Rãma is the embodiment of Dharma
(रामो विग्रहवान् धर्मः)
Rãma is the embodiment of Dharma and epitome of all virtues. His name is synonym with all ideals a nation can aspire for. Throughout his life he tried to uphold the maryãdã of dharma. Therefore, he has been called Maryãdã Purushottama Rãma. His life was a living example for all Indians. Therefore, the famous author of the ‘Kãvya-prakaśã Mammata wrote that रामादिवत् प्रवर्तितव्यं न रावणादिवत् i.e. One should follow Rãma and not Rãvana.
When Rãvana, after the death of Khara and Dûshana at the hands of Rãma, approached Mãricha to deceive Rãma by adopting the form of a ‘Kapata-Mriga’, Mãricha dissuaded Rãvana from this sinful act by giving him this sane advice-
|रामो विग्रहवान् धर्मः साधुः सत्यपराक्रमः।
राजा सर्वस्य लोकस्य देवानामिव वासवः।। ( II. 37.13)
|Rāmō vigrahavān dharmaḥ sādhuḥ satyaparākramaḥ.
Rājā sarvasya lōkasya dēvānāmiva vāsavaḥ.. (II. 37.13)
i.e. Rãma is the embodiment of Dharma,. He is pious. Truth is his prowess. As Indra is the king of gods, Rãma is the ruler of the entire world.
It is a compliment from a person who had been tormented by Rãma while the latter was guarding Visvãmitra’s Yajna.
In fact, when Vãlmïki decided to compose an epic he met Nãrada and asked him who could be the ideal icon of his epic. Nãrada replied that Rãma, born in the Ikşvãku dynasty, is such personality. His mind is subdued, he is very powerful, radiant, resolute and in control of his senses-
|इक्ष्वाकुवंश - प्रभवो रामो नाम जनैः श्रुतः।
नियतात्मा महावीर्यो द्युतिमान् धृतिमान् वशी।। (Bal, 1.8)
|Ikṣvākuvanśa - prabhavō rāmō nāma janaiḥ śrutaḥ.
Niyatātmā mahāvīryō dyutimān dhr̥timān vaśī.. (Bāla, 1.8)
Nãrada further said:-
|बुद्धिमान् नीतिमान् वाग्मी श्रीमाञ्छत्रुनिबर्हणः।
विपुलांसो महाबाहुः कम्बुग्रीवो महाहनुः।। 9।।
|Bud'dhimān nītimān vāgmī śrīmāñchatrunibar'haṇaḥ.
Vipulānsō mahābāhuḥ kambugrīvō mahāhanuḥ.. 9..
He is wise, sagacious, eloquent, affluent and exterminator of enemies. He is distinguished with broad shoulders, has powerful arms, a neck shaped as a conch and a stout chin.
|धर्मज्ञः सत्यसंधश्च प्रजानां च हिते रतः।
यशस्वी ज्ञानसम्पन्नः शुचिर्वश्यः समाधिमान्।।12।।
|Dharmajñaḥ satyasandhaśca prajānāṁ ca hitē rataḥ.
Yaśasvī jñānasampannaḥ śucirvaśyaḥ samādhimān.. 12..
He knows Dharma well and is true to his words. He is always engaged in the welfare of his subjects. He is well reputed, full of knowledge, pious and a man of self-control and concentration.
|प्रजापतिसमः श्रीमान् धाता रिपुनिषूदनः।
रक्षिता जीवलोकस्य धर्मस्य परिरक्षिता।।13।।
|Prajāpatisamaḥ śrīmān dhātā ripuniṣūdanaḥ.
Rakṣitā jīvalōkasya dharmasya parirakṣitā.. 13..
He is like Brahmã, owner of splendour, sustainer and slayer of enemies. He is protector of all living beings and defender of Dharma.
|रक्षिता स्वस्य धर्मस्य स्वजनस्य च रक्षिता।
वेदवेदाङ्गतत्त्वज्ञो धनुर्वेदे च निष्ठितः।।14।।
|Rakṣitā svasya dharmasya svajanasya ca rakṣitā.
Vēdavēdāṅgatattvajñō dhanurvēdē ca niṣṭhitaḥ.. 14..
He is a protector of his virtues and all his people. He knows the essence of four Vedas and six Vedãñgas (śikşã, Kalpa, Vyakarana, Nirukta, Chhanda and Jyotisha). He is expert in archery.
|सर्वशास्त्रार्थतत्त्वज्ञः स्मृतिमान् प्रतिभानवान्।
सर्वलोकप्रियः साधुरदीनात्मा विचक्षणः।। (15)
|Sarvaśāstrārthatattvajñaḥ smr̥timān pratibhānavān.
