Right through my childhood, I was always fascinated by the myth, be it RAMAYANA, MAHABHARATA or TROY, for I have known only these! I have never read anything during my bedtime, but my dad always insisted me to do so. The thing I loved the most was learning the so-called obscure myth from my ammama during my bedtime, which had the likes of Ramayana and Mahabharata in them. I have been told the tale of Rama many a times, but every time I was told, I saw it with different eyes. It looks as if a thread of magnetism binds me to it. I have always got amazed by me finding links in the myth through my friends and family, but always struggled to complete the web. I have been stuck in this web for years because of the unfathomable links which I have known but never learnt.Time made me a cynic and my family started seeing me skeptic. Every time, every single fight we see, we solve them by considering the versions from the both the sides but the tale of Rama i.e. Ramayana is only the version of Rama! Skills of Ravana as proclaimed in Ramayana boggled my mind more than that of Rama and brought me to the novel ASURA, the Ramayana told from Ravana’s perspective that is the Ravanayana authored by AnandNeelkantan which changed my inner self. This book deals with all the stages of Ravana. ‘Ravana the teen’ who is obsessed for power and rule; ‘Ravana the king’ whose prime motive is to become the emperor of the world and bring back the lost glory of his race; ‘Ravana the Emperor’ who finally learns life. Now, Did Ramayana happen as Valmiki wrote?? Did it eventuate as sung by LuvaKusha??Did Ravana capture Sita out of lust? Ramayana teaches that Ravana was a man of rich character and was a profound scholar. Can the greatest emperor be so ignorant?
One of the stories of SITA I read follows this way… “Sita is the daughter of the RAVANA and MANDODHARI…soon after her birth, astrologers predict that she would bring ill luck to their great sura race …Being well versed in 4 Vedas and 6 Shastras(his 10 heads),, Ravana accepts it…In his path towards north for being the greatest emperor on earth, Ravana is forced to take his baby girl with him foreboding the threat from the people for the girl for her ill luck. During his mission of conquering entire India, Ravana is attracted to a nymph named Vedavathi, hits at her but she refuses. With ego hurt, he tries to impress her and dives into the river, gets washed away only to be held as hostage by some other rival king!! The ministers who have come with him in his mission declare Vedavathi as the reason putting the king into trouble and also consider the baby girl’s ill luck for it. They inform one of their field warriors to take the nymph and the baby with him to a distant place and kill them. The warrior tries to force Vedavathi but she burns herself leaving a final note, cursing that the Asura race will soon be vanquished! This trembles him and he forgets to kill the baby girl who he brings with him. When he goes back, he sees the girl in the hands of a Deva king and he runs away. The Deva king names her SITA and people start believing that Sita is the daughter of Mother Earth. Yes, Ravana gets to know about Sita after a while, but he is preoccupied building his empire and appoints spies to have a check on Sita. When Rama is sent to 14 years of exile, Ravana is misled by his spies who inform him that Sita leads a miserable life. Furious Ravana this time goes to bring her back to Lanka to give her a comfortable life.He goes along with his Uncle Maricha who disguises himself as a deer ‘Mayaledi’ and is killed by Rama. Realising the death of his loving uncle, he forces Sita and takes her back to Lanka in his PushpakaVimanam. Whenever he tried to inform Sita that he is her father, she hurts his ego thereby leaving him helpless. Ravana is also livid for Rama killing his companion and soul mate Vaali! Rama also uses unfair means at many stages against the Dharma of a king! At the end it is Rama killing Ravana and performing the so called Agni pariksha on Sita. And finally Sita realizes that Rama was no less to Ravana in his deeds.”
Also, there are stories which say that the VanaraSainyam of Rama tried to exploit Ravana’s wife Mandodhari sexually!(few descriptions*) This gave rise to so many questions about the myth in my mind. Myth has been told numerous times but is it exact? Or did it happen? Is it real, surreal or is it just an incorporeal of things??Is Rama a mere figment of Valmiki?? Both Rama and Ravana possess some good and bad deeds in their names. Ravana’s kingdom was as good as Rama’s. There are temples built for Ravana in Lanka! It is presumed that even the poorest people in Ravana’s empire had food to eat, clothes to wear and homes to live. What if Rama and Ravana were just two ordinary men like us? The extraordinary story of two ordinary men! Undoubtedly, Valmiki has scripted Ramayana unbelievably well that very few people doubted about it! Others simply were in acquiescence! Not many spoke about the Rama’s rule after Ramayana. So now what to consider? And what not to?? Should I consider Valmiki’s version or the other versions? Is Rama the hero? Or Ravana, the actual hero of the story for his Dharma as a king?? May be Rama is quick witted but he failed his Dharma each time he fought from the back! The character of Ravana(according to Ramayana) is still and will always be my hero for his self-obsession, for considering his race above anything and above all for his qualities which have flaws like any other man. In contrast to that Rama’s character was exemplary as mentioned by Valmiki and only seen in books!
I was in a dilemma for a long time bewildered with diverse adaptations. Then I met my brother Teju who helped me cross-examine and helped me out! To be honest, all these characters are nothing but a part of the stories and the lessons one can learn from these characters. Learning a lot of stories without actually apprehending the positives from them is good for nothing. Now I need not see it with different eyes because it is told in multiple ways. Lots of interpretations have been published till date, like illustrations from Valmiki’s and then MollaRamayanam and finally we also have an Amish’s new series. The only thing we can do is to know many versions as they come and take positives from each version rather than debating with them.
Rama or Ravana, the oldest Valmiki’s or the latest Amish’s; the best thing they have done is giving me a legend to read and teach me things.The best thing about having so many versions is we can make our own adaptation.They have also taught me that there lies a solution even in predicaments. Above all, a movie, a book or any other experience, is meant to teach us things and Ramayana was more than just an ordinary thing in those grounds!
“THE MYSTERY NEVER UNFOLDS ITSELF! ONE HAS TO UNFOLD IT!”