Ramayana is an epic narrated by Maharishi Valmiki. It follows the adventures of Lord Ram and his family in his conquest to defeat the Asura King Raavana to get his wife back and the creation of his ideal society. Ramayana depicts idealism. Every character, every incident is ideal. It has tried to show how a society should be; where a common man can accuse the queen without any fear of punishment. It is a great creation, written in Sanskrit shlokas and later translated into other languages. It is a well defined quality piece of literature, which also shows the expertise of the writers of that period.
However, the current populace of India has slowly started to forget the fact that it is an important part of our culture. There was a time when Ramayana was a holy story every child remembered from start to finish. After the introduction of television, it became one of the most viewed serials of that time. The rural part of India provided most of its audiences which used to gather around a single TV present in a village to enjoy the show. Hundreds of people used to watch it on the same TV set.
As the electronic media slowly advanced, the number of available TV shows also increased. Yet the Ramayana continued to attract its fair share of attention. When you grow up listening stories about Lord Ram and Lord Hanuman from your grandma, you have no choice but to see the story unravel before your eyes yourself; if you have a chance. It was a period when the actors acting as Ram and Sita were known by their aliases only. Hardly anyone knew their original names. The popularity of Ramayana continued even after its completion to provide audiences to another one of the Indian epics, the Mahabharata. The popularity of the show was so great that it is remembered even now, and different shows are being made with the original in reference.
It has its negative effects also. Before the TV show, the Ramayana was considered a holy thing in every Hindu home. Kids were taught to recite the story very strictly. But the TV show created a different era. The kids who used to worship the Ramayana, now considered it just as a thing for entertainment. It started becoming a thing for bedtime stories more and more. It was the same time when the international media started to air its show to every Indian TV. The entertainment provided by the shows was much contriving than the customary stories. The result – Ramayana started to fade into the background. Slowly, the only thing kids remembered was Raavana having ten heads and a bridge being built to connect India and Sri Lanka.
Currently, the Ramayana is considered as an age old tale by most of the Indian kids. The government has included the Ramayana and Mahabharata as literature in schools to try to reinstate its stature. The educated know that it is much more than a simple tale and they also know its importance, but in their busy lives, they feel better to let the kids watch TV than to narrate the epic and ‘waste’ their ‘precious’ time. The situation is worst in the metropolitans, where the children are brought up with a tremendous effect of cartoons, fiction shows, movies and internet. Ramayana doesn’t ‘fit’ in their definition of being ‘cool’. The youth in large cities is almost ignorant of the epics. Once I asked a boy from Gorakhpur (A large town in UP) if he knew about Mandvi (Bharat’s wife) or Ram’s mothers (Kausalya, Sumitra and Kaikeyi). He first thought for a moment and then waved it off. His reply was “Who gives a f**k.”
The modern Indian youth is simply so much arrogant and ignorant of the ancient India that they fail to notice its importance in the Indian culture; which is admired by the rest of the world. They say it isn’t ‘cool’ or is ‘outdated’. The ones who know the story consider it as folklore or a fable. They like special effects and 3D technology, which a book can’t provide. Also, reading a book makes you ‘un-cool’. The Indian epic heritage is getting deteriorated.
They say it’s outdated, it is boring, and it hasn’t got the ‘oomph’. Let us find out how ‘outdated’ the Ramayana is, and how ‘pathetic’ it appears compared to the modern days’ fantasy and sci-fi stories.
1) The technology and brilliance to overcome hunger and thirst
- When Maharishi Vishwamitra takes Ram and Lakshman to the swayamvar in Mithila, he performs a ceremony that allows both Ram and Lakshman to overcome hunger and thirst for the rest of their lives and the ability to survive on only a little amount of food and water.
- I ask the youngsters, how is such a thing ‘outdated’? The current medical science is struggling to cure acidity, and you claim that surpassing hunger and thirst is outdated? I don’t think I have to point out how big fools you are.
- If we had such technology ourselves, imagine what could have we done to cure famine and draughts. The problem of potable water would have been a minor one and we would be able to save a huge lot of resources.
2) Swayamvar – the simple answer to the squabble between arranged and love marriages
- Swayamvar was an incredible way to let people marry without any forced arranged marriages or runaway love marriages. The bride was attended by the grooms who wanted to marry her, and she chose one of them or rejected them all if she decided to.
- Love marriages in India are still not common or much respected; since they are still a thing of the ‘western culture’ and an alien thing for the people. Couples have to run away from their homes and have to sever all contacts with their loved ones to start a new life with their person of choice. A lot of such marriages tend to break apart quite early, and are very unstable. Only a fraction of the love marriages live ‘happily ever after’ and those who approach their parents to make the marriage into an arranged-love marriage.
- Indian families are based on stability, and arranged marriages are a very concrete method to stable a new relationship. Whether a couple likes each other or not, they are forced to make the marriage work due to the weight of responsibilities. Most of such marriages last till death, but the happiness of the couple is in question.
- The ancient Indian ways had a very good solution created. If only the boys who wanted to marry the girls approached her, and she chose those whom she wanted to marry, it would surface as a very strong arranged-love marriage. The couple would like each other, and if their feelings lessen after a period of time, the responsibility of the arranged marriage would keep them together.
