7 Life Lessons To Learn From The Festival Of Lights
Diwali is not just about lighting diyas to dispel darkness, but also about illuminating our soul. Here are some life lessons to learn from the actions of seven important characters of the Ramayana.
By Aarthi Arun • 8 min read
Diwali is almost here. You must be looking forward to indulging in festive treats, spending quality time with your loved ones, and celebrating the victory of good over evil. What better way to dispel darkness than with a party meant to spread blessed brightness!
However, has it ever occurred to you that the Festival of Lights not only celebrates the victory of Rama over Ravana, but also beautifully denotes the way other characters in the Ramayana overcome inner turmoil to play their given roles?
This Diwali, as the diyas come to life and spread brightness all around, do something different. Tell your child the story of Rama and what he should learn from the Ramayana.
1. Think well before making a decision: Pleased with his wife Kaikeyi, King Dasaratha promised to fulfil two of her wishes. She bided her time till it was Rama's coronation and then asked Dasaratha if he was willing to grant her wishes. Without a second thought, Dasaratha told Kaikeyi to go ahead and ask for whatever she wanted. Kaikeyi — one of the three wives of Dasaratha — asked that her son Bharata be crowned king and Rama banished from Ayodhya. In hindsight, it can be said that, had Dasaratha been more careful about making promises, it would have saved his family a lot of heartbreak and misfortune.
2. Listen to the advice of your well-wishers: Ravana was a great scholar and well-versed in many disciplines like music and Ayurveda. However, he never listened to the well-meaning advice of his brother Vibhishana and wife Mandodari. As a result, not only did he abduct Sita, but also dismissed the advice of Vibhishana and Mandodari to take Sita back to Rama and seek forgiveness. Instead, he entered into a war with Rama, which ultimately ended with his death and and that of numerous others, in Lanka.
3. Love your family: As far as brotherly love goes, nothing illustrates sibling bonding better than the Ramayana. The epic depicts the loving bond between Rama, Lakshmana, Bharatha and Shatrughana as well as that shared between Ravana, Vibhishana and Kumbhakarna. In fact, the Ramayana is a fascinating portrayal of the love and affection between siblings on both sides. And, not just between siblings, the Ramayana also tell us about the bonding between parents and children and other family members.
4. Make good friends: In today's fast-paced world, we need social connections to thrive. Friends are an important part of our social circle. Teach your child to treat her friends kindly by telling her the story of Hanuman and other friends who helped Rama search for Sita, build a bridge to Lanka and fight on his side. There are other instances of friendship in the Ramayana, like the relationship between Sita and the demoness Trijata. The latter remained a loyal friend during the time Sita was held captive at Ashoka Vatika. The friendship between Rama and Sugriva is also worth narrating to your child.
5. Don't give up: As they say, it is not that successful individuals never fail, but that they try again and again, until they succeed. Rama, who was a prince and had access to all the worldly comforts, had to spend 14 years in exile in the forest. He also faced many obstacles while searching for Sita. But, he never wavered or gave up doing what he was supposed to. Sita too held steadfast to her belief that she would walk free from Ravana's captivity. Despite the hurdles and sufferings Rama and Sita faced, they believed that they would succeed. Tell your child to have faith in his abilities and always, look at the positive side of things.
6. Develop a strong moral compass: Integrity is everything — many characters in the Ramayana abide by this golden rule. There is Rama who took his father's words to heart, Lakshmana who happily took to the hardships of life in the forest and Bharatha who never sat on the throne that was not rightfully his. None of them gave in to what was convenient — they chose to do what was right. Even on Ravana's side, his brother Vibhishana joined hands with Rama when Ravana did not listen to his advice to set Sita free and apologise to Rama. What better way to teach your child to develop a strong moral character and take the side of the right than telling her about examples from the Ramayana.
7. Be grateful and forgiving: After Ravana was defeated, Rama and Sita duly thanked all those who helped them win the war. Vibhishana was crowned the king of Lanka while Hanuman became part of Rama's family. Rama and Sita were also generous, forgiving anyone who wronged them, especially Kaikeyi, Rama's stepmother, the one responsible for sending him into exile. What's more, the epic also underscores the need to be grateful. According to new research, showing gratitude can lead your child towards living a happier, fulfilling life. So, don't forget to inspire your child to show gratitude this Diwali. And as a family, be grateful for the presence of love, laughter and light in your life.
In our busy lives, time is a precious commodity. If you have lost touch with loved ones, now is the time to call them and rekindle your relationship. This Diwali, let the divine light brighten your outlook on life.
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