The Following blog is written by Vijay Sodhi who is working on a very exciting project, a feature length movie titled Rama: The rise of Dharma. I think it is crucial to use technology and the best in innovative creativity to carry forward treasures of India. Obviously, I love this idea, I hope you do too, visit the Kickstarter page to help them achieve this goal after reading the blog.
Over to Vijay:
Why is the Ramayana Relevant Today?
2 years ago we agreed, come what may, we would do our best to bring the story of The Ramayana to the big screen. But where to start such a journey? We turned to the Ramayana itself for an answer. Sri Ramchandraji before embarking on any task, seeks the blessing and guidance from his parents and his teachers. And so did we.
Armed with the confidence of these blessings, we began the journey. We knew that it would be full of pitfalls, challenges and disappointments. We’d have to face mountains that we’d not know how to start climbing. But the words of our teacher echoes in our hearts, “in order to understand the Ramayana, to be able to tell its story, you, yourselves must become fit instruments to do so.” That meant reading, studying, discussing and learning this great story from the Masters that revel in it. We need to apply it to our lives, contemplate and allow the story to sink in, we need the story to permeate down to our very core. And only then can we become fit instruments to channel the glory of Lord Rama.
Now what does making a movie have with the odyssey of Sri Rama? Everything.
The story of the Ramayana has the power to transform the storyteller and the listener. In it our hero, Sri Rama, overcomes so many obstacles. Obstacles that we could not even imagine facing. Disenfranchised from his kingdom, banished to the forest, his wife kidnapped and going to war against the most fearsome of foes. The lesson in it all for us is not what obstacles he faced, but how he faced those obstacles.
We may not face an army of demons today, but the way in which Sri Rama faced them is certainly invaluable. Even tempered, steady, sure, without anxiety, without over confidence, he went about life with skill and equanimity of mind. So too with the demons of our own mind, we have to commit this same resolve. How do we do that? We learn that this resolve arises when we hold on to a higher ideal and delve into the cool waters of knowledge, to penetrate the fogginess of our likes and dislikes and bring clarity and joy to our lives.
The Ramayana’s appeal can be attributed to so many things; its story is both spanning and deep. It’s themes of adventure and love, courage and honour, good and bad, knowledge and ignorance explore the full array of human experience and emotions. But drill down to just below the surface, past the everyday themes, and there is a beautiful treasure waiting to be found. The sub-stratum of The Ramayana, the very foundation and supporting structure, the essence that makes the Ramayana what it is, and without it, it would be just another story… is Dharma.
Dharma. That intention, that thought, that action which holds, supports, unites us all – as nations, communities, families and individuals. Dharma. The means and the final destination. The art of righteous living, and the essence of all human beings. Dharma is subtle. It cannot be learnt. It has to be lived, and can only be lived by those with a strong and pure heart. We understand the subtlety of Dharma by observing Lord Rama’s life and how he handled every situation, small or significant.
The goal of human life remains the same. It always has and always will. So does the means: Dharma. Therefore the Ramayana is as relevant today as it was 5000 years ago. It offers a glimpse below the surface of what is ordinary. It provides an understanding of the nature of all things. And if you open yourself up to it, it reveals to you your own true nature.
If we are to be fit instruments, it would be through our adherence to Dharma.
With the blessings of our teachers and those that came before us.
Jai Shree Rama!!