The Ramayana is one of the Indian epics besides the Mahabharata. It is a tale about Indian life around 1000 BCE and a presentation model of dharma. Rama, who lived his whole life through the dharma rules, is considered heroic for his dedication from childhood to the time of his marriage to Sita as well as a ruler of the Aydohya. Rama and Sita have in turn maintained a revered position in the Indian community with parents and adults teaching their children to emulate them. The Ramayana holds so much influence of the civilization of India (Srinivasa 16). The Ramayana has been in existence since 1, 500 BCE since it was composed in the fourth century. Historically, there are indicators of the Ramayana having a similarity to other religious books in a historic ways like Christian and Koran scriptures (Prasad 346-361).
There are several variances about Rama who is believed to be an avatar in Hindu mythology, a rightful deity and believed to be worshiped in regions of northern India as a king. There are several editions of Ramayana with very few people still possessing the old one. Ramayana’s also comes in virtually all languages in India to facilitate understanding. This is ensured by teaching the children using the evidences from the Ramayana through performances like drama, puppet shows, dance, movies and songs (Ramayana Ballet). In this report I will discuss the Ramayana’s history of why and how it was written, The Ramayana’s importance in modern culture in Hinduism and in India, and how literal the Hindus take the Ramayana.
The Ramayana’s history of why and how it was written
The Ramayana was written in India as a guide of morals to Indians. Ramayana is a combination of Rama and ayana means going or advancing and translates to Rama’s Journey. Looking at Ramayana in the religious context and Rama in a mythical light, there is evidence of Ramas birth date deduced from planetarium observations of the time between his birth to the time he returned to Ayodhya (Prasad 346-361). Several incidences have so far been identified as stated in the Ramayana the age of Rama when he takes off to exile as 25. Also, during the war between Dushan and Khar, Valmiki describes a solar eclipse in the 13th year and with current research, that is proven through planetary studies displaying presence of constellations as described in the Ramayana. The writing of the Ramayana is in honor of Rama as king, a thing that is in line with the presentation of other kings who have always had their histories written. There is a submergence of a bridge that is currently renovated between Sri Lanka and Rameshwaram and that is historical evidence of the existence of Rama in the world during those centuries.
The media and Indians have had variant information going round in regard to the Ramayana (Srinivasa 16). There is an almost similarity of Hindu and India following its circulation in India after Islamic advent. Hindu is an absent term in the Ramayana with just mention of the terms of ‘Bharatvarsh’ and ‘Aryavrat’ with residents referred to as ‘Aryans’. The existence of Sikhs, Muslims and Christians is a long existent thing just as the Hindu heritage. However, there has been a division of interest on facts with varying politicians positions, have brought about differences among people with differing religious views displaying every Indian aspect in relation with Hinduism. Looking at this history of the Ramayana, this research is relevant to Indians as it is focused in helping with the upholding of tradition, religion and culture. It helps in the knowledge of the age of Indian culture to help people in maintaining a relevant position in maintenance of history and culture of their ancestors (Cunningham & John 116).
The Ramayana’s importance in modern culture in Hinduism and in India
The epics of the Ramayana are taught to children from a very tender age to help them in gaining of wisdom for use in daily life. These epics are used in binding of Indians bridging the gap of distance, language and caste. Holidays in the Ramayana are celebrated on two holidays; the fourteenth of October celebrating Dussehra commemorating Lankas’ siege and subsequent victory of Rama over Ravana the king of Lanka (Prasad 346-361). The festival of lights is celebrated from October to November during Divali. This celebration commemorates the safe return of Sita and Rama to Ayodhya after Rama’s victory. In the Ramayana, there are characteristics which teach modern Indians how to keep their dharma. This can be seen through the dedication of Ramas’ step brother, Bharata to his dharma by not letting his mothers’ selfishness separate him from his brother (Cunningham & John 116).
This can be seen on occasion when Rama is banished from his kingdom out of the request of his step mother and his step brother follows him only agreeing to rule under the shadow of Rama’s authority. Sita is also seen as a faithful to her dharma by sticking to her husband as he left for the forest after being banished. This brings out the connection of shadow and substance as well as the responsibility, which a wife has on her husband (Srinivasa 16). These lessons can be used in modern India to help students studying the Ramayana in developing principles for sticking to their dharma instead of going against it. The teachings in dharma are some of the emulations of people like Mahatma Gadhi whose major dream was to see Indians and India becoming Ram-rajya (Prasad 346-361).
