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What makes Mahabharata appealing is that it's a great timeless wisdom hidden in a compelling narrative.

Is there a similar theological dimension to Ramayana?

What are some of the verses from Ramayana that one can refer to enrich life in general?

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    @UdayKrishna - At times i listen to Sundar Kand on youtube. This is a real simple explanation of verses. Thank you. – WeShall Aug 31 '16 at 19:47
  • @UdayKrishna: You seem to know Mahabharata in depth. It is always delight to read your answers. Thank you much. – WeShall Sep 4 '16 at 3:32
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Qns-1- Is there a similar theological dimension to Ramayana?

Yes, there is indeed a theological dimension to Ramayana.And there is also a similar timeless wisdom,like in the Mahabharata epic, in the timeless epic Ramayana.

As said by Swami Vivekananda,the soul of every human being {the Jivatman}desires to be in affinity with the Paramatman{and attain Moksha}. But, the three Gunas viz Satva,Rajas and Tamas, which are present in the human body, always tries to prevent the human being from reaching the Paramatman.

Swami Vivekananda has explained these views, taking the example of Sita’s story from the Ramayana and how Sita reunites with Sri Rama, after the forced stay in Lanka.

In the said example, Sita’s journey, represents the journey of each human being’s soul.

Example given by Swami Vivekananda

For Swami Vivekananda, Sita’s story is symbolic of the soul’s journey towards Moksha.

According to Swami Vivekananda, Rama represents the Paramatman and Sita the Jivatman,in each human being, and each body is the Lanka.

The Jivatman which is enclosed in the body, or captured in the island of Lanka, always desires to be in affinity with the Paramatman.

But the Demons would not allow.

Elaborating this Swami Vivekananda says that Vibhishana represents Satvaguna, Ravana represents Rajas and Kumbhakarna represents Tamas.

These gunas will keep the Jivatman back, from joining the Paramatman.

Sita sees Hanuman the Guru or divine teacher who shows her, her divine ring – that is Brahmajnana, the supreme wisdom, that destroys all illusions. Sita finds her way to Sri Rama.

The Adhyatama Ramayana may be referred to, for enhancing the spiritual dimensions of thought. It contains the precepts related to devotion, knowledge, dispassion, adoration and good conduct etc. A copy of the Adhyatma Ramayana is available at the link attached.

Qns-2-What are some of the verses from Ramayana that one can refer to enrich life in general ?

Reading the Ramayana{verses} and applying its teachings, in the journey of life, will indeed help in enriching life in general.

The Ramayana epic, is the story of Sri Rama{avatar of God Vishnu} and his consort, Sita{avatar of Goddess Lakshmi} and the greatness of their Godly personalities.

The Ramayana is also the story of devotion and love of Sri Rama’s brother Lakshmana{Adishesha avatar of God Vishnu}.

The Ramayana epic is also the story of Ravana’s downfall. And amply highlights how arrogance and not adhering to the path of Dharma, becomes the cause of downfall of a being, despite having high scholarly achievements and other prowess.

The story highlights how Ravana was once a staunch devotee of God Shiva and how this devotion subsequently got eroded over a period of time and how that resulted in the loss of all blessings, which he had gained by worshipping God Shiva.

The Ramayana epic, is also the story of bravery of the Vanaras, who were basically, the divine creations of God Brahma, for aiding Sri Rama in annihilating Ravana.

In this context, it is pertinent to mention that, the gods became progenitors of Vanara heroes at the dictate of Brahma to come to the aid of Rama in annihilating Ravana. The monkey-like Vanara race was procreated by numerous celestials endowing it with peculiar mighty physique and particular power to come to the help of Rama.

When Vishnu attained the sonship of the great-souled king Dasharatha, then Brahma the self-created addressed all of the gods this way.Ramayana [1-17-1]

Let mighty and guise changing helpmates be procreated to that truth abiding and valorous Vishnu who is the well-wisher of all of us.Ramayana [1-17-2]

The earth is thus suffused with those mighty army generals of Vanara race whose physiques resembled the clusters of clouds and peaks of mountains, and who have emerged for the reason of helping Rama. Ramayana[1-17-37]

The Ramayana epic is also the story of many other important characters, who were associated with Sri Rama’s journey of life.

