Lessons From Sabari’s Sadhana…

Sabari, the aboriginal character in the epic Ramayana is a great celebrity in the world of devotees as she epitomised highest sadhana with her pure unsullied love for Her Beloved Lord Sri Ramachandra. An aboriginal woman she was, Sabari grew curious after she heard of Lord Rama and His proposed visit to Sage Matanga’s hermitage, during Rama’s sojourn in the forest. Ever-since she remained God-intoxicated thinking of Rama alone, desiring for His darshan. Narrating this beautiful story, Bhagawan urges His devotees to take a cue from the illustrious life of this devotee of His Treta Avatar and attain the Ultimate.

Sabari had a very tender compassionate heart. How she came to Matanga Rishi and stayed at his hermitage is a very interesting story. Her marriage was arranged by her parents, and as was the custom among the Adivasis (aboriginals) a goat was to be offered to the tribal Goddess, on the night previous to the cere¬mony, in order to win the Grace for the couple. When Sabari came to know about this slaughter, she wept, and fell at the feet of her parents, praying them to save the goat. She asked, “How can our married life be happy, when the dying bleat of this goat is the prologue?” But, the father pushed her aside and proceeded with the cruel rite. That night, Sabari stole out of that den of torture, and hid herself in the depths of the jungle that was not far off.

When day dawned, her parents as well as the groom’s party were plunged in grief and anxiety; they combed the area, even where she was lying low amidst the thick bushes, and they went back, saying among themselves, “She could not have gone to the her¬mitage, for no woman would be given asylum there.” She heard these words and so, she concluded that the hermitage was the safest place for her. She felt that some monk will take pity on her, and not send her back. Matanga espied her and gave her permission to be in his habitation. He told her that God in the form of Sri Rama was coming to the hermitage some day, since He had been exiled into the Forests for t4 years and He is eager to save the monks and seekers, doing Tapas in the forests, from the ravages of the demonic enemies of peace! Rama, he said, was proceeding from one region to another with His consort Sita and His brother, Lakshmana.

From that day Sabari had no other thought than that of Rama, no other desire than the desire to have the darshan of Rama, the chance to touch His Feet and the opportunity to speak with Him. Her heart was saturated with the Ramarasa (the essence of Rama principle), the sweetness of the Rama principle. She had no other Japam or Dhyana or spiritual exercise. She spent her time preparing for the visit of Rama to the hermitage; just as she cleaned the paths, she cleaned her heart, too. Pebbles and thorns disappeared from both through her efforts. She walked through the undergrowth and removed overhanging creepers and briars, for she imagined Rama would not have com¬bed His hair and it might get caught. She broke the lumps of earth, for she feared the tender soles of Sita will be hurt when she walks over them. She gathered fruits and tubers from the jungle trees and plants and kept them by every day, for no one knew when Rama will arrive! And, she took no risks. She tasted every fruit, whether it was bitter, sour or sweet, so that Rama could eat the best. She smoothed the surface of all stones that lay by the side of the tracks in the jungle for, she expected Rama, Lakshmana or Sita to sit upon any one of them when they got tired of walking. She hoped that one of them would rest awhile on one of the rocks she had polished with great care. Thus her heart became Rama-hridaya!

Sabari was so immersed in Rama that the ascetics lost all awareness of her sex; they allowed her to remain in the hermitage, after Matanga related to them the high level of her Sadhana. Matanga also left this body and gave away his hermitage to Sabari, saying, “You alone deserve to be here when Rama arrives!”

The Sadhana Sabari did to earn the bliss of serving Rama, you can do, when you serve Sai Rama in the poor. By this service, you realise the Self as Rama.

II Samasta Lokah Sukhino Bhavantu II