The Ramayana and the Bhagavad-Gita

Rama and Sita

1. The fact that Rama is very nearly perfect doesn’t make him less interesting than the other heros we’ve read about. In fact, I think it makes him a little more interesting. While the other heros were succumbing to pride or anger, Rama is a great guy just trying to get to Heaven. He lives and breathes dharma by not getting upset and calmly accepting what’s happening around him. You’re almost waiting for him to screw up and get carried away by anger, and it actually almost happens when his wife Sita is kidnapped. Having the human factor of justifiable anger was a good touch, and his brother stepped in to calm him down before he could carry out his anger. This mirrors the scene when Rama’s mother, Kausalya, gets upset that Rama is leaving for his 14 year exile. She gets upset and tries to talk him out of it while he calmly lists off the reasons he must go. She pulls herself together, just as Rama did when Laksmana talked him out of his anger, and accepts the exile. These examples illustrate the Hindu belief in dharma (following the path to heaven) and kharma (the consequences of actions that keep a soul on earth). Rama was following dharma when Kaikeyi sharply ordered him to exile – after all, his father owed this wife two boons, and Rama was essentially following his father’s orders.

Krishna

2. I have to admit, I didn’t really like Achilles. Arjun’s struggle wasn’t really anything like that of Achilles’; Arjun is struggling against the conventional teachings of his life. Killing kinsmen was not something to be done, lest you invite kharma and you suffer in the next life. Arjun is worried about doing the right thing for his soul, whereas Achilles was only wounded by pride and refused to do the right thing for his army by coming back to fight. In Greek times, violence was all around and it was commonplace for a man to be  suddenly called up to fight a war. Krishna, on the other hand, preached about overcoming anger and jealousy to become a better person, as well as respecting and loving all things. Somewhat different than the Greeks with their fight, fight, fight mentality. Sura 5 of the Koran reiterates the  Hindu values of dharma  by stating that “be true to your obligations” and “do not violate the rites of God” – basically, “you will get into Heaven by following the rules”.

5 thoughts on “The Ramayana and the Bhagavad-Gita

  1. Haley

    I agree with you about him just being a great guy. He was the most calm one I believe in just accepting things as they were and not getting all angry about it. But definitely having that slight view of anger from him did make him seem more human, which lines up with all of the other heroes. I thought this story was pretty interesting.

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  2. nelsoncrockett

    Good point with how the greeks have a fight and keep fighting mentality while the Koran and the Hindus deal with the ethics of killing.

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  3. sharissewatkins

    I didn’t think his character was any less interesting at all. I was actually, as you said, more interested because he was so perfect and that is not a character I read about often. I wanted to see if he had characteristics of a human, if had the ability to mess up since we had come in on his life after he had already found his path of righteousness. I would rather read this every once in a while than read about mothers killing their children to get back at a man who was never even hers to begin with. Ugh, I won’t say any names though. 🙂

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  4. Michaela

    I agree with you. I very much so favor Arjuna than I do Acchiles. Mainly for there beliefs. I certainly do not like the FIght fight mentality The Greeks know. Therefore it was nice to read up that someone actually didn’t want to fight to kill other kinsmen. I guess I could say the Arjuna is much more interesting to me than the others because it was the first story where everyone wasn’t trying to kill each other.

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    1. bdfleagle

      I agree with those of you who admire Arjuna’s desire to avoid killing. It was refreshingly different. It does cause me to think about our own culture, as modern, enlightened folk, whose box office hits and Xbox favorites all revolve around killing. It strikes me that not much has changed. We try to pretend that we’re different, but deep down, our hearts have not really experienced any relief from our most basic instincts. There is nothing new under the sun, the old book says.

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