“Smelling the fragrance of Rama and Lakshmana, like a dog smelling a tiger, certainly you will not be able to stand.” (Sita Devi speaking to Ravana, Valmiki Ramayana, Sundara Kand, 21.31-32)
न हि गन्धमुपाघ्राय रामलक्ष्मणयोस्त्वया ||
शक्यं संदर्शने स्थातुं शुना शार्दूलयोरिव |
na hi gandhamupāghrāya rāmalakṣmaṇayostvayā ||
śakyaṃ saṃdarśane sthātuṃ śunā śārdūlayoriva |
There is the saying that truth does not mind being questioned, while a lie does not like to be challenged. The reality manifests in all aspects of life, but particularly in corrupt institutions. The leader might have cheated their way to the top, stealing the latest election out in the open.
If anyone should challenge their legitimacy, that person will be removed from the institution. In corporate circles, their accounts are cancelled. Without any prior notice, without providing a valid reason, those protecting the cheater will do everything possible to chill and silence the dissenters.
The cheaters fill the void left by the absence of valid criticism by constantly boasting about themselves. It is like listening to state-run media; everything is one-sided. Pile on against the opposition, labeling their claims conspiracy theories and saying that every accusation has already been debunked.
“There is no evidence for this or that. The fact-checkers say otherwise. No credible source will back up their claims.”
If you do happen to question the cheater directly, they are not too happy about it. In this light, we can study the historical figure of Ravana. The ten-headed leader of Lanka was indeed proud of himself, but he was not too thrilled when a certain princess called him out on his cowardice, depravity, and lack of moral character. There are certain things Ravana certainly would not like to be reminded of.
1. Didn’t you steal that plane from your brother?
“That sure is a nice airplane that you fly around in. It facilitates travel to different destinations across the three worlds. No wonder people are afraid of you, and that you are known as the one with the terrifying scream. Credit to Mahadeva for giving you that name, as it matches your character.
“But one thing I wanted to ask. Didn’t you get that plane from your brother? Didn’t you basically steal it from him? Why would you do that? If you are this hugely powerful person that everyone is supposed to respect, shouldn’t you be above harassing someone like Kuvera? Couldn’t you have someone build a similar plane and this way the title to the vehicle would be clean?”
2. Didn’t Vali beat you up?
“You are telling Sita Devi how powerful you are, that she should be honored to be courted by such a king. You are the best catch in the whole world. Why, not even Indra, the king of heaven, could compare to you. Your own son got his name from having defeated Indra.
“But hey, didn’t you get taught a huge lesson by Vali, the Vanara from Kishkindha? You even snuck up on him while he was seated in prayer. It should have been easy. Sure, attacking an enemy from behind is against the rules, but since when do you care about that?
“Anyway, I believe he got ahold of you and then dragged you around for a while. Weren’t your heads stuck in his armpit? I’m guessing that didn’t smell too nice. Remind me again how you are the strongest king in the world.”
3. Didn’t you once get aggressive with a woman?
“Couldn’t find someone your own size? You’re so proud of defeating other kings, but I heard that you once forced yourself on a woman. Because of what resulted, you got cursed for the future. If you ever try something like that again, you will die instantly. What kind of person would lay a hand on a woman who was innocent and blameless?
4. Didn’t you create a ruse in the forest of Dandaka?
“Sita Devi compared you to a dog. That if you were ever in plain sight of her husband, Shri Rama, you would run away instantly. She compared Him to a tiger. That’s a pretty stinging insult, but what can you say in response?
“Didn’t you have to create a ruse to take Sita away? You are so proud of your strength, but you had to use deception in order to take a princess. You couldn’t fight Rama directly because you would have been defeated instantly and soundly.”
5. Don’t you eat people like it’s your job?
“You want others to be impressed by the kingdom of Lanka. It has gold everywhere. The buildings and palaces are beautiful. No one will argue that, but what about the character of the people? They are Rakshasas, which are vile, man-eating ogres. How can you be proud of anything when you are degraded to the point that you will eat human beings? Why would any civilized person want anything to do with you?”
On the other side, the acharya is willing to take meaningful and genuine inquiries. There is nothing to hide, and there is an honest explanation for every principle, recommendation, strategy and guidance provided by shastra. Truth does not mind being questioned, and Sita’s husband is Truth personified.
Not like Ravana living a lie,
Where on deception to rely.
Who from others stealing,
And paranoia over future fearing.
Worship Shri Rama ideal,
For higher experience to feel.
Who Absolute Truth and more,
By Sita and Lakshmana adored.
Categories: the five