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Tuesday, November 29, 2011

Dharma personified

Dharma personified

The Vedas may not be accessible to all but knowing the story of the Ramayana gives one an insight into the basic teachings of the scriptures. When the Lord incarnated as Rama, the Vedas too followed Him as the Ramayana, it is said. Could there be a more effective presentation of righteousness than this epic where human beings interact and confront issues of right and wrong that arise in the course of daily living? It is interesting to note that Lord Krishna gave Dharma Jnana in the Bhagavad Gita but Rama lived by the principles of Dharma to establish its vital presence in worldly life. Without Dharma life would become meaningless.

The epithet describing Rama's commitment to Dharma, “Ramo Vigrahavan Dharmaha,” surprisingly came from the demon Maricha, for he had understood the Lord's greatness in all its richness. When Ravana approached Maricha to help him in his plan to abduct Sita, he narrated the unforgettable experience of confronting Rama's arrow when he, along with other demons, had tried to thwart Vishwamitra's yagna. Since he ran in fear of the arrow he was not killed. Ever since, he adopted a hermit's lifestyle and renounced all worldly desires. He continued to live in dread of Rama to such an extent that even the word Ra brought shivers in him; and he perceived Rama alone everywhere. Thus he thought of Rama constantly.

Maricha's advice to Ravana is not to meddle with Rama's affairs. He speaks highly of Rama's virtues. He asserts that Rama's Dharma is the cause of His victory. Truthfulness is His valour. He never goes against His conscience and hence will always be victorious. He also points out that good advice may not always be pleasant and those who speak sweet words may not mean well. Suggestions based on good judgment may not appear attractive and may sound irrelevant but in the long run will be beneficial. But the way of the world is to disregard such advice.

But Ravana, deluded by his present state of power and supremacy, did not listen to Maricha. He did not envisage any downfall for himsel

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