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The adventure of Rama is a famous religious story of India that was described in the great Indian epic, Ramayana. First, this story was transferred from generation to generation by spoken. Then it was written down in the great Indian epic, Ramayana. It showed the great civilization, culture, literature, religion, and kingdom of the India since 3rd century B.C. and stay in mind until today (Madden). Moreover, this great story has influence in many South Asia counties, including Thailand, Burma, particularly in Cambodia that has a very similar story, which is called Ramker, in Khmer literature because Cambodia was influenced by Indian culture. The reasons that encourage me to choose this story for my topic assignment are that this story is similar to Khmer story that Cambodians also regarded it as one of the best stories. Another reason is that, it is a great and memorized story for Indian. Moreover, I also want to maintain the great relationship and ideal of characters Rama, Sita, and Ravana, and the moral from this story.
The episodes of the story are about the conflict between god, Rama, and evil, Ravana who captured Sita, Rama's wife. After married, Rama and Sita lived happily for twelve years at Ayodhya. As king, Dasharatha, thought he was old enough to transfer his kingdom to his son, Rama. Kakeyi, one of his wives refused; she wanted her son, Bharatha, to rule the kingdom. As she had two boons from king Dasharatha, she asked him to offer those boons. First boon is to gain Bharatha as the king, and second boon is to drive away Rama to the forest for fourteen years. When Rama decided to go to the forest, Sita cannot live without him, and Lakshmana want to protect both Rama and Sita. Therefore, three of them went to the forest together as the hermits. Along the way to the jungle from one village to another, the villagers cried for Rama because they loved and respected him. When the three hermits arrived at the forest, Sita was captured by Ravana, the king of Lanka. Then Rama and Lakshmana tried their best to find Sita. On the way to rescue Sita, they got help from many aspects such as king Sugrive, Hanuman, monkey army, bird army, etc. Finally, they killed Ravana and could rescue Sita back. However, Rama seemed not happy and said to Sita that he was happy to rescue her from the hand of Ravana but Sita had lived a year in the Ravana's palace. It was not suitable that he should take her back now. Hearing like that, Sita deeply hurt and made up her mind to end the
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life in the fire in order to ensure her pure. Surprisingly, when she went to the fire, the god of fire, Agni, lifted her without harming and took her to Rama (Knapp). Then they went back to Ayodhya, and Rama ruled the kingdom peacefully; during this peaceful period was called Rama Rajya (The Ramayana). Unfortunately, Rama asked Lakshmana to banish his beloved wife, while she was pregnant, to the forest again because of his subjects' rumor that, Rama should not bring back Sita because she lived in the palace of Ravana for a year ago. In the forest, Sita had borne Rama's twin sons, Lava and Kusa. Many years later, Lava and Kusa grew up, and they both were brought by Valkimi to join the great Horse-sacrifice of Rama. At that time, their family reunited. Nevertheless, Sita still did not happy, her heart was broken because of unjust suspicion. So, she prayed to the earth, which given birth to her, to take her back (Dutt).
That is the end of the story; it is just a brief story to introduce the process of story. Then I will discuss some main characters and events of the story.
Review and Discussion of Main Characters
There are three major characters who played very important role in this story such as Rama, Sita, and Ravana. Rama, in Cambodian story, is just a simple man not an avatar of god. However, in Indian story, Rama was the seventh avatar of god Vishnu, who came to the earth to help human being and destroy evil, Ravana. Rama is the oldest son of Dasharatha, the king of Kosala. Rama was regarded as the hero and a great ideal man because of his kindness, bravery, patience, and duties; he accepted to be exiled in jungle for fourteen years to fulfill his father's promise with Kakeyei, one of the king Dasharathas' wives (Peterson). Unlike his father, Rama gave the ideal of having a single wife; he strongly loved his wife, Sita. After Sita was captured, he tried his best to rescue her. Moreover, Rama always kept his promises; he never returned his words like when Bharata asked him to turn back to rule the kingdom, he said that he could not possibly disobey his father; he told Bharata to rule the kingdom, and he shall carry out his pledge. He will go back to the kingdom only after fourteen years (Knapp). Furthermore, he had ability to make friends; he behaved highly moral standard even toward his enemies. This causes them to respect and follow him (The Ramayana).
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Sita, who was considered as an avatar of Goddess Lakshmi, the consort of god Vishnu, and the provider of women visible form, was born as a daughter of king Janaka. She was a beloved wife of Rama; she was viewed as a loyally woman. Although she was captured and imprisoned by Ravana, she still made up her mind not to be the queen of Ravana. Moreover, she is a faithful woman; she decided to fire herself in order to ensure her loyalty. For this reason, she was recognized as ideal womanhood.
Ravana was the king of Lanka who had great power and had many faces and hand. In addition, he could emerge himself into different forms. He had a boon from God Brahma to avoid killing by gods, demons, or spirits after his penance for ten thousand years. Thus, God Vishnu incarnated as human, Rama, to kill him. As he had strong power, he disturb humans especially, he badly caught Sita. He was judged as bad evil, and the one who had a full of dirty trick.
