Indian Legends is Factual.Allegorical and Philosophical.
Persons and events narrated in the legends are open for verification , they convey spiritual truth in the form of allegory and they also express complex abstract philosophical thoughts.
Thus the existence of Rama is proved by astronomical and archaeology.
Ramayana also expresses the spiritual truth thus.
Ravana represents the qualities of Sattva Rajas and Tamas not in balance.
While he is the personification for Satva for he is one of the ardent devotees of Shiva, a good ruler, and an affectionate brother, and husband.
He is an active ruler with military might,enjoyed the Bohemian way of Life by maintaining a huge Harem.
He was Tamasic when he lusted after another wife.
Though he had his control over his senses and desires he could not master them is this case.
So despite his valor ,piety, scholarship, and love of his subjects he was doomed once he gave way to the Tamasic impulse of lust.
Rama represents the Satva in ascendance.
How this conquers tendencies the Rajasic and Tamasic is Ramayana.
All the characters represent some tendencies or Gunas and the result one begets in yielding to them.
At the philosophical level, it personifies in Lord Rama, The Brahman.
It illustrates how the Brahman when expressing itself, becomes entangled imagines itself ,because of Avidya/Maya,as Aham(Mine) with worldly pleasures and pain an d in the end wisdom dawns once t the Guna Viseshas are exhausted.
Not only this.
Valimiki states that he has designed the Ramayana after The Gayatri Mantra.
‘rAmAyaNadrumaM naumi rAmaraxAnavAN^kuram.h |
gAyatrIbIjamAmnAyamUlaM moxamahAphalam.h ||
(nIlakaNTha’s commentary on the
I bow to the tree of rAmAyaNa that has a new bud called the rAma-raxA-stotra, that which has the the gAyatrI (mantra) as its seed (bIja), that which has its roots in the Vedas, and that yields the great fruit of mokshha!
kushiilavau tu dharmaGYau raajaputrau yashasvinau |
bhraatarau svarasampannau dadarsha aashramavaasinau ||
sa tu medhaavinau dR^ishhTvaa vedeShu pariniShThitau |
vedopabR^ihmaNaarthaaya taavagraahayata prabhuh ||
kaavyaM raamaayaNaM kR^itsnaM siitaayaashcharitaM mahat.h|
paulastya vadhamityeva chakaara charitavrataH||
The princes, the brothers, Kusha and Lava, were knowledgeable about Dharma and were glorious. Their voices were melodious and they lived in the hermitage of (vAlmIki). He (vAlmIki), established in good deeds, observed those two extremely intelligent (princes), skilled in the Vedas, and for the sake of expounding the Vedas, he composed and made them study the poem sampUrNa-rAmAyaNa (the entire rAmAyaNa) (containing) the great story of sItA and the slaying of rAvaNa…
ata eva rAmAyaNe chaturvimshatisAhasrAyaM chaturvimshatigAyatryaxarANi
For this reason, vAlmIki bases the twenty-four thousand verses of the rAmAyaNa on the twenty-four akshhara’s (syllables) of the gAyatrI mantra (of the Vedas).
nIlakaNTha quotes from the agastya-saMhitA to further support the fact that the rAmAyaNa story is drawn from the Vedas:
vedavedaye pare puMsi jAte dasharathAtmaje |
vedaH prAchetasAdAsIt.h sAxAdrAmAyaNAtmanA |
tasmAdrAmAyaNaM devi veda eva na saMshayaH ||
When the Supreme Being, known through the Vedas, was born as the son of dasharatha (rAma), the Veda (manifested itself) through the (mouth) of the sage prAchetasa directly as the rAmAyaNa. Therefore, O devi, the rAmAyaNa is the Veda itself, without a doubt.
nIlakaNTha is well known as the commentator par excellence of the mahAbhArata. He hailed from what is modern day Kopargaon in the state of Maharashtra but he is said to have settled down in Varanasi, where he wrote his commentary on the ‘bhArata called the “bhAratabhAvapradIpa.” This commentary is also known as the “nIlakaNThI.” This famous commentary on the bhArata is said to have been written towards the end of the 17th century C.E.
nIlakaNTha compiled a collection of mantras from the R^ig Veda that correspond to the story of rAma. This collection is called the “mantra- rAmAyaNa.” I will present a few of these mantras from the R^ig Veda, with notes from nIlakaNTha’s commentary, “mantra-rahasya-prakAshikA.”