- So tell me again youngsters – Is an unsecure, unstable love marriage better than this? Or the rigid structure of the arranged marriage suits you better? If it does, then I seriously doubt your judgmental skills. 😉
3) The weight of words
- King Dashrath had promised two boons to queen Kaikeyi when she saved his life. When she demanded the exile of his most favorite son, king Dashrath died of the grief to let Ram go, but he kept his word and Ram was exiled for 14 years.
- Let alone common populace. If only the politicians in India stop lying and follow the words they promise, I don’t need to tell you how quickly India will progress.
- Tell me youngsters; is there a simpler solution to the current times’ corruption? If there is, kindly let me know.
3) The ability to transform and create force fields
- Sita was entranced by the sight of a golden stag, and in the desire to have it, she sent Ram away to capture it. The stag was an Asura able to change forms, and when he died by Ram’s hands, he called out in Ram’s voice for help. Sita and Lakshman heard the voice and Lakshman was sent by Sita to help her husband. Lakshman drew a line with his arrow around Sita telling her to keep inside of it and went to help Ram.
- That fabled ‘Lakshman Rekha’ kept Raavana out when he came to abduct Sita in the form of a beggar. It was probably some kind of force field which could only have been breached from inside. Raavana wasn’t able to kidnap her until she came outside the line to give him food.
- Tell me youngsters; is there any kind of technology in modern world which can transform a person into another? The ability to create a force field by using an arrowhead? And still if you say Ramayana is ‘outdated’ or ‘un-cool’, then please see a psychiatrist and get your intellect checked.
4) The aircraft with mind control – the Pushpak Vimana
- Wright brothers invented airplane. It took them a huge lot of effort and failures to create the working model. Back in the period of Ramayana, Raavana possessed the Pushpak Vimana. An aircraft which could be controlled by thoughts.
- Modern day scientists are still busy in creating RC drones and motion sensor machines. Mind control is a very distant milestone for them.
- Youngsters? Tell me if you find mind controlled machines ‘outdated’ or ‘un-cool’.
5) Civil engineering
- Have you heard about the Ram Setu? It is the bridge made by Ram’s army to cross the sea from India to Sri Lanka. The engineers who made it were Nal and Neel. The bridge was made with floating stones, and if you don’t believe it, come to Rameshwaram or any temple near the Indian ocean and you will find such a stone floating in a tank of water. You can touch it, study it, do whatever you want; just don’t steal it.
- If our engineers were able to invent such stones, wouldn’t it be awesome to cross water bodies without the need of millions to build a bridge?
- And if the ‘cool dudes’ still find it ‘outdated’ and ‘un-cool’, then their brains might be frozen with their ‘coolness’.
6) Weapons of mass destruction
- We like destroying things, don’t we? And larger the explosion, larger the amount of our ‘coolness’.
- The epics also had such weapons. The Agneyastra, Asurastra, Sarpastra, Varunastra, Parashurastra and the ultimate one – the Brahmastra; and many others. These weapons had a wide range of use. The Agneyastra was a weapon of fire (Agni – Fire), The Varunastra was a weapon of water (Varun – the Hindu water God), The Asurastra was a bio-weapon and the Brahmastra was the ultimate one, with the ability to destroy anything. The sole survivor of a Brahmastra attack is Lord Hanuman, who had a boon from Lord Brahma (Brahmastra is named after him)
- All these weapons were compact enough to be fired by a bow unlike our massive missiles, and their portability was also a lot easier. The small size helped in keeping the destruction to the intended area only, and probably to stop radiation from spreading out. (It is speculated that the Brahmastra was a nuclear warhead).
- If we were able to keep the destruction small, the common population wouldn’t have to suffer the effects of war.
- So I ask you once again, how are nuclear missiles fired from a bow ‘un-cool’?
7) Teleportation, size variation, holographs and mega jumps
- There are several occasions mentioned in the Ramayana, when a great sage or a Brahmarishi could travel from one place to other within a blink of an eye. The legendary Narada Muni always used to teleport from the God’s plane to ours.
- Lord Hanuman jumped from India to Sri Lanka within two leaps. In midway, He just touched the mount Mandaar to boost himself up and the mountain sank into the ocean. He is also said to have shrank in size to come in and get out of the mouth of a monster.
- Raavana had 10 heads and no matter how many you cut, new ones always sprouted; so it is said. It might have been that the rest nine were holographs, or he had some engineered ability of instant regeneration.
- These things are a dream for today’s scientists. The technology of the epic period was far much advanced than ours. So let me ask you once again. Cool Dudes? Do you still think Ramayana is ‘outdated’ or ‘un-cool’? If you really think so, then I am disappointed to say that your brain has transformed into dry ice, and your wits are useless.
Whether you see the Ramayana as fact or fiction; you cannot deny that the ideas of the ancient India were much better than those we have now. I cannot prove all I have said to you except to show you the royal Ayodhyan palace (Ram Janm Bhoomi) and you can certainly google the Ram Setu and see its satellite images. It might have been that the water in the ocean was much lower that time than it is now or that some calamity caused the Setu to sink.
The heritage of ancient India is slowly fading away into folklore. The rest of the world has recognized great ancient creations like the Vedas and has adopted some of Indian culture like the Yoga. But despite of the people who forget the importance of India, despite of the number of people trying to suppress it, despite of the people ignorant of their heritage, one thing is certain. Nothing can compete with the ancient Indian ideology.