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Ramayana And Mahabharata: The Interesting Similarities Between Two Great Indian Epics

Ramayana and Mahabharata are two Indian epics that mentions about the existence of God and the victory of the good over the evil. Though written in different eras, or yugas, the prime intent of both avatars is the same which is a proof that the world is being handled in the fairest manner by the universal power from the time primordial.

Lord Vishnu, with his various incarnations on earth, which ranged from the Matsyavatar to Krishnavatar, signified the process of evolution from the undeveloped fish form to the fully-fledged human being form of Krishna. All the incarnations had one purpose, that is of destroying the malice in people and restoring dharma on the earth. In each avatar, Lord Vishnu faces opposition from demons or demonical beings, teaches them lessons, and protects the cause of the righteous.

The four yugas mentioned in the Indian mythology are Satya (Krita) Yuga, Treta Yuga, Dwapara Yuga, and Kali Yuga. These yugas are believed to have witnessed Lord Vishnu's avatars, which descended down to save humanity, just in the nick of time, when adharma got a firm hold over dharma and when dharma was about to collapse.

Ramayana was written in Treta Yuga and Mahabharata was written in Dwapara Yuga. Therefore, these epics may be a lot different in ways the concept of dharma was treated and addressed, but they have very interesting similarities with respect to some basic aspects. Scroll down the article to know more about them.

The Birth Mystery

The important female characters of both these yugas are Sita and Draupadi, who were 'Ayonija', which means, the one who is not born out of a mother's womb. Draupadi emerged out of the fire whereas Sita was picked up from layers of soil beneath the ground. Draupadi also had a sibling by the name Drishtdyumn. Also, Sitawas the glaring result of Ravana's misdeeds and the goddess whose rage brought on Ravana's miserable downfall. Ravana had buried a sage in flesh and blood in a pot and hid it under the earth. This same pot was found by King Janaka while ploughing the earth, and he called her Sita.

The Birth Secrets

Lord Rama and his brothers were born as a result of the boon of kheer (a sweet), that emerged from the fire of Homa. Dasharatha's four queens, upon drinking it had conceived the four royal scions. Similarly, in Mahabharata, Kunti gave birth to five children using the power of mantra, which she had been taught by a sage. With the power of the mantra, she could call out to any god, to bless her with a child. When, after some years of marriage with Kunti, Pandu was cursed with childlessness, it was Kunti who came to his rescue by calling out to devas and begetting children due to their blessings.

The Swayamwar

It was swayamvar that decided the way both these princesses, Sita and Draupadi should be married. Lord Rama broke Lord Shiva's dhanush or bow to marry Sita, whereas Arjuna who was blindfolded, pierced the eye of the fish with an arrow, with perfect precision to win the heart and hands of Draupadi.

However, unfortunately, he had to share her with his brothers as well in marriage. It was all due to the words uttered by Kunti (mother of Pandavas), when Draupadi was presented before her, by the brothers. When the Pandavas asked Kunti to see the precious gift they had brought for her, Kunti, even before seeing Draupadi, asked the brothers to share her equally amongst themselves. This was how it was finally decided that Draupadi would be wife to all Pandava scions with whom she would stay for five years with each prince.

The Abduction

Sita was abducted by the Demon King of Lanka, Ravana. So was Draupadi, by Keechaka, who was commander-in-chief of the Matsya kingdom. The abduction of Draupadi occurred during Pandavas' exile in the forest. Keechaka seized the opportunity when Draupadi was alone, and unattended, and whisked her off in his chariot. However, Pandavas intervened at the right time and saved Draupadi from the clutches of Keechaka.

War Inspiration

Wars, in both the yugas, were fought to save the honour of the chaste heroines. When Sita was abducted by Ravan, Lord Rama had personally waged a war against Ravana to bring back Sita with her honour intact. Duryodhana's shameful act with Draupadi met with a horrendous outcome, wherein his entire army and lineage were killed up to the point of destruction of his entire family.

Exile Of The Princes

Both the characters of Rama and Pandavas in Ramayana and Mahabharata had to be exiled for some time and they faced extreme duress due to that. Lord Rama was sent to exile due to the impulsive decision of his stepmother Kaikeyi whereas, in Mahabharata, it was the combined nefarious efforts of Shakuni and Duryodhan that was responsible for sending Pandavas to the forests.

Common Characters

Lord Hanuman was the moral and physical force that helped Lord Rama win over Ravana. Bhima, of Mahabharata, also was the son of Vayu, just like Lord Hanuman. Hanuman even meets Bhima in a forest to make him learn the value of humility.

Jambwant had a fight with Lord Krishna but married his daughter Jambwanti to Lord Krishna. Mayasur who was Ravan's father-in-law constructed the palace for Pandavas. Parshuram trained both Bheeshma and Karna. Durvasa rishi had put Draupadi to an acid test of character, when once he had visited her hut in the forest.

Disclaimer: The information is based on assumptions and information available on the internet and the accuracy or reliability is not guaranteed. Boldsky does not confirm any inputs or information related to the article and our only purpose is to deliver information. Boldsky does not believe in or endorse any superstitions.

Story first published: Thursday, September 15, 2022, 12:57 [IST]
Read more about: ramayana mahabharata spirituality
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