Monday, May 7, 2012

Story of Mareecha and Hanuman by Karthik Meyippan

Group 3 [Age 12-15 yrs]
Karthik Meyippan- Bellevue, WA
Age: 14 yrs
The Other Duo
The Ramayana is an invaluable Indian poem which contains enjoyment for the reader at any level, whether reading it as a simple tale, for religious lessons, through scientific eyes, or any other point of view. It is revered for the intricate weaving of characters who each teach morals on their own and in combination. Most would look at Rama and Sita as the perfect characters to learn from, yet the other characters, who are important too, are then overlooked. Mareecha and Hanuman may not be the focal points of the story, but they are equal to Rama in value of lessons taught.
At his first appearance in the story, Mareecha was defeated in battle by Rama.  At the time, Rama was learning how to fight and was testing his abilities by defending the sages against the demon attack.  Afterwards, Mareecha was approached by Ravana with the opportunity to trick Rama. Mareecha has learned that Rama was too powerful to defeat and he wants to take a rightful path in life even as a demon. Consequently, he decides to decline the offer. Since he is forced to die in either the hands of Ravana or Rama, he allows Rama to bless him through death. His final act in life is of devotion to Rama.Therefore, even though he begins life as a horrible demon, he can still transform into a philanthropist. There are a variety of lessons that we can learn from this. Every being has virtue inside them, even if they appear to be bad on the outside. There is no such thing as “rotten to the core” when talking about animals (including humans), as inside the human ‘core’, or soul, there is always purity. This is also shown at the climax of the epic poem: when Ravana’s dead body falls to the ground and Rama observes it. Ravana emits a divine glow in death, as all the evil he accumulated in life is washed away. His purity is shown when he is no longer biased by his learned ways; only his internal nature is shown. Another important lesson to be learned from Mareecha is willpower can change anything. Mareecha grew up as a demon, was taught the demon ways, and knew nothing but evil and mischief. When he saw the true path though, he grabbed onto it, devoured the fruit of piety. He understood in his brief encounter with Rama how to bring out the golden part of his soul, no matter how small it was, and grow it until he was pure and devoted. With an insurmountable will, you are more than halfway there already. 
Hanuman, the reverent monkey god of the winds, can teach us a plethora of lessons. He explicates the benefits of true devotion to God. He is utterly dedicated to Rama, always thinking in terms of Rama’s benefit and not for himself. He always shows kindness to those helping Rama and the full wrath of his rage crushes those who oppose his idol. As a result, in most depictions of Rama and Sita, Hanuman can be seen below Rama, giving his hands and praise to Rama in awe. He has earned a place in all our minds: whenever one imagines Rama, Hanuman is not far away. He also shows that only when strength is combined with wisdom can one be truly successful. Vali was one of the best fighters in all the three worlds; nobody could defeat him when in battle. However, when he makes the rash decision to steal the throne back from his brother, disgracing him without giving him a chance to explain, Vali makes his fatal mistake. Because of this betrayal, he is killed. However, Hanuman possesses the same great strength, yet chooses to be a servant when he could easily kill the king and have power. He uses his powers to overcome obstacles without hurting people, such as when a gargantuan demon blocked his path to Lanka. Instead of simply disposing of her, he flew into her mouth, as per her request, and flew back out just as easily, making her satisfied while keeping his life and ability to complete his mission.
These morals are woven deep into the story and our culture. May we always remember the lessons our ancestors taught us through this poem.

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