Thursday, July 10, 2008

Brahman-rishi Vasistha as Lord Rama’s guru

On seeing his beings suffer on earth, Lord Brahma creates Rishi Vasistha from his thought with an intention to provide everyone with a path through which sorrow can be entirely eliminated.1 As soon as Vasistha, endowed with a kamandal 2 and a rudraksha necklace, is born from Brahma’s “inexpressible maya” just like a “wave is created from a wave,” Brahma curses his son with momentary ajnana (ignorance) so that he can experience what sorrow in worldly beings is like and ask Brahma for its remedy out of curiosity. Unsurprisingly, Vasistha inquires how he got entrapped in a sorrowful world and how he could get himself released from it. Lord Brahma responds to Vasistha’s inquiry through lectures on spiritual knowledge, and Vasistha again becomes a knower of the Self. He is then instructed to transfer this knowledge about advaita to individual souls on earth.

What does Vasistha gain by liberating numerous beings from darkness? A Brahman-rishi, who experiences oneness with Brahman, never attains anything. Still, he is later blessed with the best disciple a guru can meet -- Lord Rama, lectures to whom have been documented for us as the Yogavasistha.

In the Ramacharitamanasa, where love of God outshines knowledge, when Vasistha is offered the position as the family priest of the solar dynasty, he refuses at once for he is overqualified and considers family priesthood a lowly job. But when Lord Brahma informs him that the Supreme Soul will eventually incarnate in this family as a human, he gladly accepts the job, for it promises him the ultimate result of spiritual living: a darshan of Sri Rama. And during the Lord’s divine play on earth, Vasistha, in spite of being fully realized and Rama's guru, requests Sri Rama to bless him with his never-ending bhakti.

[1] source: the Yogavasistha
[2] kamandal is a pot filled with holy water

No comments:

Post a Comment