Bhakti Lessons from Ramayana (Ram Navami Article)
Rama Navami commemorates the appearance of Lord Rama, who is remembered for His prosperous and righteous reign. Lord Rama appeared on this earth, on the ninth day after the new moon in Shukla Paksha (the waxing moon) in Treta Yuga some Two million years ago, in a place called Ayodhya.
This festival is celebrated during the time of March-April. Lord Rama, who became king of Ayodhya, was known for His exemplary qualities. He was popular, brave, kind, just, intelligent, patient, loving, obedient and dutiful. Lord Rama is always worshiped with his consort Sita, brother Lakshmana and devotee Hanuman. Glory of Lord Ramachandra is described in Ramyana.
Some Lessons from Ramayana
1)Leaders of nation should properly execute their duty. Lord Ram as a king was never deviated from his duties towards nation and people. That's why Lord Ram is Maryada Purushottam.
2) Devotion is the mean to attract Lord Ram in our heart. One should be a devotee of lord just like Sabari.
Sabari was a perfect devotee.
Sabari was a daughter of a hunter. Although Sabari was not good looking outwardly but her heart was pure.Before the day of her wedding she saw 1000s of goats and sheep that her father had brought to sacrifice, as it was a custom among the hunters of that time.
She couldn't bear to see those animals being killed, so she ran away into the forest in order to avoid animal killing.
She went to different sages and requested everyone to accept her as their disciple but they rejected. At last sage Matanga accepted her as his disciple. She started serving the sage. At the time of death, sage Matanga told Sabari to stay on earth till Lord Ram comes to give her Darsan.
So, sabari waited for the arrival of lord Ram till she became old. One day while she was filling up water in her earthen pot from lake called Pampasar, a sage threw a stone at her thinking Sabari to be unqualified to touch that lake because of her being outcaste. Sabari's leg was hurt. A drop of blood fell from her leg in the lake and turned all water into blood.
Sages tried their best to purify lake but all their attempt was unsuccessful. Neither the water of Ganga could purify that lake nor that of Yamuna. It always remain blood red. On day while Lord Rama was roaming in the forest , some of the sages visited him and requested to purify the water of Pampasar lake. Rama came there and touched the water of Pampasar lake by his leg. There was no effect. Rama took it in mouth and spitted in the lake. It also was uneffective.
Lord Rama asked sages how it had become blood. Sages told that after a drop of blood was dropped from the leg of Sabari , lake had turned into blood. Rama told them that it was their great offense and he told sages to call Sabari. Sabari ran towards Pampasar lake when she heard that Lord Rama had come personally there. The soil from her feet fell into the water as she was running hastily, blood turned back into water.
Lord Rama said "Did you see, dust from Shabari's feet has purified the lake. Dust from the feet of pure devotee purified the lake. I bathed in it, cleaned my mouth but nothing changed".
Sabari requested Lord Rama to go to her hut. Lord Rama went there. Sabari used to go to forest and collect ripened berries , thinking that she will give those berries to Lord Rama during his visit.
That day too , she had collected some berries . Sabari gave them to Lord Rama . They were half eaten. Sabari used to taste every berry to make sure that only sweetest berries will be selected for Lord Rama."
Although berries were all half eaten , Lord Rama accepted and ate them. He also told that ' they were sweetest and had never tasted before.
Rama told Sabari to ask for any benediction. Sabari prayed just for unconditional love and devotion at the lotus feet of Lord Rama. After this darshan Shabari's body life ended and she achive Spiritual world and eternal abode of Sri Rama
Moral : Lord Krishna says in Srimad Bhagavad Gita ,' If one offers Me with love and devotion a leaf, a flower, fruit or water, I will accept it.'( BG 9.26 http://vedabase.net/bg/9/26/en1 )
Thus, devotion is the only mean to attract Supreme lord . It is not Sabari's half eaten berries that lord Rama accepted rather it is Sabari's love and devotion towards lord Rama in the form of half eaten berry which Lord Rama accepted.