“Just as a tree starts to blossom during the proper season, so the doer of sinful deeds inevitably reaps the horrible fruit of their actions at the appropriate time.” (Lord Rama speaking to Khara, Valmiki Ramayana, Aranya Kand, 29.8)
अवश्यं लभते जन्तुः फलं पापस्य कर्मणः।
घोरं पर्यागते काले द्रुमाः पुष्पमिवार्तवम्।।
avaśyaṃ labhate jantuḥ phalaṃ pāpasya karmaṇaḥ।
ghoraṃ paryāgate kāle drumāḥ puṣpamivārtavam।।
It is only understandable to turn to prayer in times of great difficulty. Where the reality of the fragile nature of the body-life combination hits home. Where the event known to be inevitable gives a reminder of its closely approaching arrival.
Nature’s law must still operate. It is only fair, after all. Prayers will not do much, if not directed towards a higher purpose. These are the teachings of His Divine Grace A.C. Bhaktivedanta Swami Prabhupada, who follows in a line of self-realized leaders originating with the Supreme Personality of Godhead Himself.
On the occasion of Rama Navami, we celebrate the rare, but special instances of God the person delivering the appropriate consequences to action. As His words are eternally beautiful, so are the lessons He imparts through His lila.
The setting for one of those lessons was the Dandaka forest. As a brief background, a group of man-eating ogres had been invading the area on a regular basis. They were looking for humans to eat. They waited until nighttime, so as to not be seen. They chose an opportune moment for them, when their future prey would be otherwise distracted.
Notably, those victims were the most innocent in society. Vedic teachings give the formula for both material and spiritual happiness. If a society desires peace, prosperity and an absence of distress, there are certain entities which must be protected.
The brahmanas are foremost among them. This is the priestly class, determined specifically by guna and karma. The material qualities must be there, along with corresponding work. The brahmanas are very dear to the Supreme Lord, as they generally do not look for an income, material comforts, or personal advancement. In response to that sacrifice, they are protected by those in charge of preventing injury [kshatriya].
In the Dandaka forest the brahmanas did not expect any trouble. The area was away from civilized society. I am not bothering anyone by taking up residence in a remote place. There I am better able to fix my consciousness on the lotus feet of the Divine.
Those plans were ruined by the Rakshasas coming from Lanka. They would attack during the time of yajna. This was the moment of fruition for the brahmanas in their religious efforts. The Rakshasas knew that as more yajnas were successfully conducted, the stronger the forces of good would be, which were concentrated in the heavenly region.
The Rakshasas would attack in a most cowardly way. Taking false forms and then eating their victims, they assumed everything went unnoticed. After all, there were no immediate consequences. It would be as if the criminals were let out of jail and the government did nothing to stop it.
As mentioned previously, the laws of nature are not deficient. They respond at the appropriate time and with the proper punishment. The avatara of Rama spoke this lesson to one of the greatest sinners, Khara. He was soon to meet the fate of the many brahmanas he had previously killed.
This moment is glorious because it is another instance of the victory of dharma over adharma. It proves that the ever-watchful eye does not blink. Antaryami witnesses everything. This is one of Rama’s features. While He typically remains neutral and allows His material nature to handle punishment and reward, in special cases He personally intervenes.
On the negative side the intervention is with the Rakshasas of Lanka, and on the positive it is with the devotees who are always thinking of Him. Rama boosts their devotional efforts to a level empowering a guaranteed return trip to the spiritual world after the completion of this life, where the harsh material nature no longer applies.
On this Rama Navami day,
To Sita’s husband to pray.
That my punishments just,
For proper arrival trust.
Like with demon Khara found,
Once on Dandaka ground.
That watching lotus-eye never closing,
Squashing those dharma opposing.