How does God helps those who help themselves apply to Rama in Ramayana?
Transcriber: Dr Suresh Gupta
Edited by: Sharan Shetty
Question: How does “God help those who help themselves” apply to Rama in Ramayana?
Answer:In general, when the avataaras descend to this world, they do not always act as if they are God. They often act like human beings.
Also, it is important to note that every book has its driving question. For the Mahabharata, the driving question is, what is dharma. For Srimad Bhagavatam, it is, what is dharma of a person who is about to die. And for the Ramayana, the driving question is, what are the characteristics of an ideal person.
Now, if the ideal person is God himself, we would want him to act ideally since God does not have temptations. The epic Ramayana does not emphasise so much on Rama’s divinity, although it is quite evident throughout the scripture. The supreme beauty of Ramayana is that Rama, although he is the Supreme Personality of Godhead, goes through difficulties but does not use his omnipotence to push off them. Rather, he demonstrates how in great difficulties one can respond to adversity with dignity by sticking to one’s duty. This is what makes Ramayana so inspiring.
An ideal human being is one who tries his best in every situation. However, being a human, things will not always be in control. In Rama’s case, although everything is ultimately in his control, but in the lila they are not. Thus, he is seen seeking help of others. For example, he does what he can to search for Sita but eventually takes help from Sugriva, the king of the vanaras.
If we consider Rama simply a finite being in his human pastime (nara lila), then for him to meet Jatayu while searching for Sita is very special. It was a big forest and Rama could have been anywhere, yet he finds Jatayu who tells him how the evil Ravana kidnapped Sita. As Rama moves on, he finds the demon Kabandha who tells him to form an alliance with Sugriva in order to find Sita.
When Rama is fighting the war, he removes Ravana’s head again and again, but Ravana’s heads keep re-appearing. Finally, Vibhishana comes and tells Rama that if you keep shooting his head it will keep reappearing, so shoot him in his heart and that is how Rama kills Ravana. Although Rama is doing his best to slay Ravana but that is not working, and someone else helps him. Thus, we could see that things which are beyond his control are also working out right.
Thus, we can see things which were beyond Rama’s knowledge and capacity were also helping him, to make things work out. The principle of “God help those who help themselves” is clearly demonstrated here.
End of transcription.