Vasudhaiva Kutumbakam, the world is a family, are not mere words. Our culture—by ‘our’, I mean the universal culture of the world—did not discriminate on the basis of religion, birth, caste, social status or geography. The distinction was made between the civilised and uncivilised; in Vedic parlance, between surs and asurs respectively. Those who helped creation and lived for others were termed as surs and those who lived for themselves and did nothing for creation were called asurs.
Consider this. Creation emerged from the thought of Brahma. Rishi Pulastya was born of Brahma, as was Rishi Marichi. Pulastya’s son Rishi Vishrava fathered Ravana. Marichi’s son Rishi Kashyap fathered Vivasvan (Sun God). From Vivasvan came Manu, the first human being of the 7th Manvantara, who gave birth to Ikshvaku from whom began the Ikshvaku dynasty, in whose line was born Lord Rama. Thus, Rama and Ravana were distant cousins. Rama annihilated Ravana because he trod on the path of adharma, guided by his asuric vritti. The same Ravana had earlier been released from the captivity of Sahastra Arjun by the previous incarnation of Lord Vishnu, Parshurama, for he was a good ruler and a learned scholar. His downfall began when he broke the conduct of dharma and disrespected a woman, Vedavati, and later abducted Sita.
Vedavati was the daughter of Rishi Kusadhvaia, the son of Brihaspati, Guru of Devas. She was well versed in the Vedas and performed great penance to win Lord Vishnu as her husband. She was extremely beautiful and the glow of her sadhna bestowed her with phenomenal attraction. Ravana was once passing by her hermitage and was arrested by her beauty and glow. Overcome by desire, he proposed to her. Vedavati rejected his proposition and explained that she was devoted to Lord Vishnu. With a hurt ego, Ravana mocked at her and her penance and grabbed her hair. Vedavati cut off her hair and pledged to immolate herself. Before entering fire, she prophesied that since Ravana had insulted her, she will be born again to destroy him. Vedavati was born as Sita, the consort of Lord Vishnu’s Ram avatar who was the cause of Ravana’s end.
We are all one. We have emerged from the same source. Our culture divides on the basis of asuric and suric vritti, those who destroy and protect creation. The ones who kill the innocent, abuse animals, spread terror, destroy nature’s resources and pollute the environment for selfish gains are the asurs. The ones who protect the weak, take care of injured and abandoned animals, feed the poor, educate the underprivileged, cleanse and purify the environment and conserve nature’s resources are the surs.
To maintain balance in Creation, surs and asurs are essential. And both can be found across religions, faiths, geographies and even in the same family. If you are performing a yagya, there will be plenty around who will try to prevent you from doing it; it is a basic clash of suric and asuric vritti. Or if you put out food for stray and injured animals, there might be neighbours who pelt the animals or put away the food. The clash between the surs and asurs has persisted since time immemorial, and is based on karmas.
People with asuric vritti normally go to hell and bear immense pain there. Next, they take birth in a lower dimension and bear pain again. This is purification as what you do; you also have to counterbalance it with the opposite. No matter how good you think you are, when you are doing a negative karma, you have to bear its consequences, that is, purification.
Karmas are ranked both negative and positive. In the first category, those which attract the maximum punishment are disrespect to the guru, hurting the weak and turning your face away when you see weaker animals or humans being harmed. Those, which bring the maximum gain, are the opposite of the above.
Yogi Ashwini is the spiritual head of Dhyan Ashram. Email: email@example.com