Ramayana is the story of Hinduism

Posted: December 1, 2012 in Uncategorized
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The Hindus revere the Ramayana.

It is like a scripture for many Hindus. But even as they revere the Ramayana they don’t hold every word of it as inerrant. In fact the Hindus have freely built their racial imagination on the Ramayana.

Kamban, who lived during a highpoint of Tamil history in the 12th century, adored Rama and wrote one of the grandest works of Tamil literature on the theme of the Ramayana. He was ostensibly making Rama an example for future Tamil kings.

Though Kamban made changes here and there to suit the literary conventions and social mores of the Tamils, he was an ardent admirer of Valmiki and drunk deep from the Sanskrit fount.

Bharati, Tamil’s own national poet imagined that Kamban’s Ramayana was his attempt at indicating Infinity through symbols.

For Thyagaraja, who passed away some thirty-odd years before Bharati’s birth, Rama was more than a magnificent hero or a potent incarnation of Vishnu, he was the Supreme Being itself.

The Hindus have sought transcendence through symbols. And Rama has been a channel through whom they have sought to voyage into the divine.

There are those who belittle Rama’s story as a myth. But no religion knew how to make a myth work for uplifting the race as did the Hindus. For them the word myth did not translate into untruth…it was for them a way to the truth! Every region viewed itself through Rama, every art configured the Ramayana, every tongue lisped the name of Rama and his ilk.

Thyagaraja worshipped a family icon of Rama and swore by the name of Rama…and what did he achieve? A supreme musical creativity and a spotless life of giving himself off to hundreds of disciples.

Amudhanar of Srirangam, who celebrated the Vaishnava Acharya Ramanuja wrote of the Ramayana as the flood of devotion. He had it that Ramanuja was the temple where this flood of devotion was stored (Ramayanam Ennum Bhakti VelLam, Kudi Konda Kovil Iraaamanuja………….)

Monotheists who tomtom their dogmas against the worship of ‘idols’ should remember that Hindus have the example of thousands of great souls who have shown that the worship of icons of the divine is a way to god.

Should we follow a Ramanuja, a Raghavendra, a Tukaram, a Gnanasambanda, a Namdev or should we believe unscrupulous dogmatists thumping on their heavily manipulated books?

Tulsi took Rama’s story to the masses in the North in their own tongue…but he spoke a language redolent with the sacred fragrance of devotion. And great kathakars like Morari Bapu and Kanakeshwari take this sanctifying story to its soulful heights.

Rajaji, scarcely given to exaggeration and literary effervescence, declared in the foreword to his rendering of the Valmiki Ramayana, that Rama and Sita and Hanuman and Bharata would serve as armour to Hindu children and protect them.

Dec. 1, this day that I am writing this post, is the birth anniversary of Yogi Ramsurat Kumar, a seeker from Kashi who became a saint in the streets of Tiruvannamalai. His mantra was the name of Ram. And through it he attained a spiritual clarity and many could see and feel. And Ram is a name that even the likes of Kabir, who look askance at story and myth, swear by as the path to the world beyond all paths.

Sri Rama Jaya Rama Jaya Jaya Rama…

Sri Rama Jaya Rama Jaya Jaya Rama…

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