MISCELLANEOUS

Importance of preceptor

CHENNAI SEPT.27 . The spiritual tradition emphasises that a person desirous of liberation from rebirths must come under the influence of a preceptor to progress towards this goal. Man's bondage is due to separation from the Supreme Being and in the process he forgets his true spiritual nature. By engaging in worldly activities with attachment he accumulates more Karma, which necessitates further births to exhaust it. This becomes a vicious circle and one who is fortunate to be blessed with a human birth must make efforts to put an end to it. At this stage when one consciously makes a beginning on the spiritual path it becomes essential to get guidance on how to progress by avoiding the pitfalls and thus a preceptor who is a man of wisdom becomes necessary for a spiritual aspirant.

The Sundara Kanda of the Ramayana brings this aspect of spiritual life into sharp focus in the depiction of Hanuman's role. Valmiki's poetic genius blooms to its full glory in this canto while describing Hanuman's character and his role in bringing about the union of Rama and Sita. It will be inspiring to learn how this pioneer-poet came to compose this epic in such chaste verse. He was not a gifted poet at birth but a hunter given to killing for his livelihood. The turning point came when he was initiated into the "Rama Mantra", which he could not even utter properly and was thus taught the syllables "Ma" and "Ra". And, it was the potency of this Divine name that brought him immortal fame because he became the chosen one to compose the life of the Lord when He incarnated in human form as Rama. By reading the Ramayana with devotion it is possible to acquire literary skill.

In his discourse, Sri B. Sundar Kumar said the Sundara Kanda could be esoterically interpreted to depict the human predicament. Ravana represents the deluding power of Maya, which is responsible for man forgetting his spiritual nature. Sita was taken captive by Ravana and separated from the Lord (the soul in bondage) because She spurned His devotee (Lakshmana). The ocean represents worldly life and Ashokavana where Sita was confined the misery of gestation for 10 months in the womb. If a person repents and prays to God for redemption He sends the preceptor to his succour just as Hanuman was sent by Rama to locate Sita.

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