Faith

The captivating Rama

Rama being the Supreme Lord incarnate, Sage Valmiki cannot but highlight His attractiveness on many occasions on many counts. Detailed descriptions of His physical appeal vie with accounts of His valour and princely charm.

Rama is the embodiment of righteousness and His nature is characterised by the predominance of Satva Guna. He displays qualities best aspired for in any human being — pleasing demeanour, charming ways of speech, deference to elders, concern for all, etc. But His enemies such as Ravana and Vali — wishing to fan their enmity, remain indifferent to His qualities or valour.

However, Surpanakha, Tara and Mandodari, who have every reason to be angry with him, end up praising Him, said Damal Sri Ramakrishnan in a lecture.

Surpanakha’s entry accelerates the confrontation with Ravana. When she meets Rama, she falls for His good looks and wishes to marry Him.

Rama sends Surpanakha to seek Lakshmana and soon she realises that the brothers were making fun of her to the extent of disfiguring her face. Though disappointed, she describes the physical appearance of Rama and Lakshmana in the most poetic and beautiful words.

Subtle inner change

Similarly, Tara and Mandodari, bereaved wives of Vali and Ravana respectively, are able to perceive the truth of Rama’s identity with uncanny sensitivity. Both undergo a subtle inner change in the direct presence of Rama.

Tara hails Rama’s Supreme Nature (which even the Vedas find it difficult to describe) in terms such as incomparable, indeterminable. She calls Him as “one who is self-conquered, the supreme among the righteous and with unmitigated glory.”

Mandodari, though sad at the fall of Ravana, understands Rama's Paratva — with His conch, disc, mace and Srivatsa mark.

Role of senses

Ravana, who had controlled his senses and performed severe austerities to gain the boon of invincibility, succumbs to his senses when he wishes to possess Sita. It was as if the senses, which were subdued by him once, decide to have revenge on him and do that successfully.

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Printable version | Apr 21, 2021 11:45:42 AM | https://www.thehindu.com/features/friday-review/religion/the-captivating-rama/article3800013.ece

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