Though the verb “try” is not qualified, it is understood that efforts should be channelised towards a worthy cause if one wants untainted success. Besides the means should definitely justify the ends. There is really no point in being tenacious in pursuing an unworthy goal, however, lucrative the end gains may appear to be.
This time tested observation is as old as mankind itself.
Valmiki has captured the essence of righteous success in his epic the Ramayana. Ravana the adversary of Rama was a king of no mean reputation or strength. He was endowed with all the positive traits that spell success.
Yet, when he had to avenge the insult of his sister Shoorpanakha by the princess of the Ikshavaku race, he preferred to take the backstage. He coerced Maricha, his kinsman into beguiling Sita in the form of a golden deer and succeeded in abducting her when Rama went after the deer and Lakshmana went looking for Rama.
Ravana preferred to ignore Sita’s plea and did not think much of Jatayu’s warnings before he killed the old bird. Back home in Lanka, his wife Mandodari, his brothers Kumbhakarna and Vibheeshana, his grandfather Maalyavaan and a couple of his well-wishers pointed out that he had trodden the wrong path. Nevertheless, he held Sita captive in the hope that she would succumb to his power or charms sooner or later.
When Hanuman came in search of Sita, he had a taste of a minor setback. He was counseled again on the grounds of Dharma, to return Sita to her lawful husband. Ravana was unrelenting; he did not want to give up Sita.
There were moments that he felt a bit shaken but that did make him swerve from his amoral path.
Though Ravana had studied the Vedas and was aware of the tenets of right living, his arrogance propped by his obstinacy coupled with sycophantic followers made him pig-headed.
When we ruminate over the consequences of Ravana’s ultimate defeat and death, it becomes apparent that his relentless attempts failed.
He could have mended his naïve and adamant behaviour and come across as an honourable rival.
Yet, his bloated ego prevented him from accepting that he was wrong. He not only steered himself towards self-destruction but also mindlessly pushed his followers and countrymen in the same direction.
The next time we strive towards our goal let us make sure that not only our attempts are in right earnest but we also have the modesty to set right our errors, lest the outcome gets tainted!