The demons were out of control. They were relentlessly attacking the sages in the forest, desecrating their pujas by pouring blood on the bedi. Sage Vishwamitra looked on helplessly. He had the yogic power to burn the demons to ashes, but thought otherwise. He decided that he would visit the king to get him to come to his rescue so that he can perform this special yagya to win the boons of the gods.
King Dassaratha heard from the sage of the atrocities of the rakshasas and pledged his support to bring their destructive spree to an end. Vishwamitra then requested that the two princes, Rama and Lakshmana, accompanied him to the forest to destroy the rakshasas. King Dassaratha did not want to part with his boys. He felt that they were no match to the powerful rakshasas. Instead, the king placed himself and his entire army at the disposal of the sage but the latter insisted that Rama and Lakshmana were well equipped for the task. Rama and Lakshmana would have been between 16 to 18 years of age.
Rama and Lakshmana were skilled in warfare. As Kshatriyas (warriors) they understood that their duty was to defend the land against invaders and other disruptive forces. From age five they were made aware of their duty and status, not wondering what they would do later in life.
The princes had at their disposal teachers to instruct them in the use of various weapons, riding horses and commanding an army. They learned economics, law and foreign affairs and statecraft, all essential knowledge for the administration of a country. This was unlike our training which is limited to finding a job to earn a wage for a sustainable existence.
Our youths need to emulate the life of Rama and Lakshmana. When they were called upon to protect the yagya in the forest against the hostilities of some of the fiercest rakshasas of the land, the princes did not hesitate. And why? They were prepared for the task. Their father, the king, knew his role and duty as a father and a king and ensured the princes mastered their skills in the use of weapons.
What roles parents have for their kids? If a parent wants his child to earn a living by working for another person, such a mindset would be transmitted unconsciously to the child. On the other hand, if the father wants his son to be a business tycoon, employing hundreds and earning billions, then such a mindset would be conveyed.
While a few Indians excel at the top winning the vast majority of scholarship, can we conclude that the Indian population is doing well in education? The reality is that a large number of Indians still live outside the loop, experiencing daily challenges to get a decent education. Is there any plan or program to reach out to these less fortunate Hindu youths?
In the rural districts of Kernahan in Mayaro where migrants from Debe have settled as farmers, scores of Hindu families have now converted to Christianity. The Arya Samajists were given approval for the opening of a primary school but that failed to come to past because the leadership is engaged in promoting dharma globally, not is a rural place like Kernahan that is infested with mosquitoes and caimans crawling about the yards. Thankfully, the Sri Satya Sai Organization has a presence and they are working to restore some cultural and dharmic pride in the people.
At 18 years Rama was slaying demons in the Dandaka forest. He was putting his life at risk defending dharma. At 18 years the average Hindu youth would have finished CSEC and enrolled for CAPE or in UTT. Others would have joined the job market. And by Trinidad’s standard, their lives would have been a success and should your child win the President’s Medal or graduate as a doctor, well you have achieved. Your child would be exonerated from going to battle in the Dandaka forest! Like Andrew Carnegie and J.P. Morgan, they would be exempted form service in the army and possibly eligible for the LGBQT fraternity. It would certainly be a ‘Gone with the Wind’ experience! Too late shall be the cry!
I am proud to know a medical student who has a black belt in karate, has excelled and won several competitions in archery and other sports and is very active in Ram Leela and other Hindu cultural activity. A few years ago she was a youth speaker at a global Hindu Conference in Chicago! And guess what? She still smiles!
Balance is important for success. Do be an excellent accountant is good but to have a healthy hobby is equally good. Today we are hearing in the news young professionals committing suicide after an overdose of drugs. The ongoing investigation in the Bollywood film fraternity is revealing a lack of integrity and a readiness to do anything to make a fast buck and enjoy fame and glory.
Rama remains an ideal. He did not let power and pomp intoxicate his mind. He was steadfast in his duties and made big sacrifices to uphold dharma, many times at the expense of his dear wife, Seeta. Our fathers have a duty to present to their sons and daughters Rama and Seeta as ideal role models. To have your sons and daughters armed with only an academic certificate is like sending them to their destruction; they need much more-humility, love for learning and readiness to stand up for justice. Are your sons and daughter prepared for war in the Dandaka forest?