On Ram Navami: what we could imbibe from Ram

Lord Rama

In every culture, there are heroes, mythical figures, divine beings who inform the collective conscience of the nation and represent its ‘civilizational values’. Lord Ram and Krishna though considered divine reincarnation of God are also the figures in Indian society who have a defining presence in terms of influencing our values and morals since ages. What we grasp from their character and conduct however is also dependent on how you view their story. For example, the popular idiom in which Ram is being interpreted and grasped is, as someone who was a ‘maryada purshottam’ (paragon of right conduct) as an individual and someone who established good governance (Ramrajya) as a king. The later interpretation was also popularized by our father of nation Mahatma Gandhi.

There was however one more interpretation of Ram which was part of Gandhian interpretation (which might be part a larger vaishnavite tradition) – the interpretation of Ram as the redeemer; Ram as ‘patit pawan’. As Gandhiji’s favourite Bhajan (after vaishnav Jan) goes-

‘रघुपति राघव राजा राम
पतित-पावन सीता राम ’

राम पतित-पावन हैं- इसिलिये वे श्रेस्ठ हैं। वे पतित से घ्रणा नही करते बल्कि उनके सम्पर्क में आकर तो पतित भी पावन हो जातें हैं। अहल्या के संदर्भ में कहा जा सकता है कि श्री राम ने समाज में इस मूल्य को स्थापित किया कि स्त्री ( या पुरुष ) के एक बार भूल कर देने से वह स्थाई तौर पर तिरस्कार का पात्र नही हो जाता । चरित्र का पैमाना केवल शारिरिक नहीं हो सकता। वास्तव में वही सामाजिक व्यवस्था श्रेस्ठ है जिसमें व्यक्ति की अंदर की अच्छाई को आगे लाया जाता है और किसी को ‘permanently label’ नही किया जाता।

As Mahatma Gandhi had said – “Hate evil not the evil doer”.

IAS Officer, Secretary to Government of Gujarat. Municipal Commissioner, Vadodara.

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