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Saturday, December 17, 2011

The Advaitic Meaning In The Ramayana (Dasamukh) Swami Chinmayananda a)

The Advaitic Meaning In The Ramayana (Dasamukha)
Courtesy : Vedanta Vani, Chinmaya Mission

Dasamukha, Symbol OF Extroversion

Dasamukha does not mean having five heads on the right and another five on the left, with one neck in between. If it were so, think of the traffic jam and think what a calamity it would be if Ravana were to catch a cold. He would have to sneeze ten times in every round. Even to clear one nose is a terrible thing. What is meant here is that the five Gnanedriyas and the five Karmendriyas together constitute the Dasamukha. A totally extrovert man lives in the flesh, for the flesh, and by the flesh. It is the rule of the flesh. Such a man is a sensualist and a total extrovert.

Materially he can become great as did Ravana who ruled over a prosperous land, Lanka, Compared to this land, Ayodhya was under-developed and village-like with perhaps bullock-carts plying on the roads. While in Lanka the country boasted of the Pushapaka Viman, the herals of the age of space travel. In fact Lanka was so advanced that even at 8 o'clock in the mornings women folk were found drunk! What a situation!! Even present day Delhi or New York , has not developed to that extent. Drunks are rampant only in the evenings.

In Lanka, nobody worked, everybody was supported by the socialist government, and people from all over the world came to pay homage to Ravana, who was supremely powerful. ' But does materialism provide anything more than mere physical comfort? It is not a solution to the problem of life. Spiritual and cultural values alone can save the world. This idea is brought out in the Ramayana.

We all know that Sita was abducted and taken away, but look at the beauty of it. Valmiki decides that she should not more be a citizen of Aryavarta. She may be the consort ofRama, yet she does not deserve to continue to be a citizen of this hallowed and cultural land any longer. She will be given a place in Lanka, another island, no doubt very near, but altogether another land.

Rama weeps like an ordinary mortal, not because he is attached to her, but because of his longing to help a devotee.

Even there she was exiled. We are all at this moment 'Sitas' in exile. Should we give in to sensua1ity? To gain back our original Ayodhya, what should we do? We should do exactly what Sita did. A modem girl in Sitas place would have said; "Rama was a nice man, no doubt! I can well remember him. But what can I do? Ravana, is constantly asking me. Let me cooperate with him.

The Dawn of Realisation

But not Sita. She realised she had fallen and to prevent a further fall, she firmly said 'No' to Ravana and remained in the garden under an Asoka tree. Soka means dukha, i.e sorrow, Asoka therefore means 'not dukba' (devoid of sorrow). You and I will have sorrows,but we do not recognize it. This, is the 'Asoka' state. Under the tree of nonrecognition of sorrow when we want to remain steadfast in character, we will doubt-less be tempted and put to a lot of strain. But in that Asoka attitude, we should remain steadfast, constantly remembering Rama.

Sita was constantly and vigorously thinking of Rama. And we cannot say that Rama did not respond. In the Ramayana, we will find that the scene is alternately changing - once Lanka is shown, the next moment Rama is shown in the jungle. This shows that there is a secret communication between them. The more intense Sita's cry, the more frenzied does Ram's search for her becomes. He weeps like an ordinary mortal, not because he is attached to her, but because of his longing to help a devotee.
Success of Spirit the Vali episode

The spiritual essence in man can kill and destroy Ravan, the ten headed monstrosity of extroversions. It can do it with the army of monkeys. An educated man reading this should know what the monkeys refer to, The monkey has two qualities - 'Asthiratwa' and 'Chandhalatwa' - instability and restlessness. The thoughts in the human mind have these two qualities. They cannot remain sthira stable. The monkey cannot remain on one branch, it jumps from one branch to another and from tree to tree. If it gets tired and sits on a tree, it will still be restless, and scratch all over. Thus, it cannot keep quiet even for a minute. So too, our thoughts. They can never remain quiet, but keep jumping from topic to topic.

The army of thoughts is to be controlled. But, at this moment, Vali- who stands for lust controls them. This has to be destroyed. And how? It can be only done from behind, and not from the front. It is like a person wanting to curb his desire for alcohol. He cannot do it by sitting before the bottle; for the moment he does this, not only is half his strength gone, but the pull of the bottle is three times as strong. Hence every time it is your lust that wins, and not you. So, if ever you want to conquer this lust, you have to shoot it from behind the tree.

So, if ever you want to conquer this lust, you have to shoot it from behind the tree..

Vali had such great power, that any time an enemy approached him, half the strength of the enemy would drain away and Vali would become three times stronger. So, Rama had to kill him from behind. To whom should he then give the kingship of the monkey-clan - the thoughts? To whom better than Sugreeva? Greeva means reins, "Sugreeva" means well-reined, i.e well-controlled. When the thoughts are under one's control, the army is then available to cross the frontiers and reach Lanka to kill the ten headed monster and bring back Sita.

Sita disappearing

When Rama regains Sita after having destroyed extroversions, the mind that is no longer extrovert is no mind at all. It (Sita) has to disappear. Without Sita, Rama cannot bring about "Rama-Rajya'. He can not rule without a wife. Therefore Kapila comes and offers him a Mithya Sita or Maya Sita. And with Maya Sita, Rama returns to rule Ayodhya, with a tranquil and poised mind in a state of perfection, having regained his spiritual status. Though he returns with a mind, it is not really there.

It is like the sky which allows everything to remain in space without getting contaminated. So too, Rama, the man of perfection, allows the mind to remain in him, but is not affected by it.


Since Rama functioned in the world outside with a perfectly controlled mind, the result had to be a 'Rama-Rajya' as he created beauty around him as did Jesus, Buddha, Mohammed and all the Rishis of yore. People might laugh at them in their ignorance, and to please them, the great ones let go their mind. Sita was banished. But Rama having functioned with her for sometime, something must emerge. It did in the form of Lava and Kusa. From great masters, Wisdom emerges, generally in the form of books which sing the glory of the Lord. When Lava and Kusa sang the glory of Ram, they were merely singing the glory of the Reality. It is the spread of such literature that has sustained the culture of our country.

About the author

Swami Chinmayananda

Swami Chinmayananda's lectures were an outpour of wisdom. He introduced the Geetha Gnana Yagna. He wrote a lot of books on spirituality, commentaries to Vedantic texts, children books etc. He then started spreading His teachings globally.

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