Understanding Rãmayaiia as Rãma within begins with Rãma representing the soul, SItã the mind, Lakmaiia the body, Hanumãn the Prãna Vãyu and Rãvaiia the procreative energy or the ego.
Rãma is the soul within that gives meaning to existence. The quest for spirituality means moving from the outward to the inward.
Giduturi Lakshmi Narayan was born in 1934 in Jeypore, Orissa. He came to Mumbai and joined the famous Sir J. J. School of Art in 1958, where he was awarded a Gold Medal in 1961 for his meritorious work.
G. L. Narayan began his career as a sculptor in Mumbai after he obtained a Diploma in 1962. In the same year he held a one-man show in Delhi which was inaugurated by the late Dr. Zakir Husain. In 1964 he setup his own studio in Mumbai. Narayan has worked on bronze, terracotta, copper strips, concrete, wood and marble. He has held several one-man shows in India and abroad.
He devoted long years to the study of Indian Art and traditional sculptures and its mythological symbolism. That was when he started sculpting Ganesha in the marble.
G. L. Narayan has been commissioned by individuals and organizations to do various works. Some of his well-known commissioned works are the two sets of copper strip murals at Ravindra Bharati, Hyderabad, in 1965, the Navy Memorial a statue of the Unknown Soldier, at Visakhapatnam in 1968 and the memorial in concrete for the playback singer Mukesh in Mumbai in 1988.
One of his marble sculptures was bought by the former Prime Minister Indira Gandhi from his exhibition for the Indian embassy at Cyprus.
In 2003 he was presented with the TANA (Telugu Association of North America) Award for his life-time achievements in sculpture in San Jose, USA. He now lives in Pune, Maharasthra.
Thanks are richly deserved by:
Mr. M. V. Kamath for writing the foreword.
Malavika Taktawala, for being my inspiration, for encouraging me to write the book and being with me through every aspect of this project and seeing the book to its completion.
Lalita Jayaraj and her son Rajiv Raj who have rendered valuable assistance in compiling the contents.
Mr. Purushottam Nijhawan for formatting of the story from the paintings.
All my friends and well-wishers for their support. Sudha & Arun Mehta for printing and publishing this book. And last but not least, the staff at Vakil’s.
Indian mythology, Hindu Gods, and Vedic Literature date back to 5,000 years. The oldest collection of hymns were the Vedas, followed by the Upanisads. Which were followed by the Puranas. These were all written in Samskrit, the oldest language on earth.
Our ancient Seers and philosophers have since the beginning of time through inspired insight established guidelines for an ideal human civilization. They imparted a perfect understanding of life through the solar control almost everything on earth all the beings.
Among them the sage Valmiki complied the world famous epic Ramayana which contains twenty-four thousand verses. Which contains twenty-four thousand verses. Corresponds to one of the twenty-four sacred sound words of the Gayatri Mantra. Ramayana is symbolically speaking an annotation of the Gayatri itself. Lord Rama, hero of Ramayana, is a direct descendant of the sun as a scion of the Sun Dynasty. Valmiki the sage, acquired all the knowledge of the three worlds, and created the Rama Katha for the common man by repeating the sacred name of Rama. Hence for me Ramayana is sacred and auspicious. It is the result of my own evolutionary progress.
Ramayana contributes to a greater understanding of life and salvation emphasizing the potential Divinity of Man. Valmiki was inspired to write Ramayana with a message for addressing the most essential goal in human life which is preserving Dharma, i.e. righteous living, upholding higher values and finding one’s own spiritual identity. Man can live in a civilized society by performing and adhering to duties; or disregard them and live like a beast.
If man makes a choice to control his lower desires and urges he can have the potential to transform himself from Man to God — Mãnav to Mãdhav or Purusa to Purusottama. This was exemplified by Mohandas Karamchand Gandhi who became a ‘Mahãt,nã’, Ramana who became a ‘Mahärsi’ and Ramkrishna who became a ‘Paramhathsa’.
A few scholars, both Indian and Western, regard Ramayaia more as a high class poetry bordering on mythology than history in which ideas and emotions get woven together. It is an epic poetry nevertheless because all the characters therein are much larger than life and have a potential inner symbolic meaning. When reality gets magnified it falls into the range of mythology but for me it represents the symbolic interplay of cosmic forces and the understanding of Ramayaia as Rãma within the man.
Through the visual medium of my paintings. I have attempted to integrate and give the symbolic meaning of Ramãyaiia through Astrology and Tantra.
