Thursday, July 3, 2014

Showing Your Truthfulness

[Lord Rama]“If I offer auspicious words, which are in line with dharma, about the self-realized Rama, the most excellent prince of the Ikshvaku dynasty, saying these words in a sweet voice in hearing me she will believe me, for I will compose everything accordingly so.” (Hanuman, Valmiki Ramayana, Sundara Kand, 30.42-43)

ikṣvākūṇām variṣṭhasya rāmasya vidita ātmanaḥ ||
śubhāni dharma yuktāni vacanāni samarpayan |
śrāvayiṣyāmi sarvāṇi madhurām prabruvan giram ||
śraddhāsyati yathā hi iyam tathā sarvam samādadhe |

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Sita was of the saintly nature. From this we know that she automatically thought well of others. She saw the spirit inside of them; she was not deceived by the outward dress shown at first glance. She offered respect to those who deserved it. She behaved as the person in authority when the time called for it. This innocent nature left her vulnerable to the tricks of a person of the most wicked deeds. He had donned the garb of a humble person, taking advantage of Sita’s kind nature. He then gave up the ruse and forcibly took her back to his own kingdom, ignoring the fact that she was already happily married and wanted nothing to do with him. A saintly person later on had to approach the same Sita, and he remembered the deception previously played on her. He used that knowledge to figure out the best way to make her know that he was a truthful person.

How do we let someone know that we’re being honest in a situation where they are otherwise skeptical? A child has this problem due merely to their youth. If they see something extraordinary and then report on it to the parents, they will have a hard time selling the story. “Oh dear child, your imagination must be running wild. There is no possible way such a thing could have happened.” Indeed, even in spiritual affairs such things occur. When the Supreme Lord descended to earth in His original form of Shri Krishna, one time He knocked down a pair of trees using the mortar He was tied to. Mother Yashoda had bound Him to that mortar as punishment for intentionally breaking a pot of butter. The other young children in the neighborhood saw what Krishna did with the mortar. When they reported the incident to the elders, the elders did not believe them.

“While the elderly cowherd men were thus contemplating, the small children who were playing there informed the men that the trees fell due to Krishna's pulling the wooden mortar with the ropes to which He was bound. ‘Krishna came in between the two trees,’ they explained, ‘and the wooden mortar was topsy-turvied and stuck in between the trees. Krishna began to pull the rope, and the trees fell down. When the trees fell down, two very dazzling men came out of the trees, and they began to talk to Krishna.’” (Krishna, The Supreme Personality of Godhead, Vol 1, Ch 11)

[Krishna with arjuna trees]In the case of a devoted warrior a long time ago the message was urgent. That message would give so much help to the distressed princess Sita, who was stranded in the Ashoka grove in Lanka, with no means for rescue due to the offensive Rakshasas living in the town. Hanuman had life-giving news. Rama was going to come to rescue her. Rama was her dear husband, the same Krishna but in a different incarnation, one that roamed the earth during the Treta Yuga, the second time period of creation.

Hanuman wanted to tell Sita everything, but how was she going to believe him? Ravana had already deceived her. Lanka was infested with creatures of a similar mindset. Therefore it was possible for any of them to come up to her and lie. Hanuman arrived at the right decision, though. Here he shares with us the logic behind his move.

He will offer auspicious words about Rama, keeping in line with dharma. Thus far, all the Rakshasas in Lanka had been offering inauspicious words. They had said that Rama would not come to rescue her, that He was a pauper, not a real prince. Their words went against dharma, for Rama is the ultimate truth itself. Any denial of Rama’s position, any attack made against His character, or any weakness erroneously attributed to Him goes against dharma.

[Lord Rama]Hanuman would speak of the most excellent prince of the Ikshvaku dynasty. This would distinguish Rama from others with a similar name. Hanuman would speak of how Rama was self-realized; He was not driven by the illusion of lust, as were Ravana and his men. Most importantly, these words from Hanuman would be sweet. They would not be terrorizing the way that all the other words had previously been towards Sita in Lanka.

From this approach, Sita would believe Hanuman. For the impious, their guiding principle is their challenge to God. They inherently go against Him, and so when they speak, they can say anything but praise of His attributes. To fit in with various social circles, they may casually admit that He exists, but they will stop there. They will never speak of His glories. They will never sing of His features, for if they did, others might believe them. If others believed the words about the Supreme Personality of Godhead, the impious man’s influence diminishes.

The sweet words about Rama from the likes of Hanuman catch the ears of the saintly class of men. All other truths are relative, so it is not possible to know for sure if someone is telling the truth or not. When one praises Rama, their speech is beyond reproach. It is the embodiment of truth, and so truth-detectors like Sita are put at ease.

In Closing:

Even when speaking the truth,

Hard to believe is the youth.

 

Sita previously by Ravana deceived,

So how Hanuman’s message to be believed?

 

Of Shri Rama he would speak,

And in line with dharma he would keep.

 

Praising His attributes in tone sweet,

Success in convincing Sita he’d meet.

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