3 Epic Life Lessons to Learn From Our Epics
I believe this is a topic that has hardly been discussed on my podcast, Figuring Out. Ramayana and Mahabharata are two epics that were written at two different points in history. Yet, there is an uncanny similarity between them, in terms of character development and moral lessons. They both have several subplots and stories which have shaped our understanding of this world. We have seen and heard many retellings of these two, which have ensued discussions and analysis in every decade.
I discussed these epics in detail with Anand Neelakantan, renowned for writing the masterpiece ‘Bahubali.’ So now, let’s look at the life lessons we can all learn from these epics.
1. Loyalty and friendship, above all
Lakshman followed his brother, Ram, to exile, knowing he had to stay away from his wife while the other brother Bharat, the interim king, kept Ram’s sandals on the throne. It was a gesture that came out of sheer devotion. Their brotherly affection for each other was so strong that nothing could come between them.
Just like this, friendship and loyalty should be your priority in life; not just in personal relationships but also in professional aspects. It will help you go through tough times. And eventually you will receive your reward for being committed. Betrayal is easy, staying true to someone requires effort.
2. Temptation, the cause of downfall
In both epics, we find numerous examples of this. Temptation and greed are the actual cause of downfall in many scenarios. In Mahabharata, the greed for the throne of Hastinapura led to the Battle of Kurukshetra. Two clans of the same family fought to claim themselves as the rightful successor that led to the death of millions.
You should be content with where you are in life. Trust the process. Work hard. And it will happen eventually. It is never justified to be greedy. You cannot have it all, no matter who you are. What happens instead is you lose a lot.
3. Respect for women
This is a fundamental life lesson that everyone should know and follow. However, the reality is something else. In Mahabharata, the humiliation of Draupadi acts as a catalyst to the Kurukshetra battle. You can never get away with abusing a woman.
Women are the source of life, and humiliating and abusing them equals disrupting the functioning of nature. Being respectful to your mother and wife is not enough if you disregard the feelings of the rest. Patriarchy has long plagued women and men. To uplift all of humanity from this cycle of hatred, revolutions and the fall of dynasties serve as a reminder to respect women.
The lessons from these epics also teach us to never give up despite hurdles, never underestimate someone, follow ethics, and know nothing good can come from wrongdoing.
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