Vijay Dashami: Ram’s war was NOT against Ravan, but FOR Sita

Vijay Dashami: Ram’s war was NOT against Ravan, but FOR Sita October 13, 2013

When Ram had defeated Ravan, the Demon king; Ram walked over and bowed to him as a person of immense knowledge.  Albeit gone awry.

If we are looking for Good vs Evil characterization of a fight, then it makes no sense for the “Good” to bow down to the “Evil”.  But in popular parlance, that is how Vijay Dashami or Dusshera is characterized.  We are told its a fight between “Good” vs “Evil”.. and the moral of the story is that “Good always wins”.

Ram’s behavior at the end of the war says something totally different.

For, one who has gone beyond the dichotomies of Good / Evil, the Right/Wrong and Likes/Dislikes; a war is not a statement of morality.  A war is a necessity of maintaining social balance in human life, as life is lived in every moment sans ideas and morals.  Beyond that war and violence has no significance nor relevance.

The problem with the world is that when one fights a war for greed of power or money or lust; he loves to posit moral dualities.  Usurping the high road to himself.  From Alexander to Muhammad to Babar to Aurangzeb to Hitler to Bush.  Everyone was fighting a “Just” battle.  And at the end of the battle, everyone of these generals demonstrated a hatred for the vanquished, as it was during the war.  Whether it was in taking slaves, killing the opponents, or vilifying them.  Or all of these actions together.

Making a war opponent as an Enemy is a moral necessity for the one who fights a war of greed.

Ram’s war was not a war of greed.  He had not come to usurp anything from Ravan.  He did not covet anything that Ravan had.  He fought the war to take care of his love and responsibility – Sita, who had been abducted by a lusting man.  It was not a war to even get “my woman back”.  Where a woman becomes a property.  For, if a woman is a property, then one evaluates the return of one’s very action.  Is taking all this trouble even worth it?  Ram had no such thought.  If Ravan could have returned Sita, Ram’s love and responsibility, without a fight – none would have occurred.  It wasn’t an action of calculation.

War was not ideological either.  Again, if one looks carefully then one can see that a  “Good vs Evil War” is fundamentally a war of ideologies.  Because the concepts of Good and Evil are merely Ideological.  Not Existential.  Existentially, only two things are important.  Truth and Untruth.  Truth, not as an idea or as a statement of fact or one’s experience.  Truth is objective.  Truth is in every moment.  Not in a moment as you experience or state it or me for that matter.  But as it occurs Eternally and Perenially.  Primordial is its existence, and Eternal its nature.

That which was there before the beginning of time, that which is during the reign of time, and that, which will still be existing after the end of time.  That is the irrevocable, indestructible and inviolable.  Only one that is Sanatan or Eternal is the Truth.  Rest, because it is temporary – whether for a fleeting second or millions of millenia – is Untruth.

Truth is not found.  Nor is it stated.  Nor forced upon someone.  Or proven to anyone.  It is realized.

In a war, where Ram was fighting to unite with his love, the means and the end had chosen themselves.  Even when he was for the option of no war, war for him was the only option left.  Once on the battlefield, he fought to win.  That is how life is.  Life is NOT about winning or losing.  Life is about playing each game that every moment presents to you.  The game, its rules, its winning and losing, all are for that moment.   They do not stretch beyond that moment of the game.  That is why Ram bowed to Ravan.

In this realization – of living the life fully only in the moment, is the realization of the Truth.  And, the establishment of the central character of Dharma.  Living in the Now, without the baggage of mind.

Actually, if one sees it clearly then one will realize that Everyone lives in the now.  Living happens ONLY in the now.  It doesn’t happen in the past or the future.  But the mind and our experience via the conditioned mind, doesn’t make it appear so.  We continue to experience life in moments and experiences outside of the “Now”.

Realization of the Truth that living happens ONLY in the Now, is awakening to your Dharma.  In that is the establishing of one’s Dharma.

If after collecting all the Army, getting battle ready, walking all the way to Ravan’s palace; the latter had come and handed over Sita without a fight and apologized, Ram would have simply walked back.  Because fight wasn’t with Ravan.  The fight was to establish love.  The moment, unfortunately however, beckoned a war.  So, the Realized One, fought a war.  A war that wasn’t against Ravan.  But for Sita.

