Rāmagitā

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By Swami Harshananda

Sometimes transliterated as: Ramagita, RAmagitA, Raamagitaa


Rāmagitā literally means ‘the song of Rāma.

Teachings of Rāma

Unlike the Rāmāyaṇa of Vālmīki, the Adhyātma Rāmāyaṇa pictures Rāma not only as an incarnation of Mahāviṣṇu but also as a perfect spiritual preceptor. The teachings given by him to his younger brother Lakṣmaṇa are found in three places:

  1. Aranyakānda[1]
  2. Kiṣkindhākānda[2]
  3. Uttarakānda[3]

Rāmagitā, A Discourse

However, it is the third discourse that is normally considered as the Rāmagitā. It is full of the usual teachings on the Advaita Vedānta as propounded by Śaṅkara[4] and his followers.

Teachings of Rāmagitā

The following are some of the topics dealt with:

  • Lakṣmaṇa’s surrender to Rāma and his request for spiritual wisdom by which he can cross over transmigratory existence
  • Need to purify one’s mind by the performance of one’s duties as per the varṇa and the āśrama
  • Ajñāna being the root cause of bondage, it has to be eliminated only by jñāna or ātmajñāna
  • Defects accruing to Vedic rituals
  • Need to renounce karma or actions altogether
  • Need to get jñāna by approaching a competent guru and get the teaching of a mahāvākya like tat tvam asi by applying the principle of bhāga-lakṣaṇā or jahadajahal-lakṣaṇā
  • Description of three kinds of śarīras
  • Ātman is free from all kinds of changes
  • Adhyāsa or superimposition
  • Different schools of Advaita Vedānta
  • Methods of nididhyāsana or meditation on the ātman leading to its realization
  • How to associate the three syllables of the Praṇava or Om with the meditation
  • Inevitability of prārabdha karma
  • Final dissolution into the Ātman or Brahman
  • Rāma is Brahman

Other Rāmagitā

There is another Rāmagitā consisting of about a thousand verses spread over eighteen chapters in a less-known work called Gurujñāna-vāsisthatattva-sārāyana. It deals with the subject in a slightly different way. It also deals with:

  • Sixteen vidyās or modes of upāsanā like the ones in the Upaniṣads
  • Cakras or yogic centers in the body
  • Siddhis or miraculous powers of the yogins
  • Practical aspects of sādhanas


References

  1. Aranyakānda 4.19-55
  2. Kiṣkindhākānda 4.11-40
  3. Uttarakānda 5.3-62
  4. He lived in A. D. 788-820.
  • The Concise Encyclopedia of Hinduism, Swami Harshananda, Ram Krishna Math, Bangalore