“Being under the influence of illusion, I underestimated Rama and took Him to be a mere child. Thus I ran towards Vishvamitra’s sacrificial altar. With that, Rama released an acute arrow capable of destroying His enemies. Upon hitting me, that arrow forcefully threw me away to an ocean one hundred yojanas [eight hundred miles] away.” (Maricha speaking to Ravana, Valmiki Ramayana, Aranya Kand, 38.18-19)
अवजानन्नहं मोहाद्बालोऽयमिति राघवम्।
विश्वामित्रस्य तां वेदिमभ्यधावं कृतत्वरः।।
तेन मुक्तस्ततो बाणः शितश्शत्रुनिबर्हणः।
तेनाहं त्वाहतः क्षिप्तस्समुद्रे शतयोजने।।
avajānannahaṃ mohādbālo’yamiti rāghavam।
viśvāmitrasya tāṃ vedimabhyadhāvaṃ kṛtatvaraḥ।।
tena muktastato bāṇaḥ śitaśśatrunibarhaṇaḥ।
tenāhaṃ tvāhataḥ kṣiptassamudre śatayojane।।
“Why would someone be an enemy of Hari? It doesn’t make sense to me. It is like hating on the sun. That bright, shiny object distributes its heat and light evenly. It is the epitome of neutrality and fairness. It is the Switzerland of planets.
“I view God the same way. He is not partial to anyone. He does not exclude anyone from achieving the highest destination. I realize that some of the less intelligent say that only the people belonging to a specific faith will reach heaven, that others will be condemned forever.
“But upon a few minutes of contemplation that makes absolutely no sense. While we may not have direct, perceptible evidence of heaven, we have our current existence, which we can validate. If God created heaven, then He is surely responsible for this realm, too.
“Well, every person alive right now does not belong to the same faith. Yet they are still breathing. They are eating. The sun and other aspects of nature apply to them. The same would hold true of heaven; no one would be prohibited based on a sectarian designation.
समो ऽहं सर्व-भूतेषु
न मे द्वेष्यो ऽस्ति न प्रियः
ये भजन्ति तु मां भक्त्या
मयि ते तेषु चाप्य् अहम्
samo ‘haṁ sarva-bhūteṣu
na me dveṣyo ‘sti na priyaḥ
ye bhajanti tu māṁ bhaktyā
mayi te teṣu cāpy aham
“I envy no one, nor am I partial to anyone. I am equal to all. But whoever renders service unto Me in devotion is a friend, is in Me, and I am also a friend to him.” (Lord Krishna, Bhagavad-gita, 9.29)
“This aligns with the teaching in Bhagavad-gita, spoken directly by Shri Krishna. This is why I am puzzled. Why would anyone be inimical? We read in the Ramayana of Maricha and his Rakshasa friends attacking the sacrificial fire of Vishvamitra. The fiends were accustomed to success, but they met resistance when Rama was there, standing guard.
“Any honest person would view Rama as the hero in that situation. He is defending the helpless. He is the protector of the innocent. Just simply change your ways and the mercy of Hari will be there for you. Why is it so difficult to understand? Wouldn’t the intelligent person choose the side of Vishvamitra and other saintly people?”
The question in this area is akin to asking why someone would choose adharma over dharma. Why are there bad people, at all? Why does one person lie and another tell the truth? Why does one person sacrifice themselves to protect innocent life, while another tries to kill as many people as possible? Why does one person protect young children, while another maliciously obstructs their breathing under the knowingly false excuse of “keeping them safe”?
At the heart of the jiva’s existence is choice. This is why the jiva is known to be part of the tatastha-shakti. This is the marginal potency, as emanating from the Almighty, who is the source of all energies. The jiva is somewhere in the middle, falling to a particular side as if by chance.
The jiva is vulnerable to conditioned life. The condition is specifically that of forgetfulness of God. The illusory energy of maya is that which facilitates forgetfulness of the Almighty. In the material world, forgetfulness is the predominant condition.
Therefore, it only makes sense that there would be opposition to God. Yet the dharma of the individual remains the same. Hints of genuine spiritual life will remain. The godless will create their own religion, which is ever changing and led by frauds and cheaters. They will have their own tilaka, marks to indicate allegiance to the false religion, readily and happily shared with others in images.
As the defectors follow a defective system, they remain within the material energy. That energy is something like a wide and expansive fort, with walls nearly impossible to scale. Durga Devi is the superintendent, and she inflicts punishment with her trident, symbolizing the three sources of misery.
ये तु सर्वाणि कर्माणि
मयि सन्न्यस्य मत्-पराः
मां ध्यायन्त उपासते
तेषाम् अहं समुद्धर्ता
भवामि न चिरात् पार्थ
ye tu sarvāṇi karmāṇi
mayi sannyasya mat-parāḥ
māṁ dhyāyanta upāsate
teṣām ahaṁ samuddhartā
bhavāmi na cirāt pārtha
“For one who worships Me, giving up all his activities unto Me and being devoted to Me without deviation, engaged in devotional service and always meditating upon Me, who has fixed his mind upon Me, O son of Pritha, for him I am the swift deliverer from the ocean of birth and death.” (Lord Krishna, Bhagavad-gita, 12.6-7)
Following the genuine system of dharma, there is the potential for immediate rescue. Shri Krishna is the swift deliverer, swooping in to rescue a person and bring them out of the fort. The choice is always there, though it may take many lifetimes until a person is fortunate and wise enough to travel in that direction.
Maricha with initiative to take,
Where Hari as enemy to make.
But lesson quickly learning,
Violent blow earning.
But others continuing so,
God’s nature not to know.
At any time eligible for release,
Only Supreme to provide relief.