? ca v?ryav?n |
dharmajña? ca k?tajña? ca satya v?kyo dh??ha vrata? ||
Who really is that person in this present world, who is principled and also a potential one, a conscientious one, a redeemer, and also a truth-teller and self-determined in his deed… (1-1-2, 2 verse, 1 sarga, Bala Kanda)
“At this point of time on Earth who is great in strength, truth personified and maintainer of the welfare of all living entities. I want to hear about such a personality.” This is an inquiry about absolute truth.
Narada Muni answered,
ik?v?ku va??a prabhavo r?mo n?ma janai? ?ruta? |
niyata ?tm? mah?v?ryo dyutim?n dh?tim?n va?? ||
One emerged from the Ikshvaku dynasty and known to people as Rama by his name, and he is conscientious, highly valorous, resplendent, steadfast and a controller of vice and vile.and his own senses, as well.(1-1-8- verse, 1 sarga, Bala Kanda)
Sit like a yogi when you are hearing or chanting. When you sit like a bhakti yogi then there will be Sravanotsava or Karnotsava.
Narada Muni said, “That personality is Lord Rama.” Narada Muni described the whole Ramayana in one sarga or chapter of Bala Kanda. At the end of the 1st sarga, he described Treta-yuga and also described the miserable situation in the age of Kali. There was a different situation in Treta-yuga.
prah???o mudito loka? tu??a? pu??a? sudh?rmika? |
nir?mayo hi aroga? ca durbhik?a bhaya varjita? ||
When Rama is enthroned then the world will be highly regaled and rejoiced, exuberant and abundant, also rightly righteous, trouble-free, disease-free, and free from fear of famine.Thus Narada is foreseeing the future and telling Valmiki.(1-1-90 verse, 1 sarga, Bala Kanda)
How were the people at that time? All the people in Treta-yuga were blissful, but now the people are unhappy. All of them were satisfied which means that at that time their nourishment was available. They were righteous, free from adhi and vyadhi. They were not diseased or ill in mind and body. Mental illness is more dangerous than physical illness. It is said that 20% of the population of America is fit to be sent to the mental hospital. Prabhupada would say that the people of Kali-yuga won’t give charity. There will be no sign of atithi devo bavah. Instead there will be a sign ‘Beware of the dog’ at the entrance. Since there will be no prosperity people will not be in a position to give charity. But at that time, people donated freely.
na putra mara?am kecit drak?yanti puru??? kvacit |
n?rya? ca avidhav? nityam bhavi?yanti pati vrat?? ||
While Rama is on the throne men will not see the deaths of their children anywhere in their lifetime, and the ladies will remain husband-devout and unwidowed during their lifetime.(1-1-91 verse, 1 sarga, Bala Kanda)
At that time sons never died while their fathers were still alive. Seniors died first. Women were pati vrata (husband-devout). The women lived for lesser years than their husbands and hence there were no widows.
na ca agnijam bhayam kincit na apsu majjanti jantava? |
na v?tajam bhayam kincit na api jvara k?tam tath? ||
In the kingdom of Rama there is no fear for subjects from wildfires, gale-storms or from diseases. (1-1-92 verse, 1 sarga, Bala Kanda)
One of thhe symptoms of Coronavirus is a fever. But in Treta-yuga, no one suffered from a fever.
na ca api k?ut bhayam tatra na taskara bhayam tath? |
nagar??i ca r???r??i dhana dh?nya yut?ni ca ||
There is no fear from hunger or thieves, nor the cattle is drowned in floodwaters. May it be a township or a remote province, it will be replete with coin and grain. (1-1-93 verse, 1 sarga, Bala Kanda)
There was no hunger or thirst at that time. Today many people are dying because of starvation. At that time there was no stealing. Today security businesses has risen. There was no need for any protection or guarding anything at that time. This all happened at that time. This is history. Narada Muni is saying this. This is a 9 hundred thousand year old history, but still it’s very fresh. It remains fresh news. In Kali-yuga yesterday’s news becomes old today and we put the newspaper in the garbage. But scriptural news is always fresh. We should hear scriptures with faith.
idam pavitram p?paghnam pu?yam vedai? ca sa?mitam |
ya? pa?het r?ma caritam sarva p?pai? pramucyate ||
This Ramayana is holy, sin-eradicating, merit-endowing, and conformable with the teachings of all Vedas… and whoever reads this Legend of Rama, he will be verily liberated of all his sins…(1-1-98 verse, 1 sarga, Bala Kanda)
Narada Muni said, “Whosoever will read or hear this Ramayana with attention will result in getting rid of their sins. This is a punya (holy) katha and one who will hear this, will become a pious soul.”
hari mukhe mahna hari mukhe mahna
punyachi ganana kon kari
Jai Jai Rama Jai Jai Rama Jai Jai Rama
Jai Jai Rama Jai Jai Rama Krishna Hari
Oh Seeker, Chant Hari! Chant Hari all the time. Don’t worry about counting how much Punya gets accumulated. (Hari Path, – Hari Mukhe Mahna, Abhanga 1, Sant Jnaneshwar Maharaja)
By hearing Ramayana katha, one will become a pious soul.
mhanun mazi vitthala awadi
Then one can awake one’s love for Vitthala or Sita Rama and become free from all sins.
After describing this Sankshipta Ramayana Valmiki Muni and his disciples performed Guru Puja, A?arya Upasana, Malyarpana, Pushpanjali, Padaprakshalan of Narada Muni. After this Narada Muni left. Narada Muni is parivrajakacarya. He preaches everywhere. Therefore he has disciples everywhere. Valmiki Muni is a disciple of Narada Muni. Srila Vyasa deva is also a disciple of Narada Muni. Before the compilation of Srimad-Bhagavatam, Vyasa deva was guided by Narada Muni. Then Srila Vyasa deva compiled Srimad-Bhagavatam. In the same way, Valmiki Muni was guided by Narada Muni for the compilation of Ramayana.
Earlier Valmiki Muni had not compiled any verse on his own. But one day he witnessed a scene in which there were 2 birds. The male bird was killed by a hunter and then the female bird started to lament. Seeing this Valmiki Muni also started to lament and cursed the hunter. Within that lamentation, a verse was uttered spontaneously from his mouth,
maa nishada pratistham tvamagamahs?svati samaa
yat kraunchamithunaadekam avadhi kaamamohitam
Not only human beings, but even animal couples should not be hurt/disturbed when they are romancing being Kamamohitam. You have done a sin by doing it.
Valmiki Muni cursed the hunter that he will never be peaceful for the rest of his life as he had killed one bird while it was romancing and had separated those birds. This ?loka is his first composition. A?aryas relate this incident with the story of Lord Rama and Mother Sita. The hunter in this story is Ravana who took Mother Sita which distressed Lord Rama in Her separation. This ?loka is the base in the composition of Ramayana.
We will take the same scene ahead tomorrow in which Valmiki Muni meets Lord Brahma and Lord Brahma instructs him to compile the Ramayana.
Tomorrow we will have japa from 5.30 to 6.30 am and then 6.30 to 8 am IST, we will have katha.
Rama Katha Mahotsava ki jai!
Sita Navami Mahotsava ki jai!