Ātmavān ko? Jitakrodho dyutimān ko nasūyakaḥ
Kasya bibhyati devāśca jātaroṣasya saṃyuge
Meaning- Who is the person – m) who has his mind under his complete control, n) who has conquered anger, o) whose illumination causes astonishment, p) who is free from envy and q) whose aggressiveness in war causes fear even among celestials?
12) Atmavān– Great heroes, who have conquered everything in this universe, fail to conquer their mind, which in reality is inside them and very close to them. Even after acquiring control over every thing, they suffer from lack of mental peace, the reason being their inability to control their mind. Great ancient seers (Maharishis) and eminent poets have always compared the mind to huge animals.
Hence, conquering the mind is said to be the greatest victory that one can achieve! This is the true proof of a person’s courage and strength. Controlling the mind is true yoga; it in itself is yaaga. Hence Valmiki Maharishi explicitly questions about this.
13) Jita krodhah– Next, Valmiki wants to know a person who, in addition to conquering the mind, has also controlled inner and outer anger in totality.
Here, what we should understand is that Valmiki Maharishi, does not seek to know merely about a yogi, but is desirous of knowing about that Supreme Being (uttama purusha) who considers every being as his kith and kin, and therefore, with such feelings, treats everyone equally.
Therefore, he asks- who is that person, who, having achieved complete mastery over the inner mind, has in addition, also conquered the inner and the outer anger in totality? Often we notice Mahatmas exhibiting feelings of anger. This is not their natural/ inherent anger but something that they have willingly taken upon themselves. Releasing this, we too should aim to scale to those heights.
14) Dyutimaan- Coming to the next trait, who is the person who possesses dazzling illumination that causes astonishment?
The Sun’s illumination is the brightest illumination that surpasses every other form of illumination known. Valmiki Maharishi enquires about an illumination that eclipses even the Sun’s illumination. This is the illumination of the Self! Hence, the question here is a prayer to teach about Self-illumination.
15) Anasūakah– Asuya (jealousy) means to scan the faults in others and accuse them of it. Going over and above this trait, means to be non-jealous (Anasuya).
One should acknowledge the good deeds that are performed even by his enemy. If merely because he is an enemy, one scans and finds faults in his good deeds, then such mistakes will attach to him. Instead, if the good trait within him is appreciated, then there is a great chance for even an enemy to transform into a good being.
16) Bibhyati devāh- This is the last trait being asked by Maharishi Valmiki. He wants to know about that person who causes fear even among Gods.
Among the Gods, Rudra, Agni (Fire God), Yama (God of death), Lord Narasimha, Veerabhadra, Sharabha and Kali Devi are said to be the most fearful and ferocious. If they get angry, they can swallow the entire creation as if it were a drop of water. Hence it is mandated that deeds that displease them should never ever be performed.
It is only adherence to dharma (righteousness) that pleases them. At times, even Devatas transgress dharma. Here, Valmiki Maharishi seeks to know about that person who causes even these greatest Gods to abide by the dharma that he is following. The person who can cause even the greatest Gods to abide by his dharma is none but Paramatma.
‘Bheeshāsmāt vātah pavate’ says the Taitareeya Upanishad. It means- He, out of whose fear, the fire burns, the Sun rises and blazes, the wind blows, Indra and other Devatas discharge their duties in the prescribed manner and the God of death being scared runs away, is none other than Paramatma.
Valmiki Maharishi ends his questioning with this. In all, he has enquired about 16 traits/qualities. The number 16 symbolizes completeness (poornatvam). The number 16 instantly brings to memory the 16 avatars of Dattatreya and the Shodasi (16 syllable) vidya of the Divine Mother. Paramatma, the complete being (Poorna Purusha) is known as Shodasha kalaha.
From this, it is absolutely clear that Maharishi Valmiki is enquiring about Paramatma.
Om seetaraamaabhyaam namaha.