Indian epic written about 2,000 years ago chronicles the eternal struggle between Good and Evil and makes the exaltation of the ideal marriage.
After years of being deprived of jungle life, Sita is charmed by a beautiful golden gazelle and asks her husband, the warrior Rama, to bring her as a gift. What they do not know is that the animal is a bait: while Rama tries to capture him, the king of demons, Ravana, intends to abduct Sita and make her his wife.
As in the Greek epic Iliad or the Star Wars saga by American filmmaker George Lukas, the abduction of a beautiful princess creates a bloody war between good and evil kingdoms.
Ramayana is one of the main epics of Hinduism, alongside the Mahabharata. With about 24,000 Sanskrit verses, it is believed to have been written between 200 BC and 200 AD by the Indian poet Valmiki, himself a legend, compiling an oral tradition dating back to the 8th century BC Rama would be the seventh incarnation of Vishnu, the deity whose mission is to rid the world of evil and set an example of virtue to all beings.
About 2,000 years later, the Rama myth is still a guide to conduct in India and countries like Nepal and Indonesia, inspiring books and movies. In addition, it finds many parallels in Western culture. “Myths are expressions of human affairs, so they last so long. Humanity has always had to deal with the unknown, fear, death, “says psychotherapist Maria Helena R. Mandacaru Guerra, professor at the Sedes Sapientiae Institute.
Marriage and exile
Rama, the first of King Dasaratha’s four sons, demonstrated his great strength by raising the divine bow presented by the king of Mithila, Djanaka. Unlike the legend of King Arthur, who became king of Brittany by raising the Excalibur sword, Rama’s prize was the hand of Princess Sita, the most beautiful and right among women.
Already married, Rama is chosen to succeed his old father in the kingdom of Ayodhya. However, his stepmother, Kaikeyi, convinces Dasaratha to crown his son, Bharata. Purged of his right to heir, the firstborn accepts fate and exiles himself in the jungle of Dandaka.
Despite the dangers of the forest, the good wife Sita insists on accompanying her husband. Rama then gets rid of all his wealth and goes into exile with his wife and her most loyal brother, Lakshmana, an intelligent warrior who has the gift of rhetoric. For 13 years, Rama, Sita and Lakshmana lead a simple life in the woods. One day Surpanakha, a pot-bellied, pointed-toothed rakshasa, becomes a woman as beautiful as Sita to seduce Rama. But he is faithful to his wife, whom he has promised never to marry anyone else – contrary to the customs of the day – and is not fooled by Surpanakha’s appearance.
When refused, Surpanakha returns to his hideous original form and has Lakshmana’s ears and nose cut off. Defaced and with wounded pride, she calls her brother Khara. Alone, Rama kills not only Khara, but his entire army of 14,000 demons.
Even more angry, Surpanakha seeks out his other brother, Ravana, the multi-headed king of the city of Lanka – where Sri Lanka is today – and convinces him that Sita would be an ideal wife. Ravana then devises a plan to deceive Rama: a demon named Maricha turns into a golden-haired gazelle.
Delighted, Sita asks Rama to capture the animal and, while the warrior hunts, Ravana takes the beautiful princess. In searching for Sita, Rama and Lakshmana rely on the help of faithful friends. One of them is Danu, transformed by the god Indra into a fearsome headless monster with a mouth in the womb and giant arms. Danu indicates to Rama the kingdom of the apes, who from the summit of the Himalayas saw the demon carrying Sita.
The king of apes, Sugriva, has an army of 10 million warriors, who roam the four corners in search of the hostage. It is the brave Hanuman, son of the wind, who comes to her. The Hanuman monkey grows until it becomes so giant that with a jump it reaches the other shore of the ocean. Then, to pass through the city walls, the hero becomes tiny, and it is in this form that he finds Sita, sad and distressed.
While Rama, Lakshmana, and the apes undertook the search, the beautiful princess went through the greatest trials. Ravana and his women tried to persuade her to surrender to him, so that he could enjoy all the wealth of his kingdom. True to her husband, Sita resisted Ravana’s seduction, which threatened to kill her.
Before returning to Rama’s meeting, Hanuman is still captured by the rakshasas, who do not take that little monkey seriously and instead set his tail on fire. Hanuman then grows again and sets fire to the whole city.
For Rama to cross the ocean, the army of monkeys builds, in just five days, a large bridge, using logs and leaves. When they arrived in Lanka, which had been destroyed by Hanuman, a long and bloody battle began against the rakshasas. In the final duel, Rama shoots an arrow at Ravana’s chest, thereby fulfilling the mission for which Vishnu had incarnated.
After facing the worst enemies, Rama refuses to receive his wife, suspecting that she might have become unclean during captivity. Offended, Sita prefers to die she enters a bonfire under the witness of monkeys, men and gods. As proof of her faithfulness, Agni, the god of fire, takes her out of the flames and puts her in her husband’s arms. With Sita and Lakshmana, Rama returns to Ayodhya where he is crowned king and rules all men.
Ramayana and Jung
For analytical psychology, based on Carl Jung’s theories, The Ramayana is a range of symbols to unravel. The epic brings representations of the Jungian archetypes, patterns followed by the collective and individual unconscious.
By knowing the world of lust and violence, Sita symbolizes the human soul that encounters suffering in the process of personality development. Despite living with Evil, it survives the fireproof and thus demonstrates the purity and strength of feeling that can cross even hell,” says psychotherapist Maria Helena.
Cite this essay
Indian Epic. (2019, Nov 23). Retrieved from https://studymoose.com/indian-epic-essay