Ram(a), the eldest son of Ayodhya’s King Dasharath(a) and his first wife Kausalya, is believed to be the seventh, human incarnation of Lord Vishnu, but was hailed a lord because of his qualities. The qualities gave him different names. From “Shri Ram(a)” that means “the giver of happiness” to “Parasmai” that means “the supreme lord”, Ram has 108 names.
Millions of Hindus across the world celebrate Ram Navami or the birthday of Lord Ram reciting stories of his valour, chariot processions and fasting. Ram Navami falls on the ninth day of Chaitra Navaratri. Ram temples across India will witness massive celebrations today.
It is interesting to note that on Ram Navami, Ram’s wife Sita, brother Lakshman and close aide Hunaman are given due regard and are worshipped alongside.
Ram symbolises the good and is the destroyer of evil. Lord Vishnu’s incarnation as Ram was to prove to the human race that being extraordinary is humanly possible. Ram, with his life, showed human beings how to face obstacles without compromising on justness or dharma (a collection of rights, duties, code of conduct and virtues).
Ram, since his childhood, showed how to be a perfect son, a perfect brother, grew up to become a respected man with the best of virtues and then showed how to be the perfect husband, how to deal with evil forces and obstacles in life, how to be a perfect king (a manager, essentially) and how to leave behind a legacy.
Here are some legends about the exemplary man:
Ravan, the character believed to symbolise evil, was a great scholar. A story behind Ravan having ten heads says that the ten heads symbolises the six shastras and the four vedas he mastered.
Ravan, was the great-great-grandson of Lord Brahma, a Brahmin. Ram was a Kshatriya. By killing Ravan, Ram committed a sin, and instead of misunderstanding it as a person belonging to a caste that is apparently ranked lower to the other, the sin was of killing a custodian of Brahma-gyan or the knowledge of God, Devdutt Pattanaik explains.
It is believed that Ram built a Shiva temple in Rameshwaram to wash away the sin of killing Ravan.
RAM RESPECTED RAVAN’S KNOWLEDGE, CONSIDERED HIM GURU
At the end of the battle between good and evil, that is Ram and Ravan, when Ram finally managed to shoot a fatal arrow at Ravan’s navel, learning only that could kill him, Ram sent his brother Lakshman to Ravan with a request — to impart his knowledge to Lakshman before he dies.
Lakshman went to Ravan, stood next to Ravan’s head and requested him to share his wisdom, only to see Ravan’s turning his face away. Annoyed, Lakshman went back to Ram complaining about Ravan’s arrogance. Ram told Lakshman that to be a student one should be willing to let go of your ego and submit yourself to the guru and that standing next to Ravan’s head was not the right thing to do. Ram went near Ravan, stood at his feet with folded hands and requested the “evil” king to share his knowledge.
Ravan saluted Ram, Devdutt Pattanaik writes, and tells him he wished he could be Ram’s teacher than being an enemy. Ravan shared the most important lesson he learnt in life with Ram, saying, “things that are bad for you seduce you easily”.