Sarvalōkapriyaḥ sādhuradīnātmā vicakṣaṇaḥ.. (15)
He is well-versed in the real meaning of all śãstras. He possesses a sharp memory and intellect. He is popular among all people, a saintly and powerful character and a distinguished person.
|सर्वदाभिगत सद्भिः समुद्र इव सिन्धुभिः।
आर्यः सर्वसमश्चैव सदैव प्रियदर्शनः।।16।।
|Sarvadābhigata sadbhiḥ samudra iva sindhubhiḥ.
Āryaḥ sarvasamaścaiva sadaiva priyadarśanaḥ.. 16..
He is always sought by righteous persons, as the ocean by rivers. He is noble, equally treats all and always wears a pleasant countenance.
|स च सर्वगुणोपेतः कौसल्यानन्दवर्धनः।
समुद्र इव गाम्भीर्ये धैर्येण हिमवानिव।।17।।
|Sa ca sarvaguṇōpētaḥ kausalyānandavardhanaḥ.
Samudra iva gāmbhīryē dhairyēṇa himavāniva.. 17..
He is endowed with all virtues and enhancer of the delight of Kausalyã, his mother. In profundity he is like a sea and in firmness like Himãlaya.
|विष्णुना सदृशो वीर्ये सोमवत्प्रियदर्शनः।
कालाग्निसदृशः क्रोधे क्षमया पृथिवीसमः।।18।।
|Viṣṇunā sadr̥śō vīryē sōmavatpriyadarśanaḥ.
Kālāgnisadr̥śaḥ krōdhē kṣamayā pr̥thivīsamaḥ.. 18..
In prowess he is like Vishnu and he has the pleasing look of moon. In anger he is like the destructive fire at the end of creation and in forbearance he is like earth.
|धनदेन समस्त्यागे सत्ये धर्म इवापरः।
तमेवंगुणसम्पन्नं रामं सत्यपराक्रमम्।।19।।
|Dhanadēna samastyāgē satyē dharma ivāparaḥ.
Tamēvaṅguṇasampannaṁ rāmaṁ satyaparākramam.. 19..
In liberality he is like Kubera and in truthfulness he is another Dharma. Ram was adorned with the aforesaid qualities and has the truth as his prowess.
Very few persons know that king Daśaratha had taken the opinion and consent of his subjects before confirming the coronation of Prince Rãma. In the second canto of the Ayodhyãkãňda it is described at length. Before his subjects king Daśaratha proclaims:-
|यदिदं मेऽनुरूपार्थं मया साधु सुमन्त्रितम्।
भवन्तो मेऽनुमन्यन्तां कथं वा करवाण्यहम्।।5।।
|Yadidaṁ mēnurūpārthaṁ mayā sādhu sumantritam.
Bhavantō mēnuman'yantāṁ kathaṁ vā karavāṇyaham.. 5..
If this step of mine is correct, well advised and has a worthy end, let it be consented by you all or it may be told what else should be done.
|यद्यप्येषा मम प्रीतिर्हितमन्यद् विचिन्त्यताम्।
अन्या मध्यस्थचिन्ता तु विमर्दाभ्यधिकोदया।।6।।
|Yadyapyēṣā mama prītir'hitaman'yad vicintyatām.
An'yā madhyasthacintā tu vimardābhyadhikōdayā.. 6..
Though this decision is pleasure for me, yet if there is any other way of welfare, that may be contemplated because the view of the dispassionate section is of far importance than that of an intellectual party.
King Daśaratha openly invites his subjects to express their views on the proposed coronation of Rãma. But he has made it clear that since Rãma is his son, his decision may be clouded with personal interest, but the viewpoint of the sujects who are dispassionate will be far better and in larger interest. Thereafter the subjects started narrating Rãma's virtues which were in abudance. A few of them are quoted below:-
|रामः सत्पुरुषो लोके सत्यः सत्यपरायणः।
साक्षाद् रामाद् विनिर्वृत्तो धर्मश्चापि श्रिया सह।।29।।
|Rāmaḥ satpuruṣō lōkē satyaḥ satyaparāyaṇaḥ.
Sākṣād rāmād vinirvr̥ttō dharmaścāpi śriyā saha.. 29..
Rãma is a righteous person in the world; he is not only truthful but completely devoted to truth. Dharma along with śri (prosperity) have directly proceeded from Rãma.
|धर्मज्ञः सत्यसंधश्च शीलवाननसूयकः।
क्षान्तः सान्त्वयिता श्लक्ष्णः कृतज्ञो विजितेन्द्रियः।।31।।
|Dharmajñaḥ satyasandhaśca śīlavānanasūyakaḥ.
