On Rama Navami we celebrate the appearance of Lord Rama. And most important for all of us to understand about the appearance of the Lord, is how to cultivate the appearance of the Lord within our own hearts. Until people establish the Kingdom of Ram within, there is no possibility of doing so without. In other words until our hearts are restored to their natural state -full of devotion – there will always be the difficulties of corruption, and quarrel. The Lord descended to this world as Lord Ram to show us how to fulfill this most important mission in all of our life, to realize that the kingdom of the God is within our own heart. This is the universal principle. In Bible it is also said, “The kingdom of God is within”. Krishna tells in Bhagavad-Gita, “sarvasya caham hridi sannivishto mattah smritir jnanam apohanam ca”, that He is seated in everyone’s heart, and from Him come remembrance, knowledge and forgetfulness. Wherever the Lord is, that is the kingdom of God. Ram is dwelling within us. But why don’t we feel Him? Why don’t we love Him? Why don’t we see Him? How to revive that original consciousness that is within the soul? This is the subject of all great sacred texts.
Unfortunately, for most of us, the devotion or love which is meant to reside in our hearts, has been replaced by, or transformed into Kama – lust or desire. This means not just sexual lust, but a desire to take pleasure in that which separates us from God. How to conquer kama, which the Bhagavad-gita describes as an all-devouring enemy? There is a method. Lord Rama showed us the method in a wonderful way. He sent to this world lust personified in form of the demon Ravana. Ravana was a most striking emblem of lust.
Sita Devi is the wife of Ram. Sita is none other than an expansion of Lakshmi Devi, the goddess of fortune. All the fortune of the world is the energy of Sita. What is fortune? Fortune does not simply mean money. Fortune means anything good. Fortune means good health, popularity, comforts in life, good friendship, good family, etc. Fortune means anything good in this world, and to loose anything good is misfortune. Lakshmi Devi appeared as Goddess Sita. And everyone knows Sita is exclusively meant for Rama. What is the definition of love? Love means to assist Sita in Her affair with Ram. Is that not what Hanuman did, as well as other characters from the Ramayana such as Sugriva, Lakshman, and the residents of Ayodhya? Their only desire was to see Ram and Sita happy. But Ravana wanted to take Sita for himself. That is called kama or lust. In Caitanya Caritamrita, Krishnadas Kaviraj Goswami describes – love is that natural inclination of the soul to want to give pleasure to God. But when the natural affection for God is misplaced, in trying to enjoy the property of God for our own self-centered desire, then that love is transformed into lust. Love and lust are the same energy; the same inclination within us. Prema or divine love is when that energy is placed toward God. When it is placed anywhere else, it is called Kama or lust.
So Ravana was very tricky. He disguised himself and stole Sita. And of course we read from the Ramayan of Valmiki Muni – how Lord Ram and His brother Lakshman, looking for Goddess Sita made alliances with Sugriva and Hanuman and together, with a great army, attacked the island of Sri Lanka. Ravana was so powerful that no one could defeat him. Ravana was the symbol of Kama, and know that any desire you have to enjoy separately from the Lord is due to the presence of Ravana in your heart. Lord Sri Ramachandra wanted to really show to the world, how powerful Ravana was, how powerful lust really is. Every time he cut of one of the heads of Ravana, another one grew in it’s place. Doesn’t that sound like our own material desires? Every time you do some yajna, sacrifice, or puja or any spiritual practice, and you give up one material desire, immediately another one grows in it’s place. You perform penances, practice yoga, take vows, to give up this lusty propensity in your heart and finally you conquer it … and then another head grows. Those who are on the spiritual path, know that as soon as you cut down one head, 10 more grow. It is an endless battle.
Finally Rama shot His arrow into Ravana’s heart. When the arrow pierced the heart, Ravana fell to the ground. Rama is the only one who has this arrow. That arrow cannot be obtained by any mortal. It is the exclusive power of Ram. That is why Lord Krsna says in the Gita, “This material energy is very very difficult to overcome, but one who surrenders unto Me I take the war in My own hands. I will conquer lust. I will conquer Ravana within your heart. For me it is not difficult. I will kill all the demons in your heart with My arrows”. When we surrender to the Lord, Ram appears within our heart. When we remember Krishna, when we remember Lord Ramchandra, He is non-different from that remembrance. The process of Bhakti is to always remember the Lord, to be His devotee, to always worship Him and to offer homage unto Him. Through this process Ram appears within our heart and with His mighty arrows, he shoots right into the heart of Ravana and all his heads and everything else falls and disappears from our life eternally.
Through the steady and determined practice of Bhakti, we can light up our hearts, not just by some physical fire but with the light of God’s grace, by hearing the glories of the Lord, by serving the Lord, by remembering the Lord – these are the processes of devotional service. They are not different than Lord Rama. They connect us with Him. They give light in the darkness of our hearts. When our heart is fully illuminated, then we can experience Ramachandra within our self and our love for Him awakens. And within that love comes unconditional compassion to every living being. Then the Kingdom of Ram is established within us, and only then we can become instruments of establishing it without.