Ravi Gupta

Ravi Gupta

RAMA-RAJYA. The word strikes a note in almost every Indian's heart. Rama-rajya was the ideal kingdom of Lord Ramacandra, Lord Krsna's incarnation as the ideal king. Lord Rama ruled during Treta-yuga, some two million years ago, and the sage Valmiki recorded His acts in the epic Ramayana, still with us today. Stories from the Ramayana have been handed down for countless generations. Although told and retold every year, they're ever fresh. After two million years, people still hanker for Rama-rajya.

The reign of Lord Rama was a truly memorable time. In the Srimad-Bhagavatam (9.10.51-53) Sukadeva Goswami says, "Lord Ramacandra became king during Treta-yuga, but because of His good government, the age was like Satya-yuga [the golden age of religion]. Everyone was religious and completely happy.

"O Maharaja Pariksit, during the reign of Lord Ramacandra the forests, the rivers, the hills and mountains, the states, the seven islands, and the seven seas were all favorable in supplying the necessities of life for all living beings.

"When Lord Ramacandra, the Supreme Personality of Godhead, was the king of this world, all bodily and mental suffering, disease, old age, bereavement, lamentation, distress, fear, and fatigue were completely absent. There was even no death for those who did not want it."

What must we do to have Rama-rajya today? We need an ideal government. Srila Prabhupada says that for an ideal government both the ruler and the subjects must be ideal. According to Srimad-Bhagavatam,when Lord Ramacandra was king all the citizens were properly trained in their role in society. They followed the prescribed duties and codes of conduct for the varnasrama social system. And, most important, they were all Vaisnavas, devotees of the Lord. With good citizens, the society was happy, peaceful, and prosperous.

Without good citizens society becomes chaotic. Trying to bring about peace and order in such a society by enforcing laws is useless. Srila Prabhupada writes, "Throughout the entire world there are so many states, legislative assemblies, and parliaments, but still the citizens are rogues and thieves. Good citizenship, therefore, cannot be enforced; the citizens must be trained."

There can be ideal citizens only when the leaders are ideal. The citizens naturally look up to their leaders for guidance, so the leaders must set a perfect example. In the Bhagavad-gita (3.21) Lord Krsna says, "Whatever action a great man performs, common men follow. And whatever standards he sets by exemplary acts, all the world pursues."

Lord Ramacandra set the perfect example. He was the ideal king, son, brother, husband, and master. He is called maryada-purusottama, "one who exhibits ideal behavior."

Besides good citizens and good leaders, the most important component of Rama-rajya is Lord Rama Himself, because wherever the Lord is, there also is His kingdom.

All the citizens of Ayodhya, Lord Rama's kingdom, were great devotees of the Lord. They were completely surrendered to Him and therefore entitled to share in His opulence. But if we try for the kingdom of Rama without Rama, we are left with only suffering and illusion. We become like Ravana, who wanted to enjoy Sita (Laksmi, the goddess of fortune) without Rama. All Ravana gained was death.

Therefore, to truly achieve Rama-rajya we must first invoke the presence of Lord Rama. In a previous age the citizens of Ayodhya had Him in His physical form. In this age the Lord appears in the form of his holy name (kali-kale nama-rupe krsna-avatara). If we chant the Lord's holy names purely and sincerely, and like the citizens of Ayodhya develop pure love for Him, He will certainly appear. Thus even in this age we can have Rama-rajya. Jaya Sri Rama!

Ravi Gupta, age fourteen, lives at the Hare Krsna center in Boise, Idaho. The center is run by his parents. Ravi, who was schooled at home, is a second-year student at Boise State University.