“Neither the demigods nor any exalted personalities were there helping Rama, for He acted alone. You should not entertain any doubt on this matter. Indeed, Rama shot feathered arrows, plated with gold, which turned into five-headed serpents that devoured all the Rakshasas. The Rakshasas were oppressed with fear, and wherever they went and wherever they turned, they saw Rama in front of them. In this way, O spotless one, have your Rakshasas been destroyed in the forest of Janasthana by Rama.” (Akampana speaking to Ravana, Valmiki Ramayana, Aranya Kand, 31.18-19)
नैव देवा महात्मानो नात्र कार्या विचारणा।
शरा रामेण तूत्सृष्टा रुक्मपुङ्खाः पतत्रिणः।।
सर्पाः पञ्चानना भूत्वा भक्षयन्ति स्म राक्षसान्।
येन येन च गच्छन्ति राक्षसा भयकर्शिताः।
तेन तेन स्म पश्यन्ति राममेवाग्रतः स्थितम्।
इत्थं विनाशितं तेन जनस्थानं तवानघ।।
naiva devā mahātmāno nātra kāryā vicāraṇā।
śarā rāmeṇa tūtsṛṣṭā rukmapuṅkhāḥ patatriṇaḥ।।
sarpāḥ pañcānanā bhūtvā bhakṣayanti sma rākṣasān।
yena yena ca gacchanti rākṣasā bhayakarśitāḥ।
tena tena sma paśyanti rāmamevāgrataḥ sthitam।
itthaṃ vināśitaṃ tena janasthānaṃ tavānagha।।
“Is God reachable? I tend to believe that He exists. I am not foolish enough to attribute the amazing intricacies and intelligence embedded within every aspect of the creation to a random collision of chemicals.
“Don’t get me wrong. The identification of elements by science certainly opens the door to amazing things. There is that classic experiment for school-age children, where they make a mock volcano explode. Science leads to technology, and just see the wonderful things we are able to do today.
“Deep down, I know there is someone behind the scenes. I want to connect with that entity. How do I reach them? Is there something the equivalent of a telephone number? I know that sounds silly, but this meeting is rather important to me. Patch me through for an emergency call, if you can.”
The documentation of history found within shastra is one trusted source of information on this topic. Long before the printing press, man’s brainpower was so strong that a person could remember thousands of verses of Sanskrit poetry after hearing only a single time.
This enabled the transfer of vital information from generation to generation. It also detailed the numerous arrivals of the Supreme Personality of Godhead to this world. The Sanskrit word is avatara. This refers to a person who descends. They live permanently in another realm, a superior one. That place never gets created and it never dissolves. It requires no external source of energy. The proprietor is self-effulgent.
यदा यदा हि धर्मस्य
ग्लानिर् भवति भारत
तदात्मानं सृजाम्य् अहम्
yadā yadā hi dharmasya
glānir bhavati bhārata
tadātmānaṁ sṛjāmy aham
“Whenever and wherever there is a decline in religious practice, O descendant of Bharata, and a predominant rise of irreligion – at that time I descend Myself.” (Lord Krishna, Bhagavad-gita, 4.7)
The avatara appears in this world and gives a glimpse of the potency of the Divine. The arrival also creates situations of close proximity, thereby enabling connection. A person could call out directly to God and be heard.
With the avatara of Shri Rama, the sages residing in the Dandaka forest directly asked for help. They wanted Rama to protect them against wicked night-rangers, who attacked in secret and with deadly force. The objective was to stop genuine religious activity, dharma. If there is less faith in God in the people at large, it is much easier for the demons to control them.
Rama protected the sages with His amazing marksmanship. He appeared to be a simple man of beautiful countenance, humbly following the orders of superiors like the parents and spiritual guides. But when it came time to defend, there was no deference to anyone. His missiles followed the targets to wherever they fled. These arrows showed the vision of five-headed serpents in the end.
The avatara is merciful to the people of the time, and in the present age of quarrel and hypocrisy, there is the avatara of the holy name. Chant the maha-mantra and reach the same Shri Rama: Hare Krishna Hare Krishna, Krishna Krishna, Hare Hare, Hare Rama Hare Rama, Rama Rama, Hare Hare.
Sages of Vedas to teach,
Wanting Supreme to reach.
Since by night-rangers beaten,
Then by same ogres eaten.
Turning towards Rama’s way,
Who with arrows to slay.
Avatara as holy name today,
Let me never forget to say.