Extracts from My Rama is My All
By Sri Chinmoy with Commentary.
(Sita and Lakshmana, still at the same spot in the forest.)
SITA: Listen, Lakshmana! Your brother is in danger! He is crying, "Ah Sita, Ah Lakshmana." He needs you! Go to him!
LAKSHMANA: Mother Sita, I cannot obey. My brother asked me to look after you. If I leave you alone here he will be extremely displeased with me. I assure you, my brother can never be in danger. There is nobody who can defeat him in fighting. He is all powerful. I am sure that Maricha is playing a trick on us.
SITA (angrily): Lakshmana, you have come into the forest, and you are making everybody feel that you are my husband's greatest friend, his dearest brother. But you are a rogue, a rogue. Rama is in terrible danger, I feel it. And you don't want to leave me. Why? You have some immoral interest in me. If your brother dies, you are hoping to have me, you brute!
(Lakshmana covers his ears with his hands.)
LAKSHMANA: O Mother, be calm, please. Do not speak such awful words. Nobody in the world is like Rama. His life is quite safe. The voice that we have heard can never be the voice of my brother. It is a trick of that demon Maricha. Rama has posted me to look after you here. How can I disobey him?
SITA: Yes, Maricha is imitating Rama's voice and you are imitating Rama's character, his heart of wisdom and illumination. You rogue! You impostor! You fool! You have all darkness, all filth, all ignorance in your mind and in your heart! Leave me alone! You can't obey me even when your brother is dying? I know, I know what your secret intention is. I tell you, your dark dream will never be fulfilled. Go! You have your wife, Urmila. Why did she not come with us? Then she could have been with her husband. Why are you bothering me? Who has asked you to come here? Before I let you touch me, I shall throw myself into the River Godavari.
LAKSHMANA: Mother, I shall have to disobey my brother, then, in order to obey you. I am disobeying my brother to please you. Please be alert. I am marking a ring for you. Please do not go outside the boundary of this ring. This ring is the ring of protection.
SITA: Protection? I do not need your protection. You go and protect your brother. He needs your protection. He is dying, and here you are wasting time, delaying, so when you go there you will see that he is no more. Well, no harm. If he is gone I shall join him in the other world. This life of mine is not to be with you. You brute, you unthinkable creature, deceiving the whole world by pretending to be devoted, faithful, unconditionally surrendered to your brother! (Lakshmana, shedding tears, draws a ring.)
LAKSHMANA: Mother, I go.
(Lakshmana is walking through another part of the forest in search of his brother.)
LAKSHMANA: O God, you know my heart. I adore Sita as my own mother. I have never even seen her face. I always keep my eyes on her feet, on the dust of her feet. Such adoration I have for her, such devotion! And she insults me. Is this my fate? The world is full of misunderstanding. Are all women of this type? No, it cannot be. My Urmila was shedding bitter tears when I left the palace with my brother. She wanted me to remain with her, but I came here to please my brother and myself. But who is pleasing her? O Urmila, the world will not know of your inner suffering, your divine sacrifice. But my heart of love will know. My heart of gratitude will know what you are doing in silence, through your tears, with your magnanimous heart. Eternally your Lakshmana will be grateful to you and proud of you. My outer life is not near you but my inner life is with you and for you.
After a performance of the play Sri Chinmoy talked about this scene and the ideals of the play.
Sri Chinmoy: My whole Rama play is about the human and the divine. Some individuals are all divine, but in some characters you have to play the human role. Each time a spiritual Avatar descends he comes with a new message. In Rama's case, he was identified with society. There was no competition between his reality and society. The main qualities that he manifested in his life were promise, obedience and sacrifice. These are called human morality.
The important thing is not to judge spiritual Masters. If you judge them, you will be totally confused and your aspiration will descend. They are far, far beyond our human judgement. When Rama and Sita returned from Lanka, Rama had to ask his wife to leave him. In Krishna's case, he asked Arjuna to kill his own relatives. If you use your moral judgement, you will disapprove of the actions of Rama and Krishna most vehemently.
