घर का भेदी लंका ढाये – An insider can cause unimaginable damage (February 2020)

“I will tell you a secret, but promise me you will not share it with anyone, no matter what!”

“Yes, I promise.”


“Yes, absolutely! You know me very well – I am your BFF!”

“Ok, ok!”


You will be excused if you think that the above dialog is from a movie scene of a high-school drama or a soap-opera where two neighboring old ladies are sharing some petty secrets. Even though it is a fictional depiction, the reality is that we all have been part of such dialogs ourselves. We have either shared our secrets with others or others have shared their secrets with us. In not all, in the majority of the cases, such incidents end up in ruined relationships and/or reputations. Next time you feel tempted to be part of any such “tête-à-tête”, please think about this month’s topic and the consequences of such engagements. The topic for this month’s assignment is “घर का भेदी लंका ढाये”. 


The literal meaning of this idiom is that the knower of household secrets brought down the mighty kingdom of Lanka. And the figurative meaning is that an insider can cause unimaginable damage.


Before diving in the details of the topic and its lessons, let’s understand the source of this idiom. As you may also recall from the Ram Leela [you watch on the day of Dussehra], at the end of the Lord Rama and Ravana’s fight, Rama’s attempts to kill Ravana started to go futile. Rama’s arrows were not able to cause any harm to Ravana. Seeing this, Vibhishana, who was Ravana’s brother, whispered something in Rama’s ear. At that moment, Ravana realized his end was near because Vibhishana might have told Rama the secret of how to kill Ravana. It was a secret that Ravana shared with his brother Vibhishana when they were together. Lo and behold, Ravana’s fear became reality. After learning of the secret, Rama killed Ravana with the very next arrow.


Now you know the source of this idiom, but before proceeding I will request you to take a pause and answer a few questions: first, what lesson did you learn from this story? It may be easy to draw easy conclusions. But before you do so, I would also request you to consider a few additional aspects that will force you to look at it from multiple perspectives. 

  • When it comes to sharing secrets, who is right or wrong: one who shares secrets, or the one who spills them? 
  • Why must someone share secrets?
  • Will you share your secrets with anyone? If so, in what conditions will you do so? If not, why not? 
  • How must you act if the situation warrants you to share your secrets, say with your family members or close associate?
  • Have you shared any secrets? If yes, did the other person keep them safe? Did you regret sharing them?
  • Has anyone shared secrets with you? If so, did you keep them safe? How did we act when spilling the secret was indeed the right thing to do? 


Contemplating the above points will give you a better understanding of this idiom. Rather than directing your thoughts in a particular way, I will encourage you (kids) to think on your own. At this month’s hawan, we will discuss the choices such situations present and the implications of one’s actions. The sheer act of bringing attention to this point will force you to independently anticipate and decide how you must behave when such tricky situations present themselves in your life.


I am looking forward to listening to your views.



Harsh Mendiratta