Subscribe for Newsletters and Discounts
Be the first to receive our thoughtfully written
religious articles and product discounts.
By registering, you may receive account related information, our email newsletters and product updates, no more than twice a month. Please read our Privacy Policy for details.
Share our website with your friends.
Email this page to a friend
By subscribing, you will receive our email newsletters and product updates, no more than twice a month. All emails will be sent by Exotic India using the email address

Please read our Privacy Policy for details.
Your Cart (0)

Shri Rama: What Constitutes His True Worship

Article of the Month - November 2012
Viewed 14833 times since 15th Nov, 2012

We know the scriptures recommend the worship of Shri Rama as a sure means of cleansing our inner selves. This worship inevitably consists of offering flowers etc. to our beloved Rama. However, the thinking devotee cannot but pause to wonder over the following dilemma: "What great merit can hope to be accrued by offering to God what has been created by God Himself, and which truly belongs to Him only?" Indeed, can a flower said to be the creation of human hands? Man can fashion a paper flower, but can he infuse it with fragrance? The ground over which a flower grows, the water which sustains it, all have been created by God. The flower has been truly created by Him only. The fragrance in the flower too has been established by Him. Indeed, everything in this world belongs to Shri Rama.

However, there is definitely merit in offering to Rama what is already His own. It generates pleasure on the part of Rama; but this pleasure is partial only and not complete. This is the initial most stage of Bhakti, when we, whether we want to do it or not, perform Puja towards Shri Rama, taking the scriptural word to be command. Slowly and steadily our interest is awakened as to who Shri Rama is? What is the narrative surrounding Him? It is at this stage, when we delve into what the ancient scriptures like Valmiki Ramayana say about Him, that we take a step towards performing true Bhakti towards Shri Rama, leading to His full satisfaction and pleasure. What exactly do we need to do be this especial winner of His grace? We need to follow His life.

Each and every action Shri Rama performed during His life was bound by Dharma. Actually, when we bow to Shri Rama we are but saying that: "I am under You. I surrender to You both my head and hands." The head represents our brains and hands our capacity to action. Thus both are offered to Him, surrendered at the altar of Dharma.

The Difference between Shri Rama and Lord Krishna

Sri Rama Lila (The Story of the Lord's Incarnation as Sri Rama)


The message of Rama’s life is very clear: We have to emulate each and every of His actions. This is in fact the crucial difference between Shri Rama and Lord Krishna. While Krishna’s Lila is not to be emulated but only meditated upon, Shri Rama’s each and every action is an inspiration for us to follow in His footsteps.


Living as Shri Rama had done is the most effective means of cleansing our inner selves, making us the recipients of the Lord’s grace. This grace is the only means of salvation.

Some particularly inspiring facets of Shri Rama’s life are:

Shri Rama’s Bhakti towards His Parents

Valmiki-Ramayana (With Sanskrit Text and English Translation) [Two Volumes]

Shri Rama has demonstrated that we should unquestionably do what our parents ask us to do. This in fact is the ideal of Ramayana: Keeping faith in God and Ramayana, we should always fulfill our parent’s will, even though it may seem unpalatable. In fact, Rama’s father Dashratha, never specifically asked Him to go the forest. His tongue could never utter those terrible and tragic words. It was only Shri Rama’s step mother who told Him that His father was bound by promise to send Him to the forests. Rama’s answer was: "If this is my father’s wish then so will it be; because obeying his command is my sacred duty (Dharma). Leave alone the forest, I can jump into the fire or sea, or even partake poison if my father so wishes." (Valmiki Ramayana, Ayodhya Kanda 18.28-29)

Shri Rama always considered Himself to be under the will of His parents. The Almighty Rama says that "I do not have the power to transgress my father’s orders." A son is undoubtedly the keeper of his father’s promises and honor.