According to the Solar system, all the planets affect all the creatures on earth and also their nature. The two most important luminous planets are the Sun and the Moon. The 27 Nakshatras or the 27 Constellations along with the 7 planets also play a great part in the formation of the seasons, the rains and the different other manifestations of nature. The moon’s influence helps predicting the high tide and low tide in the sea. Its influence is also seen on the timing of the women’s menstrual cycle and on the formation of milk in the expectant mother. Man’s temperament changes with the waxing and waning of the moon. In Rãmayaiia Sitã is represented by the mind that is the moon.
The Sun is the main source of solar energy which gives sustenance to life on earth. Without the Sun’s energy no one or nothing can survive. The Sun affects everything in nature and also gives energy or life to the human body. Rãma is the soul and is represented by the Sun in Rámãyaiia.
The Sun moves in a year through 3600, which are divided into two parts. The first half is called Uttarayaiia, which is the period covering the north-ward journey of the Sun. It consists of winter, spring and the summer. It is the period from winter solstice to summer solstice. This period starts from the Sun’s entry into Capricornus (Nirayana — Makara Rãi) on January 14-15 when the Sun reaches the highest point in Aries (Nirayana — Mea Rãi). Ráma is worshipped in April because Ràma was born on the bright fornight of Caitra month on the ninth day. Ram Navami is a festival which is celebrated all over India.
Dakniayana, is the second half of the Sun’s journey. It is the period from the summer solstice to Winter solstice i.e. the southward passage of the sun and it consists of the Monsoon, autumn and ‘Hemanta’ seasons. This period starts from the Sun’s entry into Cancer (Nirayana — Karkata Rãi) on July 14-15. When the sun reaches the lowest point in Libra (Nirayana — TuIä Rãi) towards the end of October Goddess DevI is worshiped in the Dassarã festival.
According to Tantra the upper half of the cosmos is male and the lower half is female. The upper half of the man is soul-dominated and it imparts the seed as also the spiritual qualities of the being. As against it the lower half is emotion-dominated, a motherly mesh that holds the seed in the womb, which also represents the material qualities of the being. Thus while man is basically spiritual, a woman is all instinct and materialistic in her projection. The Soul is both material and spiritual which makes it common to both the upper (the spiritual) and the lower (the material) half of the earth.
To understand the body one must understand the five elements of nature. In the universe all matter is made up of the earth, water, fire, air and ether. These five elements also exert influences on the body through each of the seven cakras or imaginary centres which start in the torso, from the base of the spinal cord to the central point in the crown. They are all aligned along the main energy axis at different intervals, each cakra having its own site. They are the sky (ether) element, which controls the Viuddha cakra, the air element, which controls Anãhata cakra, the fire element which controls the Manipura cakra, the water element, which controls the Svãdhisthãna cakra and the earth element, which controls the Mãlãdhãra cakra. The Ajñã and Sahasrãra Sirsã cakras are controlled by all the five elements together.
The spinning of the seven cakras within the body occurs because of the solar energy and the magnetic forces of the sun and the six planets aspecting them. The different cakras spin with different velocity in the body depending on the individual planetary positions charting the graph of the individual’s life from birth to death.
An individual human being is born for sexual union. This human urge has evolved to the highest form of consciousness, through the evolutionary process. This urge is very intelligent and has a perfectly developed sense of self-identity or the I, Me and Myself notion, which is called Ahathkära or the Ego. Without Ahathkara there is no life because it relates to the creativity, consciousness, actions and reactions in totality in the human being. Ego also relates man to his environment and to all who are part of it. Ahathkãra or ego has three guilas or attributes. They are Sattva (purity), Rajas (activity) and Tamas (inertia).
Generally the cakras are inactive. It is when the Prãiia Vãyu (inner wind) flows through the nãdis (nerves) vigorously that the cakras spin. The three guias are activated by the force of the spinning cakras on the specific organ in the torso which is connected to that specific cakra. These guias react on the Ahathkara or Ego, thus outlining the human desire and action in different situations and at different times.
The Gai’.zapati’s trunk to the left represents the female aspect and the trunk to the right represents the male aspect, because the right nostril is the surya and the left is the moon. In the human body the Gaiiea represents the Mülãdhãra cakra. So in every human being the left half of the body is feminine and the right is masculine.
