Whom do you like the most in the Ramayana among the given options?
In the Bhagavad Gita Lord Krishna says, “Among Weapon wielders, I am Ram” This statement is profound and elucidating on just this statement can take days. In the ordinary world, men are known by their actions, and the actions of people in positions of power give a common man, an outline of their character, their inner disposition. The world has been, since time immemorial, torn between the good and the bad forces. Weapons of the days of yore were made out of stones or metals. These days there are nuclear bombs and other weapons of mass destruction. When one weapon, in the olden days was used for destroying a handful of people, today one nuclear weapon can be used for the destruction of an entire race. What has changed is the style of destruction. But “destruction” has only increased and investments on weapons of destruction is simply rising exponentially. Now what characteristic of man is reflected through this act? It is obvious that a nation is using weapons as a means to terrorizing other nations, by showing off its weaponry power. Man does not have enough to eat and in the name of defense, investments are going awry. This means that our mentality of fighting for our existence through weapons as well as our tendency to show supremacy has been just rising. Our humaneness has just become a matter of physicality with no evidence of its presence in our hearts and rightly so, considering the world we live in, in current times.
The actions of the world, the way our news channels work, the way information is abused and pedaled gives us an idea of the type of toxic race for supremacy that has taken precedence in the hearts of men. The notion is that “If I am not seen or heard, I am dead”, the notion that “What is seen, sells” has become the order of the day. When Lord Krishna makes the statement that “I am Ram”, is profound in its import. Lord Rama, His descriptions of appearance as found in the Valmiki Ramayana will bewilder men in the modern civilization. Here is a man, with a smile on His face, with contentment and profundity in His heart, with a face that is calm, radiating bliss, standing in the erect position wielding a “bow”. Now, why would a man with such an appearance, that reflects his state of being, wield a bow? If a man is happy, blissful and peaceful, why would he require a bow? The bow does not gel with the persona of the individual. We can understand that Ravana has a shiny, sharp sword in his hands. The character of this man, suits the weapon in his hand. Ravana is a man who is hungry for power. He believes in capturing others. He was a fascist of the bygone eras. Only a man with a reckless character uses a weapon to terrorize and subjugate others. Moreover a man whose character is tarnished, is looking for an opportunity to show off his supremacy. He is a man beaten with inferiority complex. When such a man comes to an advantageous position, he is on the lookout for opportunity, to prove to the world, his position and power. He is an eternal game of “Me versus the World”. He is an opportunist and this is his impunity. On the other hand a man who is satisfied within, is not on the lookout to prove anything to anybody. He is content and satisfied by his own nature. He does not care if anybody talks ill about him or even praises him. He is a man who is not in search of any opportunity.
On the other hand a Buddha or a Mahavira do not carry a weapon in their hands. They are monks, renunciants. Their hands, empty of weapons suits their character. Their photographs or images are in consonance with the state of their heart. They are unafraid and blissful. Why should a blissful man carry a weapon? He does not need power, he does not need any worldly thing. However Lord Rama’s appearance is like the Buddha and he carries a fierce weapon, the bow, like Ravana. There is nothing that can explain this. Lord Rama fought an entire war to regain His chaste wife Devi Seeta and after their reunion, the same Lord Rama abandons the Mother when a characterless washer-man puts an allegation on the Lord that He has accepted a woman who was at the house of an enemy for 11 months. Can the actions of Lord Rama explain His character?
A man, subjugated by time and circumstances cannot be assessed. His instincts and intentions have been kept under check by his circumstances. If one wants to know the character of a man, let him be given power. Historian Lord Acton once said “Power Corrupts And Absolute Power Corrupts Absolutely”. The world seems to accept this dictum, because that is what we have seen. We feel that a certain man is genuine because he is docile. But the moment he starts rising is position and possession, what is really within him, starts to spill out. But there is a certain anomaly in Lord Acton’s statement and is incorrect in a hundred thousand ways. The statement should be “Power cannot Corrupt, Power only exposes the corrupt” Corruption does not depend on the externality of life situations. If there are unconscious tendencies hidden deep within the mind already, they get an opportunity to sprout, the moment power is given to them; the same way as the seed gets enough water and sunlight to grow into a plant. Without the seed there can be no sprout. Being a Buddha or Mahavira is not good, especially in modern times because the ones who sides evil shall continue to seize power and harass the weak. The good shall get detached from the world and will not associate with the world. Whom shall the weak seek protection from? It is also not a great idea to be like Ravana, our soul shall not be happy, if we plunder and capture. Moreover the scriptures proclaim that if you are an aggressor, hell is reserved for you. Then the best way is to merge the aggressor and the peaceful, which is Lord Rama. If we have the heart of Rama and the weapons of Ravana, we are protected against aggressors and can protect others against them, if need be. What one has to learn to cultivate, is the heart of the Lord, for which our Scriptures and Saints have left a legacy. The only thing that is required is inner discipline and correction.