Servitude

My humble namaskarams to the lotus feet of my guru Sri Ragavendra Swami. The post I’m writing is to discuss the topic of servitude and why we need to adopt this attitude to succeed in our learning and journeys in our lives. A story that many people know is from the Ramayana, where after the fall of the mighty demon “Lankadipathi” Ravan, as he lay waiting for his last breaths to cease, Sri Rama calls his brother Sri Lakshmana and tells him, “oh Lakshmana, please go forth and seek the knowledge that has been amassed by the mighty King Ravana, this knowledge is wealthy and needs to be told to generations of the future, do not waste time”. Lakshmana replies to Sri Rama, “brother you are asking me to go and seek knowledge from the very person who abducted your wife and my pious sister-in-law, while we were away to fight the demons he sent. What knowledge does he have that is valuable?”.

Sri Rama tells his brother that King Ravana, is a brahmin by his father’s lineage and has performed a great penance to Lord Shiva, who pleased with his devotion gave him many boons and knowledge which is not easy to learn. Sr Lakshmana goes to the dying King, stands near his head and addresses him “King Ravana, you are dying soon, my brother has sent me to seek knowledge from you, give me the knowledge and I can return”. King Ravana is dismayed and gets angry at the behavior of the seeker, Sri Lakshmana and turns his face away from him. Sri Lakshmana gets angry and returns to Sri Rama, tells him what happened, and is angry.

Sri Rama walls towards King Ravana, and sitting at his feet addresses him “Oh King Ravana, you are a great learned person and have done many good things in your lifetime. I did punish you for the cause of abduction of my wife and you are about to pass away. I humbly seek to get this knowledge from you for use by mankind for generations”. King Ravana said “Oh Rama, you are truly wonderful. You showed to the world what servitude is, by sitting at my feet and asking me to impart knowledge to you”. He continued further and said the learner always needs to be showing the humility of a seeker and should respect the teacher, however the personality of the teacher might be.

This lesson is what our system of “gurukula” practiced in the ancient times. Nowadays in schools and colleges, the teachers are not given the same type of respect and regards, and the quality of education suffers from this chaos. Try a small change in your own lives, bring an attitude of servitude and see the difference it makes in your own life.

Om Sri Ragavendraya Namaha
Shri Vadiraja Matha Sodhe