Kṣāntaḥ sāntvayitā ślakṣṇaḥ kr̥tajñō vijitēndriyaḥ.. 31..
He knows the essence of Dharma, is true to his vows, possesses high conduct and does not envy anyone. His presence is tranquil and comforting. He is polite, grateful and has mastered his senses.
|रामो लोकाभिरामोऽयं शौर्यवीर्यपराक्रमैः।
प्रजापालनसंयुक्तो न रागोपहतेन्द्रियः।।44।।
|Rāmō lōkābhirāmōyaṁ śauryavīryaparākramaiḥ.
Prajāpālanasanyuktō na rāgōpahatēndriyaḥ.. 44..
This Rãma delights the world by his intrepidity, valour and prowess. He is assiduously engaged in the preservation and protection of subjects; nevertheless he is never blinded by senses.
Subjects go on eulogizing Rãma’s virtues and at the end proclaim:-
|तमेवंगुणसम्पन्नं रामं सत्यपराक्रमम्।
लोकपालोपमं नाथमकामयत मेदिनी।।48।।
|Tamēvaṅguṇasampannaṁ rāmaṁ satyaparākramam.
Lōkapālōpamaṁ nāthamakāmayata mēdinī.. 48..
Earth desires to make Rãma of such virtues as its master. Truth is his valour and he is like guardians of spheres (लोकपाल).
They request the king:-
|तं देवदेवोपममात्मजं ते
सर्वस्य लोकस्य हिते निविष्टम्।
हिताय नः क्षिप्रमुदारजुष्टं
मुदाभिषेक्तुं वरद त्वमर्हसि।।54।।
|Taṁ dēvadēvōpamamātmajaṁ tē
Sarvasya lōkasya hitē niviṣṭam.
Hitāya naḥ kṣipramudārajuṣṭaṁ
Mudābhiṣēktuṁ varada tvamar'hasi.. 54..
O bestowed of boons (king)! in the interest of the whole world and in our interest you should coronate delightfully your son who is like god of gods (Vishnu).
Thus the decision of Rãma’s coronation had been taken with the consent of the subjects of Ayodhyã.
In fact, Rãma is an ideal ruler, ideal son, ideal brother, ideal friend, ideal husband and an ideal person in whom are combined all the best virtues which a nation can dream of. He emerges as an ideal son at the time of his exile which is pronounced on the eve of his coronation. Anyone else could have just refused to obey to his father’s directives, rather wishes. But seeing the predicament of his father following Kaikeyi's insistence on two boons, he himself declares-
|अहं हि वचनाद् राज्ञः पतेयमपि पावके।
भक्षयेयं विषं तीक्ष्णं पतेयमपि चार्णवे।। (II. 18.20)
|Ahaṁ hi vacanād rājñaḥ patēyamapi pāvakē.
Bhakṣayēyaṁ viṣaṁ tīkṣṇaṁ patēyamapi cārṇavē.. (II. 18.20)
At the command of the king I may leap into a fire, swallow poison and take a plunge into the ocean.
After declaring that he would leave for Dandakãranya immediately he makes it clear
|नाहमर्थपरो देवि लोकमावस्तुमुत्सहे।
विद्धि मामृषिभिस्तुल्यं विमलं धर्ममास्थितम्।। (II. 19.20)
|Nāhamarthaparō dēvi lōkamāvastumutsahē.
Vid'dhi māmr̥ṣibhistulyaṁ vimalaṁ dharmamāsthitam.. (II. 19.20)
i.e. I don’t desire to live in the world hankering after wealth. Consider me to be devoted to immaculate righteousness like the Risis.
Without any remorse he relinquished his right to the throne of Ayodhyã and left for Dandakãranya by assuring his father Daśaratha:-
|नैवाहं राज्यमिच्छामि न सुखं न च मेदिनीम्।
नैव सर्वानिमान् कामान् न स्वर्गं न च जीवितुम्।।
त्वामहं सत्यमिच्छामि नानृतं पुरुषर्षभ।
प्रत्यक्षं तव सत्येन सुकृतेन च ते शपे।। (II. 34.47-48)
|Naivāhaṁ rājyamicchāmi na sukhaṁ na ca mēdinīm.
Naiva sarvānimān kāmān na svargaṁ na ca jīvitum..
Tvāmahaṁ satyamicchāmi nānr̥taṁ puruṣarṣabha.
Pratyakṣaṁ tava satyēna sukr̥tēna ca tē śapē.. (II. 34.47-48)
i.e. I don’t long for kingdom nor for happiness, nor for any pleasure of senses nor for heaven nor even for life. I swear by truth and my good deeds in your presence that you prove true to your words and not false, O best of human beings!
