The supreme importance of righteousness in life

Lord Rama

The noblest lesson embodied in the Ramayana is the supreme importance of righteousness in the life of every human being. Righteousness is the spiritual spark of life. Cultivation of righteousness is the process of unfoldment of the latent divinity in man.

The glorious incarnation of the Supreme Being in the form of Lord Rama has exemplified the path of righteousness. Let mankind follow His footsteps and practice the ideals cherished by Him, for it is only thus that there can be everlasting peace, prosperity and welfare in this world.

None but the righteous can be truly happy. None but he who has the correct sense of duty and the will for its implementation can be said to live worthily. One must be imbued with a definite conviction about the supremacy of moral principles, ethical values and spiritual ideals.

These ought to guide one’s day-to-day actions and serve as powerful means for the culture of the human personality. That is the purpose of life. That is the way to Self-realization. That is the message and the mission of Lord Rama’s life on earth.

To a devotee, Sri Rama is not simply a good and a great person, but God Himself. Rama was the son of King Dasaratha of Ayodhya, but He is also the divine omnipresent, omnipotent and omniscient God.

The destruction of the ten-headed Ravana signifies the annihilation of the mind or the ten senses. Worship of Lord Rama is worship of the all-pervading Godhead Himself. Read the prayers offered by Mandothari and Brahma in the Yuddha Kanda of the Ramayana. They refer to Rama as the one Creator of the universe, the God of all, the Ruler of the universe.

Devotion to God is not a simple emotion. It is the result of intense dispassion and purity of heart and attitude. You should strive your utmost to possess the good qualities that are extolled in the Ramayana and exemplified in the life of Lord Rama. Otherwise, emotion may rise up in you temporarily to a kind of ecstasy, but you will not experience divine consciousness thereby.

Devotion is a fruit which ripens gradually through the processes of self-restraint and virtue. Without intense dispassion there can be no real Sadhana for Self-realization. Only after detachment from the world of things, is it possible to attain the Supreme Godhead. Remember this.

Devotion has absolutely nothing to do with age, caste, creed, position or sex. Generally, the worldly-minded people say: “We will practice meditation and devotion when we retire from service.” This is a serious mistake. How can you do serious Sadhana after squeezing out all your energy in working?

How will you be able to practice the strict Yogic discipline in your old age? Is there any certainty in life? No, the spiritual seeds of discipline and devotion must be sown in you while you are young, while your heart is tender and untainted.

Then only will it strike a deep root, blossom forth and bear fruit when you become old and retire. Only then can you bravely face the god of death and meet him with a smile!

Ram Navami was celebrated on April 12
Swami Sivananda

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