In the eighteenth incarnation, the Lord appeared on earth as King Rāma. In order to perform some pleasing work for the demigods, He exhibited superhuman powers by controlling the Indian Ocean and then killing the atheist King Rāvaṇa, who was on the other side of the sea.
-Radhanath Swami Maharaj
The Personality of Godhead Śrī Rāma assumed the form of a human being and He appeared on the earth for doing some pleasing work for the demigods in order to maintain the order of universe. Demons and atheists like Rāvaṇa and Hiraṇyakaśipu and many others had become famous in the past due to advancing material civilization by the help of material science and other activities combined with a spirit of challenging the established order of the Lord. For example, the attempt to fly to other planets by material means was a challenge to the established order. The conditions of each and every planet are different, and different classes of human beings are accommodated there for particular purposes mentioned in the codes of the Lord. But, puffed up by tiny success in material advancement, sometimes the godless materialists challenge the existence of God.
Rāvaṇa was one of them, and he wanted to deport ordinary men to the planet of Indra (heaven) by material means without consideration of the necessary qualifications. He wanted a staircase to be built up directly reaching the heavenly planet so that people might not be required to undergo the routine of pious work necessary to enter that planet. He also wanted to perform other acts against the established rule of the Lord. He even challenged the authority of Śhrī Rāma, the Personality of Godhead, and kidnapped His wife, Sītā.
Of course Lord Rāma came to chastise this atheist, answering the prayer and desire of the demigods. He therefore took up the challenge of Rāvaṇa, and the complete activity is the subject matter of the Rāmāyaṇa. Because Lord Rāmacandra was the Personality of Godhead, He exhibited superhuman activities which no human being, including the materially advanced Rāvaṇa, could perform and eventually killed Ravana.
Lord Rāmachandra prepared a royal road on the Indian Ocean with stones that floated on the water. The modern scientists have done research in the area of weightlessness, but it is not possible to bring in weightlessness anywhere and everywhere. But because weightlessness is the creation of the Lord by which He can make the gigantic planets fly and float in the air, He made the stones even within this earth to be weightless and prepared a stone bridge on the sea without any supporting pillar. That is the display of the power of God. The Supreme Personality of Godhead assumed the form of a human being.
Lord Ramachandra is All Powerful – Sarva Shaktiman..!!
Srila Prabhupada, the founder of ISKCON, has explained that right before your eyes God is doing something millions of times greater. Floating something on water is not as difficult as floating something in air.Water has more density than air. Krishna has taken planets & right before our eyes when we look in the sky, we see the stars. The planet that we are talking & walking on right now is floating in the air. There’s no pillar, no suspension bridges. How is it possible? And this earth is one of the smallest planets in the solar system that we know of. Planets like Venus, Jupiter these are the planets that we know that are many times larger than this earth. And the Sun planet is thousands of times larger than this earth. It’s since time immemorial for millions & millions of years they are all floating. They never crash into each other; they always keep the exact same distance from one another. And then people will say that’s not God, that’s gravity. But where does gravity come from? It is just such an incredible invention that keeps these gigantic, enormous bodies of matter moving, rotating perfect order through time immemorial.
That is the direction of Krishna. So, for Sri Ram to float these rocks on ocean was very easy. Ocean is salt water, in salt water everything floats easier anyway. That was very easy. In fact to float the sun in the air is very easy thing. When Krishna appeared on this earth He lifted the Govardhan hill on the little finger of His left hand for seven days. And He was simply smiling. It was easy. That mountain today is 22 miles around if you want to walk around it. But for Krishna, nothing is difficult.
So, today, on the auspicious occasion of Dussehra, we learn from the Srimad Bhagvatam the purpose of Ram’s incarnation. The external reason why He appeared was to kill the great atheist demon Ravana because he was causing so much trouble, so much pain to the devotees.
Ravana – A Symbol of Sense Gratification
The story of Killing of Ravana is amazing. Ravana represents what is manifesting within everyone’s heart and throughout society today. The desire to enjoy the property of God without the sanction or favor of God. The desire & the ambition to manipulate the resources of God’s nature for one’s own sense gratification. Krishna has created and established order within each universe. And that established order is that as we sow so shall we reap. For every action there is equal corresponding reaction. The laws of karma. If you do evil, you must suffer evil consequences and if you do pious work, you will accept enjoyment of great pious reaction. And if you surrender to God, you can transcend this material existence altogether and return to Krishna. But pious work entails sacrifice. Giving up one’s own immediate demands of the mind and senses and be good to others.For such persons there are heavenly planets. Where the duration of life is far longer, the capacity to enjoy is far more. Ravana did not want to go to the kingdom of God. He wanted to make this universe his kingdom. And it is described in religious scriptures how Ravana wanted to enter into the world of the heavens, the higher planets. But he didn’t care anything for doing pious activities to deserve. He had great prowess than any human being but he wanted to build a staircase to Indra’s abode, bring his armies up there & conquer them.
Unconquerable prowess of Demon Ravana:
Ravana is simply an insignificant manifestation of the potency of lust and greed. But lust and greed in its full manifestation is right in our heart. What hope do we have to control our senses and become saintly devotees? Which means to conquer the Ravana within? What hope do you have? What is the answer to that? We have no hope. Ravana was so powerful, even Indra who has a thunderbolt that could crack & split mountains into two, he was scared to death of Ravana.
Take Shelter of Lord following the demigods
Vayu, Varuna these great demigods, millions of times greater and more powerful than us, were scared of Ravana. They could not defeat him. They had to go to the ocean of milk and pray to the Supreme Lord “Please come, you are the only one who can do it. He is causing too much trouble.” So similarly we have to follow in their footsteps. We have to throw up our hands and say we cannot do this. My dear Lord Ram, You are the only one who can save us. You come into my heart & kill this demon. Just like the demigods & the devotees they asked the Lord to come to this planet and kill the demon Ravana. Shri Ram is so kind that He is willing to incarnate in everyone’s heart and slay this demon. If we simply with a humble and sincere heart ask Him to do so, He is incarnating within the sound of His Name Hare Krishna Hare Krishna krishna krishna Hare Hare, Hare ram Hare ram ram ram Hare Hare.
(The author, Radhanath Swami Maharaj is the spiritual leader of ISKCON)