To him a father was considered a veritable deity among gods; so he declared:-
|पिता हि दैवतं तात देवतानामपि स्मृतम्।
तस्माद् दैवतमित्येव करिष्यामि पितुर्वचः।। (II. 34.52)
|Pitā hi daivataṁ tāta dēvatānāmapi smr̥tam.
Tasmād daivatamityēva kariṣyāmi piturvacaḥ.. (II. 34.52)
A father has been indeed declared to be a veritable deity among gods. Hence I shall abide by father’s words like those of a god.
Rãma is an ideal brother. Hardly any relationship between brothers in the world history can excel the bond between Rãma and Lakşmana as well as Rãma and Bharata. Ràma was the rightful successor to the Ayodhyã throne but due to conspiracy of Mantharã and Kaikeyi he was deprived of it and Bharata was to be annointed the king. But thereafter the two brothers played such a game of super sacrifice that Ayodhyã kingdom became the football which was kicked by two brothers in such a selfless style that it always landed in another’s court. While departing for the forest Rãma declared:-
|पुरं च राष्ट्रं मही च केवला मया विसृष्टा भरताय दीयताम्।
अहं निदेशं भवतोऽनुपालयन् वनं गमिष्यामि चिराय सेवितुम्।। (II. 34.55)
|Puraṁ ca rāṣṭraṁ mahī ca kēvalā mayā visr̥ṣṭā bharatāya dīyatām.
Ahaṁ nidēśaṁ bhavatōnupālayan vanaṁ gamiṣyāmi cirāya sēvitum.. (II. 34.55)
This city (of Ayodhyã) and State (of Kosala) and the rest of the earth, renounced by me must be given to Bharata because I am going to the forest for long in compliance with your (kings) direction.
When Bharata returned from his ‘nanihal’ (matemal uncle’s place) and learnt the death of his father and exile of Rãma and his proposed coronation; he declined it and after performing last rites (śrãddha) of his father he left for Chitrakuta to bring back Rãma. He placed many arguments to convince Rãma that his return to Ayodhyã had no element of any lack of righteousness. But Rãma declined and asked Bharata to return to Ayodhyã in such a beautiful style:-
|त्वं राजा भरत भव स्वयं नराणां
गच्छ त्वं पुरवरमद्य सम्प्रहृष्टः
संहृष्टस्त्वहमपि दण्डकान् प्रवेक्ष्ये।। (II. 107.17)
|Tvaṁ rājā bharata bhava svayaṁ narāṇāṁ
Gaccha tvaṁ puravaramadya samprahr̥ṣṭaḥ
Sanhr̥ṣṭastvahamapi daṇḍakān pravēkṣyē.. (II. 107.17)
i.e. O Bharata! You be yourself the ruler of men and I will become the king of wild beasts. You return to Ayodhyã extremely delighted today and I happily enter into Dandaka forest.
But Bharata persisted with his persuasion and threatened to sit on ‘dharana’ (Upaveśana). Then Rãma declared in irrevocable terms that splendour may depart from the moon, the Himãlaya mountain may shed its snow and ocean may transgress its limits, but I shall not violate my father’s given words-
|लक्ष्मीश्चन्द्रादपेयाद् वा हिमवान् वा हिमं त्यजेत्।
अतीयात् सागरो वेलां न प्रतिज्ञामहं पितुः।। (II. 112.18)
|Lakṣmīścandrādapēyād vā himavān vā himaṁ tyajēt.
Atīyāt sāgarō vēlāṁ na pratijñāmahaṁ pituḥ.. (II. 112.18)
Then Bharata left with his sandals for Ayodhyã.
Rãma’s friendship with Sugriva and Vibhishana is well-known. He killed their foes Vãli and Rãvana and installed them on the thrones of Kishkindhã and Lankã-respectively. He could have annexed these kingdoms with Ayodhyã but for his friends’ sake he showed magnanimity. There is a general misconception that Rãma killed Vãli from concealed position while the latter was engaged in encounter with Sugriva. This is an innovation by some later poet who had the idea to show that Rãma had so much prowess that he could kill Vãli by a single arrow. Otherwise, the original story which is still preserved in the Vãlmïki’s Rãmãyana in the following three ślokas shows that Vãli was killed in a direct fight and he had the occasion to hurl trees and rocks at Rãma who destroyed all of them. Here the background scene is that after the killing of Vãli monkeys started running away from the scene. On the way, they saw Tãrã going towards Vãli’s place of encounter. Then they advised Tãrã to go back and protect own son.
|जीवपुत्रे निवर्तस्व पुत्रं रक्षस्व चाङ्गदम्।
अन्तको रामरूपेण हत्वा नयति वालिनम्।।
क्षिप्तान् वृक्षान् समाविध्य विपुलाश्च तथा शिलाः।
वाली वज्रसमैर्बाणैर्वज्रेणेव निपातितः।। (IV. 19. 11-12)
|Jīvaputrē nivartasva putraṁ rakṣasva cāṅgadam.