Understanding Rãmayaiia as Räma within begins with Rãma representing the soul, Sita the mind, Lakmaiia the body, Hanumãn the Prãia Vãyu and Rãvaia the procreative energy or the ego. Rãma is the soul within that gives meaning to existence. The quest for spirituality means moving from the outward to the inward. But the soul has to have the substratum of matter to be able to exist. Hence, our (‘manifest themselves mostly as couples. it means that Sitã is a necessary substratum for Rãma to exist and manifest himself. In t tantra, this reality is made even more explicit and evident. It is through our mastery of midi’s. the female, that we can move towards our Godhead or the male or the seed principle, which is the soul. The three guias have also been well symbolized by the other characters such as Kausalyã (Sattvaguiia) Sumiträ (Rajoguiia), and Kaikeyl (Tamoguna) and others in the paintings. One can control the three guitas by balancing the speed of the cakras in the body through the right intake of food, the air we breathe, bhakti, that is devotion to God, meditation and yoga. By following the above disciplines man, can live a balanced and progressive life.
Fortune has blessed me with a fascination for Rãmãyaiia and given me the inspiration through my paintings to unfold the essence of Man’s search for the ultimate meaning of existence culminating in finding Rãma within all of us.
Reading the Vàlmiki Ramayaiia will immensely bring out the significance and meaning of my paintings.
By one account there are more than seventy variations to Rãmayaia, not only in Indian languages but in foreign languages as well. The story of Rãma — call it if one likes The Travails of Rãma or even A Rãma Travelogue — is popular not just in India but also in South East Asia, notably in Indonesia, Cambodia and Thailand. Thailand even has its own Ayodhyá. And the largest Rãma Temple, as Ashok Banker notes in his own English variation of Ramayaiia (published by Penguins) is situated not in India, not even in Nepal but in Cambodia. It is called Angkor Vat.
There are English versions of Ramayaia, starting with William S. Buck’s ridiculous 19th century attempt and we have the free rendering of Vãlmiki Ramayaiia by L. Swaminathan published by The Bharatiya Vidya Bhavan. Many dismiss Rãmãyaiia as mere mythology which is doing poor justice to historical record. Vãlmiki identifies geographic areas with a certain amount of precision which, in itself, is remarkable. He surely could not have imagined that Sri Lanka was linked by a chain of shoals, 30 kms long with India in the Palk Strait. What is the mystery behind this chain? According to NASA Digital Image Collection, “the bridge’s urilque curvature and composition by age reveals that it is man-made”. The reports then adds:
The legends as well as archaeological studies reveal that the first signs of human inhabitants in Sri Lanka date back to the primitive age, about 17,50,000 years ago and the bridge’s age is also almost equivalent.
The information is a crucial aspect for an insight into the mysterious legend called Rimayaiza. In this epic, there is mentioning about a bridge which was built between Rameshwaram (India) and Sri Lankan coast under the supervision of a dynamic and invincible figure called Rãma who is supposed to be the incarnation of the Supreme. This information may not be of much importance to archaeologists who are interested in exploring the origins of man, but it is sure to open the spiritual gates of the people of the world to have come to know an ancient history linked to the Indian mythology.
It is against this background that one must try to evaluate C. L. Narayan’s brave effort to interpret Rãmäyaiia in a way that no one before him has dared to. Narayan goes beyond the physical interpretation of Rama’s travails. He gives the story an entirely new direction, spiritual in essence but rooted in logic and astonishingly unchallengeable in the interpretation he provides to the march of events. The title of his book itself is self- revealing. It is called Understanding Ramayaiya as Rãma Within. Narayan insists that to him Ramayai.ia “represents the symbolic interplay of cosmic forces” and it is this “interplay” that he presents with such astounding veracity. Is there more to Vãlmiki’s Ramayai.za than even Vãlmiki was aware of? Narayan concedes that Vãlmiki was inspired to write Ramayai.za with a message for addressing the most essential goal in human life which is preserving Dharma. But even while he was writing, could he have been moved by forces beyond his ken? It is a question that Narayan does not ask but one which arises spontaneously as one reads his brilliant analysis.
I commend this work to all devotees of Rãma and I congratulate Narayana for opening and challenging vistas hitherto uncharted. That the work is fully illustrated by Narayan’s own paintings which have a clear hearing to the text adds value to the work, for which praise is. May this invaluable treatise help every discerning reader to discover the Rãma within him? May it help enlighten him on his own power within and open up the doors of intuitive knowledge, long closed. May his be Aditya Hrdayath — the sunlit heart.
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