Epics are perennial sources of wisdom and inspiration. The ethical and spiritual dimensions of epics guide our lives and fuel our beings. Epics are built around great themes and great personages who have ennobled their lives by proving their superhuman capabilities after passing the challenges, tests and hardships presented by the life. The two immortal epics of India namely The Ramayana and The Mahabharata have conquered the test of time and have proven their relevance for the people of all ages without any distinctions whatsoever. Being the epitome of Indian culture and Indian way of life, they are fit to be called treatises on Indian philosophy and the galaxy of practical wisdom contained in the annals of Hindu Literature. Understanding the essence of these greatest accomplishments of literature can throw more light on what they can give us.
The Ramayana and The Mahabharata are among the most important scriptures of Sanatana Dharma (The Hinduism) for the reason that they have become the beacon lights teaching us the art of life. While the other kinds of literature contain a large amount of somber theory, these two epics illustrate the message of the Vedas and Upanishads by narrating the lives of great personages who abided by the injunctions of these Holy Scriptures. There are however, some striking differences between these two epics while there are a lot of similarities too. Discussing them a bit can be highly interesting.
While The Ramayana narrates the story of God walking as man on this earth demonstrating to all men how to lead a noble life, The Mahabharata tells us the tale of a group of men who have risen to the level of gods by adhering to values in their lives. Thus, the central theme of both these epics is the ‘Art of Noble Life’.
The story line of both these epics leads us through the temporary triumph of evil, the hardships faced by the noble men during the course of their journey and finally the victory of good over evil. The underline is ‘Dharmo Rakshita Rakshitah’, those who protect Dharma will in turn be protected’.
The heroes of both these epics undergo a great amount of troubles, challenges and turmoil in their journey of course culminating in their victory over those who had been evil, unethical and inhuman in their attitude, approach and behavior. Though the final touch is comforting, the severe hardships are in fact threatening and also not so encouraging. None would condone to see the good suffer a lot as they do not deserve it and the fate they undergo cannot be justified in any point of view. The point here is, simple men come and go and are forgotten as the time passes by while great men are remembered and revered in the memories of people forever and ever. Even long after their lives, they continue to inspire millions of people on this earth. In this connection, their hardships do not go waste and the suffering they underwent turns out to be a holy sacrifice or ‘Yajna” that sustains generations and generations with a sacred message.
Every human has a mission on this earth and the journey of life consists in achieving that mission and not resting in comfort and peace. Once we move into this wave length, we begin a royal journey committed to our noble task. Tasks are not measured by the outcome, but by the intention with which they are pursued. Noble intentions are always heralded by men and blessed by the gods. Is this not the central theme of these two great epics?