This an extract from Ramayana. Rama is in the forest for his 14 year exile. Bharata asks Rama to come back and rule the kingdom. Rama refuses as he has a duty towards his father. Others try to convince Rama to come back in their own ways. Here is one attempt by a priest called Jabali. Makes interesting reading.
As Rama was consoling Bharata, Jabali, the greatest of all Brahmins spoke these unrighteous words.
“Rama, a noble and intellect man like you should not think like a common person! Every man is born alone and dies alone. Who is related to whom? What is the meaning of a family? A man who clings to a mother or a father must be considered deluded. No one is anything to anyone! Just as a man arrives in the village and stays somewhere for the night and leaves the next morning, so mothers and fathers are mere stops along the way in life. A wise man does not cling to these. Do not renounce your fathers kingdom and take the difficult path which will cause you much hardship. Crown yourself in the prosperous city of Ayodhya which waits for you.
The man who lives without restraint walks an unrighteous path. He does not live in accordance with our sacred teachings and he shall never have the respect of good men. It is a mans characters and his deeds that determine whether he is high or low born, pure or impure, brave or simply a hoax . The King has gone where he had to go for that is his destiny of all mortals. You concern yourself with irrelevant matter! I feel sorry for those people who pursue wealth and those that pursue dharma. They suffer in life and the next. See how men waste food by performing rituals for the dead! Can a dead man eat? The books that tell you to perform sacrifice, do penance and give gifts are written by wise men who want to help others spend their money! You are wise enough to know that that there is no world other than this one. Believe in what you can see and turn your back on the unseen! Take the kingdom as Bharat has asked you to!”
Rama replies:- "What you have just said is totally unacceptable though it seems appropriate, completely improper even though it seems reasonable.
The man who lives without restraint (ie control or balanced judgement) walks an unrighteous path. He does not live in accordance with our sacred teachings and he shall never have the respect of good men. It is a mans characters and his deeds that determine whether he is high or low born, pure or impure, brave or simply a hoax.
The timeless rules of kingship are bound by truth and compassion. Truth is the mainstay of kingship and the world is established in truth. The gods and sages declare truth to be the highest goal. It is supreme in the world and exalts one to heaven. Men despise a liar as they despise snakes. Truth controls the world and is the only refuge. It is the basis of everything. Nothing is greater than truth. Gift giving, sacrifices, penances, good deeds, even the Vedas, are established in truth and therefore, it is the highest good.
How can I fail to carry out my fathers promise where I am committed to it by oath of truths? I cannot violate my fathers bond with truth out of greed, delusion or even out of ignorance! Gods and ancestors reject the offerings of men who are fickle and do not keep their word. It is clear to me that every man must hold to the truth, that it is his Dharma. It is for this reason alone ascetics command so much respect. I renounce the dharma of a ksatriya because it is fundamentally unrighteous even though it has some good things about it. It attracts the base, the cruel, the greedy and those inclined to be wicked.
What you have just asked me to do is wrong, even though you have supported it with a great many arguments. I promised my father in the presence of elders and teachers that I would live in the forest. How can I do what Bharat wants without breaking that promise? By living in the forest I shall be able to pursue purity by eating simple foods and making offerings to the gods and ancestors. I shall nourish my body but go through life without deceit, depending on my powers of discrimination!”
Taken from the Book Valmiki The Ramayana by Arishia Sattar and published by Penguin Books ISBN –9780140298666 in Chapter 14 of the book.