Satyopanishad – Upanishad Of Sri Sathya Sai – Part 24

Sathya Sai Baba

Sathya Sai Baba

Satyopanishad – Upanishad Of Sri Sathya Sai – Part 24
Anil Kumar Kamaraju Questions Bhagavan Sri Sathya Sai Baba

Question) Anil Kumar: Swami! Vibhishana was a rakshasa, yet he was a devotee of Rama. Kindly tell us about Vibhishana?

Bhagavan Sri Sathya Sai Baba: Vibhishana’s case is one of unique devotion to Rama. God is unconcerned with your position, property, scholarship, caste and creed. What God expects and receives from you is only pure love. With devotion, you can achieve anything in this world. Only this kind of devotion transformed: A monkey known for unsteadiness into Hanuman, worthy of worship; A bird known for flipping looks into a Garuda, vehicle of Vishnu; A bull into Nandi, the vehicle of Siva; A peacock into the vehicle of Lord Subrahmanya; and A lion into the vehicle of Goddess, Durga.

What is special here is that these animals and birds, by their sheer devotion and love of God, could give up their innate qualities and transform themselves into vehicles of Gods, and are now worshipped along with Gods and Goddesses.

Similarly, Vibhishana, though a Rakshasa himself, was an ardent devotee of Lord Rama, and hence, he deserved His grace. He repeatedly advised his elder brother, king Ravana, not to abduct Mother Sita, and later on, not to wage war against Rama. He also warned Ravana and predicted dire consequences he would have to face if he persisted. Yet, Ravana didn’t pay heed to his words of devotion and wisdom and the rest is the story you all know. Ultimately, Vibhishana forsook his brother, Ravana, and sought refuge in Rama. This is an instance when a devotee leaves his own brother if he stands in the way of the onward journey to God. In my opinion, Vibhishana is greater than Bhishma. Being a man possessed of wisdom, penance, devotion, determination and expertise in warfare, Bhishma even after knowing full well that the Kauravas were doing unlawful, unrighteous and mean acts, still remained with them as chief of their army, during the Kurukshetra War. He couldn’t help the pious, righteous and noble souls, the Pandavas.

Hanuman, in his search for Mother Sita entered Lanka, stepped into the bedroom of Vibhishana, and saw him immersed in chanting the holy name of Rama. He made Vibhishana aware of his presence by making loud sounds. Vibhishana opened his eyes and saw Hanuman over there. After they had acquainted themselves with each other as devotees of Rama, Hanuman asked Vibhishana, “Oh King! You say you are a devotee of Rama. You do japa, repeat His holy name. But it is not enough. Besides, chanting His name, you should also participate in His karya, His Divine mission. Have you ever visited Sita? Have you made any attempt to set her free? In what way have you helped Rama in His mission? Don’t you know that chanting His name and contributing to His mission are complementary to each other and should go together? You have not informed Rama of the whereabouts of Sita! Have you made any attempt to set her free? In what way have you helped Rama in his mission? How do you call yourself a devotee of Rama then?” Since that day, Vibhishana became a part of Rama’s divine mission.

Question) Anil Kumar: Swami! The part played by women in the great epic, the Ramayana is very prominent. They have been all ideals for womankind even to this day. You are matchless in explaining subtle things like this. Would you kindly tell us about the role of women in the Ramayana?

Bhagavan Sri Sathya Sai Baba: The welfare and the progress of mankind is the main objective of the Ramayana. Every female role in the epic contributes to that objective, though in varied ways.

King Dasaratha had three wives, Kausalya, Sumitra and Kaikeyi. They moved very intimately with one another like sisters. They married Dasaratha only to beget children and fulfil his wish. He performed putrakamesti yaga as advised by his preceptor, Vasishtha and received yajnapayasa, sacrificial rice pudding from the presiding deity, and handed over the prasadam to his three wives. He wanted them to partake of the prasadam after their head bath. The second wife, Sumitra, kept the gold cup with the prasadam by her side, and started thinking like this to herself: “The son to be born to Kausalya would be the future king as she is the eldest queen. The son to be born to Kaikeyi also has a chance of becoming the king. According to Dasaratha’s promise, that was the condition of their union. In either case, my son has no chance, but to serve one of the two brothers whosoever becomes the king”. In the meantime, a kite dived from above and snatched away the gold cup with the prasadam inside. Sumitra was terrified. She knew the consequences of King Dasaratha’s coming to know of this incident. She also knew that the family preceptor Vasishtha would be totally upset over this. She felt very sad over losing her share of the yajnapayasam. Then the other two queens, Kausalya and Kaikeyi, consoled her and gave her half of their own shares of the prasadam. While Kausalya begot Rama, and Kaikeyi, Bharata, Sumitra gave birth to the twins, Lakshmana and Satrughna. Lakshmana followed Rama like his shadow, while Satrughna was always in the company of Bharata. The three queens lived like sisters without any differences among them. Sisterly love and affection is the lesson for the world.

