The Ramayana Epic Essay
Updated: Dec 2nd, 2019
The Ramayana is an epic Indian tale about the Indian life. It offers an example of dharma. The protagonists Rama and his wife Sita are an ideal couple who lived their lives according to dharma. They are an example of how married couples should be as Rama was an ideal husband to his wife and she was a faithful wife to him. For many years, the epic has been passed down from one generation to another and young Indians told to emulate Rama and Sita.
After marrying Rama, he was banished to live in the forest for fourteen years by his father at his stepmother’s word who wanted her real son to inherit the throne. Sita refused to remain behind in the palace and became adamant about following her husband to the forest as she said that a wife’s place is by husband’s side. Unfortunately, she was captured by the demon king Ravana. Later, Rama and Lakshmana rescued her.
However, Rama was in doubt of his wife’s faithfulness and purity because she had lived under King Ravana for a year. She had to go through fire to proof her purity and she was found to be innocent. The treatment that Rama gave his wife after her rescue is questionable because he is supposed to be a man of dharma hence of good thought. However, he doubts his wife and makes her go through fire, which she accepts (Hess 2).
Rama knew his wife was innocent but demanded for a proof for the sake of his subjects. In the second instance, he knew she was innocent because she had already passed the first purity test. However, he gave in to rumours about his wife’s impurity after hearing people question his taking back of Sita after she had been with King Ravana.
The culture of the Rhaghu Dynasty did not allow a man to live with an infidel wife and many people in the kingdom were wondering if Sita was faithful after living with King Ravana. Tradition demanded banishment of such a woman. He banished his wife because he felt he had a bigger duty towards his subjects than his personal life (Duiker and Spielvogel 62).
Sita was angry at her husband’s treatment concerning her purity. She wept and rebuked him for behaving like an ordinary man and treating her as an ordinary women yet she had already proved her purity (Hess 6). She felt betrayed because during all the time she was in captivity her mind was with her husband constantly. Her anger and humiliation made her request mother Earth to swallow her to find some peace.
The two sons of Rama Lava and Kush injured their uncle Lakshmana in battle of the horse not knowing they were related. Fortunately, he did not succumb to the injuries as he was revived using a certain herb. He died later after being expelled by his brother Rama and God Indra took him to heaven.
Duiker, William and Jackson Spielvogel. World History Volume 1. New York: Cengage Learning, 2009.
Hess, Linda. “Rejecting Sita: Indian Responses to the Ideal Man’s Cruel Treatment of His Ideal Wife.” Journal of the American Academy of Religion, 67.1 (1999): 1-32
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