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Author Topic: VALMIKI'S RAMAYANA —Vanian H. Pandit  (Read 3938 times)

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Offline JR

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« on: February 15, 2007, 08:32:33 AM »
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  • Unquestionably the immortal epic—the Ramayana of Valmiki is one of the precious gems of literature. It is a vision of faculty divine. From the dawn of time and for centuries past it has been throwing an undying light—a sacred halo—upon the domain of letters.

    The theme of the great poet's song is the unceasing contest between good and evil; it is a phenomenon—rather mysterious of human nature—going on everywhere in the world and bound to go on till the end of humanity; sometimes seemingly ending in the victory of the former and at other in that of the latter, vitally and spiritually results in the utter overthrow and confusion of evil and final conquest of good.

    Shri Rama, the hero of the poet's song, belongs to a long and illustrious ancestry of sovereigns. He is the brightest of the effulgent luminaries amongst the heroes of the world, the like of him this planet will never behold. He was born when iniquity and injustice were rampant and to deliver humanity from the chastising and repressing influences typifying in his own person the spirit of good and righteousness that is rarity in this world.

    Lakshmana, the younger brother of Rama shuns the splendour and pomp of the princely life, to follow his beloved eldest brother into the forest cheerfully braving there a world of trials and priva­tions and day and night keeping watch and ward over Rama and his spouse in the hermitage.

    And Bharata, stoutly and persistently declining, despite the exhortations of the elders and the spiritual guides, to govern the kingdom during Rama's absence in the forest, and holding the royal umbrella over his brother's sandals, are personifications of "ne plus ultra" of fraternal love and consummate and perfect ideals of their kind.

    The righteous Bibhishana, who for Rama's sake forsook his royal brother and set small store by the splendours of royalty; who suffered no earthly considerations to interfere with his entire and absolute devotion to his friend, embodies in his person the sterling virtues going under the previous name of friendship.

    The ever devoted Hanuman glorying in the appellation of Rama's servant,—ever prompt at the beck and call of his master to lay down his life—is the grandest and loftiest conception of the faithful servant that is to be found in all literature.

    Imaginatively set up is the beautiful scene when the kingdom of Ayodhya is astir and alive with the jubilations of the multitude at the prospect of Rama's coronation; penances by thousands are streaming like meteors in the air at the tops of stately edifices; and drums and panavas and other musical instruments are sounding forth the auspicious announcement. The royal household swims in a sea of bliss surging and heaving on all sides. Delight and joy move about and laugh and talk under the names of Dashrath and Kausalya.

    Anon a shattering roar of explosion of an atom bomb, a trip of hammer over one's head, under one's feet, through one's body, a roll of thunder shakes and its vibrations beat in the chest in ihe midst of merrymaking and converts delight into dole, the sounds of laughter and hilarity into loud wails and lamentations issuing from hearts knowing no consolation. All is lost! Rama is to be banished into the wood for fourteen years. He cheerfuhlly makes up his mind

    and repairs to the forest in consonance with his father's promise. Wonderfully dramatic is the scene that this writer has not come across in any song of the world of literature. It is marvellous! It is only one of its own kind!

    And what about the heroine? Sita—Oh she steps forth clad in flesh—she would follow the fortunes of her lord. She considers it as the height of undutifulness to remain behind, continuing to enjoy the pleasures of the palace, while her beloved Rama is leading a life of toils and privations in the far, far away forests. The daughter as well as daughter-in-law of kings, brought up in the lap of luxury and amidst the soft ministrations of those pleasures that pertain to a royal household. Sita, the idol of everyone’s love and regard, boldly and with alacrity faces all the toils and terrors of a forest life, in preference to remaining in Dasharatha's residence, bereft of the company of her most dear lord.

    Sita, the fairest and the best of womenfolk, the embodiment of all loveliness, both physically and mentally graceful, she, who rose from the sacrificial fire of inspiration—a goddess in all her manifold perfections and unsurpassed excellence, whose name carries the Himalayas of pathos. She, who has become the idol of Hindu women of purity, chastity and wifely fidelity. She, whose influence has crossed all the horizons of this universe over the hearts of her own sex—O! its a spiritual impact of incalculable value. She, who turned away from the budding prime of youth from the prim­rose path of dalliance and in preference followed virtue. She, who stirs and influences by the example of her matchless self-sacrifice to make up the minds of Hindu ladies to tread in her footsteps. She, whose footprints are garlanded at the threshold of life when enter­ing the nuptial bower. She, who is unrivalled pearl of Indian womanhood—an anchor-sheet and a hope of her sex. Aye! drawing the deepest prayers of our people and a warmth of welcome in the hearths and homes of this ancient peninsula.

