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Five Great Vows Of Bhagavan Sri Rama

The five great vows of Bhagavan Sri Rama or the five Vratas of Rama are

  1. To give protection to all those who sought his refuge;
  2. To abide strictly by the promised words of the father and mother;
  3. To be responsible, as a king, to the people of his kingdom even at the cost of his own personal comfort;
  4. To be totally unperturbed in the most adverse of circumstances; and
  5. Never to flaunt his real (divine) stature which was always hidden behind his human exterior.

The five great vows were so excellently and so exemplarily pursued by him throughout his life that even after several millennia, his very name itself is Divinity personified in the entire Hindu world.

Bhagavan descends from the pedestal of perfection and assumes an imperfection in terms of a name and form so that human beings may be weaned away from the path imperfection and mortality and put onto the path of perfection and immortality. This descent of the Divine from its divine pedestal is called an Avatar. The complete such Avatar is supposed to be Krishna. But in this Avatar God’s mystic powers of tirodhana ( illusion, deception) have been so much interwoven with His other functions that, for us, it is difficult to understand the perfection in Him.

Maybe that is why the Avatar as Rama has been extolled as the model of perfection for us humans to follow and emulate. He is an Adarsa Purusha (model for emulation). In fact, he is called a suvrata -- one who has the best vows, the best character, the best behavior. The word vrata, in Sanskrit, indicates a fundamental way of life from which one does not swerve. That his vrata is great, good, unexcelled, is what suvrata says.