Konvasmin sāmprataṃ loke gunavān kaścaveeryavān
Dharmajñaśca krtajñaśca satyavākyo dŗdhavrataḥ
Valmiki asks, “O Maharishi! In this present era, on Earth, who is that great personality who has in him the following virtues – a) good traits, b) unsurpassed valour, c) ripened knowledge of rules of righteousness, d) gratitude, e) truthfulness in thought, word and deed and f) firm determination?”
Valmiki Maharishi uses the word bhu loka (Earth) Through this he very tactfully clarifies to Guru Narada that he does not seek to know about the Supreme Lord Vishnu, the resident of Vaikuntha. He further uses the term ‘in the present era’ to emphasize that he seeks to know of the present incarnation and not of any past incarnations such as Narasimha and others. Thus, at the outset, Maharishi Valmiki is very clear about what he seeks to know.
After having said this, Maharishi Valmiki now proceeds with his questions. He enquires whether any person who possesses the entire kalyana gunas (auspicious traits) exists presently on Earth.
The only one who has in him all the auspicious traits is the Supreme Lord. Therefore, through these questions, Valmiki clearly asks Narada to reveal to him about the present incarnation of the Lord.
Only that knowledge which is learnt from the Spiritual Guru is the highest knowledge. Hence Valmiki put forth these questions to the supreme most Guru Narada. The desire that the entire world should benefit from these answers also weighed on his mind. This is the trait of the greatest and the best disciple.
Hence the efforts of the greatest Guru and the greatest disciple resulted in the creation of the world’s first epic, the Srimad Ramayana. It came as a blessing to this entire universe.
Maharishi Valmiki, in his mind, desired to know the form of the Supreme Lord. He expressed this desire in the form of questions put forth before his Guru.
Let us now understand in detail about the traits that Valmiki specifies in this hymn.
1) Gunavān– This is the first trait. Who can be addressed as a virtuous? He who, even though being extraordinarily great, does not recollect his greatness and who is not egoistic due to it is truly virtuous.
Such a person will not behave arrogantly. Nor will he maintain any differences between himself and those inferior to him. He will mingle with one and all easily. For example, just because he is a great jnani (highly knowledgeable) he will not discriminate against those who are unequal to him. For all the above reasons, such person can be said to be truly courageous.
2) Veeryavān- It means valour. A valorous person is he who is very knowledgeable and is replete with all the virtuous traits but yet behaves in the manner depicted above.
3) Dharmajna– This refers to the knowledge of righteousness. Dharma is that which concerns both this world and the next and which shows the right path. Only he, who has the complete knowledge of righteous and unrighteous deeds (dharma-adharma), can cause auspiciousness. Only such person will cause the welfare of the universe. At the first step itself, such a person will root out adharma (unrighteousness) and inauspiciousness. Is there any such person on Earth, presently?
4) Krtajnata- It is gratitude. One should never forget help received from others, however insignificant it could be. He who considers any trivial help received from others as profound and significant, and therefore in return helps the person who had helped him in a way that promotes his welfare, is known as krtajna. Such a person can never entertain evil feelings about others and forever seeks others’ well-being. This is the intention behind explicitly seeking for a person with this trait.
5) Satyavān- It means truthfulnes in speech. A truthful person will never utter a lie even when the worst problems land on his head. To him, truth reigns supreme. He believes that everything is dependent on truth. Truth should always emerge victorious, he believes. To emphasize all these points relating to truth (satya), Valmiki Maharishi has used the term ‘satya vakyo’ here.
6) Drdavrata- It means to possess an unflinching and absolutely firm determination. Such a person will not change his mind mid-way, but will stick to his intent till the very end.
What beautiful questions these are! When these questions are applied to this world and analyzed, the preaching being given by Maharishi Valmiki to us through this hymn becomes very clear.
The person who devotedly adopts and adheres to these above-mentioned traits will unquestionably walk on the path of God. He will understand God. He will become God.