The Yoga Tutor

The Ramayana

[ Excerpt from The Science of Yoga, page 321 ]

Two magnificent epic tales, the RAMAYANA and the MAHABHARATA, represent perhaps the most important factors which shaped the Hindu culture of India over the ages. Both still exert tremendous cultural influence throughout India and Southeast Asia today.

Hindu tradition holds that Lord Rama lived in treta yuga, and the story of his life was written by Sage Valmiki, about 7,000 years ago. The RAMAYANA is the story of Rama and his wife Sita as they went into exile, accompanied by Rama’s brother, Lakshmana. Sita was then abducted by the demon-king Ravana, and rescued by Rama with the help of Hanuman, the monkey king. But as Smt. Meenakshi Devi Bhavanani points out:

"The RAMAYANA is also an allegory for the principles of Yogic living. Lord Rama was the supreme Yogi: firmly wedded to Dharma, or Righteous Living; an upholder of satya, or Truth at all costs. A supreme ascetic, or tapasin, he was firmly in control of his senses. His one-pointed mind manifested itself in his 'skill in action' as a warrior, a king, a husband, a son, a friend and a companion. Lord Rama is the role model for all yogic qualities.

The RAMAYANA is a 'practical yoga manual' showing mankind how to live a spiritual life. Proper attitudes to take towards all the challenges of worldly life are elaborated in detail in the work."

Rama himself was a prince from the reigning monarch in the ancient city of Ayodhya. In the Hindu pantheon he is considered the 7th main incarnation of the Supreme Lord Vishnu. The name Rama comes from the roots Ra (positive) and Ma (negative), and is literally representative of 'the perfectly balanced being'. Therefore, 'Rama' is the mantric sound associated with balance and harmony.


NOTE: This yoga article is an excerpt from The Science of Yoga, an online yoga training program with streaming yoga videos and 600 pages of step-by-step yoga instruction.

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