Tuesday, March 27, 2007

Happy Ram Navami!

Today is Ram Navami day. The Hindu community celebrates the birth of Lord Ram on this day. Ram was known for his obedience to his father and according to the Hindu mythology he spent fourteen years in exile to keep his father’s promise to his step mother. If Ram was the ideal son, his brother Lakshman was the ideal brother who accompanied him to the forest and his wife Sita who undertook a life of penance by going along with them was the ideal wife. Ramayan tells us about the duties of a son to his father and the bond that ought to exist among brothers and the righteousness exhibited by Bharat when he refused the crown and slipped into the role of caretaker till his brother Ram came back to be crowned as the rightful heir to the crown. I have read Rajaji’s version of Ramayan and listened to various debates concerning the characters in the epic.

All this was easy for me having been born a Hindu. I have accepted the divinity in the character of Ram without question. I feel that in these days of terrorism and changing equation of interpersonal relationships the epic ought to be read and analyzed even by skeptics who question the godliness of the characters. We are living in turbulent times. Unity and integrity at every level needs to be emphasized and the stipulations of good governance understood. There are other aspects like monogamy and loyalty to one’s spouse that are dealt with in the story. There is a dialogue by Lord Ram’s father spoken at the time of his marriage that every parent should realize when the son’s marriage is proposed and negotiated. He says that the girl’s father is giving away his daughter and the boy accepts the girl as wife. The hand of the acceptor has to be at a lower level and he has to always be thankful to the donor for giving away something that was precious and invaluable to him. If every family learnt to look at marriage this way all the fuss created over trivial issues at the time of marriage by the groom’s party could be avoided. The worth and value of the daughter in law/ wife would be realized and all the young girls who responded to my previous blog would feel loved and accepted.

16 comments:

hillgrandmom said...

I didn't know about that marriage advice thing. It really is such a lovely way of putting it, but sadly hardly ever thought of I think. Maybe they should read this one out clearly at Hindu weddings?

All Smiles!! said...

HI Hip Grandma, A very Happy Ram Navami to you.

Saumya said...

Happy Rama Navami to you.

Just a thought for you to ponder on: While Lakshman was an ideal brother, he was not an ideal husband to Urmila. While Rama was an ideal son, he too did not trust Sita when she returned to him from Ravana's captivity.

That is the part that I hard to classify as godliness. A powerful mythological story - Yes.

nz said...

A very Happy Ram NAvami to you too and what a wonderful way of looking at marriage :-)

This is a different age, and I am not too sure if we can apply all of what Ramayan teaches in our daily lives - values and thoughts have changed and theres always that question of Ramji not trusting his wife...

apu said...

Oh I didnt know it was Ram Navami ! Ramayana was one of my favorite stories as a kid...There are issues ofcourse with Rama's treatment of Sita, but its still possible to take out so much good from the story.

Hip Grandma said...

hillgmom:Sadly Hindu marriages are not solemn affairs like church weddings.The mantras chanted in sanskrit may include commitments such as treating one's wife with the respect due to her or the girl's father requesting the groom to take good care of her etc.Unfortunately they are repeated mechanically and the invitees are busy assessing dowry items or analyzing the quality of food served.May be a translation of important mantras shoukd be distributed along with the paan beeda at the end of the meal.As far as I know no religion encourages the groom's family to behave the way they sometimes do or to make atrocious dowry demands.

all smiles:Thank you and same to you.

saumya:You are right.Ram's role as a husband has always been debated and my daughter's music teacher even composed a song in which the qn is raised.The explanation is that in Rama awatar Ram was not aware of his divinity and therefore behaved as any ordinary human at times.I don't lnow how far skeptics accept the explanation.Happy Ram navami to you too.

nz:priorities may have changed in this fast moving age.as far as I understand basic human values remain the same.i recently watched 'Mahabharata' and my respect for Rahi Masoom Raza was renewed.His script writing is fabulous. Whether it is the Bible or RamayanK/Mahabharat or koran always have a message for mankind.One needs to emphasize these human values regardless of its acceptance or rejection.even if one percent is imbibed a person's life can change.Happy Ram navami to you too.

