The greatest title given to Lord Rama, is that of “Rama-Setu” (रामसेतु) which means, Rama, the Bridge. The Indian Ocean separates the land masses of Lanka and India. The challenge posed before the monkey army of King Sugreeva was the mighty ocean. If one is to look at the divinity of the Sri Rama, then it just follows that crossing over a small ocean for the Supreme Lord was like a giant elephant trying to cross a water mass which is as tiny as the hoof-prints of a calf. Where it has been repeatedly emphasized at multitudinous places in the Manas that “Sri Rama is Ishwara (ईश्वर), God”, it is also equally stressed in the Ramayana that the Lord is performing a Leela (लीला), divine play where the Lord is playing the part of an ordinary human being. Thus there is another subtle aspect of the bridge that has been established by Sri Rama. That He is the Lord, is one end of the bridge and that He is an ordinary man is another end of the bridge. That which connects the two shores of the ocean is the divine role played by the Supreme Lord as an ordinary man. The Lord through his exemplary life has bridged the gap between divinity and humanity. Now it is important to understand the situation of the Lord as he is seated along with the monkeys, overseeing the vastness of the ocean with his vision fixed on the other shore where Mother Sita is held captive by Ravana.
The first problem is that the Lord is not alone. He is accompanied by a million monkeys who are eager to cross the ocean along with Him. It then becomes the responsibility of the Lord to take the monkeys across, along with Him to the other shore. It is here that the Lord presents a delectable aspect of His divinity. The shores across the ocean cannot be considered with simplicity, like the banks of a river, where usually one bank is easily visible from the other end. In front of the ocean, when one casts one’s vision, trying to look at the other shore, one shall be gripped by extreme fright and hopelessness just by beholding the might of the roaring ocean where there is no sight of the other shore. One will be overwhelmed to see the sky meeting the ocean at the horizon giving a feeling that the ocean is not only mighty but also endless, infinite. How can it be ever possible to cross the ocean? Goswami Tulsidas also conveys the idea of society, through this example. There is a consideration that the two opposite banks also represent the two opposite classes of various kinds within society. If the rich represent one shore, then the poor represent the other shore. If there are the higher castes at one shore, the segment belonging to lower class of people are at the opposite shore. There is a definite and non-collapsible class divide within the same society. How does one bridge this gap? The thought of the yawning gap between classes is no less than the mighty ocean. Even people of a certain ideology or thought are antipodal to people who belong to certain other ideologies and the list of this divide is also endless.
There is a certain scholar or seer within Sanatana Dharma, may be at a different end of the spectrum as compared to other seers who may appear to hold a diametrically opposite view. The emotional quotients of people also follows a yawning divide. Even within the heart of a single living unit, an individual for example, can be torn apart by opposing views, both arising at the same time and the situation may turn out uncompromising. It is under these situations that “The Bridge Called Sri Rama” solves the problem for us and in fact it lays to rest all of other problems too. Lord Rama does not represent only one shore of the ocean; He is the connecting link between the most antipodal, opposing shores, even those which are at loggerheads with each other. Understanding Sri Rama, shall solve the problems of opposing views, opposing thoughts, opposing emotions, opposing classes of people, opposing life-situations and a host of life-entities that find each other on opposing shores of the ocean called life.
-to be continued
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