- 1. Origin of some Names of Shriram
- 2. Ram’s family and Incarnations
- 3. Special characteristics and mission
The little that most people know about God is usually through stories read or heard during their childhood. Due to such brief information, their belief in God is also very little.
Availability of more information about Deities helps in augmenting one’s belief; this in turn assists in smooth spiritual practice. Therefore, useful information about Shriram is given in this article.
Just as a droplet of water containing a trace of oil cannot blend with water completely, similarly unless the devotee of Shriram has imbibed all the attributes of Shriram, he cannot merge with Him, that is he cannot attain Sayujya Mukti. In this context, the attributes of Shriram described here will be a source of guidance to seekers.
Ram’s original Name is only ‘Ram’. He is a descendant in the Sun dynasty. Despite being born at 12 noon, He was not given a name such as Rambhanu, a name for the sun. Later, from the incident in which as a child He obstinately cried to have the moon, He was probably known as Ramachandra.
‘Shri’ is one of the six virtues of God. The six virtues are – success, Shri (Energy, beauty, virtues etc), generosity, detachment, knowledge and opulence.
When Ram returned victorious to Ayodhya with Sita after slaying Ravan and conquering Lanka, revealing that He was indeed God incarnate, He was called Shriram by the residents of Ayodhya. In the Valmiki Ramayan, Ram is referred to as ‘Narapungav’ (The Supreme Man) and not as God. (Similarly, Deity Hanuman is referred to as ‘Kapipungav’ [The Supreme Monkey]. However, by itself, the word pungav means a bull.) There is a dot after ‘Shri.’ that is used before our names, which is the abbreviation for ‘Shriyut’ the Bharatiya term for Mister. However, there is no full stop when Shri is prefixed to the Name of Ram or Krushna. When we say ‘Shriyut’ it means enriched with ‘Shri’, that is, the particle of God. As against this, Shriram and Shrikrushna are actually God.
When God incarnates other Deities too incarnate with Him. Based on this rule, when Shrivishnu incarnated as Ram, other Deities incarnated with Him as given in the table ahead.
|Ram and His family||Whose Incarnation ?|
|2. Sita||Shakti (Energy) of Shrivishnu|
|6. Hanuman||Eleventh Rudra, Shiva|
3A. Ideal in all respects
3A 1. Ideal son : Though Ram obeyed His parents, at times He also preached to the elders. For example, when leaving for the forest He told His parents not to grieve for Him. When Ram returned after completing 14 years in exile in the forest, He offered obeisance to Mother Kaikeyi, the very cause for His exile, and spoke to her lovingly as before.
3A 2. Ideal brother : Even today, people quote Ram-Lakshman’s love as an ideal illustration of brotherly love.
3A 3. Ideal husband : Ram had only one wife, Sita, and was devoted to Her. Even after abandoning her, Ram lived in detachment. Later, when He performed a Yadnya (Sacrificial fire) He placed Her Idol beside Him. He did not prefer another wife despite it being a practice in those days for kings to have many queens. Considering this background, this depicts His faithfulness to His wife.
3A 4. Ideal friend : Ram helped Sugreev, Bibhishan etc. during the difficult times in their lives.
3A 5. Ideal king
A. One who ruled the kingdom as Guruseva (Service unto the Guru) : ‘When Shriramachandra returned from His exile in the forest, He offered His entire kingdom unto the Holy feet of His Shriguru (Spiritual Master), Vasishṭha, because He believed that only Brahmans (Priests) are entitled to rule the earth surrounded by the seas. Thereafter, Shriram ruled His kingdom for 11000 years to obey His Guru as part of Guruseva. That is precisely why His rule, Ramrajya, was extremely prosperous and resembled the Satyayug.’ – His Holiness Kane, Maharaj, Narayangaon, District Pune, Maharashtra
B. Prompt in following Rajadharma (Code of Righteousness of the ruler) : When His subjects expressed doubts about the chastity of Sita, ignoring His personal relationship with Her, He abandoned Her in accordance with Rajadharma. In this context, Kalidas, a famous poet has written a touching shloka – ‘कौलीनभीतेन गृहन्निरस्ता न तेन वैदेहसुता मनस्तः ।’ – Raghuvansha, Sarga 14, Shloka 84
Meaning : ‘Fearing social stigma Ram drove Sita out of His home, but not out of His heart’.
3A 6. Ideal enemy : After Ravan’s death when his brother Bibhishan refused to perform his last rites, Ram said to him, “Enmity ends with death. If you do not perform his last rites, I will. He is my brother too”.
