Ram lila: Amidst Distress a Source of Real Joy
Spring time in the country
reminding me of Shri Rama
intense life giving thunder showers
smelling the Earth’s awakening
concentrated, exciting, vibrant Green
the joy of new life, future possibilities
when buds become leaves and flowers
I rejoice with the creation.
Heralding Ram’s appearance celebration
listening to the Ramayana
feeling first the joy of
Dasaratha’s kingdom of Ayodhya
celebrating the Vedic culture
the birth of Rama and brothers
their victories and empowerment
before the sadness begins.
I prefer happy stories
since I grew up in sadness
learning to cover it by denial
retreating to peace, seeking harmony
avoiding conflict, anger, distress
hypersensitive to deflect them
on guard to push emotions away
sources of joy also rejected.
Even though it is for lila
the Deva’s divine purpose
orchestrating events and separation
it still pains me deeply
hearing of the banishing of Ram
by Kaikeyi’s inflamed fear and selfishness
the grief of Dasaratha, Queens, Citizens
becomes almost too much to handle.
We must bear the lila’s distress
to learn we all must face reverses--
an opportunity to overcome, and face them,
giving us spiritual strength, while glory arises
so there must be antagonists in lila and life
if we are to improve, arise from adversity
helping us study philosophy to depend on God
seeing distress as necessary to find joy.
Ram lila teaches us to expect distress
recommending we see through the scriptures
while cultivating happy spiritual life
which is our spiritual rock and shelter:
life giving holy name, devotee company
divine lila to fill our hearts and minds
knowing soul philosophy, karma, rebirth
our eternal relationship with God.
Nothing in this world can endure
calamities, reverses, miseries
point to the spiritual dimension
being absorbed in thought of God
his many incarnations to attract us
giving hope, steadiness, a smile
even in the greatest loss or reverse
we go forward in confidence.
First we hear about the goal
then spiritual practice to obtain
studying the theory of “how to”
gradually by experience we learn
to go deeper by taking full shelter
of the Lord’s grace and maintenance
through the trail of ordeal
we slowly obtain our highest ideal.