The rAmAyaNa can be told in as many as 24,000 verses as in the vAlmIki rAmAyaNa or in just one verse as in the eka-shlokI-rAmAyaNa which captures all the main events of the epic such as rAma’s exile to the forest, killing of the golden deer, the kidnapping of sItA, the death of jaTAyu, the meeting with sugrIva and the punishment of vAlI, the crossing of the oceana and burning of laN^kA by HanumAn, and finally the slaying of rAvaNa and kuMbhakarNa:
Adau rAmatapovanAdigamanaM hatvA mR^iga-kAJNchanam.h
vaidehIharaNaM jaTAyumaraNaM sugrIva-saMbhAshhaNam.h |
vAli-dushhTa-nigrahaNam samudrataraNaM laN^kAdAhanam.h
pashchAt.h rAvaNa-kuMbhakarNa-hananaM etaddhi rAmAyaNam.h ||
The mantra-rAmAyaNa itself has more than 150 Riks. But I will present a few of them summarizing the immortal story of rAma.
First, there arises the question: does the name “rAma” occur in the veda and in what context?
R^ig Veda 10.93.14 (maNDala 10, sUkta 93, Rik 14) says:
pra tadduHshIme pR^ithavAne vene pra rAme vochamasure maghavatsu |
ye yuktvAya pa.ncha shatAsmayu pathA vishrAvyeshhAm.h ||
In yajnas of wealthy kings such as duHshIma, pR^ithavAna, vena, and the powerful rAma, I utter hymns to the gods who travel by 500 chariots drawn by horses in the world of the gods, and who are fond of us (humans).’
The Gayatri Ramayana.
Valmiki Ramayana contains 24000 slokas divided into 7 Kandas, namely, Balakanda, Ayodhya Kanda, Aranya Kanda, Kishkindha kanda, Sundara kanda, Yuddha kanda and Uttara Kanda. The first letter of the first sloka in each group of 1000 slokas is taken from the Gayatri Mahamantra (given below) in the same sequence namely, त, स, वि, तु, व etc.,
भर्गो देवस्य धीमहि
धियॊ यॊ नः प्रचोदयात्
The collection of these slokas constitutes the Gayatri Ramayana.
Each sloka is identified below by the
Kanda (1 for Balakanda, 2 forAyodhya Kanda etc),
chapter number within the Kanda,
and serial number of the sloka within the chapter:
- तपस्स्वाध्यायनिरतं तपस्वी वाग्विदां वरम्।
नारदं परिपप्रच्छ वाल्मीकिर्मुनिपुङ्गवम् ॥ (१.१.१)
Sage Valmiki, ever engaged in austerities and reading of scriptures, asked Narada, foremost among Munis and a Master in the art of word craft (speech).
[Note: Valmiki’s questions are expressed in the following slokas:
कोन्वस्मिन् सांप्रतं लोके गुणवान् कश्च वीर्यवान्।
धर्मज्ञश्च कृतज्ञश्च सत्यवाक्यो दृढव्रतः ॥ (१.१.२)
चारित्रेण च को युक्तः सर्वभूतेषु को हितः ।
विद्वान् कः कस्समर्थश्च कश्चैकप्रियदर्शनः॥(१.१.३)
आत्मवान् को जितक्रोधः द्युतिमान् कोऽनसूयकः।
कस्य बिभ्यति देवाश्च जातरोषस्य संयुगे ॥(१.१.४)
एतदिच्छाम्यहं श्रोतुं परं कौतूहलं हि मे।
महर्षे त्वं समर्थोऽसि ज्ञातुमेवं विधं नरं ॥(१.१.५)
O Naradamuni, Is there any man on this earth now who has all sterling qualities, who is valiant, who knows what is dharma, who acknowledges with gratitude whatever help is rendered to him, who always speaks the truth, who is firm on his commitments, whose conduct is unblemished, who thinks of the welfare of all beings, who is wise and competent, who has a pleasing appearance, who is rooted in his Atma, who has conquered anger, who gives out light, who is not envious and whom even the devas fear when he is afire with anger in a war? I want to hear about him from you. I am keenly interested in this. You must be knowing someone with all these attributes.]
