After death, do your ancestors have any relevance to your life? Rama’s view

After Dasaratha has expired, Bharata returned to Ayodhya and realized that Rama, Lakshmana and Sita have been sent to forest for 14 years. Bharata refused to accept the crown and he went to the forest to persuade Rama to return back to Ayodhya and accept the kingship. Along with Bharata, his council of ministers, family members, Rishis, brahmanas and several other people from Ayodhya reached the forest. Bharata, his mother Kaikeyi and several others unsuccessfully tried to persuade Rama to return back.


Jabala, very well read Brahmana, tried to persuade Rama by saying, “Rama! You are an intelligent man. Do not speak like a common man. Why are you still worried about the promise that is given to your dead father? Every creature is born alone and dies alone. No one belongs to another and relationships like mother and father have no meaning. The father is only the seed of the being that is developed in the mother’s womb. Dasaratha is none to you and he is gone. Do not suffer by thinking about him. ”


Jabala continued, “I pity the people who do not spend their wealth in getting physical comforts and waste it. I don’t understand the logic of sraddha. People say Sraddha is important and the food you offer will be useful for the dead person in his after life journey. How can a dead man eat? If the food eaten here reaches another’s body, why cant people eat on behalf of their friends who are going on a distant journey? Practices like performing sacrifices, giving gifts, renunciation are established by wiser people to exploit others and take their wealth. “


Jabala said, “Listen to me. There is nothing beyond this universe. Give precedence to what you see and do not waste your time on what is beyond your knowledge. Honor the judgment of wise people and accept the kingdom. Return back to Ayodhya and enjoy the wealth”


After listening to Jabali’s words peacefully, Rama replied, “Your words are like a dish that looks very good from outside but un healthy. A person with bad conduct, unruly behavior can never get respect. Our conduct itself indicates our history. A king’s behavior and conduct has a great influence on the conduct of his people. The root of kingship does not lie in cruelty but it lies in the truth (satyam). When I am dishonest and follow adharma, how can I advice my people to follow good conduct? People fear of a person whose speaks untruth as they fear a snake”



Rama continued, “Truth (Satyam) is the god(Iswara) and there is nothing higher than adhering to truth. Practices like Renunciation, Gifts, sacrifices that are laid out in scriptures are rooted in the truth. There is no higher purpose in this world than following truth. Depending on your adherence to truth, you can get control over the world, develop a race, attain heaven or sink into hell. Prosperity and fame cause a man to deviate from the path of truth.


My father has always been truthful. I made the promise to my father infront of Kaikeyi. I cannot abandon my words after my father’s death. I will follow the truth and honor my promise and I will not deviate from truth because of forgetfulness or pride. I will continue my life journey in the forest by remaining pure in my mind and body, controlling my senses to external pleasures, offering prayers to devatas(gods) and ancestors. You words may sound very logical and wishful but they are unworthy. ”



Jabali said, “Rama! I am a follower of the truth and the practices mentioned in scriptures. I used these arguments only to persuade you to return back to Ayodhya.” Rishi Vasishta said, “Rama! Jabali is only trying to convince you. He is a great follower of truth”.


Source : valmiki ramayana