“With a mass of arrows Rama will paralyze the immovable ocean and wipe out the Rakshasas from the city of Lanka.” (Hanuman speaking to Sita Devi, Valmiki Ramayana, Sundara Kand, 36.35)
viṣṭambhayitvā bāṇa oghaiḥ akṣobhyam varuṇa ālayam |
kariṣyati purīm lankām kākutsthaḥ śānta rākṣasām ||
A fear prevalent in modern times relates to flying. Statistics show that air travel is generally safer than travelling by automobile, but a few difficult experiences in the air are enough to scare people for life. After all, a plane is a massive object that somehow floats in the air. It’s only rational to be concerned about its safety.
In ages past the only way to travel long distances, between places separated by water, was to take boats. There was great risk in that, as well. If you run into a problem while you are out in the middle of the sea, who is going to come and help you? What if you run out of food? The waves of the ocean are quite strong and unpredictable. At every moment there is risk.
The king of Lanka a long time ago accomplished a task very important to him by using the aerial route. He took an airplane-like vehicle from his half-brother Kuvera. He used it to travel to the forest of Dandaka, where after using a false guise the king took a woman that was married to another man. He crossed the vast ocean using the Pushpaka vehicle, bringing Sita back to Lanka.
Ravana thought the great ocean insulated his home from foreign attack. What he didn’t count on was the Supreme Lord Himself showing the world His amazing potency. Sita was Rama’s wife, after all. Ravana was too afraid to fight Rama fairly and openly for the queen whose heart was given over to the son of King Dasharatha.
In the above referenced verse from the Ramayana, Shri Hanuman is reassuring Sita that Rama will indeed come and rescue her. Hanuman had made it across the ocean by first increasing his size and then jumping from a mountaintop. Rama is an incarnation of God, so He could surely do the same. One of the names for God is Yogeshvara, which means “master of all mystic power.”
Ravana was waiting on the other side, along with His Rakshasa army. Rakshasas are like man-eating ogres, and in Lanka they were very powerful. Rama had already vanquished fourteen-thousand of Ravana’s men singlehandedly, but this would have to be a tactical strike. An invasion is different from protecting yourself. Defense can react to offense; the offense has to be more strategic in their moves.
Hanuman assures Sita that Rama will make it to Lanka along with a massive army. The turbulent waters of the ocean will be paralyzed by a host of arrows released by Rama. Those same arrows will wipe out the Rakshasas from Lanka.
This is child’s play for Rama. As Vishnu He simply exhales to create many universes. While still lying down, Vishnu inhales to destroy everything. Day and night, repeating in sequence, sees the appearance and disappearance of conditioned souls.
“Again and again the day comes, and this host of beings is active; and again the night falls, O Partha, and they are helplessly dissolved.” (Lord Krishna, Bhagavad-gita, 8.19)
As Rama can calm the rough waters of the ocean using His arrows, He can help those struggling in the ocean of nescience find sobriety and move towards the ultimate destination. He does this through the representatives like Hanuman, who bring the sound incarnation of God. Today that incarnation is in the maha-mantra: Hare Krishna Hare Krishna, Krishna Krishna, Hare Hare, Hare Rama Hare Rama, Rama Rama, Hare Hare.
To Dandaka by Pushpaka car flown,
Taking Sita thinking his own.
But given forever to Rama that heart,
Who ready towards Lanka to depart.
Though vast ocean not obstacle any,
Could easily overcome with arrows many.
Ocean of nescience for devotees swimming,
Holy names for supreme abode winning.
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