- स हत्वा राक्षसान्सर्वान् यज्ञघ्नान् रघुनन्दनः।
ऋषिभिः पूजितस्सम्यक् यथेन्द्रो विजयी पुरा ॥ (१.३०.२३)
Having killed the demons obstructing the sacrifice, Sri Ram was felicitated by the sages as Indra was felicitated long ago on his victory (over the asuras)
[Note: The context here is Rama’s protecting the sacrifice being performed by sage Viswamitra from the depredations ofrakshasas like Maricha]
- विश्वामित्रस्तु धर्मात्मा श्रुत्वा जनकभाषितम् ।
वत्स राम धनुः पश्य इति राघवमब्रवीत् ॥ (१.६७.१२)
Hearing Janaka’s words, the righteous Viswamitra said to Sri Ram “O my boy Rama, take a look at this bow”
[Note: The context is the condition laid down by Janaka for the hand of Sita. The aspiring suitors had to lift the bow of Shiva, bend it and string it. Sri Ram effortlessly lifted it and, in a swift lightning movement, broke it into two pieces in the act of stringing it]
- तुष्टावास्य तदा वंशं प्रविश्य च विशांपतेः।
शयनीयं नरेन्द्रस्य तदासाद्य व्यतिष्ठत ॥ (२.१५.२०)
Then Sumantra approached Rama’s abode and standing at the entrance of Rama’s bedroom praised Rama and his forebears in the dynasty.
[Note: The context is Kaikeyi’s insistence on sending Rama into the forests for fourteen years in exchange for one of the boons granted to her by Dasaratha earlier. Dasaratha was heart-broken at the prospect of separation from his son for such a long time. How could he convey this news to Rama? He sends Sumantra to bring Rama to him.]
- वनवासं हि संख्याय वासांस्याभरणानि च।
भर्तारमनुगच्छन्त्यै सीतायै श्वशुरो ददौ ॥ (२.४०.१५)
Dasaratha gave Sita, who was following her husband (into the forest), enough clothes and ornaments reckoning the number of days to be spent in the forest,
[Note: The context is impending departure of Rama, Sita and Lakshmana into the forests]
- राजा सत्यं च धर्मं च राजा कुलवतां कुलम्।
राजा माता पिता चैव राजा हितकरो नृणाम् ॥ (2.67.34)
It is the king who the is upholder of Truth and Dharma, it is he who protects those of good genealogy (kula) and he is the father, mother and well-wisher of his subjects.
[Note: The above words are those of Markandeya and other hermits as well as ministers of Dasaratha who request Vasishtha to appoint one of Dasarath’s sons as the King since Rama has gone on vanavasa and Dasaratha is dead unable to bear the separation of Rama ]
- निरीक्ष्य स मुहूर्तं तु ददर्श भरतो गुरुम् ।
उटजे राममासीनं जटामण्डलधारिणम् ॥२.९९.२५)
Bharata (after sighting the hermitage of Rama), spent a few minutes looking at it and then saw Rama , his Guru, sitting inside with his matted locks.
[Note: The context is Bharata visiting Rama at Chitrakuta with a view to persuading him to return to Ayodhya]
- यदि बुद्धिः कृता द्रष्टुं अगस्त्यं तं महामुनिम्।
अद्यैव गमने बुद्धिं रोचयस्व महायशाः ॥ (३.११.४४)
Sutikshna Rishi (in whose hermitage Rama was staying) said to Rama “O Rama of great fame, if you intend visiting Agastya, the great sage, then make up your mind to go there today itself”.
