Offering Obeisances with Body - Part 3

Offering Obeisances with Body - Part 3

18th Oct 2014
Narahari Krishna das

Hare Krishna Prabhujis and Matajis,
Please accept my dandavat pranams. All glories to Srila Prabhupada and Gurudeva.

This is in continuation of the previous offering titled "Offering Obeisances with Body".  In our last offering, we discussed on how we can seek forgiveness by offering obeisances. Today we will continue to hear on this point.

1. Seeking Forgiveness by Offering Obeisances: In the Ramayana also we see an incident where a demon kakasura was saved by falling at the Lord’s feet even though He committed a grievous offense against mother Sita. Once Lord Rama and Mother Sita were relaxing at the bank of a river during their forest life. At that time, a crow (It was actually Jayanta, the son of Indra who came in the form of a crow) flew to that place and started attacking mother Sita. She became angry and took a piece of stone and threw at the crow ; the crow flew away a little but again and again came near Sita to attack. Lord Rama started laughing at this incident. This made mother Sita upset and she cried and became tired. Eventually Lord Rama consoled her and made her rest on His lap. After sleeping for a while, it was Lord Rama’s turn to rest and He slept on her lap. At that time, the crow which was hiding nearby came to mother Sita started attacking her again by pricking in between her breasts. This caused blood to flow and the drops of blood fell on the face of Lord Rama who was sleeping in her lap. Lord Rama woke up and saw mother Sita’s injury caused by the crow. He became furious and asked, "Sita, who caused this harm to you?" and He saw the crow standing nearby. The Lord took small piece of grass and chanted the mantras for invoking brahmastra. The blade of grass then became brahmastra and started chasing the crow. The crow became very much scared of its life and started roaming all the worlds seeking for shelter. But it did not get shelter anywhere and finally sought refuge under Lord Rama Himself, by falling at His feet. This is stated in the Ramayana as follows.

samparikramya trin lokaan sah parityaktah pitraacha
suraishcha sa maharshibhih  sharanamgatah tameva
sah sharanyah krpayaa paryapaalayat tam
nipatitam bhumau  sharanagatam vadhaarhamapi

Roaming the three worlds in search of a savior, that crow was abandoned by Indra; its own father, all the devatas and the sages. Finally, it sought refuge in the same Rama. That Lord Rama, who affords protection to those who surrendered to Him, was compassionate and protected that crow, which fell on the ground (offering obeisances) and sought for protection, even though it was apt to be killed.

When it fell, its feet was pointing towards Lord Rama. Mother Sita became compassionate on the crow and she placed crow in such a way that its head was pointing the Lord's feet. Lord Rama then said to the crow, "As you have surrendered at my feet, definitely I will not kill you. But this brahmastra cannot be wasted. So please tell me what to do now". Then the crow said, "Please let Your arrow shoot my right eye". Then that brahmastra shot the right eye of the crow without harming its life. The crow then offered his obeisances again to the Lord ships Sri Sita Rama and  flew away."

We can see that in the above story that the offense of the crow to mother Sita and Lord Rama was so grave that no one in the three worlds wanted to offer protection, when the crow approached them. All the sages, devatas and even Lord Indra who is the father of the crow abandoned it. They thought that the best punishment for the crow is death for its offense towards mother Sita. Even then, the Lord saved the crow. Later we see that Ravana also kidnapped mother Sita but he did not physically harm her. His offense towards Sita was lesser than the offense committed by the crow. But he was killed by the Lord. This is because the difference is that the crow surrendered and asked for forgiveness by offering obeisances with a repentant heart whereas Ravana did not offer his obeisances to the Lord or asked for forgiveness. And we also see that the Lord gave ample opportunities to both the crow and Ravana for surrender. The brahmastra could have killed the crow immediately. But it chased the crow to different places allowing it to seek shelter everywhere without killing so that the crow may realize its mistake and come back to Lord Rama for surrender. Same is the thing with Ravana. He did not kill Ravana immediately. He gave ample opportunities to correct himself and surrender and when it did not happen, the Lord killed him. 

This incident proves the offering obeisances to the Lord with a repentant heart asking for forgiveness invokes His great compassion. But the purpose of offering obeisance does not end with asking for forgiveness only but is an expression of our love for the Lord which we will see in the next offering Krishna willing.

Yours in the service of Srila Prabhupada and Gurudeva,
Narahari Krishna das,