Further Wisdom Derived From Ramayana II

Manidhara Das
02 Jun 2022

 

In Aranya-kanda part of the very same Ramayana, we find a description of an exchange between Srimati Sita Devi and Lord Rama. Not dwelling on the fact that here the Supreme Personality of Godhead and His eternal consort are talking, this exchange includes many lessons for conduct in human society, in times of differences in a perception and understanding values in peoples´ lives.

This may serve well those who understand themselves to be devotees of the Lord, but are enchanted by the ways materialists try to solve their differences while pathetically implementing the materialistic art of a "mediation" and "counseling".

Walking in the last fifty years in the ISKCON world around and witnessing many of these "professional" counselors and mediators being hilariously embarrassed by the material energy themselves, I could only recommend everybody to study the ideal social conduct of the Supreme Lord and His consort, Goddess of Fortune, instead of taking shelter at such conditioned "advisors". Even fallen in so many ways, there is a chance for us to be uplifted when following the example of the Divine Couple.

In her attempt to reduce the violence Lord Rama applied while acting as an ideal warrior and king, punishing the miscreants, Sita Devi is addressing the Lord:

"My dear husband, due to the powerful influence of material nature, it is possible even for a great and a noble man to gradually become degraded. Therefore, one should always be very careful to control his mind and senses, avoiding the addiction that results from material desire."


Manidhara das:


This introduction of the speech of Mother Sita can be well illustrated by the history of ISKCON, which unfortunately is filled with examples of "great men" falling prey to their material desires. When under the direct protection of Srila Prabhupada, they overcame their inherent conditioned nature. In His absence, their dormant material desires, this time being nourished by the flattery of their inexperienced disciples, GRADUALLY as described by Mother Sita, became prominent, leaving them finally in disgrace, irrelevant to the purpose of their initiation into the mission of their spiritual master.


Mother Sita continues:


"There are three sinful activities that should especially be avoided: false speech, sexual relations with another's wife, and cruelty towards those who are not inimical. In Your character there is no trace of the first two faults, for You have never uttered a lie, nor could You think of lusting after another man's wife.“

„However, I see that You take the lives of many innocent animals. Thus, I can understand that there is still the contamination of enmity in You. I feel very unhappy when I see how the poor animals are being needlessly killed. My dear Rama, simply by carrying a bow in Your hands You increase the killing propensity, just putting fuel too near a fire makes its blaze higher."


Manidhara das:


Here Mother Sita exhibits some parts of typical female nature. Being more sensitive to others´ pain, women often profess as nurses and social workers. However, without deeper spiritual understanding. As demonstrated previously in Ramayana in example of Kaikei, very noble queen, even such elevated woman can be easily turned by dint of a bad association into a merciless, cruel being. As Srila Prabhupada quotes Lord Caitanya, "same woman can be your best friend and your worst enemy". Therefore, being so easily emotionally misguided, women can never be trusted, and the men controlled by women neither.

In regards of killing wild animals of "lesser value", ksatriyas, professional warriors, are permitted to do so in Vedic times, as they need practical training for the times when violence is needed to protect the innocent ones.

However, men of such nature, if not being pure in their purpose, are prone to temptation to use their weapons beyond their practical need, inviting sin. As Srila Prabhupada commented in regards to the massive weaponry demons accumulate, including atomic bombs, "just because they have them they will be forced to use them." This is a result of having "fuel laying close to the fire".

As it will be soon explained, Lord Rama is free of such temptations and acts upon higher values of life.