Besides these, we come across in the Ramayana, three more women who also played their roles very well. They were Tataka, Ahalya and Sita. They symbolise three attributes of beings. Tataka stands for tamoguna, Ahalya represents rajoguna, while Sita is the very embodiment of sattvaguna. Here, Rama’s killing of Tataka means his total uprooting of tamoguna, bestial temperament. Wickedness and demonic qualities are tamasika in nature. Ahalya was the wife of sage Gautama. Disobedience is rajoguna. Emotion, passion, etc are rajasika in their expression. Ahalya disobeyed Gautama and so she was cursed. Rama cleansed her of her rajoguna by making her free from the curse. She lay stupefied as a boulder for years together, but a mere touch of Rama’s feet rejuvenated her. Rama accepted Sita who was the very embodiment of sattvaguna (piety, softness, goodness, and calmness). He married her. It means he accepted sattvika qualities.

The very word ‘stri’ / woman has three elements: ‘sa’, ‘ta’, ‘ra’. ‘Sa’ indicates sattvaguna, ‘ta’ reflects tamoguna and ‘ra’ denotes rajoguna. Every woman has all these three qualities. The sattvika qualities in a woman are peace, forbearance, compassion, charity, kindness, composure, and so on. The rajasika qualities in women are her sentiments and passions, readiness to sacrifice life for the family, etc, while the tamasika qualities are her shyness, reserve, humility, etc. The Ramayana, thus, conveys a message through the role of every character.

Question) Anil Kumar: Swami! Would you kindly tell us how Mother Sita could become the noblest of women, and remain an ideal to the entire womanhood for centuries by undergoing many difficulties, trials and what not, being the divine consort of Lord Rama.

Bhagavan Sri Sathya Sai Baba: It is said that the Ramayana is Sitayascaritam. The Ramayana is the history of Mother Sita as well. Sita was the daughter of Bhumata, Mother Earth, and was also Kalyanacaritra, a character reputed for bestowing welfare.

During Sita’s svayamvara (trial of suitors to win Sita’s hand), it was Lord Rama who alone could lift and break the Sivadhanus, the bow of Siva. The king of Kosala, though mighty and strong, couldn’t lift the bow. Ravana, matchless valour and strength, couldn’t even move it. Three thousand servants and ninety elephants brought the Sivadhanus to the court from King Janaka’s shrine. How could Rama lift the bow, draw the string, and then break it?

Rama was one hundred per cent pure magnet. That was why He could handle the mighty bow. Sita was also a pure magnet. During her childhood, while she was playing with a ball one day, it so happened that the ball rolled underneath the Sivadhanus. Then Sita went there, easily lifted the bow, put it aside, and got her ball back in tact. This magnetic principle is in every one of us. When an ant starts crawling on your leg, your head will come to know of it, and even while you are talking with someone, your hand will pick it up and remove it instantaneously and involuntarily.

A magnet, if it is rusted and dusty, will not draw a piece of iron. An iron piece or bar due to its long association with a magnet also becomes a magnet. This is the meaning of the Vedic verse, brahmavid brahmaiva bhavati. The knower of the Brahman becomes finally Brahman Himself. You should see that the iron of life should not be rusted by worldly desires: Otherwise, life ends up in ruins.

Sita was highly intelligent. On the eve of leaving Ayodhya, following His father’s command, Rama said to Sita, “Sita! Since I am going away to the forest, my parents will be left with none to serve and console them. Why don’t you stay back in Ayodhya and serve them until I return?” Sita responded slowly but surely like this: “When your Mother Kausalya wanted to follow you, you told her to stay on at Ayodhya and serve your father, Dasaratha. You also told her about scriptural injunctions that command a wife to serve her husband. Now, contrary to what you have told your mother, you want me not to follow you and stay behind. Evidently, you have one dharma for your mother and another for me. Is this justified?”