The Ramayana holds the traditions for Indians and Hindu in an explicit manner for them to be in a position of maintaining their cultural roots. It was tradition for old kings to leave their kingship to their sons so they can get a head into the search of Moksha. This is something that may have pleased everyone in the kingdom given the love they had for Rama. However, the same is not with his step mother who plots to have him banished from the kingdom so that her son could take over the leadership. This plan succeeds because Daharadha had made a promise of granting her whatever she needed (Cunningham & John 116).
It is also important to note that the Ramayana is a depiction of how Hindus should pray. In its created folklore and mythic setting, it still comes out that it is a demonstration of the manner in, which people should live, pray and act as Hindus. The Hindus are most influenced by morals that the Ramayana teaches. Through the tale of Rama, it comes out that the Hindus are taught to stick to their principles (Srinivasa 16). The actions of Rama are exceptionally pure and the Ramayana brings its readers close to Rama. It promotes the hope of attaining purity, good and love through the emulation of his acts and even by just knowing his name. it promotes the belief that since he went through all the trouble and went into heaven the mention of his name promotes some significant closeness to heaven. Rama is perceived as the perfection of the soul recognized by both mortals and immortals and that is why even Hanuman identified his position and worked hard to unite him with his wife (Cunningham & John 116).
The Ramayana displays that all that is necessary in the life of a Hindu is following ones dharma. It is the only thing, which holds quality in one’s life, and its attainment is all that should be worked for. In dharma, anything that a person puts in life is what they get back. It is this clear through the Ramayana that those who planted evil eventually harvested evil while those who maintained a life of purity stopped breathing purely. The Hindu must therefore observe their lifestyles through the rules and teaching of the Ramayana without wavering because of temptations and selfishness. Evil might be overwhelming but what matters are that a person decides to maintain a pure lifestyle without necessarily getting swayed like king Ravana. The Dharma examples in the Ramayana just make this a clear aspect for anyone who follows the Hindu teachings (Ra?japu?ta, 70-100).
Oaths are also a great aspect that the Ramayana teaches to the Hindu. It is important to note that there is always the need for sticking to promises. This further disciplines both Indians and Hindu to be very careful about the words they speak. Every word counts and can be counted against a person at any time. Looking at the time when king Dasharatha planned give up his position for kingship to his heir, his wife Queen Kaikeyi comes up with a request based on his long ago promise (Prasad 346-361). That is the cause of banishing Rama and sending him into the forest. A Hindu must therefore weigh the promises they give to prevent any future implications, which they may cause.
How literal the Hindus take the Ramayana.
In a literal perspective of the Ramayana by the Hindus, Sita maintains a loyal and submissive position given the manner in which she stuck by her husband’s side through all temptations. She is the consort goddess who is obedient and respectful to the superiority of her husband. This is what makes her to leave her royal life by following her husband into the hardships of the forest. She later accepts her capture by Ravana faithfully, gracefully and in fortitude. This is not all she endures, she later faces rejection in the face of Rama who confesses that his rescue was for the honor of their family and not because he loved her. The stoic Sita embraces this rejection and goes ahead to prove her innocence by passing through fire uncalled as a sign of her faithfulness even in the hands of Ravana. This brings out a perfect wife in the Hindu culture and therefore Sita becomes a great point of reference whenever emulation of wifely character is wanting. This has maintained the position of training Hindu women right from a very tender age to become like Sita through the emulation of the wifely dharma that made her respectful to her husband. This makes selflessness and submission to be the points of reference for wifely virtues (The Valmiki Ramayana, 75, II.24.3,4,18.).
The assertions made are seen in the scan and they sum up the alleged that there is no difference connecting him and the most celestial personifications of Hindu legendary scripture (Ra?japu?ta, 70-100). Their errands are similar, cut backing civilization though the means used and physical incarnations differ. His frequently repetitive certainty in the unembellished truth of mythology with, which the Ramayana is packed, and his usurpation of the individuality of all the great figures in those legends Vishnu, Rama, Krishna will simply never wash with progressive charity. Not even the religious conviction of the conventional religions ever comes to consider this distantly likely with other denominations (Ra?japu?ta, 78).
