Sunday, 6 October 2013

84. Jabali made an effort.

                A Brahmana called Jabali decided to do something in the matter. Like all others he too wanted Rama back at Ayodhya as the king. He stood up and addressed Rama "Enough, O Rama! Let not your wisdom be rendered void like  that of a common man. You are distinguished and far superior than others for your intelligence and virtue. Who is related to whom? What is there to be obtained by anything and by whom? Every creature is born alone and dies alone. O, Rama! He who clings to another, saying, 'This is my father, this is my mother' should be considered as one who has lost his wits. There is none who belongs to another.
            "O, Rama! A traveler stays in a strange village at night and the next day leaves it and continues his journey. Like that mother, father, home and possessions are quite strange to a human when he was born; they are but a resting place. The wise, like you, do not get attached to them. You as such should not abandon your father's kingdom in order to dwell in a lonely forest. Get yourself crowned in the prosperous kingdom of Ayodhya. That city is waiting for you.
            "O, prince among princes! Enjoy the royal luxuries worthy of you. Move around in Ayodhya as Indra the Lord of Devas does in heaven! Dasharatha is none to you nor you in anyway to him. That king is another and your are another. The father is only the seed of a being. The sperm and the ovum blend at the right time in the mother's womb, so that a mortal is born in this world. The king has gone, where he had to go. This is the fate of all being. You are unnecessarily frustrated over the matter. I pity all those whosoever, devoted to wealth and religious merit, and endorse those who are devoted to sense and enjoyment.
            "These people say, 'The eighth day should be given up to sacrifices for the spirits of our ancestors.' See the waste of food. What will a dead man eat? If food eaten by one here, reaches another's body, then let a sacrifice be offered for those who are setting out on a distant journey. Will it not become a food on their path? 'Perform sacrifices, distribute gifts, consecrate yourselves, practise austerity and renunciation' - These writings are composed by learned men for the sake of inducing others to give. O, the highly wise! Arrive at a sensible and fair conclusion that there is nothing beyond this Universe. Give precedence to that which meets the eye and turn your back on what is beyond our knowledge. Honour the judgment of the wise and regarding that which is approved by all, accept the kingdom as propounded by Bharata."
            Rama looked at Jabali with a smile and said mildly
"Sir, what you counselled is not possible even though it appears to be possible. It is like a forbidden food which may look appetizingly tasty. He who is unruly, fully infested with ill-conduct, having a bad reputation and seeing differences in everything, does not gain respect from honest men. One's conduct itself explains whether one belongs to a good family or a bad family, valiant or arrogant and chaste or unchaste. What a sensible man, able to discern what is just and what is unjust, in this world, would respect me if I am ignoble resembling as noble, bereft of honesty, impure, having no good qualities but appearing like the one having good qualities, ill-behaved but appearing as well-behaved, abandoning righteousness and getting hold of unrighteousness in the guise of piety, creating confusion in the world and disregarding rules of conduct.
           "If I behave in this manner faithlessly, everyone will lose faith in me in due course. How could I attain heaven? This entire world would follow its own whims, for, whatever the conduct of the kings may be, such will be the conduct of their subjects.
            "The eternal royal governance is indeed a conglomeration of truth and hence not cruel. Hence, the kingship has the Truth as its essence. The world is established in Truth. Even sages and divine being have respected truthfulness alone. The one who speaks truth obtains the highest position in this world.
            "People will be scared of a person, who speaks untruth. Truth is the highest virtue and is stated to be the origin of heaven. Truth is god and all other virtues follow truth. All are rooted in truth and there is nothing higher than truth.
            "Gift, sacrifice, oblation, austerities performed and the scriptural texts have the foundation in Truth. Hence, one should thoroughly surrender to truth which rules over the world. Truth develops a race. Untruth sinks into hell. One rises high to heaven according to one's degree of truthfulness practiced. I am true to my promise. Why should I not fulfill the command of my father, who was a devotee of truth?
            "Neither covetousness nor forgetfulness nor pride would cause me to destroy the bond of morality. I shall honour the vow made to my father. Neither gods nor the manes will accept the offerings of those who are wanting in truth, unsteady and unstable in their minds. This is what is taught to us.
            "I perceive this virtue in the form of truthfulness as a universal permeation of spirit. That is why, this burden, observed as a vow, has been honoured by good men. I renounce the so-called duty of a warrior, it is injustice under the name of justice, it is practised by petty, cruel and  men of evil deeds.
            "Sin is committed by the body and falsehood is spoken with the tongue after it has been conceived by the mind. Thus, the degrading act is embraced by the body, the mind and the tongue. The earth, fame, prosperity and fortune indeed woo a man of truth. They constantly oblige the truth; truth should therefore be strictly observed!
            "Having promised before my father about my exile to the forest, how can I fulfill Bharata's words now, abandoning the father's words? A firm promise has been made by me in the presence of my father, when Queen Kaikeyi too became rejoiced. I will proceed in this manner for the rest of my life. I, therefore accepted this dwelling in the forest, remaining pure in body and mind, having controlled my diet, by feasting the Gods and Ancestors with pure roots, flowers and fruits, with all my five senses fully sated, without any deceit, fully devout and discriminative of what ought to be done and what ought not to be done.
               "Having reached this terrestrial globe (the realm of action), only a virtuous act is to be undertaken. The god of fire, the wind-god and the moon-god reap the fruits of their acts. Having performed a hundred sacrifices, Indra the Lord of devas went to heaven. Having practised severe austerities, the great sages went to heaven.
               "The virtuous say that truth, piety, valour, compassion for all beings, polite speech and worship of Brahmanas, gods and unexpected guests are the paths to heaven. Therefore the learned, well-instructed in what is to be their greatest advantage, follow their purpose resolutely and fulfill their duty in its entirety properly and attentively, seeking to attain the highest realms.
               "I very much regret now the act done by my father in taking into his service, you with your misleading intelligence, a firm atheist fallen from the true path. It is an exact state of the case that a mere intellection deserves to be punished as it were a thief and know an atheist to be on par with a mere intellectual. Therefore, he is the most suspected and should be punished in the interest of the people. In no case should a wise man consort with an atheist.
               "Men who lived before you have performed many auspicious acts, not expecting any reward in this world or in the next. Therefore, Brahmanas offer oblations in the sacred fire and practise noble deeds. The sages who are devoted to righteousness, associating with men of virtue, endowed with spiritual splendour, practising abundant charity, harmless and washed free of all taints, are honoured in the world."
            The reply of Rama was somewhat disconcerting to Jabali. After thinking for a moment to collect his thoughts, Jabali formulated a reply in a fitting manner in words that were beneficial and truthful, which showed his belief in the authority of Vedas, the other world and so on. He said, with tears in his eyes "I am not speaking the words of a non- believer. I am not an atheist, nor is it a fact that nothing exists whatsoever. Perceiving the time, I have become a believer. When the time comes, I will become again just a non-believer. O, Rama! That and this time too came gradually. I spoke like a non-believer for your sake, to pacify you and to persuade you to return to Ayodhya."


1 comment:

  1. >> "I very much regret now the act done by my father in taking into his service, you with your misleading intelligence, a firm atheist fallen from the true path. It is an exact state of the case that a mere intellection deserves to be punished as it were a thief and know an atheist to be on par with a mere intellectual. " <<

    Some of the point made by Jabali are like the wisecracks of the comedian of yesteryears NSK and other "rationalists".. Rama's remarks here are applicable to the modern day "rationalists" as well!