- Religion and Philosophy
The Ramayana-The Story Behind The Greatest Epic of Ancient India
There are several epics in the world. The Mahabharata is the greatest one. Like Mahabharata, the ancient India also presented another greatest epic titled 'Ramayana'. It was written by Sage Valmiki.
Ramayana is the story of Lord Rama. The whole story reveals around Rama, the king of Ayodhya, now a district in the state of Uttar Pradesh in India. Lord Rama's war against the demon King Ravana and his success is the essence of this epic. It is about the victory of good over evil. Ramayana stories are so interesting and captivating. Hindus across the glob find pleasure in reading this great book. People of other faiths too enjoy the story for it gives them such a nice read. Ramayana is enjoyable, entertaining and at the same a divine experience too. I request you to watch the video of Ramayana given below. Please listen the audio as it narrates the story in a simple way in good English. I am sure you will love the video.
Who wrote Ramayana
The original manuscript of Ramayana was written in Sanskrit, the language of Hindu gods. It is written by Sage Valmiki. Later on, Saint Thulasidas wrote it in Hindi in the form of poetry. There is also a Tamil version of Ramayana known as Kamba Ramayana authored by Kambar. Its translation is available in all Indian languages. Now, Ramayana is also available in English and most of the world languages. Its popularity is well reflected in the flood of translation.
Ramayana, the greatest epic teaches us truthfulness, obedience, honesty, devotion, love, sacrifice and sincere commitment. Rama is the best example of all these high values and is considered as the best role modal of a good king. He is the best disciplinarian or ideal person. 'Rama Rajya' is a concept denoting honesty, decency and prosperity. His love towards his brothers, wife, and subjects were so famous and greatly appreciated. He was an ideal king and the best king ancient India has ever seen.
Ramayana stories beautifully narrated through this Video
The Ramayana stories are so versatile, complex, large and yet interesting. Here my attempt is not to reveal the stories but share with you the story behind the birth of this greatest epic.
Valmiki, The Robber
Once there lived a robber in a forest. He was so cruel and often robbed the travellers passed through the forest. He even killed some.
One day, when Narada Muni was walking through the forest, he heard a voice of threatening nature, "Stop! Give me whatever you are carrying or else I will kill you". He found the robber. He asked the robber, "Dear friend, why are you behaving so cruelly? Why you rob people? Don't you know that all your sins are clearing your way to the hell?".
The robber laughed on hearing the Saint's words. He said, " I am doing all these to feed my family. It is my duty and there is nothing wrong in it".
Narada Muni was a wise sage. He asked him. "Are you sure that your family likes this act? Do you think they will support you in the sin you commit? Are they the willing partners in this sin?"
"Yes, I think, they will", replied the robber. But I have never asked them about this. To this, Narada replied, "go home and ask the questions to your family and come back to me".
The robber was not a food to leave Narada free. He took out a rope and tied him to a tree. Then he went to his home and asked the questions to his parents, "Are you my partners in all the sins I commit?".
They replied, "No, you are committing sins to feed us. We never demanded this". The same question was asked to his wife and children. They also gave the same reply.
The robber was sad that any of his family members supported his cruel acts. Their negative replies made him open his eye. He thought, why must I commit sin for those who never support me.
He thought of the value of Narada Muni's wise words. He soon went back to the forest, untied the sage Narada. He respectfully said, "Master, please guide me. I have decided to quit this sinful lifestyle anymore. Tell me, what should I do now?".
Narada Muni was so delighted on the sudden change of the cruel robber. He replied, "Friend, please follow my words carefully. Say, Rama! Rama! It will help you. Always chant this".
"Rama! Rama!" the robber repeated. After saying goodbye to Narad Muni, he sat under a tree and started chanting the mantras on Lord Rama's name. He totally immersed in the chanting. He forgot all about robbing. He had no desire for food and water. Sleep also was avoided. Months and years passed. His prayers intensified. He sat so still that ants built anthills over his body. Thus, he came to be called 'Valmiki', meaning 'the sage of the anthills'.
His devotion, concentration and dedication were so strong and that made him an enlightened man. He got new energy and wisdom. Many years later, with the energy, freshness and wisdom he earned through the toughest meditation, he composed Ramayana, India's greatest epic, which narrates the story of Lord Rama.
Henceforth, the cruel robber came to be known as 'Sage Valmiki'. The man who killed birds, animals and even men thus created a great work, which even helps many even now. Reading Ramayana is considered to be a holy practice among the Hindus. They believe this will help them gain God's abundant bless.
© 2013 Sunil Kumar Kunnoth