Points to Ponder from this episode:
uddhared atmanatmanam natmanam avasadayet
atmaiva hy atmano bandhur atmaiva ripur atmanah
The episode begins with the above lines (5th verse from 6th chapter of Bhagavad Gita) which means – ‘Lift yourself by yourself; and having lifted yourself, do not allow yourself to be dragged down. For this, Self alone is your friend and indeed this Self alone is your enemy.’
One of the most powerful lines from the Gita where Krishna tells Arjuna how to get up from where you have fallen. The very same message was given by Narada muni to Ratnakar when the latter returns dejected after having realized that even his wife and father are not ready to share the sin he has been incurring. Ratnakar is totally shattered and feels lonely in this world. At this juncture, Narada reminds him that ‘You alone are your friend and you alone are your enemy. (uddhared atmanatmanam – Lift yourself by yourself) Change your destiny using your Purushartha (Free-Will)’.
Purushartha – a very concept explained in Vedanta. Prarabdha (Destiny) is something that we face due to our actions of the past, based on the Scientific Law of Cause & Effect (Every Effect has a Cause). Destiny cannot be avoided. But how we face it, is our Free-Will (Purushartha). During the monsoon, rains cannot be avoided. But to remain inside the house or to get wet or to carry an umbrella is our Own Choice – our Free Will. The Upanishads cry out that Man does possess a Free Will using which he had be the Master of his Destiny. Ratnakar did just that. He did not get depressed and commit suicide. The words of Narada rang inside in his mind – uddhared atmanatmanam – Lift yourself by yourself! There is no one else who can help you out as much as you can.
Many a times, we have our family and friends who support and motivate us during difficult times. But sometimes, there is nobody. In such dire situations, this message uddhared atmanatmanam can be our savior; and not just a savior but it can take us to those heights that we might have never dreamt of!
Ratnakar argues with Narada that what he is doing is not sin. He gives a very logical argument backing his statement. One of the reasons why Ratnakar was so powerful was probably because he was so convinced with his logic and justification. He said, “Was it not sin that he (Ratnakar) did when he killed enemy soldiers? Was it not sin when he protected evil kings? Was not his acts of cruelty he performed as a soldier earlier in his life not sinful? So, how can you (Narada) say that this act of looting that I’m doing is sinful? Who decides what sin is and what is not?”
We can hear these dialogues in today’s world too. When we do a corrupt act of bribing a Govt officer or breaking some law, we justify ourselves by saying that ‘Who is not corrupt these days? The whole system is corrupt. If we need to live in this corrupt system, we are forced to be corrupt.’
Narada gives his wonderful reply in just one line, “Whatever you say for your justification, your act of sin is not going to be nullified by highlighting other acts of sin.”
Again, the law of Cause and Effect will decide one’s destiny depending on his actions and one cannot escape from it. At the same time, one can escape from incurring a sin by Choosing not to indulge in it using his Purushartha (Free-Will).
Another important factor covered in this episode is about Fear – one of the basic emotions of man. Why do we fear? What do we fear? Have we ever tried facing it?
Ratnakar was very brave and strong. He thought that he wasn’t scared of anybody, not even death. But Narada’s piercing questions, makes him think. Narada says, “Fear comes only when there is Duality.” We can see this clearly that we are fearless when we are in the company of our near and dear ones. We sense a feeling of oneness with them and hence are not scared about them. An Indian army officer is not scared when he is amongst his comrades (Feeling of Oneness or Non-Duality). But the moment he realizes that he has gone into the enemy’s territory (Feeling of Duality), fear grips him.
All great saints and sages were fearless because they saw everyone as the Lord Himself. They didn’t see duality in forms; they saw the Substance – the Essence in each and every one.
The episode ends with the below lines from Bhagavad Gita (Chapter 9, verse 30)
Api chet suduracharo bhajate mam-ananyabhak
Sadhureva sa mantavyah samyag-vyavasito hi sah
Meaning: (Krishna says) In case even a very wicked person worships Me (the Lord), with undivided devotion, he should be regarded as good and noble, for, he has rightly resolved.
Lift yourself by yourself; and having lifted yourself, do not allow yourself to be dragged down. For this, Self alone is your friend and indeed this Self alone is your enemy. Change your destiny using your Purushartha (Free-Will).
That is how Ratnakar Transformed to Valmiki. He Chose to change. He meditated upon the name of Lord Rama and Self-Knowledge donned upon him. And we all know how true the verse 30 or chapter 9 is…no one remember Ratnakar as an evil dacoit, but everyone remembers Valmiki as the one who composed the most beautiful poem – Ramayan!
Pujya Gurudev Swami Chinmayananda said, “Every person is a potential genius. Beneath every sinner is a sage but waiting for redemption and recovery. This self-development and self-discovery is accomplished through the technique called Meditation.”
असीम संभावनाओं का नाम ही मनुष्य है। “Man is the very personification of infinite possibilities.” Let us all remember this and take our steps towards our evolution. In Swami Chinmayananda’s words – Born Human, Grow Divine.