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Ramayana: Ancient India Literature Art Essay

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Updated: Jan 26th, 2022

Ramayana is a remarkable creation of Ancient India literature art. It combines features of talented poetry, exciting story and guidance to high moral behavior. Many aspects mentioned there are still understood and valued in the modern world.

Ramayana is an ancient story; a piece of Indian literature art is still highly relevant to all Indians. It connects both social and religious aspects of Indian society. It is both a classic fairy tale known from the early childhood and the representation of the ideal and moral behavior to be an example for everyone. It is phenomenal and cultic work that “has inspired the themes for hundreds of major and minor literary works and plays” (Buck xv).

Hanuman is one of the major positive characters of Ramayana. He plays an important role in rescuing Rama’s wife Sita from demon Ravana. Hanuman is a vanara, “forest animal”, monkey, and ape, as defined by Monier-Williams, Leumann and Cappeller (940). His features mentioned in chapter Kishkindha Kanda are wisdom and reasonability, bright and sharp mind, the operation of vast knowledge, faultless speech, and mimics control. Nowadays these features are signs of successful, confident and clever person, and it is quite understandable why modern entrepreneurs want to emulate them.

Dharma is one of the essential concepts in the Indian religions. Dharma in Hinduism refers to rta, another concept that coordinates universe and life within, making it possible. Dharma has to be synchronized with rta, also representing the “right way of living” (Ingalls 43) through specific laws and rights and duties. In Aranya Kanda Laksmana has to choose between two dharmas, ways to act. As a younger brother, he has to listen to Rama’s orders and protect Sita, but Sita, Rama’s wife, begs Laksmana to save Rama, as she thinks he is wounded, thus leaving Sita alone. Laksmana does not want to break brother’s order, but he goes to the rescue, leaving Sita protected by all available means, thinking it is a better choice. That appeared to be a wrong decision.

Rama definitely follows dharma in Ayodhya Kanda. It seems to be unfair from the general point of view, but he has to respect his father’s promise, given to his wife a long time ago. Critics note that the position taken by Rama is very much admired in some classical, and even modern, Indian ethical literature (Prasad A Conceptual-analytic Study 354).

The classical Indian theory of mood, Rasa theory, broadly speaking, “provides close analysis of poetry, poet, reader, poetic experience, communication, imagination, and such other subjects as are related to literature” (Prasad I.A. Richards v). The examples of Rasa in Ramayana are love and attractiveness as Rama sees Sita for the first time; fury as Rama aims an arrow to the sea after worshiping Varuna; compassion and mercy when Ravana’s younger brother is accepted by Prabhu Ramachandra, etc.

Thought the centuries Ramayana remains the important and beloved story, dealing with universal values that do not change, enriching the modern Indian culture with the prominent legacy of the past.

Works Cited

Buck, William. Ramayana, Delhi, India: Motilal Banarsidass Publishers, 2000. Print.

Ingalls, Daniel. “Dharma and Moksa.” Philosophy East and West 7.1/2 (1957): 41-48. Print.

Monier-Williams, Monier, Ernst Leumann, and Carl Cappeller. A Sanskrit-English Dictionary: Etymologically and Philologically Arranged with Special Reference to Cognate Indo-European Languages, Delhi, India: Motilal Banarsidass Publishers, 2002. Print.

Prasad, Gupteshwar. I.A. Richards and Indian Theory of Rasa, New Delhi, India: Sarup & Sons, 1994. Print.

Prasad, Rajendra. A Conceptual-analytic Study of Classical Indian Philosophy of Morals, New Delhi, India: Concept Publishing Company, 2008. Print.

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