Today marks the auspicious Appearance Day of Lord Ramachandra, Rama Navami. It is a blessing to us when the Lord comes into the material world. There are so many pastimes that appeared during the presence of Lord Ramachandra.
Once Lord Ramachandra came to Navadwip with Mother Sita, He unveiled to Sita Devi, the news of His appearance as Lord Caitanya in Kali Yuga and that in this age (Treta Yuga) He would banish Sita Devi and would worship her, while in Kali Yuga, He will banish Himself and she will be worshipping His beautiful form, Dhameswar Mahaprabhu. This affirms that Lord Krsna, Lord Rama, and Lord Caitanya are non-different.
Sri Ramacandra and Sri Krsna are non-different, the only difference is the mood in which we can approach Them. Sri Ramacandra is accessible only in the mood of worship and service, He is The Lord, The King. While with Sri Krsna we can choose ourselves, to be in a mood of a servant, a friend, a parent or a lover.
The name of Lord Rama is also very powerful. Valmiki was a mischievous hunter and a robber, but by accepting the instruction of his spiritual master, Narada Muni, with practice, he became a devotee. How? Initially, when he was asked to chant the names of Rama, Valmiki replied to Narada Muni that he was a sinner and murderer, one who was killing everyone and knew only death, ‘mara’ (death), so he could not chant the name of Lord Rama. However, Narada Muni told him to chant only ‘mara’ then, all the time. And this became non-different from chanting ‘Rama’. Why? If anyone tries to chant ‘mara mara mara mara mara’, with enough speed, they will find themselves chanting ‘Rama’, and it will work.
Similarly, somehow or other we can find creative ways in which to engage everyone in Sri Krsna’s service, by inspiring people to chant His names. Bhagavan Siva says in Bṛhad-viṣṇu-sahasranāma-stotra in the Uttara-khaṇḍa of the Padma Purāṇa (72.335):
‘[Lord Śiva addressed his wife, Durgā:] “O Varānanā, I chant the holy name of Rāma, Rāma, Rāma and thus enjoy this beautiful sound. This holy name of Rāmacandra is equal to one thousand holy names of Lord Viṣṇu. The pious results derived from chanting the thousand holy names of Viṣṇu three times can be attained by only one utterance of the holy name of Kṛṣṇa.”’
When Sri Ramacandra was exiled, and Bharat had to sit on the throne, Bharat said that he would perform all the services of the King while keeping Lord Rama’s shoes on the throne, and will stay at the position of His servant. Responsibilities and services can be different, but we should always keep in mind that we are the servants. We should not be attached to the service, but to the spirit of service. When Hanuman was traveling to Lanka, he was stopped by a mountain and was asked to take some rest. To which he replied that he is a servant of Lord Rama, so he cannot take any rest. We should also get this same mood and continue our services and spread the message of Krsna consciousness congregationally with great inspiration to serve.
While Hanuman and his army were constructing the bridge over the ocean to reach Lanka, a small incident took place which is very instructive in terms of bhakti. At the time when Lord Rama’s soldiers were chanting His Holy Name and were throwing great stones into the ocean to construct a bridge for Lord Rama to go to Lanka, at the shore, a small squirrel was putting little grains of sand in the ocean, to contribute to the effort, and Hanuman, the mighty servant of Rama, chastised the squirrel, ‘What are you accomplishing with your little grains of sand? Can’t you see that I am throwing these huge boulders? Get out of my way.’ And the squirrel replied, ‘But I want to serve Lord Rama too.’ Lord Rama overheard this exchange and rebuked Hanuman, ‘This squirrel wants to serve Me, just like you. And it is serving to its capacity, just as you are. So, in My eyes, you are both the same. And besides, I am the one who is making all the boulders float. Ultimately, I am the one who is doing everything.’ Hence, the qualification to engage in devotional service is simply one’s sincere desire. It does not matter what one’s material qualifications are. The Lord does not require anyone’s service. He just wants to see our mood of devotion. If one has the sincere desire to serve, that is enough. Whether one is an insignificant ant or a spider, or squirrel, or a great monkey-like Hanuman, a powerful human being, what the Lord sees is the living entity’s sincere desire to serve. That is what He considers. It is said that the Lord sees not what we give but what we hold back while giving.
Srila Prabhupada remarks that everyone wants Rama-Rajya, the ideal kingdom that existed during the reign of Lord Ramachandra. As a king, He cared for the citizens exactly like a father, and the citizens, accepting Him as their father, loved and followed Him. He was a perfect King and was respected by His generals. Although He became king during Treta-yuga, because of His good government the age seemed like Satya-yuga, and everyone was fully religious and happy. Srila Prabhupada states that the same conditions can be evoked now by following the instructions given in ‘Bhagavad Gita’ and chanting the Lord’s holy names, which have been made available to us by Lord Caitanya.
‘If people take to this sankirtana movement of chanting Hare Krsna, Hare Rama, they will certainly be freed from the contamination of Kali-yuga, and the people of this age will be happy, as people were in Satya-yuga, the golden age. Anyone, anywhere, can easily take to this Hare Krsna movement; one need only chant the Hare Krsna maha-mantra, observe the rules and regulations, and stay free from the contamination of sinful life. Even if one is sinful and cannot give up sinful life immediately, if he chants the Hare Krsna maha-mantra with devotion and faith he will certainly be freed from all sinful activities, and his life will be successful. Param vijayate sri-krsna-sankirtanam. This is the blessing of Lord Ramacandra, who has appeared in this age of Kali as Lord Gaurasundara.‘(SB 9.10.51)