How many of us really
Determine our course of action
On the basis of
The call of duty
Dictated by righteousness,
Capability and prevalent social ethos?
Not a devout Hindu myself
With the knowledge of scriptures
Or even deep sentiments for
Religious feelings or commitments
Yet I find it hard to get an illustration
Better than the one in the 'Ramayan'
Of a paradigm of duty based action
And absolute ethics.
The story goes as follows:
Muni Vashishtha, the Guru of Royal family
On the behest of the king of 'Ayodhya'
Informs Ram, the eldest son
The latter shall succeed to the throne
And he, in turn, seeks Guru's guidance
To undertake the responsibility.
The very next day
Dasarath, the king and father informs
That he stands banished
For fourteen years from
the very kingdom he was to rule.
And what were the options
Then open to Ram -
To put pressure on king
For asserting on the errant queen
Or remonstrate before stepmother himself
Or to ask mother Kaushalya
To intercede on his behalf
Or formally request Guru Vashishtha
To advise both king and queen
On the propriety of action
Or to request the 'Raj Parishad'
The council of ministers to intervene
Or he could have directly gone to people
To encash on his popularity in public
Or a compromise with Bharat, a stepbrother
To share part kingdom instead of whole
Or could have played on others stepbrothers
And then even a more down to earth
Option of knocking off Bharat
If necessary, Kaikeyi and Manthara -
her sole accomplice.
But what really Ram did
Accepted the situation with grace
And proceeded to prepare for the forest
As any of the above options
Were not without reels of intrigue,
Spinning a malignant fibrosis of tension
With the cascading ill effects
On sundry and all around.
Dignified acceptance of a situation
Which is neither our making
Nor within our control
Is so much simpler to follow
Besides carrying a wholesome feeling
Of doing what should be done
And it lends a positive colour
To the person's mindset too
That is what exactly Ram did
An unparallelled paradigm
Of the duty and ethics.