Ten Qualities of Lord Rama – Part 7

Jaya Sri Ram! As we enter into the auspicious ten days of the Dasara, which will culminate in the Vijayadashami, the day of victory of Good, represented by Lord Rama over the Evil-Ravana; we bring you a series of narrations from Ramayana, describing ten transcendental qualities of Lord Ramachandra, one for every day of the Dussehra.

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Quality 7Lord Rāma, engages everyone in his service

As the Supreme Personality of Godhead, Lord Rāma himself could have searched Sītā. He, in a matter of hours, could have located and destroyed entire Laṅkā to its ruins.

The epic of Rāmāyaṇa wonderfully narrates the tale of Lord Rāma engaging the monkeys, who had descended from heaven, to witness the glories of Lord Rāma.

Let’s go through, the journey of Lord Rāma engaging everyone in his service to locate Sītā.

In search of Sugrīva

Lord Rāma’s heart was burning, with the pain of separation from his beloved wife, Sītā. He cried out in anguish. Lakṣman comforted His brother, and The two brothers continued Their search for Sugrīva, as suggested by Kabandha. The Gandharva who was turned into a Rākṣasa by a curse of a ṛṣi.

Sugrīva had heard those cries and told Hanumān, son of the wind-god Vāyu, to assume the form of a Brahmin and meet the warriors. The astute Hanumān strictly examined the two brothers. He could sense They were not ordinary men. The monkey had, an intense devotion for Viṣṇu and as he looked at Rāma, he felt his love awakened.

Hanumān decided to reveal his identity, and with folded palms, he told Them that he was Sugrīva’s minister. The brothers were relaxed and smiling.

Hanumān out of curiosity, humbly asked Lord Rāma, about their presence in the forest. Lakṣman told him, in brief, all that had happened to Rāma from the point of His exile. The narration, of Rāma’s many misfortunes, distressed Lakṣman and He spoke with tears streaming from his eyes.

Within a few minutes, they reached to Sugrīva. Setting the brothers down, he introduced Them to the monkey King and narrated him Rāma’s story. Sugrīva extended his hand to Rāma, who clasped it firmly, with Vedic mantras they sat by the fire and swore their alliance together.

Fulfilling his vow & a clue of Sītā

Sugrīva asked his security from his hostile brother, Vali. In return, he would search for Sītā using his monkey army. Vali had been born the son of Indra, so he possessed strength beyond compare. Invincible Rāma vowed, to soon kill that immoral Vali.

Relieved Sugrīva then showed Rāma the cloth bundle Sītā had thrown. Emotional Rāma saying that Rāvaṇa must have carried Sītā this way, asked Laksman to see those belongings of Sītā. Lakshman gazed at those and replied, “I do not recognize the armlets or earrings, for I have never looked at the face or body of the princess. But I recognize the anklets, which I saw each day as I bowed at Her feet.” This amazed Rāma.

Rāma then fulfilled his vow and killed Vali. He reinstated Sughriva as the monkey king. As monsoon neared, Rāma advised Sugrīva to stay in the palace at Kishkindha and wait until it got over.

After the monsoons passed, Rāma, was in deep pain, on the other hand, Sugrīva, fell for the pleasures that the Crown had offered him. Seeing all this, worried Hanumān aroused the king, Sugrīva and reminded his promise to Lord Rāma.

Sugrīva then amassed a force, sufficient to encounter all the Rākṣasas.

 

 The search for Sītā begins

As millions of fierce monkey warriors, came to Kishkindha the earth vibrated. Sugrīva took all of them and went again into Rāma’s presence and asked for his command. Rāma heard Sugrīva speaking with Hanumān and was confident of success, as much as Sugrīva was. Lord Rāma then joyfully handed Hanumān a ring inscribed with His name to show Sītā as a proof that Rāma had sent him.

The monkeys dispatched by Sugrīva began their search. They scanned cities, towns and villages. As the monkeys searched each cave systematically, they found a yoginī, Swayamprabha, meditating in a beautiful cave. She could understand that they were Rāma’s servants. She was so pleased to have the opportunity to serve Rāma by entertaining His servants. The yoginī served the monkeys delicious food and drinks, which invigorated them.

After a further stern search, they reached the southern ocean. Disappointed with the situation, they decided to fast till death. There they met a wingless, old bird Sampati, brother of Jaṭāyu. Aṅgadā, son of Vali then asked him whereabouts of Rāvaṇa.

The bird told Aṅgadā that, Rāvaṇa lived in Laṅkā, situated amid the southern ocean eight hundred miles away. The princess was being held captive in Rāvaṇa’s garden, guarded by fierce Rākṣasīs. He then requested them, to cross the ocean and locate Laṅkā immediately.

 

Hanumān’s might

To, cross the ocean was not an easy task, the monkeys wondered. Then, Jāmbavān, a great leader of the bears, spoke to Hanumān who was sitting silently. He described Hanumān’s identity and capabilities. As a child, he possessed invincible prowess and thus was mischievous too. 

To neutralise him the ṛṣis had uttered a curse, “You will forget your great power. Only when you will hear your powers described by another, you will again remember them.”

This speech had ended the ṛṣis’ curse. Hanumān remembered, his great prowess and he flew to Laṅkā, loudly uttering, “Jai Śrī Ram!”

Hanumān thought of Rāma that by remembering Rāma’s name itself, anyone could cross the entire ocean of material suffering.

After reaching Laṅkā, Hanumān searched Sītā, house after house and finally, He spotted her lying near the temple. As his heart leapt with joy, agony followed, to see Her in such a wretched condition that resembled the eclipsed moon.

Hanumān wanted to comfort Sītā, but he doubted that she might consider it as a trickery used by Rāvaṇa. So he started praising Rāma, narrating his story. Sītā was struck with wonder, felt joy upon hearing Rāma’s glory described. But She was still suspicious.

Hanumān reassured Her by showing her the ring given to him by the Lord himself. As Sītā was comforted, Hanumān narrated Rāma’s situation and the plan. Hanumān took the jewel which Sītā gave him and bowed low to Sītā.

Enraged Hanumān wanted to test, the potential of the Rāvaṇa’s army before leaving Laṅkā. He slew thousands of Rākṣasas who had gathered there. Hanumān then blazed a large part of Laṅkā, with his tail.

 

Mission accomplished

Hanumān fulfilled his desire and returned to his team. Within a few minutes, they had arrived and prostrated themselves before Sugrīva and Rāma. Hanumān sat before Rāma, with folded palms, he said, “My lord, Mother Sītā has been found.” Rāma’s face shone like a Sun.

Hanumān narrated everything to Rāma and Sugrīva. Lord Rāma took Sītā’s yellow jewel from Hanumān. He pressed it to His bosom and wept softly.

Rāma lamented that He could never repay the monkey for the service he had rendered. He then declared Hanumān as his first-class servant and then tightly hugged him.

The vānara army was pleased. The opportunity, they had to serve the Supreme Personality of Godhead, was not wasted. They were ready for the final battle to bring Sītā back, even by giving their lives. They felt blessed and redeemed of their sins. They thanked Lord Rāma, the Supreme Lord, for offering them an opportunity to render their services to him, which otherwise their monkey nature would have never allowed them to.

As both parties prepared for war, happiness and good omens flourished towards Lord Rāma’s side while Laṅkā was in a panic. They compared the carnage, Hanumān had caused them, to that of, Rāma was about to bring.