At the seashore, the wise old bear Jambavan instructed the distraught young monkey Angada, “It is your duty to live.”
(That quote is from the version by R.K. Narayan, The Ramayana: A Shortened Modern Prose Version of the Indian Epic Suggested By the Tamil Version of Kamban.)
This scene in the Ramayana comes at a critical moment in the story, when the monkeys and bears have been searching for the kidnapped princess Sita for more than one month, and they do not want to return to Prince Rama without locating her whereabouts. The monkey prince Angada declares that they should all just sit down in the sand and prepare to die. He says, “Let us leave behind this earthly world of samsara, that is filled with suffering and misery.” (Quote from Teja Shankara’s version, The Tejaswini Ramayana: The Way of Rama in the Shakahara StarFire Universes.) Then Hanuman, the great Super Hero of the monkey tribe, encourages them to keep going by reminding them of Jatayu, the great eagle who lost his life fighting for Goodness. That reminder leads to something unexpected… continue reading this exciting story in The Tejaswini Ramayana: The Way of Rama in the Shakahara StarFire Universes.
Over the past fifteen years I studied nearly one dozen versions of the Ramayana, which is a sacred ancient tale from India. The story is beautiful and magical, and has enchanted millions of people through the ages. The story is timeless and addresses many aspects of the human condition. People of all ages love this story. Many of the scenes relate to situations in our own lives, such as this scene described above. Many people have felt despair about failure at some point in their lives.
When I read that quote “It is your duty to live” it really resonated deep within me, and during despairing moments, I hear that quote inside my mind. As mentioned in a previous blog post, “Radiance & Darkness,” I have a lot of fiery energy that I shine into the world, and I also have some darkness, and in my darkness, it can be pretty dark. By dark, I’m referring primarily to negative despairing thoughts in which I want to die. I would not commit suicide, I could never do that to my family and friends, but in those dark moments I imagine how sweet it would be to die peacefully by natural causes. Can you relate to this? Do you ever wish to die?
Even if I was not concerned about hurting my loved ones, I still would not commit suicide because I believe that suicide is not ever right action. It is murder and it is causing oneself to have a violent death, which is not ever a good thing for the soul. The ideal death, most people would agree, is a peaceful one.
So, for anyone out there who is in despair, during your dark moments try to remember that it is your duty to live. We are here in these bodies, on this planet Earth at this time, for a reason. Thus, it is our duty to live. And, we are not ever alone, even if we might feel like it sometimes. Actually, we are all part of one interconnected energy that is Love.
The National Suicide Prevention Lifeline is 1-800-273-8255, and it is available 24 hours everyday.
Sending Love and Hope to anyone who needs upliftment today.