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Once sage Nārada visited hermitage of Rsi Vālmiki.

Ascetic Vālmiki, ever engaged in the practice of religious austerities, asks the sage about a single perfect individual bestowed with all good qualities, the most virtuous of all persons on earth & epitome of generosity, morality, chastity, and the like. Sage Nārada, knower of past, present & future identifies virtues & qualities of Rām & narrates briefly the story of his life.

In the dialogue that ensues between the two sages, divine Nārada to enlighten Vālmiki, answer his query & keep him informed of his duty asked him to author the epic poem Rāmayana. The name is a tatpurusha compound of Rām & ayana, translating to “Rām’s Journey”. The Rāmayan consists of 24,000 verses in seven books and 500 cantos, and tells the story of Rām

Rsi Vālmiki asks various questions like – Who in the world lives today endowed with excellent qualities, prowess, righteousness, gratitude, truthfulness & firmness in his vows? Who is the one gifted with good conduct, given to wellbeing of all living creatures, is learned in the knowledge of all things that is known, capable of doing things which others can’t do and is singularly handsome? Who among men is self-restrained? Who has conquered anger? Who is endowed with brilliance and is free from envy? Who is that by whose anger even the demigods are afraid of, let alone foes? I intend to hear about such a man. Please answer my curiosity

Invited by Vālmiki to take high seat, Nārada heard him & said with delight-O Sage! Rare indeed are men endowed with many qualities as you have described, but I’ve ascertained one. Pls listen carefully

People have heard his name as Rām & is born in Ikshavāku clan. He has steady nature, possessing incomprehensible prowess, self-effulgent, self-commanding & complete controller of his senses. Rām is a great intellectual, is adherent to rules, eloquent, handsome, destroyer of foes, broad-shouldered, strong armed and has conch shaped neck & prominent cheeks. Possessing broad chest, armed with great bow, with fleshy collar bones, knee long arms, noble head & a graceful forehead

Mighty & powerful, he has a well-proportioned body, neither too tall nor short, shining complexion, large eyes, lustrous body & good qualities. Pious & firm in his vows, he is ever intent on doing good to his subjects. He is illustrious, wise, and pure at heart. He is obedient to elders, accessible to those who are dependent on him and ever meditating on the means of protecting those who take refuge in him. Auspicious like Brahmā, Rām is the sustainer of this world, protector of all living beings and of the moral code. He has performed duties of a king & protected his subjects. Knowledgeable in the true nature of the Vedas he is accomplished in military science & is a great archer.

Rām knows the true meaning of all scriptures and has a retentive memory. He is talented, beloved and well-disposed towards all people. He’s even courteous towards those who have harmed him. He has an unperturbed mind, even in times of extreme grief and is circumspect in doing right things at the right time.

When Rsi Vālmiki asked sage Nārada pertinent questions, it invoked compassion and Narada’s teaching instincts are stirred. He then narrates the entire “Rāmayana”. The benefit of that question resulted in us getting this beautiful scripture.

In our lives, we also ask so many questions – to customers, friends, colleagues, juniors, etc., and we too also answer a lot. Our Vedic scriptures are also in the form of question and answers. Knowledge is transferred when an eager and inquisitive person humbly seeks answers from a resourceful and qualified teacher. A student is compared to a vessel, his humility is the empty space and eagerness the depth of the vessel. But if one preconceived notion, then the vessel is full and cannot retain anymore.

Do we ask clear, unambiguous questions? Do we listen & are inspired to give clear answers?

Keep asking genuine questions & have humility to listen carefully.

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