Lord Rama, the Maryada Purushottam, is closely translated in English as a “respected gem among men”, aka the perfect man. He is considered to be ideal even among the enemies of his time. He is best known for – values, conduct, character, relationship, and what not? Of course, anything under the sun that we can think of!
What is it that entitles him of being called the Maryada Purushottam? How different was he from the common man? He is consistently better than the best due to the following 16 noble qualities referred to in Samskritam as Shodasha Kalyana Gunas.
Initiate taking baby steps in realizing these 16 noble qualities, more difficult to do than to talk about, but we can certainly be better than what we are in most of our current situations.
Kalyan Guna # 1 – सौशील्यम् (Sousheelyam): Unconditional
Treating everyone equally. He listened to Kaikeyi, his stepmother, Embraced Guha, the leader of tribes, helped Sugriva, the Vaanara King, accepted Hanuman as his devotee, and made friends with Vibheeshana, his enemy’s brother despite his followers’ opposition.
Kalyan Guna # 2 – वीर्यवान् (Veeryavaan): Assertive
This does not just mean that he was a fierce warrior who had unusual power and strength. In addition to that, he had the right attitude, which is one more quality that we mentioned previously – Sousheelyam, which made him assertive. He never misused his strength, instead, always made sure that this is used only against Adharma and wherever absolutely necessary.
Kalyan Guna # 3 – धर्मज्ञः (Dharmajnya): Righteous
Rama has always been following the path of Dharma and it is quite obvious to know what Dharma is to follow it. You can know more about Dharma from this link here. He was always stuck to the values defined by the laws of nature right from when he had to leave the kingdom to be in exile to destroying the wicked Vali and eventually Ravana.
Kalyan Guna # 4 – कृतज्ञः (Kritajnya): Grateful
Despite being the king of Ayodhya, he did not forget the services of the Vaanaras in finding his beloved wife Sita. He thanked them wholeheartedly. He also expressed being indebted to the selfless service of Lord Hanuman and accepted him as his ardent devotee.
Kalyan Guna # 5 – सत्य वाक्यः (Sathyavaakyaha) – Truth Teller
Lord Rama always spoke the truth and nothing but the truth. Once, when Sita asks him to shy away from the forest dwellers and be safe, Rama says – “O Sita, I may even give up life, or you, or Lakshmana; but can never give up the performance of My word”.
Kalyan Guna # 6 – धृढ व्रतः (Drudhavrathaha): Steadfast
After accepting to live in exile, Rama never took back his words nor did he look back to become the king of Ayodhya. Even when Bharata, not wanting to rule the kingdom, begged him to come back, he politely but firmly refused.
Kalyan Guna # 7 – चारित्रेण च को युक्तः (Chaarithrenacha koyuktaha): Charismatic
No one can ever point out Rama’s character, such is his character that is impeccable. People like Shabari were waiting to meet such a personality for a long time and were blessed to meet him. As always and with everyone Rama spoke to her with great respect.
Kalyan Guna # 8 – सर्व भूतेषु हितः (Sarvabhuteshu Hitaha): Emancipative
His compassion for people made him transform a stone into a living lady, setting Ahalya free from her curse. Similarly, even being a king, he was the one who was involved in performing the last rites of the bird, Jatayu.
Kalyan Guna # 9 – विद्वान् (Vidwaan): Thought Leader
A master of all skills and subjects, he was an amalgamation of Astras that can be equated to missiles of the modern-day and Shastras like the Rig, Yajur, Sama, and Atharvana Vedas that helped him be the king he was. Both these skills made him the Vidwaan he is.
Kalyan Guna # 10 – समर्थः (Samarthaha): Capable
The following two events are enough to sense his capability.
A. defeating the demoness by the name Taadaka and her sons single-handedly, as a child
B. lifting Shiva Dhanush, a bow of Lord Shiva at Sita Swayamvara. These are such great feats in themselves that nothing else is required to prove his capability.
Kalyan Guna # 11 – प्रिय दर्शनः (Priyadarshanaha): Presentable
His tall, well-built, and handsome body makes him extremely presentable. It is described in some texts that when he wears the Pitambaram (golden cloth), the cloth looks good on him. Apart from that, he was Ajaanubahu, meaning that his hands when rested while standing would cross his knees.
Kalyan Guna # 12 – आत्मवाङ्कः (Aatmavaankaha): Spiritual
Despite what all happened to Rama, due to the understanding of his inner self, he never went into a depression or emotional trauma. With this quality of him, he could think of a solution even in the darkest situations.
Kalyan Guna # 13 – जित क्रोधः (Jithakrodhaha): Calm
The ability to be stable or calm, conquering anger, is the next quality followed by Rama, even in the fiercest situation. When the very next day he was getting for the coronation and his father asked him to leave to the forest, he does not even show an iota of anger, staying calm throughout the whole situation.
Kalyan Guna # 14 – द्युतिमान् (Dyuthimaan): Radiant
Rama’s effulgence was so much so that the first time hanuman sets his eyes on Rama’s face, Hanuman feels shaken, with melting bones and goosebumps all over his body, and tears of joy and love start flowing spontaneously. This is called Tejas or radiance.
Kalyan Guna # 15 – अनसूयकः (Anasuyakaha): Admirable
In Sita Swayamvara, there were other kings who had arrived to take up the challenge. Rama had conquered his emotions that he was not envious of any of them. All he did was lift the Shiva Dhanush with complete humility.
Kalyan Guna # 16 – बिभ्यति देवाः (Bibyati Devaha): Dreaded
The anger that nobody dares see in Rama. Though Rama has conquered emotions, he expresses his anger when his devotee is abused. This happens during the war when Ravana attacks Hanuman with his arrow, immediately Rama gets angry and starts to defeat Ravana. Rama was feared by everyone, during his anger, when his devotee was targeted.