But if an Avatar does not play the human role, who is going to follow him? One moment he has to play the role of an absolutely helpless human being. The next moment he has to be in his highest consciousness. Look at the Saviour Christ. When he was on the cross, he called out, "Father, why have You forsaken me?" At that moment, he was acting like a human being. Then, the next moment, he said, "Father, forgive them, for they know not what they do."
Before his disciples came to him, Sri Ramakrishna used to go up on the roof and call out, "Where are my disciples? Where are my children?" He would cry most pitifully. He was inseparably one with Mother Kali, but at the same time he was crying helplessly for his disciples to come.
When a spiritual Master is in his highest consciousness, he can go beyond and beyond. He is ever-transcending. But when he identifies with the human level then there seems to be so much contradiction. The same Supreme asks the spiritual Master to be kicked by human ignorance.
You know the famous story about the scorpion. A scorpion has fallen into the water. A spiritual Master shows compassion to the scorpion and puts out his hand to help it back to the water's edge. Then, naturally, the scorpion stings him. How ungrateful the scorpion is! When it is suffering and dying, the Master lifts it up, and immediately it stings him. Then, the scorpion falls back into the water. Again it is dying and again the Master tries to help it. Why does the spiritual Master do it? The very nature of the scorpion is to sting, but the spiritual Master is determined to help it. He thinks that one-day he will be able to transform its nature.
When you hold the tail of a dog, it is straight. But as soon as you release it, it becomes coiled again. Human nature is exactly the same; it is coiled. Spiritual Masters try to bring the Divine into human nature in the hope that again it will become straight.
The role of Sita has to be played as a blend of the human and the divine. In an absolutely human way she scolded and insulted Lakshmana. Sita was showing the human aspect at that moment. In other scenes, when she says such high, sublime things about Rama, at that time you can bring forward her divine aspect. But at that particular point, if Sita speaks to Lakshmana with utmost compassion, then the human aspect will not be there. So you are doing the right thing by showing anger. Rama also has to show his human aspect. If he does not show the human aspect, then why did he take human incarnation? He became one with humanity with the hope that he would be able to transform humanity. Why does he have to justify his actions to humanity when he is obeying the Supreme? Look at the way Lakshmana obeys his elders: he obeys his brother and he obeys Sita because he has taken Sita as his mother. Even when Sita insults him, he obeys her.
When obedience is needed, you have to show obedience. When promise is needed, you have to show promise. When sacrifice is needed, you have to show sacrifice. What more can Rama sacrifice than his wife, his dearer than the dearest wife? These three things - promise, sacrifice and obedience - are either on the human level or on the divine level, but everything is coming from the Highest.
You cannot say that at the foot of the tree what Rama is doing is wrong, while in the middle of the tree he is perhaps a little wrong and a little right, and at the top of the tree he is only right. No. At the top of the tree the Highest will express itself in one way. In the middle of the tree it will express itself in another way, and at the foot of the tree it is bound to express itself in a different way. If Rama is only right at the top of the tree, then how can there be a tree? If there is no foot of the tree, no trunk, only the topmost branches, what kind of tree is it? The life-tree is not like that. Again, on the life-tree there are so many flowers, leaves and fruits - each one has to play its individual role.
So, according to the receptivity of humanity, the spiritual Master has to fulfil his message of promise and obedience at every level. God is not bound. Otherwise you will have a fixed God. From your imagination you create an image of God. Imagination is reality, true, but you cannot bind the highest Supreme with your imagination. On the one hand, He is formless. On the other hand, He is with form. When He is with form, He takes millions of forms, countless forms. Perhaps you can see only one form and that form is fixed. Then if you see something else, you may say, "It cannot be God."
At home, a human father may wear shorts all the time. Then, when he goes to the office, he may wear a nice suit. You may not recognise him in his office clothes. You may say that he is your father only when he is wearing shorts. So God is also like that. He has millions of forms.
My Rama play is about obedience, sacrifice and promise. From these three qualities you have to understand the whole play. We cannot judge the great spiritual Masters like Sri Ramachandra and Sri Krishna. We want to see them with our human eyes, feel them with our human hearts. That is impossible.