Antakō rāmarūpēṇa hatvā nayati vālinam..
Kṣiptān vr̥kṣān samāvidhya vipulāśca tathā śilāḥ.
Vālī vajrasamairbāṇairvajrēṇēva nipātitaḥ.. (19. 11-12 IV. )
i.e. O mother of a surviving son! go back and protect your son Aňgada.Yama (Antaka) in the disguise of Rãma, after having killed Vãli, is taking him away. After trees and a number of rocks hurled by Vãli were destroyed with thunder-bolt arrows (of Rãma) Vãli fell like a lightning.
|क्षेप्तारं पर्वतेन्द्राणां वज्राणामिव वासवम्।
महावातसमाविष्टं महामेघौघनिःस्वनम्।। (IV. 19.22)
|Kṣēptāraṁ parvatēndrāṇāṁ vajrāṇāmiva vāsavam.
Mahāvātasamāviṣṭaṁ mahāmēghaughaniḥsvanam.. (IV. 19.22)
i.e. Tara saw her husband who hurled heaviest of rocks (at his foes) as Indra discharges his thunderbolt and who had the fury of a tempest and thundered like a mass of huge clouds.
Here it is important to note that Vãlï had hurled trees and rocks at Rãma who first destroyed them and thereafter killed Vãli. Here is a situation where Vãli is assailant and has thrown a number of trees and rocks. Thus his attack must have continued for some time. Therefore there is no question of Rãma killing Vãli from concealed position. The subsequent passages are interpolations to show Rãma’s prowess that the valiant Vãli who had kept Rãvana under his arm-pit, was killed by Rãma with one and only arrow.
His friendship with Vibhishana is equally engrossing. The battle between Rãma and Rãvana was so unique that it could not be compared with anything else. Therefore, Vãlmïki wrote:-
|गगनं गगनाकारं सागरः सागरोपमः।
|Gaganaṁ gaganākāraṁ sāgaraḥ sāgarōpamaḥ.
As sky can be compared with only sky's shape and ocean cannot be compared with anything else. Similarly, the battle between Rãma and Rãvana can be compared with it only and nothing else.
When Rãvana, who was tormentor of Rãma and Vibhishana, was killed, Vibhishana was in dilemma whether to perform last rites or not. But Rãma, the ideal person, purushottama, gave this perpetually sane advice to him:-
|मरणान्तानि वैराणि निर्वृत्तं नः प्रयोजनम्।
क्रियतामस्य संस्कारो ममाप्येष यथा तव।। (VI. III. 100)
|Maraṇāntāni vairāṇi nirvr̥ttaṁ naḥ prayōjanam.
Kriyatāmasya sanskārō mamāpyēṣa yathā tava.. (Pu. III. 100)
i.e. Hostilities continue till death (only). Our purpose is accompanished. Let his obsequies be performed. He is now equally mine as he is yours.
The beauty of Rãma’s advice is that after death everyone should forget the rival’s tortures and should show utmost courtesy to the dead and adopt him as his family member.
Rãma’s relation with Hanuman is universally known. Rãma expressed his gratitude to Hanuman on many occasions. But look at the beauty of Rãma’s universal gratitude to Hanuman in the following words:-
|एकैकस्योपकारस्य प्राणान् दास्यामि ते कपे।
शेषस्येहोपकाराणां भवाम ऋणिनो वयम्।। (vii. 40. 23)
|Ēkaikasyōpakārasya prāṇān dāsyāmi tē kapē.
Śēṣasyēhōpakārāṇāṁ bhavāma r̥ṇinō vayam.. (Vii. 40. 23)
For the repayment of gratitude for every act of yours I will have to sacrifice my life and for remaining acts I shall remain always indebted to you. But after having said so, Rãma thinks that he has not thought and expressed it properly, so he says:-
|मदङ्गे जीर्णतां यातु यत् त्वयोपकृतं कपे।
नरः प्रत्युपकाराणामापात्स्वायाति पात्रताम्।। (vii. 40. 24)
|Madaṅgē jīrṇatāṁ yātu yat tvayōpakr̥taṁ kapē.
Naraḥ pratyupakārāṇāmāpātsvāyāti pātratām.. (Vii. 40. 24)
Let all your work done for me digest in my body because if I desire for the return of the gratitude the implication will be that you should land in trouble; only then I will help you. But even the desire of one’s friend landing in trouble is sickening. Therefore let it be digested in my body. This care can be taken by a stature of Purushottama only.
