Sri Rama – A Role Model
Rama was one of the most wonderful and charismatic personalities in the Bharatiya (Indian) history. He embodied all the virtues by practicing what he preached. “Actions speak louder than Words” was his chief motto. More than his divine powers, his popularity, bravery, courage in face of all adversities, kindness, sense of justice, obedience, intelligence, limitless patience, boundless compassion and steadfast following of dharma (duty) have made him not only popular but endeared him to countless generations of Hindus and non-Hindus.
A Man or God?
One may ask… was Rama a man or God? Well! He was both. He was a man as well as God. He was a God because he was an incarnation of Sri Vishnu. When Sri Vishnu took birth as a Rama, he could have skipped (avoided) the common man’s sufferings and daily duties and hence breaking the nature’s law. But he didn’t break it. Instead he went through all the sixteen samskaras that Hindus have to go through. He enjoyed family life. And just like others, he also suffered in his life and died when his time came. That is why Rama was a man! He was full of virtues and extremely powerful with an ability of doing anything. Thus he was not just a man, but a super-man!
Man of Virtues
Rama was full of virtues. He was a perfect man. He was an ideal son of king Dasharatha, an ideal king, an ideal husband, an ideal brother and an ideal friend. Rama was the epitome of morality, truth, virtue and chivalry. Let us try to learn here some of his virtues.
An ideal son
Rama was an ideal son of his parents (Father – King Dasharath, Mother– Queen Kausalya). He never ever disobeyed his parents. He would do anything to keep his parents happy. He knew that his parents would always do the right thing for him. When his second mother, Kaikeyi, wanted him to give up kingdom and go to the forest, he readily agreed to do so without a moment’s hesitation. He knew about the difficulties and dangers in the forest. But just to keep up his father’s promises, and mother Kaikeyi’s wish, he went to the forest. Besides, he
didn’t even develop any bitterness about Kaikeyi. Without batting an eyelid, he sacrificed his palatial comforts, princely rights and all family happiness. He shed all material comforts as though they were dust. He smilingly endured the ardor of forest life for fourteen years but never swerved from his duty towards his parents.
An ideal brother
Rama was an ideal brother. He loved all his three brothers equally. While Rama was in the forest with Sita and brother Lakshamana, Bharata came to the forest to see him and possibly bring him back. When Lakshamana saw Bharata coming, he doubted him. He thought that Bharata’s intentions were bad. But Rama was calm. He never ever doubted any of his brothers; neither raised questions about their intentions. He knew that Bharata’s intentions were good and he was coming to see him.
Bharata was a son of Kaikeyi. Because of Kaikeyi, Rama had to go in to exile. In this case, any common person would have developed bitterness and anger against them after such experiences. But Rama was an exception. He never developed bitterness or anger against both of them. In contrary, after exile, when he came back to Ayodhya, he touched Kaikeyi’s feet first out of three mothers.
In another incident, during the war with the demon Ravana and his army, Lakshaman fought with Indrajit (Ravana’s son) and became unconscious. When Rama saw Lakshmana unconscious, he cried like a child and he was sitting by him until he became conscious. Even in exile, he gave preference to Sita and Lakshamana’s likings.
An ideal friend
Rama had all qualities required for being an ideal friend. Kishkindha’s king Sugreeva and Ravana’s brother Vibhishana were his friends. He killed Vali and helped Sugreeva to get his lost kingdom back. During a war with Ravana, his brother Vibhishana came to Rama’s sanctuary. Rama gave him not only a protection but also considered him as a friend. After winning the war with Ravana, he could have taken the control of Ravana’s kingdom. But, instead of taking the control of Ravana’s kingdom, he made Vibhishana a king and handed over Ravana’s kingdom to him.
An ideal husband
Rama was an ideal husband of his beloved wife Sita. When he decided to go in exile, he did not want Sita to follow him because she was not bonded with any promises and possibly she would not bear the hard-life in the forest. He tried to persuade her. But when Sita followed him to the forest, he tried to soothe her life there by giving preferences to her likings. When Sita was missing, he wept like a child. He couldn’t hold his emotions and he started asking whereabouts of Sita to everyone including plants and trees. And when he learnt that Sita was abducted by mighty demon king Ravana of Lanka, he went all the way to Lanka, fought valiantly with the Ravana and his army, destroyed them and rescued her. Even though Sita was under Ravana’s custody for a long time, he didn’t have any doubt about her character.
An ideal king
The very first duty of an ideal king is to take care of his kingdom and people. He is supposed to give up everything for the sake of them. Rama was an ideal king of Ayodhya. While serving the people, he always considered his family secondary. Just because of a man from his kingdom doubted about Sita’s character, he gave up her.
Rama was very popular. He achieved this by his innate charm, kindness, generosity and willingness to listen to others’ issues and problems. Rama was known to find swift, realistic and just answers for every one. His aura, charm and charisma made everyone feel happy in his presence. Such is the glory of his memory that even now people invoke “Rama Rajya“ as the ideal, utopian system. It is a society in which even the most humble may voice their opinions and be noticed. In Rama’s kingdom, there were no criminals or oppressors and no one was ever oppressed. Everyone had equal rights, justice was available to all. Taxes were not excessive and everyone had work to occupy them. Rama had assured his people peace and plenty.
The entire universe is sustained by dharma. One definition of dharma is prescribed discipline or maryada (limitations). Having epitomized the highest discipline expected of humans, Rama is called Maryada Purushottam (the finest specimen of a disciplined human being). He is an example of the highest of human values, never deviating from the virtuous path in thought and action. Unlike Krishna, Rama lived his life within limitations (maryada) of being a human by not performing any miracles. He was capable of destroying all the demons alone but, he still studied to acquire different powers to fight evil. He also took the help of the Vanaras to find Sita and fight Ravana. His life is an example that by living righteously, any human can do great things and become purushottam (the great among men).
No doubt! Rama was a great warrior. He was second to none in bravery. He stood his ground in all adversities and fought for the cause of righteousness. Rama took his exile as a great challenge to explore new frontiers. Even in the jungles he fought for the rights of the oppressed. Knowing his enemies strong points as well as the weaknesses, Rama sought to rid the society of those who threatened to undermine it.
Physical beauty wanes with time, money is soon spent, fame is soon forgotten but generous deeds, great character and boundless compassion endure for all time. Rama is a good example of that. He will never be forgotten. Because of his gigantic personality, Hindus have great regards for him. Even after thousands of thousand years past, Hindus worship Rama as God and they consider him as a role model for all humans.