Thursday, April 2, 2009

Rama: Vishnu’s Seventh Incarnation

Sri Ramachandra was born on the ninth day of the lunar month Chaitra in the town of Ayodhya to teach humans how to live righteously. His biography, the epic Ramayana, forms the biggest chapter of ethics in Hinduism. To perform a divine play on a grand scale, when Lord Vishnu incarnated as Rama, his spouse, Goddess Lakshmi, incarnated as Devi Sita. Moreover, Shesha Naga, the unborn serpent god, incarnated as Rama’s most famous brother, Lakshmana. Similarly, the potencies of Vishnu’s Sudarshan chakra and shankha (conch) took birth on earth as Rama’s brothers, Shatrughna and Bharata, respectively.

In Hinduism, Rama is the ideal incarnation of the Divine. Though he is beyond all gunas, he reflects higher qualities such as compassion, gentleness, responsibility, purity, forgiveness, austerity, devotion (to his gurus and Lord Shiva), and courage in unlimited amounts. A considerable feature of Rama’s divine play was his extremely restrained use of divine powers. This allowed his beings to interact with and learn from him while treating him as a fellow being. Because of his unprecedented perfection in hiding his own divinity through his maya, recognizing his real nature was difficult for many of his unrealized contemporaries, including some of his “enemies.”

Astrologically, being related to the Sun, Rama shows the height of self-discipline, leadership, and brilliance, which are all signified by this graha. Just like all the planets revolve around the sun, all the gods, who incarnated as vanaras, and the immortal rishis appeared on earth during Rama’s stay to gather around the ruler of the creation and spend some time with him.

Happy Rama Navami!

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