Navami is the birthday of
Bhagwan Shri Rama.
On this beautiful birthday of
Bhagwan Rama, let us ask
ourselves the meaning of his birth.
What lessons do we learn
from the Ramayan, from
the glorious example
of Bhagwan Rama's life?
Bhagwan Rama exemplified the perfect
person; he showed us how to embody the divine on Earth, how
to live our lives in accordance with dharma and the divine
The story of the Ramayan is a classic, eternal, universal
message of dharma versus adharma, of deva versus demon.
Ravana was a brahmin; he was a great vedic scholar who wrote
numerous works on scriptural philosophy. He was powerful,
dynamic, and beautiful in appearance. As the brilliant,
handsome king of Lanka he had everything one would need to
be happy and peaceful. Yet, what made him a demon? He was
arrogant, egoistic, greedy and lustful. His insatiable
desires led him to crave more and more power, more and more
money, and more and more beautiful ladies to fulfill his
Covetous desires can never be fulfilled, and the ceaseless
quest for them brings only frustration. Therefore,
regardless of how smart we are, how rich we are, or how
beautiful we are, we are demons if our hearts are filled
with anger and greed. This is, in essence, the difference
between Bhagwan Rama and Ravana. Both were kings; both were
learned in the scriptures; both were charismatic; both were
beautiful. What makes Rama a god and Ravana a demon?
There is one main difference: Bhagwan Rama's heart
overflowed with love, generosity, humility, and a sense of
duty. Ravana's heart, in contrast, was filled with avarice,
hatred, and egoism. Under Bhagwan Rama's divine touch, the
animals became his devotees and his divine helpers. Under
Ravana's touch, even humans became animals.
But we ask, how to be like Bhagwan Rama? How to be godly and
peaceful and righteous? How to win the "war of Lanka" within
ourselves? Bhagwan Rama has given us the perfect example
through his life and his actions. The way to attain
divinity, the way to be "perfect," the way to be in peace
instead of pieces, is to follow his clear example.
Bhagwan Rama's primary message is: fulfill your duty without
any selfish motives; put other people before yourself. When
he was exiled to the forest, Bhagwan Rama did not complain,
"but that's not fair." He did not fight back in anger.
Rather, he helped his father fulfill a promise; he lived
according to his duty as a son and as a future king. He did
not once think about himself, his own comforts, his own
"rights." Rather, he abided by his dharma and his duty.
Ravana's ego led to his own demise, first the demise of his
spirit and heart and then the demise of his body. He thought
he was the one who ran everything. He thought that he was
the "doer" of it all. On the other hand, Bhagwan Rama was
always humble, and he never took credit for anything. Even
after he victoriously slew Ravana, he reported it to Sitaji
only as, "and this is where Ravana died."
As we celebrate this holiday, as we revel in Bhagwan Rama's
birth, let us ask ourselves, "Has the Rama taken birth
inside us? Has the good in our hearts taken birth?" Ram
Navami is not only a holiday about Bhagwan Rama. It is a
holy day, about examining ourselves. Life is so short. We
never know when the end will come. For how long do we want
to let Ravana live in us? For how long do we want to be
controlled by Ravana? We must give birth today to Bhagwan
Rama in our hearts.
May God bless you
In the service of God and
Swami Chidanand Saraswati