Mahabharata portrays the sacrifice of Yudhishtira, who goes to the forest because he lost his kingdom by gambling. Rama, on the other hand, sacrifices his kingdom, one which he has all the right and eligibility to rule, merely to keep up his father Dasharata’s promise to Kaikeyi.
In Mahabharata, we see the brothers – the Kauravas in constant quarrel with the Pandavas. Duryodhana, whose mind was filled with malice, was at war with his own brothers for a bad cause, and along with his brothers, gave up his life in the battlefield.
On the other hand, Ramayana shows the bonding between the brothers. Bharata, Rama’s younger brother declines the kingdom despite being entitled to it by virtue of his father’s promise and Rama’s sacrifice. He eventually enthroned the divine sandals of Sri Rama and worshiped ‘them’ for 14 years! In short, the Mahabharata shows how one should not while Ramayana shows how one should lead his life.
The Ganges flows endlessly and yet, we carry home a pail of water from the river and enjoy its sanctity and purity. Likewise, who can expound the greatness of Ramayana in entirety? It is only by having glimpses of the epic that we perceive its greatness.
– R. Murali, Chennai, India
Illustration: Sripriya Sarathy, charlotte, NC