Fragrant with Grace

NOT all places where images are installed are sacred; or, if they are sacred, not all of them are equally potent. Raama incarnated as Man for the re-establishment of Dharma; centuries later, Gopana had the chance to worship Him on this hill and to talk and move with Him, as his Master and Lord. Badhragiri, by his thapas, forced Raama to install Himself on his head. Truly, this place is a monument for the uniqueness of Bhakthi as a means of realising the Lord. All stones are not Ahalyas; nor are all feet those of Raama. It is only when the stone that is Ahalya is trodden by the feet of Him who is Raama that the resurrection takes place. What is the resurrection, really’? It is the revelation of the divinity inherent in man. That is the result of contact with God-head; that can come only after years of contrition, which serves to remove the evil from the heart of man.

Raavana had vast knowledge of spiritual texts. His ten heads represent the learning he had earned from the six Shaasthras and the four Vedhas. But, he never put that knowledge to any use. He craved for the possession of Prakrithi (material objects), only; he wanted to master the world of matter, the objective world. He was a master of the material sciences. But, he was not tamed by the spirit. He discarded the Spirit, Purusha-Raama; he was content with the possession at Lanka, of Prakrithi (Matter), represented by Seetha. That was why he fell.

Prema alone will remove hatred

When people do not place faith in the Self but pursue the senses only, the danger signal is up and the Lord sends a Messenger or comes Himself if a great big step in reconstruction has to be taken. Arjuna forgot the basis of Self. Raavana went counter to it. The world is building itself up on the sandy foundation of the sensory world. So, Avathaars have to come. Like the monkey which could not pull its hand from out of the narrow-necked pot, because it first held in its grasp a handful of doughnuts which the pot contained, man too is suffering today, since he is unwilling to release his hold on the handful of pleasurable things he has grasped from the world. Man is led into the wrong belief that the accumulation of material possessions will endow him with joy and calm. But Divine Love (Prema) alone can give that everlasting joy. Prema alone will remove anger and envy and hatred.

This is a sacred occasion on a sacred hill. You have been privileged to be born in this holy place; why the very sight of the pilgrims who come here daily full of yearning and God-hunger, that itself is a fortunate chance. They bring so much of Love of Raama (Raamaprema) with them; they sing Raamanaama (holy name of Raama) and they recite the Lord’s name. They never allow you to forget that this is a place fragrant with the Grace of God. Do you realise what a great service this is for your advance? When I was in Ayodhya Some years back, I could hear the continuous chanting of the holy name of Raama, that the air there was wafting in all directions. But, let Me ask you how you behave towards these pilgrims who come here, after years of sincere preparation, with hearts laden with faith! Many of you crowd round them and seek chances to exploit their devotion and their ignorance of this place. You squeeze out of them all the reverence they bring towards you and the place. They respect you, they envy you, since you breathe this holy air and drink this holy water and witness this holy worship. But, you laugh at their foolishness, while trading on their devotion. This is very unjust. You are like men who have plenty of delicious dishes before them, but have no hunger for the delicacy.

Realise the Omnipresence of God

I must speak also to the pilgrims, for, I see them also here in-large numbers. If you come as on a picnic, without the mental preparation necessary to receive the Grace of God, you are a nuisance here. You spoil the atmosphere of the place. You have come to see sights, not to strengthen your spiritual inclinations. You go from place to place, like postal parcels, collecting impressions on the outer wrapper, not on the core of your being. A blind .man going places is not worried whether it is night or day. So too, you do not differentiate between one place and another. You behave equally unconcerned, equally senses-centred, in all types of places. You do not allow the holiness of the place to act on your mind.

As a result of the pilgrimage, your habits must change for the better; your outlook must widen; your inward look must become deeper and become more steady. You must realise the Omnipresence of God, and the Oneness of Humanity. You must learn tolerance and patience, charity and service. You must determine to seek, after the pilgrimage is over, sitting in your own home, ruminating over your experiences, the higher, the richer and the more real experience of God-realisation. I bless you that you may form that determination and, striving step by step, achieve that Goal.