Swadharma, the message conveyed in Ramayana

Swadharma, the message conveyed in Ramayana

I, Me, Myself has almost become the mantra of mankind. Most of us do not mind taking unnecessary risks or go out of the way to acquire power, position and possession to see ourselves at the top. Yet we fail to lift a little finger to help others though we are perfectly competent of doing so. 

Our excuses are many. They may range from lack of interest or time to sheer apathy. The buck is unthinkingly passed onto the dysfunctional government or the system. We seldom tarry to think that we could contribute our mite based on our knowledge and capacity to breathe in some necessary changes, to the society we live in.

It is important for people to follow their Swadharma. This very message is conveyed in one of the episodes of the Ramayana. When Rama was exiled, his better half Sita and his dear brother Lakshmana decide to follow him to the wilderness for fourteen years. 

In the initial period, the three of them negotiated with hostile conditions and inclement weather in the forest and found occasional respite in the hermitages of the sages they met on the way. They witnessed that the sages who involved themselves in performing Yagas and Yagnas found themselves to be constantly impeded in their mission by the Rakshasas who interrupted their holy activities. In such a scenario they considered the presence of warrior princes Rama and Lakshmana in their midst to be their saviours. They were right, for the brothers willingly exterminated hordes of Rakshasas who were impediments to the sages. 

The mild mannered Sita did not quite like the happenings around her. Her acumen told her that they were inviting trouble by unnecessarily interfering in business which was not theirs. But Rama begged to differ; he maintained that though he was an exiled prince, he still remained a Kshatriya. It was the foremost duty of a Kshatriya to protect people from danger and evil. Since his help was being sought by the Samaritans in the forest, there was simply no way in which he could shirk his primary responsibility towards his fellow citizens. He chose to willingly follow his Dharma though he was aware that the odds were against him when taking the bigger picture into consideration.

 Interestingly enough, Lord Krishna also says that it is important for people to follow their Swadharma. In fact he makes it clear that it is better to perish following one’s Dharma rather than prosper by swerving from the path of Dharma.