Then Rama said, “Sita! You will have to eat only green leaves in the forest. You won’t have delicious food for a long time. You can’t wear costly saris and jewels in the forest. Sita! Won’t you find it difficult to live under these conditions?” Sita answered; “Oh! Dear one! Why should I need all those comforts, which you don’t get there? When you don’t want any of these things, I too don’t want them. I only want to be with you and serve you till the end.” Rama asked another question “Sita! You know a forest is full of wild and cruel animals. Are you not afraid of them? Can you stay there?”

All these dissuading words of Rama were employed to persuade Sita not to follow him but to stay back. This she understood, and finally said: “So long, I was under the wrong impression that my father got me married to a brave and chivalrous man and not to one who behaves like this!” This silenced Rama, and He couldn’t speak any more. Ultimately, Rama permitted Sita to follow him to the forest. This was the intelligence and skill of Sita in the art of conversation.

Sage Vasishtha, the preceptor of the royal family, wanted to crown Sita in the place of Rama who was to go to the forest according to his father’s command. Sita said, “O Learned Sage! What is it that you are talking about? Do you ever find moonlight existing separately from the moon? Can the two, the moon and the moonlight be separated from each other? Is not Ramachandra a moon and am I not the light to follow Him wherever He goes? Can I exist without Him?”

This was the character of a pativrata, a chaste woman dedicated to her husband. It has already been noticed that Sita was highly intelligent. At the time of her wedding, she had to garland Lord Rama. As you know Rama was ajanubahu, a very tall person. Being shorter, how could she garland Him then? On this auspicious occasion, Lakshmana bent down at this very moment to touch the feet of Rama. Rama too had to bend and lift Lakshmana, touching his shoulders. Sita took full advantage of the situation and immediately garlanded Rama. Lakshmana is Adisesha, the seven-hooded serpent supporting the earth and on him Vishnu reclines. He also lifted that little portion of the earth where Sita was standing in order to raise her height.

In India, at the time of the wedding ceremony, there is the custom of the bride and the bridegroom pouring talambralu, sacrificial yellow rice grains on the head of each other alternately. Rama was the son of the emperor, Dasaratha and Sita was the daughter of another emperor by name Janaka. So, instead of sacrificial rice, they used pearls for this ritual. Sita held in her palm some pearls to be poured on the head of Rama. Since her palm looked like the petals of a rose, the pearls too looked red in colour. When she poured these pearls on the head of Rama, they started shining like diamonds as Rama was wearing a white turban. In the process, a few pearls fell on the ground. These were neither red nor white in colour and were not at all beautiful and attractive.

There is an inner significance behind all these details. The pearls, which fell on the ground and were not attractive, represent tamoguna or the trait of passivity, dullness and gluttony while the white and bright pearls shining like diamonds on the head of Rama symbolise sattvaguna (piety, calmness, equanimity). The pearls that looked red in colour in the palm of Sita represent rajogu a (emotion, passion). In other words, one who is with God Rama (purusa) is sattvika symbolised by the white colour; one who is with prakrti, nature, is rajasika symbolised by the red colour, and one who is neither with God nor with nature is tamasika.

Take another instance from the Ramayana. In the Asokavana in Lanka, Anjaneya felt very sad on seeing the plight of Sita, who was grieving over her separation from Rama. He revealed his identity to her by showing Rama’s ring and then told her that he would carry her on his shoulders to Rama and thus rescue her. Then Sita said, “Anjaneya! I am pleased with your devotion to Rama. But you have forgotten one fundamental dharma. If you carry me on your shoulders, and take me away from Lanka without the notice and permission of Ravana, will it not amount to abduction? If I allow you to do so, what is the difference between you and Ravana? Ravana too did the same thing in bringing me over here without the knowledge of Rama and he came in disguise. What self respect will I have if I allow myself to be carried by you? Shall I get a good name? Lord Rama Himself should come here, punish Ravana for the mistake he committed. Rama has, of necessity, to defeat and destroy him first. Then He should take me away from here in His vehicle most gracefully. This is what I wish.”

