By - Mythily Raghavan
This episode is described very movingly by Sage Vaalmiki. Among the society of the devout, there is not an iota of doubt about the truth in Bharata’s proclamation. They hail him as a devotee par excellence. Outside this sphere, however, it does challenge man’s innate rational sensibilities. “A pair of Sandals employed to rule a kingdom! They are deemed as equivalent to a noble king!” This sounds preposterous!! What do all these mean? They are after all inanimate objects! It can only be considered as a crazy action performed by a sentimentally and emotionally charged person having a mindless adulation for his dear one.
Any attempt to analyze and understand whether this proclamation is the result of mere devotion and sentiment or if it has any science behind it, will certainly not hurt the sentiments of the devotees but would only strengthen their conviction.
Sri Sriranga Mahaaguru (who had experienced the supreme spiritual state of jnaana and had the thorough knowledge of its manifestation known as the vijnana in its entirety) explains the profound principle behind this, using a few simple examples.
Let us consider the case of a cheque leaf. Though a mere piece of paper, the moment it is signed by an authorized person its value jumps to crores of rupees depending on the one and zeros! One who has an understanding of the banking system shall have no doubt about its validity. Is it an exaggeration if we say that the piece of paper ‘speaks’ out the mind of the signatory? Does it not carry his will and order? The banker who is able to ‘read’ the order carries it out in letter and spirit. This is the case of a lifeless leaf ‘speaking.’
That every mood of a person produces a unique tone is common knowledge. For example, when we write a word “Ah!” and try getting the mood behind it through the script, we may fail. But if we hear the sound “Ah!” we can immediately catch the mood - it may be a painful scream or a surprise or sarcasm. It is because the mood, when it fills the mind, naturally produces an associated tone. In other words, the mood imprints and manifests itself naturally through the tone (or a Raaga). Since we have a first-hand experience of these mundane moods in our daily life, recognizing the mood in its imprinted form becomes a simple task.
As an extension of the above idea consider the mood of a musician. The mood of an expert musician also spontaneously produces within himself a certain raaga and he, being an expert, brings it out faithfully through his vocal cord. All through the development of the raaga he exhibits the same inner mood. A common man may simply enjoy the music but one who has a keen sense of perception and has acquired a special training can follow the raaga and trace it back to the singer’s mood. This becomes possible because the musician faithfully ‘places’ his mood/mind in the raaga.
A skilled instrumentalist ‘places’ his mind not in his voice but on an inanimate piece of wood and strings smartly put together (a Veena for instance) to replace his voice box. Any person trained in musicology can definitely trace the notes, produced by the inanimate instrument, to their source – the musician’s mood. Thus the idea that it is possible to transfer the musician’s mood on an insentient object and to decipher his sentiment is also common knowledge since such trained minds are not ‘very rare to be found’.
One may further argue that the signature on a cheque leaf and the emotions being vocalized are clearly visible, while that is not the case with the Paadukas. But it is not necessary that every change be visible. There are numerous instances wherein the changes induced are not visible to the naked eye but yet can be perceived through the understanding of modern science.
For example, a magnet can induce its magnetic properties in a steel bar and cause it to become a magnet itself. Although there is absolutely no visible difference in the steel bar, it has acquired the magnetic energy and so is effectively a magnet now. A scientist who understands the laws of magnetism may cause numerous materials to be magnetized. He may even specify the time for which magnetic properties persist. He may at will switch on or off these magnetic properties in an electromagnet – a specially designed magnet.
To mention another case, electrical energy can be transferred and stored in a battery and the physical battery thus charged performs the electrical tasks.
The above examples are within the purview of our sense organs, mind and intellect tuned to modern science and hence are easy to comprehend. But the case of a Jnaani (serene Seer) is radically different. He, not only transits the familiar roller coaster realm of the senses and intellect, but also effortlessly flies into the spiritual realm which transcends all these. These areas are beyond the imagination of a common man who has restricted himself to the world of sense organs. They are also beyond the scope of science as we know today, because modern science has not exerted itself in this direction.
