The Ramayana by R.K. Narayan


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“The Ramayana”, written by R. K. Narayan is the story well-known to any Indian and may be regarded as numerous variations of the story about Ramayana may be regarded at as one of the sources of Indian literature, philosophy, ideology, and even religion. One of the central characters of the book is Rama, the empire builder and simply a person who represents all good forces in the struggle against evil. To understand this character, the book has to be thoroughly analyzed and through his deeds, his allies and his enemies the entity of Rama and his role as a statesperson may be cleared. First of all, it is necessary to underline that Rama is not an ordinary person, moreover he is not just a king, he is a founder of an empire, a descendant of Gods, for he is an incarnation of the God Vishnu. In the book we may find numerous evidences of his divine origin and close relations with Gods who often helped him, for instance in his struggle with his enemy Ravana, as well as opposed in his struggle with forces of evil. Generally speaking we may define Rama and Ravana as representatives of good and evil and their struggle is not simply a struggle between to powerful kings but the struggle between good and evil. It is quite symbolic that in the final struggle Rama wins that implies the victory of good over evil. Speaking about the personality of Rama, it should be noticed that R. K. Narayan describes him as a wise ruler, a brave and noble warrior, a good diplomat but, on the other hand, he seems to be a bit thoughtless and not suspicious enough, for he has been tricked when Ravana organized the abduction of his wife. At the same time, we see his wisdom in his ability to organize the rescue of his wife. He seems to be a genius commander-in-chief, who creates a strong army, an outstanding diplomat, who finds so many allies even from the part of Gods. On the other hand it is obvious that alone he could hardly win and defeat Ravana. Among his most tolerant and powerful allies Sugreeve and Hanuman may be named though the former is probably not very reliable since he “enjoying his new status as King… he had forgotten all about Rama and his promise to help him” (Richman 1991, p.207). But still he is remorseful and reminded about his promise he immediately help to his ally. As for Hanuman, he is more than an ally of Rama, he is his friend, belonging to the monkey race. Probably, through such a friendship of representatives of different races, Rama and Hanuman, R. K. Narayan attempted to convey the message of racial tolerance and equality. All together they are a strong power that defeats forces of evil. It is also important to underline that they were supported by Gods, it means that good obligatory wins for it is the will of almighty Gods.

Consequently, Ravana, who “with ritual baths and prayersto God Shiva prepare himself for the final battle” (Richman 1991, p.289) but he does not realize that the other Gods want Rama to win. He was defeated and it seems quite reasonable as a punishment for all evil and unfair deeds he commited, such as abduction of Sita for example. On the other hand, he is quite strong and powerful and the author attempts to persuade readers that nobody can defeat evil, only when all good people are united for a noble goal they can win.

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Thus, taking into account all above mentioned, it is possible to conclude that “The Ramayana” by R. K. Narayana is a very important book for understanding of Indian views and philosophy. The main character, Rama, is the empire builder, who has a lot of good traits but he is not perfect as any human. At the same time his personal qualities and abilities permitted him to unite different allies and defeat evil represented by his main opponent Ravana.

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