Ramayana is not the asset of either the people of a place or a civilisation, but the holy text lies free for the world to be read and absorbed to understand the irrefutable life truth.
Rama, the protagonist, lived his life as a commoner. Could a commoner live a life like Rama? One could. Otherwise, we can’t take a neutral position in the bitterness, ebb and flow, reminiscences and losses and gains that we have to address in our life.
After all, Ramayana is a serenely peaceful nullity, pain-free void. It teaches us the fact that circumvention of desire is the window to humanity: When you refuse to crack the whip on desires, you eventually walk into a catastrophic denouement. This universal truth is spelt out by each and every character in Ramayana — whether it is Sita who succumbed to the feeble attachment with a ‘golden deer’ (Mareecha) or the penchant of Ravana for Sita that led to the end of him and his clan. Hence, this precious asset can’t be seen as part of any particular religion or religious manuscript.
Ramayana ploughs open idealistic ways of eternity and universalism: it takes us through the quality of Hanuman’s loyalty, brave leadership of Sugreevan, and heights of fraternal love of Lakshman and Jadayu. Going by all these life truths, the holy book indeed keeps spreading a glow of hope to the world where we stumble upon no role models to follow.
The people are often mistaken that it is the tale of Rama, Sita and Lakshmana but, in fact, it is enriched with hundreds of iconoclastic characters, stories and sub-stories. Each and every particle on the planet — nature, sky at large, air and universe — plays its role eloquently one way or another in the epic poem.
Above all, Ramayana takes its course through the sacrifice of the daughter of universe (Sita) and life values of Kausalya suthan (Rama, son of Kausalya, Queen of Ayodhya). Malayalis are indebted to Ezhuthachan, who fished out the crux of Ramayana in the simplistic form of ‘Kilipattu’ that captures the imagination of all.
(Dr Ambalapuzha Gopakumar is a noted writer / As told to T. Sudheesh)