Culture, beliefs and traditions have often been passed down from one generation to another through stories, literature which contain beliefs, aspirations, standards, and values of societies. These standards include specific rules of behavior, gender roles, standards of family etc. Therefore, in many cultures, the role of the story tales is to express the proper ways which humans should follow and live by. ‘The Ramayana’ is an epic story that provides many insights into the values of karma, duty, relationships and ideology. The Law of Dharma is a code of life in which a society supposed to live by. In my opinion there are two main values and beliefs that are posed in all Ramayna stories: the Law of Dharma and role of a woman in the Indian society.
‘The Ramayana’ highlights the duties and roles of women and what it takes to be considered a good woman in Indian world. In the story the Ramayana, Sita presented as a wife, who have decided to follow her husband Rama and live in the forest with him for fourteen years, because he was told to do so by his father. Sita said, ”After fourteen years! What would be the meaning of my existence? I could as well be dead. It will be living death for me without you. I am alive only when I am with you; a forest or a marble palace is all the same to me” (Narayan 117). During Sita’s and Rama’s journey in the forest, Sita got abducted by the king Ravana, however she was able to save her chastity. While Sita was in the king’s hands, Rama was looking for a way to save his wife. However, later when he saved Sita, Rama doubted her chastity, because she was living with another man for a long period of time. “Sita presented Rama with a victory garland, but instead of hugs and kisses, Rama stared coldly at her and spoke with chilling words. The blue prince rejected Sita for having spent so many nights in another man’s home” (Patel 112). Sita had nothing else to do as to put herself through the ring of fire to prove her chastity. In comparison, when Nina was rejected by Dave, she was heartbroken and begged Dave to take her back. Nina cried over the phone conversation, “Please take me back, please please please, I’ll anything, please” (Paley, Sita Sings the Blues). However, after being rejected again she got depressed and lonely for some time but eventually she decided to move on and stay in her new New York apartment. Hindu mythology often acknowledges gender roles in Indian society, in which women is forced to sacrifice her own happiness and stick to her husband no matter how bad or good she is treated by him. Women should always stay calm in every situation. In Indian culture the wife is a spiritual half of man, who has to follow and support her husband even if she treated bad by him.
‘The Ramayana’ is known to be part of the traditional and sacred literature for the Indian people not only because it speaks of the meaning of life, but it also provides knowledge, wisdom and spiritual meaning of life. Nevertheless, this story contains multiple life lessons for a variety of situations, which is appropriate for both young audience and adults. ‘The Ramayana’ is a story that describes the concept of dharma and how to be a good person and a true hero. It teaches the readers how to never put your desires and needs first, it also teaches about the importance of kindness, respect for your family and how to always follow dharma in your feelings and emotions. Dharma is a central concept that unite Indian citizens for thousands of years. When a King ordered Rama to banish in the forest for fourteen years instead of his coming coronation, Rama accepted the order unquestioningly. Rama said, “For my own good, my father has another command; it is for my progress and spiritual welfare” (Narayan 106). Rama departed with a feeling that he is following dharma and let it lead his way. Another example of following the concept of dharma was when Sita demanded on following her husband into the forest for fourteen years. Being Rama’s wife was her dharma and destiny. Sita was willing to do anything for her husband because this was her dharma and destiny.
‘The Ramayana’ contains lots of life lessons and morality. However, in my opinion, there are two main values and beliefs that are posed in all Ramayna stories, the Law of Dharma and role and importance of a woman in the Indian society.