South India Tour 2012 : Day 7 – Rameshvaram

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Day 7 – May 29

Location – Rameshvaram (Tamilnadu, India)

Ramanujacharya fed mahaprasad to the fish in Chandra pushkarni and although their bodies stayed back but they attained their eternal constitutional form and returned to Vaikuntha. You also can attain your transcendental form.

Sri Chaitanya Mahaprabhu, Namacharya Haridas Thakur, Srila Bhaktisiddhanta Sarasvati Thakur, all the Gaudiya Vaishnava acharyas and Srila Prabhupad are feeding the people of this universe the holy name. Ramanujacharya fed grains to the fishes – Anna para bramha. We have been fed Krishna in the form of His name. We are hearing His name, assimilating it and becoming Krishna conscious. So one day when we shall leave this body, whatever has to happen to this body, people will take care, but we will accept our actual svarupa, constitutional form and return back home, back to god head. This is our prayer.  From one perspective we are leaving the association of this dham but what will go with us is the holy name. You will become old. Then you will not be able to do tirth yatra, yajna, etc. This holy name is simple and till the end of your last breath naam sankirtana is possible. So this is Veda vani – harer naam eva kevalam, so please become strongly established in the holy name. To not have complete faith in the holy name is also one of the 10 offences of the holy name.  In spite of hearing all the glories of the holy name, still maintaining attachment to the material world is an offence against the holy name.

You are all chanting and dancing in the kirtana, then all your sins are getting destroyed. This body is called a tree and there are the birds of sin on this tree. If you want to chase away birds on a tree, you clap your hands. Of course someone can throw a stone and fire a bullet, but easiest way is to just clap hands. Then we give up some hesitation and start dancing. When love increases for the holy name, for Krishna, then we give up hesitation. Then all the sins on the tree of this body start leaving us. Till we have less love, we hide and chant and do not bring our beads in public. Srila Prabhupada asked one lady in Delhi, do you chant? She said, I chant in my mind. Srila Prabhupada asked her, do you also eat in the mind?

The result of this yatra is the attainment of the holy name, or the taste for chanting and the taste for hearing Krishna katha. When there is chanting and dancing going on, we do not fall asleep.  This is Yuga dharma. But during katha, we may fall asleep. Of course katha is also dharma.

Sri Chaitanya Mahaprabhu has distributed the pearls and diamonds of the holy name. For the Vishvarup darshan (Mangla Arati darshan of Lord Ranganath) only 80 devotees can take darshan so all were running to grab the opportunity to see the form of the lord. Some were standing since morning 1:30 am. But as soon as the doors opened even the late comers stormed in ahead of them. There were no rules and regulations being followed. Everyone was just running and jumping over from the barricades to take darshan.

So there was day 1 of the yatra and then there is the last day of the yatra. So today is the concluding day of the yatra and some of you will be leaving toady evening itself, whereas some will leave tomorrow morning and some tomorrow night. Have you stayed in such a big family even? It is said, ‘One kitchen one family.’ So this was a very big family. Not just this but everyone on this planet is our family. They all belong to Krishna and I belong to Krishna so they also belong to me.

Sadhu sannyasis leave behind a small family but then we get a bigger family, he vishva chi majhe ghar, vasudhaiva kutumbakam. When we will go back to the dham, then all the dham vasis will become our family members. Our narrow vision broadens and we become more accommodative in yatra.

Today on our All India Padayatra is in Badrinath dham, while we are in Rameshvaram. Iskcon padayatra is active since last 27 years. So some members of our family are in Badrikashram.

Every Hindu wants that in this lifetime I must complete the four dham yatra. One of this is Rameshvaram. Three years ago we went to Badrinath and there Kedarnath is the jyotirlinga. Last year we went to Dwarka and there Somnath is the jyotirlinga, and here Rameshvaram is a jyotirlinga.

For Rameshvaram, some can say Ramasya ishvarah – the Lord of Rama is Shiva. Some can say ramah ishvar yasya sah. Ram is the Ishvar of Siva. So in two ways you can understand this word. Like Haridwar is also understood as Haradwar.

Lord Rama came to Chitrakut, Ramtek, and Nasik on the banks of Godavari. Then He went to Kishkindha, he was walking as a Vanvasi. On the banks of Godavari, Sita was kidnapped. And searching for Sita, Rama and Lakshman came to the banks of Pampa Sarovar and met Shabari. They saw Jatayu and performed his last rites. Then they met Hanuman at the same place. He took them on his shoulders, to the peak of Rishyamukh Parvat where Sugriva used to reside and Hanuman was his minister. Rama and Sugriva had the same problems. Their wives had been kidnapped. Both of them did friendship in the presence of Fire.