Review and Discussion of Main Episodes
For this section, I want to discuss three main events. The first event is when the king Dasharatha thought he was too old to manage the kingdom, so he decided to transform his kingdom to Rama. At that time, Kakeyi, one of the king Dasharatha's wives, did not agree; she wanted her son, Bharata, to be a king of Kosala. First Kakeyi, with other queens, was happy with the Rama's advance; she loved Rama as her own son. However, Manthara wanted Bharata to be a king, so she gossiped Kakeyi to make a plan to send away Rama. Meanwhile Bharata was not there, he went to visit his grandfather. As Kakeyi used to help the king Dasharatha to be safety, she got two wishes that she could ask whenever she need. As they thought the king Dasharatha has never reclined his words, Manthara told Kakeyi to ask for that two wishes from him now, first wish is to advance Bharata as the king, and second wish is to send Rama to the jungle as hermit for fourteen years. When Dasharatha heard those words, he did not even believed that were her words, then he could not say anything. Until the next day, Kakeyi asked Sumantra to call Rama, and Rama arrived, the king Dasharatha could only call Rama's name in a soft voice, Rama! Rama! Rama was shock and asked Kakeyi, what is wrong with my father? Then Kakeyi told Rama about her purpose. Rama smiled and said I will fit your goals, call
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Bharata back, and I will go the jungle tomorrow. The king Dasharatha was painful and wanted to die to be relief. Lakshmana was very angry about that news, and he asked Rama for going with him. Then Rama said goodbye to his mother, and told Sita to lookafter his mother. Nevertheless, Sita did not agree; she wanted to follow him because she cannot live without him. So, three of them started to the forest in the evening of that day on a chariot that was driven by Sumatra. The people there loved him so much, and they were disappointed and crying loudly for Rama. Along the way to the jungle from a village to one another, he was welcome by the villagers; but he thanked for their kinds and did not accept their welcome because he did not want to break his promise. When he reached the river, Ganges, he told Sumatra to go back to Ayodhya and consoled his father. As Sumatra arrived at Ayoghya, the king Dasharatha died; the king continued calling Rama's name until his last breath (Knapp). For this event, I notice that Kakeyi was a cold-blooded person; to gain Bharata as king, she cruelly banished Rama to the forest. Actually, she was a kind person, but she was heartless. She believed Manthara's terrible gossip and made the families unhappiness, such as her husband, Dasharatha, die, Rama exiled forest, and Sita was captured by Ravana. According to dharma, Manthara and Kakeyi were as regarded as evil because they did not follow dharma.
Second, after Surpanakha was cut her nose and ears by Lakshmana, she was furious. So, she sought out brother, Ravana, for help. Ravana gnashed his teeth and he was also interested when his sister said Sita is a gorgeous woman in the world, so he made up his mind to capture Sita. As he already set his mind, he made a tricky plan and forced Maricha, the one who can change his body and voice, to help him to kidnap Sita. For their plan, Maricha had transformed himself into a gold deer and run near the cottage of Sita. When Sita saw the gold deer, she asked Rama to take it for her. Thus, Rama followed his wife and tried to catch the gold deer. On the way, he knew that the gold deer was not the real one; it was Maricha. Therefore, he shot an arrow at the gold deer; before it died, the gold deer changed its voice into Rama's voice and sounded loudly "Oh Lakshmana! Oh Sita! Help! Help!" This sound made Sita worry about Rama, so she forced Lakshmana to find and help Rama. At that time, Lakshmana knew clearly that it was just a trick; however, Sita still doubt in
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mind. Lakshmana decided to find Rama; but before he went, he drew a magic circle around the cottage and told Sita not to go outside the circle because the circle could protect you from evil. For Ravana, he hid himself near Sita's cottage waiting for good chance. As he saw Lakshmana left Sita alone, he transformed himself into an old hermit and asked for aid from Sita. Staying inside the circle, Sita took food to him, but the he asked Sita to come near him. Sita did not want to leave the line, but when she saw the hermit went back without taking any food, she came out to offer the food. Ravana did not let the opportunity away; he suddenly swooped on and caught Sita's hand tightly and said he was Ravana, the king of Lanka. Then Ravana took Sita on his chariot and flew toward Lanka (Knapp). This indicates that Sita was captured because her willing to get the golden deer. For Ravana is a tricky person; in order to catch Sita, Maricha died because of helping him. When his younger brother, Vibhishana, told him to give back Sita to Rama to restore peace, he did not listen to his brother but also banished him from the kingdom of Lanka. This leads to damage their solidarity, and Vibhishana became Rama's adviser for fighting against Ravana. Finally, Ravana was killed by Rama and his army, and Vibhishana ruled the kingdom of Lanka.
Third, after rescued Sita, Rama turned to doubt in Sita. This cause Sita decided to fire herself. Before she lad to the fire, she called Agni, the god of fire, to help her if she was pure. At that time, Agni appeared and lifted Sita safety. Then he took Sita back to Rama and told him she was pure. Thus, they all returned to Ayoghya, Rama ruled the kingdom. However, Rama sent Sita to the forest again because his subjects found that it is not fit Rama accepted to bring a woman who used to live in Lanka. For this part, first I wonder why Rama still sent Sita away because he tried so hard in order to rescue her and god of fire also ensured her pure. Then I think that because of his subjects, he kept subjects as importance. The king has to listen to his subjects; therefore, people lived peacefully during his kingdom.
After keep reading this story for my topic assignment, I find that this story is a great story that it shows the aspect of the Indian society during that period. People followed Hinduism, which the gods had great power; evils never win over gods.
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Thus, people have to behave in good manner by following dharma and not to do something badly affect to others or too sensitive. During that time, the society was a well recognized; the kings could rule their state peacefully and the king focused on their subjects. Rama, Sita, and Ravana have been held up as models of behavior. As a result, this story remains in mind from generation to generation. From this story, we can learn some points such as "Think first before leap"; means that before decide to do some things, we have to view all sides whether it harms to other people and not just to see your own benefit. Another thing is that "Act in a good way will be good result." As in this story, Ravana behave in bad ways; he disturbed human being, captured Sita in a tricky way, and also banish his brother from the kingdom. Finally, he was killed and his city was destroyed.
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