After celebrating a long festive period of Dussehra and Diwali, it is worth stepping back to think about the learning from the Epic Ramayana, the story that leads us to these celebratory festivals. While the common approach is to see the Ramayana as a story about the triumph of good over evil, it is worth taking a look at what the deeper learning could be.
Some deeper learning from Ramayana
The story of Rama and Ravana is symbolic of two facets within each one of us- the light and the shadow. The light is our essence or higher self; and the shadow is that aspect of us which is stuck in being limited; that plays various manipulative games for winning, coping, surviving and is consumed by desires.
Our journey of realising our limitless potential is not about denying our shadow self; but by turning the light of inquiry on it, understanding its machinations, how it plays out and accepting it unconditionally. This allows for steps to be taken to bring about completion and the aspect of our light self is strengthened.
However, normal human tendency is to externalise Gods and Demons and play a game of being a helpless victim, at the receiving end of life. Awakening the Creator within us involves embracing the Rama and Ravana within each one of us.
The ten heads of Ravana could also be looked at as our chattering mind which makes us lose focus and our connection with our light self. Can we take responsibility for our chattering mind, which constantly makes us regret aspects of the past, crave for something continuously and worry about the future?
Rama’s life is also a symbol of surrender and living from his truth and his ‘dharma’, moment to moment. What will it take for us to live following our ‘dharma’ like Rama and ensuring that the light of awareness is also shone onto the Ravana within us?
Remember, when a door separating a well lit room and a dark room is opened, the light streams into the dark room and not the other way around.
Here’s a poem about the Rama and Ravana within us all.
Rama and Ravana
Diwali signifies the triumph
of good over evil.
Of Light over dark,
Lord Rama coming back victorious,
defeating and killing Ravana,
claiming back Sita,
his life partner, his precious jewel.
A powerful story
with significant learning.
It metaphorically presents,
a wonderful opportunity for us,
to forward our growth
and awaken to the soul’s yearning.
The learning is reduced to praying
to virtuous Rama an external God,
pleading for deliverance;
And condemning and burning Ravana,
considered a dark villain and a demon.
Externalising Gods and Demons
has become the excuse
to avoid responsibility;
And remaining stuck
in a game of helplessness
and self-inflicted inability!
When will we acknowledge
that Rama and Ravana
both reside inside us?
Can we boldly muster courage
and claim the light of Rama within?
Acknowledge his presence
and shine it on the darkness of Ravana,
who also has within us found residence?
taking radical responsibility
for our own light,
without saying ‘poor me’;
Or blaming external demons
and lamenting our plight.
I urge you to look deeper and acknowledge the light and the shadow within; and wish you a life ahead full of mindful learning and genuine happiness.
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