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Life Lessons You Can Learn from Ram

By Shantanu Gupta
January 23, 2024 12:42 IST
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We all obviously cherish our good times, but challenging situations help us immensely to grow as humans.

Like Rama, we should think of challenges as classrooms where we learn life skills.

A fascinating excerpt from Shantanu Gupta's book, Teachings from the Ramayana on Family & Life.

IMAGE: Dipika Chikhlia as Sita, Arun Govil as Ram Sunil Lehri as Laxman in Ramanand Sagar's 1987 television series Ramayan.

During their exile, Rama, Laxmana and Sita had taken a vow to survive on fruits, roots and water (fala, moola, jala).

By the time Bharata came to meet Rama at Chitrakoot, the exiled trio had struggled enough and found the basic means of survival at Chitrakoot.

Chitrakoot is in today's Uttar Pradesh. But after Bharata's visit, that hideout became known to many in Ayodhya.

Rama knew that many people from Ayodhya would start visiting him frequently at Chitrakoot, which would make him weak, and he might develop a longing to go back to Ayodhya.

So he decided to leave Chitrakoot and move further into the deadly jungle of Dandkaranya along with Sita and Laxman.

For almost the next twelve years, Rama did not set up a proper base and kept on moving from one guru to another.

His quest for knowledge and wisdom took him to hermits like Rishi Bhardwaja, Rishi Valmiki, Rishi Atri, Rishi Sharabhanga, Rishi Agastya and many more.

He learnt new dimensions of spirituality, philosophy, statecraft, warcraft and justice.

This was the same Rama who had lost his kingdom just a day before his coronation.

Someone who had been brought up in the luxuries of the palace was now fending for food, shelter and safety for himself, his wife and his brother every day. But he never complained about his ill fate, never said that he wanted those fourteen tough years to be over soon so that he could be back to his smooth palatial life.

On the contrary, he made the best of every day of his exile. He searched for the best of gurus and learnt rare skills. He upgraded himself as a human being.

The knowledge and wisdom he acquired during those years helped him to contain and calm himself during the later challenges of exile, and enabled him to emerge victorious.


IMAGE: Arun Govil as Ram and Dipika Chikhlia as Sita in Ramanand Sagar's Ramayan.

Life Lesson #9 for Families

Rama was getting ready to be anointed as the king of Ayodhya when he heard the decision that he was being exiled for fourteen years.

Instead of crying over his fate, Rama made the best use of those years in exile to become a better person.

He started his exile as Prince Rama or King Rama, and by virtue of his constant learnings and the character he developed during exile, he returned as Lord Rama. Rama teaches us:

When you get lemons, make lemonade.

Family Scenario #9

After returning from the USA, Mohan made a beautiful house in Mumbai.

The whole family soon got used to the Indian way of life and started enjoying their new home.

The house was in a low-lying area. So during one of the floods in the city, it got deluged.

This caused a lot of damage to the furniture, expensive artworks and books, and derailed their daily life.

Different family members reacted differently to this. Think about what your reaction would be to such an episode.

A. You will obviously feel very perturbed with the damage and loss and would be unable to think how to handle it.

B. You will take the whole family to an alternative location and wait for the flood to recede.

C. You will try to stay strong and constantly evaluate the situation; you will motivate each member of the family to contribute ideas to arrive at the best solution for the given situation; you will use this loss to bring the family together, make them a more cohesive unit and work to their strengths.

IMAGE: Arvind Trivedi as Ravan from Ramanand Sagar's television series Ramayan.

Guidance for Families from the Ramayana #9

Time does not remain constant for any of us. There are good phases and bad ones.

We all obviously cherish our good times, but challenging situations help us immensely to grow as humans.

In a parent's role, it becomes essential for us to teach our children to regard challenges as opportunities to grow rather than crib about them.

Like Rama, we should think of challenges as classrooms where we learn life skills.

In fact, adverse phases of life make us stretch our limits and help us realize our true potential.

People with such an attitude are open to new experiences and cherish challenges, so that they can learn more about themselves during such phases.

Family Reflection Time

Share with your family and friends how you made good use of your time during the Covid lockdown.

You may want to note down your reflections, click a picture and share on social media with the hashtag #MyRamayana.

Your Favourite Character from the Ayodhya Kanda

In the Ayodhya Kanda we have learnt about various characters of the Ramayana.

First, list all the characters from the Ayodhya Kanda.

Then, thoughtfully choose the character whom you find most inspiring. Also, share why and how that character inspires you.

Different family members may have different favourite characters.

You may want jot down your thoughts about your favourite character, click a picture and share on social media with the hashtag #MyRamayana.

Kill the Ravana within You

As we reach the end of the Ayodhya Kanda, let's take a moment to identify our 'Rama' and 'Ravana' qualities again.

We should work to further strengthen our Rama qualities and get rid of our Ravana qualities.

Having learnt the five important lessons from the Ayodhya Kanda, you are moving steadily to master the essence of the Ramayana.

At this point in the book, which Ravanas within you do you want to eliminate? You may want note down your answer, click a picture and share on social media with the hashtag #MyRamayana.

Excerpted from Teachings from the Ramayana on Family & Life New Age Spirituality by Shantanu Gupta, with the kind permission of the publishers, Penguin Random House India.

Feature Presentation: Rajesh Alva/

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