MARYADA PURSHOTTAM SHRI RAM IS ROLE MODEL
By Brigadier Chitranjan Sawant,VSM
Maryada Purushottam Shri Ram has been a role model for the common man for many a millennium. Indeed he is a tower of strength to us when we falter; a source of inspiration when our spirits sag. Anecdotes of Shri Rams life are a morale booster when we are down in the dumps. Shri Ram cheers us when our lives become cheerless. One may say that the message of the Mahapurush, Shri Ram is: there is always light at the end of the tunnel.
“If winter comes, can spring be far behind, say words and deed of the hero of history penned in Valmikis Ramayan. Rishi Valmiki portrays Shri Ram as a man of flesh and blood who lived, walked, worked and died in this world of ours. Shri Ram had gone through trials and tribulations of life as a mortal man. We, the men of today feel strong enough to weather this storm exactly in the same way as he did in his days.
Today we feel that he is one of us and yet he is head and shoulders above us. We look to him for guidance when the path of progress looks absolutely blocked. Guidance does come. We feel inspired and we launch ourselves into action with a missionary zeal. In these days of patricide and fratricide, Shri Rams instinctive and instant obedience of his father, Raja Dashraths reluctant command to exile him for 14 years is the finest example of filial piety. Shri Rams coronation was cancelled and not a word of murmur in protest crossed his lips. He remained calm and collected in thought, word and action. His banishment made no dent in his love for and loyalty to Ayodhya, the capital of his ancestors kingdom and later in life his own.
He displayed equanimity of mind of the highest order. Shri Ram, in the state of exile, maintained his organizational skill, befriended the civilized and the not so civilized tribes, won over people of all sorts to his side to wage the war against the evil. What better evidence of strength of character and resilience does one need! Shri Ram is a king of kings. He reigns supreme in our minds and hearts. Year after year we celebrate Dussehra and eulogise the victory of good over evil. We emulate his qualities of head and heart. It is for our benefit that we have made Dussehra an annual feature. The common man draws strength from the enactment of difficult days of Shri Rams life.
We enact the epic battle of Shri Ram and Ravana. We rejoice at Shri Rams victory and shed no tears over the defeat and demise of the demon king Ravana. Again it is for an orderly conduct of human society that the victory of the good is celebrated and the defeat of the evil is never lamented.
Sant Tulsidas in his epic `Ramcharitmanas deified Shri Ram and put him on a pedestal. However, Shri Ram denies this privilege to himself and talks of praying to the Supreme Being to draw strength for the final battle against the Rakshasas. In the closing days of the Ram-Ravana battle, Shri Ram is fighting on foot whereas Ravana is on a mighty chariot. A subdued and overawed Vibhishans morale is lifted by Shri Ram who talks of a `Vijay Rath or the victory chariot; “Chivalry tempered with patience are wheels of my chariot, truth is the high flying pennant, wisdom and valour are my horses, compassion is their reins and a prayer to the almighty coupled with the obedience to Guru is the impenetrable armour. Pray, what better chariot of war leading to victory can there be?
Shri Ram has always accepted additional responsibility cheerfully. He met the danger to the society halfway and never shirked his responsibility. A brilliant example of his sense of responsibility is seen when Rishi Vishwamitra asked his father, Raja Dashrath to make the services of Shri Ram and his brother Lakshman available to him to deal with the menace of demons in the `Tapovan. The demons used to disrupt the religious rituals especially the Yajna of the Rishis by pouring flesh and blood into the `Havan kund. Although King Dashrath was a little reluctant to let Shri Ram go into the jungle at that tender age to deal with demons, but Shri Ram himself never demurred. He was too happy to be of service to the rishis and promote the path of righteousness.
Once he had entered the battle zone and faced the she-devil, `Tadaka, he continued observing the rules of the dharma yudh even when the she-devil launched a version of the chemical warfare. The she-devil was good at what is known as `Mayavi yudh, (war of stratagem and deception) but Shri Ram was too good for her stratagems. Using his Yogic powers in the use of the weapon system, Shri Ram had the better of her eventually and destroyed the demons both in letter and spirit. In this battle with the demons, Shri Ram had taken a great risk and was exposed to danger of losing life or limb but he fought determinedly and fought to win. Indeed, we all feel inspired in our day to day battle of life and feel encouraged to fight to win.
In the present day world the politicians who run the state are, generally speaking, on the periphery of the spirit of concept called “Service before Self. It is seen that the self serving administrators of today, keep the self above the society and thus often fall prey to various kinds of allurements put forward by the enemies of the state. Apparently, they have drawn little lesson from the life and times of Shri Ram. Notwithstanding, personal discomfort and grave risk to his health he never shunned undertaking difficult jobs. In the deep and dense jungles of the southern Indian peninsula he met all kinds of evil forces led by the Rakshasas who came to attack him again and again. Khar and Dushan were the two leading demon generals who used special arms and were masters of stratagems. Shri Ram never sued for peace with them but fought against them till he had them eliminated from this world.
In this series of endless battles with the Rakshasas the culminating point was the one where he himself fought against Ravana, the king of Lanka. As described heretofore, Ravana had all the might of the state at his disposal whereas Shri Ram had only his personal prowess and yogic shakti to depend on. No doubt, he had befriended, trained and prepared for war, the semi-civilized tribes of the jungles, had trained their generals like Jamvant and had very loyal captains of war like Hanuman ji and Angad but the balance of power in military terms clearly tilted in favour of King Ravana. An ordinary person in those circumstances would have been overawed and possibly turned tail. But Shri Ram did not do that. It was sheer will and determination that kept him going and even under adverse circumstances like the grave battle wound to his brother Lakshman, he was not deterred. He might have bemoaned the ill-luck that his brother suffered from, but kept the spirit of `never-say-die
alive. He kept his goal in view and did everything that was humanly possible to achieve the aim. Indeed, he was a great `Maha-purush and his life is worth emulating by one and all many millennia after he departed from this mundane world.
Shri Ram motivates us, the common man, to fight and win the battle of life.
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