Lord Rama says janani janma bhumischa svargad api gariyasi. How to understand it?
Transcription: Sudha Mehta Mataji
Question: Lord Rama says janani janma bhumischa svargad api gariyasi. How will you understand this?
Answer: The statement comes in the Ramayan in Yudha kand after Lanka has being defeated and Laxman says to Ram that this Lanka is so beautiful why do we need to go back to Ayodhaya? We can rule here itself at that time Lord Ram replies “Janani Janma bhumischa” “Mother and Mother land” are greater than “svargad api gariyasi” they are better than even heavens and this statement has been made the national motto of Nepal and it is also quoted by many people who are of patriotic intent. Now some scholars refer to this as interpolation saying that actually it is not there in some of the original versions of the Ramayan. But even if it is there the important point is that we have to look at the context for what its saying. As compared to a conquered land which was the land of the demons, he is saying that the mother land the mother are far better. So the Vedic scriptures talk about three levels of dharma there is three levels of existence i.e paradharma, apara dharma and adharma. Adharma is ir-religiosity. Apara dharma is material religion so duty to parents, duty to dynasty, duty to ones country all these are valuable they are part of apara dharma and beyond that there is para dharma i.e transcendental religion which focuses on pure devotional service. So as compared to gross materialism the religious dutifulness even if at material level is far more superior. So love for ones country is also important so that a person can do ones worldly duties properly beyond that just as love for ones parents is there, love for ones race is there, love for ones dynasty is there, similarly love for ones country is there because when people have to live in this material world and act responsibly in their material positions whatever material positions they have to have some affection for it and the Vedic culture is arranged in such a way that the apara dharma assists in para dharma. The para dharma is ultimately returning back to spiritual world by practicing devotional service. So Lord Ram is not saying Janani Janma bhumis cha Vaikunta di api garyasi. As compared to some worldly attainments faithfulness to ones mother and mother land are greater. However when we consider it from a transcendental perspective even greater than that is returning back to the spiritual world. So that means we have multiple levels we have adharma, apara, dharma and para dharma. So when Krnsa says Sarva dharman paritajya mam ek am sharanam vraja. So at that time he is essentially telling that for the sake of para dharma i.e pure devotional service all other duties can be given up including apara dharma so that could mean for the sake of pure devotional service one can subordinate the principle janani janma bhumis cha. But as compared to some worldly attainments gross materialism which is not in harmony with religious principles then the material religious commitment is far superior. So from the context what is Lord Ram telling although we have won the kingdom of Ravana by religious means still he feels that going back to one’s own kingdom and living there is far superior. So he doesn’t want to live in a foreign land and that is a valid feeling. ________ also says “To live in a land that is far away from ones birth place that itself is one form of misery” because one gets culturally uprooted and alienated from ones root. So ones rules are helpful. The Vedic culture is arranged in such a way that in order to be truly faithful to ones apara dharma one also has to practice para dharma. So the Bhagwad Gita uses this strategy repeatedly Arjuna is referred to in laudatory terms as Kauteya as Bharat nandana, son of Kunti, as descendent in the dynasty of bharta and by that he is encouraging that you are coming from a such a great dynasty therefore act in a worthy way and act virtuously not just material virtuous point of view but also from spiritual virtuous point of view and in this way you can become elevated. So therefore this is the important point it is definitely talking about religious injunction which is higher than adharma gross materialism but it is also subordinate to para dharma for which all other religious principles can be given up as Bhagwad gita 18.6 says Sarva dharmam paritajya Thank you