“O Ravana, inevitably all of the Rakshasas will be completely destroyed, for they have a person like you, who is stupid, lustful, and unable to control his senses, for their king.” (Sita Devi speaking to Ravana, Valmiki Ramayana, Aranya Kand, 48.22)
अवश्यं विनशिष्यन्ति सर्वे रावण राक्षसाः|
येषां त्वं कर्कशो राजा दुर्बुद्धिरजितेन्द्रियः||
avaśyaṃ vinaśiṣyanti sarve rāvaṇa rākṣasāḥ|
yeṣāṃ tvaṃ karkaśo rājā durbuddhirajitendriyaḥ||
In this analysis, we have the hypothetical situation of a father and son. The son is generally unhappy. The father has the means to provide. They are self-sufficient. In terms of landing on their feet, to provide enough to maintain life moving forward, the father has “made it.”
The son has not. At least not yet. The father is desperate to bring some sort of satisfaction, as the son is always hankering after this thing or that. They are never happy, whatever the condition. The father proposes several benedictions as a way to end the misery, once and for all.
“What if I gave you gold? How much, you ask. Consider it like a daily allowance. In total, it would be a lifetime’s worth. For a given day, it would be enough to exchange for goods and services necessary for maintaining a living.
“In fact, the excess might reach to the level that you start building things out of gold. A chair. You could call it a throne; no one will argue with you. A bathtub. I realize that you are irregular in your habits, but you could at least pretend that you bathe regularly, in showing off such a tub to your friends.
“The point is, you will never have to worry about wealth again. I could give that to you right now. I want you to be happy. I don’t want you to complain anymore.”
“Your mother would kill me if she heard this conversation. This is between you and me. If you call me out on it later, I will deny until the cows come home. But in witnessing your perpetual misery, there is a solution you probably have not thought of, up until now.
“I will give you a steady supply of wine. Take it. Drink it. Enjoy. Be merry. Just leave me alone. I mean that in the most loving way possible. The wine will take the edge off. It will make you forget your troubles.
“Sure, there will be problems after the fact. But I already gave you gold. You don’t have to worry about supply. Just tap into the wine, so to speak, whenever you want.”
3. Animal flesh
“You are still bothering me? What do you want, now? I gave you gold. I gave you wine. Oh, you have nothing good to eat? Those peanut butter and jelly sandwiches not cutting it for you? You want to show off to your friends that you eat well?
“Alright, I will send over the highest quality animal flesh. You will be able to cut off the section of your choosing. The cooks will prepare everything right in front of you. Don’t worry about the supply running out. I will make sure that your kitchen is always fully stocked.”
“I had a feeling you would come back to me. I knew there was that one thing missing in your life. Worry no longer. I will find plenty of women for you. You will not have to choose. Once they see your lavish lifestyle, they will want to move in and never leave.”
One thing the father in this situation might not be able to offer is power. At least not to the level possessed by Ravana, the king of Lanka. As described in the Ramayana, Ravana had all such facilities. They were available to him simultaneously. He did not have to work hard to maintain the lifestyle.
If not well-versed in Vedic teachings, a person might assume that the Ravana-type leader would be happy as could be. They would have nothing to worry about. They would have endless enjoyment, only increasing by the day. As it turned out, just the opposite was true.
पुनश् च याचमानाय
जात-रूपम् अदात् प्रभुः
ततो ऽनृतं मदं कामं
रजो वैरं च पञ्चमम्
punaś ca yācamānāya
jāta-rūpam adāt prabhuḥ
tato ‘nṛtaṁ madaṁ kāmaṁ
rajo vairaṁ ca pañcamam
“The personality of Kali asked for something more, and because of his begging, the King gave him permission to live where there is gold because wherever there is gold there is also falsity, intoxication, lust, envy and enmity.” (Shrimad Bhagavatam, 1.17.39)
Sita Devi described Ravana as ajitendriyah. That leader of Lanka was conquered by the senses. The excess did not help in the matter. The senses could have a field day, dragging a person in every which direction. It is like being seated on a chariot connected to horses ready to gallop in multiple directions. Picture being in the middle of a tug of war, with opponents in all directions trying to pull the single rope.
At the same time, we see that one individual was fully satisfied through being directed in a certain way. Shri Hanuman received the mission to find Sita Devi, who was missing from her husband, Shri Rama.
This one mission was enough to provide total attention, concentration, engagement, and most importantly, connection to the Divine consciousness. A lowly forest-dweller, with no riches to his name, all by himself in a foreign city was able to reach the heights of the living experience.
This is devotional service. A person is truly living when they find dharma. Instead of repeat indulgence causing lust, anger, and wrath, the more a person works for the interests of the Supreme Lord, the greater the magnitude of the resulting happiness.
Someone like Sita Devi can reside with practically nothing, while being mentally tortured in Lanka, because she is always thinking of Rama. Hanuman is always thinking of both Sita and Rama, and so he is never defeated in his endeavors.
Of endeavors never defeated,
Because in connection seated.
Sita-Rama dedicated to,
For all interests through.
Since at higher platform standing,
Such that when in Lanka landing.
Hanuman committed to succeed,
In daring mission to proceed.
Categories: the five