Three Rams and Three Great Miseries

“There are three Ramas mentioned in the Dashavatar (ten avatars). You have explained about few avatars scientifically and you say Dashavatar is not authentic and the chronology has no scientific basis too. Your explanation about Ram, Krishna, Varaha, Kalki etc were exciting and convincing for logical and rational mind. Udayji, could you please explain about the truth behind three Ramas? I only know about Shri Ram…” a WhatsApp message from Amit Singh, who is a scientist, NRI settled in Canada.

“What do you know about Shri Ram?” I asked him.

“The basics like Rama married to Sita and they went to forest. Sita sees a golden deer, who in fact was a demon named Maricha, sent by the ten-headed demon Ravan. When Rama went to catch the deer, Ravan abducts Sita. Rama, after killing Ravan, regains Sita…”

“As a scientist how can you believe that a human can transform into deer? Is it possible for a human to live with ten heads?” I asked him…

“Yeah, it is totally rubbish Udayji. It is confusing, that’s why I contacted you. What’s the significance of the story? Is there deeper meaning in it?”

“Stories are good at entry level. But as we grow, we should understand the deeper meaning in every story. Otherwise, we would live just kiddish life. Can you tell me how Sita is born?”

“Yes Udayji. Sita is daughter of Bhumi Devi (the goddess earth). She has been discovered in a furrow in a ploughed field…”

“Again, totally unscientific. Is it possible that the earth can give birth to a human child from nowhere? If children can appear in furrows in a ploughed field, the farmers would have stopped agriculture long ago…”

“Then, what’s it meaning?”

“Chhandogya Upanishad clearly defines it.”Annamayam hi saumya manah” meaning mind comes from food which in turn is a transformation of earth. In short, earth is mind. That’s why mind always stay Boudikam (earthly). Sita represents mind. Rama represents consciousness. That’s why he is hailed as the avatar of the supreme consciousness named Vishnu.”

“Oh, is it?”

“Yes. To become eternally happy the mind should marry to consciousness. Sita needs to be with Rama. But Sita (read mind) gets attracted to shining of the world – golden deer. Who has created the golden deer? Or under whose instruction the eye-blinding golden animal is created?”

“Ravana, of course…”

“Ravana has ten heads, you said. The golden deer is similar to the manifested world (maya = unreal that appears real). Such images are always created by five karmendriyas (organs of action) and five jnanendriyas (sense organs). The ten organs are shown as ten heads. The head also represents ego (memory). In fact, Ravana was near perfect, but for his ego. Ram first kills the illusion (golden deer) and then the root cause of it, the ego (Ravan). And then bring the mind back to consciousness…This is the gist of Ramayana message.”

“Udayji, you really have made it ridiculously simple. But my question was also about the three Rams together…”

“Yes. I am coming to that. Vishnu says: “Sukha (happiness) is my prasad (grace). Dukha (sorrow) is Mahaprasad’. We know everything in the universe is divine. Hence, the whole body is made up of divine components. But it has to bear all the sorrow (Dukha) to reach Vishnu’s abode – Vaikunta (eternal bliss). As human, we have to learn how to create bliss out of agony, miseries and happiness (in worldly gains). The whole procedure is just beautiful pain. To explain this basic fact, our ancient Sages classified the miseries into three…”

“Three types of miseries?”

“Yes. Each human being is affected by three types of miseries: The Adhidaivika, the Adhyatmika and the Adibhautika…”

“Can you explain it Udayji – I do not understand those words…”

“Adhidaivika literally means pertaining to the daiva or fate. Miseries and pain created by unseen forces which are believed to be Gods. Let’s leave the belief of God aside. Adhidaivika duhka (or tāpa) is created by the power of time, nature and the unseen hand or fate…”

“But, Udayji, what’s that to do with Ram?”

“Don’t be impatient, Amit. Ramachandra was a human being born in Vasishta Gotra. Ram was a Suryavanshi, born in Ikshvaku dynasty. By Karma he was in the profession of Kshatriya…Now, what’s Kshatriya?”

