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).
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:-
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:-
During Rãma-rajya subjects were righteous and never told lies. All were endowed with auspicious features and were pursuing dharma. (105)
Brahmanas, Kshatriyas, Vaiśyas and œudras were devoid of greed and happy with their own duties. (104)
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)
So long Rãma ruled the kingdom, Rãma, Rãma and Rãma (alone) was the talk amongst subjects and the whole world was Rãma. (102)
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)
All were happy and all were devoted to righteousness. Mere look at Rãma prevented creatures from mutual violence. (100)
The world was free from robbers and there was no untoward incident in the kingdom. Old people never performed obsequies of young children. (99)
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).
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:-
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).
No one will witness the death of his child. Women will never become widows and they will remain devoted to their husbands (91).
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)
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:-
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:-
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-
As a king does, subjects do follow him.
Rãma expresses his sense of guilt in abandoning, Sïtã and apologizes to Vãlmïki:-
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-
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:-
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:-
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:-
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:-
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:-
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:-
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.
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.
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-
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:-
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:-
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:-
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:-
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
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-
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:-
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:-
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.
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.
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:-
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.
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:-
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.
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.
He is always sought by righteous persons, as the ocean by rivers. He is noble, equally treats all and always wears a pleasant countenance.
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.
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.
He is like Brahmã, owner of splendour, sustainer and slayer of enemies. He is protector of all living beings and defender of Dharma.
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.
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.
Nãrada further said:-
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-
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-