Rama’s sympathy and empathy with the down-trodden is without any parallel. His treatment to Nishada-rãja Guha, Sabari and other Vana-vãsis is marvellous and this is the reason that the forest dwellers exclaim in the Bhãgavatapuranam:-
|न जन्म नूनं महतो न सौभगं
न वाङ् न बुद्धिर्नाकृतिस्तोषहेतुः।
तैर्यद् विसृष्टानपि नो वनौकस-
श्चकार सख्ये बत लक्ष्मणाग्रजः।। (5.19.7)
|Na janma nūnaṁ mahatō na saubhagaṁ
Na vāṅ na bud'dhirnākr̥tistōṣahētuḥ.
Tairyad visr̥ṣṭānapi nō vanaukasa -
Ścakāra sakhyē bata lakṣmaṇāgrajaḥ.. (5.19.7)
For him neither birth nor greatness nor fortune nor speech nor intellect nor face is the source of pleasing. This is the reason that he has made comradery with forest-dwellers.
The story of śambûka is a crude interpolation in the Uttarakãnda against the spirit of Rãmãyana.
Rãma’s assessment of a caring husband can be gleaned from his stay in the forest during his stay with his wife Sitã and after her abduction by Rãvana. It is again noticed after Sìtã’s banishment in Vãlmiki’s ashrama. This banishment appears cruel but when two factors are taken into account; they don’t appear so cruel. According to many recensions of the Vãlmïki Rãmãyana and Adhyãtma Rãmãyana, this banishment was done after discussing the plan with Sìtã for the better upbringing of sons Lava and Kuśa. In all recensions the instruction is clear to Lakşamana to drop Sìtã near Vãlmiki’s hermitage. But one must remember that he had to do it at the alter of ‘praja-ranjana.’ (pleasing his subjects) in accordance with his pledge:-
|स्नेहं दयां च सौख्यं च यदि वा जानकीमपि।
आराधनाय लोकानां मुंचतो नास्ति मे व्यथा।। (Uttara-rãmacharitam, I. 15)
|Snēhaṁ dayāṁ ca saukhyaṁ ca yadi vā jānakīmapi.
Ārādhanāya lōkānāṁ mun̄catō nāsti mē vyathā.. (Uttarā - rãmacharitam, ā'ī. 15)
For serving people, it does not pain me, if I have to sacrifice affection, mercy, comradery or even Jãnaki.
Rãma knows that the treatment meted to Sïtã was very unjust, But he had to surrender before the Rãjadharma because he knew-
|यथा हि कुरुते राजा प्रजा तमनुवर्तते। (VIII.43.19)
||Yathā hi kurutē rājā prajā tamanuvartatē. (VIII.43.19)
As a king does, subjects do follow him.
Rãma expresses his sense of guilt in abandoning, Sïtã and apologizes to Vãlmïki:-
|सेयं लोकभयाद् ब्रह्मन्नपाप्मेत्यभिजानता।
परित्यक्ता मया सीता तद् भवान् क्षन्तुमर्हसि।। (VII. 97.4)
|Sēyaṁ lōkabhayād brahmannapāpmētyabhijānatā.
Parityaktā mayā sītā tad bhavān kṣantumar'hasi.. (VII. 97.4)
Knowing full well that Sïtã was innocent, I abandoned Sïtã on account of the fear of people's opinion. Therefore he prayed to Vãlmïki to pardon him.
Even during the days of polygamy Rãma always maintained ‘eka-patni-vrata’ (devotion to one wife) and even after her entry into earth; she never married and kept gold-made Image of Sïtã by his side for the performance of sacrifices-
|न सीतायाः परां भार्यां वब्रे स रघुनन्दनः।
यज्ञे यज्ञे च पत्न्यर्थं जानकी कांचनीभवत्।। (VII. 99.8)
|Na sītāyāḥ parāṁ bhāryāṁ vabrē sa raghunandanaḥ.
Yajñē yajñē ca patn'yarthaṁ jānakī kān̄canībhavat.. (VII. 99.8)
i.e. Rãma did not take any woman other than Sitã as his wife and at every sacrifice the gold image of Jãnakï served as his wife.
This became ideal for subsequent times. The Karma-pradipa confirmed it by this illustration:-
|रामोऽपि कृत्वा सौवर्णीं सीतां पत्नीं यशस्विनीम्।
ईजे बहुविधैर्यज्ञैः सह भ्रातृभिरर्चितैः।। (III. 10)
|Rāmōpi kr̥tvā sauvarṇīṁ sītāṁ patnīṁ yaśasvinīm.
Ījē bahuvidhairyajñaiḥ saha bhrātr̥bhirarcitaiḥ.. (III. 10)
i.e. even Rãma prepared a golden image of Sìtã of high fame and with that as a substitute for his wife he performed various kinds of sacrifices with his brothers.
