The message of Ramayana

Contributed by RP Turaga

The Message of the Ramayana

 Might, prowess, learning and all other merits will fail in the end, if not guided by Dharma. Dharma based on truth and renunciation is the path to success in life. This is the message conveyed to us through the different characters of the Ramayana.

 VaImiki himself makes it clear in the following verses:

"Rama, righteousness will yield wealth, righteousness will result in happiness and everything can be attained by righteousness. This world constitutes the very essence of dharma".

 "Truth is the supporter of this world. Goddess of wealth always takes refuge in truth. All things are based on truth. There is nothing supreme than truth".

In the Valmiki Ramayana, we come across the following attributes extolling Sri Rama for his Righteousness (Dharma):

 1. Dharmasya Parirakshita (Protector of Dharma)

 Sri Rama's main aspiration in life was to protect not only human race but also all living beings inhabitating this earth by preserving Dharma .

"Equal to Brahma and surpassing the entire world in auspiciousness, Sri Rama is the sustainer of this world, destroyer of enemies and protector of all living beings and of the moral code".

2. Ramo Vigrahavan Dharma (Rama is Dharma (Righteousness) personified)

Maricha praises Sri Rama, as a piece of advice to Ravana, who had sought Maricha's help in the heinous act of abducting Sita. Maricha had great admiration for the Righteousness of Sri Rama, and considered him as a personification of Dharma .

"Rama is a personification of Dharma , he is pious, strives for truth and he is like Indra for devatas and king for all worlds".

 3. Satya Dharma Ivaparah (Rama is another name for Dharma in matters relating to Satya - Truth)

 Sage Narada's tribute to Sri Rama, indicating Sri Rama's strength of determination in upholding Truth (Satya) and protecting the right (Dharma).


"Sri Rama is like Kubera in chartiy and he is like another God of Justice in Truth. Sri Rama, possessing all good qualities and excellent prowess , endowed with excellent virtues".

 4. Dharmajna (One who knows what is Righteous Conduct)

 Ascetic Valmiki enquired of Sage Narada, pre-eminent among sages, who is ever engaged in the practice of religious austerities (for higher spiritual knowledge) and study of vedas (till its indepth meaning is known) and eloquent among those knowledgeable in four vedas and six vedangas.


"In this world of now who is that great person endowed with excellent qualities, prowess, knowledge of righteousness , gratitude, truth and firmness in practice of vows?"

Sage Narada replies to Valmiki:

"(Sri Rama) is a knower of duties of life . He is firm in his vows, ever intent on doing good for his subjects, omniscient and pure. He is obedient to elders (or accessible to those who are dependent on him) and ever meditating on the means of protecting those who take refuge in him".

There is one quality of Sri Rama that is superior to all the other qualities, and that is the quality of sauseelya. Sri Rama's accessibility, His compassion, His approachability — these are explained by the term sauseelya.

Kaikeyi was originally a great admirer of Sri Rama and his devotion to Dharma .On hearing the news of his coronation, she praises Sri Rama by saying:

"Sri Rama is a knower of righteouness , taught self-restraint by elders, grateful, truthful in speech and honest. He is the eldest son of the king. Therefore he deserves the kingdom as heir-apparent".

5. Satya Dharma Parakrama (One whose valour lies in his dedication to Truth and Righteousness)

 Sage Vasishta praises Sri Rama as an expert on the path of both Truth (Satya) and Righteousness (Dharma)


"O follower of truthful path, valiance and righteousness, Sri Rama, if you accede to the words Bharata who is supplicating, you will not deviate from the path of dharma".

6. Satya Parakramam (One whose valour lies in his dedication to Truth)

Sage Narada praises Sri Rama

"Sri Rama is the one posseing all those good qualities and with prowess dedicated to truth "

 Sage Vishwamitra proclaims the immense potentialities of the magnificient man ( महात्मानं ) Sri Rama, whose valour lies in his dedication to Truth

"Amongst all of them also, the highly lustrous, truly mighty, Sri Rama was pure. He was dear to the entire world like moon".

"I know Sri Rama to be noble-minded and truthful to his prowess and Vasishta of great lustre and these other sages who have been strong in ascetic powers also know that".

7. Satya Dharma Parayana (One who is expert in balancing Truth and Righteousness)

SriRama is the  one who can manage both truth and righteousness with great ingenuity.

8. Parama Dharmajna (The knower of the highest Dharma)

 Bharata's extolls Sri Rama as The knower of the highest Dharma

I never asked my father to confer the kingdom on me. I never urged my mother to seek the kingdom for me. I never supported the exile of my esteemed brother Sri Rama, who is supremely knowleldgeable in ways of righteousness".

9. Dharmatma (The Righteous-minded)

 This attribute praising Sri Rama is seen many times in the Ramayana

"Righteous Sri Rama showed compassion to people of all four castes, aged and young. For that reason they were devoted to him".

Sri Rama ruled over the kingdom of Ayodhya not for his personal glory but for the happiness of his subjects.

He resolves the conflict (between Satya & Dharma) very easily, when Kaikeyi wants Sri Rama to be exiled, against the wishes of Dasharatha.