From the foregoing, one can appreciate that, every human being can benefit immensely, by reading the Ramayana epic{all its verses}, as it pictures the whole gamut of human life.

The Ramayana epic, throws light on the duties and responsibilities of humans, in various roles as father, mother, husband, wife, brother, sister, son, daughter,etc.

In addition, it also throws light on the duties of individuals as master, subordinate, teacher, pupil and so on.

There are many verses in the Ramayana with enriching teachings. These teachings can be applied practically, in day–to-day lives.

Few of the verses that one can refer to, which will enrich life in general, are as follows.

VERSES

1.दुर्लभम् हि सदा सुखम् ||{from २-१८-१३} Durlabham hi sadaa sukham

To be happy always is something which is difficult to achieve.That is to say, happiness and sorrow alternate in one’s life and there cannot be uninterrupted happiness alone.

2.सत्यम् एव ईश्वरो लोके सत्यम् पद्मा समाश्रिता | सत्य मूलानि सर्वाणि सत्यान् न अस्ति परम् पदम् || २-१०९-१३

Satyameveshwaro loke satyam padma samashrita. Satya moolani sarvaani satyaan na asti paramapadam.

Truth is God and all virtues follow truth. All are rooted in truth there is nothing higher than truth."

3.कुलीनम् अकुलीनम् वा वीरम् पुरुष मानिनम् | चारित्रम् एव व्याख्याति शुचिम् वा यदि वा अशुचिम् || २-१०९-४

Kuleenam akuleenam vaa veeram purushamaaninam Charitrameva vyaakhyaati shuchim vaa yadi vaashuchim

One's conduct explains whether one belongs to a good family or a bad family, valiant or arrogant and chaste or unchaste.

4.न सुप्रतिकरम् तत् तु मात्रा पित्रा च यत् कृतम् ||{from २-१११-९}

Na supratikaram tat tu maatraa pitraa cha yatkrutam

It is difficult for the children to repay the debt of what the mother and the father have done to bring them up.

5.उत्साहो बलवान् आर्य नास्ति उत्साहात् परम् बलम् | सः उत्साहस्य हि लोकेषु न किंचित् अपि दुर्लभम् || ४-१-१२१

Utsaaho balavaan aarya naasti utsaahaat param balam Sotsaahasya hi lokeshu na kinchid api durlabham.

Vehemence is might, oh, noble one, there is no superior might than vehemence and to him with vehemence there is no impossibility in the world, even the slightest.

6.अनिर्वेदम् च दाक्ष्यम् च मनसः च अपराजयम् | कार्य सिद्धि कराणि आहुः तस्मात् एतत् ब्रवीमि अहम् || ४-४९-६

Anirvedam cha daakshyam cha manasashchaaparaajayam Karyasiddhikaraanyaahuh tasmaat ethat bravimi aham.

Insistency, ingenuity and indomitability of heart are said to be the causes for achieving results, therefore I am speaking all this.

7.न विषादे मनः कार्यम् विषादो दोषवत्तरः | विषादो हन्ति पुरुषम् बालम् क्रुद्ध इव उरगः || ४-६४-९

Na vishaade manah kaaryam vishaado doshavattarah Vishaado hanti purusham baalam kruddhah ivoragah

Loosing heart to dismay is an unworkability, because dismaying itself is detrimental, and dismay alone ruins a person, as a vicious viper unworkably ruins an innocent child.

8.कल्याणी बत गथा इयम् लौकिकी प्रतिभाति मे | एहि जीवन्तम् आनदो नरम् वर्ष शतात् अपि || ५-३४-६

Kalyaanee bata gaathheyam laukikee prathibhaati me Ethi jeevantam aanando naram varsha shataadapi

Joy rushes to surviving man even though (it be) at the end of a hundred years- this popular adage appears true and auspicious for me.

