In the previous episode we witnessed that Rama, Sita and Lakshmana start their long journey towards the forest and their first stop was at Shringiberapuram, which was the dwelling place of Guha – The leader of the hunter community! The three of them reach Guha’s place and they stay there for a night. While Rama and Sita were sleeping on the floor, Lakshmana couldn’t control his tears on seeing the pitiable condition of his brother and Sita. He wanted to comfort them as much as he can and hence he walks around them, trying to protect them and make them feel at ease.
Upon seeing this, Guha was initially impressed with Lakshmana’s devotion. He comes up to Lakshmana that he has arranged a bed for him too to sleep on. However, Lakshmana rejects Guha’s offer and he decides to stay awake all night and let Rama and Sita sleep peacefully! On hearing Lakshmana’s reply, Guha started doubting him and had a doubt in his mind whether Lakshmana was plotting to take away the lives of Rama and Sita while they are fast asleep!
Thus Guha decided to follow the footsteps of Lakshmana carefully and thus protect Rama and Sita from Lakshmana! Hence, now both Lakshmana and Guha are walking around the sleeping Rama and Sita!While Lakshmana’s motive is to protect Rama and Sita and comfort them, Guha’s only motive was to protect Rama and Sita from Lakshmana!
The story doesn’t end here! There were a few followers of Guha who were staying along with him at his hamlet. These followers, upon seeing Lakshmana and Guha walking around Rama and Sita, started to have doubts on both Lakshmana and Guha as to whether both of them were plotting to kill Rama and Sita! Hence as a result, these people too joined Lakshmana and Guha in walking around Rama and Sita! It’s really astonishing to look at the devotion of these people towards Lord Rama! Even though they were all born in a hunters’ community and they might not know anything about “Bhakthi” or other aspects of spirituality, the beauty of the Lord attracted them so much towards him!
Thus, as devotees the lesson that we should learn from this Rama-Guha episode of the Ramayana is “Unconditional Surrender to Bhagawan!” Irrespective of who we are and what we do, all of us are equal in the eyes of Bhagawan! We should try and realize this as we grow spiritually. Bhagawan does not differentiate between two individuals based on the amount of wealth we possess or the position we are in. He only sees how much of Bhakthi we bestow upon him!
I shall narrate another example of this from the Mahabharata, wherein Vidhura was giving valuable advice to King Dridurashtra (This portion called “Vidura Neethi” is an extremely important section of the Mahabharata, which is totally applicable to the modern day world too! I shall talk about it more in the future). Lord Krishna is going to come as a messenger from the Paandavas to strike peace with King Dridurashtra and his sons (Kauravas). King Dridurashtra is totally confused and frustrated and asks his minister Vidhura, “Oh Vidhura! We’ve to somehow bring Krishna to our side! We should smartly pull him towards us and not let him go with the Paandavas! What can we do? Can we give him 50 villages from our kingdom and pull Krishna into our side?” Upon hearing this, Vidhura didn’t know whether to laugh or to cry! He replies to King Dridurashtra, “Oh King! Till date I was under the impression that only your external eyes were blind! But today I realized that even your internal soul and heart is blind and full of blemish! What did you say? You’re going to give 50 villages to Krishna and pull him towards you! Wow! Fantastic! If you give just 5 villages to the Paandavas, there will never be a war at all! Everything would be solved! Why don’t you realize this simple thing?” This is how bribery takes shape in our society! If we directly do what we are supposed to do, everything would be simple and smooth! However if we try and look for short cuts and illegal ways of doing things just for short-term benefits, our lives are going to be at stake!
This same Vidhura, is also an epitome of selfless Bhakthi – When Lord Krishna comes to see Vidhura, he wanted to make Lord Krishna feel comfortable and wanted to give him the best hospitality possible! Hence he gets the best of the bananas from his garden and brings it to Lord Krishna. While both of them were talking happily, Vidhura started to give the banana skins to Lord Krishna to eat, instead of the actual bananas! This was by mistake! However, Lord Krishna was happily eating the skins of all the bananas and was happily conversing with Vidhura! Upon seeing this, Vidhura’s wife was shocked! She pats her husband from his back and says, “Oh! You’re doing something wrong! Look what’s happening!” It was only then Vidhura realizes his folly and gives the actual banana fruit to Lord Krishna! But by this time, Lord Krishna says that his stomach is full! Vidhura was surprised and asked him back “Why? I’ve just given you the skins of 4-5 bananas! How did your hunger disappear with just this?” Lord Krishna replies, “Oh my dear Vidhura! My hunger got satisfied not with the bananas or skins that you gave me! My hunger was satisfied with the level of Bhakthi you exhibited towards me! The moment I came to see you, you were all tensed and overjoyed with all your devotion and love towards me! This is what satisfies my hunger and not anything else!”
Such is the extent of the devotion and love exhibited by Vidhura towards Lord Krishna. It’s the same that we are seeing here in the context of the Ramayana too, wherein Guha exhibits the same kind of unconditional love and devotion towards Lord Rama! Thus, Rama and Sita are asleep and Lakshmana, Guha and his followers are going around both of them, trying to protect them with their love and devotion!
Let Rama and Sita continue to sleep for tonight and wake up fresh tomorrow morning! We shall also wait till the next episode to find out what happened next! 🙂