“What effort does a lotus flower need to blossom in the lake? The lotus does not touch the lake even though it lives in lake. Only the legs touch the lake, not the head. So make effort with the legs and no effort with the head and you will see that you will not have any connection or relation with that in which you are living. This samsara is the lake. If you want to live like a lotus, live in the world with no relationship it. Most people are drowned in the lake and are not called a lotus. They are the creepers growing from the bottom. This is a very special method for the few who want to live free of any relationship and yet be involved in relationships totally. This is the secret. If you are aware and if you need it, you can get it, but not otherwise.”
HWL Poonja (Papaji), ‘The Truth Is’ p.402-3
Looking more closely at why we love and adore Rama…
Lord Rama, in his human play, is revered as the epitome of high values and righteousness. The one who does right by all, fights the good fight, is loved by all. But is that what Rama is all about – good morals and fulfilling one’s duties? To me this appears a severe restriction on this embodiment of Divine light. Appreciating his glory in moralistic terms seems too simplistic. His deeper beauty lies in a more flowery reference: Rajeevalochana, the lotus-eyed one.
The lotus flower is a very popular image and metaphor often used by the sages over the ages to express how our true nature functions in the world. The two main aspects invoked by the lotus in this context are:
Living in the world while remaining untouched by it:the lotus flower grows in the pond but does not touch the water. This image is invoked to remind us to not be fully immersed in the life situations and conditions we find ourselves in but to live mentally above them, while at the same time being physically involved in them. ‘Fix the mind in yoga and perform your actions’ as the Bhagavad Gita reminds us.
“The primordial nature is like the lotus flower, which grows out of the mud but is not dirtied by it. Just as the lotus flower, with its beautifully colored petals enclosing the anther and the nectar inside, is unsullied by the mud, the primordial nature with all its qualities is completely unstained by the dualistic clinging to subject and object.”
– Dilgo Khyentse Rinpoche, Zurchungpa’s Testament
Using filth to produce fragrance:as the sages remind us, we can either allow life situations to break us or to grow. The lotus flower thrives in a filthy pond in the same way that the wise use everything that’s thrown at them, for their growth and evolution. The wise man uses the stones his enemies throw at him, to make his house. The inner alchemy of transforming difficult conditions into avenues for learning ad growth is what spiritual transformation is all about.
Rama’s life is an example of viewing the world with lotus-eyes. Through all the trials and tribulations of his life – his exile from his kingdom, the kidnapping of his wife, the war with Ravana and having to send his wife away to the forest – he never lost himself in any situation. His equanimity and poise through all of it is what we worship. Such dispassion (vairagya) – that even after slaying the evil Ravana, he did penance to repent the killing of another human being.
This is the example of Maryada Purushottam Rama– the true way of conducting the human life. Propriety of conduct not by living up to societal or moral standards, but living true to one’s nature.
No-one can be infallible by moral standards – even Rama is accused of sending away his pregnant wife Sita to the forest as a result of some difficult situations that arose. The very play of life is such that there cannot be a ‘perfect human being’. If that was possible, what motivation would we have to rise above the human play? To rise above it, thankfully does not require that all our actions become perfect or we become aloof and unfeeling (Rama too experienced anger, anguish and grief through the ups and downs of his life) but that we understand how to remove our selfish interests from the situations and conditions we are placed in. That we hand the situation over to life and realise that we have the privilege to witness the play of life unfold but that our true place is to be one with life, God, Rama, in the Heart.
“He, as the Self, resides in all forms, but is veiled by ignorance.
When He is in the state of dream that men call waking, He becomes the individual self… he is happy or miserable because of the creations of his mind.
In the three states of consciousness, whatever appears as the enjoyer or the object of enjoyment, I am the witness thereof, separate from all.
I am pure consciousness. I am the eternal Shiva.”
– Kaivalya Upanishad (16-18)
Love & light,
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