Rama decided to abandon Sita. Now tell me, can you imagine a conflict greater and more severe than this? Our mind is always interacting with the world and world situations in which human beings and inter-personal relationships and are very, very important. Now this inter personal relationships can be as refined as you can imagine or more. It can also be as ugly and cruel as it could ever be. Here the righteous Rama was confronted by a situation where in spite of the wedded loyalties he has, the love he has, he had to take a decision to abandon his pregnant wife. Can the human mind rise to such a level of taking a momentary decision whose consequences will linger on for decades and may be eternally as long as time is there? The ancient instance of Rama’s abandonment of Sita is even now current in the mind, thoughts and words of the people. So it was not just a moment’s decision, a decision which had a long and eternal consequence and response.
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Harih Om Tat Sat. Jai Guru. Jai Guru.
In our sastras, culture and cultural tradition the beginning point as we can trace it in the form a documentation or a record is the Vedic literature that we have. When it was evolved nobody can say. It is right in the pre-historic ages. But throughout the Vedas, I don’t know whether I told you, we find a touch of divinity and supra worldly element at least to begin with. By the time they reached the Upanishads, the thought process had verified itself, purified itself, consummated itself, fulfilled. There was no further level to which it could go or rise. The problem that they faced was how to make this Upanishadic thought interesting to and available to one and all. In the Upanishadic talk you will find very few characters and very few circumstances to remain as a background but here the same Upanishadic message of the singleness of existence, the immortal nature of the soul in every being, this has to be communicated to the others and how to do it, one. Secondly, while the Upanishads were answering the quest of a seeker, who and what will answer the quest of the living mankind, the living humanity?
We are all born in a family. The family may consist of more members. Each member is governed by his own mind, its tendencies, its predilections, its background, foreground and what not. The intelligence though it is capable of knowing and undertaking quests, the type and nature of the quest may become widely different. So we were faced with the problem of variety and this variety can range only from the best to the worst. So in individuals you will find everything good, better and best, bad, worse and worst. Suppose such individuals are born in the same family, what shall we do? The question is very, very grave. When somebody else besides your family becomes wrong or wicked, you can say he is wrong. But suppose the wickedness descends in your own family, either your son or your brother or sister or wife or anybody whosoever it is, becomes wicked, what are you going to do? Can good ever drift to bad at least in consequences? All these questions had to be discussed. It is in such a context that we find Valmiki Maharshi who himself underwent a radical change by virtue of the contact he had with saptarishis.
The forest dacoit Ratnakara became the most renowned and sublime saint Valmiki. So such a drastic transformation is possible. Valmiki was caught up with the imagination how to give a message to the people of the plains giving them a benefit of what I had in the forest in the company of saints. Now to accelerate his thought what happened? He found a hunter sending his arrow to one of the couple birds krauncha and one fell, the white bird bleeding blood red falling and the other bird unable to follow and unable to leave the partner, crying and crying and hovering around the arrow hit bird. This sight moved him. Every time sadness makes a man think deeper, deeper, loftier, broader. Suddenly the emotion of Valmiki came out in the form of a poetry.
yat krounchamithunādegamavadhīḥ kāmamohitam
Narada Maharshi had no qualms at all. He said, “Yes. It is the first son of Dasaratha. He is still growing up as a prince. To the extent I know this is the story and these are the incidents. You contemplate upon what I have said and find out what is going to follow.” Narada disappeared.
Valmiki’s mind was caught up with the imagination around Sri Rama, the first son of Dasaratha. Later on Brahma came and said, “It was I who instrumented the sight of the hunter killing one of the krauncha birds. It is to institute a pathos in your mind to relieve which you have to find your own mind’s resources. So you write a poem on Sri Rama the reading of which will alleviate all kinds of grievance and affliction. As long as the mountains and the rivers on this earth last your poetry also will remain.” Valmiki was consoled. He contemplated upon Rama’s life. He went up to a level and then started penning Ramayana. As he progressed you find that Sita was abandoned by Sri Rama. Who was Sri Rama? A very good, noble, righteous and compassionate person. From such a compassionate and righteous mind arose a compulsion to abandon the pregnant Sita for no fault of hers but for a remark made by one of his citizens. Here he was sitting on the throne as a king. The king Rama is not just a husband. He is primarily and ultimately a king and husband is the limited, personal relationship.
‘Either I sit on the throne upholding the prestige and honor of the throne or I abandon the throne and walk with Sita. Neither my mind nor Sita’s mind would accept an alternate in this. Any good wife, loyal wife will not like the husband to be humiliated in any manner. So I don’t have to ask her and get her consent.’ He decided to abandon Sita. Now tell me, can you imagine a conflict greater and more severe than this? Our mind is always interacting with the world and world situations in which human beings and inter-personal relationships and are very, very important. Now this inter personal relationships can be as refined as you can imagine or more. It can also be as ugly and cruel as it could ever be. Here the righteous Rama was confronted by a situation where in spite of the wedded loyalties he has, the love he has, he had to take a decision to abandon his pregnant wife. Can the human mind rise to such a level of taking a momentary decision whose consequences will linger on for decades and may be eternally as long as time is there?
The ancient instance of Rama’s abandonment of Sita is even now current in the mind, thoughts and words of the people. So it was not just a moment’s decision, a decision which had a long and eternal consequence and response. Rama decided it. Sita was abandoned. She was spotted by Valmiki’s disciples. They reported it to him. The same wonderful Valmiki comes, looks at Sita compassionately and says, “My dear daughter, I neither blame you nor your husband. I shall arrange for your pregnancy care by my household disciples. I will also look after your confinement and from now on, it is my responsibility.” Remember now – this Valmiki when he was Ratnakara had his wife and children who used to rob the people to look after them. When the Maharshis pointed out the intrinsic wrong and immorality of his action and they told him “You go and ask your wife and children. Whatever you do is sinful; will they partake of the sinful outcome?” They (Ratnakara's wife and children) instantly said when Valmiki asked them “No, no, we will not. You have married me and we have children. It is for you to look after them. If your way is wrong, the wrong rests with you, not with the others.” Immediately Valmiki came and became illumined and then they gave him the upadesa and he became a saint. The Ratnakara who had left his wife and children now to lead a solitary life of a saint, a spiritual ascetic, now, now, is naturally drawn to a situation where he had to look after a pregnant wife and later on the children and the mother. Whatever Ramayana he was writing till then now became no more a biography of a prince and a king. It became an autobiography where he became a vibrant and active part. Till then he was trying to know the story of Rama, the activities of Rama by messengers and otherwise, now he became an important part in the whole story and then he completed the story.
What do you understand from this? The epic is a narration of the story of the human mind displaying the potentials and the possibilities which are inherent in the human mind. What are the potentials that we have? Are they good, noble or are they also bad and ignoble? To which height of excellence in both can we go and what are going to be the consequences? Life may drive us to any situation, any challenge. We always have to meet it, face it, live with it and go forward. Is there any way of doing it? How to demonstrate it to people, how to illustrate it to people? Valmiki did not have to search long. He found from Narada a prince. Later on that prince acted in such a manner that the writer, the author himself became a part of the whole narrative. Can you find greater realism than this?
Harih Om Tat Sat. Jai Guru.