If the Ramayana was just a king’s story, people would have not nurtured this century after century and fought for the temple in Rama’s birthplace. It is the story that connects every commoner across the country. The qualities which have made the story of Rama integral to people’s lives across large parts of Asia, albeit with variations.
It is perhaps the values that the major characters of Ramayana stand for that resonate with people, and makes the appeal of these characters an ageless phenomenon. Let’s take a look at the characters of Ramayana.
Lord Rama – The Elements Made Him God
The godliness of Rama comes from the fact that whatever the adversity that life threw at him, he handled it with calmness and bravery. A person born in a royal family was forced to spend years in uncomfortable and dangerous wilderness. Yet, he did not blame destiny or showed any bitterness towards the people who were responsible for his plight.
This calmness of Rama is not to be misunderstood as helplessness or a pacifist attitude. He was equally forceful in punishing unrepentant adversaries. Taking on Ravana who had the backing of a well-established empire of his own should have been a difficult thought for someone who is left on his own in the jungle. But Rama organised an army of his own amidst all the adversity.
At a time when momentary attractions and shallow relationships lead to mental problems, the commitment between Rama and Sita is worthy of reflection. As a king Rama could have married another woman. He chose to fight for his love and went all the way to Lanka to teach Ravana a lesson.
His entrepreneurial quality is evident in organising an army of Vanaras who can give their lives for the cause. His belief and feelings for the downtrodden is also an ageless lesson in governance.
The Fearless Sita
In the victory of righteousness in Ramayana, Sita’s role is equal to that of Rama. Even in the dire face of danger, in the detention of Ravana, she never broke down. She never budged. Her resolve that Ravana can be defeated and Rama will surely come for her was very firm. She can wait for any length of time to annihilate Ravana who stood for evil.
A woman who never thought twice in accompanying her husband in the hardship of forest life, a strong woman who fought back Ravana in the Ashoka vatika, she will always remain as symbol of fearlessness, independent, and strong-willed.
Lakshmana – the Sense of Duty
Lakshmana’s character signifies a strong sense of duty towards the cause. Here is a man who followed Rama and Sita, and remains forever obedient to the wishes of the elders. His unshakable faith and love on Sita and Rama could be the powerful family value for our generation or any generation to come for that matter.
For Lakshmana, sense of duty is always paramount. Always being vigilant and on guard to tackle evil, one should be ready to take the fight to the enemy camp when needed.
In a world where the brothers kill each other to grab property or some position, the enduring story of Bharata who refused the throne since he believed to be the right of his brother Rama will always remain a deep touching point for our souls. He stands for righteousness, selfless service, and provides a model of governance with consensus-building.
Who would not want to have Hanuman on their side in any crucial fight? That is why he is the “sankatmochan” in the eyes of people.
Loyalty and self-less service to a larger cause are the qualities that Hanuman embodies. He is so powerful yet humble and rooted, a quality that does not come easily.
Besides these, there are umpteen number of characters that offer one or the other life lesson. From Janaka, one can learn how to bring up the daughters with good education and brave, wise qualities. The character of Sugriva tells you how to take care of friends and to fight till the end. How to be a true team player and a skill full leader, the characters of Nala-Nila may tell you, while Jatayu inspires to make supreme sacrifice in the fight for righteousness, and Vibhishana teaches us how to keep the larger interests at the centre stage.