Marakani Dinakar
Magazine : Viswajanani
Language : English
Volume Number : 10
Month : July
Issue Number : 11
Year : 2011

God delivered to the masses well meaning instruction in a personal mode. Instances of these being the Bhagavadgitha in the battlefield of KURUKSHETRA, and the Ten Commandments on Mt.Sinai as found in the various religions and so on. As such, of those tenets as contained in the epics of different religions in the world are aptly considered the didactic epics. Thus meaning they contain education or instruction of lasting value in the endless wake of time.

Many a time, such works in each religion are regarded in great sanctity and conveyed to the successive generations, irrespective of the age and time in which they are pronounced or delivered. Doubtless they are of timeless value and the message contained is relevant for all times and all generations all over. In our ancient scriptures Rmayana, Mahabharatha and Bhagavathgita are considered the three didactic texts giving us all cherished values and imparting ethical standards ever since their utterance, despite the fact that they were pronounced millions of years ago, in the preceding eons (Yugas) of time. Many were the works and interpretations in many languages and over different times, spawned by these basic texts. Each interpretation has its own nuance of personal perception and relevance to the occasion and time of its emergence.

Yet in many other instances, though often not known or conveyed to others, such instruction could be personal and very intense. Jillellemudi AMMA, the manifest, personified motherhood that SHE is loves all of us evenly with little discrimina tion. Being the one and only unique MOTHER, AMMA allowed all of us close and equal access to HER presence. True HER wider universal message is contained in HER published biography, as also the innumerable aphorisms and talks with the devotees from time to time. These are secular and of universal application transcending all confines of religion, faith and region.

Even so, as becomes the mother, and as suits the individual and the situation SHE spoke to the person concerned which has great meaning and also implying much valued guidance in the individual’s life. This being so it is difficult to capture all these instances; and the counsel of AMMA is locked up or contained in the recesses of many human hearts. Quite often, not unlikely the individual could not beget the true and total impact of what is conveyed by AMMA in HER terse, Telugu idiom, conveyed in cryptic words though apparently sounded far too simple.

To recall fondly, this was during the aftermath of the historic cyclone of 1977 which caused chaotic devastation in Bapatla and its surrounding areas, as also some of the areas in Guntur, Krishna districts. Restoration and rehabilitation works with national, as also global aid started in the entire cyclone hit areas and Bapatla was the hub of such massive activity. As such power, water and communications were restored in the Bapatla town, while other areas were still in need of all these.

Fortuitously or to be candid, more fortunately AMMA has chosen to grace us by staying in the Bapatla Bank House in December 1977, moving again to Jillellamudi on the 1st January 1978 with all HER retinue. It is appropriate to convey that AMMA has been saying, to put it in HER own words -“Nenu Dinakaru Intiki velthanu” – to put this in English “I will go to Dinakar’s house” ever since my arrival at Bapatla in July 1977.

Everyone in the ‘avarana’ that is campus used to tell me AMMA wishes to visit your dwelling for a stay. More particularly the late Gajendramma Akkaiah (elder sister) used to tell me this whenever I came to Jillellamudi, in her typical rural idiom and rustic accent. To paraphrase her words – “Abaya, AMMA Mee Intiki Voshanantundayya” – meaning in English “AMMA says that SHE wants to come to your house”.

On hearing this from others often at Jillellamudi I was just nonplussed, as I considered myself too small and the dwelling too humble for AMMA’S stay. Thinking thus, just kept reticent over the issue, accepting that if it were to be AMMA’S wish, there is little choice personally. True to HER saying, AMMA visited and stayed in the Bank house during December 1977, till the vital facilities of power, water and communication were restored in Jillellamudi. More of this later on regarding AMMA’S visit to the Bank House in Bapatla.

To recap this is during the first quarter of 1978, after AMMA’S return to Jillellamudi. Quite likely this could be during February 1978. One night I was tossing around on the bed with nocturnal restlessness, not uncommon to vigorous youth. Suddenly the telephone bell jingled in the dead of the night when the date line changed. Hearing this, I got up from the bed and barked into the receiver, in my usual executive mode typical of me those days, “Dinakar Here” feeling half disturbed..

Suddenly from the other side, I heard a gentle, caressing, soft, loving voice which jolted me into all attention. My entire physique and mind were brought into a singular alert. I heard the voice of AMMA over the line from the other side.

To put this exactly in AMMA’S words, AMMA asked me in Telugu “Nuvvu Ippudu Ragalava, nanna?” This to put in English means, “Can you come over here now?” With my habitual confidence bordering conceit, blurted out ‘yes’ to AMMA. This was so, little realizing the practicalities of the issue in those days of restricted communication

Before taking a bath and freshening up, I rang up the standby duty watchman at the Bank to find a cab for me to go to Jillellamudi. Realizing that I had no money, I borrowed from Kathyayani Akkaiah (elder sister) a couple of hundred rupees for the journey. After reaching the Bank, I was told that no conveyance was available at that unearthly hour in the dead of the night. Immediately realized that my egoistic assertion before AMMA that I will reach HER immediately was put to naught.

