Maharshi Valmiki Jayanti commemorates the birth anniversary of Maharishi Valmiki, a great poet and sage who wrote the great Hindu epic Ramayana. The celebration of Valmiki Jayanti is a tribute to a great saint who inspired the masses through his seminal works and teachings.
1. आहुः सत्यं हि परमं धर्मं धर्मविदो जनाः
Aahuh satyam hi paramam dharmam dharmavido janaah 2.14.3
Those who have knowledge of dharma say that Truth is the highest dharma
[Context: Dasaratha had promised three boons to Kaikeyi when she saved his life during one of those battles he fought on the side of the Devas. When the coronation of Rama is announced, Kaikeyi asks for two of the boons from Dasaratha. She wants Bharata to be installed as the King and Rama to be sent to the forest for fourteen years. When Dasaratha was in a dilemma, Kaikeyi says that Truth is the highest dharma, implying that Dasaratha should keep his promise as otherwise he will be guilty of transgressing dharma.]
2. दुर्लभं हि सदा सुखं
Durlabham hi sadaa sukham 2.18.13
To be happy always is something which is difficult to achieve. That is to say, happiness and sorrow alternate in one’s life and there cannot be uninterrupted happiness alone.
[Context: Rama’s words to Kaikeyi when he saw his father deep in sorrow and in tears at the prospect of Rama going into the forest for 14 years.]
3. रामो द्विर्नाभिभाषते
Ramo dwir naabhibhaashate 2.18.30
Once Rama gives his word, that is final and it is kept at any cost. There is no question of repetition of the same a second time.
[Context: Rama’s words to Kaikeyi : tat broohi vachanam devi raajno yadabhikaangkshitam Karishye pratijaane cha ramo dwir naabhibhaashate “O Devi! Please tell me what the King wants of me. I promise that I will carry out whatever is his wish. What Rama says once he carries out; there is no looing back.”]
4. गुरोरप्यवलिप्तस्य कार्याकार्यमजानतः ।
उत्पथं प्रतिपन्नस्य कार्यं भवति शासनम्॥।
Gurorapy avaliptasya kaaryaakaaryam ajaanatah
Utpathham pratipannasya kaaryam bhavati shaasanam 2.11.13
One who is haughty, who does not know whether what he does is right or wrong and who has taken to the wrong path is to be disciplined even if he is guru, parent or an elder in age or learning.
[Context: These are words addressed to Rama by Lakshamana who is angry at the turn of events with Rama preparing himself to live 14 years in the forests because of the boon granted by Dasaratha to Kaikeyi. By the word ‘guru’ Lakshmana, by implication, is referring to Dasaratha in this context.]
5. विक्लवो वीर्यहीनो यः स दैवमनुवर्तते ।
वीराः सम्भावितात्मानो न दैवं पर्युपासते॥
Viklavo veeryaheeno yah sa daivamanuvartate
Veeraah sambhaavitaatmaano na daivam paryupaasate 2.23.16
Only the timid and the weak leave things to destiny (daivam) but the strong and the self-confident never bank on destiny or luck (bhagya)
[Context: These are words of Lakshmana addressed to Rama when the latter says that neither Kaikeyee nor his father was responsible for his banishment to the forests. It was all the play of destiny ( daivam).]
6. यो हि दत्वा द्विपश्रेष्ठं कक्ष्यायां कुरुते मनः ।
रज्जुस्नेहेन किं तस्य त्यजतः कुञ्जरोत्तमम्॥।
Yo hi datwaa dwipashreshthham kakshyaayaam kurute manah
Rajjusnehena kim tasya tyajatah kunjarottamam 2.37.3
If a person is gifting away his elephant but his heart is set on the rope used for tying the elephant, of what use is his attachment to the rope when he is giving away the elephant itself.
[Context: Dasaratha wanted to send the royal retinue to follow Rama to the forests. Kaikeyi objects to this. Rama says that when he is abandoning the kingdom itself what royal paraphernalia to him is. It is like giving away the elephant and setting one’s heart on the rope with which the elephant is tied.]
