Just as Dasharatha was father to Rama, Dasharatha’s kingdom too was like father to Rama’s Kingdom! A great boon doesn’t happen on abruptly; fully ripe fruit doesn’t appear on a tree all of a sudden. There should be an unripe fruit, a flower, leaves, branches, trunk, root etc. Similarly behind a great good there should be great preparation. For the great good called Rama’s kingdom “RamaRajya”, the great preparation was Dasharatha’s kingdom.
No one person is responsible for a great good; few might appear on stage and many might remain behind the scenes; culmination of the sweat and hard work of countless virtuous souls is the dawn of a great good! Even Dasharatha’s kingdom was no exception to this! Dasharatha alone was sitting on the throne; his eight ministers held the throne and king aloft like legs of the throne. Without coming to the lime light they dedicated all their all might- their life, intellect and physical abilities – for the sake of the kingdom. Just as Dasharatha’s kingdom was behind Rama’s kingdom, those invisible eight ministers were the persons responsible for Dasharatha’s kingdom!
Valmiki has addressed those eight mantris (ministers) as “mantrajnas” – those who knew mantras. The word “mantri” has originated from the word “mantra”.
The word ‘mantra’ has been used in Sanskrit to mean two things:
- A bouquet of letters which become instruments to do good for self and society by pleasing god, example is GayatriMantra
- Brainstorming held with experts before taking crucial decisions is also called as ‘mantra’. Butter comes from churning of butter milk; proper decisions come from churning of the mind! While the first ‘mantra’ is a bouquet of sacred letters; second ‘mantra’ is a bouquet of well meaning thoughts. A minister is the man of the moment for churning of the mind and facilitates right decisions.
‘Mantralochana’ or brainstorming has same relevance as ‘mantra’ because path of our life is decided on the decisions we make. One who takes right decisions at the right time is never a loser in life! Wrong decisions upset the applecart of life! Sometimes they destroy life itself! Right decisions are stepping stones for upward mobility in life; appropriate thought process is the gateway for appropriate decision making. Fruit called ‘decision’ fructifies only in the plant called ‘discussion’. Well nourished plant gives you fleshy fruit! Right discussion is the seed of fruitful life.
So much is about personal lives. Decisions a ruler makes impact millions of common men! For the same reason, a ruler should not take crucial decisions without proper discussions. Matters should not be discussed with too many people or in a hurry either! Decisions should be made only after discussing with some of the subject experts. Crux of Rama’s instructions to Bharata while advising him on raajniti (political wisdom) was, “कच्चिन्मंत्रयसे नैक: कच्चिन्न बहुभि: सह”. It means “never take decisions alone, take decisions after proper discussions. But do not discuss the matter with too many people”. For the same reasons, scholars of political science say state has its roots in discussions (State is MantraMula). Discussions are based on deputies or ministers! Though King does everything, his ministers advice him what has to be done. In fact, burden of ruling is actually on the ministers!
There is a message for all of us in this. We should have close confidants in life who are in a position to guide us on the issues at hand. We need advice of such people to ensure we don’t go astray in the path of life. Life without well meaning confidants is not meaningful! It is neither complete!
It is interesting to note the prime minister of Dasharatha was ‘Sumantra’ which means a person who gives very apt advises. Though other ministers were known by other names, each one of them was a ‘Sumantra’ in literal sense! Just as it was the greatest boon for Dasharatha to have a divine descendant like Rama, it was indeed a great boon for Dasharatha to have eight ministers like Sumantra!
Translated blog of Sri Samsthana SriSri RaghaveshwaraBharati MahaSwamiji.
Original Kannada version: ರಾಮರಶ್ಮಿ 41 : ಬದುಕಿನ ಪರ್ಯಾಪ್ತಿಗೆ ಬೇಕು ಆಪ್ತ ಸಲಹೆ…