Vasudhaiva Kutumbakam, the world is a family…these are not mere words. Our culture, by ‘our’ I mean the universal culture of the world, did not discriminate on the basis of religion, birth, caste, social status or geography. The distinction was made between the civilized and uncivilized; in vedic parlance, between surs and asurs respectively. Those who helped Creation and lived for others were termed as surs and those who lived for themselves and did nothing for Creation were called asurs.
Consider this, Creation emerged from the thought of Creator, Lord Brahma. Rishi Pulastya was born of Lord Brahma, as was Rishi Marichi. Pulastya’s son Rishi Vishrava fathered Ravan. Marichi’s son was Rishi Kashyap who fathered Vivasvan (the Sun God). From Vivasvan came Manu, the first human being of 7th Manvantara, who gave birth to Ikshvaku from whom started the Ikshvaku Dynasty, in whose line was born Lord Ram. Lord Ram and Ravan were thus distant cousins.
Lord Ram annihilated Ravan because he tread on the path of adharma, guided by his asuric vritti. The same Ravan had earlier been released from the captivity of Sahastra Arjun by the previous incarnation of Lord Vishnu, Parshurama, for he was a good ruler and a learned scholar. His downfall began when he broke the conduct of dharma and disrespected a woman, Vedavati and later abducted Goddess Sita.
Vedavati was the daughter of Rishi Kusadhvaia, who was the son of Brihaspati, Guru of devas. She was well versed in the Vedas and performed great penance to win Lord Vishnu as her husband. She was extremely beautiful and the glow of her sadhna bestowed her with phenomenal attraction. Ravan was once passing by her hermitage and was arrested by her beauty and glow. Overcome by desire, he proposed to her. Vedavati rejected his proposition and explained that she was devoted to Lord Vishnu. With a hurt ego, Ravan mocked at her and her penance and grabbed her by the hair. Vedavati then cut off her hair and pledged to immolate herself. Before entering fire, she prophesied that since Ravan had insulted her, she will be born again to destroy him. It was Vedavati who was born as Goddess Sita, the consort of Lord Ram, avatar of Lord Vishnu, who became the cause of Ravan’s end.
We are all one. We have emerged from the same source. Our culture divides on the basis of asuric and suric vritti, those who destroy and protect creation. The ones who kill the innocent, abuse animals, spread terror, destroy nature’s resources and pollute the environment for selfish gains are the asurs. The ones who protect the weak, take care of injured and abandoned animals, feed the poor, educate the underprivileged, cleanse and purify the environment and conserve nature’s resources are the surs.
For the balance to be maintained in Creation, both surs and asurs are essential. And surs and asurs can be found across religions, faiths, geographies and even in the same family. For example, if you are performing a yagya, there will be plenty around who will try to prevent you from doing it, it is a basic clash of suric and asuric vritti. Or if you put out food for stray and injured animals, there might be neighbors who stone and pelt the animals or put away the food – again a clash of the suric and asuric vritti. The clash between the surs and asurs has been since time immemorial, and clash is based on karmas, not religion or region or birth.
People with asuric vritti normally go to hell and bear immense pain there (you may read my article on hell, for more details). Next they take birth in a lower dimension and bear pain again. This is a purification process for them, as what you do, you also have to counter balance it with the opposite of it. No matter how good you think you are, when you are doing a negative karma, you have to bear its consequences, that is, purification.
Karmas are ranked both negative and positive. In the first category, those which attract the maximum punishment are disrespect to the Guru, hurting the weak and turning your face away when you see weaker animals or humans being harmed. Those, which bring the maximum gain, are the opposite of the above.