We celebrate the festival of Dussehra as win of good over evil. The conflicts were between two different parties – be it Rama and Ravana, Durga and Mahishasura. We are taught these overt conflicts. There is a subtle / covert lesson in these conflicts – the duality of mind. Our contest is with us inside our mind.
Ravana was very intelligent and capable ruler. As a kid, I watched Ramayana on TV. I used to ask this question to my siblings and parents – “how can a person have 10 heads?” To this I was told, it is symbolic. Ravana was so intelligent that he could have shashtrarth / serious discourse (discussions) with 10 different people simultaneously. Ravana was scholar of Shastras and Vedas, that’s the logic of saying 10 heads etc. Besides all this, Ravana was most respected devotees of Shiva. How can a devotee of the supreme lord be evil?
Imagine, a person of such caliber, such profound knowledge and power be known for all the wrong reasons! There are a couple of reasons for that; one is power corrupts and absolute power corrupts absolutely. Further, we need to learn – “with great power comes great responsibilities”. As Uncle Parker says to Peter Parker in the Movie Spiderman.
When, I look at these historical (for some people mythological) events, I see the easiest way to avoid such conflict is the eight fold path of Buddhism.
- Perfect Vision,
- Perfected Emotion,
- Right speech,
- Right action,
- Right livelihood,
- Right effort,
- Right mindfulness, and
- Right meditation / Samadhi
These are the virtues that can be explained to our generation in different manner for example – right livelihood for the Buddha was dependent on begging. In current generation I believe everyone should be self-dependent for livelihood. When some scholars say Right resolve (in the above list it is replaced with emotion), they explain it as life of a hermit giving up the world. When the Buddha attained enlightened I remember reading in some text he said, “It is not necessary to leave the world, one can be enlightened being a family person”. He propounded the Middle path for the same.
The real flight or contest is within, we can be the best in anything – as Ravana was. However, what matters is how we remained centered to be good. So, if we start taking these eight fold path doctrine in context of our generation, we can be as intelligent as Ravana and as good as Rama. The choice is always ours. This Dussehra I wish we all learn to fight our internal conflicts and Good wins over the evil within.
Image source – Amar Ujala