“The warrior class or Kings in Indian Varna system…”

“The real meaning of Kshatriya is person who protects the body (Kshetram = temple. For a human, the body is considered as temple) from external and internal injuries. Ram was a Kshatriya. He has to fulfill his Dharma of a Kshatriya. He sailed through all the miseries created by the fate. He was strongly footed by Dharma. If you understand Rama, you will be able to face Adhidaivika miseries by upholding your Dharma and reach the eternal bliss…”

“Yes, now I understand that point!”

“To teach this truth, sages had elevated Ramachandra as eighteenth incarnation of Vishnu. So that people will learn about Rama and will understand the meaning of life.”

“Now, the second one – Adhyatmika miseries….”

“Yes. Ādhyātmika literally means pertaining to the ātma and the body (plus mind). The ādhyātmika duhkha or tāpa is caused by bodily suffering and mental anguish. To get eternal bliss we need to contain our body and nature. Balarama (who was also a brother of Krishna) was born in the Gargi gotra in the family of Vṛṣṇi (Yadu dynasty). By profession he chose to be Kshatriya and conquered enemies. Later he focused in agriculture or taming the nature. Taming earth is good to tame your mind too.”

“You are right Udayji, even today, doctors will advise you to involve in farming to find mental peace.”

“Balarama lived a life of mental conflict, anguish – be it the issue of Subadhra, Karna, Bheeshna, Dhrona etc. and had very difficult time. Balarama ended his life in meditation. He is regarded as Haldar, the deity of Agriculture and Fertility. The way he handled the ādhyātmika miseries to a state of blissful end is an example for us so, our sages elevated him as the nineteenth incarnation of Vishnu.”

“Oh, so the Adibhautika is represented by Parasurama…”

“Yes, you are right. Adhibhautika literally means pertaining to the bhuta or living beings. The ādhibhautika duhkha or tāpa is that which is caused by other bhutas or living beings, like wild animals, snakes, or enemies. Parashurama belonged to Srivatsa Gotra and Bhrigu kula (race). His real name was Bhṛgupati (also known as Bhargava, Bhargava Rāma and Jamadagnya). Parashurama literally means ‘Rama with the axe’. He considered adharmic Kshatriyas as his enemies. He annihilated this administrative class (Kshatriyas) twenty-one times, being angry with them because of their rebellion against the Dharma Sastra.”

“But it is said that he killed Kshatriyas because, they didn’t listen to Brahmins?”

“Those days, Brahmin’s duty was to teach and also advise Kings on Dharma Sastra. When the Kshatriyas forgot their Dharma and lead a life of worldly pleasures (boudika) the Parashurama taught them a lesson by killing such elements. It just means, whenever there is disobedience on the part of the Kshatriyas, or the administrative class, against the orders of Dharma Sastra, the administrators is removed by force from the posts, and arrangement is made for better administration.”

“So, that’s the meaning…it is not just brutal killings…”

“Is it possible for a single person with axe killing millions of Kshatriyas? Even if you take it in literal sense, when Parashurama killed all the Kshatriyas, he had some exceptions. Though he was on a killing spree, he would not kill a person who is newly married, who surrenders unconditionally and who is performing a sacrifice/Yagnya. There are other ethical conditions like that which Parashurama followed. He didn’t kill Dasaratha (Ramachandra’s father) who was a Kshatriya. He didn’t kill Janaka, Sita’s father. He killed only the Adharmic Kshatriyas. So our sages elevated Parasurama as the sixteenth incarnation.”

Incidentally, Ramachandra born in a Kshatriya family and chosen to remain as Kshatriya. Parasurama born in a Brahmin family and chosen to live as a Kshatriya. Though born in Yadav family, Balarama also followed the suit. It also shows that you have choice to adopt a Varna and live according to the Dharma of that Varna.

The story of three Ramas tells us that sorrow and suffering (duhkha, tāpa) are inevitable part of life. Being aware about their origin, causes and even categorization helps one to minimize their effect, if not eradicate them. The three avatars are depicting a cosmic truth – life is all about pain and miseries. The only thing that comes to our rescue is our Dharma.

The very next avatar, after three Ramas, is a sparkling example as to how to live a joyful life following one’s Dharma, despite you are surrounded by sorrow and miseries. Incidentally, that person’s name was Krishna! ( )

Udaylal Pai
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1 Response

  1. Shashidhar says:

    Thanks for the excellent explanation

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