Vishwamitra gives knowledge to Rama
There is a sutra in the Ramcharitamanas that defines the surrender process of Sage Vishwamitra. After Tadka Vadh, when Sage Vishwamitra recognized Sri rama as Bhagavan, Tulsidasji writes- तब रिषि निज नाथहि जियँ चीन्ही |
After जियँ चीन्ही, he says- बिद्यानिधि कहुँ बिद्या दीन्ही|
He offered all his Vidya unto Vidyapati (Sri Rama). Now what is the need to offer Vidya to Vidya Pati. This is a contradictory statement. Had Sri Rama been an ordinary prince then this move would be understandable. But Bhagavan Rama by himself is the reservoir of all knowledge. Why does he need formal training? Wasn’t Viswamitraji aware of it? Goswamiji clarified his statement with another sutra.
Karma and Yamuna river analogy
At the beginning, while describing the union of Karma, Jnana and Bhakti Yoga,
Tulsidasji says- राम भक्ति जहँ सुरसरि धारा | सरसई ब्रह्म बिचार प्रचारा || बिधि निषेधमय कलि मॉल हरनी | करम कथा रबिनंदनि बरनी ||
Karma or Purushartha can be compared to the Yamuna river. The Yamuna river is vast. Being vast it flows into the Ganga tributary and finally through the Ganges unites with the ocean. What is the significance of this lengthy process? Karma (action) should be like the flowing river. The river promptly executes her duty, she performs social service. She provides her clean waters, for irrigation of the fields, human consumption and various social activities. She spreads her purity.
Humans should perform their Karma, just as a river selflessly bestows her clean waters and serves mankind. Now, what should be foundation or source of such Karma. Karma is the Yamuna river and Yamuna is the daughter of Surya deva, the god of progress and higher ideals. Hence one’s action must emerge from morality, brilliance and right intent. The river is a high class social worker.
But, she behaves in a strange manner. She flows into the sea which is abundant with water. She should instead revive the dry parch deserts. It would be the greatest service. But the river behaves indifferently.
You can keep pleading all day before her, but she won’t change her path or even halt. Even on merging in the Ganga, her flow wouldn’t bate. Someone asked the river- “Why do you waste your waters by merging in the ocean? The ocean is so full of water. What is your role then?”
The river replied- “You can use me as you please, but until I merge into the ocean, I can’t attain completeness.” सरिता जल जलनिधि महुँ जाई | होइ अचल जिमि जिव हरि पाई ||
This means that unless the action oriented man surrenders himself unto Shri Rama he can’t experience gratitude, he can’t experience wholeness. The Karma Yogi shouldn’t proceeds towards the dry desert. He should not believe that it is only through social acts can he attain the highest. Finally the individual has to surrender unto the Lord. Only then, can he experience blessedness in life.
Someone questioned the river- “When you remained as a separate entity, as a river your waters were sweet and fresh, useful for all human activities, but now by merging into the salty waters of the ocean, you are rendered useless.”
The river gave an intelligent reply- “If you give it a serious thought, as long as I existed as an individual body and served society, my individualistic ego maintained itself, as this is Ganga water, and this is Yamuna water. But now on merging into the ocean and vaporized as rain in the heavy clouds, my water still drizzles, but nobody calls it Ganga Jal or Yamuna Jal.”
So, as longs as one’s petty ego binds, however well-equipped and virtuous one may be, he can’t taste the totality of life.
Union of Jeeva and Bhagavan
Hence, Rama (another name of Parashurama) should meet Rama. Like Parshuram, we are also the ansha of Bhagavan. But we have lost our way. Hence, this entire episode shows us the methodology to recognize the supreme and ultimately surrender ourselves unto him. We should contemplate on this pastime to cultivate surrender. We many times experience the irritation born in Parshurama’s mind. This irritation is born out of ignorance. Some activities please us while unpleasant situations, cause displeasure, irritation and annoyance, just as Parshurama grew upset at the breaking of the Shiva dhanush. Initially, Parshurama was ignorant of the person who broke the bow. He could merely see the broken pieces of the bow but couldn’t see the hand behind it. Many times, situations appear abnormal to us, because we can’t see Bhagavan operating behind them. When Parshurama finally realizes his folly, and sees Bhagavan’s involvement, he see the entire episode with a different lens. He sees a different meaning in the entire event. His anger is assuaged as he sees Bhagavan as the cause.
Significance of the Shiva Dhanush
Another form of Bhagavan is known as Virat. The Virat roop of Bhagavan Vishnu as described in the Puranas is similar to the human body. The ramacharita manas mentions an episode where Mandodari describes the Virat form of Shri Rama to her husband Ravana-
बिस्वरूप रघुबंस मणि करहु बचन बिस्वासु | लोक कल्पना बेद कर अंग-अंग प्रति जासु || She states that the entire universe is the body of Sri Rama.
Somebody once asked Goswami Tulsidasji- “How are we to believe in a God whom we cannot see?” In reply Goswamiji said- “Just open your eyes, Bhagavan stands before you.” नयनन निरखु कृपा समुद्र हरि | अग जग भूप रूप सीताबर ||
The entire cosmos, moon, planets, constellation, is verily Bhagavan’s body. It is the personification of Ishwara. Just like humans have a mind and consciousness, the magnanimous, body of Bhagavan, the Virat roop carries the 4 types of minds. Mandodari compares the multifaceted dimensions of the human body to the Virat roop.
She says- Ahankar Siva- The universal (Samashti) ego in humans is known as Shiva. Universal intellect or Buddhi is known as Brahma. The Universal mind is the moon. The consciousness principle or Chitta Mahan is Lord Vishnu. Lord Vishnu is the life force.
In the Ramcharitamans, there is doha- अहंकार सिव बुद्धि अज मन ससि चित्त महान| मनुज बास सचराचर रूप राम भगवान|| This is the Shiva dhanush and Shiva is the ego of Virat. Thus, we can draw a symbolic interpretation of the Shiva Dhanush.