Ramacharitamanasa and the Greatness of 'Ram Nam'.
Shri Maharaj Ji revered the Ramacharitamanasa as an incomparable scripture. It is also known as 'Tulsidas Ramayana' and is full of the glory of the Holy Name, which it refers to as Nam or Ram Nam.
Once during satsang, Shri Mahataj Ji described the greatness of the Ramayana:
"I was talking to an American devotee called Mr Stoke. In the course of our conversation he said, 'Maharaj Ji being a Christian, I have studied Christian theology extensively. My uncle was a Buddhist monk so I have also read all the Buddhist texts. I have also read the Koran, Vedas and Upanishads. I have also studied the Gita and other Hindu scriptures, but I have never found any scripture to compare with Tulsidas' Ramayana.'
'I answered, 'But most Indians regard the Gita as the highest scripture, and it has been translated into many languages.' He said, 'The Gita, Vedas and the rest are all included in this single couplet from the Ramayana:
'The Vedas, Puranas and all saints agree that one should abandon all desires and meditate on the Holy Name.'
'The Ramayana deals with every possible aspect of human life from the prenatal stage to after death. Rama displayed ideal behaviour in all stages of his life.
'King Dasaratha one day realized that he was growing old yet still had no heir. He expressed his fear to his Guru, Vasishta, saying that if a king dies without a royal successor, anarchy and injustice can break out in his kingdom, and he has to bear the karmic burden of that. So he asked Vasishta for a solution. The Guru arranged a special yagya so that the king would be granted a son. In due course, four sons were born. The Ramayana teaches how parental love should be, what filial duty and obedience is, how a guru should be, how a friend should be, how a king should be and how a younger brother should serve the elder. Nowadays, brothers are at each other's throats over the most trivial matters, but Bharat rejected the Kingdom offered to him and went barefoot into the jungle to bring back his elder brother, the rightful heir. The Ramayana describes what devotion is, what true Knowledge is, what God is, what satsang is, what Ram Nam really is and what being devoted to the Holy Name entails.
'The Ramayana deals with all those things. It is recited and read in homes throughout India. Millions of rupees are spent annually in producing plays and exhibitions depicting the exploits of Lord Rama. Still, people don't understand its secret meaning, because for such insight, a Guru is necessary.
'At the very least, anyone who reads the Ramayana concedes that Rama was the ideal man, and that is why he was given the title Maryada Purushottam.'Purushottam' means the highest, or ideal man, and 'maryada' means the strict code of spiritual and moral ethics which a spiritual man must follow. Lord Rama himself never departed from this code of virtue and righteousness and was the embodiment of it. If everyone would follow this spiritual code then we would be living in Ram Rajya, the ideal state, and everyone would be happy, even the birds and animals, as they were during Rama's reign.
Panda Jamuna Prashad of Bombay used to arrange Ram Lilas dramatizing Lord Rama's life. Shri Maharaj Ji was impressed by his productions. Jamuna Prashad invited him to see his play and to
deliver a series of discourses in conjunction with it. This resulted in many days of satsang. Shri Maharaj Ji said,
"I bless Pandit Jamuna Prashad and similar men of wisdom and devotion, whose efforts have popularized the story of Lord Rama. One day this Ram Lila will take place in everyone's heart. It is not just another play or spectacular. If you would really understand the Ramayana, your human life would be a success. Scholars and intellectuals read the Ramayana, but how can children and the uneducated understand it? Only by seeing such dramatizations. Then they can learn what Lord Rama did, how he unselfishly obeyed his father, and how he and his brothers treated each other. They can see what a wonderful devotee Hanuman was, and the great faith which enabled him to uproot an entire mountain to bring a certain herb for his Master.
