Rama is hailed as the very embodiment of truth and dharma. In the Ayodhya Kanda, Sage Valmiki repeatedly alludes to His eschewing harsh words, speaking only when necessary, and putting others at ease. The many references to Rama’s speech is a preamble to highlight His total commitment to truth, pointed out Sri B. Sundarkumar in a lecture

Dasaratha is devastated by Kaikeyi’s insistence on the boons that not only deprive Rama of the kingdom but also imposes a 14-year exile on him. He pleads with her to think of his own plight. How could he inflict such commands on him, especially when he had just then promised Him the kingdom? He is driven to summon Rama to his presence who finds His father overwhelmed with grief and unable to speak. Rama entreats Kaikeyi to explain this strange situation. She hints that Dasaratha’s hesitation to convey to Rama what he wants of Him may be due to the unpleasantness it is likely to cause Him. The wily Kaikeyi first seeks an assurance from Rama that He would fulfil His father’s words even as she suggests that Dasaratha’s distressed state may be due to the fear that Rama may not act according to his wishes. Rama is saddened and wonders aloud: ‘Knowing my commitment to my father’s words, what is the need for me to take a vow again or reassure you in this regard? Why should there arise any doubt at all?’.

The prime commitment to uphold truth and preserve dharma, when myriad other ways and means by which this could be bypassed are available to mortals, is mirrored in Rama’s words. In yet another occasion, Rama reiterates with greater emphasis His stance of being rooted to Truth. When Bharata stubbornly refuses to accept the kingdom and fervently pleads with Rama to return, He recalls His vow to uphold Dasaratha’s words. “Even the effulgence of the moon may diminish from it; or the snow part from the Himalayas; the ocean may enter the land; but I will not swerve from my commitment to my father’s word.” Rama’s commitment becomes explicit not only to Bharata but also to the people of Ayodhya who realise that ‘Rama will never deviate from truth and that He will stand firm by His promise to Dasaratha.’

More In: Faith | Friday Review