Was Rama unnecessarily violent? Sita’s doubt

Rama, Lakshmana and Sita reached Dandaka forest and met several rishis who practiced severe penances. They met several rishis who have been meditating only by consuming water or air as food, some rishis preferred meditating in neck deep water and some rishis reciting mantras with fire around them. Rama arrived the hermitage of Sarabhanga rishi and got his blessings. When Rama was speaking to Sarabhanga Rishi, several rishis approached Rama and said, “Rama! We all have heard about your valor and your commitment to adhere to dharma. We came here to apprise you about the great danger that we have from Rakshas and seek your protection.”


Rishis said, “Rama! Go and see the riverside of Pampa, Mandakini and the surroundings of Mount Chitrakuta and you will find heaps on bones. We are here to meditate and realize the truth and we do several yagnas for the benefit of the society. But Rakshasas are disturbing our practices and they are killing us. Please protect us from these rakshasas”. Rama replied, “Please do not request me. You have the power to command me. I came to live in forest to honor my father’s promise. But I have got a great opportunity to serve great sages like you by killing the Rakshasas.“


Rama, Lakshmana and Sita moved forward in the forest in search of a dwelling. On their way, Sita said to Rama in friendly words, “We came to Dandaka forest not live like a Kshatriya (Warrior) but to live ordinary life. Now, you and lakshmana are carrying weapons and you have promised to kill Rakshasas. An honorable man should not indulge in three things – Lying, desire for women and killing without any enmity. I am aware that you do not lie nor you have desire for other women. But with the best intensions to save the sages, you have promised that you will kill rakshasas. Our situation reminds me of an old story.”


Sita continued, “There was a sage who was meditating to realize the truth. Indra, the lord of the Devas, came to visit the sage to test his sincerity. Indra gave a great sword to the sage and asked him to keep it safe. The sage was very excited to see Indra and happily obliged. After that, the sage’s attention was always around the sword. Wherever he went, event to get roots and fruits, he always carried the sword. Finally, his meditation was not successful as the sage kept thinking about the sword all the time. I know that you know all the dharmas and you are very wise. Is it appropriate to carry arms and kill the rakshasas without any enmity?”


Rama looked Sita with great affection and said, “Your friendly and wise words indicate the legacy and upbringing of your great father, Janaka. The scriptures say, a Kshatriya’s (warrior) weapons should ensure that there are no tears and misery. These sages have been doing great sacrifices and meditating. They have come to my refuge as the rakshasas are eating them alive and causing great distrubances. Though the sages are capable of obstructing these rakshasas, they do not wish to fight and preserve their energies for higher purpose. I have given my word to the sages that I will protect them”.


Rama continued, “You know that truth is dear to me. After giving my word, I cannot abandon my responsibilities. In pursuit of my responsibilities, I may lose Lakshmana or I may lose you. As long as I am alive, I am incapable of not keeping up my words. You have always been a great pursuer of dharma along with me. Your words of caution are very appropriate and you are dearer to me than my life.”


Sita realized the nature of dharma through Rama and they continued their journey through the forest.


Source : valmiki ramayana


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