'We should give some thought as to why Rama's deeds are celebrated. The earth has seen several Divine Incarnations, as well as many great prophets and saints, so why are Rama's deeds in particular so eulogized? Because from his life and actions we can learn how to live properly and cheerfully. Today's politicians and religious leaders don't understand this. You have seen how politely and considerately Rama dealt with everyone. Even we could get to talk to him. He hasn't gone anywhere. You wouldn't believe it if I told you of my own recent experiences and what the, Lord has done for me. I'm not joking. That is why I say that he can definitely appear.
'You won't find another work l the Tulsidas Ramayana. When common folk and children see Ram Lila they can understand why Rama, the Supreme Person, bowed to the sages and hermits, and how he treated each and every person with consideration and respect. They see this and it leaves an impression on them. So see how important these productions are! Scriptures teach as three main things - don't steal, don't lie and don't commit adultery. If everyone would practise this, what a wonderful world it would be! If we would truly be inspired by Lord Rama's life, then all the fighting and discord would come to an end.
'So much money is spent on presenting these plays, but it's going up in smoke! People sit patiently in the sun for hours waiting to see the show, but they are deaf to Lord Rama's teachings. They see a little singing and dancing, they eat some refreshments and go home, thinking that they are great devotees. But do you ever think about what is actually being taught in the Ramayana? Lord Rama said,
'A soul is extremely lucky to receive a human existence, which is difficult even for the gods to get and which is praised by all the Scriptures. It is just right for spiritual endeavours and is the gateway to liberation.'
Only by the great mercy and grace of God does a soul receive a human body. Only in this existence can it find the way to perfect peace and joy. A person who, even after getting this rare opportunity, wastes his life in sense-pleasures and idle pastimes is described in the Ramayana as an ungrateful wretch, a sinner and a spiritual suicide case.
'How did Lord Rama, who was wandering alone in the forest, manage to defeat the mighty king Ravanna, who had a great army, fabulous wealth and a city of gold? Nowadays the corrupt and dishonest are called politicians, but Lord Rama, strictly adhering to truth and righteousness, managed to defeat such a powerful king. How? Rama first warned Ravanna, 'Give me back my wife. I don't want to fight with you. Bu if you refuse, your family will be wiped out to the last man.'
'The description of Rama's victory chariot gives an insight into Rama's nature. He and Ravanna were on the battlefield ready to fight. On the one hand was Ravanna, riding in a splendid chariot with an army of cavalry infantry, chariots and elephants. Opposing him was Rama, without a chariot and with a ragtag army of humble devotees. Vibhishan (Ravanna's brother who was Rama's devotee
Rama's devotee) noticed this and out of loving concern asked his Lord how he could possibly defeat Ravanna?
'Vibhishan was disconcerted when he saw Ravanna mounted on's chariot and Lord Rama without one. So Much love for the Lord flooded his heart that he felt afraid for his safety and, bowing to his feet he spoke tenderly, 'My Lord, you have neither chariot nor even shoes to protect your feet, nor armour. How then, can you expect to conquer this mighty hero?' Then the all-merciful Lord replied, 'Listen, my friend, the chariot which leads to victory is unique. Diligence and fortitude are its wheels, truth is its enduring banner and right conduct is its standard.
'Meditation on God is the expert driver, non-attachment the shield and contentment the sword. Charity and good works is the sharp axe, determined intellect is the fierce lance and highest-wisdom is the sturdy bow.
'A pure and focussed mind is the quiver whose arrows are control of senses, tranquillity and steady endeavour according to spiritual laws. If someone doesn't have such a chariot he can't win.
There is no other equipment which can lead to victory. My friend, he who possesses this chariot of spirituality wil1 not have an enemy in the world to conquer. Anyone who possesses such a strong chariot can even conquer that terrible, invincible foe, the world (in which the individual soul has been wandering since time immemorial.)
'The Lord owns this chariot, and this is what he used to wipe out Ravanna's entire line, and, incidentally, spread his own fame far and wide.
