Discussion 6- The Ramayana; The Bhagavad-Gita
Rama is presented in The Ramayana as the embodiment of a perfect man. He lived his live with a strict adherence to dharma. He gave up the throne to save his father’s honor. Rama was always a loving and dutiful son, brother, and husband. I do not believe that his following a code of honor and being a righteous man in way made him less interesting as a hero. Rama still possessed humanly emotions and did great deeds.
Rama did have to work on his perfection; he had to overcome his emotions. We can see this when Rama picks up his weapons and wants to act out in anger for the abduction of Sita. But, he overcomes this with a reminder from his brother Lasmana that Rama should not act out of his nature because he is hurt and angry.
Rama’s mother is very distraught and begs her son not to leave. She wants him to stay and fight for his throne. Rama tells her that he must obey his father and that it would be wrong to raise arms against his brother. When Rama reminds Kausalya of her duties to his father, Kausalya agrees to stay and do her duty. Kausalya has to overcome her emotions and adhere to dharma.
The Hindu’s believe that a person should life their live in a dutiful manner no matter who they are or where they come from. Rama’s actions in life hold true to this belief. He strove to do the right thing in every situation regardless of the trials and hardship he had to endure. Rama worked to control his emotions and overcome actions based upon them.
Arjuna’s does not want to fight against his family and friends. He believes this is wrong and will bring about the destruction of them all. He ends up fighting because he believes in dharma and the purpose of this life is to better his soul. Achilles at first refuses to fight because his pride his hurt and when he does decide to fight it is because he wants revenge for the death of his friend. Both are aware that death awaits them but Arjuna’s death is for spiritual gain while Achilles of for legendary fame.
The code of behavior in the The Bhagavad-Gita is a code based upon doing the right thing in order to become more spiritually whole. Everything they do is based up on the concept of dharma. In the Iliad the code is based more upon the honor they achieve here in earth. It is also filled with many actions fueled by revenge.