apu:That is why it is called an epic isn't it?

itchingtowrite said...

lovely words of dasratha.. may I respond to the thoughts of Rama not trusting Sita?
the perspective given is that Rama the husband had full faith in Sita the wife but the mistrust was from Rama the king towards Sita the Queen.. he did so becoz he did not want the citizens to question Sita's purity. He wanted to pre empt everything. also while Ram was God since he was an avtar in human form it was necessary that he imbibes characteristics of human being.
Being an epic, everything is alittle larger than life and too extreme though.
I do agree with Saumya abt Laxman failing as a husband. It is said that Laxman's & Urmila's sacrifice is the greatest among all in Ramamyana. also, i have read somewhere that separation in love is a manifestation of Urmila's & Laxman's separation given as a boon to the institution of love & marriage by Lord Vishnu the creator

Usha said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
Usha said...

It is amazing how so many of the values that were relevant at that time about 3000 years ago are still relevant today to our society. POints to the timelessness of certain values.
On the issue of Sit Sita's trial by fire my take is here:
http://agelessbonding.blogspot.com/2006/03/
romantic-doormats.html#comments
I believe the author did not write it for a time 3000 years from then but could only apply the values and morals that made sense at the time it happened.A king was bound by certain obligations to his subjects then. Even though he trusted her, he wanted the ordinary subjects to know she was above suspicion and he knew for sure that she would emerge unaffected through the test.

Monika said...

thats a nice advice :) feels good...

i had written something about my feelings of sita and ram episode,

http://monikamanchanda15.blogspot.com/2006/08/can-gods-go-wrong.html

i dont have the talent to put things in words as beautifully as u though...

Monika said...

btw happy ram navmi hope u had a great time

Deepthi said...

hmmm we need to make a card and give to the future family and ay read this and follow this....I surely will

Hip Grandma said...

ITW:I have no problem abt the first Agni pariksha that Sita had to face and appreciate Ram wanting to pre empt an effort by critics to malign her.He was the king and he owed it to his subjects.but sending her into exile when she was pregnant after the agni pariksha needs some explanation. Vishnu had to show that he was a mere human in Ramavatar and therefore allowed such lapses is the explanation.Regarding Urmila her character is even more commendable than Sita's.She stayed behind to look after her mothers in law one of whom was the reason behind ram's exile and therefore the indirect cause behind Lakshman's exile.While Sita was in the company of two valiant men in natural surroundings Urmila was taking care of the aging queens.I wonder if her sacrifice hasn't been adequately highlighted.

usha:Thanks for the reference,i thoroughly enjoyed it.the definition of doormats varies with time.I look at my mother's patience as a virtue but my daughter's feel that she should have put her foot down instead of suffering silently -no point becoming a martyr.Well each one to his/her own.

monika:thoroughly enjoyed your piece too.Thanx for the reference.We all have our way of thinking and expressing our thoughts.There has to be variation or else we would sound like robots.and there is the age difference and experience which play a role too.Happy Ramnavami to you too.

deepti:I am thinking of doing it at my son's wedding.hillg'mom has a point.Thank you hillgmom.

karmickids said...

HHGmom, a lovely thought but unfortunately most families assume they are doing a favour by accepting the new bride into their homes. The bride has to submerge her complete identity into her new home, give up her family and loved ones and call strangers her own. And all they do is watch out for points to criticise or comment on. Especially when she is from another community...

Hip Grandma said...

karmickids:Yes you have a point there.This is because of the patriarchial leanings of our society.Don't parents talk of their daughter as paraya dhan and an amanat to be kept in safe custody and handed over to her rightful owner at the time of her marriage.

'The bride has to submerge her complete identity into her new home, give up her family and loved ones and call strangers her own'

This is because the society has made it so.The day a girl objects to being called 'paraya dhan' this will change.As of now there are parents who will not invest in a daughter's education 'cos they will not get anything in return.However things ARE changimg for the better.

The Talkative Man said...

Very interesting exposition on Rama navami. Thanks :-)