CHENNAI: Sacrifice (Tyaga) is the leitmotif of true love, which ennobles human beings. All living beings are also capable of love. Human capacity for love is definitely greater and it gets expressed in many ways. Conjugal love is capable of becoming sublime, when it transcends selfishness.

Sage Narada has defined true love as having utmost concern about the welfare of the person whom one loves. This can be interpreted to mean that one who loves a person shares in his joy and sorrow, thus empathy overruling even the slightest tinge of selfishness in the relationship.

In his discourse, Sri Hari said sacrifice characterised the love Rama and Sita had for one another. It is possible to see the same spirit of sacrifice in the actions of all the key characters in the Ramayana. Rama sacrificed His rightful throne and an empire to keep His father’s word to Kaikeyi and went in exile which was the expression of His filial love, while Sita accompanied Rama without a second thought about the hardships of forest life as She was also motivated by sacrifice for She wanted to share in His joy and sorrow.

Lakshmana was the very epitome of service whose love towards Rama did not allow him to think of himself at all. Bharata’s sacrifice comes to the fore when he spurned the kingdom which his mother had schemed and got for him. He went post haste to bring Rama back to Ayodhya. When He refused to oblige, Bharata installed His sandals on the throne at Nandigrama and worshipped them till the period of exile was over. Guha, Sumantra and the citizens of Ayodhya, the list is endless as each vied with the other to express his unalloyed love for Rama.

While all loved Rama, who was the personification of virtues, Rama loved Satya (truth) and Dharma (righteousness). Rama’s demeanour did not show the slightest change, and in fact, He had a beatific smile on His face after relinquishing the kingdom because of His love for His father and truth. And it was only out of love for Sita that Rama tried to dissuade Her from accompanying Him to the forest as He did not want Her to undergo the discomforts and the dangers there. But Sita thought otherwise; Her happiness lay where Rama was.