Today is Vijaya Dashmi. It is celebrated by Hindus across the world for various reasons – to celebrate Lord Rama’s victory over the Asura Raavan, and for the victory of Goddess Durga over the demon, Mahishasura. The moral behind all the tales and stories swirling around this day is that it is a day to celebrate victory of good over evil.
So what really is evil and what is good. Why do we really need comparisons or choices like the good and evil?
When we were kids, my paternal grandmother used to tell us that good and evil are two sides of the same coin. She said that what was considered good by one person, could be considered evil by another. Then I recently read a trilogy on life of Shiva, which said the same thing. It is only a matter of one's perspective. The book went on to say that everything must remain in a limited quantity and too much of anything becomes bad. The same applies for good too – too much of good will start to become bad for the society and will start an evil trend. So the right balance has to be maintained. The author of the trilogy goes on to quote the Vedas and says that as long as good and the so called evil are balanced, life continues in harmony. It is only when one side starts dominating the other that the problem starts and if there is no amicable solution, the only way to resolve the conflict is by a dharma war. And as my grandmother said, and as I read in the trilogy mentioned above, there are good people on both sides of the war and even the losers have good people.
Until a few months back, I always thought that Ravana was either an Asura / demon (Rakshasa). I believed that he was a Kshatriya, and Rama was a Brahmin. Then I happened to attend a GITPRO event in 2013, where Dr. Subramanyam Swami was the keynote speaker, and he mentioned that Ravana was actually a Brahmin and Rama was a Kshatriya. Ravana is often depicted as the evil demon, whereas in reality, he was a very learned man. He was a follower of Shiva, a great scholar, a capable ruler and a maestro of the veena, but someone who wished to overpower the devas. His ten heads represents that his knowledge of the six shastras and the four Vedas. He was the half brother of Kubera, the god of wealth. His problems started when he let his ego take over his righteous side, and kidnapped the wife of Rama who was roaming in the jungle with his wife and brother. Ravana refused to listen to the advice of his advisers, which included his learned father, ministers, brother and wife. He let the evil get heavier on his good side, and as a result we had the war against Lanka in which Ravana and his army was destroyed.
The same scenario has been repeated several times in history. In my humble opinion, the bottom line is that we need to maintain a balance between good and the so called evil , so that they can co-exist. Live and let live – that my friends, is the way life was meant to be lived and we should all learn that. Look for the good in everything and everyone, and stop trying to force others to live your way. Understand why people do what they are doing, and we could all live happily as was intended to be. Cheers!!