7. नातन्त्री विद्यते वीणा नाचक्रो विद्यते रथः।
नापतिः सुखमेधेत या स्यादपि शतात्मजा ॥
Naatantree vidyate veenaa naachakro vidyate rathah
Naapatih sukhamedheta yaa syaadapi shataatmajaa 2.39.29
A Veena cannot exist without its strings. A chariot cannot exist without its
wheels. Without her husband a woman can never live happily even though she has a hundred sons.
[Context: Sita’s response to Kausalya’s advice asking her to respect and obey Rama in spite of his being deprived of the kingdom.]
8. शोको नाशयते धैर्यं शोको नाशयते श्रुतं।
शोको नाशयते सर्वं नास्ति शोकोसमो रिपुः॥
Shoko naashayate dhairyam shoko naashayate shrutam
Shoko naashayete sarvam nasti shokasamo ripuh 2.62.15
Grief destroys one’s courage. It destroys one’s learning. It destroys one’s everything. There is no enemy greater than grief.
[Context: These are the words of Kausalya. She had spoken harsh words to Dasratha for sending Rama to the forests. She repents and says that she spoke thus because of her intense grief on Rama being sent to the forests]
9. यदन्नः पुरुषो भवति तदन्नास्तस्य देवताः
Yadannah purusho bhavati tadannaastasya devataah 2.103.30
Whatever is one’s food, the same food shall be offered to one’s gods.
[Context: Rama hears the news of Dasaratha’s death from Bharata. He performs the obsequies of his father. He says that one can offer to the departed souls only what one is having for food i.e. fruits and roots which are the lonely things available in the forest.]
10. कुलीनमकुलीनं वा वीरं पुरुषमानिनं ।
चारित्रमेव व्याख्याति शुचिम् वा यदि वाऽशुचिम् ॥
Kuleenam akuleenam vaa veeram purushamaaninam
Charitrameva vyaakhyaati shuchim vaa yadi vaashuchim 2.109.4
11. उद्विजन्ते यथा सर्पात् नरादनृत वादिनः
Udwijante yathaa sarpaat naraadanruta vaadinah 2.109.12
12. त्यमेवेश्वरो लोके सत्ये धर्मः समाश्रितः
Satyameveshwaro loke satye dharmah samaashritah 2.109.13
Only a person’s conduct and character proclaim whether he is born in a good family or whether he is boasting about himself or whether he is unblemished (shuchih) or blemished (ashuchih). Just as people are afraid of serpents they are afraid of persons who utter lies. Truth controls this world and dharma is rooted in truth.
[Context: These are words of Rama to Maharshi Jabali who advises him to ignore his father’s wishes and go back to Ayodhya. The Maharshi speaks like a nastika and makes disparaging remarks about dharma, truth, good conduct, character etc. Rama, however, reiterates the values of truth,dharma and character in a man’s life. ]
13. न सुप्रतिकरं तत्तु मात्रा पित्रा च यत्कृतं
Na supratikaram tattu maatraa pitraa cha yatkrutam 2.111.9
It is difficult for the children to repay the debt of what the mother and the
father have done to bring them up.
[Context: Rama’s words to Vashishtha who accompanies Bharata to the forests for bringing back Rama to Ayodhya]
14. लक्ष्मी चन्द्रादपेयाद्वा हिमवान् वा हिमं त्यजेत्
अतीयाद्सागरो वेलां न प्रतिज्ञामहं पितुः
Lakshmee chandrat apeyaadwaa himavaan vaa himam tyajet
Ateeyaat saagaro velaam na pratijnaamaham pituh 2.112.18
Beauty may leave the moon, Himavaan may become bereft of snow, the ocean may transgress its shores but I will never violate the promise given by my father.
[Context: Rama’s words to Bharata when he requests him to return to Ayodhya and rule the Kingdom.]