Shri Rama’s Affection for His Brothers

The Ramayana says the following about Lakshmana, Shri Rama’s younger brother: ‘Lakshmana was like Rama’s Prana, albeit outside His body. Without Lakshmana Rama could not sleep. Whenever delicious food was brought before Him, Shri Rama would not eat it without sharing it with Lakshmana first.’

When Rama came to know that He was to be declared crown prince, this is what He said to His dear brother: "Lakshmana! Come rule this world with me. You are but my soul. Come and enjoy all the pleasures and fruits of this kingdom. I desire this kingdom, nay my life itself, only for your own sake." (Ayodhya Kanda 4.43-44)


Ramalala- Rama as a Child (Picture Book)


During His childhood, while playing with His brothers, Rama never attempted to defeat them. He sought not victory, but deliberately chose defeat to give pleasure to His brothers. Indeed, this is what the word ‘Rama’ means in Sanskrit: ‘One who gives pleasure to others.’


Of course this love was equally reciprocated by the brothers too. When we keep affection for our younger brother in our heart, he too will definitely do the same. A particular malady of this Kaliyuga is people loving and helping others, but neglecting or even cheating their own brothers. At times we see someone ready to share their wealth with others, but not his own brother. This is not the ideal of the Ramayana. Those who are near to us, by the accident of birth or otherwise, they have the first calling on our resources (and time).

Shri Rama’s Restraint

If we come to know that we are going to be declared heir to a big kingdom tomorrow, what would our immediate reaction be? We would go out and party in style. What did Shri Rama do when His crowning was announced? That night He fasted, slept on the floor over a bed of grass, and maintained complete celibacy (Ayodhya Kanda 4.23).

Another great feature in Shri Rama’s character is His commitment to one woman. The scriptures sing exceptional glory of a person who commits himself to only one woman and vice versa. Restricting oneself to the woman one has married in the presence of the gods, Brahmins and Agni (sacred fire), is considered as the greatest of virtues. Hereby, one concentrates the locus of his desire in a single individual, and fulfills one’s desires within the ambit of Dharma.

Actually desire or Kama has the tendency to spread out and pervade. The mere sight of beauty creates Kama. Restraining Kama by restricting it to a single individual eventually leads to its destruction. This is the higher purpose of marriage. Marriage is not license for an indiscriminate enjoyment of carnal pleasures; rather, its purpose ultimately is to destroy these very desires. Not the flowering of Kama, but its reduction to ashes is the purpose of marriage. We however need the ideal of Rama to defeat the demon of Kama.

A popular story illustrates this point: Since Sita Ji never let Ravana come near her, he was once advised to take the form of Rama and approach her. However Ravana replied that he had already tried it out and realized it was of no use, because no sooner had he done so, he was unable to go near her. As soon as he became Rama, he found himself devoid of Kama.

Shri Rama as the Follower of Scriptures

Shri Rama was very particular that all His actions conformed to the scriptures, thus setting an inspirational example for us. In this regard it must be noted that a fundamental aspect of the Vedas is a firm belief that there exist worlds beyond this present one, laying particular emphasis on Swarga (heaven) and Naraka (hell). In fact, one whole chapter of the Valmiki Ramayana is dedicated to Shri Rama establishing that heaven and hell do exist, and following one’s Dharma as laid down in the scriptures is the way of achieving the former (Ayodhya Kanda 109).


The Sraddha - The Hindu Book of the Dead


Also, no sooner had he heard that His father had passed away, even though He was in the forests, Shri Rama set out to perform His father’s Shraddha, the after-death ceremony for one’s ancestors, which is absolutely necessary for believers in the Vedas (Ayodhya Kanda 103).