[Note: The context is when Rama spent time at the hermitage of Sutikhsna after Bharata’s visit]
- भरतस्यार्यपुत्रस्य श्वश्रूणां मम च प्रभो।
मृगरूपमिदं व्यक्तं विस्मयं जनयिष्यति (३.४३.१७)
Sita says to Rama “ This deer (of golden colour) will be an object of wonder for Aryaputra Bharata, my in-laws and for myself”
[Note: The context is Sita’s fascination for the deer of golden hue which was the guise put on by Maricha by his magical powers to lure Rama away from Sita]
- गच्छ शीघ्रमितो राम सुग्रीवं तं महाबलम्।
वयस्यं तं कुरु क्षिप्रमितो गत्वाद्य राघव ॥ (३.७२.१७)
Kabandha to Rama ( after he was freed from his curse and regained his original form): “ O Rama ! Leave this place without delay and go to the powerful Sugreeva. Make friends with him quickly after going there today itself.“
- देशकालौ प्रतीक्षस्व क्षममाणः प्रियाप्रिये।
सुखदुःखसहः काले सुग्रीववशगो भव ॥ (४.२२.२०)
Vali’s words, on his death bed, to Angada “ Wait for the appropriate place and time, taking with equanimity both likes and dislikes and pleasure and pain which occur over a period of time and put yourself under the control of Sugriva “
- वन्द्यास्ते तु तपस्सिद्धास्तपसा वीतकल्मषाः
प्रष्टव्याश्चापि सीतायाः प्रवृत्तिं विनयान्वितैः ॥ (४.४३.३४)
Sugriva’s instructions to the Vanaras regarding the rishis they would meet during their search for Sita: “Those Rishis, who by their austerities, have attained the highest goal of life and have been purified by their tapas, are to be revered and respected. You should enquire of them about Sita and her present situation with modesty and humility.”
- स निर्जित्य पुरीं श्रेष्ठां लङ्कां तां कामरूपिणीम्।
विक्रमेण महातेजाः हनूमान्मारुतात्मजः ॥ (५.४.१)
Having conquered by his valour the guarding deity ofLankapuri, who was capable of taking any form she desired, Hanuman, son of Vayu and very powerful (scaled the ramparts of Lanka)
- धन्या देवाः सगन्धर्वाः सिद्धाश्च परमर्षयः ।
मम पश्यन्ति ये नाथं रामं राजीवलोचनम् ॥ (५.२६.४१)
This sloka is from the soliloquy of Sita kept in captivity by Ravana in Ashokavanika: “ Devas, Gandharvas, Siddhas andRishis whosoever see my Lord Rama, who has eyes beautiful as lotus petals, will have their lives fulfilled.”
- मंगलाभिमुखी तस्य सा तदासीन्महाकपेः।
उपतस्थे विशालाक्षी प्रयता हव्यवाहनम् ॥ (५.५३.२६)
The wide-eyed (Sita), with the intention of blessing Hanuman and preventing any hurt to him, prayed to the Fire God with a pure heart.
[Note: The context is the episode of Hanuman’s tail being wrapped in clothes, soaked in oil and set on fire by therakshasas. But the God of Fire (Agni) did not hurt Hanuman as the latter’s father Vayu was the former’s friend]
- हितं महार्थं मृदु हेतुसंहितं व्यतीतकालायतिसंप्रतिक्षमम्।
निशम्य तद्वाक्यमुपस्थितज्वरः प्रसङ्गवानुत्तरमेतदब्रवीत् ॥ (६.१०.२७)
Hearing (the Advice of Vibhishana) which was well-meaning, having a superior purpose, mild, reasoned, relevant equally in the past, the present and the future, Ravana was infuriated and being passionately attached gave the following reply.
[Note: The context is Vibhishana’s advising Ravana not to buy the enmity of Rama and honourably return Sita to him. Ravana could not digest this advice]
- धर्मात्मा रक्षसां श्रेष्ठः संप्राप्तोऽयं विभीषणः ।
लङ्कैश्वर्यं ध्रुवं श्रीमानयं प्राप्नोत्यकण्टकम् ॥ (६.४१.६८)
This Vibhishana, the embodiment of dharma and foremost amongrakshasas has arrived (to surrender himself to Rama) and he will surely inherit the whole of the riches of Lanka free of all enemies.