Question) Anil Kumar: Swami! Ravana’s abduction of Sita is a very heartbreaking episode in the Ramayana. How is it that Sita wanted a golden deer, which is quite an unbelievable phenomenon? How strange is it that Lakshmana who was directed to guard her couldn’t ultimately prevent the abduction. Would you please explain the significance of this episode to all of us who are otherwise thoroughly confused about its inner meaning?

Bhagavan Sri Sathya Sai Baba: The abduction episode conveys many secrets. An incarnation of God or an avatar always sets examples for others to emulate. Every action of His is very subtle and has lots of things to teach. These subtleties are not easily understood just by going through the book.

Having left her father, Janaka, who was an emperor, having sacrificed all the riches, comforts, and conveniences due to a Queen, having left her father-in-law Dasaratha who was also an emperor, Sita decided to lead an austere life and followed Rama to the forest. She had overcome kama, desire and so she could be near Rama. But her fascination for the ‘Golden deer’ means that she had given in to kama which was the cause of her separation from Rama.

So, where there is kama there wouldn’t be Rama. Where there is Rama, kama can’t exist.

There is another lesson in this episode. Rama commanded Lakshmana to take care of Sita during his absence. Lakshmana was supposed to be there near Sita in obedience to His command. But Lakshmana could not bear the accusations of Sita and the evil motives she attributed to him. So, he left the place in search of Rama whom Sita feared to have been in danger, when she heard what she took to be the shouts of Rama, “Oh Sita! Oh Lakshmana!”

On learning about Subahu’s death, Ravana commanded Maricha to assist him in his vengeance against Rama. Preferring to die at Rama’s hands rather than at Ravana’s, Maricha disguised himself as a golden deer, thereby giving temporary success to Ravana, and to Rama’s master plan, himself being killed by Rama in the process. It was only then that Ravana came and kidnapped her finding her alone.

Therefore, the point is, in one sense Lakshmana was responsible for sitaviyoga or separation of Sita from Rama. Lakshmana repented till the end of his life his neglect of the duty Rama assigned to him. Here we can also see the master plan of Lord Rama. Maricha and Subahu were the Rakshasas who fought Rama, and in the process; Subahu got killed at Rama’s hands, while Maricha escaped and conveyed this message to Ravana. It was Rama’s plan to spare one of the two Rakshasas, at least for the time being, so that the news would reach Ravana and enrage him further against Him, so that a battle between the two, Rama and Ravana is assured.

In fact, you will also notice that earlier sage Bharadvaja who could foresee coming events extended hospitality to Rama and his retinue, Sita and Lakshmana for some time, and directed them to advance farther into the forest. Had they continued to stay for a longer period of time in his hermitage, Ravana could not have abducted Sita. There wouldn’t have been a war and the consequent death of Ravana. Bharadvaja knew full well that Rama was God incarnate, yet he directed him to proceed further paving the way for the execution of the divine master plan, viz., the killing of Ravana. This was the Divine master plan. Thus, all the episodes in this great epic convey many human values besides revealing the secrets of the Rama avatar.

Question) Anil Kumar: Swami! Lord Rama was the very personification of satya, truth, and the very embodiment of dharma, righteous conduct. He was verily the incarnation of the omniscient, omnipresent and omnipotent God Vishnu himself. Rama was very compassionate and he was the refuge of the forlorn. Then how is it he sent Mother Sita into exile paying heed to the words of a washerman? Does it not go against dharma and satya, the basic qualities Ramachandra is said to embody?

Bhagavan Sri Sathya Sai Baba: It is your ignorance that makes you find fault with God. No one has any authority to doubt or question the ways of God. He is selfless and whatever He does and says has a meaning, and conveys a message. He is an ideal to the entire humanity. God is perfect. All His Divine deeds are meant for the welfare of mankind. Our epics cherish these ideals as human values.

You should recognise the basic truth that Rama was a king. He was prepared to sacrifice everything to uphold dharma in His kingdom. He was even prepared to sacrifice His consort Sita in protecting Dharma. This incident of Sita being sent away because of suspicion has fulfilled two objectives: first, to this day Rama is being revered as an ideal ruler; secondly, the world has come to realise the chastity of Sita.

You should also remember another point here: at the time of taking the wedding pledge, Rama solemnly declared to do everything together with Sita as expected of a householder. But in respect of matters concerning rajyapalana, ruling the kingdom, He would act only as a king, independent of all other relationships and considerations. So, Rama never said that He would follow Sita in matters pertaining to His reign. So, it was not a mistake or a lack of compassion on the part of Rama in this regard. You have misunderstood the whole episode. You don’t know the reality. Whatever Rama did, it couldn’t but be dharma.

