By Roli S
We are on the cusp of making history. It seems that the land called Bharat, that has been associated with the term ‘Ram Rajya’, has finally after a long wait begun to experience how the people of the land must have felt and rejoiced when King Ram returned after fourteen years of exile to his motherland. This renaissance, this new birth of Ayodhya has become a thing of immense importance to Bharat and the world. To Bharat because of all that this coming of Ram to Ayodhya is meant for her in the recovery or the change of her time-old spirit and national ideals; to the world because of the possibilities involved in the rejuvenating of a spiritual force that is in many respects unlike any other and its genius very different from the state of mind and spirit that have till now governed the idea of modern in mankind. For the question what Bharat means to make of ‘Ram Rajya’ must precede the wider question what the new Ram Rajya may mean to the entire human race.
Spirituality is indeed the master-key of the Indian mind; the sense of the infinite is native to it. India saw from the beginning, and, even in her ages of reason and her age of increasing ignorance, that life cannot be rightly seen in the sole light. It cannot be perfectly lived on the surface. Bharat or Bharat Mata was alive to the greatness of material laws and forces thousands of years ago; had a keen eye for the importance of the physical sciences; also knew how to organise the arts of ordinary life. But Bharat saw that mere physical does not get its full sense until it stands in right relation to the supernatural and celestial; saw that the complexity of the universe could not be explained in the present terms of man with all its scientific advancements or seen by a sight that lacks depth or detail, that there were other powers behind, other powers within human beings of which they are normally unaware, that they are conscious only of a small part of themselves; that the invisible always surrounds the visible, the supernatural the natural, the infinite surrounds the finite.
Bharat saw too that humans have the power of exceeding themselves, of becoming more entirely and profoundly than they are! The understanding is that if there can be a Ram, there is a possibility of every human becoming Ram! When the coming of Ram of Bharat, to Ayodhya, is complete, the country will have an awakening, not only of the spiritual kind, but startling enough, to the real nature and capacity of the national spirit and national ethos. The piece of land called Bharat Varsh has seen the myriad gods, has seen God beyond the gods, and beyond God’s own incredible eternity; Bharat saw that there were ranges of life beyond our life, ranges of mind beyond our present mind and above these saw the splendours of the spirit.
Then with that calm audacity which knew no fear or limit and shrank from no act whether of spiritual or intellectual, ethical or vital courage, declared that there was none of these things which human beings could not attain, if humans trained their will and knowledge; they could conquer these ranges of mind, become the spirit, become a god, become one with God, become the heavenly Brahman. And with the logical practicality and sense of science and organised method, Bharat set forth immediately to find out the way. Hence, from long ages of this insight and practice there was ingrained in this land spirituality, a powerful and great yearning to grapple with the infinite and possess it. Bharat’s firmly established religious sense, idealism, Yoga, the constant reverence of art and philosophy became its identity to the more evolved and enlightened people of the world. For the rest of the world, India, Bharat or Hindustan for hundreds of years remained the land of poverty, slums, backwardness and superstition. Wedged between the two extremes, in a progressive and on the path of development, present day Bharat and present-day India is joyously waiting for its most beloved King – Ram to finally arrive and show her the path of dharma or righteousness or religio-philosophy. Why the euphoria? Why the frenzy? Frankly, I ask why not? As someone who grew up in India after independence and brought up in a world where the connection to Lord Ram got a bit blurred, I can still claim that He never left my side. Greetings of Ram-Ram, blessings of ‘Ram bhala karein’ and hope of ‘Ram bharose’ followed me everywhere I went in India. I don’t remember how many times I have come across men having ‘Ram’ in their names.
The reading of ‘Ram Charit Manas’ by elders, chanting of Akhand Ramayan at home, celebration of Ram’s victory over Ravan on Dussehra, coming of Ram back to Ayodhya on Deepavali, and birth of Ram on Ram Navami, these special days are etched on my mind and psyche even though I have never visited any Ram temples in my lifetime. I have always wondered in awe about Lord Ram’s life as by becoming one with him. I have asked innumerable questions to him as a little girl, as to why was he so forgiving? Why did he agree to a life full of hardships if he was the all-powerful one? Why did he have to take help of all the creatures of this world to find Mata Sita? Why did he give more importance to his duty as a king compared to his duty as a father? Whenever I raised these questions with my elders, I did not get any satisfactory answers. Except that he is Lord Ram, and we are all born from him. We should respect him, his actions and follow in his footsteps. Only recently in my life have I truly understood the meaning and significance of Ram for this spiritual land called Bharat. I came to know that a human being does not arrive immediately at that highest inner elevation. If it were demanded from them at once, they would never arrive there.
At first, they need support and stages of ascent; they ask for some scaffolding of faith, worship, image, sign, form, symbol, some indulgence and permission, of motive, on which they can stand while they build up in oneself the temple of the spirit. For the land of Bharat, since time immemorial, Ram has remained that motive, that image, that sign, that inspiration and that form of worship and faith. Ram is the government, Ram is the legislature, Ram is the polity. Ram has assigned roles to his beloved people and leaders to carry his message, re-establish his meaning for the rest of the world and Ram has also guaranteed his own coming to Ayodhya. Ram has remained that root from where this vast undying, forever green and ever benevolent tree called Bharat Varsh and its people has grown! And the fact that Ram is being given a well-deserved ceremonial welcome by its most beloved devotees and followers from around the world should be rejoiced and appreciated by one and all in the hope that positive and vibrant energies emanating from the City of Ayodhya, Ram’s abode, is going to bring lots of prosperity, good will and good fortune to all the people of this ‘Yug’ – Bharat and beyond.
(Roli S is an Educator and Author based in Thane)