Epic of Ramayana deals with the story of Sri Rama, a king who
gives up the throne due to a promise extracted from his father
by his stepmother. He goes into exile to the forest for a
period of 14 years and his wife and brother follow him there.
He kills demons on the way until Ravana, a demon king, abducts
Sri Rama’s wife. Sita, and holds her prisoner in his palace.
Rama wages a war against Ravana with the help of monkeys and
frees his wife. They return to Ayodhya after their exile where
they are crowned and reign over Ayodhya (their Kingdom). He
later sends his wife Sita into exile to the forest again as
his subjects suspected Sita’s fidelity and character during
literally, the story deals with how a man should conduct
himself and fulfill his duty towards his parents, wife,
brothers and in this case, since he was a king, toward the
subjects of his kingdom. It is also a story of the triumph of
good over evil. Symbolically it is something else. Sri Rama
denotes true knowledge (Gyan). Sita denotes devotion (Bhakti).
In the Ramayana they show how unhappy they are when they are
separated. Similarly spiritual knowledge without devotion is
incomplete just as devotion is without spiritual knowledge.
denotes evil and his ten hands are the ten vices that beset
humanity. When Sita is taken by Ravana and kept a prisoner in
Asoka Vatika, she was very unhappy.
Vatika or Mayapuri denotes the life of error (Maya), which
we lead. So, symbolically, when devotion is corroded by vice,
it would lead to the loss of peace of mind.
restore the happiness that is inherent in devotion, faith (vishwas)
would be required and that comes in the form of Hanuman (the
Monkey God) who brings Rama’s ring
to Sita to remind her that Rama is also unhappy without her
and would soon come to rescue her.
war later ensures between the monkeys(sense organs) and
Ravana(vices) and Rama (Knowledge) with the help of
Hanuman(Vishwas) restores Sita (Bhakti) to her rightful
place-that of a queen.
we see that these epics, besides having symbolic value, make
very interesting reading. Also they give us a very clear
picture of the way of life during that period. It also
expounds profound truths, which are true to any age because
man essentially is always the same despite a changing
clear example in the Ramayana is when Sita sees a golden deer
and insists that her husband get it for her. Sri Rama realises
that the deer cannot bring added happiness to their contented
life; if at all it will bring sorrow and so dissuades Sita
from her whim.
Sita insists and Rama reluctantly leaves her to go after the
deer. The deer turns out to be a demon in disguise who tricks
even Lakshmana (Rama’s brother) to leave Sita alone by
shouting, in Rama’s voice for help.
leaving to help Rama, Lakshmana draws a Line round the cottage
and cautions Sita not to step out of the line at any cost.
However, when Sita is left alone, Ravana (the demon king),
disguising himself as an ascetic, comes to ask for alms to
commits the second mistake by stepping out of the line drawn
around the cottage by Lakshmana. Ravana assumes his real form
and abducts Sita and carries her to his Kingdom.
this extract from the Ramayana we have two important lessons
is that we ought to be content with what we possess. Running
after a Golden deer is symbolic of our running after material
wealth and power whose true image is actually that of a demon,
which ultimately brings about our own ruin and destruction.
other lesson that we learn is that as long as we do not
trespass our limits we are safe. Nothing is harmful as long as
it is done within our bounds. The minute we trespass them, the
highest power on earth cannot help us.
is obvious from the facts that in spite of having wanted the
deer, if Sita had remained within the line drawn round the
cottage, all would have been well. She would not have been
carried away by Ravana, and Rama and Lakshmana would have
returned safely to the cottage.
the above I am reminded of a little verse
dhan, gay dhan, Kaaj dhan
aur ratan dhan khaan
Jab miley santosh dhan
Sab dhan dhool saman.
means that the greatest of wealth, be it cattle, jewels or
kingdoms can never hold a candle to the wealth of contentment.