Let us say you want to judge the operation performed by a great doctor. If you are a nurse, you may know a little, but again there will be a yawning gulf between your knowledge and that of the doctor. The knowledge that the nurse has is just a drop, whereas a doctor's knowledge is like an ocean. How can a drop judge the ocean? Similarly, the spiritual Doctor, God, can cure us in millions of ways if He wants to. And if He wants to have an experience in and through us, how are we going to judge Him?
The higher you go, the dearer becomes the message of surrender, promise and obedience. On each level, surrender takes a different form, promise takes a different form, and obedience takes a different form.
It is in the last scene when Lakshmana is ultimately tested with the sacrifice of his life. Here the author explores the depth of Lakshmana's love for his brother and it is because of this love that all the other sacrifices are possible.
(Rama and Lakshmana in a room.)
RAMA: Lakshmana, my dearest brother, you are my joy, you are my pride. The world admires me, adores me, but I know why I have become great, how I have become great and who has made me great. It is all because of you, my Lakshmana.
LAKSHMANA: O Rama, you are my eldest brother, but I have always considered you to be my father. To be with you, to be of service to you, is to live with the highest Goal.
Amar bhuban tomar charan lagi
Amar jiban tomar swapan lagi
Ogo asimer nirabata
Ogo dyuloker amarata
Eso eso eso e hiya rayechhe jagi
[My world is for Your Feet.
My life is for Your Dream.
O silence of infinity,
O immortality of Heaven,
Come, come, come.
This heart remains awake.]
(Enter Yamaraj in the guise of a holy man.)
YAMARAJ: Rama, I would like to have a private interview with you. I have to discuss something most important with you, something most urgent, and during our conversation I do not want anyone else to be present, only you and me.
RAMA: That can easily be done. I shall certainly do it, venerable Sir.
(Lakshmana is about to leave.)
YAMARAJ: Please wait. (Lakshmana waits.) O Rama, give me your promise that whoever enters, whoever comes here during our conversation, will be put to death.
RAMA: Yes, I devotedly agree to your proposal. Lakshmana, my dearest brother, do not allow anybody to enter into this room. Keep a rigid watch, and no matter who it is, do not allow anyone to intrude on our private talk.
LAKSHMANA (with folded hands): Rama, I am at your supreme command.
YAMARAJ: Rama, I am Yamaraj, the King of Death. I have been sent to you by Brahma, the Eternal Creator. He has asked me to tell you that your play on earth is done. You have fought very hard to establish the Kingdom of Dharma on earth, and you have succeeded. Now your time is up. You are needed in Heaven.
RAMA: I am happy to hear that my time has at last come. My Sita is no longer with me. Just to please the world I tortured her heart. I cared more for the world than for my dearest wife. Now she has left her body, cast off her mortal sheath, just to please me. I was such a rascal, such a wretched fellow. Now I shall meet her in the other world. I am so happy to go with you.
(Enter hurriedly Lakshmana.)
LAKSHMANA: Rama, Rama, my brother, the Sage Durvasha has come and he wants to see you immediately. I told him you were occupied and not available. He got furious and told me that in the twinkling of an eye he would destroy your whole family and your whole Kingdom. I don't want him to destroy our family or our beloved Kingdom of Ayodhya. I know that nobody is allowed to come in here during your conversation, but I felt that I must sacrifice my life. It is better to die at the hands of my dearest brother Rama than to die at the hands of Durvasha.
YAMARAJ: Rama, we have not finished our conversation, and your brother has entered. That means he must die.
RAMA: It is true. It is true. Lakshmana, go and bring Durvasha here. In the meantime we will finish our conversation.
YAMARAJ: So, are you ready? Soon you will be called away. Are you ready?
RAMA: Yes, I am fully prepared.
YAMARAJ: And what about your brother? He has violated your injunction.
YAMARAJ: And he will be put to death?
RAMA: He will.
YAMARAJ: I know you will keep your promise. May God bless you!
(Enter Lakshmana and Durvasha.)
RAMA (folding his hands): O Sage, O Sage of the highest magnitude, forgives me, forgive me. I was having a most important private conversation with a guest, and that is why I could not see you immediately. Please forgive me. Now, please tell me how I can serve you. I am at your service.
