Student – Are Ram and Hanuman not Gods ?
Teacher -Who says they are not Gods ? They attained complete liberation from Mount Mangitungi and are enjoying perfect bliss of the Siddhas. We learn from the Nirwankand that Ram, Hanu, Sugriva, Sunil, Gava, Gavaksha, Neel, Mahaneel and ninety-nine crore monks attained complete liberation from Maingitungi, which is a place of worship for us.
Student – Have Sugriva and other monkeys and Nal, Neel and other bears also attained supreme liberation ? Have they also become Gods ?
Teacher – Neither were Hanuman and Sugriva monkeys, nor Nal and Neel bears. They were very handsome and noble personalities and attained complete detachment and omniscience in their life by their supreme effort.
Student – Why are they then called monkey etc. ?
Teacher – The clan to which they belonged was called Banar (monkey). Likewise, Ravan was not a giant. He belonged to the Rakshash (giant) clan and was the king of the three regions of land.
Student – People say he had ten mouths. Is it correct ?
Teacher – Is there any man having ten mouths? His name was Dashmukh. The reason was that in his childhood he used to wear a necklace having nine jewels. The reflection of his mouth fell on these gems and it appeared as if he had ten mouths. It was on that account that people began to call him Dashmukh.
Student – Where was Ram born ?
Teacher – Boy Ram was born from the womb of Kaushalya, the queen of King Dashratha of Ayodhya. With the pursuit of his soul, he became Bhagwan (God) Ram.
King Dashratha had four queens. Out of these, Kaushalya gave birth to Ram, Sumitra to Lakshman, Kaikeyi to Bharat and Suprabha to Shatrughna.
Student – So Ram had three more brothers. And…. ?
Teacher – Ram was married to Sita, the daughter of King Janak. Once King Dashratha thought that his son was now able to bear the burden of the kingdom and so he wanted to hand over the reigns of the kingdom to Ram and absorb himself in the pursuit of the self. He also announced the date of the anointment ceremony of Ram, but….
Student – But, what ?
Teacher – Queen Kaikeyi wanted her son Bharat to become the king. She, therefore, demanded two boons that the King had promised her. First was that Ram should be exiled for fourteen years and the second that Bharat should be declared king of Ayodhya. Dashratha was grieved to hear this, but he was bound by his promise and Ram had to go to the woods. Sita and Lakshaman accompanied him.
Student – Did Bharat become the king then ?
Teacher – In fact, he did not like to become the king.
Student – Ram must have faced many difficulties in the woods ?
Teacher – Ram and Lakshaman did not worry about the day-to-day ordinary difficulties of the life in the woods, but they were very much disturbed when Sita was kidnapped.
Student – Who kidnapped Sita ?
Teacher – The King of Lanka, Ravan kidnapped Sita. Hanuman, Sugriva and others were kings under his sovereignty, but they abandoned their loyalty towards him, on account of this ignoble action. His brother Vibhishan tried to persuade him to return Sita to Ram, but he was destined to suffer and, therefore, he did not listen to him at all. Ultimately, Vibhishan also left his court.
Student – What next ?
Teacher – Ram and Lakshaman invaded Lanka. Vibhishan, Sugriva, Nal, Neel, Hanuman and other kings of different regions sided with Ram and Lakshman, and the vicious Ravan faced the fate, he deserved. He was killed and Ram and Lakshaman won the field. Sita was taken back by Ram. Fourteen years came to an end and Ram and Lakshaman came back to Ayodhya and began to rule.
Student – It is good the misfortune ended. Then Sita and Ram must have led a life of pelf and pleasures ?
Teacher – Is there any happiness in worldly pleasures ? They have been regarded as abodes of miseries. As long as there are delusions, attachments and aversions in the soul, there are miseries all around. They lived happily for some days only, after which Ram exiled pregnant Sita on account of public slander. Vajrajangh, the king of Pundrikpur accepted Sita as his sister and gave her shelter. Had he not done so….
Student – Then….?
Teacher – Sita gave birth to twin brothers Lav and Kush in Pundrikpur. Both the brothers were strong, calm and glorious, just as Ram and Lakshaman were. They also waged a war on Ram and Lakshaman.
Student – Who won ?
Teacher – Both the parties remained invincible. Before defeat or victory could be decided, both the parties knew that it was a fight between the father and his sons. Battlefield was, therefore, turned into a family union ground.
Student – Did Sita’s misfortunes come to an end then ?
Teacher – Misfortunes cannot come to an end in the background of attachment and aversion. Detachment is the only way to end misfortunes.
Student – What happened next ?
Teacher – Ram refused to accept Sita without her going through the fire, as her test of purity.
Student – Then ?
Teacher – The great Sita entered the fire and proved her purity. Strong burning fire turned into cold and calm water. The heavenly beings performed this miracle to establish the dignity of a pure life.
Student – Ram, then, must have accepted Sita ?
Teacher -Yes, Ram was ready to accept her as his queen, but she herself did not like to burn herself in the furnace of the household, because she had realised that there was no joy in the pleasures of senses. The path of detachment is the only way to supreme happiness. She, therefore, engrossed herself in the pursuit of the soul.
Student – And Ram….?
Teacher – After sometime Ram also realised the transitoriness of worldly life and became a detached monk. He destroyed attachments and aversions and became an omniscient being, having reached the highest point of his self-pursuit.
Student -The story of Ram is very interesting and educative. I have enjoyed it and learnt many new things. Could you not explain this in more details ?
Teacher – There is no time to describe the events in details. If you want to know more details, you should study Padam Puran of Ravisenacharya.
Student – It must be in Sanskrit ?
Teacher – Yes, the original text is in Sanskrit, but Pandit Daulatramji Kasliwal has translated it in Hindi also.
Student – Where shall we get it ?
Teacher – In the temple. You can get Padam Puran in every Jain temple, where people read it daily.
Dr. H.C. Bharill