Ramayan makes it happen today as ever!

To enliven lives of crores of Indians, Doordarshan National is re telecasting the 1987 Ramayan of Ramanand Sagar. The scene telecast today (April 15) shows Ram and Lakshman falling unconscious in the battlefield and Garuda reviving both brothers. But in 1987 the scene was split into two and telecast on two consecutive Sundays. See what happened in between the two Sundays, 33 years from now: 

“Ramanand Sagar’s mega epic TV serial RAMAYAN, when first telecast in 1987 created unprecedented records. The message of RAMAYAN cut across all the barriers of caste, creed, language and political boundaries. A media documentation of that is found in the website of the Sagars. A sample: “After watching a scene in which Lakshman becomes unconscious on being hit by Indrajit’s Naga Pasha, a wealthy businessman in Madras fell seriously ill and went into coma at the shock of seeing Lakshman wounded. The credibility and source of the sequence created a great furore. But the Ramanand Sagar team stood their ground. When they received a request from the businessman’s doctor to help them revive the old man, the Sagar unit worked round the clock and prepared a special clipping which they air-dashed to Madras. Only after the man saw Lakshman reviving back to life in the new clipping – also based on authentic research – did he recover back to normal life from his coma” (Source: www.sagartv.org). This anecdote is part of the VSK’s PANCHAAMRITAM of those days.

The Chennai businessman is not alone in being so powerfully impacted by the mere narration of the eternal saga of Ram. Ma Yashoda tells the story of Ramayan to the kids of Gokul including Krishna. Just when she uttered the words “Ravan kidnaps Sita...” along her narration, Child Krishna sparng up with a shout, “Lakhman, get me the bow and arrow, quick!” A startled Yashoda asked him what happened. Krishna quickly managed to put her at ease but himself was swept off his feet by Ram Katha! Was he not Ram himself in Treta yug!! 

Devout Tamils fondly narrate the impact of Rama Katha thus: Twelve centuries ago, a scholar was delivering Ramayan lecture on the sea shore in Thiruchendur. Among the audience was the Chera King Kulasekarar. He was a mighty king. He had defeated both Pandiya and Chola kings. But he had a strong spiritual leaning. The lecturer began describing Ram’s efforts to regain Sita. “Ram took the Vanar Sena to Lanka to engage Ravan in war”-- At this junction, overcome with devotion to Ram, the Chera king roared spontaneously: “ Generals, call our army and send it to Lanka!” (Of course, the King went on to became Kulasekara Alwar, one of the 12 Vaishnavaite saints). 

Was it not the first Prime Minister of India Pandit Nehru who said, “Ramayana and Mahabharata will continue to inspire the learned and the layman in this land as long as the sun and moon exist”?

S.S. Mahadevan
Senior Journalist

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