DURVASHA: Rama, I am extremely hungry. I have not eaten for a long, long time. But today I want to eat your food. I don't want to eat anything else-only the food that is prepared for you.
RAMA: I am so proud that a great sage like you, Durvasha, wants to eat my food. Lakshmana, go and bring my food.
(Lakshmana goes and comes back with food. Durvasha eats with great satisfaction. When he is finished, he turns to Rama.)
DURVASHA: Rama, I bless you with all my heart and soul. You have satisfied my outer hunger, and I shall fulfil your inner hunger. Very soon you will be with your beloved Sita in the other world.
(Rama, Lakshmana and the ministers and elders.)
RAMA: What am I going to do? I have to keep my promise. Lakshmana is dearer than my life, but a promise is a promise.
LAKSHMANA: Rama, do not feel sorry. Do not weep. You have to keep your promise. You must kill me according to your promise. I will be happy to be killed by you. There can be no greater joy than to be punished by you. There can be no better death than to be killed by you.
PRIME MINISTER: O Rama, since it was your promise that you would put to death any intruder, I wish you to banish your brother from the Kingdom. This punishment is equivalent to killing him.
RAMA: For me to live without my brother Lakshmana is also my death. To be away from him, not to see him around me, is my worst death.
LAKSHMANA (bowing): Brother, Father, you are my All. I want the world to see that you are the Incarnation of Truth. You have established the Kingdom of Dharma. Your promise and your life can never be separated. They are one and inseparable. I am now leaving the palace. I will go and meditate on the bank of the Sarayu, and when the time comes I shall jump into the river and give up my life.
RAMA: O joy of my heart, O love of my heart, O power of my heart, you are leaving me. You are embracing death. Because of your constant sacrifice, this world knows me. And in the other world, I will also be known because of your sacrifice. I will be adored and worshipped. O brother of my heart and soul, O brother of eternity, you have followed me everywhere; wherever I have gone you have followed me like my own shadow. When Father sent me into exile, when I had to bring Sita back from Ravana, you followed me. But now, O Lakshmana, I shall follow you. I shall follow your life-breath. You go and reserve my place in the other world, in the world of the Beyond. I am coming.
(Lakshmana bows to his brother and begins to leave)
Deshe deshe cha bandhabah
Tantu desha na pashyami
Yatra bratha sahodara.
RAMA: In all countries there are wives, in all countries there are friends, but I shall not find a brother like Lakshmana anywhere in this world.
In an interview with a director of a recent production of the play Sri Chinmoy talked about this scene.
Director: To me, Rama is God. He knows when he is going to die. So the only reason I could see for Yamaraj coming was to test Lakshmana's surrender.
Sri Chinmoy: No, no! Just before Yamaraj tells Rama that nobody should intrude during their interview, he says, "I wish to have a private interview with you." Will he look at somebody else and ask for a private interview? Director: The way I interpreted it, the real reason Yamaraj came was for Lakshmana's death, to see if Lakshmana would sacrifice his life for Rama.
Sri Chinmoy: That is right. Rama knows that, but when Yamaraj is performing, he will behave as though he is sharing a supreme secret. Sometimes, when you tell someone something, you have to pretend that you know nothing about the matter. That is why you are telling me. And even if I know, I have to pretend that I do not know anything. A child comes and tells his father all about something which his father knows infinitely better than he does. It is a game.
Similarly, when Yamaraj is talking to Rama, Rama has to pretend that he knows nothing about when he is going to die. You are seeing the divine aspect of Rama there, but he is not dealing with it in that way. Yamaraj is coming to give the information. Rama does not say, "I know everything. I know my past, present and future." At this moment Rama has to behave like an ordinary human being. A messenger is coming to give him the message that he is going to die; his play is over. At that time if Rama does not look at the messenger, then it will not be right. In Yamaraj's case, he is putting Rama and Lakshmana on the same footing, although Rama is a little higher. But if Yamaraj realized that Rama knew everything, then there would be no play. Each time Yamaraj addresses Rama, he has to make himself feel that he knows everything and Rama knows nothing. In Yamaraj's heart he knows that Rama is the Lord and, as such, Rama knows everything. But here in the play, Yamaraj has to make Rama feel that the supreme secret Rama is getting from him.