“Then I, resembling a cloud and having molten-golden earrings, made my way into Vishvamitra’s ashrama, for I was very proud of my strength due to the boon given to me by Lord Brahma. As soon as I entered, Rama quickly noticed me and raised His weapon. Though He saw me, Rama strung His bow without any fear.” (Maricha speaking to Ravana, Valmiki Ramayana, Aranya Kand, 38.16-17)
बली दत्तवरोदर्पादाजगाम तदाश्रमम्।।
तेन दृष्टः प्रविष्टोऽहं सहसैवोद्यतायुधः।
मां तु दृष्ट्वा धनुस्सज्यमसम्भ्रान्तश्चकार सः।।
balī dattavarodarpādājagāma tadāśramam।।
tena dṛṣṭaḥ praviṣṭo’haṃ sahasaivodyatāyudhaḥ।
māṃ tu dṛṣṭvā dhanussajyamasambhrāntaścakāra saḥ।।
“I am sure you are familiar with the latest round of censorship that is going on. It has gotten so extreme that it is laughable. There is no rhyme or reason. You can’t pinpoint it to a particular political party or ideology.
“For instance, I saw someone post information about how to run for local elections. How to sign up to be a local leader, what meetings to go to, the application process, and so forth. Even that got taken down. Someone says the wrong thing about a person in power, and bam, their video gets deleted.
“It turns out that the governments are colluding with these platforms to do the censoring. It is ridiculous to me, because censorship is an obvious admission of guilt. If you are honest and telling the truth, you generally have nothing to hide. The thieves are the ones who put a stop to any honest investigation into a particular event or issue.
“I worry that there will be carryover into spiritual life, that pretty soon any mention of religion or God will be censored. The authorities will label it ‘misinformation.’ It will be too dangerous to share with the general public. What can be done if such a thing occurs?”
This kind of dishonest behavior has been ongoing since the beginning of time. Shastra describes that there is a perennial struggle between good and evil, symbolized by the physical conflict between the suras and the asuras.
The suras are supposedly the good guys. They align with principles in righteousness, dharma. They have a general allegiance to God, though in the struggles of material existence they sometimes forget the alignment. This may occur even soon after a direct interaction with God the person, such as with Indra and the first Govardhana Puja.
The asuras are on the other team, so to speak. They hate God. They subtly acknowledge His presence and superior standing, but they are not happy about it. They would rather try to ascend to the topmost post in the universe through their own effort, whether within the bounds of the law or not.
Since the asuras align with adharma, their entire existence is one big lie. Dishonesty is at the foundation of their way of thinking, their guiding philosophy in life. Therefore, it is only natural that they would lie, cheat, steal, obstruct and censor.
We have the example of Maricha from the Ramayana. He vividly describes how he used to lead attack missions in the forest of Dandaka, with the purpose of obstructing religious sacrifice, yajna. The other side was neither expecting attack nor looking for a fight. They had retreated to the forest area specifically to find a peaceful place to practice religion, to come closer to God.
Maricha was part of a Rakshasa clan based out of Lanka. Rakshasas are a kind of asura, more degraded in the sense that they will eat human beings. If you descend that low in character, censorship will not be a big deal; the line of decency has long since been crossed.
Maricha and his friends liked to attack the sacrificial fire just as everything was about to complete. Like watching someone build a house and then blowing it up just when they are about to install the final board.
The Rakshasas could not live with an honest adversary in the world. They knew that righteousness eventually wins out. You can’t have people understanding the Absolute Truth, that there is more to life than eating, sleeping, mating and defending, if you are intent on sin.
Therefore, the bad guys felt compelled to obstruct. What was the other side going to do, anyway? They were helpless. Just like the large companies holding a monopoly-grip over the online publishing space, there was no competition that could match up.
Of course the Rakshasas forgot about God Himself. He is the ultimate controller, Parameshvara. The obstruction to yajna would not last long. The Supreme Lord would descend as a supposed human being and personally provide defense. He once taught Maricha a lesson never to be forgotten.
In the same way, the asura-like governments of the world may censor vital information from the public. They may try to obstruct genuine worship of God, but if the desire is sincere then no outside force can break the connection in consciousness, yoga. This is Rama’s world, after all, and He has final say over how events will unfold.
Rama with final say,
On how events to play.
So that eventually to win,
And rooted out is sin.
Who censorship using,
And honest position losing.
But like to Maricha teaching,
Lesson when too far reaching.