Saturday, April 20, 2013

What Ramar teaches humanity

In a world awash with Machiavellian thinking, Ramar's fidelity to the right means even though he had the higher ground is truly refreshing and inspiring. Even though the King Of Sri Lanka, Ravanan, unjustly abducted Ramar's  wife, Sita out of lust and Ramar was clearly wronged,he was grounded in "Dharma"- righteous conduct throughout the war he waged against Ravana. He knew well that just because you are facing an "Enemy Combatant" doesn't endow you with more latitude; what is normally morally reprehensible doesn't become permissible. When Ravana was sick,Ramar could have pounced on the weakness to end the war decisively. He didn't. He told Ravana to recuperate and return to the battlefield when he was back in shape so that they could square off fairly. When he finally vanquished Ravana, he demanded that Ravana be given a proper funeral as per custom. When his associates dithered, he readily stepped forward to do the funeral rites. 

Ramar's actions embody the belief that, "Ends don't justify the means. The means to the right end, need to be right in themselves." Moving towards a more just outcome, should not blind us to the process by which we reach it. 

No one can know if the story of Rama is indeed a figment of imagination. It could well be. But it is clear, that it lays out a very understandable way of living which speaks to our highest aspirations. That explains the enduring appeal of Ramayana across the generations. 

Today, millions of people will throng to temples to celebrate Rama Navami-the birth of Ramar. Many others will mark the occasion, by engaging in their own family prayers . Wishing them all, a very Happy Rama Navami ! 

For most of us, including myself, who don't mark this occasion in any special way, this day still presents an opportune moment to reflect on how we want to live our lives ? It is inevitable, that in the face of exigencies of the moment, the righteous impulse, would be challenged to adopt the more convenient route. The least we could do it is to renew our commitment to not sully justice in pursuit of it. 

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