15. धर्मादर्थः प्रभवति धर्मात् प्रभवते सुखं।
धर्मेण लभते सर्वं धर्मसारमिदं जगत् ॥
Dharmaadarthah prabhavati dharmaat prabhavate sukham
Dharmena labhate sarvam dharmasaaramidam jagat 3.9.30
16. आत्मानं नियमैः तैस्तैः कर्शयित्वा प्रयत्नतः ।
प्राप्यते निपुणैर्धर्मो न सुखात् लभते सुखम् ॥
Aatmaanam niyamaih taistaih karshayitwaa prayatnatah
Praapyate nipunair dharmo na sukhaat labhate sukham 3.9.31
Wealth springs from dharma, from dharma comes happiness and one gets everything from dharma. Dharma is the essence of this world. Dharma, which is the source of all happiness, can be attained even by a skilled person, only after observing various disciplines for his own purification and after great effort subjecting himself to great strain and stress. One cannot attain such dharma by leading a life given to the pleasures of the senses.
[Context: Sita apprehends that Rama, armed always, as he is, with his bow and arrows, may tend to hurt animals in the forest or hurt those rakshasas from whom there is no threat. She emphasises the importance of ahimsa and other virtues and requests Rama to be compassionate, kind and merciful.]
17. अनागतविधानं तु कर्तव्यं शुभमिच्छता।
आपदाशंकमानेन पुरुषेन विपश्चिता ॥
Anaagata vidhaanam tu kartavyam shubhamichchhataa
Aapadaashankamaanena purushena vipashchitaa 3.24.11
A wise man should foresee tragedy or misfortune and take action to prevent or overcome such tragedy or misfortune well before it strikes. Thus, only he can enjoy a safe and good life.
[Context: There are bad omens in the forest and Rama anticipates trouble from Khara, the terrible raakshasa. He therefore forewarns Lakshmana in these words and asks him to take Sita to a safe place.]
18. कर्म लोकविरुद्धं तु कुर्वाणं क्षणदाचर।
तीक्ष्णं सर्वजनो हन्ति सर्पं दुष्टमिवागतम् ॥
Karma lokaviruddham tu kurvaanam kshanadaachara
Teekshnam sarvajano hanti sarpam dushtamivaagatam-3.29.4
19. न चिरं पापकर्माणः क्रूराः लोकजुगुप्सिताः ।
ऐश्वर्यं प्राप्य तिष्ठन्ति शीर्णमूलाः इव द्रुमाः॥
Na chiram paapakarmaanah kruooraah lokajugupsitaah
Aishwaryam praapya thishthhanti sheernamoolaah iva drumaah 3.29.5
20. न चिरात् प्राप्यते लोके पापानां कर्मणां फलं।
सविषाणामिवान्नानां भुक्तानां क्षणदाचर॥
Na chiraat praapyate loke paapaanaam karmanaam phalam
Savishaanaamivaannaanaam bhuktaanaam kshanadaachara 3.29.9
O Rakshasa! People will kill, as they kill a poisonous snake, a cruel and ferocious person whose actions are against the people and hurt them.
Those cruel persons who, by their sinful actions, inflict physical and mental injury on others are detested by people. Though such people may amass immense wealth they cannot retain it for long. They will perish like a tree whose roots have become decayed. In this world, one will, before long, suffer the consequences of one’s sinful actions in the same way as poisonous food taken by a person kills him within a short time.
[Context: Rama admonishes the rakshasa Khara in these words and warns him that his sins will overtake him and cause him severe physical and mental suffering.]
21. परदाराभिमर्शात्तु नान्यत् पापतरं महत्
Paradaaraabhimarshaattu naanyat paapataram mahat 3.38.30
There is no greater sin than coveting another man’s wife.
[Context: This is Maaricha’s warning to Ravana who is bent on abducting Sita and solicits the help of Maaricha in this misadventure.]