How did Sage Valmiki expand the Ramayana of 32 verses
Sage Narada rendered the abridged version of the Ramayana to sage Valmiki which he retained through memory. Lord Brahma blessed sage Valmiki, by the power of which he was able to pen down the exploits of Sri Rama through his own work. This work was to qualify as the very backbone of Shastras, the repository of knowledge within Sanatana Dharma. He took up the initiative to expand the 32 verses of sage Narada into 24,000 verses to form the entire body of work called the Valmiki Ramayana. The 32 verses of Sri Narada is popularly known as Sankshepa Ramayana (संक्षेप रामायण). By the blessing of Sri Brahma, Sage Valmiki attained the ability to expand the 32 verses into 24000 verses.
What is the major drawback of humans?
These 24,000 verses were to contain Sri Rama’s smile, laughter, cry, weep, separation, union, sleep, waking and so much more. Every moment of the divine couple Sita-Rama was to be captured in this great work. For man, it is sorrowful if he is not knowledgeable and without Bhakti. For the Lord it takes a moment to instil all of the knowledge of this and the other worlds as well as Bhakti into the heart of such a man. Then why does man not gain all that knowledge and Bhakti if all this were so easy? For example Lord Krishna has asked man not to worry because He is with every man. If this were true why does man worry? It is important to note that such a condition may occur due to two reasons. Either the Lord is lying or man does not trust the words of the Lord. The first option cannot be true because if the Lord is lying to man, how different is he from human beings? Hence the second option has to be true, which is, man does not trust the words of the Supreme Being. When man is undergoing good times, he is happy to claim that his great actions have enabled him to lead a good life. However he is silent when bad times hit him. At that juncture he starts searching for happiness in Scriptures because he is looking out for an escape route during these tough times. The question is, why can’t man be with scriptures all the time? Why is his faith dependent on times, why cannot he be aligned to God’s way all the time? If we are to trust God’s word in the scripture then it becomes obligatory that we do not worry at all and repose our complete faith on God. Then we shall be able to experience the perfect efficacy of the Lord’s golden words. What is important for the soul is the experience of God. It has nothing to do with prosperity or any other material conditions. When we have full faith in the Lord’s words, the soul shall have direct experience of God and all materialistic thoughts drop off just as dried leaves fall off the trees.
What is man’s way out of troubles?
The lady of the house usually manages the expenses of the household. She puts money in different enclosures so that she can pay off expenses for milk, vegetables, miscellaneous expenses, for electricity and all such different areas by making bifurcations of the monthly expenses. If some enclosures are lost, the money for those expense are lost but the good thing is, other enclosures are available so that atleast some of the other payments can still be made. This is the advantage of separating expenses. Similarly one should distribute time for taking care of the body, the mind and the spirit devoting time for each. If one is only involved with the body and bodily pleasures alone, neglecting other aspects, it is possible that sorrow may hit the person. Since the person has not invested any attention on the mind and spirit, the individual becomes grief-stricken and loses all motivation to continue life when faced with upheavals. However if a person has cultivated spiritual practices, he shall remain calm, collected and joyful even if he were to lose all of his wealth. He has the spirit to rely upon and can still manage himself on the spiritual platform. Such is the power of spiritual cultivation. The main teaching is that man should not invest much of his attention and emotions on that which is ever changing, related to the world which is ever-changing, which is bound by highs and lows. On the other hand if we invest our emotions on the unchangeable Lord, He shall take care of us when we are confronted with worldly problems owing to its inherent transient nature. Both the Atma, the individualized soul and Paramatma, the Supreme Being are not prone to any change, hence completely dependable. The pastimes of the Lord belong to the category of the unchanging; they are eternal pastimes which are beginningless and endless. When the mind is suffused with the pastimes of the Lord, the mind is relieved of transience and enters the unchanging eternal abode of the Lord.
When did Sage Valmiki compose the 7th Kanda?
