Just because the title is The Ramayana Story, doesn’t mean that I’m going to talk about God and his miracles or religion or anything.
The message here is to understand the millennial perspective about the Ramayana as a wonderfully written story, and what you can learn from a tale as old as time written by Shri Tulsidas about 400 years ago. And maybe strive to follow that to a minimal extent in your lifestyle.
Ramayana is not just a mythological story about Lord Rama and his deeds. It can also be understood as the actions of a human ruler who established the rule of Dharma by destroying the evil that was present in the society by the name of Ravana.
It is a book that contains different aspects of relationships and the love involved in those; be it the love of Ram & Sita, unconditional love of Urmila & Laxman, family trust between Ram and Bharat, affection of highest level between a father and a son, selflessness of Hanuman towards Ram and biggest of them all the love between Ram and his mothers.
Mother and Son: Ram & All the three mothers
So, starting from the relationship that is the most ethereal and surreal, a bond of a mother with her child.
As we talk about the relations between all the three Queen mothers Kaushalya, Sumitra, and Kaikeyi with the eldest son Ram, we see that Kaushalya had a sense about who Ram was so she portrays a role of mother along with being a devotee.
But, on the contrary, the other two mothers in The Ramayana Story, Sumitra who was the example of what a stepmother should be as she without an ounce of hesitation sent her son Laxman to the forest.
Whereas Kaikeyi showed us the heights that a mother can go to, for their children. Even if it demands, that she’d have to fall from grace for securing kingdom for Bharat & asking exile for Ram. This made her an example of what stepmothers usually are these days. Yet what she did for her flesh & blood could be justified in one sense.
But Ram was the idle son as he treated his mothers the same and he loved & respected Kaikeyi more than his real mother. Setting the precedent that mother be it real or step, will always be a higher pedestal than anyone, even God.
An unrealistic yet most real love: Ram & Sita
The Ramayana Story was focused on how a husband who loved his wife crossed the miles of the ocean to get her back. Now some people will say that their marriage was arranged as it was “swayamvar” that was arranged by King Janak. We now may have a fair idea of where the idea of bachelorette came from.
But coming back to the Ramayana story I would say that the claim that it was not a love marriage is wrong in reality, it could be seen as love at first sight. Ram & Sita fell in love the moment they saw each other in Pushpa Vatika. And both of them wanted to be together and let’s just say the universe as well as the pursuit of Ram breaking the Bow and winning the competition made that possible.
So, what a millennial can comprehend from this story is that love happens at first sight but to keep that love alive you will have to make efforts as Ram & Sita made their whole life.
Unconditional Lovers: Urmila & Laxman
This is the love that should have been talked about more often in The Ramayana Story because there is no greater marriage story than that of Urmila and Laxman. While their marriage was an arranged one, we as millennials can relate that to our parents as to how they can understand each other without even saying a word.
On the contrary, what generation Y does is talk all the time, still their relations are like walking on water-thin ice.
Maybe the learning can be that Urmila knew the duties of Laxman towards his brother, his ideal Ram, and helped him maintain the Dharma without asking for anything in return. This proves that, yes, unconditional love is real
Trust between Brothers: Ram & Bharat
We have been told The Ramayana Story millions of times and each time it becomes clear that Ram made a sacrifice to fulfill the promise made by his father. This was still a rather smaller sacrifice than how Bharat chose to live his life for those 14 years as a hermit. He chose to fulfill the orders of his brother and father by running the kingdom.
However, in today’s world, no one would leave the kingdom for brothers. We only need to learn the trust that was the essence of Ram & Bharat’s relationship. Ram knew that Bharat never in a million years would be willing to take over his right to rule the kingdom even when some people thought otherwise.
So, this teaches us that fight or misunderstanding between brothers need not have the involvement of any third person, and if it does then it is better to go on a different path like Ravana & Vibhishana from the very same story of Ramayana.
The selflessness of Hanuman
Hanuman is the one for whom Tulsidas himself said “Greater than Ram is Ram’s devotee” because God is only present if people believe in God.
As Hanuman epitomizes the level of devotion toward one’s god or ideal, at the same time he teaches us that being a devotee doesn’t mean following someone blindly.
His every action through the course of the Ramayana story was driven by his wisdom and intelligence. Other than wisdom, intelligence & devotion, millennials can also learn about the power that one has inside of them and all it needs is awakening like the character of Shri Hanuman.
The blood affection: Dasharatha and Ram
The relationship of a father and his son has always been the one with fewer words but a million feelings. It is a timeless fact. Dasharatha became a father at dusk of his life so the infinite love he had for his sons especially the first-born Ram was legitimate.
The similarity between the Ramayana period and today is that still a father and son need a mother as the channel for communication. Dasharatha never even told Ram to leave Ayodhya.
It was Kaikeyi who communicated the wishes that Dasharatha had granted her and Ram being an ideal child, without a question, left the kingdom. Meanwhile, Dasharatha being a King couldn’t do anything to stop his son that led to his eventual death.
So, what a millennial can perceive from the dynamics of this relationship between Ram & Dasharatha is that, even if father and son don’t talk through words, they are attached by the idea of responsibility, affection, and a typical kind of love.
The final point of view: The Ramayana Story
So, in the conclusion of this very tiny assimilation of Ramayana that I have done while realizing that one can’t simply compile the teaching or the way of life the Ramayana story teaches us.
I would from a millennial understanding say that we all want & need surreal love of Kaushalya from a mother but instead of that, we need to show love & respect to our mother for being the point of our whole existence and treat the mother as Ram did.
The married life of Ram & Sita shows us that the most eternal & infinite love has mutual respect in it. At the same time, Urmila & Laxman epitomize a love that has no prerequisites and is selfless.
We also need Devotion like Hanuman not just for a person but anything that we want to achieve; also we learn affection, trust & kinship from Ram & Bharat. And these are all the traits and habits that will surely help us in becoming a better version of ourselves in this materialistic 21st century.