9.कौसल्या सुप्रजा राम पूर्वा संध्या प्रवर्तते |

उत्तिष्ठ नर शार्दूल कर्तव्यम् दैवमाह्निकम् || १-२३-२

Fortunate is Kausalya to beget you as her son Rama... get up oh, tigerly-man, eastern aurora is emerging, daytime tasks towards gods are to be performed. [1-23-2]

The foregoing sloka, at Sl 9, is also the 1 st sloka of Sri Venkateshwara Suprabhatam, which is a prayer.

10.यद् अत्रभवतः किंचित् शक्यम् कर्तुम् प्रियम् मया |

प्राणान् अपि परित्यज्य सर्वथा क्ऱ्तम् एव तत् || २-१९-२१

If I have to do whatever action is dearer to my revered father, that action is just done in all respects even by renouncing life.

11.सा वीत शोका व्यपनीत तन्द्री | शान्त ज्वरा हर्ष विबुद्ध सत्त्वा |

अशोभत आर्या वदनेन शुक्ले | शीत अन्शुना रात्रिः इव उदितेन || ५-२९-८

Free from sorrow, her weariness removed, her mental affliction alleviated and her consciousness awakened with exaltation, that esteemed lady (Goddess Seetha) looked splendid with her countenance, as a night with the moon appears during the bright fortnight.

12.अशास्त्रविदुषाम् तेषाम् कार्यम् नाभिहितं वचः |

अर्थशास्त्रानभिज्ञानाम् विपुलाम् श्रियमिच्छताम् || ६-६३-१५

The words spoken by those who did not know the scriptures, who do not recollect the books dealing with practical life and who covet for abundant wealth are not to be implemented.

13.तस्य भूयो विशेषेण मैथिली जनक आत्मजा |

देवताभिः समा रूपे सीता श्रीः इव रूपिणी || १-७७-२८

In her mien Seetha is identical with goddesses, and she is like personified Goddess Lakshmi, thus she is the reshaped Divine Prosperity, and as she hails from Holy Mithila she shall be held Holy, and since she is the daughter of Janaka, a loftiest sagacious and invincible king, she is sagely and stately, besides being shapely, and she with all these heaps of natural traits and characteristics, Seetha is rejoicing the heart of Rama. [1-77-28b, c]

14.वाच्यावाच्यम् प्रकुपितो न विजानाति कर्हिचित् |

नाकार्यमस्ति क्रुद्धस्य नावाच्यम् विद्यते क्वचित् || ५-५५-५

An agitated person ever does not know which appropriate words are and which are forbidden words to be uttered. For enraged persons, there is neither an improper act nor ever an improper word to be spoken.

The study of the Ramayana is also the study of “Eternal Truths in Action”, as performed by Sri Rama, in the Ramayana.

Reference links:-

(1) http://shodhganga.inflibnet.ac.in/bitstream/10603/95117/9/09_chapter3.pdf

(2) http://www.valmikiramayan.net/utf8/vr_index.htm

(3) https://archive.org/details/TheAdhyatmaRamayana

(4) http://www.valmikiramayan.net/utf8/baala/sarga17/bala_17_frame.htm

  • @@Uday Krishna -Swami Vivekananda's view is not new.. If you look at the commentary of SriVaishnava Acharya Perivachan Pillai swami ( 12-13 century), he has clearly given similar explanations that Sri Raama represents Paramatma and Seetha symbolises Jeevathma. Hanuman is the acharya who makes the union between Atma and Paramatma. Maybe swami Vivekananda too got this Info from Swami Periavachan Pillai' commentary, because Vivekananda had stayed in Madras for long and had many Sri Vaishvaishnava followers like Alasinga Perumal and others who might have informed him of this view. – user808 Sep 1 '16 at 16:38
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    Thanks a ton for this great compilation of verses. Really appreciate it. As mentioned earlier I am reading 'Ramayana' too but at much slower pace. So far I have enjoyed it and have come to appreciate these hidden gems of timeless wisdom in a very lucid narrative. Thanks again for all your effort. – WeShall Oct 13 '16 at 17:00
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    There is also this intrepretation: When Jeevatma/Intellect (Sita) sees and attracted to Maya/Illusion (Deer) forgetting Paramatma (Rama), then Ego (Ravana) kidnaps the Jeevatma/Intellect (Sita).... – Tejaswee Oct 21 '16 at 12:09
  • Nice answer with nice shlokas , there is lot to be learn from the answer. – SwiftPushkar Oct 26 '16 at 13:09
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Taking the liberty to answer without citation - as this is about essence/core message.