Brooding over the situation for a while took a resilient stance that it was AMMA who summoned me and I am not going on my own. Therefore SHE might find a way for me to reach HER. With this mindset, I started walking around the Bapatla bus stand, hoping to find some odd conveyance whatsoever, to reach AMMA. To my joyous relief I found one old van, somewhat like a jalopy, which could at last ferry me to Jillellamudi and reach AMMA.

Reached Jillellemudi, paid for the van and rushed to AMMA’S feet. Over the phone, I also heard some infant (Brahmandam Chaitanya, Brahmandam Ravi’s son) crying, making me believe that there could be some immediate problem to be attended to. After this crucial session (dialogue) with AMMA I was instructed to arrange for sending the infant Chaitanya to Guntur for medical care and attention.

The first question AMMA asked me was “Vinapadinda?” This means in English “Could you hear ME?” This was AMMA’S mild and gentle rebuke over my youthful restlessness at the time of the call made by AMMA. Simply, I nodded my head to confirm that I heard HER, having little else to say. As usual, I have placed this humble self at AMMA’S feet in humble submission.

All of a sudden, without any prior context, to my surprise AMMA started speaking to me over the character of Lord Rama and the epic Ramayana in the wee hours of the night..

For almost all of us, the core story of the epic Ramayana is too well known. In fact even AMMA told me once in the context of persuading this petty self to write on AMMA and HER thought that Ramayana was written or attempted interpretation by so many writers, yet each had his own perception. This positioning of AMMA has overcome my reluctance to take up the subject of AMMA and HER message. Anyway, this is another aspect to be dealt with at length as and when opportunity affords.

AMMA has come straight to the subject of Ramayana, without any distracting preliminaries. First and foremost Lord Rama is a paragon of virtue for all, for all times in all ages with little exception.

Rama fulfilled his dharma in every respect and perspective; that of a dutiful son, trusted brother, faithful husband, loyal friend, obedient crown prince, ideal, illustrious kind, worthy foe, compassionate at all times even to Ravana, wise king, ever conscious of the citizen’s concern and so on. Like this the list of his virtue can go on endlessly but a major few are cited here. Each of his positioning in life said here represents a particular facet of dharma which is lived up to perfection. To put this in the modern managerial role theory, role play and role expectations, he lived each role in consummate perfection which to be true was unprecedented.

His gratitude never knew bounds. It is said that he remembers and cherishes the slightest good done to him by any one, at any point of time, oblivious of all the other misdoings of the very same person, even if done to him personally. At one point of time reflecting on the possible succession of the demon king Ravana, he pronounces that he shall make Vibhishana of demonic descent the king of Ayodhya if need be. Such is the extent of his magnanimity.

He is so keenly aware of the gullible human nature and its intrinsic foibles that he dispatches an emissary Hanuma well in advance, to sense the mindset of brother Bharatha whether he wishes to continue his personal reign over the kingdom or has any attachment to the throne, before arriving at Ayodhya after the conquest of Lanka. Such a fine, astute judge of human nature at all moments and much more so in crucial times. Viewed in any manner, Lord Rama tends to be in possession of singular virtue in all his long tenure, far too difficult to attain and worthy of emulation eternally.

When he abdicated Sita for the second time. There was much persuasion that he is above such petty norms or rules and even Devi Sita is chastity incarnate, to be subject to such treatment. Rama brushed aside all these positive persuasions and stuck to the spirit of the ethical law and not the mere letter. Thus Rama conveyed to the entire posterity that may follow for millions of years that the ruler or the king shall be ideal in every respect without any shadow of doubt, or any gray areas in his conduct that shall belittle his perfect ethical standards in the eyes of the public.

When someone said that Rama is divine not. to be subject to mortal laws, in response Rama simply asserted pronouncing “Atmanam Manusham, Dasaratha Thanujam”to put this in English “I feel like a mortal, a human being, the son of King Dasaratha” Therefore I am like any other mortal and shall not seek an exception from the conduct of a perfect mortal and observe the morality that is applicable to a human being, and act like a truly ethical king in all respects.

Thus in all critical moments of life Rama took an exceptionally upright moral stance and did not choose a convenient, facile shortcut suggested to him which could have certainly brought him easy comfort. At every such point of time, he is deprived of the usual living comfort even, let alone the last  benefit that could have entailed. Always the hard option prevailed and not the facile way out that is within easy access.

