5 Life Lessons from the Ramayana that are Relevant Today

5 Life Lessons from the Ramayana that are Relevant Today

Valmiki’s Ramayana is an epic mythological magnum opus that has stood the test of time. 2020 marks a resurgence in the popularity and interest in the life and trials of Lord Rama. Its video adaptation, Ramanand Sagar’s Ramayana began its second round of telecast on March 29, 2020. 28 years after the brutal demolition of the Babri Masjid, the foundation stone of the Ram temple is to be laid on August 5, 2020.

While many are watching the show and the bhoomi poojan of the proposed Ram temple in Ayodhya avidly, it is the application of the lessons taught by Lord Rama that is perhaps most needed now. Since most of us are stuck in lockdowns and are enjoying limited movement due to the pandemic, this is a good time to hark back to the Ramayana and filter out important life lessons that are just as relevant today.

  • It is not your position but your spirit of service that matters.

Whether he was required to serve his people as a king or give his position up and venture into the forest, Lord Rama unequivocally stepped up to serve his people, his family, and what he believed in. Instead of getting stuck on positions or fame, the Ramayana teaches that the spirit of service is what sets you apart – do your bit where you are and with whatever resources you have. A great real-life example of this is the altruistic work being done by actor Sonu Sood during the pandemic. From airlifting stranded children to helping migrants make their way home at his own cost, Sood’s spirit of service is not connected to any position or post but to his innate goodness.

  • The truth always prevails.

It is understandable to be disappointed in how people and governments all over the world are functioning today. Even faced with insurmountable odds and a strong opponent like Ravana, Lord Rama stood by what is right and defeated the odds. Perhaps, the most important life lesson to learn from the Ramayana is that truth always prevails and the victory of good over evil is inevitable – do not lose hope. 

  • Value your support system.

When Lord Rama was banished into exile, his brother Laxman chose to give up the luxuries of life as a prince and stand by his brother. Similarly, Bharat stayed back but did not accept the position of king, choosing to rule in Lord Ram’s stead as he waited for his brother to come home. The people that surround you are your biggest strength. This life was not meant to be lived alone. Seek help when you need it, and value the people in your life. The untimely death by suicide of actor Sushant Singh Rajput is a critique of the flailing mental health conditions in India. Seek help when you need it. Like Lord Rama, you are not alone.

  • Plant seeds of faith.

Ramayana teaches that a devotee has access to God wherever he/she is. Visiting places of worship is not practical or desirable during the pandemic. However, like Shabari whose devotion brings Lord Rama right to her doorstep, you do not need a temple to worship– all you need is a clear heart and faith. Improving on a 93-year-old tradition, Mumbai’s Lalbaugcha Raja Ganeshotsav Mandal has decided to hold a blood and plasma donation camp to help COVID-19 patients instead of raising the traditional pandal for a grand Ganesh idol. With Mumbai’s increasing number of coronavirus cases in mind, this is a move that says that the way to please God is to extend help to your fellowmen.

  • Unity in diversity is possible and necessary. 

When Lord Rama set out to defeat Ravana, he was not alone. Even though he was exiled, he had his people’s support. The gods stood with him, too. The famous Vanarasena led by Sugriva and Hanuman were by his side. This support and unity are what made it possible for Lord Ram to reach Lanka and defeat Ravana. In today’s world, it might seem impossible for people from different backgrounds to come together and help each other. With more cases of violence against Dalits and lynching of Indian Muslims coming to light, now is the time to stand with each other, irrespective of differences. The Ramayana teaches us that not only is it possible, but it is also necessary to ensure victory over evil forces.

Lord Ram is the epitome of kindness, compassion, and love. His wisdom and patience made it possible for him to follow his inner good without worrying about the loss of luxuries and kingship. There is much to learn from the personal character of Lord Ram as well as the many stories in the epic. Look deeper than face value to find the hidden truth of the Ramayana.