Question) Anil Kumar: Swami! Kaikeyi, so it goes, loved Rama more intensely than even Kausalya, his own mother. How is it then that she could ask such a boon to be granted to her by King Dasaratha that resulted in Rama’s exile for fourteen years? Was it not her mistake?

Bhagavan Sri Sathya Sai Baba: Pleased with Kaikeyi’s services to him, Dasaratha had already granted two boons to Kaikeyi of which you are aware. Dasaratha had told her that she could ask for the fulfilment of the boons according to her own wish at any point of time she would like to choose. He did not himself specify the time. It only meant that she could ask for anything at any time. So, it is the mistake of Dasaratha to have given her a blank cheque like that, authorising her to ask for anything at any time. On the other hand, had he asked her to let him know at the time of his conferring the boons what exactly she would do with them, we would have every reason to find fault with Kaikeyi for demanding such a treacherous thing. Now, it must have been very clear to you that you have to blame Dasaratha and not Kaikeyi for sending Rama to the forest.

Question) Anil Kumar: Swami! Although Manthara and Surpanakha are the two minor woman characters in the epic, the Ramayana, both of them appear crucial in leading to major developments. What lessons should we learn from these two characters?

Bhagavan Sri Sathya Sai Baba: In the Ramayana, Manthara symbolises anger and Surpanakha represents desire. Rama and Lakshmana were playing with a ball during their childhood. As ill luck would have it, the ball hit the hunchback Manthara. All the children playing with Rama and Lakshmana saw this and laughed so loudly that she felt terribly upset and humiliated. She thought that it was Rama who had thrown the ball intentionally and had hit her. Since that day, she grew revengeful towards Rama and was looking for an opportunity to retaliate. This made her speak all kinds of falsehood to Kaikeyi, on the day of the coronation of Rama ultimately leading to Kaikeyi’s demand for Rama’s exile and Bharata’s coronation.

Surpanakha, sister of Ravana, saw Rama in the forest and was very much attracted by his personality. She prayed to him to marry her. Rama gently and softly sent her away telling her that he was already married and that his wife, Sita, was also with him, and if she was still desirous of a marriage she could as well approach Lakshmana and marry him. Accordingly, Surpanakha approached Lakshmana with a similar plea. Lakshmana then cut her nose and ears and turned her away. Returning to Lanka, she said to her brother Ravana, “Oh! Brother! I have no words to describe the beauty of Sita. What a charming woman she is! I feel a king of your stature and splendour alone should have Sita as his spouse. After all, Rama, a mere human being, doesn’t deserve her. Brother! You should win her hand somehow or other.”

Then Ravana put her a question, “Sister! When your nose and ears were being cut off, what were you doing? Did you simply keep quiet, without resisting?” Then Surpanakha replied, “Brother! What else could I say other than keep silent at that moment? Brother! Believe me or not, I was lost totally watching the majestic beauty and divine personality of Rama all the time. I did not know what was happening.”

Therefore, it should have been very clear to you by now that Manthara’s anger was responsible for Rama’s exile. The death of King Dasaratha was a consequence. This was the sequence of events that followed the anger of Manthara. Then, how about Surpanakha? Her desire to marry Rama, which was not fulfilled, the humiliation she was put to at the hands of Lakshmana, and her report to Ravana extolling the beauty of Sita ultimately led to the abduction of Sita separating her from Rama. Was it not her desire that proved to be the main cause of all these events? So both the characters speak about the tragedy that would befall anyone who falls victim to anger and desire.

Question) Anil Kumar: Swami! Kausalya is celebrated as the mother of Rama, and Kaikeyi has become notorious for being instrumental in sending Rama to the forest. However, we do not know much about Sumitra. Kindly describe her nature to us.