When Shri Maharaj Ji talked about Bharata's self-sacrifice, renunciation and love, his eyes would fill with tears. Such a remarkable character is rarely found, even in scriptures. Rama had left in exile. Bharata, his younger brother, went to bring him back. Rama noticed the approaching crowd and asked Lakshman, "What all that noise? What is causing that cloud of dust?" Lakshman saw that Bharata was approaching and told Lord Rama, "Bharata is very devious. He plans to kill you and thus be assured of an unopposed reign." But Rama had full faith in Bharata, and said, "Is that what you think of Bharata? If you covet the throne, I'll take it from him and give it to you."
Bharata arrived and said, "Come home and I'll go into exile in your place." But Rama explained, "If I let you do that, we'll both be disobeying our father, because he ordered you to rule and me to live in exile for fourteen years. Moreover, an elder brother is like a father, so I order you to rule in my stead for fourteen years." Bharata answered, "I can't go against your orders," and, taking Rama's wooden sandals, placed then, on the throne and ruled, in the capacity of a caretaker, for 14 years.
Hanuman was a devotee who saved Lord Rama well, but even he fell victim to pride, regarding himself as a great devotee. So, Rama sent him ahead to Ayodhya to find out Bharata's condition, because
'There has never been yet to person born in this world who did not succumb to pride after being in a position of authority.' Hanuman left for Ayodhya. He saw Bharata sitting and meditating on Rama, saying, "If Rama doesn't arrive this very day, how will I survive? How lucky Lakshman is. Lord Rama took him along, but, knowing my deceitful nature, left. me behind. If the Lord doesn't come today, I will leave this world." Hanuman observed that Bharata was drowning in an ocean of misery due to separation from Rama. Seeing such love and devotion cured Hanuman of his vanity. He thought to himself, 'He is so devoted that he is pining for Rama like a fish out of water.'
Said Shri Maharaj Ji: "Academics are doing research on the Ramayana. Sushil Muni wants to open a research institute on non-violence. Our leaders all talk about character-building, yet day by day fraud, corruption and dishonesty are on the increase. If the things they talk about were possible just through talk, then there'd be no need of meditation, satsang and service. Sita herself lived in the sages' ashrams. She shared her husband's joys and sorrows. But women today don't model themselves on her. They relate only to superficial glamour and this is the impression which the children absorb. But is this our heritage? Didn't our scriptures teach satsang, service and meditation? So why don't the leading figures in our society do this? People model themselves on their superiors. Ram Lila dramas are produced no that the children will follow the example set forth and mould their lives accordingly. Did those academics and scholars who are researching the ancient scriptures ever try to find out the nature of the magic circle which Lakshman drew around Sita and which Ravanna couldn't penetrate? If they could discover that, then we could encircle our country with it and no enemy could bother us, not would we have to spend as much as we do on arms and military forces. This money could be used to eradicate poverty instead. But our motives have changed and we'll experience the consequences accordingly."
Once during satsang, Shri Maharaj Ji said, "Our leaders don't come to me to ask about the mysteries of the Ramayana, but invite
foreign engineers here to do research. Yet the Ramayana holds so many research-worthy things. For example, how did the yagya work, which resulted in a son being born? What was its secret? What is the science by which the body stays strong and healthy without food and the intellect increases in sharpness? The Ramayana talks about a line which enemies cannot penetrate. There is a way to make stones float. There are weapons which kill the target enemy then return to the sender. There is a Knowledge which turns bandits into enlightened sages. Why isn't research done into all this?
'As well as being the biography of Lord Rama, the Ramayana contains a host of profound spiritual mysteries which are expressed in a most simple and delightful manner. The Ramayana is read in every home. There are pundits who have mastered it to such an extent that they can discuss a single verse for days. Yet even so they don't know the secrets of the Name. Indeed, how could they know? They don't come to satsang nor do they take the shelter of the Master. When Guru Vashishta asked Lord Rama, 'How are you?' Rama answered, 'By your blessings I am very well.'
