Prince Rama’s Anguish – Indian Proverbs

Prince Rama's anguish

“Yoga Vasishtha” is an ancient Indian sacred text. This work describes the dialogue between Prince Rama (the divine hero of the Ramayana) and the sage Vasishtha. Rama, dissatisfied with life, his meaningless existence, is looking for answers to the questions of being, wanting to understand what life, death, peace is, what is the purpose of human existence.

The spirit of Rama rushes about in search of the absolute Truth. Rama experiences longing and disappointment in life.

Rama’s servant describes the state of a prince who has all the material wealth, living in a luxurious palace, surrounded by intelligent interlocutors and beautiful girls.

“He is not disposed to bathing, worshiping the gods, distributing gifts and feasts and, even having devoted himself to prayer, does not feel satisfaction and our ruler does not eat anything.”

Prince Rama does not find satisfaction even in religion: after returning from a journey to holy places, he cannot find a place for himself, there is no peace in his heart.

Rama asks the question:

“Why is this happiness that prolongs samsara for everything that is born to die and dies to be reborn?”

Sage Vasishtha, understanding the present state of the prince and what such a mood will lead to in the future, says:

“This despondency in Rama, from which he does not find a place and does not want anything, is a sign of great reason, from discrimination and renunciation that happens.”

“He will be endowed with a great light, knowing this world and the next, will not be limited by pleasures and sufferings, looking equally at iron, pebbles and gold.”

What state should a person be in to be ready to accept the secret knowledge of the wise?

Valmiki, the author of the text, replies:

“This scripture is for those who think: ‘I am bound, how can I be free?’, Who are no longer ignorant, but have not acquired all the fullness of knowledge.”

As soon as this very subtle, at first barely perceptible feeling of bitterness arises in a person’s mind from not understanding his existence, there is a chance to gradually comprehend the great wisdom of the ancients through the scriptures, various sources that are now available for study. There is a desire to achieve something more, to understand oneself, the world, to embark on the path of enlightenment.

In fact, only being in a state of some kind of spiritual trouble can a person take the path of self-knowledge, realizing that the “benefits” offered by this

material world, unable to provide peace in his mind and heart. Suffering becomes the starting point of a long journey.

Having tasted all the blessings of the material world, a person is not satisfied, remaining empty. There are people in our society who are not initially interested in wealth and luxury. Perhaps they came to this world already with a certain wisdom, intuitively realizing the impermanence of the material world. What does the inner emptiness of a person lead to? Perhaps to search for the meaning of their existence. And what about a person who is in a society filled with passions, various energies and often ideas aimed exclusively at material well-being?

Without being deprived of material wealth, without denying the material world, a person gains the opportunity to become detached from it.

What knowledge and concepts are important for a modern person, how to figure out what is important and true in this world? Of course, denying the material world is not an option. But the life of a person who is involved only in material concepts turns into nonsense. All of us, manifested in the material world in human bodies, already have the potential for spiritual development. This fact alone is enough to start the spiritual path, provided that the games of samsara are no longer of interest to us and the possession of material goods does not satisfy. But, since we have been given this body and consciousness and we are manifested into this material world, the seeker ponders and asks himself the question “why do I live?”

In search of an answer, many concepts arise, including: why act if everything is impermanent and doomed to destruction. Prince Rama and we, together with him, receive an answer to this question. Sage Agastya says:

“As birds in the sky overcome the path with two wings, so the highest goal is achieved by knowledge and action.”

Prince Rama asks many substantive questions. Receiving answers to them, he gradually becomes enlightened, realizes the reason for his birth and fulfills his life duty.