(Almost) Every Hindu text is written in such a way that it can be applied to various situations.

If the essence of Ramayana can be told in a paragraph - I am sure, we wouldn't have so many versions of Ramayana.

All those great poets re-wrote Ramayana, as how they interpret/understood Ramayana.

Yes, each one understands it differently.

For e.g.

Ramayana is as much the story of Rama as much is it of Sita as much it is of Ravana.

Who is Raavana :

Raavana is not just emperor of Lanka, He is the greatest scholar with expertise in almost all the arts/sciences known to mankind - An extra extra ordinary Individual.

He is also the world's greatest warrior - who could go to pathala loka (again some people infer pathala loka as the kingdom underneath water/sea and some people infer it as other part of earth - which is America's today) and won the kingdom all by himself.

Who is Rama : A Common Man (though born a Prince, was leading the life of commoner in a forest).

That way,

Ramayana is a perfect portrayal of how a scholar - master of all sciences can loose everything for not controlling senses (being a pervert here) , that too against a common man (Ram) - when his wife (Sita) 's modesty was under attack.

if you look this part alone from a different view.

Who helped Rama :

Jatayu (Eagle),
Vanaras (Monkeys/Apes),
Samudra (Sea/Ocean),
Vibheeshana (Brother of Raavana),
....

You remember the story about the little squirrel :)

So,

When you are on the side of Truth & if you want something badly - every thing in Nature will help you achieve/success.

Even a common man can go fight against mightiest emperor and win.

I am sure, if you read it once - you will come up with thousand such messages.

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    That's a really good way to look at it. I think I should pick up a good version of Ramayan and re-read it. I am sure i will have a new way to interpret it this time. Thank you. – WeShall Sep 6 '16 at 16:58
  • @UdayKrishna Thanks for sharing. I am reading the Valmiki Ramayan translated here https://www.valmiki.iitk.ac.in – WeShall Sep 18 '16 at 2:06
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What are some verses from Rāmāyaṇa that one can refer to enrich life in general?

Here are some verses and short stories from Vālmīki Rāmāyaṇa.

  1. 'An eye for an eye only ends up making the whole world blind.' You can infer the same from the story of Kuśanābha and his 100 daughters. Kuśanābha praises his daughters for showing restraint and not cursing Vāyu back:

    क्षमा दानम् क्षमा सत्यम् क्षमा यज्ञः च पुत्रिकाः ||
    क्षमा यशः क्षमा धर्मः क्षमायाम् विष्ठितम् जगत् |

    Grace is altruism, grace is ritualism, oh, my daughters, grace is glory, grace is virtue, and this universe is verily abiding in graciousness alone for grace itself is the truth, isn't it!

  2. From the same story, on respecting parents and on arranged marriages:

    पिता हि प्रभुर् अस्माकम् दैवतम् परमम् च सः | यस्य नो दास्यति पिता स नो भर्ता भविष्यति || १-३२-२२

    'Our father is indeed our lord and for us he is the ultimate god too. To whomever we are offered by our father in marriage he alone becomes our husband.' So said the hundred girls to Air-god [Vāyu].

  3. But it's ok to correct ones' elders when they are wrong. Rāma corrects his mother Kauśalya when she wants to leave Ayodhyā and accompany him to the forest.

