नह्यस्माभिः प्रतिग्राह्यं सखे! देयं तु सर्वदा । इति तेन वयं राजन् अनुनीता महात्मना ॥

— श्रीमद्रामायणे अयोध्याकाण्डे सप्तातीतिशमस्सर्गः (१६ श्लोकम)

While narrating to Bharata the episode where ShriRaama did not accept the food offered by him, illustrating how ShriRaama is a firm follower of Dharma, Guha spoke these words:

“ShriRaama, who is a Mahatma, spoke in a very smooth and convincing tone, the following words to make me understand why He is unable accept my offering: ‘Dear friend! Kshatriyas like me always should give (to our subjects) and should never expect/accept anything (in return from them)’”.

Finally, ShriRaama and Sita ate only water that Lakshana brought and they slept on a grass bed made by Lakshmana. Lakshmana then ate the left over water and guarded them without sleeping.

These are the morals to be learnt:

  1. Our Dharma Shastras say that a King can at the maximum take taxes that cannot exceed 1/6th of ones earning in order to run the Government. Beyond that they cannot accept even one penny. ShriRaama through His acts and words is illustrating the same Dharma here by not accepting anything from Guha (as Guha is one of His subjects). If only we did not leave our culture and ethics, today’s politicians and administrators would have been far more efficient!
  2. It is notable that ShriRaama displayed ultimate firmness in following Dharma through this episode. This is because there are two conflicting Dharma’s here: one of a friend by which he has to accept the offering from His friend, and the other of a King, by which he cannot accept offering from His subjects. ShriRaama obviously followed the greater Dharma of a King leaving the lesser Dharma of a friend.
  3. Even though ShriRaama did not accept Guha’s offering, He rejected it in a very convincing and soothing way for Guha. We must learn such soft-spokedness from ShriRaama.

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