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Category: Valmiki Ramayana

Not even for fifteen minutes?

“Calmness, forbearance, candor, and soft speech—these virtues of the good are by the insolent taken for the effects of incompetency.  The person who is self-laudatory, wicked, badly bold, and who publishes his own praise and metes out chastisement everywhere, is honored in the world.  By moderation one cannot attain celebrity; by moderation one cannot obtain fame.” — Valmiki Ramayana, Yuddhakanda Sarga 21


A different kind of profit and loss

“Even a wicked-minded enemy, if he with folded palms and a poor heart craves for your shelter, should not be slain.  If an enemy, proud or terrified, seeks shelter in fear, he should be saved by a great man even at the risk of his own life.  One who from fear, ignorance, or willfulness does not protect him who seeks his shelter perpetrates a mighty iniquity and is blamed by all.  When a person is slain before him  whose shelter he has taken, he takes away all the virtues of his protector.  So great is the sin in not affording shelter unto those who seek it; it stands in the way of going to heaven, bringing in calumny and destroying strength and prowess.” — Valmiki Ramayana, Yuddhakanda Sarga 18

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God help me, my skin is stuck

“What iniquity is there which cannot be perpetrated by the angry?  They can even slay the worshipful and vilify the pious with harsh words.  The angry cannot decide what should be spoken and what not.  There is no vice which cannot be committed by them, and there is nothing which cannot be spoken by them.  He is the proper person who can subdue his rising ire by means of forgiveness as a serpent leaves off his worn skin.” — Valmiki Ramayana, Sundarakanda Sarga 55


Morning is broken

As a house that is solidly built ultimately falls into decay, so too are people subject to age and death. The night that has passed  does not return, and the bountiful river flows on. The passing days and nights quickly consume the lifetimes of every living thing, just as in the summer the rays of the sun dry up the water in a pool.

Whether you stay at home or depart to another place, your lifetime grows shorter. Death walks with us as we walk and sits with us as we sit. Having traveled a very long distance with us, death returns along with us as we return.

When wrinkles have appeared on the face and the hair has turned grey, how can a man having decayed with age come back to his original splendour? People are delighted when the sun has risen and also when the day ends. But they are not able to perceive the waning in their lifetimes.

Seeing the onset of a season, people rejoice, as though it has come anew. But the succession of the seasons devours life. As pieces of driftwood floating on the ocean come together for a time, so wives, children, kinsmen, wealth and property come together for a while and then depart from us. Their parting is indeed inevitable. Here, no living being can escape its destiny, its birth and death. As a caravan is passing by on a road, one standing at the wayside says, I will follow behind you.

— Valmiki Ramayana, Ayodhyakanda Sarga 105

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Neither a Kennedy nor a Bush be they

There was a great person named Kusa, born to Brahma.  He was a great ascetic of indefatigable vows, conversant with righteousness and worshipping good men. That eminent one married a princess of Vidarbha who was born in a noble descent and suitable to him.  He begot four virtuous sons comparable to himself named Kusamba, Kusanabha, Adhurta Rajas and Vasu. Highly lustrous king Kusa, possessor of great perseverance, eager to be righteous, always truthful in speech, with a desire to carry out the duties of the warrior race, addressed his sons saying: ‘O! My sons.  Be engaged in the task of governance by following righteousness. You will acquire immense merit’.” — Valmiki Ramayana, Balakanda Sarga 32

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East is east

“King Dasaratha addressing his dearest wives said ‘I intend to perform a sacrifice in order to obtain sons. Therefore you also commence religious discipline.’ After listening to these excessively charming words, their lotus-like countenances endowed with brightness were resplendent like lotuses uncovered by ice.” — Valmiki Ramayana, Balakanda Sarga 8

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