December 2010
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Lessons from Ramayana – Part 6

Many world religions give too much importance to us ‘surrendering’ to God’s will. At one place in the Ramayana, Lord Ram also shows the same attitude. Though his gesture also shows his royal lineage and dharma of a king; we can think more on the lines to come up with our conclusions.

= Surrender to the Lord =

When Vibheeshana comes to join Raama’s side; not everyone is ready to accept him. The Vaanara king Sugriva shows a strong protest, as do many other warriors. But Raama thinks otherwise and among opinion on statesmanship, says this:

“But there is a stronger reason. When one comes to me for refuge, I cannot reject him. This is my dharma. It does not matter if as a result of this I suffer. Even at the cost of life I must do this duty of mine. Never can I deviate from it. Verily, I tell you, even if Raavana himself came to me for sanctuary, I would accept him without hesitation. How then can I reject his brother who has done me no wrong? Go and fetch Vibheeshana.”

In the Vaishnava tradition, this episode, in which Vibheeshana is taken by the Prince into his camp and innermost council, is held to be as important as the Bhagawat Gita episode in the Mahabharata.

It illustrates the doctrine that the Lord accepts all who in absolute surrender seek shelter at his feet, regardless of their merits or defects. Their sins are burnt out by the mere act of surrender.

This is a message of hope to erring humanity. It is the heart of the Vaishanava faith that there is hope for the worst of us if only we surrender ourselves to the Lord.

Those who look on Raama as an avatar of God find in this utterance the essence of scriptures. The solemn assurance which Krishna gives to Arjuna later in the Gita, that assurance the Prince of Ayodhya declares in the presence of Sugreeva and others in this Vibheeshana episode of the Raamayana.

This divine assurance is the life and light that a world filled with sin and darkness, needs.

(C. Rajgopalachari; Ramayana; Ch LXV; The Doctrine of Surrender and Grace; P413-414)

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