So first Lord Rama helped Sugriva and killed Bali. Then the army of monkey which belonged to Sugriva, helped lord Rama. Someone from the army found a bag of ornaments. There are some ornaments here that fell down from the sky and a lady was shouting Rama…Rama. She threw this bag here. When Rama heard this, he felt very strongly that this must be Sita. With this thought His throat became choked and His eyes were full of tears. Thus He was not able to see the ornaments. So he called Lakshman and asked, do you recognise if these are Sita’s earrings. Na ham janami kundale, no I cannot say, I have never seen her face. But when he held the ankle bells he immediately recognised, yes these are certainly the ankle bells of Mother Sita. I used to see them whenever I offered my obeisances. So they started searching.

Hanuman came here to Rameshvaram and Jatayu’s brother Sampatti showed him the direction in which Raavan had taken Sita. So Hanuman took a flight from Gandhamadan Parvat with so much speed that some trees, stones etc. Flied along with him. Rama was very happy when Hanuman returned and with great pleasure He embraced Hanuman. This was the best gift. Would you also like to have the embrace of the Lord? You will have to serve him like Hanuman. It is not so cheap. Who says Rama will not embrace. We don’t do service like Hanuman. Rama is ready to embrace.  Then Rama proceeded towards Lanka with a huge army, mostly of monkeys and a few bears. Their commander was Jambavan.

With all his army the Lord came to Rameshvaram. Lanka is 800 miles or 100 yojanas from here. How to cross? Some said we can swim across, or go by boats. Then Vibhishan came and proposed let us make a bridge. When Hanuman had reached Lanka, he had heard the chanting of the name of Sri Rama. He was shocked to hear this chanting of Sri Rama in Lanka but then he came to know this is the house of Vibhishan. Vibhishan helped Hanuman and gave him the address of Sita in Ashoka van.  Vibhishan was always giving good advice to his brother. Sri Rama is unconquerable. He is the King of Ayodhya, the place who’s king can never be defeated.  Please forget about fighting with Him.

Ravana became upset with him and told him, you are my enemy therefore you do not want to support me in my war, you go away from here. So Vibhishan left Lanka and came to Rameshvaram with Hanuman and with him also came four ministers. He was received by Lord Rama in the place called Kodanda Rama .There the whole army of Lord was sitting and discussing about how to proceed. When they saw Vibhishan coming, they became ready to fight with him. But Vibhishan said, I have come to take shelter of you, please accept me. And lord Rama gave him shelter. And on today’s day the temple is closed because today is Pattabhisheka (Coronation ceremony) of Visbhishan. Lord Rama did coroneted Vibhishan even before Ravans’ death.

Lord Rama sat on the peak of Gandhamadan Shikhar and fasted for three days, requesting the sea god, but there was no reply. So He became angry and He took his bow and aimed towards the sea. The whole Indian Ocean started getting distracted as if tsunami waves are coming. The aquatics were getting disturbed, so the sea god came forward and apologised. Then Rama put forward his proposal of making a bridge.

Then all the monkeys and bears started making a bridge. These monkeys were not ordinary; they were all demigods and great devotees. They would stamp the stone with the name of Sri Rama, by the touch of His name, all the stones started floating. What happened to the law of gravitation? The stones were nirjiva (dead matter) and by associating with the holy name, they started floating as if they got life in them.  If we get associated with the name of Rama, we will be liberated as well. Everything outside the dham is bhava sagar. Keep chanting constantly and then when you go back to Mumbai, you will not drown in the ocean of ignorance or else you will drown.

The bridge made by the Lord was 800 miles long and 80 miles broad. Once they reached there, both the armies fought with great valour and it are described in detail in Ramayana. Ravan was killed on the day of Dassehra.

Because Ravana was a Brahman Lord Rama had to atone for Brahman hatya (the sin of killing a Brahman). Before he left for Lanka lord Rama offered flowers and water to Shivlinga and said, I am going to kill your devotee, so please forgive me. When the lord offers respect to His devotees, then his position increases even more.

First they sent hanuman to get a Shivalinga, but it was getting late, so Sita made a linga and by the time Hanuman came back, till then the Puja was done. He became disappointed that I brought Shivalinga from so much distance but the worship is already done.  So he was pacified that the one you brought will be served first and then the one made by Sita will be worshipped. In this temple both the Shivlinga’s are worshipped.

As long as we chant and hear Krishna katha, we are in the present tense. We are not affected by the kaal (Time). Hearing is not the end, it is just the beginning, now remember the katha and assimilate in your heart. And the yatra also does not get over here, it begins now.