Bhagavan Sri Sathya Sai Baba: Sumitra is a distinguished woman, eminently virtuous. When Rama left for the forest, Kausalya was wailing inconsolably. Then Sumitra went to her side saying, “O Elder Sister! Why do you lament? Is it because your son Rama had left for the forest? Is not my son, Lakshmana, by his side, under no compulsion at all? Why do you still lament? Were Rama to remain here, he would be King only of Ayodhya. But living in the forest, he has become the King of the entire Bharat. I am pleased with my son Lakshmana, dedicated to the service his brother. I have two sons Lakshmana and Satrughna. While Lakshmana is serving Rama, Satrughna is serving Bharata! How blessed am I! Wherever Rama is, that place is verily Ayodhya!” So did Sumitra rejoice at her great good fortune. Such is her nobility, such her purity.

Question) Anil Kumar: Swami! You have shown to the world that the Ramayana presents the ideal of true brotherhood. Would you kindly tell us about this aspect of the Ramayana that indicates what brothers should be like?

Bhagavan Sri Sathya Sai Baba: There is a secret behind the advent of every incarnation of God. God descends on earth as a human being to demonstrate how everyone should behave and conduct himself in this world in the ideal way. One such is Rama’s way of dealing with his brothers. It is supreme love that existed among the four brothers, Rama, Lakshmana, Bharata and Satrughna. But, today we don’t find such supreme love among brothers, but the kind of love that takes them to the Supreme Court over property disputes. We can’t describe in words how furious Bharata was on coming to know that his mother Kaikeyi had been responsible for Rama’s exile. He couldn’t control his anger, and was even prepared to behead her. That was the intensity and magnitude of his love for his brother. Satrughna followed Bharata like a shadow. That was the unbreakable tie of love between them.

You know pretty well how Rama and Lakshmana were inseparable since their early childhood. They had always been together. You know what happened when they were infants. Rama was made to rest and sleep in a cradle, and so Lakshmana was put in another cradle. The two babies started crying nonstop. The three queens Kausalya, Sumitra and Kaikeyi could not make them sleep or stop crying. When Sage Vasishtha came there, the queens reported the matter to him. Then Vasishtha advised them to place both the babies in the same cradle. The moment they did so, they stopped crying and fell asleep. That was the inseparable, intimate association between the two brothers right from their early infancy.

You will also notice the anguish of Rama when Lakshmana fainted on the battlefield. He said, “In this world, you can get anything back if it is lost position, property, friends or even a wife. But one can’t get back a brother once he is lost.” Referring to his brothers, Rama said, “Bharata is the greatest of them all. He is reigning the entire kingdom from Nandigrama, keeping my padukas on the throne, repeating my name, only supporting himself on tubers and leaves like an ascetic and most anxiously waiting for my return.” We can understand here two kinds of devotion; one is Lakshmana’s devotion to the form of God, sakarabhakti, and the other is Bharata’s devotion to the formless aspect of God nirakarabhakti.

When they reached Panchavati, Rama wanted Lakshmana to build a small hut for them on a spot of his choice. Lakshmana fell at the feet of Rama and started shedding tears. Then Rama asked him, “Brother! Why are you crying? What has happened? Have I said anything that has made you cry?” Then Lakshmana said, “Rama! You want to have a hut at any place I decide. Do I have a preference, or a choice or a will of my own? Your wish is mine too. I know only how to follow you and act according to your command.” Such should be the loyalty, sincerity, intimacy and affection among brothers. This is the ideal that Rama set before you.

Question) Anil Kumar: Swami! Do you feel that during the time of the Ramayana, there were no feuds? Sending Rama to the forest and crowning Bharata are not these plain and simple politics? Is there justice in the way Rama killed Vali? Is not abducting Sita heinous? How then can the Tretayuga be called flawless? Kindly forgive me for putting this question out of my ignorance and for crossing my limits out of my presumption. Favour us with your views on these matters.