Sri Rama demonstrates his nobility by readily accepting to go to the forest for 14 years, with out any ill-feeling towards Kaikeyi.

He braved exile to the forest for 14 years, in order to enable Dasharatha to fulfill a promise made to his wife Kaikeyi.

Sri Rama practiced Dharma (in Thought, Word & Deed - Manasa, Vacha, Karmana) through out his life, in all his roles (as an Ideal Son/Husband/Brother/Friend/Ruler).

He took meticulous care in his conduct, while fulfilling his social & moral obligations.

Sri Rama's approach to all situations in his life, convey to humanity the message of Truth (satya) and Righteous Conduct (Dharma).

The Ramayana is a commentary on the Righteous Life of Sri Rama .

Sri Rama's tryst with Dharma , begins from his childhood itself, when he accompanied Sage Vishwamitra to his hermitage Siddhashrama.

The Rakshasas (Monsters) were causing great trouble to the sages (Rishis) of the Siddhashrama hermitage by obstructing the sacrifices (yagnas) being performed by sages in the hermitage.

Sri Rama & Lakshmana stood guard for six days & nights, when Vishwamitra with other sages performed the sacrifice. Thus under the inspiring guidance of Sage Vishwamitra, Sri Rama protected Dharma by keeping the monsters away from a righteous act.

It is interesting to note that after the successful completion of the sacrifice,

Sri Rama (the Dharmachari ) gets Sita as a companion ( Saha Dharmachari ) as quoted in the famous line of King Janaka:

" This one is my daughter Sita. She will be your partner observing righteousness " .

Dharma Alone Protects

Man is subject to all kinds of hardships and misfortunes. To remind ourselves of this, we eat the bitter flowers of the neem on New Year's Day-that is on the very first day of the year we accept the bitterness of life.

Great indeed were the misfortunes suffered by Sri Rama during his exile in the forest.

To a son going on a long journey the mother gives food to take with him. Kausalya does the same when her son Sri Rama leaves for the forest, but she does so after much thought, for she wants the food to last during all the fourteen years of his exile.

And what is that food?

Kausalya gives Sri Rama the eternal sustenance of Dharma.

Raghava, she says to him, "It is Dharma alone that will protect you, and this Dharma is what you yourself protect with courage and steadfastness." It is the escort of Dharma that the Mother provides to her Son, who was sent out from his kingdom.

"O Rama! the duty which you are observing with courage and self-discipline, that alone will protect you".


  Rama's righteous Conduct

Following are some more shlokas (verses) from the Valmiki Ramayana, praising Sri Rama for his righteous conduct :

Sage Vishwamitra says the following words, while requesting King Dasharatha to depute his son (Sri Rama) for the noble mission of protecting Dharma , by guarding the sacrifices (yagnas) being performed by sages in Siddhashrama. The Rakshasas (Monsters) were causing great trouble to the sages, who were engaged in performing the sacrifices.

"I know Sri Rama to be noble-minded and truthful to his prowess and Vasishta of great lustre and these other sages who have been strong in ascetic powers, also know that".

"O! Great king, if you are seeking benefits of righteousness , everlasting and great fame in this world, it is fit and proper to give Sri Rama to me".

Addressing Kaikeyi, Sri Rama says:

"O devi, I have no desire to live in this world for the sake of wealth. Know me as equal to those sages who are devoted only to righteousness".

Sri Rama, addressing Lakshmana, says:

"In this world, righteousness alone is supreme. Truth is established in righteousness. This excellent command of our father is supported by truth".

Sri Rama, addressing Kausalya, says:

"Myself, yourself, Sita, Lakshmana and Sumitra, all of us, shall abide by the words of my father. All of us should comply with this eternal law".

Kausalya's blessings to Sri Rama:

"O Rama! the Dharma which you are observing with courage and self-discipline, that Dharma alone will protect you" .

Sri Rama has to break the news of his being banished to the forests .

Sri Rama, addressing Sita who was speaking such anxious words, said "O Sita! my venerable father is banishing me to the forest'.

" Sita you were born in a noble family. You know and practice righteousness . I shall tell you how this banishment has come about. you may listen............".

Sri Rama's life-companion, Sita also follows the right conduct (Dharma) of her husband on many occasions. When Sri Rama hesitates to take her with him to the forest, she pleads only on the strength of Dharma, and wins her case in the end.

Sri Rama says in the end:

" Well, then, come along with me and give me company in matters of performing Dharma " .

Hearing about the passing away of his father and his two brothers banished, Bharata, distressed with sorrow, spoke these words to Kaikeyi.

"My noble brother Sri Rama who is righteous and a knower of his duties towards elders,conducted himself towards you as he did towards his own mother".

 Sri Rama was a strict adherent of the dharmas. He never preached what He himself did not practise. His obedience to His parents, His refusal to go back on His word, His embrace of those who surrendered to Him, His righteous anger when needed — all these show His exemplary conduct.

Sri Rama is the One who should be our role model in life.

 Sri Rama Sharanam Mama (Lord Rama is my Refuge)

 Jai Sri Ram



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