Prof. Jeff Shalan
October 31st, 2008
Ramayana and the concept of Lust
Ramayana by R.K. Narayana is an epic tale of the protector god Vishnu in his human form as Rama. Ramayana is not just a story about Rama’s journey to abolish evil but it also deals with conquering the five fold evils and reaching a higher level of one’s own spirituality. Lust is one of the main fold evils and is a very common subject in the epic tale. In many instances and situations, Rama conquers it to save many lives including his own. First, Rama learns about the sin of lust, how people involved in the story should be judged and then he learns the art of conquering the fold evil. On his journey with Viswamithra, he learns about the sin from two different stories. First, he learns about it from the story of god Shiva and then through Ahalaya’s story. God Shiva turned the god of love into ashes when he tried to interpret Shiva while he was meditating on a mountain. Through this instance, Rama learned that lust is considered as one of the biggest sins in Hindu religion practiced at the time. This concept is proven by Ahalaya’s story in which her husband, Gautama punishes her by turning her into a stone until Rama comes and releases her soul. She is punished because of Lord Indra who disguises himself in the form of Sage Gautama while he was away because he is mesmerized by her beauty and considers himself to be the only one worthy of her. Ahalaya was punished for surrendering to Indra without confirming whether it was truly Gautama. Also, when she realized that Indra was not Gautama, she didn’t take any action against him. Gautama also curses Indra who tries to run away by transforming into a cat; with an entire body covered with female parts. Later, he changed his punishment due to lord Brahma’s plead. This caused the female parts on his body to turn into eyes making Indra a “thousand-eyed, ” god. Learning about Ahalaya and Indra’s punishment, Rama understands...