Rãma’s rule based on justice, equity and prosperity has been the dream of all great emperors of this country. Salient features of the Rãma-rãjya have been portrayed briefly but lucidly in the first canto of the Bãlakãnda of Vãlmîki Rãmãyan in the following ślokas:-
|प्रहृष्टमुदितो लोकस्तुष्टः पुष्टः सुधार्मिकः।
निरामयो ह्यरोगश्च दुर्भिक्षभयवर्जितः।।90।।
|Prahr̥ṣṭamuditō lōkastuṣṭaḥ puṣṭaḥ sudhārmikaḥ.
Nirāmayō hyarōgaśca durbhikṣabhayavarjitaḥ.. 90..
During the reign of Rãma (Rãma-rãjya) people will be quite delighted and cheerful, contented and well-fed, exceedingly religious, free from all physical and mental diseases, will never face the famine or fear of any kind. (90)
|न पुत्रमरणं केचिद् द्रक्ष्यन्ति पुरुषाः क्वचित्।
नार्यश्चाविधवा नित्यं भविष्यन्ति पतिव्रताः।।91।।
|Na putramaraṇaṁ kēcid drakṣyanti puruṣāḥ kvacit.
Nāryaścāvidhavā nityaṁ bhaviṣyanti pativratāḥ.. 91..
No one will witness the death of his child. Women will never become widows and they will remain devoted to their husbands (91).
|न चाग्निजं भयं किंचिन्नाप्सु मज्जन्ति जन्तवः।
न वातजं भयं किंचिन्नापिज्वरकृतं तथा।।92।।
|Na cāgnijaṁ bhayaṁ kin̄cinnāpsu majjanti jantavaḥ.
Na vātajaṁ bhayaṁ kin̄cinnāpijvarakr̥taṁ tathā.. 92..
There will be no fear from fire; nor living beings will ever be drowned in water. There will be no fear from wind nor will there be any fear from fever (92).
|न चापि क्षुद्भयं तत्र न तस्करभयं तथा।
नगराणि च राष्ट्राणि धनधान्ययुतानि च।।93।।
नित्यं प्रमुदिताः सर्वे यथा कृतयुगे तथा।
|Na cāpi kṣudbhayaṁ tatra na taskarabhayaṁ tathā.
Nagarāṇi ca rāṣṭrāṇi dhanadhān'yayutāni ca.. 93..
Nityaṁ pramuditāḥ sarvē yathā kr̥tayugē tathā.
There will be no fear of starvation nor will be any fear of thieves. All cities and countries will be full of riches and food-grains (93). All people will be always happy as in the Satya-yuga.
This is the description of Rãma-rãjya wherein all persons, irrespective of any distinction, will be always prosperous and happy. They will never suffer from hunger, disease, crime, etc.
In the Yuddhakãnda also there is a discription of Rãmarãjya in the 128th canto in the following ślokas:-
|न पर्यदेवन् विधवा न च व्यालकृतं भयम्।
न व्याधिजं भयं चासीद् रामे राज्यं प्रशासति।।98।।
|Na paryadēvan vidhavā na ca vyālakr̥taṁ bhayam.
Na vyādhijaṁ bhayaṁ cāsīd rāmē rājyaṁ praśāsati.. 98..
While Rãma ruled the kingdom (of Ayodhyã) there were no widows to lament (the loss of their husbands), there was no danger from snakes nor was any fear of diseases. (98).
|निर्दस्युरभवल्लोको नानर्थं कश्चिदस्पृशत्।
न च स्म वृद्धा बालानां प्रेतकार्याणि कुर्वते।।99।।
|Nirdasyurabhavallōkō nānarthaṁ kaścidaspr̥śat.
Na ca sma vr̥d'dhā bālānāṁ prētakāryāṇi kurvatē.. 99..
|निर्दस्युरभवल्लोको नानर्थं कश्चिदस्पृशत्।
न च स्म वृद्धा बालानां प्रेतकार्याणि कुर्वते।।99।।
|Nirdasyurabhavallōkō nānarthaṁ kaścidaspr̥śat.
Na ca sma vr̥d'dhā bālānāṁ prētakāryāṇi kurvatē.. 99..
The world was free from robbers and there was no untoward incident in the kingdom. Old people never performed obsequies of young children. (99)
|सर्वं मुदितमेवासीत् सर्वो धर्मपरोऽभवत्।
राममेवानुपश्यन्तो नाभ्यहिंसन् परस्परम्।।100।।
|Sarvaṁ muditamēvāsīt sarvō dharmaparō̕bhavat.
Rāmamēvānupaśyantō nābhyahinsan parasparam..100..