Sita Devi explains further:


"Please listen as I relate a story in this connection. Once, there was a great rsi (saint), who performed such powerful austerities that King Indra became afraid of being overthrown. With the desire to obstruct the rsis advancement, King Indra came before him in the guise of a warrior. Indra handed the brahmana a sword and requested: „Please keep this sword for me very carefully until I return for it.“

The rsi consented, and thereafter, remaining true to his vow, he always kept the sword with him, even when he went into the forest to collect fruits and roots. As a result,the rsi's mind gradually became tinged with desire for cruelty. He gradually gave up his execution of austerities in exchange for life in violence. In this way, the rsi became degraded and attained a hellish destination after death.“

"Therefore, my dear husband, since that brahmana was vanquished simply by the association of Indra's sword, I request that You keep Your bow in hand only to kill the Raksasas that are harassing the rsis. Please don´t kill even the innocent Raksasas, what to speak of other creatures.“

"Although I know it is not my position to instruct You, I pray that You give my words careful thought. Afterwards, please do what You think is best."


Manidhara das:


Here is the essence of a real quest for acceptance of one´s thought. It is based on respect to the one being addressed, and full awareness of one´s own position. With this attitude one can bring out real well-wishing suggestion, regardless however potentially unpleasant it may be.

This approach is universally successful, provided one of the two conversing parties is not a fool. One cannot ever suggest anything to a fool as he will only raise his voice and initiate an entirely emotionally based exchange of offenses.

Therefore, it is not recommended to argue with a fool, rather one retreats even at the cost of being called a coward, and hopes that under other circumstances later on, such fool can be addressed in a wellwishing way. In Srimad Bhagavatam we find the glorious example of Vidura who initially couldn´t succeed by giving Dhrtarastra a good advice not to engage in a battle with the Pandavas, but after solemn defeat Dhrtarastra was more inclined to listen. Nevertheless, such "happy-ends" are rare, normally one never wins with a fool. One should never underestimate the power of stupidity.

However, nothing of this was happening here in this exchange of The Divine Couple, Sita and Rama.

Rama replied: "Dear Sita, I certainly appreciate your words, which are full of wisdom. I know that it is only because you love Me that you have thus advised Me, thinking only of My welfare. Unless one is dear, he is never given such frank counsel."


Manidhara das:


Here we find an even deeper level of a successful exchange in regards to differences of opinions. First, it is the consideration of the MOTIVATION of the one who brings out seemingly critical remarks. Srila Prabhupada fiercely protected His disciples towards the public as He valued their motivation to serve Him and Krsna, regardless the incompetence and inexperience of His servants. After all, to serve the Ultimately Perfect One perfectly is impossible while doing so with perfectly imperfect material body.

But it is the perfectly materially pure motivation, what Krsna, dwelling in the heart of every living entity, recognizes and is pleased with.

When this rule is violated and the motivation of the one criticizing, and the one being criticized is not properly recognized, the whole exchange is doomed to fail.

The ultimate platform for being successfully accepted is... love, meaning an unconditional love. With their growing awareness of how much Srila Prabhupada loves them, His followers were, proportionally to that bond of love, exposed to His well meant criticism, which the sincere amongst them recognized as the greatest blessing from their spiritual master. As one karmi proverb goes: "Real love means there is no need to say 'sorry' anymore.“ Such love is rare to be found.


Lord Rama continues:


"O daughter of Janaka, the rsis could easily kill the Raksasas themselves. However, they do not do so, for it would diminish their stock of ascetic merit. For this reason, I have promised to kill all the Raksasas in the Dandakaranya forest. Even if I were to somehow renounce you or Laksmana, I could never give up a promise to the brahmanas."


Manidhara das:


Here Lord Rama concludes His explanation to Sita, pointing as ideal warrior, king and human being, to the higher principle, which neutralizes the lower principle, however noble it may be. Even at the cost of losing the most dear and loved ones, even at the cost of losing his own body, ideal man never compromises his dignity based on his vows.

Such lesson was also taught by the Supreme Lord to Arjuna in the form of Bhagavad Gita, where Arjuna, being professional warrior, was facing the ghastly task to kill even his own relatives, teachers and wellwishers.

Although the challenges we face in our daily lives are of minor importance in comparison to the challenges great devotees and the Lord Himself may face, still in a principle we can learn from Srimati Sita Devi´s and Lord Ramacandra´s ideal exchanges and behavior how to communicate out and overcome our differences.