Invisible Shades of Ramayana

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About the Book

Ramayana is one of the most sacred, respected and widely read books in the world. Though there are so many versions of Ramayana, the original one was compiled by Valmiki. There are so many characters, events and personalities who play a very important role in making the whole story of Shri Rama into Ramayana and we have very little knowledge about such personalities, their wisdom 4- and thought process.

We know Hanuman as a very brave and strong personality, but we are ignorant about his intellect, his skills as a diplomat and similar other qualities. We know that Vibhishana tried to reason with Ravana before leaving him, but what were his arguments on morality? We are unaware of Surpanakha's knowledge on the spy system, Marich's views on morality and Kumbhkaran's ideas on administration. In this book, an attempt has been made to highlight the invisible qualities of twenty such personalities who make Valmiki Ramayana an epic.

About the Author

Maj Gen A K Shori (MA. LL.B), 1982 batch IAS (Allied) Services officer, served in the Indian Army for 21 years before retiring as Member, Postal Board. He headed the Army Postal Service Corps as Addl. D.G. from May 2011 till March 2015 and was awarded Army Commander Commendation Card in Northern Command. After relinquishing commission, Gen Shori took over as Chief Postmaster General, Himachal Pradesh' before retiring as Member, Postal Board.

Gen Shori has attended various training courses in India as well abroad like IIM Ahmadabad, Asia Pacific Training Centre, Bangkok and Management Institute Lausanne, Switzerland. I-Je has done extensive research on Behavioural Science and has developed management skills based on stories from the Panchatantra, Ramayana and Mahabharata.

He has been delivering lectures and conducting workshops on leadership skills, conflict resolution, effective communication and principles of good governance. Gen Shori is a ferocious reader, a social thinker, columnist and a reputed author. He has authored three books titled Indian Rajarshi and Greek Philosopher King, Seven Shades of Rama (translated in Hindi as Bhagwaan Shree Ram Ke Saat Roop and Why We Are Like This (A compilation of thought-provoking issues). He has also edited three books - An Alphabetical Compilation of English Idioms, Ashok Chakr Vijeta and Bhartiya Sena Adbykshon ka Prerak Jeevan.

The articles written by Gen Shori on social and political issues and international relations are published periodically in Himachal Dastak (a leading newspaper from Himachal Pradesh) and South Asia Politics (a monthly periodical published from Delhi).

Introduction

Ramayana is one of the most sacred, respected and widely read book in the world. Though there are so many versions of Ramayana but the original one was compiled by Valmiki while the one written by Tulsidass is the most popular one. Majority of people have read the Ramayana written by Tulsidas which is known even by heart also to many people and is recited by religious preachers. A few decades back when the levels of literacy were very low and especially the girls were not encouraged to attend schools; if she could recite Chaupyies from RamCharitmanas she was considered equivalent to a literate. Even illiterate persons especially from rural areas could easily recite a good number of Chaupyies from Tulsidas Ramayana.

During the auspicious Navratras, Ram Leelas are performed in villages, towns and even in big cities. Ram Leela shows are conducted in foreign countries also. There have been several plays and films on Ramayana. TV serial produced on it by Ramananda Sagar was so popular that people used to cancel their engagements to watch it. Every Hindu household normally keeps one or two copies of Ramayana in their home and its recital is considered very auspicious especially during Navratras. The Sunderkand Path (one of the episode in Ramayana) before solemnizing the marriage is also recited in Hindu families.

If this is the level of popularity of Ramayana, then there should not be any doubt about its relevancy in the present days. Yet the question comes into mind that when there is so much information easily available then where does Ramayana fit in? In the present technology era while there is competition at every level and the survival is at the stake, how relevant are the contents of Ramayana? People are so busy in their daily life that even for their friends, relatives and family members they do not have much time, then how Ramayana is relevant in their personal and social lives?

Frankly speaking, Ramayana is to be viewed, read and understood from various angles. It contains multidimensional subjects and one cannot comprehend it in one reading.

? If we talk about Public Administration, then it is a treatise on good governance, leadership, administrative skills and rule of law.

? If we view it from Ethical angle, then it is a masterpiece on ethics in administration, importance of morality in personal and public life.

? If we view it from a Political Scientist point of view, then it is a research book on democratic principles, theory of separation of powers and diplomacy.

? From Sociological point of view, Ramayana is an epic which contains lessons on inter-personal relations, bonding the family values and strengthening the social relations.

? From Psychological point of view, it is a Gatha of love, sacrifice, jealousy, ego and emotions.

? If we view it from Philosophical point of view, then it is a solace for the spiritual manifestation and the mysticism in it leads one towards salvation as well complete peace of mind.

In other words, Ramayana is an answer to all psychological, social, administrative and spiritual problems being faced by individuals in their personal, social, administrative and spiritual lives.

Nowadays, when the means justifying end have become the cardinal principal, when the IQ is taking precedence over EQ, when the emotional bankrupcy of individuals is driving them away from social and family relations towards virtual, invisible and remotely hosted relations; there is a need to look deeper into those shades of Ramayana which make it a classic and ever relevant epic.

My earlier book "Seven Shades of Rama" was focused on Shri Rama as a Son, Brother, Husband, Warrior, King, Rishi and ultimately Maryada Purushotam and it was also based upon Valmiki Ramayana. In touching those shades of Shri Rama, I tried to corelate an ordinary human with those shades because everyone plays the role of either of the shade in one's life. So, instead of making one to worship Shri Rama blindly, an attempt was made to make one understand and identify oneself with those similar situations which Shri Rama underwent and which everyone faces also in one's daily life so that one could be inspired, and motivated from the life and personality of Shri Rama.

Since then I have been reading again Valmiki Ramayana and it took me almost one year to finish its two volumes. I have realized that my thinking was revolving around Shri Rama only while Ramayana is not only about Shri Rama. There are so many characters, events and personalities who play a very important role in making the whole story of Shri Rama into Ramayana. I also realized that about those personalities, their wisdom and thought process we have very little knowledge. We usually hear some remarks that "Ravana was a very well read, intelligent and wise King," but how do we know about it? We know about Hanuman as a very brave and strong personality but we are totally ignorant about his intellect, his skills as a diplomat and similar other qualities. We know that Vibhishana tried to reason with Ravana before leaving him, but what were his arguments on morality?

During my study of Valmiki Ramayana, I could short list twenty such personalities who play a very significant role in the shaping of various events and happenings in Ramayana and were very wise, sensible and mature. Yet, we hardly know anything about them. Even some of the personalities in the kingdom of Ravana were also very intelligent who shared their sensible thought process at appropriate time. These individuals have been labelled by me as Invisible Shades, who have remained eclipsed. Hence, in this book, I have tried to highlight the qualities of such personalities. Along with it, the relevance of Ramayana in the modern days has also been highlighted by raising certain issues which are bothering the society now-a-days so that we may come out of miracles and mythological image.

**Contents and Sample Pages**