Most of us have had Ramayana in our syllabus, and our idea of Lord Ram is quite different from the notion some bigots want us to inculcate. Every religion talks about humanity; we just need to make sure that we grasp it from an appropriate source instead of WhatsApp University. The difference between the Lord Ram we read about and the Lord Ram they make us see, is quite evident to a person who has grown up witnessing the stories of peace and harmony.
I completed my primary education at a government school, and we had The Ramayana as a part of our curriculum.
We performed a skit on Ramayana in class when I was in school. My teacher assigned me the role of the Goddess Sita. Just because I was so excited to play the role, I read about the glorious characters of Lord Rama and Goddess Sita thoroughly. I was so enthusiastic that I even made paper jewellery throughout the whole night to present it in a better way. And even today, I remember every dialogue I had delivered. I have read both the epics, the Ramayana and the Mahabharata, and I am certain that I may know more about them than some of my allies would.
When I recall the character of Lord Ram that I had studied, I can only imagine him circulating the message of love, peace, and harmony. He was more apprehensive about others than himself.
Lord Rama is much more than simply the name of one of the Hindu gods. The beauty of Lord Rama lies in his character, his virtue, not merely in his name.
Swami Vivekananda described Lord Ram as “the embodiment of truth, morality, the ideal son, the ideal husband and above all, the ideal king”. He is considered a symbol of the victory of good over evil. Lord Rama represents how a man should fulfil his moral allegiances and strictly follow his limits so that social order can be strengthened. These are the reasons why he is known as “Maryada Purushottam” or “The man of limits” to millions of worshippers.
Madhvacharya, the great Indian philosopher says “Ram means the supreme bliss, Ram means the ‘Brahman’ (the absolute, the supreme element) as well as Ishwara (the god with form) both“. In simple words, Ram is the supreme heavenly spirit, all-pervading, the exemplar of all souls, and thus the ultimate consciousness.
Lord Ram is portrayed as a generous, kind, and obedient soul according to the texts. From serving in exile to giving the throne to his half-brother Bharat, he has made all the sacrifices out of love and generosity. Even when Lord Ram meets Kaikeyi, one of Dashrath’s queens, who had concocted to unfairly deprive him of his kingdom and expel him to the forest for 14 years, he is not furious or vindictive. On the contrary, he is forgiving, sincere, affectionate, and the very image of equanimity.
One can read about Lord Ram, who he is, and what he really stands for in the most pleasant and exemplary manner presented by Tulsidas in his remarkable epic Ramcharitmanas. It is written in Shri Ramcharitmanas that Ram is “Sab ke priya sab ke hitkari (beloved of all and loved by all).” He is not only benevolent, incarnate, chivalrous, and valorous but he is also gentle, caring, and compassionate towards the weak and the powerless, and generous towards the enemy even when he criticizes them for what is wrong. Tulsidas describes Lord Ram as ‘karuna sukh sagar, sab guna aagar’ — one who is the same reservoir of kindness and contentment and empowered with every auspicious attribute. He also calls him ‘jana anuragi’ — one for whom each member of the masses is beloved and for whom he is equally so.
Mahatma Gandhi, the primary leader of India’s Independence movement, also regarded the Ramcharitmanas as “the greatest book in all devotional literature“. Mahatma Gandhi was also devout to Lord Ram’s excellence, and it’s believed that when he died, the only words he could utter was the name of Lord Ram.
Many people get inspired by the character of Lord Ram whenever they read about his stature. The more you read, the more you’ll be impressed with his morality.
However, Ram has been in the news for all the wrong reasons these days. Unschooled zealots have degraded the slogan ‘Jai Shri Ram’ for wanton acts of turmoil, humiliation, and hatred, which are an aversion to what Lord Ram actually stands for and what he has taught throughout his life. These disturbing elements do not know that Ram is Maryada Purushottam, the epitome of righteousness, the touchstone of impeccable behavior, the role model of a perfect human being, and the very manifestation of saumya rasa, harmonious equilibrium. Not only is his generosity palpable, but his decency is to be noted as well. His respect for each category of humans is commendable too.
When I see people creating chaos and spreading hatred, I wonder how painfully we have failed to spread the message of love to the youth.
Also, I tried to figure out what exactly has changed since my school days, and I couldn’t think about anything but the mentality which is tarnished by dirty politics. I hope someday people will keep Lord Ram in their hearts more than they keep him on their display pictures.
Laaiba is a student pursuing Masters in English from Jamia Millia Islamia.
Edited by: Diptarka Chatterjee