Three Things Rama Does Not Take Into Consideration When Making Friends

[Hanuman meeting Rama]“Sent by the great soul Sugriva, the king of Vanaras, I have arrived here. My name is Hanuman and I am a Vanara.” (Valmiki Ramayana, Kishkindha-kanda, 3.21)

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प्राप्तोऽहं प्रेषितस्तेन सुग्रीवेण महात्मना |
राज्ञा वानरमुख्यानां हनुमान्नाम वानर ||

prāpto’haṃ preṣitastena sugrīveṇa mahātmanā |
rājñā vānaramukhyānāṃ hanumānnāma vānara ||

It’s an unavoidable reality of the corporate world. Everyone is operating off of self-interest, after all. This means that if the interest fails to be met at a certain point, the relationship is vulnerable. Life events could trigger changes, as well. Marriage and family may mean that the responsibilities have increased and that a better opportunity is necessary.

Hence the constant shuffle of employees at the firm. Today a new person is starting. It is their first day. You remember yours. The leader within the particular group sat you down at your computer. They didn’t tell you much else. You had to figure things out for yourself. Password not working? Need new software installed? How and where to request time off? Call for help. Email support. So impersonal, you thought to yourself.

With the new employee, you notice people making judgments based on appearance. They take note of the speech pattern, discerning a region of origin based on the accent. They try to find out from which company the person just came. Where do they live? How long is their commute? What is their political affiliation?

In this regard Shri Rama stands out. It is not surprising, considering that He is the Supreme Personality of Godhead, but from the Ramayana we see how His kindness, compassion and friendship extend beyond all boundaries typically created within societies.

1. From which community you come

Rama is a celebrated avatara of the Supreme Lord Vishnu. He is neither a self-proclaimed God nor a manmade creation after the fact. The genuine incarnations get listed in shastra, which is scripture. In programming language terms, Rama is a kind of instantiation of a class of truth presented by Shri Krishna in the Bhagavad-gita.

यदा यदा हि धर्मस्य
ग्लानिर् भवति भारत
अभ्युत्थानम् अधर्मस्य
तदात्मानं सृजाम्य् अहम्

yadā yadā hi dharmasya
glānir bhavati bhārata
abhyutthānam adharmasya
tadātmānaṁ sṛjāmy aham

“Whenever and wherever there is a decline in religious practice, O descendant of Bharata, and a predominant rise of irreligion-at that time I descend Myself.” (Lord Krishna, Bhagavad-gita, 4.7)

Rama assumes the role of kshatriya, which is a defender of the innocent. They protect from injury. Rama is the eldest son of King Dasharatha, appearing in the Raghu dynasty of kings. Therefore, it would be perfectly understandable for the Supreme Lord in that manifestation to only make friends with those in a similar class. Perhaps only spend time with family members, such as the three younger brothers.

[Rama and Lakshmana with Jatayu]But from the Ramayana we see that Rama does not make distinctions based on the community of origin. He is just as loyal to the tribal leader Nishada as He is to those in the higher castes. He gives liberation to the vulture named Jatayu and frees a woman from the curse of remaining within stone.

2. Which language you speak

Sanskrit is the language of the gods. Difficult to decipher through simply reading, experts are able to understand perfectly just through hearing. Think of taking three and four words and mashing them together, with spellings altered to be compatible with the adjacent sounds.

[Hanuman meeting Rama]Yet Rama is not partial to a particular way of speaking. He can understand the crow named Kakabhushundhi. He makes friends with the Vanaras in Kishkindha, who are monkey-like. In whatever place He goes, the Supreme Lord understands the language of the people and He does not look down at anyone for the way they talk. He must comprehend everything, as He is within every heart as the Supersoul.

3. What you have eaten

At one point in time, Shri Rama forms an alliance with a Rakshasa named Vibhishana. That race of people is not only demon-like, but they eat human beings. Though the saintly person typically consumes only clean foods, like those in the mode of goodness, if there is pure devotion then every kind of sinful behavior gets absolved. Who among us hasn’t made a mistake? Who can be blamed for following the ways of their ancestors?

The husband of Sita Devi is so grateful that a single gesture done in His favor gets remembered forever. The friends are rewarded handsomely, though they never seek such benefit from the one who can give everything. Rather, simply the ability to remember Him is enough, as exemplified by the behavior of Shri Hanuman.

In Closing:

Community coming from where,

Shri Rama not to care.

Neither the language to speak,

Or what in the past to eat.

Words to Him intelligible,

For friendship everyone eligible.

Single good deed with Him forever,

His friends forgetting Him never.

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