Ramayana that brings to life the story of the perfect human being is a beacon light to us in this age of numerous conflicts both internal to oneself and external. Hailed as Maryada Purushottama, meaning most respectful and foremost among the men, Shri Rama Chandra is an ideal leader, God, ideal husband, ideal son, ideal father, ideal king and the beloved of many of his devotees. Yet, there seems to be much fight, discordance, bloodshed and struggle over a certain piece of land in the city of Ayodhya. Worshipped as his birthplace, Ayodhya is extremely sacred for all his followers. Truly speaking, the whole world belongs to him. Why then so much unrest over Ayodhya?
What is it that matters to us more? Is it the true ideals and teachings of Rama or is it the land which is symbolically identified with Rama himself.
Let us examine a few other instances. Insult to the National Flag is not tolerated and is considered as an offence against the nation itself. Afterall, isn’t it a piece of cloth in the material sense. Well, the Flag represents the Nation. It symbolizes the values of the nation. It embodies the collective adoration, respect and admiration that the people have towards its country.
World Cup victory in sports is a matter of national pride. Its rejoiced and celebrated with much fervour and gaiety. When the Indian contingent doesn’t perform to the expectations of its cheerings fans and well-wishers, they are admonished for not being successful and often face much embarrassment when back home. However, aren’t they just a team of interested and talented sports personnel playing matches against similar such teams from different countries? We clearly seem to attach a meaning much greater than what it appears to the physical eyes.
Deha Mata – Physical Mother who gives us birth, Go Mata – the cow which nourishes us through her milk, Veda Mata – represents knowledge of the infinite Vedas, Desha Mata – the country in which we are born and Bhu Mata – the earth upon which we live and draw our sustenance from. These are the 5 mothers which are worshipped in the land of India. These are not treated as just a person, animal, scriptures, imagined identity and physical earth. The attitude towards these is one of gratitude, respect, love and adoration. Each of them is equated to the status of a mother.
The place of birth is beyond just a piece of any land. It reminds one of Rama himself. The place is treated inseparably from the identity of Rama.’ Janani Janma Bhoomishcha Swargaadapi Gariiyasi’ (Mother and Motherland are greater than heaven itself) said Rama to Lakshmana in the battlefield after having defeated Ravana in response to his suggestion of occupying the magnificent land of Lanka.
But there are occasions when we have to learn to look beyond. Express ourselves in true understanding of the teachings and ideals and take a stance beyond symbols. The material is a bridge to the ethereal. We must ask ourselves – What is it that we want?