“To be happy always is something which is difficult to achieve. That is to say, happiness and sorrow alternate in one’s life and there cannot be uninterrupted happiness alone. ”
– Ram to Kaikeyi
As children in school, I remember going to watch Ramlila which was in a play format done by local amateur artists organized by housing societies and other socially oriented organizations. These started late in the evenings often lasting till mid night. Usually winters starts in north at this time and nights are cold and kids loved taking ‘moongfali’ or monkey nuts along bought from a local ‘thela’ as we didn’t have popcorns those days. It was fun and frolic for every one lasting during Dussehra festivities for around ten to twelve days. Regardless of color, caste or religion, it was for everyone.
Ramayana is based on the Ramacharitmanas, one of the most popular storytelling forms in the north of the country. This sacred text devoted to the glory of Ram, the hero of Ramayan, which was composed by Tulsidas in Hindi, to make the Sanskrit epic available to all. Hailed as the “Maryada Purushottam”, Bhagwan Ram Chandra is the seventh incarnation of Lord Vishnu and the embodiment of truthfulness, righteousness, and compassion. In most of our homes in India, the first religious story that parents often recite to their children is the story of Ram and Ravan – about the victory of good over evil.
Generations after Generations and centuries after centuries, Ramayana has been the book India’s people, culture and rulers have looked upon to learn virtues to lead their lives and follow ‘Dharma’. The stories, are a treasure house of knowledge which inspire people to lead a righteous and virtuous life.
Faith is a matter of faith and that is why it is faithfully called ‘faith’. It is a belief not only from your heart but is soaked in your soul too. There are many sacred Hindu scriptures, yet our faith in Hinduism flows from two major epics- Ramayan and Mahabharat. These define our culture, our Sanskriti, civilization and give meaning to our existence.
No wonder in the original copy of India’s Constitution, Part III on Fundamental Rights carries an illustration of Ram, Sita, and Lakshman. Because Ram was a true guardian of people’s rights.
Shri Ram’s generous and impartial nature is known to all Indians. The concept of ‘Ram Rajya’ – which is an expression of good governance – imbibes this spirit of human life. In various versions of the Ramayana and other folktales, we get numerous glimpses of Shri Ram’s human emotions and empathetic attitude towards people that are perfectly in sync with the values of our Constitution today.
If you visit North and central India, especially in states like Uttar Pradesh, Rajasthan, Madhya Pradesh and Bihar, each morning in these places begins with Ramcharitmanas being recited in most homes. Bhagwan Ram and his life remain central to India’s soul. He lies in the heart of Indians. We belong to him, and he belongs to each one of us. Ram is the essence of India.
The grip of Ram on Indian Soul and soil
Thirty five years ago, when Ramanand Sagar decided to switch from movies to TV, he did not have many supporters, as TV wasn’t considered a profitable medium those days. And yet, he went ahead, to create a show that changed the face of Indian TV by making his serial Ramayan. As it began airing on Door-Darshan on a cold January morning in 1987, few people, including its enthusiastic creator, producer-director Ramanand Sagar, could have ever imagined the staggering phenomenon it was to become in the coming months- it had a Sunday morning slot, a time when the entire country came to a standstill. Most roads were deserted as if it was a lock down- imposed by God himself.
Ramayan was telecast in 55 different countries and earned a viewership of around 650 million and was declared in Limca book of world records as most watched mythological serial.
Arun Govil played the role of Ram, people off screen started worshipping him, touching his feet and he had to give up smoking in public keeping public sentiment in mind!
“A wise man should foresee tragedy or misfortune and take action to prevent or overcome such tragedy or misfortune well before it strikes. Thus only he can enjoy a safe and good life.”
– Ram to his brother Lakshman
Faith goes from womb to tomb.
A child picks up values, faith and information even before he is born and is still being carried in mother’s womb. One of the most affecting stories in the Mahabharat is that of Abhimanyu, the son of Subhadra and Arjun. Abhimanyu was still in his mother’s womb when he first heard Krishna telling Subhadra about the secret of the almost impenetrable military formation known as the Chakravyuha.
Therefore the faith of a Hindu starts from the womb of the mother who prays to Shri Ram and goes up to his/her pier when the body is carried for cremation with chants of ‘Ram naan Satya hai’ which roughly translates – Name of Ram is the truth. It is chanted so that it gives strength to the near and dear ones of the departed soul to bear the loss.