[Note: These are the words of Vali’s son Angada addressed to Ravana. Angada had come to Ravana’s court as the emissary of Rama]
- यो वज्रपाताशनिसन्निपातान्न चुक्षुभे नापि चचाल राजा।
स रामबाणाभिहतो भृशार्तश्चचाल चापं च मुमोच वीरः ॥ (६.५९.१४०)
The valiant Ravana, struck by the vajrayudha of Indra or by thunder-bolt, was never agitated or moved but struck by the arrows of Rama he became extremely hurt, and the bow slipped from his hand.
[Note: The context is the first day’s fight between Rama and Ravana}
- यस्य विक्रममासाद्य राक्षसा निधनं गताः।
तं मन्ये राघवं वीरं नारायणमनामयम् । (6.72.11)
“On the strength of whose valour many rakshasas lost their lives that valiant Rama, I think, is the eternal Narayana Himself.”
[Note: These are the musings of Ravana when many of his commanders and his brother Kumbhakarna were put to death by Rama and Lakshmana]
- न ते ददर्शिरे रामं दहन्तमरिवाहिनीम्।
मोहिताः परमास्त्रेण गान्धर्वेण महात्मना ॥६.९४.२६॥
The large-hearted Rama was scorching to death the army of the enemy but the rakshasas could not see him, deluded as they were by the Gandharvastra (shot from the bow of Rama)
- प्रणम्य देवताभ्यश्च ब्राह्मणेभ्यश्च मैथिली ।
बद्धांजलिपुटाचेदमुवाचाग्निसमीपतः ॥ (६.११९.२३)
Offering her salutations to the devas and the brahmanas Sita, with folded hands went near Agni and spoke thus
[Note: As commanded by Rama Sita steps into fire to prove her chastity and prays to Agni thus:
यथा मे हृदयं नित्यं नापसर्पति राघवात् ।
तथा लोकस्य साक्षी मां सर्वतः पातु पावकः ॥
यथा मां शुद्धचारित्रां दुष्टां जानाति राघवः।
तथा लोकस्य साक्षी मां सर्वतः पातु पावकः ॥
Just as my heart never moves away from Rama, so Agni the witness for all the world protect me from all sides.
I am pure and chaste but Rama thinks I am polluted; so Agni the witness for all the world protect me from all sides.]
- चलनात्पर्वतेन्द्रस्य गणा देवाश्च कंपिताः।
चचाल पार्वती चापि तदाश्लिष्टा महेश्वरम् ॥ (७.१६.२६)
When the mountain was shaking, the ganas and devas were tossed about. Parvati also felt the tremor and embraced her consort Maheshwara (Siva)
[Note: The context is when Ravana tried to uproot the Kailasa Mountain, the abode of Siva, when his Pushpaka was not allowed to fly over it by Nandi]
- दाराः पुत्राः पुरं राष्ट्रं भोगाच्छादनभोजनम्।
सर्वमेवाविभक्तं नौ भविष्यति हरीश्वर ॥ (७.३४.४१)
O Chief of Vanaras, henceforth wives, sons, city, country, objects of enjoyment, clothes and food would be undivided between us, that is, we will partake of them as common assets.
[Note: Ravana was overcome by Vali’s superior strength. Discretion being the better part of valour, Ravana concluded a treaty of friendship with Vali. The above are words of Ravana to Vali]
- यामेव रात्रिं शत्रुघ्नः पर्णशालां समाविशत्।
तामेव रात्रिं सीतापि प्रसूता दारकद्वयम् ॥(७.६६.१)
The night during which satrughna entered the hermitage of Valmiki, the same night Sita was delivered of twin male children.
- इदं रामायणं कृत्स्नं गयत्रीबीजसंयुतम् ।
त्रिसन्ध्यं यः पठेन्नित्यं सर्वपापैः प्रमुच्यते ॥
Those who recite this, the whole of the story of Rama, composed of the bijaksharas (seed letters) of Gayatri Mantra, in the morning, midday and evening sandhyas, will be rid of all his evil deeds.