CHENNAI: Human life is geared towards the four Purusharthas, namely, Dharma (righteousness), Artha (prosperity), Kama (pleasures) and Moksha (liberation). It is ironical that wealth, prosperity and worldly attainments (Artha and Kama) are more readily sought though these are temporary and do not have long term benefits for an individual, while Dharma (ethical and moral way of life) that leads to liberation is more often sidelined. Whether it is wealth or pleasure, it implies desire and desire has the only virtue of enveloping the mind with further desires making us forget the purpose of life. The Ramayana encompasses the entire range of worldly living comprising joy and sorrow, love and separation, danger and security, devotion and lack of it, etc., where moral values are established at all costs. How to follow the path of dharma is well illustrated in this epic and thereby it provides a cure for the terrible disease of Samsara, said Sri B. Sundarkumar in a lecture.

The Ramayana is the essence of the Vedas. Its story and deep meanings are valuable to not merely the learned but also the lay man. When caught in the cycle of birth, right from birth to death, one experiences disease, old age, difficulties, etc. The first step towards liberation is taken only when a sincere desire to escape further birth takes root in the individual. This happens only with conscious rejection of worldly aspirations and single-minded longing for liberation. Unless each individual decides to escape birth and goes in search of the ways to achieve this purpose the human birth gets wasted.

It is believed that Sage Valmiki authored the epic by virtue of the yogic power conferred on him by Brahma, when the sage beheld a preview of the entire events in the life of Lord Rama. As a consequence, this is an epic of unparalleled poetic excellence and high moral values. As a prologue to the writing, the sage witnessed the cruel end to the joyous company of a pair of Krouncha birds and he empathised with the pathos of the situation that he burst forth into beautiful poetry. He thereby revealed an author’s prime requisite, empathy, for dealing with the emotional and moral depth of the theme.