For past few months, thanks to the general interest in the family for the Sony show “Sankatmochan Hanuman”, I have been watching the show and the all-too familiar story of Sri Ram and his devotee Hanuman. Keeping the rather stupid and juvenile characterization of lives and the characters in the story by the director and team aside, the entire story of Ram and Hanuman has a lot to say and teach.Ram Vs Ravan - Critical Lessons for a Spiritual Seeker #Hinduism #Spirituality Click To Tweet
Watching Hanuman’s devotion is always a very humbling and transformative experience. Devotion does not have a failsafe option. It is one’s entire existence and raison d’etre. And no matter what the task or challenge at hand, Hanuman would not let it go even if it seemed impossible – simply because it was a task and offering to his Lord. I have met Hindus who abuse Gurus and the devotion of disciples calling it “Andh Bhakti” or blind faith. Thus denegrating Bhakti, the highest of pursuits – while they also run down the entire relationship between a Guru and the seeker. Yet they have the audacity to announce that their “Guru” is Hanuman. Such is the level of ignorance, nay complicit deception being practiced as Dharma today. For, if such people had any respect for Hanuman, they would know that Bhakti is Hanuman’s entire being. And Bhakti doesnt hold any part of your own self at all. Everybit of yourself has to go for a Hanuman to arise.
Ram vs Ravan is Not Good vs Evil
There is, however, another insight and aspect of the situation I got while going through the story once again, that I had never looked at. For that let me share some broad truths about the story that are worth looking at.
- Ravan was a Shiv devotee – said to be one of the highest – and someone who had done Sadhana to a point that he could overpower even the God of Death (Yama) himself
- Ram also went through ruthless Spiritual work and education and he himself was a being of the highest consciousness. His pursuits in Sadhana were of a different kind however.
- While Ravan was looking for Siddhis or power coming from occult to satisfy his urge for rule by strength. His Sadhana was not directed to liberation but to attaining the occult powers. Sadhana and Yogic tools can bring you both the results – occult powers and liberation.
- His great progress and attainment in the realm of Sadhana notwithstanding, the impact of occult without the requisite transformation on the inner consciousness was, in the end, devastating!
Dharmic Spiritual journey is not an easy one. With the Sadhana come a lot of changes in the energy of a being. And if it is not handled well, and used to further one’s ego – which also is the consequence of Sadhana-sans-shift in consciousness – then one could get almost “God like” powers and simultaneously be even more horrible personification of evil.
Yogic Sciences and Occult
When one looks at the whole story of Ram and Ravan, what stands out is not the fight of “Good vs Evil” but the damnation that yogic tools without proper flowering of consciousness causes. The difference between Ram and Ravan was just this – One used Yogic sciences for its occult powers and the other used it as a ladder to the highest manifestation of divine.
Their story is an amazing demonstration of how tools that can help towards spirituality can be used to create powerful beings both evil and divine. Yoga, the way of the Spiritual pursuit is a science. If one has the knowledge of the tools and how to use them, one can get any potency and limit of power one wants. Even when one doesn’t want such powers, one gets them anyway. When one focuses only on them, they surely end up in a place where their lowly ego further drives their occult-driven powers. The Yogic science – specially its Kriya component – can lead to many different energy consequences which may pave one’s way to any side of the spiritual spectrum.
The obvious question that many have had after reading the stories of Ravan and the many “demons” is – how come Shiva gave those “boons” and powers to such personifications of evil? As we saw in our last post, no one “gives any boons”. You get what you want, if you know the tools and ways. Shiva or Vishnu as dimensions are possibilities available to everyone who is sincere in their Sadhana. The Grace and the power one can access is gift of one’s level of consciousness. When one reaches a level where he can access a certain aspect of Shiva’s consciousness, then all the possibilities are available.
And that is the issue with those who focus on Siddhis via yogic sciences as opposed to liberation or Moksha. The training and the “beating” one needs from a Guru while one is treading on the Spiritual path (which can bring forth a lot of occult powers) is critical. Only very few have the devotion to their Guru to keep walking the path even when one is put through the rigors of ego management as one progresses. Progress is great, but managing one’s enhanced self can make you a Ravan or Ram, depending on whether you were prepared well by your Guru. We have seen how so many so-called Gurus, who may have inadvertantly stumbled on some occult practices are using them to astonish people with the “miracles” and use it to create a following. The following articles – and the many abusive and retarded comments by the highest in Nithyananda’s ashram – amply demonstrate the havoc that irresponsible use of yogic science for occult purposes can create with people –
When I was dealing with these abusive Nithyananda followers and their anger, I was wondering how can someone who has been through Sadhana that can bring forth such tremendous occult powers (whether you call them Siddhis or Shaktis is irrelevant for its just an attempt to legitimize one’s state) – be so obviously abusive when the interpretation of their understanding is challenged?! It is now that I realized that the question is actually a variant of the question millions have asked with respect to Ravan so centuries. The answer is clear and one that has been always been emphasized by responsible Gurus – There should be No Focus on or Obsession with Occult and “Miracles” on the Path of Spirituality!
Spirituality is a Serious Endeavor
Completely contrary to what many Hindus are prone to saying – “There is no restriction or strictures in Dharmic path” – spiritual pursuit is a very serious endeavor! Yes, there are multiple paths and many different ways to attain to the divine consciousness but with strict supervision and disciplined work, one can very easily attain to Ravan’s consciousness while trying to reach Ram. The difference in the path to the two states is in the subtler realms and critical handling of one’s basic self. If the urges of survival and ego are not handled well the spiritual path – even (rather specially!) with so many powers that come one’s way – can be the worst thing that can happen to the person and those around him.
Normal people may attempt to learn being “good” from Ram, but that is not what one can really benefit from much, for “being good” is a useless exercise – check out: Stop “Being Good”. Be Human. The real learning is for one who wants to undertake the path of Sadhana. A seeker on that path has a lot to learn from the way Ram lived his life and the contemplating on His amazing disciplined self. There are many who try to judge Ram today, without understanding the how one needs to address situations when one’s being is all-encompassing. No, not as an intellectual understanding, but when one – like Ram – actually includes every one and thing as part of himself. Existing as a “parent” to all with an fully inclusive being necessitates actions and ways that normal people rarely understand. For laymen and women, at the level of conditioned intellect which gets wowed by “miracles”, it is tough to differentiate between Ravan and Ram these days. Heck, both were “devotees of Shiva” and both had tremendous knowledge and powers, so how do you differentiate? Besides Ram’s choices put himself and those he loved in very difficult situations. Then what gives?
That is precisely where one needs to contemplate further. Those who look for easy and comfortable situations and beckon power for dominance and conquests are focusing on survival of the physical in every which way. They may enhance their powers which look miraculous to the uninitiated and spiritually illiterate, but they cannot be liberated or reach their full divine possibility.
Ram’s strength was NOT in being a master of every configuration and hacking the world for his benefit – but in being able to flow with life in all its hues.