RAMA GOES TO THE FOREST
One of the main lessons of the
Ramayana is that one should keep one’s promise at any cost. This was the
staunch foundation on which Sri Rama’s family - the Raghukula - had built its kingdom.
“Raghukul Riti sada chali aeee,
Pran Jaye par Vachan na jaya.”
Rama’s ancestors believed that
if one was faced with the choice of either giving up one’s life or go against
one’s word - one must choose the
former. ‘Give up your life, but not your word’, they proclaimed.
Rama was told of the wish of his
mother Kaikeyi. The prince who was getting ready to ascend the throne did not
even flinch. To Rama both the positions held the same importance. In a way the
Renouncing Spirit of Rama was thankful to Kaikeyi for being instrumental in
bringing about the journey to the forest where the main purpose of his life lay.
Sri Rama’s incarnation’s main aim was to get rid of the demons that had been
harassing the sages and his beloved devotees for years.
Rama left for the forest to make
his father’s word true. Rama’s wife Sita insisted on accompanying Sri Rama
to the forest.
Lakshmana would not let Rama and
Sita go alone, he wanted to accompany them to serve them.
Some people who read the
Ramayana claim that it was not fair on Lakshmana’s wife Urmila. She should
also have gone to the forest with Lakshmana.
The question however arises -
Does a policeman’s wife
accompany her husband when he is out on duty? Or does an army officer’s Wife
go with him when he is posted at the border to protect the country?
Rama left for the forest and
that came to pass which was destined.
AND THE KARMA THEORY
Karma literally means “deeds”
The Hindu Karma theory is that
as one sows, so one reaps.
The Karma theory says that what
one is now is the result of what one thought and did in the past and what one
shall be in the future will be the result of what one thinks and does now.
According to the Hindu religion a person suffers not only for wrong committed in
the present life but for misdeeds or sins, which may have been committed in the
past. One sometimes cannot change what blows life inflicts upon us but one has
control over what one can do with oneself in that condition. It is under the
effect of pain and suffering that unbelievable works of art have seen the light
of the day.
Each man is born for a purpose
and no one is born without a certain talent - each is given the power to use or develop this talent, and it is more
beneficial if one can use it for the benefit of others.
According to Hindu belief there
is a certain Karma which is entirely predetermined and cannot be avoided e.g.
sex, parentage, colour of skin.
According to another kind of
Karma, man acquires certain tendencies which are under one’s control, to use
to one’s benefit and lastly there is that Karma which is being created now,
the fruits of which will be enjoyed by us in the future during another
lifetime. This kind of Karma we have complete control over. Man’s will is
ever free to make what he will with those elements that have been pre-ordained.
Hence within certain limits one
can alter one’s destiny - we
are tied to destiny with a loose rope whose looseness allows us limited freedom
within that restricted situation.
One must also remember that one
is bound by Nature’s Law, which applies to all equally.
Thus if one has pursued studies
one would be educated.
If one has followed certain
rules of health one would be healthy.
Destiny is a law related to
cause and effect.
Man is free to desire and think
as he deems fit. Action is the outcome, and thereby his destiny.
There are two schools of thought
on the above dilemma - some
say that God is wholly responsible for our fate whereas others believe that
destiny is the making of man. As a matter of fact both are right; just as one
would be right in stating that for a car to function, engine and petrol are both
essential. According to Vedanta, God Is the Seer behind the sight. Or that which
causes one to hear and see. But what one learns and sees is man’s own choice.
The Law of Karma should fill one
with hope to know that one is not governed by the whims of a dictatorial power
and one does not live in a lawless nature but one can mould one’s destiny with
the help of this knowledge.
The Law of Karma like the law of
gravity prevails, though we do interfere with the law of gravity when we travel
by aeroplane or go up by elevators. Similarly if one understands the Law of
Karma, one can create future happiness and present contentment by understanding
scientifically its working.
Also just like the law of
gravity does not operate beyond the world’s atmosphere, similarly with prayer
and repentance, one enters that realm where all conflict between good and evil
melt away under the benevolent grace of the Supreme Law.
It is believed that Rama’s
advent to the forest was to fulfill certain promises that he had made to his
When the people of Ayodhya
learned that Sri Rama was leaving for the forest, they decided to follow him
They were not interested in
living in a kingdom without Rama.
They left their belongings and
all that they were attached to, for the hardships of the forest. However the
people of Ayodhya fell asleep on the way and Rama went ahead without them.
This is symbolic. In the
spiritual path one has to be awake all the time, not physically, but spiritually
one must be constantly aware of one’s failings and weaknesses. If one falters,
God just leaves.
Dasaratha could not bear the
separation of Rama, Sita and Lakshmana. He gave up his body.