What is Dharma? – Summary of Divine Discourse on 26 May, 2016 (Evening)
True dharma is mama dharma. That is nothing but the atma dharma. It is said that dharma is that which bears everything. Dharma is the fundamental basis of this world. Rama did not go to the forest in order to obey His father. He went to the forest in order to obey the command of dharma.
If you analyse it in a very subtle way, you will find that the whole story of Ramayana happened in order to protect dharma. The same Rama who waged a battle in order to win back Sita, banished Sita to the forest listening to the words of a washerman. Why? The life of Rama revolved around practising and adhering to the word of dharma. When He was in the life of an exile in the forest, He adhered to the dharma of a husband. At that time, He was not the king. When He returned to Ayodhya and became the king of Ayodhya, He had to practise the dharma of a king. Every human being has three types of dharma to practise – the individual dharma, family dharma and societal dharma. As an individual you may be a son or a father or a brother or a sister or a mother or a daughter but all this is individual dharma. But when you look at the family dharma, you are a member of the family, you can sacrifice individual dharma for family dharma. But when you are standing up for societal dharma, in order to achieve the welfare of society, you can sacrifice family dharma.
Rama, being the king of the country, had to protect the societal dharma – His duty to the nation. Therefore, He sacrificed the family dharma in order to uphold the national or societal dharma. Over this topic of banishment of Sita to the forest, people generally sympathise with Sita for all the hardships that she had to undergo when she was banished but nobody ever thinks of the grief and melancholy in the heart of Rama after having banished half of His personality. After Sita went away to the forest, He was never happy even for a moment.
Though it is not written in the book of Ramayana, I want to reveal to you: in fact, when the washerman said those words, Sita also heard that. Rama when He was in a room with Sita told her, “Subjects are speaking about you this way; what should we do?” Then Sita said, “We have to set the right example for the subjects. Only if I move away from You, all the subjects will be satisfied.” Rama did not really banish Sita. It is Sita who took that decision because she was the better half of Rama. Only by sacrifice, you attain immortality. Not by actions, not by progeny, not by wealth – only by sacrifice you will attain immortality. A husband like Rama, a wife like Sita are an ideal couple. Because Sita was an embodiment of sacrifice, today also we take the name of Sita first and then Rama by saying “Sitarama”, we don’t say “Ramasita”. By doing that, Sita became the dharmapatni, not the karmapatni.