    Most astonishing characters are these and others which have   j been portrayed by Valmiki to the full size; all of them have a   ; Promethean spark and occupy most unforgettable positions in the   ideal world of Ram Rajya—brought into being by a highly gifted intellectual wizard—O! Thy name is Valmiki.

    Rama's regime or Ram Rajya embodies the popular conception of administrative perfection—the ideal ruler or the ideal of mona­rchy. By and large, more often reference is frequently made by the Indian people to this type of Ram Rajya, it means that the State exists for the benefit of the people and not that individual exists for the benefit of the State.

    Ravana is remembered not only in consequence of the pro­minent part he plays in the Ramayana, but also on account of his famous advice to Rama immediately before his death—namely that the execution of evil projects should be deferred, but that good ones should be promptly executed—a very sage councel doubtless, answering partially to Macbeth's observation on hearing of Macduffs escape :

    "——From this moment

    The very firstlings of my heart shall be

    The firstlings of my hand~"

    Valmiki's Ramayana is a grand exhibition of various characters. It is indeed a classical cavalcade of heroes and heroines. They are the perennial fountains of joy and sorrow, never suffering the good and the beautiful to degenerate into cant and commonplace in our minds. It is only his genius that could call forth these superhuman men, women and animals. It may be said that these characters wield a tremendous influence on the thoughts and sentiments of people. Its a most beautiful privilege and a rarity of a creative genius wherein all aspects of humanity are reflected and its vision and sentiments still operate within an unlimited radius. Its humanity magnified, obviously, Ramayana has become the classic seed-bed of our Bharatiya culture.

    Consequently, the Ramayana has become an omnibus house­hold volume of Hindu society. Its words pass current expression in daily chanting of all ranks of the people. The book exercises immense influence upon the proletariats in all ages and climes. The memories and incidents celebrated in the epic poem are alike to the surpassing and matchless excellence both in its dramatic and lyric character, hence it attracts high and low, prince and peasant, mahatmas and diplomats, and men of letters. Such absolute and all-commanding and comprehensive way and influence of literature is perhaps unknown like the 'Earth Shine', in this world.

    In Ramayana cosmogomy and theogomy and the genealogies of kings and princes—of human and extra-human beings; folklore; and anecdotes and legends and stories half-mythical and half-historical; description of cities existing at a period long anterior to the age of Troy and Memphis and the chronicles of kings that reigned before Priam and Basairio—all those and others too nume­rous to note here have been woven into the splendid web and woof of the magic drapery composed by the marvellous poetic art of Valmiki—the most sublime poet—indeed, a Mahakavi who has mesmerized the Hindus by his song like a huge vapour trail of a launching rocket still visible to the present generation of the space-age. And it will be more and more visible to the generations to come.

    Subsequently Ramayana has become all along a Reserve Bank of literature upon which many a writer have drawn valuable cheques. Kalidasa, Bhavbhuti and Tulsidas have dipped their pens in Val­miki's treasure.

    Ramayana is a repository of wisdom and learning; the man* ners and customs of ancient Bharat are clearly mirrored. It has been translated into all the regional languages of India and is highly honoured by our present constitution.

    I know no other force for integrating and unifying our country than the intensive study of our epics. It is a living culture possessing extraordinary educational value. That which exists is one. You may call it by various names. It is the infinite teaching and the renunciation of the interest of the self is the crying need of the hour. Our epics have illumined the path of many a life in the past and I hope they have the power of illuminating our future too. Let us sit awhile and turn the pages of Ramayana which throws a larger and brighter light over this planet arched with rainbows of LIGHT.


    does  not make a   display of

    Breath that is world.

    the In-Soul of all life,

    Over-Soul of all the _ Sadhu Vaswani
    सबका मालिक एक - Sabka Malik Ek

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