'It can be any scripture. We read them but we don't understand what we read. The scriptures themselves won't ask us if we have understood or not, or what we have understood. You need a living Master to explain the scriptures to you. You want a living son and a living wife, but to get the highest wisdom you don't think that you need a living teacher. You want to attain the highest spiritual states by reading scriptures or believing in a past Master.
That's where you are wrong. I invite anyone to explain the meaning of this line from the Ramayana
'The soul, being a part of God, is imperishable.'
In what way is the soul a part of God? You think you are learned, in the Ramayana. You call yourselves devotees. But you
don't pay any attention to what Lord Rama is actually saying. This evening a Ramayana scholar visited me. I asked him what the Name is. Quick as a flash, he answered, 'Ram'. Then I quoted a couple of verses and he responded, 'I don't understand.' How could be understand, when it is written,
'Without satsang spiritual wisdom is impossible and without the Lord's grace a person doesn't get to hear satsang.'
Instead of knowing what 'Ram Nam' is, they chant, 'Ram, Ram.' Suppose I ask someone, 'What is that doctor's name?' and he answers, 'Doctor.' I will object, 'But I've been calling him by that name. I want to know his real name.' It's like that. I ask, 'What is the Name of Rama?' and people say, 'Ram.' But I've also been using that name. I want to know his real name. The name of the physical person who took birth as Dasaratha's son was Rama, but what is his real Name? What is the Name which is eternal and dwells in every being? Tulsidas wrote many couplets and verses glorifying the Name, so that readers would correctly understand its secret. In some places it is called Ram Nam, in others, Mahamantra, Ulta Nam, or Pavan Nam. People think that 'Ram' is God's Name. Did Tulsidas so misjudge people that he didn't clearly write that the Holy Name is 'Ram' so meditate on that? Rama lived in Treta Age and only from that time did people start using the name 'Rama'. Krishna lived later in Dwapar, and only since then have people used 'Krishna', also an adjectival name, as the Name of God. Only since then have people worshipped statues of them. But they don't consider that in Satyuga, before Rama and Krishna, people must have remembered a Holy Name. Which Name did Dhruva and Pimpled, who lived long before Rama, remember? The Ramayana says,
'The Name's influence permeates the four Vedas and the four Ages, particularly Kali Age in which there is no other means of salvation.'
If the Name pervades the four Ages, do you think that it changes from Age to Age? We say that God is eternal and undifferentiated. So how can His Name change from time to time? But we don't know how to reason properly and practise whatever form of devotion takes our fancy.
'I've seen editions of the Ramayana whose commentaries and explanations of the esoteric verses dealing with the Name are completely wrong. There meanings have become meaningless and so people are confused and misled. For example, one verse says,
'Valmiki remembered the 'reverse Name' (Ulta Nam) and became one with God.'
'The commentary states that Valmiki chanted Mara Mara. The verse says, 'reverse Name', no how can the commentator assume that this' is 'Mara Mara? The word 'Rama' does not even appear in this verse, but the commentator puts 'Rama' in place of 'Name'. If this is not blindness, then what is? If he understands 'Ram Nam' to be Ram', then why doesn't he think that Hari Nam is Hari? Why doesn't he call the Mahamantra 'Hari? But who's going to question him? It is also written in the Ramayana that a human body is bestowed only rarely and even the gods long for it, yet you people worship gods and goddesses and get others to do likewise. You are heading for hell and taking others with you. It's all ignorance.'
'My humble supplication to all of you who love the Ramayana is, that if you can prove to me, by quoting actual verse from the Ramayana, that Ram Nam is 'Ram' then I'll show you the sun in the palm of my hand! However, Tulsidas glorifies the Name. He does his best to simplify its mysteries and he proves that it is eternal, holy and the indweller of all. He even goes so far as to say
that it is greater than God and His incarnation, Rama . Why does he praise it so much? He could simply have said, 'Meditate on 'Ram Ram', but instead he writes,
'I have no words to describe the glory of the Name. Even Rama himself couldn't praise it adequately.'
