“Today evening in the city of Raghuvira there is great splendor and beauty. The Lord of Ayodhya is seeing the lovely festival of Diwali, which does so much good.” (Gitavali, 309.01)
साँझ समय रघुबीर-पुरीकी सोभा आजु बनी |
ललित दीपमालिका बिलोकहिं हित करि अवधधनी ||
sām̐jha samaya raghubīra-purīkī sobhā āju banī |
lalita dīpamālikā bilokahiṁ hita kari avadhadhanī ||
The entire creation is His. The many universes represent but a spark of His splendor, as described in the Bhagavad-gita:
यद् यद् विभूतिमत् सत्त्वं
श्रीमद् ऊर्जितम् एव वा
तत् तद् एवावगच्छ त्वं
yad yad vibhūtimat sattvaṁ
śrīmad ūrjitam eva vā
tat tad evāvagaccha tvaṁ
“Know that all beautiful, glorious, and mighty creations spring from but a spark of My splendor.” (Lord Krishna, Bhagavad-gita, 10.41)
The Vedas remove the need for speculating as to the nature of creation. Time is infinite in both directions, but if we study what is considered the “beginning” to the present manifestation of the world we live in, there is the image of the four-armed Vishnu lying down within the ocean of milk.
At the exhaling breath the universes emerge. Upon subsequently inhaling, everything goes back into Him. Thus the host of beings within, the population of creatures, appears again and again.
भूत-ग्रामः स एवायं
भूत्वा भूत्वा प्रलीयते
रात्र्य्-आगमे ऽवशः पार्थ
bhūta-grāmaḥ sa evāyaṁ
bhūtvā bhūtvā pralīyate
rātry-āgame ‘vaśaḥ pārtha
“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 everything is related to Him, we could consider any place to be sacred. There is always the link to the Supreme Personality of Godhead, Bhagavan. In this way, we are all related to one another.
There are places considered to have added significance. This is due to the increased opportunity to remember the all-attractive one, who sometimes descends in the visible form. As Shri Rama, through His movement He automatically turned places into tirthas. These are areas worth visiting due to the associated auspiciousness.
This is the bhumi of Rama’s janma; the place of birth. The appearance is unlike any other. The external trigger is the sacrifice performed by King Dasharatha. The queens partake of the remnants, and soon four beautiful sons arrive.
The leader, agraja, is Vishnu Himself, and the other three are partial expansions, amshas. Ayodhya will always be remembered for this timeless event. Rama Navami is the annual celebration, but any person can travel to that area using the mind aided by beautiful poetry from saints like Goswami Tulsidas.
Ayodhya is also associated with another annual celebration. Diwali, the festival of lights, originates in that ancient city. The pious residents welcomed home the Supreme Lord and His entourage, and in respect to the beloved Almighty the people residing there continue the tradition every year.
This place is particularly favored by Tulsidas. It has remained a generally quiet forest area through to today. In comparison to other tirthas, there isn’t as much traffic or noise. In Rama’s lila, it is where the Supreme Lord spent many years during the exile period from Ayodhya.
The goddess of fortune, Sita Devi, grew up in royalty and later married into it. She had no issue living in the wilderness, since her husband was with her. The younger brother Lakshmana renounced sleep in order to maintain a protective stance. He followed Sita and Rama to Chitrakut and lived very happily there.
Another forest area, this place was preferred by saintly people even prior to Rama’s advent. It was known as a tapo-vana, or a forest conducive to austerity and penance. During Rama’s time the man-eating ogres from Lanka would harass and attack the sages in Dandaka. Rama graced the area with His presence to remove the influence of darkness and give comfort to His devotees.
Another beautiful forest area, this is where Rama and Lakshmana made friends with monkey-like creatures. Though bereft of His royal army, the Supreme Lord can find supporters in any place of the world. These were the most eager warriors, and they were dedicated to Rama. The best among them was Hanuman, who would show amazing intelligence, courage, and ability in future missions.
This is the place from which Rama and the Vanara army marched to Lanka. The Supreme Lord does not require assistance to carry out work, but He gives others the opportunity to serve Him. He even respects Mahadeva, the great god, by praying to him prior to embarking on the journey.
The dedicated monkeys under Sugriva’s command built a bridge out of floating rocks. They fought using primitive weapons, up against vile Rakshasas employing black magic. As Rama and Lakshmana were there, the side of good prevailed. Not only are the places visited still significant today, so servants like Hanuman remain the most worshipable.
The one of moonlike face,
With presence to grace.
Areas like in Ayodhya taking birth,
A son to Dasharatha the first.
To Chitrakuta and Dandaka going,
And ocean bridge of rocks floating.
These places worth visiting,
And to ancient time revisiting.
Categories: the five