The Treacherous Ocean

Swami Kriyamurti Saraswati, UK

The ocean that stretches between the southern tip of India and Sri Lanka, the Ramayana tells us, is full of crocodiles, monsters and carnivorous animals ready to devour any human being who ventures across. But when Rama organized the construction of a bridge from the mainland to the island, the stones and rocks his men brought floated effortlessly on the surface of the water. He and his followers marched joyfully across, jeering at the sea monsters and even wounding some of them with their arrows.

In the same way life is beset with fears for one who tries to struggle alone, without the help of a guide in the form of a God, a guru or a scripture. But those who have the support of a guru can be carried through life without fear of harm, in the soothing company of others with the same goal.

Hanuman, Rama's greatest disciple, accomplished the journey from India to Sri Lanka in one flying jump. His love for Rama gave him unlimited powers. When one of the gods raised a mountain in the middle of the ocean for him to rest upon, he merely touched it in a gesture of thanks and hastened on, for he was not tired. The alluring goddess who dwelt in the water and captured the reflections of birds passing above was unable to grasp Hanuman. She increased her size to try and swallow him, but Hanuman made himself twice her size. Then, suddenly shrinking himself to the size of a fly, he entered her great throat and jumped out again before she could close her jaws! He then asked for her blessing as he has fulfilled her wish, and sped on his way. The goddess admired his skill and acknowledged his superior power.

When the mind becomes concentrated, it develops such power that no illusion can tempt or trap it. The bhakta overcomes all hurdles, mental and physical, with the greatest of ease, quicker than the plodding rationalist or the cautious intellectual. The power of love sends him soaring towards his ideal.