    भर्तुः किल परित्यागो नृशंसः केवलम् स्त्रियाः | स भवत्या न कर्तव्यो मनसा अपि विगर्हितः || २-२४-१२
    यावज् जीवति काकुत्स्थः पिता मे जगती पतिः | शुश्रूषा क्रियताम् तावत् स हि धर्मः सनातनः || २-२४-१३

    To a woman, abandonment of husband is entirely a cruel act. That bad act is not to be perceived even by mind. Till Dasaratha, my father and the great king is alive, you should serve him well. It is eternal justice.

  4. It's alright to lie sometimes to fulfill a bigger, dhārmic objective. Rāma tells Daśaratha's minister Sumantra to lie should the king question him later why he'd ignored his order to stop the chariot.

    Dasaratha exclaimed saying "Stop!" while Rama called out "Go on, proceed!" (in that way) Sumantra's mind became confused, as in between two (opposing) whirl pools.

    Rama said to him: "You can say to the king that you did not hear (his call), even when scolded (later). Seeing their grief for a long time is quite unbearable."

  5. Lakṣmaṇa suspecting Bharata and his army marching aggressively towards them to kill, says:

    O, Rama! I see no sin in slaying Bharata. None is charged with unlawfulness, if one strikes down an aggressor. Bharata is the assailant and his death is legitimate. He being dead, you will rule the entire earth.

    Then Rama responds with:

    धर्ममर्थं च कामं च पृथिवीं चापि लक्षण | इच्छामि भवतामर्थे एतत् प्रतिशृणोमि ते || २-९७-५
    भ्रातृइणां संग्रहार्थं च सुखार्थं चापि लक्ष्मण | राज्यमप्यहमिच्छामि सत्येनायुधमालभे || २-९७-६

    O, Lakshmana! It is for your sake I desire virtue, legitimately acquired wealth and pleasure or even the earth itself. I promise this to you. I desire the throne only for the protection and happiness of my brothers. I touch my weapon and swear this fact.

  6. When there's dissent among everyone whether to offer refuge to Vibhīṣaṇa or not, Rāma narrates a story of how a bird offers itself as food to a hungry fowler by jumping into fire.

    It is narrated how by a dove, its enemy (a fowler) when it came for a refuge, was received according to rules of hospitality and was invited for a feast with its own flesh. O, the excellent of monkeys! The aforesaid dove indeed accepted as a guest, the fowler as he came, although he killed its wife. How much more a man like me has to do? Hear the verses inculcating virtue so long ago, by Kandu, the son of a sage called Kanva, a great sage and a speaker of truth. O, Sugreeva, even an enemy, who formed a cup with his hollowed hands, a miserable person, a person who is begging and who is seeking a refuge should not be killed with the aim of not being cruel. An enemy who comes for protection against others, even if the aforesaid enemy is oppressed or arrogant, is to be protected by one who has a disciplined mind, even by abandoning one's life. If he does not protect rightly through his strength, by fear or by ignorance or by desire, it is a sin to be reproached by the world. If having not been protected, a refugee dies before the eyes of a man who is able to protect him, the former takes along all his moral merit and goes. In not protecting thus the persons who take refuge, there is a great blemish involved in it. It does not bestow heaven. It destroys reputation. It devastates strength and valor. I will follow the excellent words of Kandu. It becomes a very righteous thing, gives reputation, leads to heaven and the rewards appear consequently. He who seeks refuge in me just once, telling me that 'I am yours', I shall give him assurance of safety against all types of beings. This is my solemn pledge. O, Sugreeva, the chief of monkeys! Let him either be Vibhishana or even Ravana himself; I have given an assurance of safety to him. Bring him here.

  7. When Rāma finds Lakṣmaṇa lay unconscious in the battlefield, he says:

    देशे देशे कलत्राणि देशे देशे च बान्धवाः | तं तु देशं न पश्यामि यत्र भ्राता सहोदरः || ६-१०१-१५

    Wives may be obtained everywhere. Relatives can be had everywhere. However, I do not find a brother, born of the same womb, at such a place whatsoever.

