Bhagavaan Vishnu incarnates infinite forms (avatars), to end the evil and uplift the good on our mother earth from time to time.
Out of love to His devotees, He has demonstrated how a rightful person should live and respond to situations at every step in life. The most significant role being, Shree Rama who dealt life’s ups and downs as a normal man. His moral actions stand as a resolute guideline for mankind of all ages. Hence He is known as Maryada Purushottama (the best and most respected of all gentle men). His daily activities full of moral values, give us an insight of what we should really value in our lives and what our duties should be. Here the daily practices of Lord Shree Rama as described in Shree Valmiki’s Ananda Ramayana are briefly presented:
1. Every morning Shree Rama used to cleanse himself with soil and water from the Sarayu river.
Our Sanaatana Dharma Shaastras (Hindu religious and scientific scriptures), recommend that one must cleanse with soil (soap), as well as with water in the morning. The significance of this practice is that the alluvial soil (major portion of all soaps consists of alluvial soil technically known as kaolin clay), of river beds is rich in minerals and is used as a natural detergent, which not only cleans, but also restores the skin’s nourishment. This shows His preference to simple but effective lifestyle. Even today, modern cosmetics have clay as their base.
2. After bath and daily rituals such as Sandhyavandana (prostrations to the Sun and the angels of dawn), he used to donate money and wealth to the needy brahmanas and obtain their blessings.
Our culture respects knowledgeable people (Knowledge is the livelihood of brahamanas) – who devote themselves to seek and disperse knowledge while undergoing physical and economic hardships with the sole selfless intention – the benefit of mankind. Kshatriyas (King and warriors) on the other hand, devote themselves to protect the people of the country.
It is the King’s responsibility to protect and take care of all classes of people such as the brahmanas (teachers, advisors and consultants), the kshatreeyas (police, military), the vaishyas (merchants), and the shoodras (service sector).
The Hindu Cultural Hub at Clayfield is a centre to congregate and promote spiritual, cultural and educational needs of local community and wider Hindu society in Brisbane. Devotees and friends assemble at the Bar-Jai Community Hall (178, Alexandra Road, Clayfield) last Friday of each month between 7.0pm to 9.00pm.
Our next cultural congregation falls on 27th of July 2018.
As a standard practice, we have the following program at the Bar-Jai Hall:
- Pooja by Hindu Priest.
- Bajan and Kirtan by devotees.
- Monthly religious updates / guest speakers on spiritual (or) on yoga techniques.
- Prasatham with vegetarian dinner served.
- Session conclude with relevant social justice updates and public notices.
We are currently interested in building our networks and relations with different communities around local and Brisbane area. If you are interested to get involved, please contact us on 0469016416 or 0427999129. More details can be found at our web site: http://www.hinduculturalhub.org/
3. Then he would return to his palace to perform daily rituals such as:
- Agnihotra (prayers to the Fire God Agni – the source of energy)
- Worship the Sphatika Shiva lingam (Shiva Lingam made out of pure quartz crystal)
- Worship the Tulasi plant (Oscimum sanctum)
- Worship the Kaamadhenu (the divine cow)
- Worship the Ashwattha (Peepul – Ficus Religiosa) tree
- Perform Suryanamaskara (prostrations to the Sun in 12 yoga poses)
- Namaskaras (Salutations) to his parents
The Shastras highlight that food when offered to God before consumption would be blessed with divine qualities that nourishes the consumers’ mind-body & soul. Hence ancient rituals of offering food to the sacrificial fire are still in use known as Yajna (sacrifice). Carrying out such Yajna daily maintains the balance in life and promotes health and well being.
Shiva means ‘auspicious’. The trinity – the primordial divine force which creates in the form of Brahma, preserves what has been created in the form of Vishnu and after the intended life period, destroys the creation to return to their building blocks in the form of Rudra is known as Shiva. This cosmic terminology is represented in Sanatana Dharma as the Shiva lingam. It is an ellipsoid in shape usually made from pure quartz. The devotee uses the quartz lingam as an aid to realise that his mind is constantly clear as quartz, and that he can see himself within the transparent self (supreme), and the supreme (self) within himself (physically). Worshiping it represents Yoga, the unison of the self with the Supreme (Shiva – the bliss), as Shiva is the mind’s presiding deity.
Tulasi plant promotes Bhakti (devotion); Kaamadhenu fulfils one’s desires; and Ashwattha liberates one from spiritual bondage; Suryanamaskaras promote health and well being – also Shree Rama belongs to Suryavamsha (lineage of the Sun); and parents bless us when we respect them.
4. Then he attended the Raajasabha (Parliament in the King’s court), along with his father Dasharatha Maharaja to offer obeisance to his Guru Vashishta and hear the ‘thought for the day’ from the Puraanas (ancient historical divine stories with moral essence), followed by breakfast with brahmanas, relatives and friends.
