The Great debate between Rishi Jabali & Rama

Bharata meets Rama in the forest

The great debate between Rishi Jabali & Rama: Dasaratha is dead, why not rule the Kingdom, who cares about his promise. Following article provide view about What were the arguments of Jabali Rishi to stop Lord Rama from going to exile?

During the time when Bharat was away from their home in Ayodhya, Lord Ram was exiled into the forest by his stepmother Kaikeyi, who was Bharat’s birth mother. It was her plan that with Shri Ram away in the forest, Bharat could easily become the King of Ayodhya. When Bharatji returned home and discovered that his beloved Shri Ram had been exiled, for what purpose and by whom, it was as if he had been struck by lightning. His anger and sorrow were indescribable. In fury he cursed his mother for even thinking of such a plan, let alone putting it into action! And he cried with anguish at the thought of his dear Lord Ram (who was the Lord Himself!) having to suffer so much on his account.
Immediately, Bharatji- left Ayodhya for the forest to meet with Shri Ram, who was his life and soul, and bring Him back to Ayodhya. As he traveled to the forest to meet with Lord Ram, Bharatji said the following prayer:

Aratha na Dharana na kaama ruchi
Gati na chahaun Nirbaana
Janama Janama rati Rama pada
Yeh bardaana na aana.

“I do not want wealth, nor righteousness, nor the fulfillment of my desires. I do not even want liberation. The only boon I ask is that in life and after life I have pure love for the lotus feet of Shri Rama.”
After delivering the painful news of their father’s death to Rama and Lakshmana, Bharata argued with Rama to return to Ayodhya as emperor, but the latter steadfastly refused on the grounds that such a deed would be unrighteous.
One of the sage try to intervene, his name was Jabali. A learned Brahmin priest and an advisor of Dasharatha, he unsuccessfully tries to persuade Rama to give up his exile, using rational arguments.

Ram Bharata

Jabali’s arguments was
“Rama, you are too much of a simpleton. Let not your understanding get deluded like an ordinary man’s. A man takes birth alone and alone he perishes. Therefore, he who wallows in affection for parents is insane. Discarding the kingdom at your father’s request and taking shelter in inaccessible and dangerous forests is not your duty. Return to prosperous Ayodhya this instant. That city, like an abandoned wife in a single-braid, awaits you. There pass the days enjoying the kingdom and live in supreme happiness like Indra in the world of the gods. Dasharath is no one to you. He is a distinct being and so are you. Child, you are being ruined because of your own flawed intelligence. I am extremely worried about those who, discarding concrete goals, live only for religion. For, after suffering various tortures in this world they are utterly destroyed. People perform funeral obsequies offering food to departed ancestors. Now, this is unnecessary waste of food; for who has ever heard that dead persons can eat? Those scriptures that contain prescriptions for worshipping gods, sacrifices, donations, ascetics and other rituals, have been prepared by wise men only to keep people subjugated. Therefore, Rama, comprehend that there is nothing whatsoever as dharma for the after-life. Act on what is before you and engage yourself for what is to come. Bharat is requesting you. Following the unanimous advice, accept the responsibility of the kingdom.”

After hearing Jabali’s words, Rama the best among virtuous and upright men spoke with a great devotion and with an undisturbed mind of his own (as follows);

“That which, in your desire to please me, you have counselled, is impossible though it appears to be possible. It is like a forbidden food, appearing to be an agreeable one. He who is unruly, fully invested 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 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, to whom can I advise a prescribed conduct? How would 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 an assemble of truth and 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 fear of a person, who speaks untruth, as one fears a snake. Truth is the highest virtue and is stated to be the origin of heaven. Truth is god and all virtues follow truth. All are rooted in truth 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. One rules over the world. One develops a race. One 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?”

Jabali Rishi To Stop Lord Rama

“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.The Sun, the Moon are the witness to the promise I have given to our father and I shall abide tot he promise at all cost.”

“I perceive this virtue i 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 covetous men of evil deeds.”

“Sin is committed by the body after it has been conceived by the mind and falsehood is spoken with the tongue. Thus, the degrading act is of three types (with body, mind and tongue) The earth, fame, prosperity and fortune indeed woo a man of truth. They constantly oblige the truth: truth should therefore be strictly observed!”

“The logical words, you have made it out to be good, saying ‘Do this good thing’ as uttered to me, are really unworthy. 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 with life-journey in this manner, by accepting this dwelling in the forest, by 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.”
Hearing this Jabali understood his mistake and backed off. Then King Janaka explained that since Bharata’s love for Rama was unparalleled, it became his duty to enable Rama to live righteously.
Finalyy, Bharata gave up his efforts to take Rama back to Ayodhya before the fourteen year exile elapsed. Though deeply disappointed, Bharata returned to Ayodhya after receiving a promise from Rama that he would return promptly at the end of the fourteen year exile and ascend the throne. He vowed to Rama that if Rama did not return immediately when the fourteen years elapsed, he would give his life up by immolation.
He agreed to govern Ayodhya, not as its ruler, but as Rama’s representative. The people supported Bharata, as he became the ‘king’ of Kosala and Ayodhya, but Bharata himself placed Rama’s sandals at the foot of the royal throne, and neither sat upon the throne nor crowned himself.

सुनि सिख पाइ असीस बड़ि गनक बोलि दिनु साधि,
सिंघासन प्रभु पादुका बैठारे निरुपाधि ||३२३ ||

Hearing this advice and receiving the great blessing Bharata called astrologers and fixing an auspicious day happily on the throne the wooden sandals of the Lord.
Bharata’s reign was righteous and the kingdom was safe and prosperous, but Bharata continuously longed for Rama’s return. During this time he did not forgive his motherKaikeyi, and diligently served Kousalya, Rama’s mother, and Sumitra, Lakshmana’s mother.

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