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Strength of Character

Member (Account Deleted) Guest , 27 March 2012  

The distinguished economist, the late Nani Palkhivala, with respect to Vedic Society, said that, "Citizens were ranked in the society not by wealth or power but by the virtue and character they possessed."

To illustrate this, let me tell you an incident from Ramayana. 

Shri Rama, Sita and Lakshmana were spending their days in exile in the forests. Sita was abducted by Ravana. While Ravana was on his way to Lanka, Sita threw some of her jewellery as a lead on Mt. Rishyamuka. Sugriva found some of them and kept them with him. In their search for Sita, both Rama and Lakshman came to the mountain. Sugriva, on their enquiry, brought Sita's jewellery and narrated what he had seen. Shri Rama gave the jewels to Lakshmana to see if he could recognise them. Lakshmana failed to identify Sita's earrings and a necklace, but when he saw her anklet he burst out joyfully, "This is mother Sita's anklets."

Ram asked him why he hadn't recognised Sita's earrings (Kundala) and bracelet (Keyur). In reply Lakshmana answered, 

Naaham janami keyuram, naaham jaanaami kundalam,

Nupuram eva jaanami, nityam paadaabhivandanaat.

“I have never seen mother Sita’s earrings and her bracelet but while touching the dust of her holy feet everyday I had noticed these anklets.”

For 14 long, testing years when only three individuals lived and moved together in the forests, we find Lakshmana serving both Rama and Sita with unswerving discipline. The epic Ramayan eloquently drives home a lesson of respect bordered with discipline. Lakshmana attributes his nobility by saying,

Pitaa yasya shuchimurto maataa yasya pativrataa,

Ubhaabhyaameva sambhrutaha tasya no chalate manah.

“One’s mind is never soiled by evil thoughts when one is born of pure noble parents.”

Bharata bitterly refused the kingship acquired for him by his mother at the cost of Rama’s exile. He lived a hermit’s life during the entire 14 years. Sita went through the furnace of fiery trials – Rama having banished her – yet she entertained no ill feelings for Rama. On the contrary, like a flower that still offers fragrance when crushed, Sita said,

Bhuyo yathaa me janannaanterapi,

Twamev bhartaa na cha viprayogaha.

“O Rama, may you be my husband birth after birth.”

The famous poet Kalidasa describes the Raghu clan, “The descendants of the Raghu clan were noble and pure from birth.” The Rama Rajya was indeed a noble empire established by luminous souls.

Today we find theology has lost its appeal and technology has taken the lead. Metaphysics has been stripped of its prefix and now mere physics remain. Human values have degraded to alarming levels.

We now live in a diseased society suffering from the virus of corruption, adultery, cow-slaughter, alcoholism, terrorism, fanaticism, stress etc. The list is endless.

Despite of waiting for Rama Rajya, it is we, the people of Bharatavarsha, who should take an initiative on an individual level towards creating a Rama Rajya. Like, Mahatma Gandhi said, “Be the change that you want to see in this world.” 

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