I have not dwelt on the various contests between the two warring groups. They are imaginative and individual powers of both Rama and Ravana are highly exaggerated. Obviously, we all enjoy a good fantasy! But it is also true that humans today, as a species, have developed capabilities for untold damage to themselves and the world. So the poets and seers of the old were not too wrong!
Description of Ravana in death is impressive .... but the hero's face even at the awful moment wore a look of majesty, surpassing far the splendour even of days when saints and rishis had to flee for safety from his oppressive rule.
This explains why he had to die. The opinion that Ramayana is also the story of Aryans vs Dravidians is interesting. Worth examining further!
One chapter is devoted to Bharata who loved Rama to the extent that he tries to get him back to Ayodhya and does not succeed! He does extract a promise from Rama that he will return after completing twelve years of vanavasa! He also vows to immolate himself if Rama fails to return and is saved dramatically at the last moment by the arrival of Hanuman. It is the story of a decent man with values, who does not accept the kingdom given to him on a platter!
As VVS Aiyar died before he could complete the study, the chapter on Sita is written by others.
As I conclude I quote from the version of Ramayana written by my favourite author Kamala Subramanyam. Valmiki asks Narada, 'I wonder if there is, in this world of men, a single individual, a man blessed with all the many good qualities one can think of.' And Narada narrates to him the story of Rama as the man who possesses all the good qualities which Valmiki is hoping to find in one man.
Sita is introduced in an appealing manner in KR.
'So stood that maiden of rare loveliness and eye caught eye and each the other ate: as quiet they stood, minds into one were fused; the hero looked at her and Sita looked at him. The pair of pointed lances called her glance sank deep in shoulders broad of handsome Ram......Kamban's Sita was of an age to fall in love at first sight .... she suffers the pangs of love... .while not a word has passed between the two.....Rama in turn suffers no whit less....one glance at Sita, the yet unknown was enough to set aflame the heart of Rama. And mere words about her was enough to enslave Ravana.
Sita does worry about Rama's killing Rakshasas who have harmed the sages, but not Rama directly. She expresses her worries to Rama in VR, but Rama maintains it is his duty to protect the rishis. The transition of Sita's life from that of a princess and a bride to that of a forest dweller while tough would have gone well. After all she was young and was in love!
Her life changed dramatically when she was abducted by Ravana. She dreaded the daily visits of Ravana, there were moments when she wanted to give it all up, but is saved from the extreme step. There are many moments of highs and lows then on, but nothing prepares us for the cold manner in which she is greeted and treated by Rama after his victory against Ravana. Especially after such an introduction of their first meeting!
The way Rama treats Sita, especially after a year of separation is shocking!
'You loved the fleshly form, and honor stained; and yet died not, but risked your conduct poor and stayed content one year in the capital of Rakshasas of evil walk of life. With what design have you returned unabashed? Is it that I would cherish you? It was not for you I filled the sea....It was for naught but to redeem my name that to Lanka I came.'
These are moments when I wonder about the claims made by Narada about Rama. It is difficult to understand, except that it was the reflection of the times, thousands of years ago. Or a reflection of human nature itself. Even Sita resorted to accusing Lakshmana of having designs on her. It could be explained as the only way she could get Lakshmana moving, but it worked as such possibilities were always in the air.
While Sita proves her chastity by going through the ordeal of fire, its effect was short lived as she was sent away when people gossiped about her later! The price she had to pay for being the wife of a public figure. Anyway Ramayana is about ideals and not really a love story!
I have not seen a temple of Sita and was surprised that there are not many 'only Sita' temples. However there is one in Nepal and a couple of them in India. Not too many! It is said that there is one in Srilanka .
|Janaki Mandir Nepal|