Ramayana is not just a story, but also an educational medium to demonstrate the
importance of values such as loving and respecting your family, keeping your
promises, protecting the weak and so on. Use the magnum opus of Hindu mythology,
the Ramayana, as a medium to teach your child about values and ethics here.
Ramayana is one of the greatest epics of Hindu Mythology. Written by the Hindu
sage Valmiki, the Ramayana is not just a story, but also an educational medium
used by the ancient sages to espouse the importance of doing your dharma (duty) in relationships. The
Ramayana depicts characters that we should aspire to be like, such as the ideal
father, ideal son, ideal brother, ideal leader, ideal wife, etc.
teach values and ethics to your child by way of storytelling.
The Ramayana and Mahabharata especially, preach a lot of values that we would
want our children to imbibe. Not for nothing, are they the most commonly taught
epics since ancient times. Instead of simply commanding your child to respect
his elders, you can use examples from his favourite epics to teach him the
how you can use one of the greatest gems of Hindu Mythology, namely the Ramayana
to teach your children moral values and ethics with the following suggestions.
child has any siblings, focus on the love the brothers had for each other. Why
did Lakshman, who was used to all the worldly luxuries due to a prince, decide
to give all of that up voluntarily to live with his elder brother for 14 years
of hardship in a forest? Because he loved his brother and could not bear the
thought of having to live 14 years without him.
also teach your child the importance of standing up for his siblings with the
example of Surpanakha. When Surpanakha was insulted by Lakshman, her brothers
Khaara and Dooshan rushed to avenge her not caring of the fact that it could
lead to their death. When Rama and Lakshmana did indeed vanquish her brothers,
Surpanakha sought her other brother Ravana's aid, setting the wheels for the
grand battle between Rama and Ravan, good and evil, into motion.
today's materialistic world where disputes between siblings are commonplace,
stories like these need to be extolled and repeated time and again. Parents
need to encourage their children to not only spend time with their siblings,
but also stand up for each other and be there for each other when required.
Such deep affection can be cultivated only when parents encourage such growth,
and keep emphasizing the importance of love amongst siblings.
between Right and Wrong
teach your child to choose right over wrong even when wrong may feel more right
by giving him the example of Bharat, who was awarded the honour of ruling the
mighty kingdom of Ayodhya. Bharat could have just accepted the throne and the
absolute power and luxury that came with it but his sense of right and wrong
would not permit him to do what most others would greedily do. Instead, upon
learning that his mother Kaikeyi had unjustly managed to get Rama banished from
Ayodhya, he immediately went into the forest to look for Rama and offer him his
rightful position as ruler of Ayodhya. So great was his devotion to his brother
and so strong was his desire to be fair and just, that when Rama refused to
return to Ayodhya before completing his 14 years in exile, Bharat placed Rama's
footwear on the throne and ruled Ayodhya in the name of Rama – as Rama’s
emissary until he returned to regain his rightful position.
teaches your child that even if something is extremely desirable, he should
only accept it if is attained in a just manner without hurting or affecting
anyone else in an unfair and unjust manner.
Value of a Promise
had granted Kaikeyi two boons when she had saved his life on the battlefield. The
day before Dashrath was to retire and crown his eldest son Rama as king, Kaikeyi
demanded that Dashrath grant her the boons she desired as promised. Her first
desire was that Rama should be exiled to the forest for fourteen years, and the
second, that her son, Bharat, be crowned King in his stead. Dashrath was
naturally heartbroken at the prospect of having to send his son into exile for
fourteen years, but for this noble hearted clan, honouring one’s word is the
highest duty. Even when Dashrath began to falter at the prospect of actually
following through on his promises due to his love for his first born and
pleaded with Rama not to leave, Rama reminded his father of the value of a
promise given and left Ayodhya to keep his father’s word. When Bharat begged
Rama to return to Ayodhya, Rama once again reminded Bharat that he could not
and would not dishonour his father by breaking the promise he had made to Kaikeyi.
Rama, a prince who had been brought up in the lap of luxury and who stood to
gain a position of absolute power and luxury if he disregarded his father’s
promise, willingly chose to live a life of exile and hardship for 14 years in a
forest, what does it teach our children? It teaches them not to tarnish the
value of their promise for small and unimportant things like eating their
veggies or finishing their homework and so on.
Respect for Parents
insistence on keeping the promise made by his father also shows the deep love
and devotion that he had for his parents. He willingly chose to spend 14 years
in exile in a forest to protect his father’s much respected honour. Such was
the regard he paid to his father. Dashrath too loved his child so deeply that
when Rama left for the forest, Dashrath could not bear the thought of being
away from his son for 14 years and breathed his last.
demonstrates the love and respect Rama had for his parents. He listened to
every command his parents made, he honoured their promises and ensured that no
one could accuse them of being unfair. He did not go against his parents’
wishes even though being passed over for the throne was unfair to the firstborn
son of the ruler of a mighty kingdom. He obeyed his parents and is immortalised
for doing so. It also showcases the love parents have for their children.
Hopefully, the fact that Dashrath died
pining for his son will make them aware of the attachment you have for them and
will make them more respectful of and more devoted to you.
of Bad Counsel
was fundamentally a good natured woman, but was convinced to send Rama into
exile and insist on her son Bharat being crowned king by the venomous counsel
of her maid servant whom she consider loyal and wise. Manthara’s vicious
scheming not only poisoned Kaikeyi’s mind into demanding those two appalling
boons, but also ruined her life. She lost her beloved husband to heartbreak and
her son Bharat, for whom she asked for those very boons, chastised her for
a very important lesson for your children. It teaches them to stay on guard
against vicious counsel. It teaches to be vigilant in order to avoid being
scammed. It teaches them to be firm of mind and not let their minds get swayed easily
by people. It teaches them to question their behaviour and think of the
consequences of their actions before making any big or small decisions.
Protecting the Weak
an aged demigod in the form of a vulture, witnessed Ravana
kidnapping Sita and taking her forcefully to Lanka. Disregarding his old age,
Jatayu tried to save Sita by fighting Ravana valiantly but failed. Rama and Lakshman
came across him where he was lying breathing his last. Jatayu informed Rama
about Sita’s whereabouts and Ravana’s plans before breathing his last. Moved to
tears by the gallantry and courage of the aged Jatayu, Rama
gave the bird its last rites as though the bird was his father.
teaches your child that he must always stand up for the weak. If his friends
begin bullying a younger child, your child’s moral code will not allow him to
just stand by as a meek spectator. The fact that Jatayu was so old and still
tried to take on the powerful Ravana single-handedly, teaches your child to be
courageous and be unafraid to take on any challenge that comes his way and
accomplish it to the best of his ability.
retell the Ramayan to your children not just for its piety, but also because
the magnum opus teaches your children to have strong morals and live a life of
righteousness. The Ramayana will enrich their lives and help you mould your
children to be the leaders of tomorrow with strong cultural and traditional