Sandhya Vandanam, Gayatri Vidya and Enlightenment (With Sanskrit Text, Word-to-word Meaning and Detailed Explanation)


What’s more, Shri Rama unfailingly used to get up before dawn, and perform the daily obligatory meditation on the Sun God know as Sundhya, which consists of offering water to the Sun God and chanting of the Gayatri Mantra. Some fortunate people are still blessed enough in this country to be performing this ritual everyday. (Valmiki Ramayana, Bala Kanda 23.3)



Towards the end of the Ramayana, when Shri Rama had killed Ravana, the latter’s younger brother Vibhishana (who was on Shri Rama’s side), hesitated to cremate Ravana’s body because of his evil deeds. What Shri Rama said at that moment is believed by some to be the most instructive and potent statement in the whole of the Ramayana: "Vibhishana! Hostilities cease with death. Our purpose has been accomplished. Now Ravana is as much a brother to me as he was to you. Go and make preparations for a befitting funeral."

Where else but in Shri Rama can we find such magnanimity? Grand yet practical. The hostilities with Ravana had been initiated only to achieve a purpose. Thus it constituted Dharma. However, once that purpose was accomplished, there remained in Rama’s heart, not even a trace of enmity or hatred towards Ravana. Indeed, we are thankful to the divine land of India for having given us the narrative of this best amongst men (Purushottama), whose actions not only inspire us towards fulfilling our own Dharma, but also give us much needed rootedness, especially during times of adversity, which are but inevitable in the cycle of life.


References & Further Reading:

Post a Comment
Post Review
  • I learned about worship when Rama was instructed by the sages, and Shiva walks by, and they ask him how would he like to be worshipped: Bring me all your experiences good or bad.
    I learned this from a book colled Yoga Vashsita.
    by Hermann Otto on 14th Nov 2012
  • Beautifully written. So many things made very clear to me.
    Thank you so much.
    by Vidya Samaroo on 14th Nov 2012
Parcel received is brilliantly packed by your dispatch team. Excellent collection, beautiful Micro-art work. The items are exactly same as displayed. Hats-off to the collection team. The shiva linga Ring & Garuda pendant were superb. Its pleasure shopping every time. God bless your team with good energy to continue this Real collection work.
Badarinath, India
Jamavar arrived so quickly and is beautiful, thank you!
Your service is exceptional. I am very pleased with your professionalism.
Shambhu, USA
Statue rec'd & it is beautiful, thank you!
Fran, New Jersey
Very good collection. Once ordered previously I had received exactly what has been displayed on the website. Very honest and genuine. But there was little delay in delivery. Nice experience shopping in this website.
Badarinath, India
I’ve received my blue scarf and I am delighted. I am impressed by your professionalism. Thank you so much! I will place another order soon.
Celine, France
Received the consignment in time. Excellent service. I place on record your prompt service and excellent way the product was packed and sent. Kindly accept my appreciation and thanks for all those involved in this work. My prayers t the Almighty to continue the excellent service for the many more years to come. Long live EXOTIC INDIA and its employees
A very thorough and beautiful website and webstore. I have tried for several years to get this Bhagavad Gita Home Study Course from Arshavidya and have been unable. Was so pleased to find it in your store!
George Marshall
A big fan of Exotic India. Have been for years and years. I am always certain to find exactly what I am looking for in your merchandise.
John Dash, western New York, USA
I just got my order and it’s exactly as I hoped it would be!
Nancy, USA.
Subscribe to our newsletter and discounts
Share with friends
Related Links
"Here is a fragment from one of the most poignant episodes of Indian history…. This piece of history is from the Mahabharata…. She was dying with shame but inside, like a true kshatrani (woman of the warrior race), she was burning with anger…. I have heard that women who follow dharma were never brought before a public court….Greed is the destroyer of dharma. I do not desire a third boon…. Draupadi was as forgiving as mother earth herself…. Just then Arjuna saw his dear friend Bhagawan Krishna approaching him…. “Leave him, leave him. He is a brahmin and worthy of our worship. Their mother should not cry, like I have at the death of my children."
Analyzing the Eternal Dimensions of Dharma Through Itihasa (History)
"The Bhagavad Gita, while describing the qualities of a wise person says…. This verse is vividly illustrated in the story of king Rantideva occurring in the Srimad Bhagavatam…. He did not believe in hoarding, was above all attachments and was highly patient…. They were all trembling due to starvation and thirst….bowed to the dogs and their owner…. What I want is only this: That I be able to go and live in the hearts of all beings and undergo sufferings on their behalf, so that they may become free from all miseries."
An Example of Living Vedanta: The Story of King Rantideva
"She has always believed that this would redeem her of her distress….A coconut, otherwise an ordinary dried fruit or the source of edible, or at the most, beauty oil, has always been revered as an auspicious object effecting good and well-being and the food that gods most loved….The tree in the Buddhist tradition was later identified as Bodhi-tree, seated under which Buddha had attained Enlightenment….Body gestures and symptoms, signs, indications among others must have been the early man’s tools of communicating oneself and knowing and understanding the world around….Kirttimukha was initially conceived as a mystical mask….Lion does not figure in the wide range of animal toys or figurines excavated from Indus sites."
Auspicious Symbols in Indian tradition
"Once as he was engaged in puja, a saint came to visit him….Like a true householder attached to his family, Gajendra sported in the water with his wives, children and friends…. Understanding that his end was imminent, they all slowly withdrew, till Gajendra was left alone…. If we reflect on it calmly, we will realise that there is no house in the world where the story of Gajendra does not play out…. The one who is careful towards the end is able to reform his death…. Gajendra’s hymn of praise is one of the greatest philosophical poems in the annals of world literature."
Moksha of Gajendra: Liberation by The Formless God
"Whenever he gets the time, he should go and live amongst people who have given up worldly life…. A wise person should serve his body and family only to the extent that is functionally necessary…. The person who lays claim on the surplus wealth is nothing but a thief…. He should share all objects of enjoyment with everyone, right down to dogs, sinners…. Such is the attachment to one’s wife….How despicable is this body, which if buried is going to become the food of worms, or excreta if eaten by animals….Since a son is to thus revere his elders even after their death, what to say that he is expected to serve them when they are alive…. The person wishing to follow the path of dharma should steer clear of the five forms of Adharma."
Narada Teaches Yuddhishtra a Householder’s Dharma
"This middle path lies in between extreme asceticism on one side, and extreme indulgence on the other…. When standing under a Ashok tree, tired and exhausted, she raised her right hand for seeking support of a branch of the tree…. The unique balance that defined his entire life was pre-determined in this duality….One day, in the palace garden he frightened his attendants…. He ate less and less till his diet reduced to a sesame seed, and himself, to a mere skeleton…. Seven days after the attainment of enlightenment gods sent food for breaking his fast…. However, he postponed his ‘nirvana’ for three months till he visited the places he had reminiscences of."