AMMA added that Lord Rama ruled the kingdom for ten thousand years, without any blemish in his conduct or cloud over his personal character or reputation. Even the citizens as the scriptures convey lived in complete comfort and total well being. The ideal of “Rana Rajya”is cherished even today by one and all after the passage of millions of years and eons of time.

The pointer AMMA put forth is “What did Rama gain?” This is a rhetoric question that needs no answer. At every point of time, he suffered privation. To recount as a tender boy, he was taken away by the sage Viswamaityhra to fight the demons to protect the Yaga, with the preceptor sage Vasishta prevailing over the paternal wish.

Becoming the crown prince, he had to give up the throne to fulfill his father’s vow to Queen Kaikeyi, resulting in the demise of his father. Not merely did he give up the throne he was shunned to a forest, ascetic mode of life that offers little of the royal comfort that he is used to..

Even here he was in danger exposed to the continual threat of the demons that he disposed valiantly. Yet he very wisely benefited from the opportunity that adversity affords, seeking the association of venerable sages and their counsel Sage Athri, Vasishta and others. Thus Rama enriched the self from within in terms of wisdom and knowledge of the Athman.

His character is reflected in all its glory in the episode of the venerable sage Sarabhanga, who was visited by Lord Indra in his resplendent chariot to take the sage along with him to the celestial realms. Just about this moment Rama has been on the threshold of the sage’s dwelling to make his entry. Sensing the effulgence surrounding the sage’s shelter and Indra’s arrival, Rama pauses for a while, and also restrains his brother Lakshmana from making his presence before the sage. The sage, too keenly aware and expectant of Rama’s arrival, in a befitting manner, requests Indra to defer his visit so that he could have the benefit of Lord Rama’s interface, at which Indra retreats to his celestial realms. Thus the sage also puts off his celestial entry along with the very divine Lord Indra, to be able to see Rama, for a later day. Thereafter he receives Rama in deference and speaks to him. There could be no greater testimony for Rama’s exalted stature.

From here, Rama is guided to the dwelling of sage Suthikhanudu from where he proceeds to create a modest cottage for his residence. Before the war with Rama, sage Agastya appears to be stow the mantra “Adithya Hrudayam”, invocatory prayer to the sun god that shall make Rama invincible and confer victory over Ravana. Thus the holy sages ever chose to be with Rama, longed for his presence, and cherished his victory always. This is human character at its highest acme.

After all this his wife was abducted by the de- mon Ravana. The details, the travails of the war need not be recounted here. After the victory his wife’s conduct needs to be vindicated going through the ordeal of fire which though a perfect ideal to be proved to the public is personally very trying.

After his victory true to his word, incarnated Vibhishana as the king of Lanka, before which Rama ordered the performance of Ravana’s obsequies in a befitting manner, by Vibhishana brushing aside his qualms in utmost magnanimity. To recall Rama acknowledged and gloried in the excellence of his foes in the course of the battle which is a rare exception.

Thus Rama clung to the highest noble ethical ideal, subordinating every other aspect of mundane life. Without personal comfort, or a mode of life that offered little by way of personal options or choices. He played his role of perfection in utmost diligence and ruled over the kingdom for ten thousand years, having no other concern except the happiness and well being of his subjects mindful of little else. Such contained, self sacrifice enshrined the role of Lord Rama and the much cherished concept of ‘RamRajya for all time to come as worthy ideals of emulation for anyone anytime.

Here from the perspective of sadhana, mention needs to be made of Lord Rama’s mindset. After imbibing the teaching of Vasishta, through Vasishta Gita’ Rama becomes a renounced self, much disinclined towards worldly action. Rama queries his teacher Vasishta in such a state of mind, how could he go about his mortal role of mundane action? Vasishta replies quite aptly that given such a state of mind, the individual shall go about his allotted duties or assigned action. Vaishta terms this quite aptly “Praptha Karma” meaning the duties that come his way in course of time, as also those ordained and allotted to him in his various roles. This applies to even us  lesser mortals.

After the outpouring of this didactic precept on Ramayana by AMMA, I could gather somewhat that the individual shall live up to his role and roles and not take shortcuts for personal comfort which shall always recede into the background not  being a choice or option. Life offers difficult choices and hard options which the ethical individual is obliged to choose.

Though I did not realize at that point of time, many of the events in my life volte faced a little later, or took extreme, unexpected turns, making the less trod path of least comfort my singular choice. Personally, I do not know nor wish to conjecture but strive to live up to these expectations of AMMA conveyed that night, though I must confess and concede before you, the frail mortal of foibles that I am.

Pray AMMA grant me the strength to pull through the remainder of life in earnest steadfastness, and live up to be the worthy son.

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