From literal perspectives of Sita, she is further perceived as a deity but is represented in the shadow of her husband Rama. No identity or independent position is accorded to her as even throughout Ramayana, she is seen in the submissive light of her husband without any elevation to heights. She is in entire relationship with her husband and that makes her significance in the development of the Ramayana attached to Hindu practices (Muniapan & Biswajit 645). Sita can also be seen as the exemplification of suffering and perseverance in the Ramayana. She literally endures all problems and successfully emerges victorious when she joins her mother earth back to the underground (Ra?japu?ta, 70-100).
In literal forms, the name of Sita is meant to stand for furrow. This is exemplified in the Ramayana through several descriptions and occasions. It means the earth and even when she narrates her origin, it comes out that her mother is earth itself and that she was discovered by the king as he furrowed (Muniapan & Biswajit 645). This is a depict of her supernatural attachment to the earth and leads to the belief of her being the goddess of fertility. In her death, Sita goes back through a furrow set by her mother without dying like a normal being, this makes her a literal possession of the earth where she came from and returns in the most mystical expressions in the Ramayana.Sita holds so much of nature that the struggles in the Ramayana try to return back to the earth. When she is kidnapped, her nature makes animals like cows, crows, lions and even trees to indicate her absence and when she is finally returned to the kingdom, everything gets back to normal (Ra?japu?ta, 70-100).
Universally the Ramayana is accepted and acclaimed to be the first among all the Sanskrit poets. Most Hindus have come to get enough knowledge about their gods through the reading and listening to a great body of the holy literature, and this is because most Hindus recognize their holy writings. The Ramayana is the most significant teachings in India because of the literal, historic and spiritual teachings that it provides (Muniapan & Biswajit 645).
The Ramayana is a mythical and folklore in style but its major focus is to teach the Indians and Hindus on the best means of living a spiritual lifestyle. There is a great attachment to the observation of the requirements of dharma and that is something that the Ramayana focuses on instilling into the hearts of those who read and are trained through it (Richman 1-20). Because of its moral status and lessons, children are introduced to the teachings of the Ramayana from a very tender age. This is done so that they can grow respectful to their parents and the lessons may stick in their minds as they approach adulthood. The repetitive rhymes in the Ramayana are used to provide students with an easy means of mastering them and utilizing them in their daily lives following the morals that exist within. Through the tale of Rama, who is the rightful kin to the throne, several development regarding the commitment and dismissal of moral status emerge. There is betrayal from his step mother following her wish to have Bharata on the throne instead of the throne. It is amazing how Rama retaliates without any resistance saying that out of it all, it is the doing of his father and he can never go against his father’s wish (Prasad 346-361).
This shows loyalty and it is an aspect, which teaches the young people how to accept decisions by elders even when they may not be for the good of the students. Ramayana is a very important book to study in the Indian and Hindu cultures. This is because of the manner in which it teaches about purity from the time of its beginning. When a person focuses on following his dharma, he becomes capable of developing principles that assist him in making sound decisions even in the toughest situations. That is why there is a showcase of struggles between evil and good in the Ramayana and by the end of the day; Rama still emerges pure at heart and gains the status of purity finally claiming his throne (Richman 1-20). Sita also has to prove her purity before she can be eventually taken back as Ramas’ wife. Out of dignity of leadership, Rama adheres to the request of his subjects and lets Sita pass through fire to prove that she is pure and worth being his wife. All this is significant in letting people to know that it is challenging to stay pure but with a strong will, all temptations can always be overcome just like Sita who goes underground with her mother earth and Rama who goes into heaven together with all those that he loves.
In the Hindus culture the Ramayana is the most revered scriptures all over India and most likely in the majority of Hindus. Most of the Hindus take it as a gospel and again it comes all over the same chronological and scientific scrutiny as a biblical test (Richman 1-20). The results are very similar in regard to the genuineness and the authorship of different editions. Sathya sai baba always offered the Ramayana stories as exactly true, even claiming he was present in the shape of Rama himself. He believes that devotees are programmatically gratified to believe, that they are to be considered as being good disciples with enough automatic confidence in identification with the omniscient avatar. The inspirational soon becomes the preposterous where stubborn guardians of the fact of primitive scriptures are always involved whatsoever the area (Ra?japu?ta, 96). This report has discussed the Ramayana’s history of why and how it was written, The Ramayana’s importance in modern culture in Hinduism and in India, and how literal the Hindus take the Ramayana. It turns out that the Ramayana is a very essential piece of work that every Indian and Hindu must emulate in order for the maintenance of quality lifestyles (Râmâyana).
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