The Light That Enlightened Millions
(The life of Buddha in the popular mind)
"But to pull this statement out of context and give it as an advice for anyone is far from correct…. But how is one to recognise the guru? Obviously, he will be able to understand the difficulties of the disciples and clarify to them the meaning of the scriptures on the basis of logic and experience…. They will have to search in their own neighbourhood only….The guru chosen by him should be at least better than himself!…. Of course, if the ideal guru whose features have been enumerated in the beginning is available, then the sadhaka should immediately go and surrender to him…. It is just like going to another teacher for higher education, after completing the education in a school."
The Qualities of a Guru and How to Find One
" Contrarily metaphysicians and theologians perceived his form as it manifested in the Upanishads and Puranas….The ‘Advaita’ philosophy also contends that the entire Creation is just the extension of One…. Dance illustrates one of the ever-first cosmic acts with which Shiva seems to have tamed violent motion and separated from it rhythm, moves that communicated emotions and states of mind – human mind and the cosmic, and disciplined and defined pace…. Unlike Vishnu who resorted to dance for accomplishing a contemplated objective, Shiva has been conceived more or less as a regular dancer performing for accomplishing an objective as also for pure aesthetic delight…. Unfurling locks of hair and his snakes floating into space portray the dynamics of the act."
Shiva, the Nataraja
"We assume that our happiness is the result of an interaction with external objects…. Suppose that an individual is deprived of sleep and food and pleasurable objects for a long time and then all of them are simultaneously offered to him…. Actually, seeking the answer to this question is the most significant pursuit in life…. The veil comes up again and the duality returns…. In this background, we can now analyse the nature of dukha (grief)."
Ananda: Understanding the True Nature of Happiness
"During one such sacrifice, nine spiritually charged men entered the sacrificial hall….As for Bhagavat Dharma, it is the dharma spoken by God directly from his own mouth…. Like a person eating food finds himself gratified simultaneously in three ways…. We are all constantly taught by spiritual texts to offer or dedicate all our actions to God. However, the question remains as to how to practically carry out this injunction…..The only fruit of wealth is dharma... Therefore, there is no need for the Vedas to enjoin us to these things for which we already have a tendency….The real intention of the Vedic injunctions in these matters is to make a person abstain from them…”
Nine Teachings from Nine Yogis: The Essence of Bhagavat Dharma
"Vyasa Ji explained through a story how it came to be that the Pandava's marriage with a single wife was in conformity with dharma….The gods, along with their king Indra, were sitting on the bank of a river when they saw a beautiful golden lotus floating on its waters…. Both were playing a game of dice…. On hearing Shiva’s words, Indra started shaking with fear… Without death, the burden on the earth becomes too much…. Her birth had the sanction of all the three Gods - Brahma, Shiva and Vishnu."
Devi Draupadi: Resolving the Paradox
"Only a certain fraction of this karma is chosen by God in order to form the blueprint of our next birth…. The fruit that one experiences in this birth is due to prarabdha and a portion of the present agami…. Similarly, a fish in the Ganga does not accrue punya because of always living in Ganga…. A good karma can be annulled by a bad karma and a bad one by a good one…. Sometimes we also hear that prarabdha cannot be got rid of. It has to be spent through…. Bhagawan Vyasa says that for the full result of the karma to manifest, three things are necessary…. Then how to understand the statement that prarabdha should unavoidably be experienced?"
Theory and Practice of Karma: Some Salient Features
"Actually, the one who worships Bhagwan Vishnu should get rich and the one who worships Shiva should become an avadhuta like Him…. Then he works hard again to acquire wealth. I render all his efforts futile…. However, Bhagawan Vishnu is not like that, it takes longer to please Him…. As a consequence, they later harassed the great God Himself…. On the seventh day, he bathed in the holy waters of Kedarnath and began to cut his head with an axe to offer into the fire…. The boy bowed respectfully before the demon and asked…. No one who commits sin against a great person can be safe and happy in this world."
Shiva and Vishnu: A Unique Aspect of Their Worship
"It concedes that for an orderly social life a division into four groups based on the principle of varnadharma is necessary…. Each individual sometimes acts in a sattvika manner while at other times he may act in rajasic or tamasic manner, which means that the manifestation of a particular guna depends on circumstances…. Though all the three gunas are present in everyone, different persons are driven to act differently…. The karma that I have to perform should depend on my inherent gunas and should have the ability to regulate these gunas…. There is no instant transition to moksha…. An individual has to make his way towards moksha only through worldly life."
Varnashrama Dharma: A Logical View
"Who would not satisfy his wife who is but his better half?…. Later, he took a bath, performed pranayama and meditating silently on the pure, eternal light, repeated internally the Gayatri Mantra…. Once it so happened that goddess Lakshmi was out of Vaikuntha…. Despite being older, they always maintain the appearance of five-year olds…. Seeing the great saints he welcomed them with reverence…. It is never for one single purpose but to fulfil many functions at the same time…. He ensured for them a glorious death."
God’s Lila, Understanding the Collective Impact of Avatara
Show More
TRUSTe online privacy certification
All rights reserved. Copyright 2016 © Exotic India