Tree of Knowledge
By Niranjana KarthigaiRajan
As we celebrate the foundation stone laying ceremony of Ram Mandir, let’s get to know the greatness of Ayodhya and uniqueness of Ram Mandir in Ayodhya, and clear our doubts. The word Ayodhya in Sanskrit means, “invincible city”. Ayodhya had been the capital of the Ikshvaku dynasty. The city had been ruled by 35 kings of the Ikshvaku clan preceding Sri Rama.
What’s so unique about Ram Mandir in Ayodhya?
We might have worshipped Lord Rama in various forms across India – Kodanda Rama, Pattabi Rama, Kalyana Rama, Darbha Sayana Rama, and so on. What’s so exceptional in Ayodhya is that the presiding deity is the Ram Lalla (the baby Ram). More commonly, it is Baby Krishna (called Santana Krishna or Bala Krishna) who is worshipped in India.
Why construct the temple particularly in Ayodhya?
Because it is the janma bhoomi (the place of incarnation) of Lord Rama, it is vital to have the Mandir built in Ayodhya. While the Lord Himself has chosen to be born here, the place holds significance and goodness for all of us.
Is it a new temple?
It is only a restoration and rebuilding of a temple that existed 500 years ago. Valmiki mentioned that a portion of Sri Vaikundam was established as Ayodhya on the southern banks of River Sarayu during the period of Swayambhu Manu. This indicates that the place itself is ancient and significant. Moreover, it is very crucial to conserve the heritage, architecture, and culture of the country.
Can we attain liberation by just visiting Ayodhya?
In India, Ayodhya is revered as the first Mukthi kshetras from among Mathura, Maya, Kashi, Kanchi, Avantika, and Dwarakavati. When Rama returned to Sri Vaikunda, He took everyone along with Him. When Goddess Parvati asked Shiva which name of Lord Vishnu can be chanted in lieu of the 1000 names, Shiva replied that chanting ‘Sri Rama’-nama would bestow the same benefits as reciting all the names. Nama japa and Ramayana parayanam are being carried out at every temple in Ayodhya with utmost devotion.
What is the benefit for today’s young generation?
The life and history of Rama reveal him as a role model for the current generation. Lord Rama is an epitome of ahimsa, equality, equanimity, inclusiveness and universal brotherhood.
After Rama’s victory in the battle with Ravana, when Hanuman requested for Sita’s order to slay all the ogres who had caused distress, Sita demonstrated her immense compassion by forgiving all of them. Pillai Lokacharyar (one of the revered acharyas of sri vaishnavism) has said that it would have been appropriate if “Ramayanam” was named as “Sitayanam”, considering the greatness of Sita over Sri Rama.
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Vidhura Neethi: The Five Strengths
In Mahabharatha, Vidura is known for his intellect and wisdom. Vidhura Neethi is a part of Mahabharatha consisting of Vidura’s advice on statecraft to King Dhritarashtra before the onset of Kurukshetra war. However, Dhritarashtra did not heed Vidhura’s valuable advice on ethics.
Vidhura lists five things which give strength to a king in an ascending order of superiority – though none of them is lesser than the other; rather, Vidhura prioritises on that which is vital.
- Bāhubalam (strength of shoulder)
- Support of ministers
- Dhanam (wealth)
- Kula (clan)
- Pragyabalam (wisdom)
In this article, we shall examine briefly these five strengths and how they are applicable to us in our day-to-day life.
Bāhubalam is physical valour. No doubt physical strength is crucial for our life but it‘s not the ultimate strength and there’s much more than this.
In Ramayana, Vali and Ravana believed in their own physical strength but that didn’t last long. Both of them couldn’t win over Lord Rama.
Similarly, in Mahabharata, Arjuna’s valour is nothing in comparison to the remarkable valour of Bhishma and Dronacharya. But Arjuna won over them not because of his physical strength but because he had Lord Krishna on his side.
So, physical strength is the least important strength: anyone can become more powerful than us some day and defeat us.
Support of ministers
The strength which is more significant than valour is the support of ministers. The king must have ministers who provide valuable advice that takes into consideration his well-being.
The ministers in the courtroom of Ravana and Duryodhana fearful of their kings only advised what would be pleasing to Ravana and Duryodhana, rather than what would be ethical. So, having inappropriate ministers was one of the reasons for their downfall.
Sugriva, though, had virtuous Hanuman as his minister. Hanuman is hailed as ‘sachivothaman’ (which means ‘one who is head among the ministers’). Similarly, Sumantra had been a great minister to king Dasharatha.
In the worldly context, we can achieve anything with the support of our friends, relatives or well-wishers. Similarly, for a prime minister or a chief minister it is vital to have a trusted and good team of ministers. In business, a leader must have efficient managers. It takes effort to train and retain an efficient workforce/ministers.
The strength which is more significant than the support of others is Dhanam.
Wealth is just a means to buy worldly things, but we can’t buy everything with mere wealth, certainly not love, pure relationships, or devotion to God.
The strength which is more significant than wealth is Kūla.
Surya Kūla had great kings in its lineage including Dilipan, Bhagiratha (he brought the Ganges to the Earth), Ikshvaku (he brought the deity of Sri Ranganatha from Brahma’s Sathya Lokam to Ayodhya), Ajan, Dasaratha, and Sri Rama to name a few. Sri Rama was born in Surya Kūla and further added glory to it.
The strength of pragyabalam is much greater than the above four strengths put together.
There is a striking difference between the first four strengths in comparison to pragyabalam. The first four relate to the body whereas pragyabalam relates to the inner Self. Second, entry barrier is higher.
With the knowledge about the Supreme and atma (the Real Self) one can get rid of the darkness. Parasara Maharishi in Vishnu Puranam says that there is no use accumulating any knowledge other than that knowing that which would give mukthi (the eternal bliss). The Lord, preceptors and Vedas open our minds to knowledge.
In the worldly context, businesses need to be creative and think out of the box in order to sustain stiff competition. In today’s age when technology is disrupting traditional business practices, creativity is the new competitive advantage.
Vidhura’s advice stands true even today. The five listed strengths are equally valid for individuals, for a country as well as for businesses.
Niranjana KarthigaiRajan is a globetrotter and freelance writer based in India. She has worked with ZOHO Corporation as
Marketing Analyst. She writes primarily on the Indian epics. Her articles are also published in leading newspapers in India.
She can be reached at email@example.com
* Published in print edition on 11 August 2020