3B. Follower of Dharma
He followed all the norms of Dharma, because of which He is referred to as ‘Maryadapurushottam. ‘Shriram taught Dharma to His subjects too. Following His teachings, they remained sattvik and this created samashṭi punya (Collective merit). Consequently, the social environment for human life became favourable for happiness. Similarly, as the connection between Nivruttimargis (Individuals who have ceased to participate in worldly affairs) and Pravruttimargis (Individuals active in worldly life) was not lost, it resulted in happiness for every individual. That is why, life in Ramrajya is considered to be ideal.’ – His Holiness Kane Maharaj, Narayangaon, District Pune, Maharashtra
3C. True to His word
1. Generally, when we have to emphasize a point we say ‘I will speak the truth trivar (Thrice)’. Similarly, the word ‘Shanti (Peace)’ is uttered thrice. The word ‘trivar’ is used with the following two meanings.
A. I speak after taking the oath of the Trinity of Deities – Brahma, Vishnu and Mahesh.
B. The word trivar (त्रिवार), meaning, ‘thrice’ is derived from tri (त्रि) and var (वार), that is, three days. If you get the same dream on three consecutive nights, it is said to be a spiritual dream and you should either act accordingly or ask a spiritually evolved individual about it. Similarly, only if you hear something thrice, consider it to be true. However, Shriram was true to His word; once He uttered something it was the absolute Truth and there was no need to utter it thrice.
No one ever asked Shriram, “Is this true ?”
2. In Sanskrut grammar, there are three types of nouns – ekvachan (Singular), dwivachan (Dual) and bahuvachan (Plural). Shriram is ‘singular’. This implies that to merge with Shriram, is to go from three (many) to two (Guru-disciple) and then to one, that is, Shriram. In Spirituality, spiritual progress means going from many to one and from one to shunya (Zero-state). Here, shunya refers to the Purnavatar (Absolute Incarnation), Shrikrushna.
3. According to Geometry, three depicts the three dimensions; but Shriram is uni-dimensional. The three dimensions have arisen from the single dimension, which is beyond place and time.
3D. One who used a single arrow
Since Shriram could strike any target with a single arrow in first shot, there was never a need for a second one.
3E. Extremely generous
Sugreev asked Shriram, “When Bibhishan surrendered, you gave the kingdom of Lanka to him. (Shriram
had gifted the kingdom to him even before the battle began.) What will you do if Ravan too surrenders ?” Shriram replied, “I will give him Ayodhya and along with my brothers, I will go to live in the forest”.
3F. Always stithapradnya (Equanimous)
Being stithapradnya is an indicator of a high spiritual level. Shriram’s stithapradnya state will
be clear from the following verse.
प्रसन्नतां या न गताभिषेकतः तथा न मम्ले वनवासदुःखतः ।
मुखाम्बुजश्री रघुनन्दनस्य या सदास्तु मे मञ्जुलमङ्गलप्रदा ।।
– Ramcharitmanas, Kanḍa 2, Adhyaya 1, Mangalacharan
Meaning : May the radiance of Shriram’s countenance, the one who was neither elated after hearing about His coronation nor distressed about His exile into the forest, always bestow us with happiness. In the terminology of the Gita, it is said ‘the one who is neither happy nor sad is said to have a steady intellect’.
3G. Human nature
Shriram displays emotions of happiness and unhappiness just like human beings. Hence, we feel more attracted to Him than to other Deities. For example, after Sita’s abduction, Ram became melancholic. However, even in such circumstances how the God Principle in Shriram still remained intact will be clear from a conversation between Deities Shiva and Parvati as given ahead.
Parvati : Just see how the one whose Name you chant is grieving for His wife like an ordinary mortal.
Shiva : That grief is superficial. He has to do this since He has assumed a human form.
Parvati : Ram is wandering about embracing the trees. That proves He is really pining for Sita.
Shiva : Why do you not experience for yourself if this is true or false ? Appear before Him in the form of Sita. Then observe His behaviour.
Parvati did as Shiva said. Seeing Her, Ram offered obeisance to Her and said, “I have recognised You. You are Adimaya (Primal energy)”. Thus, Parvati was convinced that Ram’s bereavement was only superficial.
3H. Ramdas (Ram’s servitor) and Ramrajya
34H 1. Ramdas : This word has two meanings.
A. The servitor of Ram
B. The one who Ram serves !
3H 2. Ramrajya
A. During His times, that is, in the Tretayug, Ram alone was not sattvik; His subjects too were sattvik. Hence, during His reign, not a single complaint was brought to His court.
B. The real Ramrajya (Implied meaning) : Absolute control over the five sense organs, five motor organs, mind, subconscious mind, intellect and ego by Ram (Atmaram – The soul Principle) dwelling in the heart is the real Ramrajya.