Even In Epics, Gods Evolve Over Time, Why Can’t We?

The two great epics of Hinduism, Ramayana, and Mahabharata, preaches us an important lesson - 'Don't stay back in time; change, adapt, evolve'. Wondering how? Let me explain.

The two great epics of Hinduism, Ramayana, and Mahabharata, preaches us an important lesson: ‘Don’t stay back in time; change, adapt, evolve’. Wondering how? Let me explain.

Back in 2009, I grew up seeing the ‘Ramayana’ serial which was telecasted every Sunday on television. Though I didn’t have much interest in it initially, I greatly indulged in it eventually.

What was Ram, the hero of the epic, all about?

  • He was an embodiment of a perfect man.
  • He went to the forest for 14 years, obeying his dad’s orders.
  • Not only that, but he lived the life of a ‘one-woman’ man.
  • He saved Sita from Lanka’s prison.
  • Likewise, he sacrificed his pregnant wife to prioritize his kingly duties.

My learning from Ramayana

My major walk-throughs of this epic were:

  • Dharma and Duties
    As a human being, upon taking up different roles in life, I have to follow my dharma and fulfil my duties. Let me explain with an example:
    As a daughter, my dharma is to respect my parents. My duty is to ensure that my parents stay happy and proud of my acts. And to uphold my dharma and duty, I should be ready to sacrifice certain things in life.
  • Promise
    If I ever promise someone on something, I should keep up my word till the end, no matter what. To a 16-year-old me, these walk-throughs were absolutely valid and convincing. Then came a twist when I watched the ‘Mahabharatha’ serial in the year 2016.
  • A radical shift
    What a drastic diversity in the preachings of these two epics! Growing up seeing Ram fulfilling his duties as a son, a husband, and a king, by making extreme choices and sacrifices in his life, to witnessing Krishna being a change maker was a sweet shock.

What was Krishna, the linchpin of the epic Mahabharata, doing?

  • He broke the taboo of being perfect.
  • Stealing is never portrayed as a godly act, yet he often stole butter from his neighbourhood.
  • He was always a sweet, troublesome to Gopikas.
  • He broke the old beliefs of his villagers and made them worship the Govardhan hill instead of Lord Indra.
  • Not only that, but he wasn’t a ‘one-woman’ man.
  • He took Bheeshma, Karna, and Dronacharya to task at the Kurukshetra war, for blindly sticking to the old customs and promises. So on and so forth!

I would say that Mahabharatha evolved mainly because the great warriors Bheeshma, Dronacharya, and Karna followed the dharmas of the Tretha Yuga (Ram’s Yuga), despite living in the Dwapara Yuga (Krishna’s Yuga).

And so there was Krishna to preach: It’s well and good to follow your promises and customs. But it’s even better if you are able to reason why you follow such customs, and be ready to sacrifice them if it proves offensive to people around you.

So what does the difference between the two great epics teach us?

Epics evolve over time; Dharma evolves over time; Even Gods evolves over time. Why not us, then? Why not we evolve our old mindset, which isn’t valid or fruitful any more?

By ‘evolving our mindset’, I mean anything and everything, ranging from our thought processes to our physical behaviours.

It can be about setting a benchmark for a woman in handling her career and household chores, it can be about judging a person instantly based on their outfits, it can be about how we treat our domestic help, it can be about expecting the younger generations to follow an older pattern, it can be about our inability to come out of certain beliefs passed on to us by our parents, it can literally be about anything which you blindly believe or do without a logic behind it.

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Evolving with time is how we progress as society

We necessarily needn’t wait for an era change to evolve our mindset. All we need to do is, identify the areas where we are not able to think beyond our beliefs, figure out if such beliefs hold good even today, and work on it.

Though it’s not an easy task to forgo our foundational characteristics and accept the new changes immediately, we surely can take it slow and make it happen.

I’m not here to mislead anyone about Ramayana; neither do I intend to place Krishna above Ram. I’m only trying to convey a beautiful fact that our epics teach us: ‘Nothing but change is the only constant’.

Let’s be ready to accept the surrounding change, adapt to the current environment, and evolve to become the best version of ourselves.

Image source: cascoly, and h0rde via Getty Images Signature, free and edited on CanvaPro

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About the Author

Gayathri Venkatesan

Instructional Designer by profession; Writer by passion. A self sculpting mother exploring life in various dimensions. read more...

15 Posts | 8,217 Views

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