Pearls from the Ramayana — Grace and Effort

Who can refute the fact that it is only due to the grace of the Almighty that everything happens in this world? But this does not mean we should refrain from carrying out our duties. That will only be escapism. Nor can we point to destiny as an excuse for neglect of duty.  On the other hand, mere efforts cannot guarantee success either. Terming our effort alone as the driver for a task will only result in bloating our ego. 

So how should we carry out our duties? 

Own responsibility for a task and work through it by putting in our best of efforts, and at the same time understand that divine will drives it all. And above all, seek divine grace for its completion through sincere prayers. This is the secret of success for anything that we take up. This alone will give us both the strength and drive to progress, as well as shower the much required grace and humility. This precept is beautifully depicted in Ramayana.

In Sundarakanda, after meeting Sita Devi and introducing himself, Hanumanji hands her the ring given by Lord Rama. Filled with joy on receiving the ring with her Lord’s Divine Name inscribed on it, Sita Devi enquires about the health of Lord Rama. Hanumanji describes Rama’s longing for Sita Devi; he speaks volumes about the untold suffering that Lord Rama has had to undergo having been separated from her.

At this instant, Sita Devi asks Hanumanji, “Tell me, O valorous monkey. Does Lord Rama simply wander in the forests cursing his destiny for his loss?  Is he intent on getting me back?  And even if he is, is he taking concrete steps towards that?”

“O revered Mother,” Hanumanji humbly submits, “Of all the corners of the planet, I am HERE today – in this country of Lanka, in this forest, the Ashoka Vana – speaking to you. None of it is my mettle. But for the efforts of Lord Rama, none of this would have been possible. You can take my word that He is leaving no stone unturned to get you back. When I report about our meeting to Lord Rama, He will come over with the entire army and slay Ravana in no time!”

(The series will continue…)

R. Murali, Chennai, India

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