So Rama himself couldn't probe this Name enough, which leads to salvation.
'Lord Rama only redeemed Ahilya, the sage's wife, where the Name has redeemed Millions.'
There is a snake which is supposed to possess a luminous gem, but it uses its glow only to catch insects. Similarly, the jewel of Ram Nam is in every heart, but people use its light merely to indulge in the senses. Although the Name which is capable of bestowing the highest joy is within every heart, all creatures suffer misery.
Glorifying rthe Name, Shri Maharaj Ji would pose this question: "Who is the greatest?" He would give the example from the Ramayana of Ravanna, who considered himself more powerful than anyone, yet Bali held him in an armlock for six months. So Bali was greater than Ravanna. Yet even greater than Bali was Lord Rama's arrow, which killed him. Even the arrow was not the greatest. Greater was Lord Ram, who shot the arrow. Even greater than Lord Rama is his Name. He had to go wherever devotees were remembering the Name. But it's not the Name, but the devotee who remembers it, who is greatest of all.
'Lord Rama collected an army of bears and monkeys to help him build a bridge to Lanka, and they completed it after a lot of
effort, whereas by remembering the Name, the ocean of misery simply dries up.'
Thus is why Tulsidas advises us to determine carefully what this Name is, which is even greater than Rama.
'The Name is greater than both the Unconditioned form of God and the Conditioned form of Rama. It bestows boons on the bestowers of boons. Lord Shiva, understanding the essence of the scriptures, remembers this Name within himself.'
'By the grace of the Name, the eternal Lord Shiva is the storehouse of blessings, even though he looks inauspicious. Yogis and sages like Sukhdev and Sankadi enjoyed divine rapture through the grace of this Name alone.'
'The glory of the Name is infinitely greater than that of the Absolute Unmanifest God and even purer than the manifested Divinity (Rama). Elsewhere he says that both the Divine Forms - the undifferentiated Absolute and the manifested form with attributes - are inexpressible, unfathomable, eternal and incomparable. In his opinion, however, even greater is the Name because it is the foundation of both. He says, 'This work of mine which I wrote for the joy of my own spirit, contains one merit - it praises the Name of Rama on which Lord Shiva and Parvati ever meditate.'
'Obeisance to the Name of Rama which is the source of sun, fire and moon. It is the Creator, Preserver and Destroyer themselves and the vital breath of the Vedas. It is beyond attributes, peerless and a mine of all virtues.'
Describing the significance of the two energies of the Name, he says:
'Both the letter-sounds are extremely sweet and attractive, and control the devotee's mind. They are like the eyes of the alphabet, i.e. all consonants and vowels are uttered with the help of these two sounds. 'They dwell forever in the heart of a devotee' and 'they are easy to remember'. The initiation given by a true saint is one and the same for all races and classes of people. Muslims and Christians wouldn't easily take to chanting 'Ram Ram'. So how can anyone say that chanting 'Ram Ram' is easyy for everyone? The Lord who was Rama is in everyone's heart, so His Name must be too. Tulsidas says that these two sounds are as dear to him as Rama and Lakshman, 'If these sounds are uttered vocally, they become separate, whereas they have a natural affinity as intimate as that of the soul and God. They sustain the universe and bestow liberation on the devotee who remembers them.'
'They enhance devotion in the same way as earrings make a beautiful woman even more lovely. They are the mainstay and support of the world. They are as beneficial as the sun and the moon to the world.' The moon induces sap production in plants and the sun matures it. 'They are like the satisfaction in taste and like nectar in giving rewards.' St. Kabir, in one of his many hymns praising the Name, said,
'Ascending, descending, circulating with the breath.
A worldly man doesn't understand this mystery
And passes his life in vain.'
