Shatashloki 18: Just as rivers rush towards the ocean, all noble, pious persons rush towards Srirama

Sarvadābhigata ssadbhiḥ samudra iva sindhubhi

ārya ssarvasama ścaiva sadaiva priyadarśanaḥ.

Meaning- Just as an ocean eternally associates with all rivers, Sri Rama always associates with pious, virtuous people. Everyone is equal in His eyes. He is affectionate at all times.

Just as the rivers always flow towards the ocean, pious, holy persons (sat purushas) always are eternally drawn towards Rama.  ‘nadīnaam sāgaro gatihi’– the ocean is the sole refuge for all the rivers. Likewise, for all the venerable persons Rama is the sole refuge. There is none apart from Him who can offer them protection.

As Rama is a storehouse of innumerable good traits, He has been compared to the ocean. All venerable persons who approach Him have been compared to rivers.  Rivers from every direction come and merge into the ocean, yet the ocean does not get disturbed. In a similar manner, irrespective of the number of people who came, the direction from which they came, Rama always remained undisturbed.

In Chitrakoot, even though Bharata pleaded with Him in many ways to take back the reigns of the kingdom, even when Maharishi Jabāli vehemently argued with Him for the same purpose, even though Vashista Maharishi preached him extensively about neeti (morals), even though He noticed the grieving and distraught faces of his three mothers, Rama remained unperturbed. He was least distressed. Even major rivers do not maintain the same calmness at all the times.

Rama was a great Satpurusha. Many different types of people, from different directions and from different countries come to meet holy persons. It was the same with Rama. With love, He treated everyone who approached Him. Without debating/ arguing, without scolding or hating them, he helped each and every person. People too gave Him the same love. He nipped the pride of those who were arrogant. He respectfully treated all those who approached Him with feelings of surrender and love.  He ensured that He did not hurt the feelings of those who approached Him. While speaking lovingly without hurting their feelings in any way, He pointed out to them their mistakes and corrected them. He answered in a way that made them blissful and made sure that they left only after they were satisfied.

While He was at home, ignorant and uneducated people would come for His darshan. Both the educated as well as the uneducated always had something or the other to learn from Him. Rivers that merge into the sea are known as Maha nadi (major rivers). Similarly, all those who interacted with Rama turned into very great persons. In turn it increased their fame. However Rama was neither affected by their interaction nor by their absence.

Every great river that merges into the sea loses its identity and is addressed as the sea itself. To highlight this fact, Rama has been compared to the ocean/sea.

The person who performs actions purely based on the dictates of the Vedas (veda hita karma), and who ensures that others around him also follow the same is known as ‘ārya’.

It is natural to presume that very select few people will have had access to a great emperor like Rama. To remove this misconception, the term ‘sarva samaha’ has been used in this hymn. Through this it is clear that without maintaining any forms of differentiation, Rama spoke and treated everyone equally.

At every moment Rama looks new, pleasing and refreshing, such that the person watching Him desires to keep looking into that face forever. He is priyadarshanah.

Om Seeta raammaabhyaam namaha.

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