Please read the first post in the series to better understand and appreciate the purpose of these posts: https://hindudharma.or.id/hinduism-a-misnomer/
In a recent interview, Dr. Subramanian Swamy, a senior Indian politician, stated that he was not a Rama Bhakta, a devotee of Lord Rama, the Hero of the epic Ramayana – but, a Hindu Bhakta. And, that his fascination with Rama was because of the ideals he stood for, which were the Hindu Ideals.
This is a clear thinking.
A Hero is adorable, not because of his charm, his ability to draw the masses, or his popularity. But, because of what he stands for. Hence, the title of this article Dharma Bhakta versus Hero Bhakta.
Dr. Swamy is rightly fascinated by Rama because of the ideals he stood for, because of the Dharmika values he lived. Not because of his status as the King of Ayodhya, his charm, or any other thing.
Alas, unfortunately, most of us miss this point… We become Hero worshippers without pausing to think if our Hero is abiding by the Dharmika Values. Lord, Shri Rama was criticized for his treatment of Sita, his faithful wife. His own sons criticized him. And, thousands of years later, in a more popular version of the Rama Saga, author-cum-poet-cum-devotee Tulasidas would not even discuss such episodes, where Rama’s actions were controversial.
Do we have the same courage to reprimand our Heroes, when they stray away from the path of Dharma? No, we do not have such courage. We worship and follow them blindly. Thus, becoming the cause of their fall from grace.
Indeed, we may have not even identified the characteristics of the Dharma Warriors, the Dharmika Heroes. Celibacy and Monkhood are matters of choice, but there is no ruling, no compulsion that Dharma Warriors must be celibate, or in the outfit that is suitable for sanyasis or monks.
Our Heroes like Rama and Krishna were kings, they were married, family men. And, they are considered as Avatars, the very Manifestations of the Divine. Our Rani Jhansi was a Rani, a Queen. The sanyasis or monks were their advisers.
Unfortunately, after the advent of Gautama Buddha, our definitions of Dharma Representatives underwent a massive change. We started looking up at celibacy and monkhood as the greatest virtues. We placed the sanyasis, bikshus, and the likes on the pedestals, not meant for them. We became obsessed with sanyas and monkhood – most of us still are.
The later Sikh Gurus reminded us that Piri and Miri can go together, hand in hand. Shivaji and others lived the same principle. The statue of Priest King found in the ruins of Moen jo Daro, Sindh, bears witness to the same ideal. A sovereign, a king, a ruler, a leader need not be a sanyasi or a monk. One can rule a kingdom, become a Mir; yet, remain a sanyasi at heart as a Pir.
When a leader leads without becoming narcissistic, not focusing upon himself or herself at all times, honoring the mentors, the rajrishis and serving the subjects without arrogance – then, indeed, he is a Dharmika Leader. He lives Dharma.
A Dharmika Leader is also great in the teamwork. As Lao Tzu says, a great leader does not take the credit for any good work done, even when he is the doer. The credit goes to the entire team. He does not have the ego of doership.
Learn from the example set by Yudhishthira in the epic Mahabharata… Bhishma, the great grandfather has decided to defend the Kauravas Yudhishthira is about to fight. And, yet, before the decisive war commences, he approaches Bhishma, bows down to him and seeks his blessing. This is one of the essential qualities of a Dharma Hero.
Where do we find such Dharma Heroes nowadays? The present day heroes are so absorbed, so engrossed with self glorification, that they cannot see Bhishma before them, they cannot see Krishna around them.
Now, our Interpretation of what Dr. Swamy says: We can have our Heroes as our Ideals, provided that they Live Dharma. They do not merely pretend to be living Dharma, they must be sincere, very sincere.
One may ask: It is so difficult to understand what Dharma is, how do we recognize a Dharmika Leader? Simple. In one sentence: A Dharmika Leader is always humble, very humble. He is never ever arrogant.
That one quality is the mother of all other leadership qualities. A leader, no matter how good they may seem to us today, is bound to fail without humility.