Saturday, July 05, 2008

Dissecting Ram: Does he fit in today ‘s context

No I haven’t come up with a thesis on Ram. I haven’t dug up reams of information from the scriptures, the Vedas or the Upanishads. I have as much knowledge about Ram as is known to any typical well bred Hindu family in India. Though the practice of singing verses and hyms of Ramayan is a social practice in villages of India, the credit for enlightening urban masses goes to Ramanand Sagar’s hugely popular television series. That has been my fodder too.

Lets do a quick character sketch of Lord Ram, which is modeled as an ideal for the human race to follow.

Born to king Dashrath of Ayodhya, Ram grew up to be called Maryada Purushottam(The embodiment of a perfect man). His life’s journey has been one perfect adherence to Dharma. (Dharma means one's righteous duty, or any virtuous path in the common sense of the term) He married Sita claiming his right by breaking the Shiv dhanusha. To uphold his father’s honour, Ram went on with his wife to fourteen years of exile under harsh circumstances. Fought a war against Ravana and returned back victorious to become the king of Ayodhya to rule for eleven thousand years-– an era of perfect happiness, peace, prosperity and justice, which in today’s ideal political parlance is known as Rama Rajya.

A goody goody fairy tale story. Pick any movie from Bollywood and the hero is exactly an embodiment of Ram’s persona. The hero witholds family’s honor, fights and wins against evil, wins over the damsel of his life and lives happily ever after.

But real life is far from idyllic. There are no heroes in real world. There are more failures, the beaten downs, the dejected ones facing setbacks every day. Everyone doesn’t have the skill and power of Rama to break the “Shiv Dhanusha's” of everyday life, the courage and the heart to fight evil. When miseries and hardships sorround, when mind is occupied with how to get the next course of meal, all "dharma" go for a toss. What is the lesson that maryada pushottam Ram wants to teach.

Ok the readers may not relate to it. Lets take another fine example from the real life. Dhirubhai Ambani would not have been able to build the empire if he had agreed to what his father wanted him to do. Did he break dharma by walking against his father's desires. His empire Reliance feeds the mouth of lakhs of Indian citizen today. Pumped the GDP of India to heights. Which is the greatest dharma?
Will someone please give me the answers to what is meant to live a virtous life?
My next post: Dharma/Virtous Living


Anonymous,  Sunday, July 06, 2008 9:21:00 PM  

Very well written article. Though I agree with you but I feel that Lord Rama did not mean to teach us what you are confused about. If he agreed to spend 14 yrs of exile then it was because his father was suffering badly and was in delimma due to "kekayi's" promises. If you know in detaila bout Ramayan, Dashrath even did not give permission to Lord Rama to go to jungle, he constantly tried his best to stop him from going. But Lord Rama did not obey him and did not budge from his decision. Because he knew it that it is the right thing to do to protect his father from this suffering.

What Dhirubahi Ambani did was followed his wish to move ahead in his career path in his own way, I don't think his father would have suffered much from this decision, yes, there would have been a few generation clashes. Incase there was a matter of life and death of his father, I am sure Dhirubahi would not have followed his own wish.So I guess, as long as your decision is not affecting others in a big way, you should do whatever you think is right (keeping in mind all your ethics and values).

What Ramayan teaches us that you should use your "Vivek" i.e. intelligence while taking decisions. Then it does not matter whether it was a decision from the heart or from the mind. People might disagree with me but this is what I believe.

But yes, your second last para is very true which mentions that nowdays humans have not that tolerance power and will to overcome all the hurdles of life.

biker-geek Monday, July 07, 2008 9:26:00 AM  

The key here is to follow Rama in spirit but we follow him in letter.

If someone reads Ramayana , it is as relevant today as it was before. but the thing is that we must understand the true meaning and path shown.

Rama shows us that no matter how situation puts us in a spot in the course of life , we can always take the right choice no matter how hard it may be instead of taking the easiest path available.

I have written an article regarding this.Anyone interested can read it.

Prasanna Seshadri Monday, July 07, 2008 10:41:00 AM  

Comparing Rama's time back in ancient days to lifestyle of people in this century may not be a fair thing to do because Ram was one of the avatars but not the common man and the reason he came to earth itself is to triumph over evil.

Children and adults of modern times should have some knowledge of epics and Vedas and should take some best principles in life like obeying elders, being loyal to spouse, honesty, but not necessarily all.

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