Wednesday, August 28, 2013

Ramayan: Ultimate Lesson in Positive Attitude

While I write this, I have a fractured foot and a tired mind. Conventionally considered negative. It is in such negative times when the need for the positive is more. This time I try to seek it not from an end of the battery but from the epic Ramayan. (I know it was a bad one to start a post with. I'm sorry.)

Remember the tale of Ramayan - the one narrated by Valmiki, Tulsidas and also Ramanand Sagar? It is the tale of a king who is probably the most widely worshiped form of God in India. Ram. Ekvachani Ram (the person who always keeps his word) , Eka-bani Ram (the archer who always strikes his target with the first arrow) and Eka-patnivrata Ram (the husband solely dedicated to a single wife); the son of Dashrath, husband of Sita, brother of Bharat and Lakshman, the lord of Hanuman, the slayer of Ravana, the seventh avatar of Vishnu and Ram knows what else!

This post is not intended to praise him. Many others do that much better than I do. The post is just to bring out one incident of Ram's life that I feel is a classic example of Positive Attitude. The incident happened just before Ram left for a 14-year exile with his wife, Sita and his brother, Lakshman.

Note: I have no intentions of becoming a threat to Robin Sharma through this post.

The scene goes like this:

Ram's step-mother Kaikeyi received 2 promises from Ram's father when she had successfully averted a lethal attack on her husband in a war. Years later, on the eve of Ram's coronation, Kaikeyi used the 2 promises when she got insecure of her son Bharat's future. She believed that after inheriting the throne Ram would wipe out his younger brothers to secure his right to the throne. The conditions for Dashrath to fulfill were:
  • Ram would renounce the right to the throne and give it to Kaikeyi's son Bharata
  • Ram would lead his life in the forest as a hermit for 14 years. 
While the first promise was to ensure a safe future for Bharata, the second promise was in expectation that keeping Ram away from the subject's eyes would reduce the probability of any resistance coming from the masses.

The conditions came as a shock for Dashrath who alternated his son Ram's name with his breaths. To renounce the throne when Ram was the eldest and the most deserving of all and on top of that living the hardships of a forest-life - how could a father order his beloved son so? But he had to keep the legacy of the clan too - Raghukul reeti sada chali aayi, praan jaye par bachan na jaayi (The legacy of Raghu Clan has always been upheld; one can sacrifice his life but never take back his word).

Dashrath's dilemma made him sick and he was sulking within the boundaries of his room when his son Ram entered and asked what the matter was. Even on continuous persistence, he was unable to reveal what was killing him inside. Then Ram requested Kaikeyi to tell him what his father was unable to tell and he promised that he would do whatever it took to mend the situation. She finally told Ram the entire deal.

Dashrath who was so grief-struck that he couldn't utter a word broke into tears. Kaikeyi, who disclosed the conditions to Ram with a heart of stone wondered what would follow. What would Ram do? Would Ram rise against his father and step-mother for throne? Would Ram turn the entire nation that worships him against his parents? What? What would he say now?

Ram smiled and said, "Is it? Is it only this much? I thought that some serious calamity had downed upon us that both of you were being so serious. Bharata's inheriting the throne of Ayodhya would be the happiest event for me to witness. The sense of Dharma and jurisdiction of my younger brother is unparalleled and I am sure he will be the greatest ruler in the history of Ayodhya. And as far as the second condition is concerned, I guess some good karma of my past life have taken effect that I am going to get 14 more years of my life to live in forest with the saints and sages and learn more about vedas and the world. Your love for me has given me such great happiness mother that I thank you from the bottom of my heart. I shall follow the two conditions with no delay." Kaikeyi was stunned! She could never imagine that Ram would let go off the power of the throne and pleasures of the palaces so easily.

Imagine for once! The eldest son of the king, favourite of the people, most powerful of all warriors and clearly most capable prince, is suddenly deprived of everything he has on the eve of his coronation. Not only that, he has to spend 14 years after this not in the palace but in the forest as a hermit. And he accepts it whole-heartedly! Even in the most difficult hardships that his step-mother lays for him, he finds happiness and the opportunity to grow and become even better. Isn't it quite contrary to what we do in today's world when the smallest of things go wrong around us? We feel cheated, indignant and victimized in spite of being aware of our limitations and mistakes, and always hunt for someone who can be blamed.

Can we too try to think of our difficulties in Ram's way? Can we too see the poverty of our nation as an area of tremendous growth, improvement and opportunities? Can we too see the rising number of crimes as the indicators of a dire need to educate the masses more effectively? Can we too see the time of getting ill and bed-ridden as the opportunity to read more books? Can we too see the release of Chennai Express as a time when we need to seriously rethink about the quality of Bollywood movies?

Too heavy a post. Right? I feel that too. But a point worth considering. Isn't it? So let's start seeing the things around us in a positive light, the way Ram did, and figure out whether it makes us feel better or not. I hope it will. If it does, please leave a comment below. Not that you can not send a mail to me personally or call me to tell how you transformed your life and that of others but I am looking forward to increasing the comments on my blog too. The post mentions Lord Ram. I cannot lie.

 Leaving you with a picture of the classic optimist.

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  1. Nice post :) liked it:) n seriously ur foot is fractured?

  2. hmm.. get well soon :)

  3. One more question, when are you going to post 10th post on great Indian epic.. Waiting for that

    1. Cannot commit on dates but it will come very soon. :)

  4. Love the lines above - you have plunged really deep into the history! As for me, I always think: If something occurs that you can't change, try to make the best of it.
    Love, kahaanii


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