For, a jnaani is one who has attained the supreme spiritual state and enjoys the bliss therein. Once he is able to establish himself firmly in that state then his entire system with his mind, intellect and body gets flooded and permeated with that bliss. The dharma (mood-state) acquired thereby is termed as the ‘Aatmadharma’. Such a person retains this mood even after descending to the sensory world. Every thought, word and deed of his will then reflect faithfully this Aatmabhaava / Aatmadharma / Brahmabhaava.
Mahaaguru used to quote an example to illustrate this. A person chewing cardamom cannot conceal its aroma with his mouth open! Similarly whatever activity a jnaani carries out would automatically entail along with it the Atmagandha, the perfume of the Atman.
So, just as a musician instills his bhaava on an instrument the jnaani too can instill his Aatmabhaava in any material; it may be a piece of wood or stone or anything other thing of his choice. He can accomplish this through his touch or sight or any means he opts for since his entire system is filled to the brim with that bhaava. But the Aatmabhaava thus imprinted cannot be comprehended through our senses; for, the source of this bhaava is far beyond our senses. To decipher as to what is installed one needs to gain a special spiritual training along with a body system that is sensitive enough to recognize even subtle spiritual moods.
It is this principle that is to be applied in the case of Sri Rama Paaduka. Sri Rama is not just a Jnaani but he is the one being sought after by the Jnaanis. He is the Divine Lord residing within the heart of every being. So there is no doubt that he was full of Divine energy or to be more precise, he was Divinity in human form. So when he placed his sacred feet on the Sandals he powered them with his divine energy/the Atmabhaava and that was his seal of authority. The Paadukas therefore, are no longer dead wood, but sentient wood vibrant with Aatmabhaava, in short, a personification of Rama Himself. Like a paper cheque getting transformed into an instrument worth millions, the Sandals got transformed into Rama’s Pratinidhi (representative). Rama is nidhi and the Paadukas his pratinidhi. And that was verily the idea behind Sage Vashishta’s advice to Bharata to seek the blessings through the Paadukas. The sandals in an inanimate state (mara bhaava) got transformed into an eternal glowing state (amara-bhaava) filled with the Divine bliss. Hence Paaduka Pattaabhisheka (the Coronation of Paaduka) was really equivalent to Enthronement of Sri Rama himself.
Bharata too was not an ordinary soul but was a great jnaani. His devotion to Rama knew no bounds. He had all the necessary metaphysical sensitivity to recognize the divinity of the Sripaaduka. That is the reason why he adorned his head with them! He was such a great soul that when he approached the Paadukas placed on the throne, his mind and intellect were elevated and filled with Rama bhaava and he became verily an instrument of the power and will residing in the Paadukas. His mind, his words and his actions were all directed by that bhaava and he simply obeyed the `inner’ command. When such was the case, would it not be right to say that the Paadukas ruled Bharata and (through him) his empire? This spirit prevailing in him and ruling him all the time manifested itself in the form of the proclamation that “Indeed it is Sri Rama Paaduka which ruled the empire and that he was a mere servant of Sri Rama”. That was simply his inner experience translated into words! That is why Bharata is rightly hailed by illustrious people as an exemplary devotee, a devotee of the first order. `Bharataaya param namostu prathamodaaharanaaya bhaktibhaajaam’.
Sriranga Mahaaguru has not just stopped by explaining the scientific basis behind the installation of spiritual energy onto any material. He used to say that every system brought about by Bhaaratiya maharshis is verifiable even today and so insisted that his disciples accept the custom only after experimental verification. He has actually demonstrated how spiritual energy can be induced in an object by a jnaani for a specific length of time through his Sankalpa. Also, a few of his disciples trained in the practical aspects of ‘Naadi shaastra’ were taught to read through naadi the energy thus transferred. Such practical lessons from the Mahaaguru indeed reinforced the conviction in the minds of the disciples.
Salutations to Sri Rama, the divinity incarnate! Salutations to Bharata who recognized and revealed to the mankind this Divinity! Salutations to Sriranga Mahaaguru who proved to the world the science behind the episode and thereby has enhanced our reverence for the great sages of Bhaarata!May this little garland of words woven with the grace of the Mahaaguru adorn His Divine Feet!
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