All were happy and all were devoted to righteousness. Mere look at Rãma prevented creatures from mutual violence. (100)
|आसन् वर्षसहस्राणि तथा पुत्रसहस्रिणः।
निरामया विशोकाश्च रामे राज्यं प्रशासति।।101।।
|Āsan varṣasahasrāṇi tathā putrasahasriṇaḥ.
Nirāmayā viśōkāśca rāmē rājyaṁ praśāsati..101..
During Rãma-rajya, people lived upto a thousand years and had thousand children. (here a thousand denotes not exact number but just a large number but just a large number). All people remained free from diseases and grief. (101)
|रामो रामो राम इति प्रजानामभवन् कथाः।
रामभूतं जगदभूद् रामे राज्यं प्रशासति।।102।।
|Rāmō rāmō rāma iti prajānāmabhavan kathāḥ.
Rāmabhūtaṁ jagadabhūd rāmē rājyaṁ praśāsati..102..
So long Rãma ruled the kingdom, Rãma, Rãma and Rãma (alone) was the talk amongst subjects and the whole world was Rãma. (102)
|नित्यमूला नित्यफलास्तरवस्तत्र पुष्पिताः।
कामवर्षी च पर्जन्यः सुखस्पर्शश्च मारुतः।।103।।
|Nityamūlā nityaphalāstaravastatra puṣpitāḥ.
Kāmavarṣī ca parjan'yaḥ sukhasparśaśca mārutaḥ..103..
Trees in the Kingdom ever remained firmly rooted and bore fruits and flowers perpetually. It used to rain on people’s desire and the wind was delightful to the touch. (103)
|ब्राह्मणाः क्षत्रिया वैश्याः शूद्रा लोभविवर्जिताः।
स्वकर्मसु प्रवर्तन्ते तुष्टाः स्वैरेव कर्मभिः।।104।।
|Brāhmaṇāḥ kṣatriyā vaiśyāḥ śūdrā lōbhavivarjitāḥ.
Svakarmasu pravartantē tuṣṭāḥ svairēva karmabhiḥ..104..
Brahmanas, Kshatriyas, Vaiśyas and œudras were devoid of greed and happy with their own duties. (104)
|आसन् प्रजा धर्मपरा रामे शासति नानृताः।
सर्वे लक्षणसम्पन्नाः सर्वे धर्मपरायणाः।।105।।
|Āsan prajā dharmaparā rāmē śāsati nānr̥tāḥ.
Sarvē lakṣaṇasampannāḥ sarvē dharmaparāyaṇāḥ..105..
During Rãma-rajya subjects were righteous and never told lies. All were endowed with auspicious features and were pursuing dharma. (105)
|दशवर्षसहस्राणि दशवर्षशतानि च।
भ्रातृभिः सहितः श्रीमान् रामो राज्यमकारयत्।।106।।
|Daśavarṣasahasrāṇi daśavarṣaśatāni ca.
Bhrātr̥bhiḥ sahitaḥ śrīmān rāmō rājyamakārayat..106..
Rãma ruled the kingdom with brothers for eleven thousand years. (106)
This is the description of Rãma-rãjya in the Vãlmiki’s Rãmãyana and in the similar style it has been other purãnas. Establishment of the Rãmarajya has been the dream of all virtuous kings in the country and even that of Mahtma Gandhi.
But in people’s perception Rãma’s significance lies more in his tyãga (sacrifice) and vanavãsa (forest-dwelling) than in his just rule. And this sentiment has been echoed in the following verse of the Bhãgavata:-
|स्मरतां हृदि विन्यस्य विद्धं दण्डककण्टकैः।
स्वपादपल्लवं राम आत्मज्योतिरगात् ततः।।
|Smaratāṁ hr̥di vin'yasya vid'dhaṁ daṇḍakakaṇṭakaiḥ.
Svapādapallavaṁ rāma ātmajyōtiragāt tataḥ..
Having established his feet embeded with thornes of Dandakãranya Rãma left to his own place full of his own jyoti.
The author of Bhãgavata further submits:-
|यस्यामलं नृपसदस्सु यशोधुनापि
पादाम्बुजं रघुपतिं शरणं प्रपद्ये।। 2.11
|Yasyāmalaṁ nr̥pasadas'su yaśōdhunāpi
Pādāmbujaṁ raghupatiṁ śaraṇaṁ prapadyē.. 2.11
I.e. I take refuge in that Raghupati Rãma whose unsullied fame is capable of destroying (all) sings and serves as an adornment to digpalas (protectors of the directions) and is sung by sages in royal courts even today and whose lotus-feet are touched by the crests of the ruler of the heaven (Indra) and custodian of wealth (Kuber).