Four People Positively Influenced By Rama’s Lotus Feet

[Bharata worshiping Rama's sandals]“The pure devotees are always hankering after the lotus feet of the Lord. The lotus has a kind of honey which is transcendentally relished by the devotees. They are like the bees who are always after the honey.” (Shrila Prabhupada, Shrimad Bhagavatam, 1.11.26 Purport)

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You don’t have to see the whole thing. The entire image, from top to bottom, is not required for meditation to be done properly. Dhyana is important, even outside of the realm of yoga. If you’re writing a book, will you be able to get it done if people keep interrupting you? If you’re driving on the road, is it a good idea to keep looking down at your smartphone?

Proper dhyana should be on something tangible; then it qualifies as yoga. Meditating on a tree may help to keep clear of certain bad behaviors, but in the long run the interest will wane. There is no taste. Dhyana with respect to yoga should be focused on the Supreme Personality of Godhead. He is more than an attribute-less light. He is more than a concept. He is not simply a figment of the imagination.

God has a form, and belonging to that form are feet, which are compared to lotus flowers. Simply serving these feet – honoring them, remembering them, thinking about them – is enough to bring liberation, the total end from the cycle of birth and death. There are rewards beyond, and so many people have been influenced positively due to association with those feet.

1. Mahadeva

The great-god is in charge of the material mode of ignorance, which equates to destruction. When the time is right, Lord Shiva gets to work on annihilating everything that was previously created by the god Brahma and maintained by Vishnu.

Vishnu is non-different from the Supreme Lord. He is the mode of goodness and above. The sacred river Ganga, who is a goddess, emanates from Vishnu’s lotus feet. When she descends to this world, Mahadeva carries her on his head. He is like a conduit for that holy river, which washes away sins.

2. Bharata

Vishnu’s incarnation of Rama is specifically worshiped by saints like Goswami Tulsidas. In his amazing poetry he often reminds himself to stay devoted to those feet. He enumerates the different instances where the feet alone provided salvation, comfort, protection, and supreme bliss.

[Bharata worshiping Rama's sandals]Rama was in the princely order, and one time He had to leave the kingdom for fourteen years. The younger brother Bharata had a difficult time with this decision. He didn’t want to live without Rama. A compromise was reached. Bharata would return to Ayodhya, rule in Rama’s absence, but keep Rama’s sandals on the throne. A symbol of Rama’s presence, Bharata managed the long separation through worshiping those sandals, which had so wonderfully served the lotus feet of his beloved elder brother.

3. Ahalya

When Rama was a youth He was one time roaming the forest with His younger brother Lakshmana. They were essentially bodyguards to the sages residing in the tapo-vanas, the forests conducive to austerity and sacrifice. Though just youths, since they were Divine the brothers could provide perfect protection using their bows and arrows, as they were trained in the military arts, as well.

Their guru during that time was Vishvamitra, who led them to the ashrama of sage Gautama. There Rama placed His lotus feet on a stone, and magically a woman named Ahalya appeared. Gautama’s wife, she had been previously cursed due to an offense, and she was staying in that stone form, awaiting liberation from Rama Himself, which she subsequently received.

4. Kevata

During the fourteen year stay in the forest, Rama was accompanied by His wife Sita. Lakshmana was there, too. One time the trio needed to cross the river, going from one side to the other. There was a boatman ready to take them, happily so. He had just one condition. He wanted to wash Rama’s lotus feet, first.

[Rama with Kevat]The pretense was to save the boat itself, which was Kevata’s livelihood. Kevata mentioned how previously Rama’s feet had turned stone into a woman. If the same were to happen to his boat, how would he survive? This amusing exchange was simply to win the honor of washing Rama’s feet, which Kevata continued to serve afterwards.

In Closing:

“Boat for livelihood my own,

Known capable turning from stone.

Your lotus feet upon which to grace,

Curse of Gautama’s wife to erase.

So first those feet to wash letting,

Then to other side of river getting.”

Shri Rama happily obliging request,

Service allowed through Kevata’s behest.

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