Sita: An illustrated retelling of the Ramayana by Devdutt Pattanaik
I was crying in the theatre in Kalakshetra last year when I saw Sita walked into the fire. My dance teacher sat next to me, comforted me by telling me that there is more to follow in this epic, and judging the god’s decision with human expectations won’t help us understand what the story is telling. My sorrow for Sita didn’t lead me to read the Ramayana immediately. Instead, I stay ignorant about it.
After reading the Mahabharata, I realized that I need to read the work myself to discover what messages and values it wants to convey. Therefore, I think it’s time for me to read Ramayana.
There are so many Ramayana narrations available, but whatever Ramayana we know is incomplete. It reminds me that sometimes we can’t be sure we know the truth, even we hear both sides of the story. And no one should be arrogant about their creation.
Following rules strictly without exception will not always bring you the best outcome. Even a god on earth has to suffer the consequences of his choices. He showed us the perfect standard of what should be done. But everything comes with a price/sacrifice. “Fear is a constant, and faith is a choice. Fear comes from karma, from faith arises dharma.”
Love and devotion without expectation. The love Sita has for Ram, the love Hanuman has for Ram attaches nothing. They didn’t expect anything in return. Now I realized why I was so upset when Ram “frees” Sita. The way I look at their relationship is with attachments and expectations.
No matter who you are by born, you have the power to change who you are inside. Hanuman was a monkey, but he learns actively and transforms himself. Ravana was born a Brahmin but trapped by his ego despite all the knowledge he had.
The Uttara Kanda helps me better understand the goddess nature of Sita. She never victimized herself. Therefore we should not look at her with our human values and judge her as a victim.
No one is perfect. Even god on earth can’t please everyone.
There is a perspective I like, which is, there are many Rams and many Ramayana. The same story keeps happening in cycles, again and again, and life is not linear.
I enjoy reading this epic a lot. There are a lot of thought-provoking moments.
Please pardon my shallow review of this epic. I am not an expert in classical text, and I don’t mean to upset anyone.