The greatness of the Ramayana is clearly described in a verse which says that when the Paramapurusha, proclaimed by the Vedas, was born as the son of Dasaratha, Vedas also made their appearance in the form of the Ramayana, composed by Valmiki.
This gives rise to the questions, what are the contents of the Vedas and what are their purpose? The Vedas contain mantras or hymns for the performance of a variety of karmas, from birth to death, including several yagas, Ishtis and homas and also for conducting ceremonies for regaining lost health, getting over troubles caused by enemies,and the like.
Though the Vedas contain a variety of such topics, being encyclopedic in their range, they reveal to us, according to the Upanishads, the existence of one and only Supreme God, the Paramatma.
Through a process of intense discipline, we must train our mind to develop equipoise, so that it will remain unaffected by pain or pleasure. Like water-drops on a lotus leaf, sorrows will not affect such persons. This state of perfection of mind achieved by a person is known as Yoga. Though the common meaning of Yoga is the bringing together of a number of materials or influences, the philosophic meaning is Viyogam, or cutting away from attachment.
Having realised the true form of the Atma, a person does not think of anything else more profitable to achieve. A person in that state of realisation is least bothered by even the greatest of what appear as calamities. That state of perfection is Yoga, which has to be practiced with determination of purpose and a steady mind. It is only through a process of discipline that the mind can be cleansed of all impurities and trained to be steady and to develop the capacity of single-pointed concentration. That every person should, through proper education and discipline, attain the state of Yoga described above, before the soul departs from the body, is indicated by Kalidasa in his Raghuvamsa. We must be able to die with a smile on our lips. For, if we die without weeping, we will not have to weep after we die, that is, we will have no rebirth thereafter.
The Vedas are the source of Dharma. Sri Rama was the upholder and embodiment of Dharma. He protected it by his mental courage and disciplined life. Therefore, when he left for the forest for fourteen years to honour the pledge given by his father to Kaikeyi, his mother Kausalya offered him as a talisman the very Dharma which he protected, so that Dharma may in turn protect him from all harms.
That is how the Tamil saying “Dharmam talai kaakum”,came in vogue. If a dog should protect us from thieves, we must take good care of it. Similarly, Dharma will protect us only when we take care of it. Sri Rama has become, therefore, a model for us all. He was endowed with patience and a calm mind. When a strong and powerful person sticks to the right path, he becomes a model for others.
Sivaji, through the influences of his guru, Ramadas, used his strength and power only in the right manner. For instance, when women belonging to his enemies fell into his hands as prisoners, during his battles, he took great care of them and restored them to their relations unharmed.
The Ramayana teaches us the essential principles of the Vedas. Any superior scripture is generally called “Veda” and no wonder the Ramayana has come to be revered as Vedas. The Parama-purusha spoken of in the Vedas is perfect and full embodiment of Dharma, and is Sri Rama of the Ramayana.
The epic instructs us in karma, bhakti, and jnana, and in the Dharmic way of life. If we keep before ourselves the ideal of Sri Rama, we will be able to tide over every difficulty and danger and will be saved from straying into evil path; Sri Rama Naama smarana is the sure succor in 1ife’s tribulations. Anjaneya who practiced the japa of this Taaraka Mantra to perfection, is the embodiment of brahmacharya and valour, which are the most needed to endow us with strength to successfully go through the voyage of life. If we are anchored in Sri Rama and His supreme devotee, Sri Anjaneya, our mind will not be sullied by kaama or other passions, but will be disciplined to attain the reality pointed out by the’ Vedas.