Sunrays | Learning from Lord Rama, invoking one’s inner light - Hindustan Times
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Sunrays | Learning from Lord Rama, invoking one’s inner light

ByPriya S Tandon
Nov 12, 2023 05:46 AM IST

Diwali is the time to delve into the beautiful story of Ramayana and learn from the great character of Rama. Every time I read the Ramayana or watch it on TV, there is something new to learn from it.

The festival of lights is here again. It’s the day Lord Rama returned home after 14 years of exile. People of Ayodhya lit up diyas filled with ghee to welcome the Lord.

Let’s strive to purify our hearts and light a lamp within, to welcome the Lord therein! That’s the real lamp to light! This Diwali, let’s radiate light and love! Happy Diwali! (Shutterstock)
Let’s strive to purify our hearts and light a lamp within, to welcome the Lord therein! That’s the real lamp to light! This Diwali, let’s radiate light and love! Happy Diwali! (Shutterstock)

Both Rama and Ravana had immense knowledge. Both knew 38 languages. But there was a stark difference in their personalities. Lord Rama coupled his knowledge with wisdom and benevolence for the good of people. Ravana abused his knowledge due to greed, lust and ego. Knowledge is always good. How we use our knowledge is what makes the difference. When Ravana abducted Devi Sita, his wife Mandodari tried hard to dissuade him. But Ravana did not listen.

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Rama was Maryada Purushottam. He was the ideal man who personified perfection in all the roles that he played. As an ideal son, he obeyed the wishes of his stepmother Kaikeyi so that the honour of his father remained untarnished.

When Bharata came to the forest to meet Lord Rama, Lakshmana doubted his intentions. But Rama said there was no brother as devout as Bharata. Rama, being an ideal brother, projected Bharata as his successor and also appreciated the capabilities and commitment of Shatrughana in protecting Ayodhya. There was no sibling rivalry whatsoever.

As an ideal husband, he promised Sita that she would be the only woman in his life. Most kings had many wives then. When Sita was abducted, he pined for Sita just as much as she did for him.

Rama was the ideal king. At the time of his marriage, the priest directed Rama to promise to keep the interests of his wife supreme. But Rama said he wasn’t an ordinary man, he was to be a king. Therefore, the interests of his kingdom will be supreme. If the interests of Sita are in conflict with those of the kingdom, he vowed to choose the kingdom. He did not even agree to take Kanyadaan. He said that as a King, he could not take daan, he could only give daan. So the priest had to modulate the marriage vows for Rama.

Rama was an ideal enemy too! He was benevolent to Vibhishana and Bali. When Vibhishana took refuge in Rama’s camp, everyone opposed it. But Rama said he would give sharan (asylum) to any Sharanagati (asylum seeker). He was considerate even towards Ravana. After Ravana died, Rama respectfully returned his mortal remains to his family.

Diwali is the time to delve into the beautiful story of Ramayana and learn from the great character of Rama. Every time I read the Ramayana or watch it on TV, there is something new to learn from it.

How many times in our lives have we wished each other, ‘Happy Deepawali’? Have we ever paused to understand the meaning of this greeting? The greeting means much more than enjoying sweets, holidays, card parties, shopping, gifting, new clothes etc. It is about celebrating and enunciating the fact that goodness is the greatest thing to emulate. Just as we clean our homes, we need to cleanse our persona and rid it of greed, anger, jealousy, ill will etc. Just as we light diyas, we need to light up our persona with qualities like devotion, empathy, a helping attitude etc. God resides in the Hridya-Mandir (heart) of a devotee. But if only the Hridya-Mandir is cleansed and illumined!

Let’s strive to purify our hearts and light a lamp within, to welcome the Lord therein! That’s the real lamp to light! This Diwali, let’s radiate light and love! Happy Diwali!

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