The story of Parshuram and Bhagavan Raghavendra
It so happened that on Lord Shiva’s bow being broken, Lord Parushram in great rage arrived in the royal swayamvar held by King Janaka. He was extremely angry with the person who had broken the bow. Lord Rama with great humility comes forward and accepts his fault. He tells Parshuramji that he is the culprit. At first, Parshuramji is unable to believe that it is Rama who has broken the bow. But later, Lakshman ji intervenes and there is a rampant dialogue between the two.
Then, the story takes such a turn that the clout of ego that had overcome Parshuramji begins to fade. He began to wonder that the person on whom I am venting out so much of anger, could he be the Lord’s direct incarnation? So, he offers a proposal before Sri Rama. He requests Shri Rama to carry the bow that was given to Him by Lord Vishnu to dispel the doubts that remained in his mind.
As Parshuramji hands over the bow, it automatically walks forward and hinges onto Shri Rama. With this spectacle, Parshuramji realizes his mistake and glorifies Shri Rama with a heart full of emotions. He gifts the bow to Sri Rama and happily proceeds to the woods for penance. This episode is of immense value in the Ramcharitamanas. It has a great significance. But people are accustomed to take such important events with a pinch of salt.
The dialogue between Lakshman and Parshuram has earned a great fan following. And I came to realize this during one of my trips to a specific ashram. Rama Leela had been organized there. And Lakshman-Parshuram samvad was going on. There were floods of people flocking to watch the rampant exchange of dialogue between the two. Looking at the great fan following for this particular episode a saint exclaimed- This means that even in Rama Leela people prefer to watch fights. It means that people are interested in watching fights and not Rama Leela. During the run time of a calm and peaceful episode very few people come to attend such discourses. People take this episode of Lakshmana and Parshurama as a light hearted episode of back answering. But if you carefully pay heed to it, it is one of the most serious and demanding event in the entire ramacharitmanas. We should introspect on this episode with the right mindset.
The right vision to see ramacharitamanas
The vision that Goswami Tulsidasji has given us to see Bhagavan Rama is unique of its kind. If we take up the historic outlook to see Rama then artists have painted such eye-captivating paintings that you can see them with your naked eyes. Hence from the historic point of view, Lord Rama can be seen just by using your Naked eyes. But, Can you see Goswami Tulsidasji’s Rama with naked eyes? Since the very beginning, devotees have this question in mind, if Shri Rama is Bhagavan Himself, then why can’t we see him? Here Sant kabir presents a different vision to see Lord Rama. He says- जिन आँखिन सों वाको लखिए सो तो गई हैं मुँदाय! कैसे राम रूप लखि जाय! Which means you cannot see the Lord with your Naked eyes but need a divine pair of eyes to witness him. But Goswami Tulisdasji’s interpretation is unique and goes into a deeper level. He recalls the question and answer dialogue between Lord Shiva and Parvatiji.
How to see the Rama of Goswami Tulisdasji?
Parvatiji had once asked Lord Shiva that even on seeing Lord Rama, Why are people not able to understand him. Lord Shiva could have answered this question in a completely different way. He could have simply said that since people don’t have the right vision to see Him they are ignorant of his glories. But, Lord Shiva gives us a very deep understanding- He says-
मुकुर मलिन अरु नयन बिहीना | राम रूप देखहिं किमि दीना ||
Those ignorant people who don’t have the vision and don’t have the mirror with them, how can they see Bhagavan? Here Shivji has added an additional object- mirror. You would not only need the vision but would also need a mirror to understand Shri Rama in the truest sense.
This statement of Lord Shiva would appear weird at the beginning. But Lord Shiva has packaged a great philosophical truth in the weirdness of that statement. Normally, it would be easier to see your own self when compared to seeing others. To see your own self is much easier than seeing others. But if you carefully think over this statement, you come to realize that to see others you would just need a pair of eyes but to see your own self you would need the vision and a mirror as well. When the eyes coordinate with the mirror, you see your image on it. So Goswamiji says that Shri Rama cannot be seen in the absence of either two. If you take Shri Rama as an outsider, then simply a pair of eyes will do as you see in historic paintings. But To see Rama in the truest sense, both, the vision and the mirror are absolutely mandatory. And this is the verdict of Shivji and the prayer in Ramcharitamanas. The main purpose of Satsanga in itself is to attain both the vision and the mirror.
Goswamiji prayer for cleaning the mind
In the Bala kanda of Shri Ramacharitamans, Goswami Tulisdaji takes the shelter of his guru and prays as follows-
गुरु पद रज मृदु मंजुल अंजन | नयन अमिअ दृग दोष बिभंजन ||
I take shelter under the feet of my Guru, with the dust of whose feet all the wrong conceptions of the eye disappear. In this manner he has already cleansed his vision by taking shelter under his guru.
But now again, at the beginning of Ayodhya kanda he has repeated the same line-
श्री गुरु चरण सरोज राज|
I venerate the dust from the feet of my Guru. At this point, anybody can ask Goswamiji that you have already in an very detailed manner in the Bala Kanda glorified the dust of your guru’s feet and resolved all the problems of the eye, and then with a renewed vision started writing the Ramcharitamanas, but now why have you again started the same glorification in the AyodhyaKand? At this Tulsidasji says- “Aree Bhai, with the prayers that I had told in the Bala kand I have fixed the issues of my vision, but what about the mirror? There is still some dust left in the mirror of my mind. Now in the Ayodhya Kanda I have to clean the filth in the mirror of my mind.“
As long as one’s vision and mirror is infested with filth, one cannot get the vision of Shri Rama. Which is why at the beginning of the Ayodhya kanda I pray- श्री गुरु चरण सरोज राज निज मनु मुकुरु सुधारि | With the holy dust from the feet of my guru I cleanse the dust from the mirror of my mind and then with a purified mind recall the glorious pastimes of Bhagavan.