INTRODUCTION TO THE RAMAYANA.
This is a very beautiful epic poem about the adventures of how Ram (Reincarnation of Vishnu) rescues his wife Sita, who was captured by Ravana, king of Lanka. This amazing and wonderful story goes beyond the mere description of the rescue of Sita; it explains the duties of the ideal wife, the ideal servant, the ideal father, the ideal brother and the ideal king. The Ramayana is a great work telling about human values such as boldness, loyalty, honor, love, etc.
It could be seen as a myth, but for Hindu people it is real. I believe it is real, but I think it was written in a symbolic way and not in a literal way, as all sacred books and ancient myths did. Such a glorious book keeps shining in the XXI century. Movies had made telling the great story of Rama, the ideal man, the ideal husband, the ideal hero, the ideal king!
RAMAYANA BOOK 1: BALAKANDA
According to the Ramayana, Dasharatha, king of Ayodhia, performed a Fire Sacrifice (putra-kameshti yagya). The king had three wives: Kausalya, Kaikeyi and Sumitra. As a result of the magical ritual Kausalya gives birht to Rama, Laikeyi to Bharata and Sumitra to Lakshmana and Shatrughna.
This marvelous magical ritual of fire is telling us about the importance of the inner energies, especially the Kundalini, which is depicted as a fire-serpent energy. Maha-Kundalini is the energy which created the universe and it is spread in every single atom of this Creation. The same energy is within all human beings to create superior things in life.
Going back to the Ramayana: A demon king called Ravana was oppressing humans and gods, but only a mortal could be able to kill him. This is why Vishnu decided to be incarnated to destroy Ravana. The children of Dasharatha have the blessing of Vishnu, but Rama himself is his reincarnation. All of them studies the ancient scriptures and they received instructions on warfare.
Vishwamitra comes to the court asking for help. He explains how demons come when he is performing fire rituals. Rama (Who was 16 years old at that time) went with Lakshmana went with the sage. Those two boys received supernatural weapons from Vishwamitra. They were able to destroy the demons.
Here again a fire ritual, a clear reference to the Kundalini energy.
Sita was the daughter of Janaka. King of Mithila, who founded in the fields. The king wanted someone to get married to sita. It had to be a real man. He said Sita would married whoever was able to lift a special bow he had. Nobody, but Ram could. This represents that a husband is the one able to do whatever it takes to make happy his wife. It is the responsibility of a man to protect and provide all things to his woman.
RAMAYANA BOOK 2: AYODHYA KANDA.
Here we have to explain that the number 12 is a symbol telling that it is time to be tested. Life is not easy, but those who sacrifice everything are those who deserve everything. The number 14 is telling us that it is time to show faithfulness. So, here we have a nice combination of test and faithfulness. That is what Ram and Sita will prove now.
Bharata is not happy with all that, he wants his brother to rule; but Rama does not accept. Bharata takes the sandals of Ram to put them in the throne. Sandals or shoes represents humbleness.
The king dies out of pain and suffering because Ram has gone into exile.
RAMAYANA BOOK 3: ARANYA KANDA.
A Rakshasa called Maricha was sent by Ravana to revenge Surphanaka, Khara and the demons. The pan was to kidnap Sita. So Maricha turnen into a deer to call for attention. Sita wanted Rama to hunt that deer. Her husband did not want to do so, but (You know how women become when they really want something, no?) he proceed to hunt the animal. Lakshmana stays with sita to protect her. Nevertheless, Sita hears Rama asking for help (It was just a trick), so he convinced Lakshmana to go and help him. A magical circle is made before he leaves the place.
Ravana comes into action becoming an ascetic to deceive the wife of our hero. Being unable to get into the magical circle he makes Sita to come out of it and then he grabs her.
Some versions say a vulture tried to rescue Sita, others say a half-man half-bird did so. It was not match for Ravana, but at least it could tell Rama about the abduction of his wife. So Lakshmana and his brother follow the direction told by the "bird."
Sita was taken to Lanka, the city of Ravana, who wants to marry Sita, but she is faithful to her husband. Here is where the action starts!
Love is the most amazing power of the universe. Anything can be done by love and anything can be endure by love. Love itself is magic and it is itself the reward!
RAMAYANA BOOK 4: KISHKINDHA KANDA
RAMAYANA BOOK 5: SUNDARA KANDA
Hanuman shows her a ring given by Rama and asked her to go with him, but she wants Rama to come for her. She does not want to be taken buy other, but only by her husband, who is supposed to revenge her.
Hanuman fights the soldiers of Ravana, but later he let them capture him. So he is taken to the king where is judge. The great monkey hero gives a gorgeous speak asking to set Sita free. Bur he is condemned. He ask if any oone can lift his foot, but nobody could. When Ravana is about to try Hanuman goes away telling that Rama will come to face him. So he goes back to Kishkindha to tell the news.
NOTE ABOUT HANUMAN:
This great monkey hero represents humbleness, faithfulness and boldness. Those are the greatest virtues of a real hero. The greatest deeds are possible thanks to those beautiful qualities.
RAMAYANA BOOK 6: LANKA KANDA OR YUDDHA KANADA.
Finally Rama meets Sita and she goes under a test of fire (agni pariksha) to prove her fidelity and purity to her husband. This test is a test of passions to see if the person can control his/her desires. Agni, the god of fire, brings Sita without any harm proving her fidelity and purity.
Finally, after the period of the exile is over, Rama returns to his homeland with Sita and his brother Lakshmana. The hero-avatar becomes king and he rules with love and showing people to live with ethics (Ram Rajya).
RAMAYANA BOOK 7: UTTARA KANDA
One day Rama holds a special ceremony: Ashwamedha yagna, where Valmiki is invited to go. He brings the twins who sang the Ramayana. When Rama listened the exile of Sita he started to grief. Valmiki brings Sita and she calls her mother Earth and the ground opens, so Sita got into it! That became a big pain for Rama. Now Valmiki tells him who the twins really are.
Now the mission of Rama is done and he returns back to his heavenly kingdom.
MEANING THE GREAT RAMAYANA
It is not a coincidence at all. The matter here is the meaning of all these battles and what is the meaning of the kingdom they get at the end. Yes, those stories happened, but they were written in a symbolic way. That is the ancient battle that all humans have to fight against themselves to conquer the inner kingdom!
The name of the heroes might change, the way they fight might be different, the enemy might be a monster or another king with evil powers, but the main story is the same. A woman is involved, most of the times, because it is a important symbol, which represents love.
Rama is the soul and Ravana (Mara in Buddhism) is the mind. Sita is the power of love to defeat the mind. We all have to fight that battle sooner or later to conquer the kingdom of happiness and love. such kingdom is within and whoever looks for it outside is just lost. Selfishness is the evil power that had trapped our mind! No slave can be happy because happiness without freedom is not possible. We have to fight this selfish mind and conquer love within. Love is the opposite to selfishness because love is caring about others. Love is about other people happiness and not just about our own happiness. So be brave and fight to conquer what you already have inside!