“Eternal time in the form of death having arrived, you, O lowest of the Rakshasas, forcibly took me away from my husband. Now that very same death will kill you, your Rakshasa associates, and all those dwelling in your palaces.” (Sita Devi speaking to Ravana, Valmiki Ramayana, Aranya Kand, 56.17)
मां प्रधृष्य स ते कालः प्राप्तोऽयं राक्षसाधम।
आत्मनो राक्षसानां च वधायान्तःपुरस्य च।।
māṃ pradhṛṣya sa te kālaḥ prāpto’yaṃ rākṣasādhama।
ātmano rākṣasānāṃ ca vadhāyāntaḥpurasya ca।।
Things were going great. King Dasharatha of Ayodhya finally filled the void. The one thing missing from his life, which would impact future generations deleteriously, which would leave an important debt unpaid, happened to arrive after the chance meeting with Rishya-shringa.
Dasharatha completed a yajna that brought about the birth of four beautiful, handsome and Divine sons. They were expansions of Vishnu, with Rama the full incarnation, and the other three partially empowered so. The arrival confirmed the eternal truth later spoken by Shri Krishna as to the appearances of the Divine.
यदा यदा हि धर्मस्य
ग्लानिर् भवति भारत
तदात्मानं सृजाम्य् अहम्
yadā yadā hi dharmasya
glānir bhavati bhārata
tadātmānaṁ sṛjāmy aham
Though the four sons essentially paired off after birth, everyone was happy. The chief queen, Kausalya, enjoyed the childhood of her beloved Rama. Though Bharata was born to Kaikeyi and Lakshmana and Shatrughna to Sumitra, no one considered these separations to matter. Rama was the eldest and most respected brother. Every queen considered Him to be their own son.
Just as death takes away everything constructed from the time after birth, so the happiness in Ayodhya would not last. Even in the direct presence of the Almighty there would be pain, heartache, forced separation, intense envy, wickedness, and loss of intelligence.
For this episode Kaikeyi was the main culprit. Just as Rama was set to be installed as the successor to the throne, with Dasharatha peacefully and voluntarily passing control over the kingdom to his most cherished son, the youngest queen decided to intervene.
She took advantage of Dasharatha’s kindness and dedication to honor. Kaikeyi cashed in on two boons previously offered to her. There was no prior stipulation as to time and circumstance. There were no exceptions or loopholes. Dasharatha was that pleased with Kaikeyi that he essentially gave her a blank check.
Kaikeyi’s envy ruined everything. Bharata was made the next king, though he never coveted such a post. Rama had to leave the kingdom for fourteen years. This separation caused Dasharatha to quit his body, unable to bear the pain. The blameless Sita, Rama’s wife, also left with Rama, as did Lakshmana.
Blessed by boons offered by Lord Brahma, the creator, Ravana rose to power. Further blessed by Mahadeva, the ten-headed leader of Lanka was practically invincible. He overtook Lanka by force and even assumed ownership of the flying vehicle known as Pushpaka, which previously belonged to his half-brother named Kuvera.
Though a vile character who ate human beings, Ravana was generally safe and secure, as were the people under his care. Then everything changed. He could not control his lust. He decided to take Sita Devi by force, after hearing of her matchless beauty. She was already married to Rama, but that did not deter the wicked ruler of Lanka.
As Sita directly explained to him later, Ravana was bringing doom upon both himself and the people of Lanka. They would have to suffer the consequences. Though Rama was not personally witness to the crime, His eyes are everywhere. Ravana would not be able to hide for long. Hanuman would find him first, and the information gathered would lead to the destruction of Lanka, with Sita’s rescue to follow.
The Pandava brothers suffered the terrible tragedy of losing a father at a young age. They still had their mother, the chaste Kunti Devi. Everyone in the kingdom of Hastinapura could have lived happily and peacefully amongst one another. They had the common link of the relationship to Bhishma, who was respected by everyone alike.
Duryodhana, the son of Dhritarashtra, had other ideas. He unlawfully usurped the kingdom that rightfully belonged to Pandu’s sons. The Pandava brothers did not object vehemently enough. They waited until the time was right to bring justice to the thief, and unfortunately there was plenty of collateral damage. It was the war to end all wars, preceded by a wonderful conversation between Krishna and Arjuna, who was the leading fighter for the Pandava side.
These are some of the more notable examples from the history documented in Vedic literature, but such issues are commonplace in a material existence. There is no permanent stay in this world, and so there will always be some kind of interference, rivalry, or jealousy. It can occur within one’s own family, as Vibhishana was nothing like his brother Ravana.
As Kunti Devi later revealed, though the times were trying, though there was tremendous difficulty caused by Duryodhana, at least in those moments she and her family were better able to remember the lotus feet of the Supreme Lord. He protected them the entire time, and He will do the same for you and me in our journey through life and beyond.
Doing the same for you and me,
Where His lotus feet to see.
Sometimes in trouble through,
Pain and heartache too.
A single person responsible there,
Perhaps even from family where.
But victory on the other side,
Dharma eventually to preside.
Categories: the three