Legendary bear and tiger

Na parah paapamaadatte pareshaam paapakarmaanaam

Samayo rakshiihavyastu santashchaaritrabhooshanaaha

(Valmiki Ramayana: Yuddha Kaandam, Sarga 103, Sl.44)

The sloka lays down a sensible observation that a wise one will not take serious note of sinful deed committed by one at the behest of others. The righteous one must therefore safeguard one’s resolutions, vows and righteous conduct at all times. Righteous persons have always the right record as an adornment, and the like attributes of their agreeable robe!

Explaining the above point to Hanuman, Sita said that the righteous ones must display kindness towards those deserving death and the sinful ones in the same way as they do towards righteous ones. For, there is none in this world who is beyond reproach. This principle of kindness and mercy must be extended to even those who are sadistic by nature and take delight in torturing others and those who spend their life in cruel and criminal ways. Sita’s suggestion obviously is that those who are deserving of punishment will get it from one above who literally oversees human actions. It is not for us to take cudgels against wrong-doers. At any rate, it is not the duty of the righteous and virtuous. At the moment, so far as the rakshasis who obeyed the orders of their master, the apportionment of sin cannot be made with precision and the exactitude at the human level. That is something which is in realm of the divine. The deity wielding the portfolio of punishment knows when to punish the guilty. The servant who carries out the command or the master shares the guilt with the latter. But the portion of each can only be decided by the deity entrusted with the task of assessment of crime and punishment.

Sita relies entirely on the high-thinking basic postulate that those who indulge in misdeed at the instance of others must be excused.

Who is punishable in a group of people who carry out the orders of others? Who are those who are collectively responsible for the crime? Scriptures specify four people who share equally the fruits of a deed good or bad. They are:

  • Karta – the author of the deed
  • Kaaryataachaiva – the actual performer
  • Prerakaha – the instigator, and
  • Anumodakaha – the approver

Each gets a fourth share in the spoils!

 

Beauty and the beast:

“Once a tiger”, said Sita to Hanuman, “gave a chase to a hunter. The only option that was available to the hunter was to climb a tree. Not being able to climb it, the tiger had to stop at the foot of the tree. But a bear had earlier taken refuge atop the same tree. The hunter was not aware of the hairy host but thought he saved himself from the dreadful beast. He relaxed himself and the relaxation yielded place to sleep. That gave the tiger an opportunity to have a deal with the bear: “Friend!” it said to bear, “the hunter is a killer of animals. So push him now to the ground.”

The bear, however, declined to release the hostage, “I am afraid,” said the bear, “I cannot push him down. He is now under my protection. And, it is sinful to throw out those under our protection.” So saying, the bear slept over.

The hunter got up.

Then the hunter addressed itself to him:

“Hey, hunter! Push the bear to the ground. Thereafter, I shall offer protection to you.”

The moment the hunter heard these words, he saw the bear still sleeping and without hesitation, pushed it down! But the bear was an extraordinary climber, and as soon it fell down, in a swift action, it retraced its steps to its position on the tree.

The tiger then resumed its dialogue with the bear: “Did you see? You can never believe a man! He pushed you down. You can avenge his ingratitude at least now by pushing him down!”

The bear, however, was not convinced. It dissuaded itself from what it called the sinful step by quoting the moral authority: “Na parah paapamaadatte……”

As Sita concluded relating the above legend to Hanuman, the latter, endowed with the voice of wisdom, said to the blemishless dame:

“Mother! You are the personification of all righteous qualities and the rightful consort of Sri Ram. I shall be leaving this place and before I do kindly give a message in response to his.”

“Drashtum-ichhami bhartaaram bhaktavatsalam” said Sita spelling out her message: “I want to meet my husband who is fond of his devotees.”

Hanuman the great intellectual that he was, comforted her with endearing words: “Just as Shachi Devi meets the king of Gods Indra, you will soon meet Sri Rama whose face is resplendent like the full moon, who has conquered the enemies, who is surrounded by friends and accompanied by Lakshmana”.

After giving the above assurance to Sita who was glowing brilliantly like the veritable Lakshmi, the effulgent Hanuman took her leave and went to Rama’s place.

He conveyed Jaanaki’s message and started recounting all that transpired at the meeting he had with the illustrious daughter of Janaka.

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