The All Munificent Purushottama - Part 9

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

This is in continuation of the previous offering titled, "The All Munificient Purushottama" wherein we were meditating on the various incarnations of the Lord and how specifically the Lord manifested His quality of being a Purushottama.

Lord Shri Rama as Purushottama: During His incarnation as Lord Rama, He lowered Himself for the benefit of many devotees.  One such devotee is Sugriva who is famous for sakhya bhakti (devotion in friendship) in Rama leela. When Sugriva first saw Rama and Lakshmana in Kishkinda forest, he first thought that they are appointed men of Vali to kill him and hence was scared. Hanuman then met Rama and Lakshmana and clarified Sugriva’s doubts. Hanuman then established friendship between Sugriva and Rama in front of fire. Sugriva then explained all his problems to Rama and sought His help to eliminate Vali and get back the kingdom and his wife. Rama agreed to help him. But Sugriva did not believe in Rama’s valour as he thought Vali to be more powerful. He explained Vali’s valour to Rama and asked “How it is possible for You to eliminate Vali?” . Then Lakshmana asked  Vali “What we need to perform so that you will believe Rama can kill Vali?.

Then Sugriva showed a series of seven huge trees and said “These are very sturdy trees and Vali used to shake them and make them leafless. If Rama pierce even one of these trees with His arrow, then I will believe Rama. Also Vali killed a great demon by name Dhundhubi who was in the form of a buffalo. Vali killed him and threw his body. The skeleton of that demon is lying in the forest and it is of huge size. If Rama can kick the skeleton and make it fall at a distance of two hundred bow lengths, then I will believe His might”. Rama then immediately sportively flipped the skeleton with His big toe and flicked it without even lifting His foot. The skeleton flew and went to a distance of 80 miles. Still Sugriva did not believe the might of Lord Rama. He said to Rama “When Vali threw the body of the demon, Vali was tired after fighting and the body of demon was heavy with flesh and blood. But now You are energetic and the body has only skeleton and hence not heavy. That’s why You could easily flip it and kick it for a great distance. So if Rama can pierce one of the seven trees then I will gain confidence.” Rama replied “I will do anything which will give confidence to you” and shot one arrow towards the seven trees. The arrow pierced all the seven trees and travelled through all subterranean planes of earth and returned into His quiver. Only after seeing this, Sugreeva accepted the valour of Lord Rama.

This pastime is very interesting because the scriptures say that the lotus feet of Purushottama Rama are the boat by which one can cross the ocean of birth and death. (Padma Purana – 5.17.65,66)

kasya devasya kpayā garbhanirvāraa bhavet 
śrīrāmacadro'sau sasārajvaranāśaka 
sa eva bhagavānpuruottamasajñaka

 By the favour of which deity would one can avoid birth in a womb of mother? That Sri Ramacandra who destroys the mundane existence, should be served. He, the lord alone, called Purusottama, should be worshipped.

So everyone should worship and serve the feet of Sri Rama. But instead of doing that, we see that Sugriva asking the Lord to kick the bones of a dead buffalo with His feet. Actually touching the Lord’s feet with bones is considered a big offense in deity worship. Here Lord Rama is present in person before Sugreeva and instead of worshipping, He makes the Lord’s feet touch bones of a buffalo. And he was not satisfied even after this test and doubted the valour of Rama. But Rama did not take offense at all. Without Sugriva, Rama could have got back Sita. But without Rama’s help, Sugriva could not have killed Vali and got his kingdom back. Still, He gladly did all that was asked by Sugriva so that he will gain confidence. In this way Rama lowered His position for His friend Sugriva’s benefit, He is rightly called as Purushottama.

Ramayana (6.105.28,29) states that not only Surgiva, but anyone who is devoted to Rama will not be baffled in his attempts to attain prema bhakti. This is because Lord Rama will elevate His devotee regardless of the devotee’s qualification because He is Purushottama.

amoghās te bhaviyanti bhaktimantaś ca ye narā
ye tvā deva dhruva bhaktā purāa puruottamam
ye narā
kīrtayiyanti nāsti teā parābhavaḥ

"Those persons who are full of devotion to You will never be unsuccessful on this earth in their spiritual endeavours. Those who are devoted to you, the primeval and the eternal lord, and the most ancient Purushottama, will forever attain their desired objects here as well as hereafter."

Krishna willing we shall see about the other incarnations in the ensuing offerings.

Thank you very much.
Yours in service of Srila Prabhupada and Srila Gurudeva,
Narahari Krishna das