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Why is Ramayana attractive? – Part two

Continued from the previous post…

Emperor Dasharat was unwittingly trapped by a sinister plot laid by his favorite wife Kaikeyi who secured from the king two boons of banishing Rama- the rightful heir- to the forest for fourteen years and placing her own son Bharat as the king. However the king lamented terribly at his folly of trusting his wife; he cried inconsolably as Rama happily left for the forest, and eventually, unable to bear the separation from Rama anymore, he gave up his life.

The furious Bharat disowned his mother for her nasty act of banishing the faultless Rama. That’s when she realized how she had fallen prey to the evil designs of Manthara, her hunchbacked servant maid. Desperately, everyone went to the forest to get back Rama but it was of no avail. He didn’t return, and as everyone made sacrifices and accepted atonement, Kaikeyi too repented her acts but differently.

While Bharat stayed austerely in a hut, Kaikeyi too cried, wishing to suffer her lot for her sinful deed by living a life of penance in the forest. But her son forbade her and instead insisted she stayed in the royal palace to realize how for the petty wealth and positions of this world, she had caused great pain to the whole kingdom of Ayodhya. Her act of living in the very kingdom that she contrived to get through an evil plot would torture her with guilt and shame. And that would be her purification.

Besides Rama’s own relatives, there were other heroes like Hanuman who performed heroic acts with deep humility and love for the Lord. Jatayu was a vulture who bravely laid down his life while trying to protect Sita as she was being forcibly carried away by the king of demons Ravana.

Like this each person joyfully and gratefully accepted inconveniences to serve Lord Rama. The love for the Lord was the guiding force for each of these devotees.

In contrast Ravana and his principal associates reveal the psychology of moderns, of wanting everything for the self, and using everyone and everything for their own interests. Ravana claimed to love Sita but when she refused to yield to his advances, he threatened to kill her and eat her for breakfast. This is akin to modern lovers who harm their beloved when she refuses to reciprocate. Recently a young boy threw acid on the face of a beautiful girl and permanently damaged her; all because she didn’t love him the way he thought he ‘loved’ her.

No wonder many moderns are spreading messages on how Ravana was actually a hero and was better than Rama. They even glorify his having not forced himself on Sita while he had held her captive. But little do they know that Ramayana describes Ravana wanted to enjoy her but was checked by fear; once he raped a heavenly damsel and her husband had cursed in anger that he would die if he ever forced himself on any woman again.

Despite the contrasts between the good and evil as revealed in Ramayana being as clear as black and white, people eulogize evil today and have made Ravana the hero. This reveals the dangerous mindset that has gripped the human society. No wonder in contrast to the young soldier who laid down his life (explained in the previous post), we have politicians who sell off the country for their vested interests, and lovers who cheat on their partners without shame or remorse.

Therefore it’s time now to reestablish Rama Rajya….the kingdom of Rama consciousness where everyone wants to serve and love, and live for others.

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