And, in the whole drama of morally charged religious fervor; that is precisely what everyone forgets.  That, Ram’s war was NOT against Ravan.  But FOR Sita.  “Against” is Hatred.  For is Love.

One who is established in Love will do what is needed.  Not to destroy.  Even when others call it evil.  For, Action of Love goes beyond the dualities of morality.  It is established in the Truth.  Of the moment.  Of now.


Featured Image: Ramayana carving on a wooden door inside a temple






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  • Ambaa

    I love this! Both the Ramayana and the Mahabharata have very complex messages about war and good and evil. They get simplified down too often and lose their actual essence.

    • Thanks, Ambaa! Greatly appreciate your comment – a fellow Patheos blogger 🙂 In case of Hinduism, if one sticks by just one thing – Truth.. Sanatan Truth, and let the other things fall by the side, it will all be good. I urge you to read Vasistha’s Yoga by Swami Venkatesananda, available on Amazon.. it’s like the minutes of classroom where Saeg Vasistha teaches Ram. THE most profound words ever written. And, that’s what you learn from Sage Vasistha as well. Only one thing is sacrosanct – Truth.

      • Ambaa

        I’m so thrilled to see the Hindu patheos channel getting more active! 😀

  • Futura Logic

    Thank you Desh’ji. Apart from the clarity in the title I loved the words .. A war is a necessity of maintaining social balance in human life, as life is lived in every moment sans ideas and morals. Beyond that war and violence has no significance nor relevance.

  • Bhrata

    Dude you are such a gem….Pranam for my side…what a fantastic brief…


    I love your take on Vijay dashami, as always you do create the argument worth a read and that’s what I love about your writing. But I have one problem …….

    If what you say is true, then what is the function of Ram being lord and an Avatar because don’t forget, Ravan had done load of people wrong, and that’s the whole reason the whole army was there to do justice for their wrong. Lets say for example if Ravan gave sita back to Ram, would he have walked away from the war and let the un justice carry on as it did prior to the war, then would he still be called Maryada Purshotam and that’s what I wanted to ask you. The real question is would have walked away or would he have done the did? that needed doing.

    • Thanks, Harry!
      I think we all understand that this is a hypothetical question – one that I brought up and that you are asking.

      I am not sure if Ram would have left Ravan alone or not. From whatever I know of Ram, I believe he would have. Krishna would not have though 🙂

      No action is right or wrong. It is how you carry it out. Ram lived within rules and limits. Krishna did not. Both lived their lives in a beautiful way though.

      One major reason why Ram would have and Krishna wouldn’t – is because Ram has had a limited stake in the war. Sita. Krishna’s stake was bigger in his life. Dharma. And when he saw situations or characters doing something totally a-Dharmic, he somehow aligned the situations in a way that they would simply walk into a war with him that they lost, despite all the advantage.

      That is my take. but I am not an authority on either of them nor do I want to second guess their actions, as they were far ahead in their clarity for me to do so 🙂

  • Harshvardhan

    Well you did one grave mistake in intepretation which made whole thing faliure. First of all you missed the fact that- a person don’t have everything evil in it, a person wasn’t born evil, a person don’t need to stay evil all his life. On light of these facts, note when Ravan was dying he lost all his ego and pride. He realized that Raam was Bhagwan Vishnu. At that particular instant Ravan was evil no more. What remained was a great brahmin with emmense knowledge! That is complete vicotory of dharma over adharma that the lord of adharma turns towards dharma.
    But nothing is absolute, nor is dharma. Ravana was religious person. But wasn’t a good king. He didn’t followed Raj Dharma properly. He was very knowledgable but didn’t followed his manav dharma properly. Bigger the position of person, more dangerous he is when he is adharmic.
    So it should be interpreted as- the lord of adharma when near his death broke the chains of ahdarma and turns dharmic. Raam, bowed to the great ‘success’/’progress’ he had made and gave a tribute to the vast knowledge Ravana had. It is ultimate victory of Dharma over Adharma. Purushottam (the ideal perfect man) over Adharmic emperor.