The Ramayana says,
'Names are not separate from their referents. They are as closely related as Master and devotee. In fact, at the level of spirit they are one. Similarly, Name and Form are the two attributes of God. Actually, the Name and its Referent are one. Both are timeless and eternal and can be rightly understood only by a wise meditator.,
The names which people generally chant and the forms on which they meditate are not eternal, because Lord Rama lived in Treta Age and Lord Krishna in Dwapar. So on what did the devotees in Satyuga meditate?
'It is a major error to judge one superior or inferior to the other. The mystery of Name and Form is realized only by a saint.
Form is known through the Name. Without knowing the Name, the Named, i.e. God's True Form, cannot be realized. Once a statue is finished it is given a name. But even if you don't know what God looks like He will automatically appear to you when you meditate on His Name. So let go of all your confusmg concepts and meditate on the Name. 'The mystery of Name and Form is inexpressible,' says Tulsidas, 'but is simple and a source of delight once it has been clarified by the Satguru.
'Many people believe statues of stone, wood, clay or metal to be the manifest form of God, while others say that we should believe in God as attributeless and formless. However, meditation on the Name resolves both these fallacies. It acts as a translator between the two aspects of God and brings them together in the same way as an interpreter can bring together people who speak different languages.
So install the shining jewel of the Holy Name on the threshold of your heart if you want light both inside and outside.
The, Hindi word mani is used here. This is a fabled jewel which shines continuously, day and night. The Holy Name, too, shines all the time. Remembering the Name illuminates the inner lamp, which goes out when you stop meditating.
'Upon his return to Ayodhya, Lord Rama addressed his subjects thus:
'I will tell you a secret. Without Shiva-meditation a person cannot call himself My devotee. If a person ignores Shiva meditatation and yet wants to by My devotee, he is Simply ignorant and dimwitted'
Actually, 'Shiva-meditation' means the meditation which Shiva himself practises:
'The Mahamantra is meditated upon by Shiva himself, and which he imparts at Kasi to bestow liberation. Shiva knows full well the power of the Name, by which he turned poison into Nectar. By the grace of the Name he is eternal and is a storehouse of blessings.'
'All the names for God which exist in the world have a beginning and an end. None of them is the 'Mahamantra' (Great Mantra) which has no beginning, middle or end.
'Dhruva remembered the Name and attained the highest place in the heavens. It was because Prahlad remembered the Name that the Lord showered His grace upon him and he became the crest-jewel of devotees.'
'The Holy Name of Rama is a wish-fulfilling tree, the source of blessedness in this Dark Age. By meditating on it, Tulsi was transformed into the devotee Tulsidas.'
In his 'Ramacharitamanasa', Tulsidas tried his best to describe thoroughly the meaning, characteristics and nature of the Name. Shri Maharaj Ji said, 'Even so, it amazes me how scholars, pundits and academics can still think that Ram Nam is simply 'Ram'. Tulsidas describes the Name as being inexpressible, indescribable and languageless. God's Name is secret and easy to
comprehend but unable to be uttered because it is not something which can be spoken in any language. It is beyond the senses. It can be remembered only by method of the soul. Ram-Nam is the very foundation of creation. It makes the sun shine. It gives light to the moon and is the origin of fire. It is the primordial cause of the entire universe. It is eternal and all the scriptures glorify it. Not only Hindu scriptures, but any scripture which contains the teachings of a divine Master all eulogize a Name or Word which exists uniformly within all beings and pervades every atom of creation. So it is omnipresent. It is not bound by space and time. God and His Name are one. There is no difference between the Name and the Named. The Named is experienced and known only through the Name. The True Name creates and sustains the universe. It is greater than both the manifested and unmanifest God, because it acts as an interpreter and allows both to be realized. It is within everyone. It is the panacea for all ills. It is the wish-fulfilling tree which grants whatever is desired. It takes care of you in this world and the next. It alone has the power to eradicate the darkness of the Dark Age. That is why, in Tulsidas' opinion,
'In this Age of Kali neither devotion, right action nor wisdom is possible. The Name is the only resort.'
