Saturday, March 28, 2015

700. Vibheeshana learns about Dharma from Sri Rama…….!

Mighty Ravana abducted Sita Devi when she had accompanied her husband Sri Rama to forest. With the help of Sugriva and his forces which included Hanuman she was located in the Ashokavana in the Lanka, the land of Ravana. When the request to return back Sita Devi fell to deaf ears, Sri Rama wages war against Ravana. The entire army of Ravana including his mighty brother Kumbhakarna and son Meghanatha were killed. Finally Ravana himself had to face Sri Rama, he came riding on a ratha (chariot), well protected by armour, and equipped with sophisticated weapons. Sri Rama did not have a chariot, or armour or sophisticated weapon, except for his bow and a quiver of arrows.

Looking at this contrast Vibheeshana, the brother of Ravana who had joined Sri Rama’s army was concerned about the safety and even doubted victory of Sri Rama as he knew how strong his brother Ravana was. Out of compassion and affection he expressed his feelings thus to Sri Rama, “O Lord, you neither have a chariot nor any protection gear in the form of armour to protect your body or footwear to protect your feet. How then are you going to win over mighty Ravana?”

Hearing to the plea of Vibheeshana, Sri Rama gives an enlightening sermon. This is very nicely put in Sri Ramacharitmanas by Goswami Tulasidas Ji. Sri Rama says “My beloved friend listen, the chariot which brings victory to a warrior is totally different. It is the Chariot of Dharma (Righteousness). The two wheels of that chariot are Saurya (Valour) and Dhirya (Fortitude). The flag of that chariot is Sitaprajnattva (Steadfastness) and Susheel (Good Character) is the flag post for it.

The horses tied to that chariot are Bala (Strength), Viveka (Discrimination), Dama (Self-control) and Parahita (caring for others). The reins are made of the ropes of Kshama (Forgiveness), Kripa (Compassion) and Samattva (Equanimity). Shraddha (Faith) in Absolute is the charioteer for the chariot. Virakti (Dispassion) is the shield and Tripti (Contentment) is the sword, Buddhi (Intellect) is the string to the bow and Atma Jnana (knowledge of the Self) is the relentless bow. A Amala (Pure) and Achala (Steady) mind is a quiver which holds the bunch of arrows got from Yama (Ethics) and Niyama (Self Control). Respect to Intellectuals and Guru is impenetrable armour.

Concluding the talk, Sri Rama says “Listen, O friend of resolute mind, a person who is in possession of such a powerful chariot of Dharma is the real hero; he can conquer the mightiest and invincible enemy in the form of attachment to the world. There is no other enemy as bigger than that and no equipment for victory is effective as this.  My friend, he who owns such a chariot in fact does not have enemies to conquer hence is a winner always.”

On hearing these words of wisdom Vibheeshana held onto the lotus feet of Sri Rama with joy and said “My lord, you are personification of grace and bliss, through the metaphor of Dharma Ratha (Chariot of Dharma) you have given me valuable instructions and guide lines to lead a life of harmony.”

This small but very effective and sensitive sermon was later came to be known as “Vibheeshana Gita

May Sri Rama bless all my fellow beings on the auspicious occasion of Sri Rama Navami. 

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