In the Sikh Holy Scripture Guru Granth Sahib too, his name is recited over two thousand times. Such is his impact on India and its culture that other religions adore him equally.
Ram is one avatar who is revered even in Indonesia the country with the largest Muslim population in the world, there exists the worship of Ram through Swarnadeep Ramayana and Yogeshwar Ramayana.
He is worshipped in Cambodia, Malaysia, and Thailand and even in Iran and China.
Hanuman ji is the one of the central characters of Ramayan and is highly devotional to Ram and Sita. He has his own position of ‘shakti’ in millions of Indians. His day is Tuesday and millions of Hindus either have a fast or abstain from alcohol and Non vegetarian food.
He was instrumental in making a bridge for Ram to cross over to Lanka.Ram Setu bridge was constructed by lord Ram, with the help of an army of Vanaras (monkeys), led by Lord Hanuman, to reach Lanka. Ram Setu, also known as Adam’s Bridge, Nala Setu and Setu Banda, is an archaeological and historical evidence of Ramayana.
How could Congress miss the point?
Congress leadership cleverly swindled the surname ‘Gandhi’ in a rather surreptitious manner so to say from Mohanlal Karamchand ‘Gandhi’ but let him down in the spirit of it. They understood the brand value of ‘Gandhi’, which they are still en-cashing in broad day light in a big way- the entire family and its entire entourage. Was it by design or accident that they goofed up on the name of ‘Ram’ whose bhakt they clung to so steadfastly? Did they discard Hanuman too in one silly act? Didn’t they know they were hitting out at the entire civilization with one big mistake?
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They crossed the ‘lakshman rekha’ in blind hatred for the political opposition and paid for it heavily and will continue paying for it in future too.
In contrast, BJP right from the beginning was for Ram Mandir to be constructed at Ram janambhoomi at Ayodhya and also reflected it in their manifesto. From 1996 to 2019, Ayodhya’s Ram Mandir Was the Only Constant in BJP’s Manifesto. They believed in it and they said it loud and clear.
Congressed waned and whined on the issue so close to the heart and soul of the whole nation. They instead of supporting it opposed it and went to unimaginable length. They questioned the ‘Asthaa’ of a nation by saying that Ram never existed.
In 2009, when the UPA government filed an affidavit in Supreme Court questioning the existence of Lord Ram, it became a cause célèbre – a legal case that excites widespread interest. The religious sentiments of millions of Hindus were hurt, and Congress is still paying a heavy price for what has been a decisive mistake.
Over the years, we never saw any Congress leader talking about Shri Ram. In fact, Ram Naam became Congress party’s bête noire and a taboo to such an extent that anyone who takes the name of Lord Ram is termed as Sanghi, communal, bigot, or Hindutva agent by the party members.
The party lost the Ram Mandir narrative and, consequently, lost everything. It lost Uttar Pradesh in 1989 and never regained power in the state. As if that wasn’t enough, the party’s excessive focus on Muslim appeasement led to widespread disenchantment among the Hindus. While it lost Hindus to the BJP. Was it malediction of god?
They could not interpret the ferocity of back lash, all the strategists of grand old party missed the point and missed the bus eventually- may be forever, as the next bus may not come for a long time, may be never.
Neither the Hindus have won, nor have the Muslims lost. This victory is for the entire nation- India. There are no individual winners, and certainly no losers. Except one. And that’s the Congress party. ‘Ram ko harana mushkil he nahin, na mumumkin hai’.
Now they understand the meaning and power of ‘Ram Naam satya ha’.
The final judgement in the Ayodhya dispute was declared by the Supreme Court of India on 9 November 2019. The Supreme Court ordered the disputed land (2.77 acres) to be handed over to a trust (to be created by the government of India) to build the Ram Janmabhoomi (revered as the birthplace of Hindu deity, Rama) temple. It was akin to the promised land.
Accordingly, temple construction is being supervised by the Shri Ram Janmabhoomi Teerth Kshetra. The ground-breaking ceremony was performed on 5 August 2020 by India’s Prime Minister Narendra Modi.
The construction work of the Ram temple in Ayodhya is progressing at a good speed and is expected to be completed within the deadline. The Ram Mandir Trust has set December 2023 as the deadline and the temple will be open for devotees from January 2024.
“It is difficult for the children to repay the debt of what the mother and the father have done to bring them up.”
– Ram to Vasishtha
Excellent article. May be you should try getting it published in ‘Swarajya’!