The Ramayana of Sage Valmiki is composed of Kandas or definite chapters, each separated from the succeeding chapter by milestone events. When Sage Valmiki started composing the Ramayana, 6 Kandas had already passed by. At the time when he was still composing the verses, the 7th Kanda named Uttara Kanda was underway when Srimati Seeta Devi had taken shelter in the Valmiki Ashram following which the sons of Sri Rama Luv and Kush were born in the Ashram. As the princes Luv and Kush grew up in Ashram, Sage Valmiki consummated the final Uttara Kanda of the Ramayana. It was during this time that Sri Rama had set up a camp at Naimasharanya to hold the Ashvamedha Yajna. Under these circumstances, by the arrangement of Providence the two princes Luv and Kush dressed in the attire of renunciant brahmacharis sang the Ramayana of Sage Valmiki in front of Sri Rama and His entourage. Sri Rama was so impressed by the rendition of the two princes that He expressed His great desire to meet the spiritual master of the two children. He sent Bharata to the Ashram of Sage Valmiki, to invite the sage for a meeting with the Lord. Sage Valmiki, along with Srimati Seeta Devi went to meet the Lord along with Bharata. The twins Luv and Kush were already at the camp with the Lord when sage Valmiki arrived along with Srimati Seeta Devi. The event of Srimati Devi being consumed by Bhumi Devi, the Earth as well of ascension of Sri Rama to Sri Vaikuntha was already included in the Ramayana poem that Luv and Kush recited before the Lord. Sage Valmiki is Trikala darshi, the knower of past, present and future. He had composed the Ramayana by the grace of Sri Brahma. Thus 6 Kandas had already manifested and the 7th Kanda was about to manifest at the time of the first rendition of the Ramayana.
What was the highlight of the Ramayana Composition?
Sri Ramayana is the very heart of the Vedas. It will not be wrong to say that when Sriman Narayana incarnated as Sri Rama, the Vedas reincarnated as the Ramayana. Sage Valmiki is Prachetas. Prachetas primarily refers to the pre-eminently intelligent one, it means observant and intelligent. It is also another name for Varuna, one of the ten Prajapatis. The two princes Luv and Kush had perfect knowledge about music. The verses Sri Ramayana were composed in such a way that it naturally followed the rules of classical music. The singing of the Ramayana by the two princes had the 9 Rasas or the 9 mellows of human expressions also known as the Nava-Rasa (नवरसा) that covered the entire dimension of human consciousness and emotions. The princes recited the entire Ramayana relying on memory. Such was their training. The children went about reciting the Ramayana to many sages and seers and gained their blessings. This exercise was carried out before they delivered the epic to Sri Rama Himself. Many of the sages gave away whatever little they had. Some gave them a single piece of cloth, some gave them kamandalu (कमंडलू) or a vessel to collect flowers, some gave them chanting beads. Some of them did not have anything to give away and so they blessed Luv and Kush saying, “Rama Himself will hear your rendition”. It was during this course of rendition that Luv and Kush were spotted by Bharata. With the recommendation of Bharata Sri Rama agreed to hear the Ramayana from Luv and Kush.
How did Sri Rama enjoy the Ramayana?
As Luv and Kush sang the Ramayana, the entire population of Ayodhya and Naimasharanya were absorbed in the divine mellows of the rendition. Lord Rama was seated on the throne which was placed on a high platform. When there is satsanga, it is beneficial for one to have the company of others. Certain instances delivered through the satsanga find commonality amongst the general class of people. When someone has company there can be an exchange of mood amongst people who can strike familiarity with the instances. Now Sri Rama was on a pedestal. The entire population was seated physically on a lower plain. Sri Rama wanted to enjoy the Ramayana sitting along with the common folks so that he could relate Himself with others. However he could not directly get up and walk down up to the population below, because this could cause embarrassment and disturbance among the common folks. So, as the pastimes in the rendition progressed, the Lord slowly sneaked out of His throne and eased Himself into the crowd because of the fact that the common population was completely absorbed in Hari katha.