Dialogue between Rama and Sita on Dharma

During their sojourn in Dandaka forest, Rama,Lakshmana and Sita took the opportunity to visit and pay respects to a great sage by name Sarabhanga. Knowing that Rama was in Sarabhanga’s hermitage,a group of sages also arrived there and pleaded with Him to address their grievances against demons who were systematically destroying their Tapas and even killing several. They requested Rama to fulfil His obligations as their King and provide protection by destroying the wicked demons. Realizing His duties towards the ascetics,Rama promised them to do the needful along with Lakshmana. He further added that it was only expected of Him to be at the command of the sages and felt indeed happy that His stay in the forest would be highly purposeful and fruitful.
Rama’s spontaneous offer of help and the manner in which He responded positively is highly commendable. It is indeed a hallmark of a great soul to discover a mission and purpose for his stay in the forest instead of lamenting His fate for being forced to live in such conditions.

Sita,on her part,witnessed all this quite attentively and in a wonderful display of Her role as the conscience keeper of her husband, offered the following advice to Rama on certain aspects of Dharma. I will briefly reproduce below the advice given by Sita:
People wanting to follow the path of dharma are often led astray due to the pressure of circumstances. Under pressure from desires,3 types of sins are committed by human beings:
1. Speaking falsehood
2.Coveting another man’s wife
3.Destroying a life of an animal or a human being even though there is no enmity or cause for enmity.

Sita cautioned Rama against the third type of sin because she knew quite well that Rama would never fall prey to the first 2 types of sins.
She went on to explain that Kshatriyas could kill only those that caused harm to others. Her particular reason for worry at that instant was the fact that Rama and Lakshmana were in possession of powerful weapons(Bows and arrows)whereas there was no reason to carry such arms by people who were supposed to be leading an ascetic life in a forest.
In order to substantiate her fears she narrated a story of a sage who was once upon a time conducting severe Tapas. And Indra,feeling jealous of him,thought of an idea to ruin his TAPAS. He appeared as a soldier in front of the sage and deposited a sword,asking him to safeguard the weapon. Therefore,the sage was forced to carry the weapon where-ever he went and over a period of time fell prey to violent ways which completely ruined his austerities.
Rama while appreciating Her advice as a ” Sadharmacharini”(a partner in dharma),clarified that He would be steering clear of unjust violence as dictated by dharma but would certainly fulfil His promise given to the sages to destroy the wicked demons who were causing immense harm to the Tapas of the sages.

A few points are worth noting in this particular episode:
Firstly,it is to be appreciated that Sita sets an example for women in general by acting as the conscience keeper of her husband cautioning and reminding him at every step on what is right. And to advise some one like Rama who is well versed in Dharma certainly needs some courage of conviction.
Secondly,it is very interesting as to how Rama responds to her remarks. He profusely complements her for the advice without any show of ego and even acknowledges Her role as ” Sadharmacharini”(His partner in the conduct of dharma).
Thirdly, the episode clearly underlies the importance of the circumstances which can lead one astray. While Sita’s apprehensions in the case of Rama are totally misplaced,the general message being conveyed is the following:If one happens to wield powerful weapons,one is likely to misuse the same in a fit of anger. To give an analogy from the modern world,aren’t we aware of the dangers to the world if terrorists get control over nuclear arms?
The other example that comes to my mind is the indiscriminate shooting by gun wielding school children in the USA.
A similar message is contained in the well known saying: “Power corrupts and absolute power corrupts absolutely”. This is true of politicians,Government officers and even CEOs of companies.

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Published in: on November 20, 2009 at 5:55 pm  Leave a Comment  
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