Prince Shree Rama was the son of King Dasharatha. He was novice to the king; and he believed that moral stories heard from wise men would provide a guideline and serve as a constant reminder for one to observe Dharma, the path of righteousness.
Sharing food with one and all is the foundation of humanity.
5. He would carry out the administrative activities of the kingdom under the rule of his father till midday and then narrated the day’s activities to his wife Seetha.
Shree Rama ensured that law and order was maintained always and sought expert advice when needed. The country was resourceful and the economy was well maintained. There was no chance of disputes or disagreement among His subjects as peace was reigning well and people led a prosperous life. Even the natural elements obeyed His rule as there were no natural calamities in His time. One has to perform his/her professional duties well and in time to get such support. The wife shares her husband’s life. On her part, the wife provides her support – timely advice for example, so that he can perform his rightful duties. He must make her aware of all his activities, because it is his responsibility by right. Seetha and Shree Rama lived and have led the world by example as to how an ideal married couple should be. Shree Rama emphasised this fact by observing Ekapatnee vratam (having one wife for life).
6. Daily at noon, Shree Rama bathed in the Sarayu to perform the midday’s Sandhyavandana (offering his respects to the Sun), followed by meals with brahmanas relatives and friends.
He has emphasised that daily rituals should not be ignored, but be part of one’s duties. He loved and respected the Devas (angels), Rshis (sages), Pitrus (ancestors), brahmanas, people (men, women and children of his kingdom), and all living beings (animals, birds etc) equally.
7. After meals, Shree Rama spent some time with his wife Seetha, and then dressed as a warrior (with shields, helmets and protective armaments), wandered in the woods with his bow and quiver of arrows.
He was a kshatriya by birth, so protecting the good Samaritans under his shelter was his duty by word and sword. He was an expert in the use of arms and armaments, especially his favourite – archery. He kept his skills alive through regular practice, which makes a man perfect.
8. At dusk, Shree Rama performed his Sandhyavandana (evening Sun obeisance), Shiva pooja, and attended the evening meeting sessions with his father after a light breakfast. Then along with Seetha, he would retire to sleep.
The scriptures state that Shiva wanders with his Bhootaganas (souls and spirits) at dusk everyday giving liberation to those who seek and promote the departed to their next suitable lives. Hence it is prescribed that Shiva pooja is done especially at dusk. Shree Rama offered his daily activities, sought courage, power and presence of mind in warfare and in administration from Shiva through His daily worship.
In the ancient times, people commonly followed a balanced diet, with seasonal variations when required, to ensure their well being. According to their personal capacities, they had optimal breakfast in the morning, medium meals at noon and light refreshments with milk or fruits at night.
Shree Rama considered His duties and keeping up His promises as the prime goals of his life at all times. He prioritised and valued each of his tasks and performed them with interest without feeling weary of the repetition when required.
As is evident in the Ramayana, Shree Rama excelled in all stages of his life through dedication and unselfish motive – as a son, brother, student, husband, prince, master, devotee, friend, protector, warrior, King and most importantly a human being. His resolute dedication for service and the will to protect those in His refuge made Him everybody’s favourite. It is because of this nature (dedication) one can acquire several other ideal qualities that were natural for Shree Rama such as:
- He was always truthful and never used bad language.
- He cordially approached everyone who sought his help and never failed in his sense of justice.
- He never discriminated among people of various walks of life and was unbiased to all living beings.
- He never gambled and always stood for honesty, courage, compassion and hard work.
- He had extraordinary patience, never lost his temper and would clear any misunderstanding / criticism by speaking softly.
- He never thought he was great, but would openly praise others’ good qualities, even if they had only one.
- He never looked at any other woman other than his wife Seetha.
- He indulged in pleasures without transcending the social norms.
- Though he was a King, he was fully aware of the higher truth and performed all spiritual practices.
- The principle of his life was to protect anyone who sought refuge in Him – even those who had opposed him earlier.
These simple acts of His daily routine show us that one should integrate discipline in life and maintain it through practice. Although they look very simple, they are embedded with moral principles that bring us happiness and comfort in the long run. This was strongly supported by Shree Raaghavendra SwamigaLu (Raayaru), being a prime devotee of Moola (primordial) Rama.
During this modern age, we all suffer from stress and other complications, most of which are knowingly or unknowingly self-imposed, due to our own lack of commitment, fore-thought, planning and patience. With these, let us humbly pray Shree Rama to grant us the state of mind and resolve to cultivate (through daily practice), at least some of his humane qualities to make our lives meaningful.
A humble submission to the lotus-like feet of Shree SeethaRamachandra by Dr. Naren Kumar, Brisbane.