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3 Success Secrets hidden in the Ramayana on Lord Rama’s Hero Journey

3 success secrets from Ramayana and Lord Rama's Hero Journey

 

I celebrated Diwali in its full splendour for the first time at the age of 8 when my diplomat father had his first home posting in New Delhi.

As I write this post, memories come flooding back of white sugar candy elephants, camels and tigers; sweets, new clothes, firecrackers and lighting of diyas (clay lamps) and coloured candles.

I met my paternal cousins for the first time as 3 brothers and their families congregated at my Delhi-based Uncle’s home. The house was filled with the sound of happy children squealing with joy as our parents lit various firecrackers for us.

Unlike the commercialization of Diwali that I see nowadays, there was a sense of community back then. We had a few firecrackers of course but the main event was lighting diyas, dressing up in new clothes, giving gifts and a hearty family meal.

 

Diwali Gift Karmic Ally Coaching Book of Quotes

 

Having a family elder read from the Ramayana and learning lessons from this Hindu mythological epic was part of the celebrations.

On Diwali night, little clay lamps are lit in Hindu homes although nowadays coloured electric lamps are also used. The lighting of lamps is a way of paying obeisance to god for attainment of health, wealth, knowledge, peace, valor and fame.

In Hinduism, darkness represents ignorance, and light is a metaphor for knowledge. Therefore, lighting a lamp symbolizes the destruction, through knowledge, of all negative forces.

 

Diwali celebrates Lord Rama’s return from his Hero Journey

From the mythological perspective, Diwali is the day Lord Rama’s 14 year exile ended and he returned to Ayodhya with his wife Sita and brother Lakshman having vanquished Ravana the Demon King of Lanka.

A much loved Crown Prince, he was unjustly sent into exile on the day of his coronation because one of the King’s wives (a former warrior princess) decided to call in a boon that the King had granted her years earlier when she had sacrificed her finger to keep her husband’s chariot wheel from falling off during a battle.

She asked for Rama to be sent into exile in the forests and her son Bharat to ascend the throne as King instead.

Lord Rama, the dutiful son agreed so that his father could honour his word. His wife Sita and brother Lakshman decided to join him in exile.

The fact that the aged King Dasharatha died pining for his beloved son and Bharat came after Rama begging him to return and became a caretaker King while he waited for his elder brother to return are part of the ordinary world where life happens.

We see intrigue and power grabbing plays even today, whether it’s in politics or in the workplace.

14 years later, the much awaited day for Lord Rama’s return came and the entire kingdom was happy.

 

Diwali celebrating Lord Rama's return

 

The return happened on an Amavasi or No- Moon night and knowing that the sky would be dark, the people of Ayodhya lit diyas to light the  way home as Lord Ram flew into the city in Ravana’s Pushpak Viman (a flying machine).

Ramayana is the story of Rama’s Hero Journey as told by the Sage Valmiki which also has teachings and lessons relevant to our modern day lives.

If you aren’t conversant with the Ramayana, here is a video I found from AppuSeries that tells the story in a nutshell.

 

 

As the years have gone by, my understanding of the Ramayana has evolved as I find new facets and lessons in Lord Rama’s Hero Journey.

Here are 3 of them that are relevant to life and work and what we can expect during our own Hero Journey.

 

Circumstances arise and events take place leading us to answer our Call to Adventure

As a child I thought Queen Kaikeyi who came under the influence of her maid and asked for the boon was wicked to send Lord Rama into exile where he spent his time killing demons that were troubling the sages and playing havoc during rituals and prayers and then he had to save his wife who was kidnapped by Ravana to avenge Lakshman’s cutting off Ravana’s sister’s nose.

Rama and Lakshman ended up roaming in the forest looking for Sita and found their way to Lanka and spent quite a few years of their exile preparing a bridge from India to Lanka in order to rescue Sita.

This bridge known as Ram Setu can be seen by satellite and even though water now flows above it, way back in 2004, I read that this underwater structure helped in mitigating even more damage from the 2004 Boxing Day tsunami.

When I look at the story now, Rama, who is an avatar of Lord Vishnu, was sent to earth to vanquish Ravana, a highly talented and erudite man, who built his capital city with gold, managed to capture the planets and trap them face down near his throne when he discovered that his beloved son was born with inauspicious planetary afflictions and is supposed to have built a staircase to the moon.

He was also a great devotee of Shiva and had received the boon of immortality with a caveat that could cause his death.

Somewhere along the way he had become arrogant and harassed everyone – the planets, sages, the Gods and Vishnu had to come and put a stop to it.

Come to think of it, Destiny was at play here and if Kaikeyi had not asked for her boon, Rama and Sita would have stayed in Ayodhya and Ravana would have continued tormenting everyone.

The Ramayana would never have been written because there wouldn’t have been a Hero’s Journey to narrate because Rama, Sita, Lakshman and Hanuman who are avatars of Vishnu, Lakshmi, Sheshnag and Shiva respectively would not have fulfilled their Life Purpose!