Such a Name is revealed only by the Satguru. This is his Word, which dispels ignorance as sunlight gets rid of darkness and fills the heart with the Light of Truth, Consciousness and Bliss,
'I bow to the holy feet of my Guru who is the ocean of mercy and God in human form. His word dispels ignorance as sunlight dispels darkness."
Shah Maharj Ji used to say, "Hindus believe in Ramayana and Gita but what they call devotion is not mentioned as such in either of these scriptures. They worship idols, go to temples and offer water, count rosary beads, recite scriptures, go on pilgrimage and bathe in holy rivers. I'm not saying that you shouldn't do these things, but, after all, human beings have the power of reason, so we should use it to determine whether all these things which we do are actually purifying our minds or whether we are just closing our eyes and following blindly. The embodied soul is surrounded by a film of impurity. Can we get rid of in by external means? What's the use of doing these things if neither your mind is stilled nor you are enlightened? Describing devotion, St. Tulsidas says,
'Devotion to Lord Rama is a beautiful and shining crown jewel. Through devotion the inner Self shines with Light Divine and the darkness of ignorance is destroyed. A person in whose heart the jewel of devotion shines is never unhappy, even in a dream.
The word mani is used again here for three reasons. Firstly, it is said that the possessor of the mani jewel never becomes poor. Secondly this jewel shines continually day and night. Similarly the person whose heart is a shrine of devotion will never suffer poverty. Thirdly, poison can't have any effect on the possessor of this jewel. The Light of Knowledge shines like this jewel and the person who experiences it cannot be affected by the poison of maya.
'Tulsidas described in detail the noble character of Shri Rama. The Lord visited the ashrams of the great sages and also visited Matang Rishi's hermitage, where Bhilni lived and served. Matang Rishi had promised her that Lord Rama himself would visit her. When he finally did come, she remembered her Guru's prophecy. As she gazed on the beautiful person of the Lord, she
was out of her mind with love and joy. She could not utter a word. She offered him delicious roots, bulbs and fruit, which he ate cheerfully. Waves of love surged through her heart. She said, "How can I ever glorify you? I am lowborn and dullwitted, too." The. Lord replied, "Shabri, I recognize only the relationship of devotion." He went on to explain to her.
'Irrespective of caste, kinship, lineage, piety, reputation, wealthistrength,iaccomplishments and abilities,a man lacking in devotion is worth no more than a cloud without rain.'
Than the Lord describes the nine steps of devotion
'The first step is the company of saints, the second is a fondness for hearing about Me. Humble service to the feet of the Satguru is the third step, while the fourth is singing My praises with a sincere and guileless heart. The fifth step is remembering the Name with unwavering faith. The sixth is control of the mind and senses and with contentment and even mindedness, desisting from the various temptations of the world. The seventh is seeing the world to be nothing but Me and regarding the saints even greater than Me. The eighth is regarding profit and loss with equal
detachment, being contented with whatever you get, and not even dreaming of seeing another's faults. The ninth is being straightforward and honest in one's dealings and relying on the Lord alone. Whoever has even one of these virtues is extremely dear to me, but, Bhilni, you are blessed with all nine.'
'Our leaders regard casteism and parochialism as curse, and quite rightly so. God's laws apply equally to everyone, but due to wrong ideas of caste and religion, feehngs of separation and discrimination keep on growing and make people into mutual enemies. Conferences are held to discuss caste eradication but will they be able to solve the problem, even though we all believe in one human race and the brotherhood of man? Learn a lesson from the life of Shri Rama. He went to Shabri's hut rather than all the high sages', ate the simple food she offered and showed her the greatest love and respect. The land which produced a scripture of the magnitude of the Ramayana is miserable! If people understood the message of the Ramayana and acted accordingly, not only this country but the whole world would enjoy the utmost happiness."