Marriage In The Ramayana

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For Hindus, The Ramayana is more than an exhilarating tale of love and war. The ancient epic provides guidance on marriage, values human imperfection, glorifies nature, and emphasizes the auspiciousness of the stars. While the first version of The Ramayana appeared around two thousand years ago, the ideas that pervade it continue to influence Hindu life. Marital Devotion The theme of marital devotion functions as the plot’s impetus. The discordance between two separate depictions of marriage in The Ramayana force the reader to look at the text more closely to discern the true nature of the ideal marriage. The romance of Rama and Sita emphasizes passion and respect, while the textually earlier story of Sage Gautama and Ahalya silences the wife’s voice and allows for unwarranted punishment. Before Rama and Sita even share their first transformative meeting of eyes, the epic tells the tale of Ahalya. Created “out of the ingredients of absolute beauty,” Indra lusted after her (19). Brahma, bothered…show more content…
Indra, regarded here as the “highest god among the gods” lusts after a child, who he later stalks and deceives (19). Yet, the even more disturbing part of this tale exists in the relationship between Gautama and Ahalya, husband and wife. In this depiction of marriage, the husband punishes his wife much more harshly than he does the man who schemed her into sex. This outcome portrays involuntary female infidelity as worse than sexual coercion. However, Rama and Sita’s marriage, which composes the bulk of the epic, overshadows Ahalya’s story to provide a vision of passionate, forgiving, and loving Hindu marriage. Rama, the “ideal man,” and Sita, the “ideal woman,” are models for all Hindus, and their marriage is no different. Their story emphasizes the positivity of both men’s and women’s feelings and sexuality, encourages peaceful negotiation between partners, and presents husband and wife as needing each other
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