Sri Swami Sivananda
This article is a chapter from the book Essence of Ramayana.
Rama was Lord Hari Himself incarnate on earth for the destruction of Ravana. He was well accomplished, beautiful and endowed with royal marks. He was the foremost of those who were skilled in the use of bows and arrows. He was born of the Ikshvaku line. He had his sway all over the world.
He had eyes like lotus-petals and a countenance like the full moon. His arms were long and beautiful. He had broad shoulders. His eyes were red. He had a deep voice. He had proportionate limbs. His gait was slow and majestic. It was like that of a lion. He had four lines on his thumb. He had a pointed nose. He had a high forehead.
His glory and powers were unlimited. He was peerless on earth. He was free from malice. He was gentle and the protector of his people. He always addressed the people in gentle words. He never used harsh words even when anybody addressed him rudely.
He was wise and virtuous. He was effulgent like the sun, in forgiveness like the earth, in intelligence like Brihaspati, in frame like Vasava, in prowess like Indra. He observed ascetic vows and honoured saints. He would forget hundreds of evils done to him but would gratefully remember a single act of kindness, ever shown.
In the leisure of his martial exercises, he had discussions on the Sastras with the wise and the aged people. He always followed the right in every walk of his life and never swerved from his royal duties.
If anybody approached him, he would talk to him first. He was exceedingly powerful but never haughty. He was the upholder of the four castes. He conferred honour upon people. He was worshipped by all. He was well versed in polity and greatly devoted to the Brahmins.
He was a friend of the poor and chastiser of the wicked. He was a cosmic benefactor. He was well versed in religion, social customs and laws. He looked after the welfare of his subjects and the people too loved him immensely. He never indulged in profane and irrelevant talks. He had mastery of Yajur Veda, Dhanur Veda, the Vedangas, etc. Whenever people put a question to him he answered them wisely like Brihaspati. He was skilful in the use of arms. He was honoured by the scholars of the Vedas. He was proficient in philosophy and poetry.
He never spoke a lie even in extreme danger or peril. He was brave, candid and modest. He was the source of all good. He always respected, his superiors. He was free from idleness. He was ever vigilant. He sought no evil. He had perfect control over anger.
He was ever ready to keep vigilant watch over his own faults. He had aged and pious Brahmins for his guide.
He was an expert rider, a great warrior, a valiant general. He had great skill in all the military manoeuvres. He was unconquered even by the gods. He was free from the evil habit of carping.
Sri Rama is an Avatara of Lord Hari. Lakshmana is an Avatara of Adisesha. Bharata and Satrughna are Avataras of the conch and discus. Sita is an Avatara of Sri Lakshmi.
Sri Rama possessed red eyes and his arms were sinewy. His steps were like those of an elephant. He had long arms, broad shoulders and black, curly hair. He was valiant and glowing with splendour. He was in no way inferior to Indra himself in battle. He was well versed in holy scriptures and equal to Brihaspati in wisdom. He was skilled in every science. He was an object of love and reverence with all people. He had his senses under perfect control. Even his enemies were pleased to see him. He was the terror of the wicked and the protector of the virtuous. He was endowed with keen intelligence. He could never be vanquished by anyone.
He renounced the throne and the pleasures of the senses and the world to fulfil the words of his father.
If Rama had longed for the throne, it was quite easy for him to get it. He was very popular. He was the mightiest of heroes. He destroyed the Rakshasas and bent the tremendous bow of Lord Siva. But he did not show the least physical force. He gladly accepted what was dictated by the cruel and wicked Kaikeyi. The throne possessed less fascination for him than the obedience of his father’s behests. He renounced the kingdom and the comforts of a king. He gladly accepted exile. The laudable virtues of Sri Rama cannot be adequately described.
Of all the four brothers Sri Rama was a paragon of virtues. He was not only kind and affectionate but generous and considerate of feelings for all around him. He had a splendid physique and winning manners. He had a magnanimous personality. He was extremely noble, generous, chivalrous and fearless. He was very simple and absolutely free from ostentation.
Sri Rama’s life was a life of holy obedience, of stainless purity, of matchless simplicity, laudable contentment, commendable self-sacrifice and remarkable renunciation. He paid equal respect to his mother and his stepmothers and revered his Guru.
Sita once told Rama to seek shelter in a safe place and let the forest dwellers alone as there was much danger there. Rama’s reply revealed his firm determination to adhere to truth, and to his duty as a king to protect those who took shelter under him. Sri Rama said, “O Sita, I may even give up life or you or Lakshmana but can never give up the fulfilment of my word given particularly to helpless Brahmins. Rama speaks but once and never fails to keep up his promise.”
Sri Rama was happy in adversity, calm in miseries, intrepid in dangers.
Sri Rama was a mighty hero. He was the hero of heroes. Single-handed, he killed great and renowned warriors like Khara and Dushana. He vanquished the invincible Vali.
He was an ideal king. He ruled the kingdom in a wonderful way. He was just and righteous. He was courageous and kind. He was endowed with a gentle and generous disposition. He was civil and courteous.
His subjects loved him immensely. Not a single man was unhappy during his regime. He often used to say, “I will do anything and everything to please my subjects, and, if necessary I can even abandon my dear wife for their sake.” That is the reason why his reign was called “Ramarajya.” There were no dacoits during his regime. All led a virtuous life. Nobody spoke any untruth. Anybody could leave a bag of gold or jewels even in the main street. No one would touch it.