||Sri Ramakrishna Sharanam||
Aum Namo Narayanaya
“Sir, have you seen God?” That’s the one question that initiated a relationship that continues to inspire millions to this very day. The burning desire to speak and associate with someone who has seen God, took Naren (Swami Vivekananda) to different people. He returned from each of them dejected as they could not positively and assertively answer His simple question.
However, when He met Sri Ramakrishna, He was taken aback by the command with which He replied: “Yes, I see God as clearly as I see you.” If you have the opportunity to read the Gospel of Sri Ramakrishna, you will be able to see on various occasions the interactions the Master had with the Divine Mother.
I was also inspired to read how even Sri Sri Yogananda Paramahansa in his book Mans Eternal Quest on numerous occasions makes reference to the times when he saw and spoke to God like he was communing with another human being.
This leads me to question how and why Sri Ramakrishna and saints like Sri Yogananda were able to see God and have these beautiful relations, yet we who undertake our prayers and attend satsangh are not able to. Sometimes when you speak to people about all the adharma and negativity in the world they always lay blame to the age of Kali Yuga. However, the saints that we speak off lived amongst people in this very age. So we cannot allude to the argument that God could only be seen in the Satya Yuga, Thretha Yuga etc. No doubt it was easier in those ages but it is also possible in this age. So, what is the secret?
|Arjuna sees the Universal form|
I am reminded of an incident in the Ramayan which could help us understand and clear this doubt. After Mother Sita was abducted, Lord Rama and Lutchmana started to make their way through the forest in search of Her. In their pursuit they came across Hanuman. He came to their assistance and took them to Sugreeva who fled Kishkindha in fear of his brother Vali. It is said that Vali was an extremely powerful King of the apes who had once even defeated Ravana.
As it happened, a demon Mayawi once challenged Vali's supremacy. Vali accepted the challenge and a fight broke out between the two. They entered a cave and continued their fight inside. Vali specifically told Sugreeva to remain stationed at the entrance of the cave and wait for him for fifteen days. He said: "I will kill this demon and return”.
But, after fifteen days, nobody returned. One day, blood was seen flowing from the cave and Sugreeva assumed that Vali was killed, and it was likely that the demon would kill him too. So Sugreeva ran away to his kingdom and waited for Vali. But Vali did not return even after a few weeks. Therefore he declared himself to be the new King in place of Vali.
A few months passed. Vali recovered from his wounds and returned to his kingdom. He was trembling with rage when he found that his unfaithful brother had usurped his throne. He beat Sugreeva to near death. Sugreeva escaped and ran for his life to the Risyamuk mountains. Further, Rama was told that Vali had also forcefully taken Sugreeva's wife as his new Queen. Sugreeva and Hanuman pleaded that Vali be killed as he was brining about immense pain to the people of Kishkindha.
Rama realised that Sugreeva was a humble soul and was not wicked. He had not occupied the throne intentionally or through a plot to oust Vali. He really believed that Vali was killed in fight. Therefore, Rama accepted him as his friend and promised assist him. Under the instructions of Rama, Sugreeva challenged his brother to come out and fight for the final decision as to who should rule Kishkindha.
During the ensuing fight Rama who hid behind a tree fired an arrow which brought the mighty Vali down. It was in his last breath that he had the opportunity to see Sri Rama and speak to him. This incident of the Lord shooting Vali from behind the tree, if taken literally, can be misunderstood as many people question how a great warrior like Sri Rama can shoot someone with whom He was not directly engaged in a battle with, from behind.
The spiritual significance of this episode provides a suitable answer to the question I raised earlier. Because of his prowess, certain qualities like anger, ego, hatred and deceit started to flourish within Vali. In his last moments he asked Sri Rama: “Why didn’t you come to me for assistance? I have even conquered Ravana. I would have helped you”. You see how big his ego had gone. He thinks that he is the doer. The Lord did not meet him at all until that time.
When our ego and negative qualities overwhelm us, the Lord does not abandon us, He is there in the background helping us to remove these tendencies, much like how he was behind the trees. He ensures that He aims arrows of His grace at us to enlighten us. When all our negativity is defeated by His hands, He reveals Himself to us, much like how we remove all the fibre of the coconut first before the pure insides are revealed. Bhagawan helps us from behind the scenes to annihilate these coverings of maya before we can see him.
I pray that His divine grace acts swiftly upon us, so that we too will be able to see Him soon.
With Love and Prayers Always