  8. At the end of the war, when Hanumān visits Sītā to relay the news of Rāma's victory, she tells him to spare the lives of Rākṣasi's who'd troubled her earlier, by citing the story of a tiger chasing a hunter and how a bear offers him shelter.

    O Hanuma! There is an old maxim possessed of merit, actually uttered by a bear in the presence of a tiger. Hear it from me. 'A superior person does not take into account the sin of those who have committed an offence (against him). The vow of not returning evil for evil must be carried out at all costs; (for) the virtuous persons account good conduct as an ornament.'

    Formerly a tiger ran in pursuit of a hunter. The latter climbed up a tree. There was bear already preached on a bough of the tree. Making to the foot of the tree, the tiger addressed the following words to the bear: "Look here, both of us are denizens of the forest. The hunter is our common enemy. Therefore, knock him down from the tree." The bear, however, replied: "Having reached my abode, the hunter has in a way sought asylum with me. I am therefore not going to hurl him down; I would be deviating from my duty if I do so." Saying so, the bear laid himself down to sleep. The tiger now turned to the hunter and said, "Push the bear down. I shall afford protection to you." The hunter thereupon pushed the sleeping bear. The bear, however, clutched at another bough and thus escaped from falling down. The tiger now addressed the following appeal to the bear: "The hunter sought to hurl you down and has thus wronged you. Therefore push him down." Though pressed by the tiger again and again, the bear refused to hurl him down and repeated the above quoted verse in support of his attitude.

PS. This answer is a work in progress.

  • Hmm... interesting verses collection...! however I don't know why "क्षमा" is translated as "Grace" here.. It primarily means Forgiveness.. (although it can give secondary meaning of grace)..! – Tejaswee Nov 13 '16 at 1:41
  • I think here it means self-control, tolerance, graciousness etc. more than forgiveness. IIT-K website uses 'forbearance' (good-natured tolerance). – sv. Nov 13 '16 at 4:14
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I think , Core message of Ramayana or verses may appeal from person to person.

As per his situation or events faced by him in the life. It is having a vast scope.

For me message is :-

Person tries to escape from past karma and prays to god.

Being a lord , he never tried to escaped from it. He accepted that with courageous heart.

But lord shrirama himself faced 14 years of Vanvas and struggle in life.

So according to me ,man has to take up every struggle , every difficulty in life with the remembrance of Almighty.

  • Raama never struggled during vanavas,except may be after the abduction of seetha by Ravana. That was also his sport. In Aranya khanda or Ayodhya khanda, before Bharat arrives to take back Raama, Raama says that he is so happy in the forest and even goes to extent of saying that, if father dasaratha comes to know how happy we are he would also be happy or something like that. Just check the khanda in Ayodhya or Aranya before Bharata arrives. So, Raama's life was no struggle to him...For mundane people like us it will look like struggle. – user808 Sep 1 '16 at 16:50
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    Ofcourse that was struggle if we look into common man's perspectives. But he never took it as struggle. Core message is this only , he took it as a will of almighty and faced whatever conditions came across him. – C Sharper Sep 2 '16 at 4:15
  • You are missing the point. Did Raama say that he struggled? in Valmiki Ramayana....We all think Vanavasa was a struggle, intact in Raama's own words he says that Forest life is so wonderful. Please read Valmiki Ramayana. Yes, he does behaves like ordinary man when Seetha is abducted by Ravana. Lakshmana keeps on motivating Raama always. But, that doesn't mean he struggled like common man. In fact, no common man can even dream of going through those things and achieving what Rama achieved. – user808 Sep 2 '16 at 5:55
  • @Sagar: There is always something good that we can take from Hindu scriptures. However, that I would say is not the core message. The comparison I am drawing is with Srimad Bhagvatam in Mahabharata which personally to me is a very well researched and highest philosophy that answers bigger questions of human existence. – WeShall Sep 2 '16 at 16:13

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