Bhagavan Sri Sathya Sai Baba: Upholding dharma and satya, and demonstrating to the world a new ideal was the purpose of the incarnation of Rama. All the events in the Ramayana illustrate this truth. Consider the very first episode of Rama’s arrival in the forest accompanied by Sita and Lakshmana. Remember that Bharata’s objective in visiting Rama in the hermitage, along with the citizens of Ayodhya, eminent sages and the four arms of the militia is to welcome him back to Ayodhya. In this concourse was Jabali. In the conversation with Rama, he said, “O Rama! Unable to bear the prospect of separation from you, Dasaratha passed away. Now you are no longer bound by the words of your father who had sent you to the forest as Kaikeyi desired. Lord! You yourself should rule Ayodhya.” Ignoring these words, Rama turned to Bharata and remarked, “Bharata! By admitting Jabali and such others into the court, our father’s reputation was tarnished. You should not allow him access. For me nothing is greater than honouring the word of one’s father. King Dasaratha, Dasaratha the husband of Kaikeyi, and my father Dasaratha are not different from one another. You may think that our father’s death was brought about by separation from me. That is not correct. The aged parents of Sravanakumar died lamenting the death of their son felled by an arrow let loose by our father. The curse of that aged couple led to his demise. My duty is my foremost concern.” Jabali intervened with the words, “O Ramachandra! Your dedication to Truth and Righteousness are well known all over the world. I spoke these words only in an attempt to bring you back to Ayodhya.” Thus, in the matter of Truth and Righteousness, Rama’s resolve is adamantine. Rama put these ideals into practice as a stern discipline, and proclaimed them to mankind.

You referred to Rama’s killing Vali. As he lay dying, Vali questioned Rama, “O Rama! You shot an arrow at me from behind a tree? Is this fair?” Rama replied, “You are a monkey and I am a King. The chase is part of the nature of kings. They may hunt animals in the forest and kill them. Therefore, how can I be faulted for directing an arrow from behind a tree?” Vali questioned again, “Rama! You sought the assistance of Sugriva, my younger brother. So, you decided on killing me. Is this just? Had you approached me, I myself would have rendered you all assistance, would not I? Compared with my strength, Ravana’s is no equal. Then, Sugriva’s strength does not count.” Rama replied, “O Vali! I understand Sugriva’s distress. Like me who am separated from Sita, Sugriva too is anguished by separation from his wife. The root cause of my friendship with Sugriva is the similarity of our condition. It is said, fighting, matchmaking and friendship should be between equals.” Then Vali observed, “O Rama! You may well be king of Ayodhya, but this is a forest. Are we who roam freely to be punished right here?” Rama gave a fitting reply, “My younger brother, Bharata, the ruler of Ayodhya, resides in Nandigrama, and holds sway in my name. All this area is our territory, and mine is the responsibility for opposing and punishing unrighteousness and protecting righteousness. Therefore, you deserve to be punished.”

Noticing that all his questions were fully answered, Vali finally objected, “Sri Rama! We live here according to the moral code of the monkeys. Your human moral code does not apply to us. Is killing me a righteous act?” Silencing Vali forever, Rama gave an apt and straightforward reply, “O Vali! Even while claiming to be a vanara (monkey), you spoke of righteousness. So long as you are ignorant of righteousness, your behaviour need not be questioned. But you have chosen to speak of righteousness, haven’t you? Don’t you know that the wife of a younger brother is equal to one’s own daughter? Is not your action unrighteous? When you know what righteousness is, how can you fail to know what unrighteousness is? Therefore, you deserve to be punished.” In this manner, it is Rama who had made known to the world both the practice of righteousness and the importance of teaching it.

What remains then is your question about the abduction of Sita. Even this is proof of God’s compassion. Cursed to be born a demon, Ravana abducted Sita in the mode of a devotee turned enemy, vairabhakti, thereby begging Rama to kill him with His own hands and ensuring Ravana’s return to Vaikuntha into the presence of Vishnu. That he should die at the hands of Rama was his sole yearning. Such a noble love of God also is righteous. You should have an understanding capable of properly grasping the subtleties of dharma and appreciating their inner meaning.

Upanishad means the “inner” or “mystic teaching”. The term Upanishad is derived from “upa” (near), “ni” (down) and “shad” (to sit), i.e., sitting down near. Groups of pupils sit near the teacher to learn from him/her the secret doctrine. In the quietude of the forest hermitages the Upanishadic thinkers pondered on the problems of deepest concerns and communicated their knowledge to fit pupils near them. The most well known Upanishads are: Aitareya, Brihadaranyaka, Taittiriya, Chandogya, Kena, Isa, Svetasvatara, Katha, Mundaka, Mandukya, Prasna, Kausitaki, Maitrayani, Muktika and Shakta. The Satyopanishad is the Upanishad of Truth (Sathya) but more specifically the Truth as revealed by Bhagavan Sri Sathya Sai Baba. Anil Kumar questions the illustrious Guru and provides us with Sathya Sai Baba’s answers to ponder, ruminate and derive ananda.

Twenty Seven Pages Of Satyopanishad:
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