A Wise Person In Worldly Affairs

In this world of ours, we find many who are worldly wise. However, there are some wise people in this world too! Their wisdom peeps at us through their thoughts, words and deeds! They too are involved in the day to day worldly affairs, just like any of us. However, the fragrance of wisdom permeates their worldly dealings. The flower of wisdom matures into fruit of ‘well-being of many’

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In Sri: Ra:ma:yana, we find an interesting episode during Sri: Si:tha-Ra:ma kalya:nam- ie. on the eve of marriage of Mother Si:tha with Lord Ra:ma. We will narrate the episode and observe how great people are intuitively wise and cause greater good to people around.

Lord Ra:ma breaks the ancient and sacred Siva’s bow. King Janaka is delighted at this and declares that Si:tha would be married to Lord Ra:ma. He seeks permission from Sage Visva:mithra and Satha:nanda.

He invites Dasarattha at the behest of these sages.

Visva:mithra is a world renowned sage. Satha:nanda is the royal-adviser of King Janaka.
Undoubtedly, King Janaka has his own fame. However when inviting Dasarattha, Lord Ra:ma’s father, Janaka does not rely of self-eulogy. The invitation is not sent on his behalf! It is sent on the behalf of sage Visva:mithra, whom Dasarattha revered, and also on the behalf of Satha:nanda, Janaka’s royal priest. Such is the sensibility of King Janaka

On receiving the invitation, king Dasarattha is overjoyed! After a long time he had news of his sons. Also there is an invitation from king Janaka! The king summons Vasishtta, the royal preceptor and sages like Va:made:va. Along with them, he meets the council of ministers and based on their advice, accepts the invitation.

Such is the weight of sage Visva:mithra’s words!Janaka’s diplomacy is working!

Accompanied by Bharatha and Sathrughna, four-fold army and treasures, Dasarattha leaves for
Mitthila. Sages like Vaishtta, Va:made:va, Ja:ba:li, Ka:syapa, Ma:rkande:ya, Ka:thya:yana lead the procession. They travel for four days before reaching Janaka’s Mitthila. Janaka arrives with the sages residing in his state and receives Dasarattha warmly.

Janaka says in all humility, “Blessed I am! Blessed are my ancestry!! A yagna is under progress. Once the sacred rituals are concluded, we shall conduct the marriage. Such is the view of the sages” Dasarattha replies humbly, “O King ! You are the ‘giver’, I am the ‘taker’! You are well aware of the code of conduct. I shall abide by what you say!”

Janaka is courteous! Dasarattha is double courteous!! He is sensitive enough to recognise that the host’s convenience is a chief priority for a guest. Also it was practical enough on his part to proceed by Janaka’s schedule!

Both the parties exchange pleasantries, introduce themselves and rest for the night. Earlyin the morning, Janaka makes his daughters Si:tha and U:rmila perform various rituals. Then he calls Satha:nanda and says thus, “You know my brother Kusadhvaja ! He rules the city of Sa:nka:sya, on the banks of river Ikshumathi. In fact he is the protector of this Yagna! It would be good if he is available here, at least for the concluding ceremony. He would have his share of joy! I shall send for him, now.” Satha:nanada
agrees!

Janaka seems to be so subtle! How is it that he remembers his brother at the far end of the yagna? He never invited his brother till date. Also Janaka says that his brother is the chief protector. Perhaps, Janaka posted him at the frontiers to protect the yagna! It might be true as well!! However, why does Janaka discuss with Satha:nanda to invite his brother?! He could have simply ordered! Why these discussions?

The idea seems to be this. When Janaka saw Bharatha and Sathrughna along with Dasarattha, he remembered daughters of his brother. Ma:ndavi and Srutha ki:rthi are his brothers daughters. His own daughters Si:tha and U:rmila are being married to Ra:ma and Lakshmana. Janaka wanted to propose an alliance for Bharatha and Sathrughna. Now who would convey this to Dasarattha? It must be his royal priest Satha:nanda or their common well-wisher Visva:mithra. It would be better if Satha:nanda puts the proposal to Visva:mithra who in turn would put it before Dasarattha!

Wisdom of a person manifests itself as intentions to cause good for others. Janaka’s cultivated mind intuitively designed a scheme to bring about joy to his brother and his daughters! This is Janaka’s maturity translated into ‘action’! We do not know if Janaka executed this in an exact manner or not. However, we find Visva:mithra giving his opinion at an opportune moment.

Later, in the assembly, mutual introductions are made. On Dasarattha’s behest, sage Vasishtta introduces the ancestors of Dasarattha. Similarly,Janaka’s ancestors are also introduced. Janaka introduces his brother too!! Then he turns to Visva:mithra and
says “ With great delight, I put my daughters Si:tha and U:rmila into your care. May Si:tha be wedded to Ra:ma, U:rmila to Lakshmana. Three days from now is the auspicious day.”

Visva:mithra is pleased by Janaka’s humility. After praising Janaka in the assembly, he admires the aptness of the alliances. Then he says further, “O King Janaka! Your brother Kusadhvaja has two daughters. Beautiful and virtuous they are! With sage Vasishtta’s permission, I request you to consider Bharatha and Sathrugna as suitable grooms”

Visva:mithra’s words set stage for a greater good! Both sides are benefitted by his truthful and auspicious words. Wisdom of a person manifests itself as words causing greater good.

Visva:mithra requested. Vasishtta accepted. Dasarattha was but a mute spectator. This is significant. Dasarattha is an emperor! Yet he speaks not a word when Vasishtta and Visva:mithra agree for the alliances. Such is his implicit trust in his teachers. Many times we disturb smooth flow of events just to show off that we too are present! Our desire to prove our ‘identities’ forces us to intrude and disturb the events going around! The mighty emperor establishes his presence by his silence!

He expresses warmth to Janka and his brother and returns to his resting place at Mitthila. Wisdom of a person manifests itself as noble deeds. Sometimes these deeds can be seen explicitly, at other times they are shrouded by silence.

Janaka is pleased at the fulfilment of his desire to get ideal suitors like Bharatha and Sathrughna for his nieces. He expresses his gratitude to the sages and requests them to guide him further.

The wisdom of the noble souls spills out itself in their thoughts, words and deeds. It is for us to observe such people, adore their qualities and emulate them! Our Itiha:sas, Bhagawadgi:tha, texts and lectures of our a:cha:ryas help us identify the wisdom that manifests around each of us. Eventually they guide us to invoke such wisdom within ourselves too!

– Translated from Telugu BN by Ramakrishna T