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Lessons From King Dasarath: Cultivate Right Attitude Toward Reversals In Life

In the current age filled with modern perplexities, conflict resolution and leadership management have seen an unhealthy approach to solving core problems of the society at large which originally reside within the leader’s consciousness.

yad yad ācarati śreṣṭhas

tat tad evetaro janaḥ

sa yat pramāṇaṁ kurute

lokas tad anuvartate      [Bg. 3.21]

“What a great man does, the common men follow. Whatever example he sets by his acts, all the world pursues.” Such is the power of a ruler or head of any state. Maharaj Dasarath, Lord Rama’s father, the great monarch of Ayodhya led the heritage of his kingdom in such a way that the hearts of his citizens were always filled with the love of God and one another. There was no tinge of dissatisfaction seen in their face or lack of opulence in their houses. How was it possible? Let’s look into his life to grasp some realizations in building the right attitude when adversities arise.

Choose duty and determination over dualities of the material world. 

It wasn’t that, because King Dasarath happened to be the father of Lord Rama, he got relieved from all material miseries of life. He had 60,000 queens. Yet, he was a monarch without a son. The nature of this material world is, however hard one may try, the pleasure attained here is invariably mixed with pain. Krishna says in Bhagavad Gita ‘dukhalayam aśāśvatam’. Sounds melodious but to realize it takes an entire lifetime. Therefore, Dasarath Maharaj experiencing this dilemma teaches the principle that even if one is living in a beautiful city like Ayodhya the dualities of this world will surface and it is unavoidable. But one must learn to be fixed in performing in his/her duties with resolute determination and fight against all odds.

Accepting instructions from great souls with submission

Vishwamitra muni approached King Dasarath with a petition to send Lord Rama with him for his first assignment to kill demons who don’t sleep at night. However, The King denied and instead proposed he would send all his army for that sake. Spiritual master’s instructions are for the disciple’s welfare however inconceivable it may seem. An aspiring disciple may try to avoid them if it bothers their attachments. Although here Dasarath Maharaj’s loving attachment is for the Supreme Lord Rama, still the principle demonstrated is that when an instruction comes from a great soul one must try to follow it at the best of his abilities, as they always result in a greater good. The reason for the disagreement is beautifully pointed out by Vishwamitra muni, “You cannot understand properly because you are sitting on a throne but I am sitting at the Lotus feet of The Lord.”

Mahatmas hold a vision that transcends temporary gain and loss that is beyond a commoner’s conception. Thus, better to serve in obeisance and submission.

Inferiority complex or humility? 

Once, Maharaj Dasarath called for all Ayodhyavasis. In the huge assembly, he asked them, “So, I’m thinking of making my son Rama as the King of Ayodhya. What is your opinion?” The significance of this seemingly simple anecdote is profound. Maharaj Dasarath had ruled Ayodhya for 60000 years yet he had the humility to consult what his citizens collectively desire. The citizens responded in great enthusiasm and the tumultuous sound was reverberating. They said it was the best decision he took in the last 60,000 years of his rule. Hearing this, King Dasarath felt utterly insignificant despite rendering service for such a long time. He instantly experienced insecurity and fear of being a useless ruler, and that his service held no value to his subjects.

However, with a magnanimous heart, he requested to let him know his faults in performing administrative duties. The citizens discretely wrote a letter to him stating, “There is only one fault of you, Maharaj Dasarath. That you have given birth to such a faultless son like Rama who is an exemplary divine personality full of unlimited good qualities. That is your only fault. Otherwise, we are all happy with you.” Reading this, Maharaj Dasarath was relieved and merrily coronated Lord Rama as the King of Ayodhya. The principle to note here is, it is vital to differentiate between inferiority complex and humility. One emerges from false ego while the latter is due to the influence of pure devotional service.

Be cautious while preparing for the inevitable

Out of all, there was a mistake that bred in the palace of Ayodhya which caused a separation between the former King of the palace and the newly coronated one. And destroyed the hearts of everyone in the kingdom. That was envy. Envy in the form of Manthara, the maidservant of the most favoured queen Kaykeyi. Kaykeyi was captured by the manipulative latches of envious Manthara. This led to the King’s inexplicably painful separation from the Supreme Lord. Dasarath had to oblige to the evil demands of his queen and send away his son Lord Rama to the forest. That simply was the end of his life.

Someone asked Srila Prabhupada, “Why is the death rate in India increasing?” He replied, “Death rate is same everywhere 100%. One who has born has to die.” Interesting to note that a King like Dasarath who ruled Ayodhya for 60,000 years left his body without any of his 4 dear sons beside him. All of his life’s dreams were shattered and his last breath was an exhale of despair due to the separation from his beloved Rama. One can never predict which way life is going to go. Thus, preparing for the inevitable death is necessary, as we aren’t infested with a chance of being Lord’s father like King Dasarath. Our journey here indeed is unpredictable. Thus, it is important to involve in spiritual practices seriously under bonafide guidance without any delay.

Gauranga Das Ji
Gauranga Das Ji
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