Valmiki teaches us how an ideal crown prince should be, even as he describes Sri Rama’s virtues and qualifications to be the crown prince. This style differes from Chanakya‘s style in the Arthasastra where he merely lists the traits out. This is one of the qualities of the Ramayanam that make it an itihasam and not just a sastram or itivrutti.
Bharata left for his maternal uncle’s house (kekeya – pakisthan) taking with him the sinless and powerful Satrughna. He was treated with love by his grandfather Ashvapati and his uncle Yudhajit. They thought of their father Dasaratha everyday. The illustrious (Mahateja) Dasaratha also thought of Bharata and Satrughna who were comparable to Indra and Varuna.
Since Valmiki lived in the Vedic period, we observe here and everywhere else that Rama, his father and his brothers are always compared to Indra, Varuna, Brhaspati and Vishnu. This reiterates our observed view that Indra was a standard of comparision in Valmiki’s time.
While Dasaratha loved all his sons, he always liked Rama the best. Rama was like Swayambhu (the self-born). Vishnu himself was born as Rama in order to kill Ravana. Rama of the limitless brilliance (Amita – Tejas), with his mother Kausalya (the princess of Kosala ), looked like the best of the Devas, Indra, the Vajrapani (who holds the Vajra in his hand) with his mother Aditi. (Vajra can mean, diamond, lightening-bolt, or a hard weapon made of bone. Indra destroyed Vrittra with the Vajrayudha).
Rama was most handsome and brave. In virtues, he excelled his father Dasaratha. There was no son like him on the earth. Serene and gentle, he would respond even to harsh words in the softest manner. He remembered even the smallest of favours and forgave hundreds of errors.
(While I am using the past tense, in writing about Sri Rama, Valmiki always described Rama in the present tense, because they were contemporaries.)
In the intervals between his weapons practice he spoke to those good people who had grown in Character (शील), Knowledge (ज्ञान) and Age (वयो). Though powerful, he was not proud, he was the first to address others with affectionate and sweet words and was an intellectual (बुद्धिमान्). He never spoke an untruth (अनृत), was knowledgeable, and loved his people, as they loved him.
He was never angry, having controlled his anger. He was a Dharmagnya (one who knows Dharma, Ethics, Righteousness, Duty..) and respected brahmins. He was self-controlled and pure.
His thoughts were worth of his kula (dynasty), he held his क्षात्रं धर्मं, Kshatra Dharma (the code of the warriors and princes) in high regard. He considered the fruits of valour – the rewards of heaven.
In debates, he was an orator like Vachaspati (the husband/lord of speech - this can mean Brahma (husband of Saraswati the goddess of speech) or Brhaspati (Jupiter). ) He was not interested in frivolous conversations or activities.
He was young and healthy. He knew what people were like and the time and place for speech and action. He was a sage. The people loved him as if he were their very breath, that was outside their bodies. Better than his father at archery, he knew the Vedas and the allied sciences and had graduated in all branches of learning. (सम्यग्विद्याव्रतस्नातो यथावत्साङ्गवेदवित्). He was high minded and knew the essence of Dharma, Artha and Kama. With brilliance and excellent memory, he was skilled and worldly wise and acted in accordance with the time (Samayachara).
He had good friends and secret counsel. He never revealed his feelings publicly. He was not given to excessive anger and joy. He knew his faults as well as the faults of others. He was firm in devotion and of steady consciousness (Sthitha Pragnya). He was watchful, never lazy, and never accepted that which was not good (asat). He was skilled in assessing people and knew who should be graced and who should be ignored. He knew the right way of raising money and spending it (for the welfare of the people). He sought pleasure only after duty and learning. He knew about sculpture and art forms for pleasure.
He could mount horses and elephants and control them. He was an अतिरथ, atiratha (expert chariot warrior) and a master in archery. He was an expert commander. (This is further detailed in his campaign strategies against Lanka and Mathura. Every minute detail was planned and executed perfectly).
This prince who was of excellent qualities was equal to mother earth in forbearance, to Indra, the husband of Saci, in valour and to Brhaspati in Buddhi (Intellect). The earth desired this wonderful, virtuous and powerful Rama as her husband. (A king is called Bhupati – the lord/husband of the earth. This sentence means that the earth (the people), wanted Rama to become the king.)
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