The ever dutiful Rama accepts his exile even though it is unfair and honours the Warrior Code by protecting the Sages who are harassed by the Demons until the final straw on the camel’s back in the form of Sita’s abduction  ignites the Call to Adventure and fulfilling his destiny.

So the scene is set in the forests and one event after the other leads to the great battle where Ravana is killed and the significance of the triumph of good over evil is established on Dushera Day and then the journey home on Diwali.

 

Qualities that a Hero needs are evident long before he gets his Wake Up Call

We all possess qualities that lie dormant until an event takes place that brings those qualities to the fore when they are really needed.

Early in the Ramayana, we learn about Sita’s Swayamvara where she chooses her husband from the mightiest warriors of the land. Her father, King Janak wants only the best for his beloved daughter and the test is to lift the heavy bow of Lord Shiva which is in his possession.

Many kings try and fail but young Rama, not only lifts the bow but breaks it, thus revealing his superhuman powers as an avatar of Vishnu and the qualities of confidence, courage, fortitude and strength that become important during his Call to Adventure.

 

When you accept your Call to Adventure, helpers and Guides appear as required with required Tools and Knowledge

We don’t have just one Hero’s Journey during a lifetime but many whenever transformation is required.

Think about it, whenever you’ve faced a major challenge, haven’t new friends appeared who helped you find a resolution to your challenge?

Similarly while Lord Rama and Lakshman searched the forest for Sita, they met with Sugriva, King of the Monkeys who too is in exile and in many ways he too needs help to regain his kingdom and wife.

Rama and Lakshman help him and in return he offers his army to help rescue Sita.

The most important help comes from the son of the Wind God, Hanuman who is also the avatar of Lord Shiva.

 

Hanuman the problem solver in Ramayana

 

Hanuman is mighty and a much revered God in his own right to whom Hindus pray for help in many situations. He can solve any problem.

In the Ramayana, he is the Helper who leaps across the ocean and reaches Sita.

He is perfectly capable of rescuing SIta and bringing her back to Ram but is stopped by Sita because she knows that it is Rama’s duty to rescue his wife (another instance of destiny bringing Ram nearer to his true purpose).

To digress a little, Hanuman’s day of worship is Tuesday but during the Ramayana, after he met with Sita, Hanuman allowed himself to be captured by Ravana’s soldiers.

Thinking he was an ordinary monkey the Court decided to burn his tail for amusement. Just before they could do it, Hanuman flipped his tail at the throne and managed to turn Shani’s face upward. Once Shani or Saturn as we call him was able to look up, his powers returned and Ravana’s time of doom started and Hanuman changed his size and lit up Lanka with his fire lit tail!

Shani was grateful to Hanuman and decreed his worship to be also done on Saturdays.

There are other instances in the Ramayana where Hanuman saves the day and helps Rama with his cause even though he can take care of it himself.

One of the most important Allies in the epic comes in the form of Vibheeshana, Ravana’s brother, who is banished because he advises Ravana to give back Rama’s wife.

It is Vibheeshana who shares secrets of how to handle Ravana’s army and the biggest secret of where Ravana’s life source lies which enables Rama to finally kill him.

 

On the auspicious occasion of Diwali, I’d like you to reflect on your own life and the challenges that you have faced.

Have you noticed how circumstances have led to the change that was required, that you discovered you really had the skills to overcome the challenge and help arrived just as you hit rock bottom?

 

If you want to take a deeper dive into your Hero Journey, check out my book Wakeup Call: What Happens When You Accept Your Call to Adventure.

 

 

 

 

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I believe the world would be a better place if high achieving professionals accepted setbacks and challenges to their careers as Wake Up Calls to embark on a Journey where their empowered course correcting actions create a New World Order that encompasses achieving their career aspirations & potential with authentic life balance.

Using a combination of intuition and analytical skills, I help my clients identify their real issues with exercises to still their mind and allow their inner feeling to emerge in a place of confidentiality and trust.

I work with driven, passionate, talented and ambitious professionals who’ve hit a speed breaker in their business or career create their desired breakthrough reclaiming control of their situation with customized strategies and tactics that work.

When my clients first come to me, they are not in a very happy place and need clarity about themselves and their chosen vocation. Their professional problems are playing havoc with other areas of their life. They know they need to take radical steps to change the status quo but they also know that they need support and accountability to get them their desired result.

I really get it, because at one point, I also experienced getting lost in my work rationalizing decisions that were detrimental to the other aspects of my life. I’ve struggled with and won battles of stress management, life balance and career decisions to emerge in a place where I can confidently say that I live my desired life according to my personal Manifesto and have created a business that provides me with a platform for my desired lifestyle and self-expression for myself. I want that for you too!

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Email: Vatsala(at)karmicallycoaching(dot)com Phone:91 9818517664
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