A Lesson of Choice from Ramayana
By Laxmi Narayana Mangalagiri
Time and again in life, we face situations where we are at cross roads struggling to choose one among different available paths. Why not the obvious choice? This question may perhaps invoke two thoughts in one’s mind. First, the case of taking a unique decision that is not preferred by most people in general. Second being the case of choosing an indirect way of doing something that could be done in a simple and candid way. In the former case, one chooses to follow the inner call, even if against the public and popular opinion. It may be illogical and one may not find a convincing reason to act in certain way, but the inspiration coming from within one’s heart overpowers all other logics and reasons.
This is not something driven out of passion, but out of fine sentiments, compassion, love, faith, and the heart’s longing that can’t be expressed in words. This may result in apparent failures, but ultimately successful, if done with a sincere intent. In the latter case, one may choose to do things in ways that are universally acceptable, but in an apparently laborious way of implementation but with a noble purpose. Performing deeds that can be done straightforward, in indirect and time taking ways is justifiable based on the intent of the performer and the outcomes of such an ordeal. If the byproducts that come forth during such apparently exhaustive methodology of implementing things are extraordinary, then it is sensible to proceed. People may have personalized definitions for Nobility of purpose according to time, place and circumstances. But it would be indisputable when the way things are done benefits the mankind at large. In addition if such a work includes adventures, thrills and resultant joys, it’s all the more acceptable. It’s even more wonderful if one has a possibility of learning from such experiences.
Our Indian scriptures present matchless examples of personalities for both the cases, who performed wonderful activities that left for us crucial lessons to follow, essential principles to realize, brilliant thoughts to ponder about, and relishing pastimes to hear and discuss. Here is a heart touching incident from Ramayana.
While Ravana was taking away Sita devi to Lanka on his chariot, Jatayu, the mighty vulture saw that. Sita devi told Jatayu to inform Lord Rama that in His absence, Ravana kidnapped her. Jatayu was a very old bird, and Ravana was a strong demon. With all logic and reason, anyone can say that Jayayu should not have fought Ravana with his limited faculties. It may seem practical on his part to just inform Lord Rama about the kidnap of Sita, and assist Him in finding her. Even Sita devi wanted him do only that. But Jatayu’s love for Rama and Sita made him take the life risk of stopping Ravana from taking Sitaaway, and ultimatelyto his death. This is an apparent failure. But later he got the rarest privilege of leaving his body in the presence of Lord Rama, and getting the Lord personally perform his final rights. And the readers of Ramayana admire Jatayu for his sacrifice even today, many thousands of years after this incident.
The ancient scriptures tell us that In Treta-yuga, the demigods approached Lord Visnu for protection majorly because of being tortured by the Ravana. Ravana was a powerful demon, but his powers are nothing but the benedictions of Lord Brahma. For Lord Visnu who is the source of the powers of His son Brahma, it would have been a simple task to kill Ravana directly.
Instead, He chose to take the form of a human being as Lord Rama and underwent many difficulties, protected devotees and annihilated many demoniac forces on earth, and established religious principles. This apparently arduous story of the Lord which is majorly aimed at killing Ravana turned out to be the beautiful Ramayana which is very instructive, filled with heart touching emotions, life molding lessons, thrilling adventures, principled life style, truthfulness, honesty, heroism, and many more impressing aspects. Similarly, Lord Krishna orchestrated many events of Mahabharata, so that He could remove the burden of earth by killing the demoniac forces on thisplanet. We see in the episode of Kurukshetra war where Krishna exhibits His universal form to Arjuna on the battlefield, that Krishna had already decided to kill all of the misguided kings, and He wants Arjuna to act as an instrument.
If that is the case, He would have chosen to kill them directly. He adopted an elaborate way of war to set many principles, deliver the message of Bhagavad Gita to the mankind, and to give credit to His devotees. Lord Rama and Lord Krishna followed an indirect way of doing things with a higher purpose of establishing religious principles for the entirety of humanity to follow. Thus we see that the two approaches mentioned, that apparently sound strange in the beginning can be adopted positively if one has a sincere intent and higher purpose.
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