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Why Ramayana Will Always Be Read?

The Ramayana has been told to us times without number. Every line of it has been scanned and commented upon minutely, not hundreds, not thousands, but millions of times over. ... Nevertheless, in our mixed human nature, there is a tendency which we nourish to come again and yet again to the story, whether before breakfast or after siesta in the afternoon, or at midnight when it is time to be sleeping. At whatever time we go, to whatever place, whoever the expounder may be, somehow or other there is that in us which helps us to put aside all disturbing illusions, all the things that are calculated to take us away from the environment of the story itself even while our circumstances are such as to cause distraction for the time. ...

I should ask you always to put yourselves in that condition and remain in it whenever you read this great epic. The whole thing is done before you with a set purpose and unless you help that purpose to fulfil itself in you, you read it for nothing. Everything therefore depends on the way in which you open the book and read it. I take up the book anywhere and read it. To me Rama is not divine. Nevertheless, the illusion is always there, in full force. I can throw myself heart and soul into the very essence of the story. When I read the book, I read that book and do nothing else; my whole mind is devoted to it. A hard-hearted man like me, I read it, and, strange to say, there is not a page which does not bring tears into my eyes! ... Why has it that effect on me? I suppose it is because deep down in my nature, going to strata which perhaps in my waking life I shall never touch, there is a spirit of the utmost reverence and affection for those great characters. Why? Even if Rama and Sita were not of this land but were the hero and heroine in an alien poem, I should feel, probably not so very much affected, but nearly as deeply. Human nature is human nature; whether nurtured here or in another land, it is just the same.

SourceAdapted from V S Srinivasa Sastri, Lectures on the Ramayan