Ramayana, the Adikavya
Ramayana” portrays the ideal of “Manushya Dharma” or righteous living of a human being in society.

The epic has been described as “Adikavya”, the first great poem. Its beauty can be savoured well by those who have studied Samskrit. In some passages Valmiki brings out the ultimate in description of human emotions. “Ramayana” portrays the ideal of “Manushya Dharma” or righteous living of a human being in society. The Lord, assuming the human form as Rama, demonstrates how an individual has to conduct himself according to precepts of dharma in various and even difficult circumstances.

The most important virtue portrayed is that of “Vinaya” or utmost humility. Lord Rama himself is humility personified under all circumstances, whether it is willing acceptance of his stepmother Kaikeyi’s cruel fiat of banishment or his dealings with Vali and Sugriva. His greatest devotee, Hanuman, is also humility personified. For instance, though he himself was known for his limitless power and strength, he tells Mother Sita that there are warriors far mightier than him in the monkey brigade. Imbibing the virtue of humility befits every individual. Another great quality highlighted by various events and personalities in Ramayana is selfless love for others. Such an attitude of selfless love enables one to sail through many storms in life.

The Ramayana has warned mankind that self-praise and self- aggrandisement are to be avoided.Under no circumstances should one boast of one’s powers and achievements. They are to be recognised by others, not advertised by oneself. The importance of bhakti or devotion is brought out in several episodes. There is an assurance that God always takes care of His devotees. The way Lord Rama tended to Jatayu on his death-bed and performed the last rites as if he were performing the last rites of His own father shows the unbounded love which the Lord has for His devotees. Likewise, there is the touching episode of Shabhari, a simple and poor woman of great devotion giving Lord Rama a few fruits after biting each one of them to see if they were sweet enough to be offered to her God. Lord Rama once again brings to the fore God’s unbounded love for His devotees. If a person leads a righteous life and surrenders himself or herself to the Lord, He takes care of His devotees in every way.

The Ramayana also indicates the power of destiny and how its effects can be mitigated by surrender to the Lord. Lord Rama is committed to protect His devotees under all circumstances. Lord Rama’s virtues of obedience to His father, affection for his brother, love for his subjects, and above all uncompromising commitment to Dharma or Righteousness set an inspiring example to all.

H. H. Shri Sudhindra Tirth Swamiji

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