The Rings of Rama

The Rings of Rama

One day, Rama was informed that it was time for him to die. He understood that those who take birth have to experience death. “Let Yama, come to me. It is time for me to return to Vaikuntha, my heavenly abode,” he said. But Yama, the god of death, dared not enter Ayodhya as he was afraid of Hanuman who guarded the gates of Rama’s palace.

To allow Yama’s entry, it was necessary to distract Hanuman. So Rama dropped his ring into a crack in the palace floor and requested Hanuman to fetch it. Hanuman reduced himself to the size of a beetle and entered the crack only to discover that it was no crack but the entrance to a tunnel that led to Nag Lok, the land of serpents. Hanuman met Vasuki, the king of serpents there and informed him of his mission.

NagaVasuki took Hanuman to the centre of Nag Lok where stood a mountain of rings! “There you will surely find Rama’s ring,” said Vasuki. Hanuman wondered how he would do that as it was like finding a needle in a haystack. But to his delight, the first ring that he picked up was Rama’s ring. To his astonishment, even the second ring he picked up was Rama’s ring. In fact all the rings that made up the mountain were identical. “What is the meaning of this?” he wondered.

Vasuki smiled and said, “This world we live in goes through cycles of life and death. Each life cycle of the world is called a kalpa. Each kalpa has four yugas or quarters. In the second quarter or Treta Yuga, Rama takes birth in Ayodhya. Then one day his ring falls into the subterranean realm of serpents through a tunnel. A monkey follows it and Rama on earth dies. So it has been for hundreds of thousands of kalpas. All these rings testify to that fact. The mountain keeps growing as more rings fall. There is enough space for the rings of future Ramas.”

Hanuman realised that his entry into Nag Lok and his encounter with the mountain of rings was no accident. It was Rama’s way of telling him that he could not stop death from coming. Rama would die. The world would die. But like all things, Rama would be reborn each time the world is reborn.

This cyclical view of life is the essence of Indic thought. But the period of colonial rule and later political developments led to distortions in our understanding of the Ramayana. That is why everyone wants to locate Rama in history and geography, and fight over dates and addresses – instead of looking at the larger picture.

Rama is timeless and universal and so cannot be fettered to any period or place. That is why the day of his birth is celebrated every year as spring gives way to summer. Every year he comes, every year he goes, like do the seasons. The faithful know that there will never be a time when Rama will not return. He’ll be back.

~ Dr. Devdutt Pattanaik


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13 Responses to "The Rings of Rama"

  1. s Giri prasad  March 5, 2015 at 3:16 pm

    Worth reading

  2. joysree das  March 5, 2015 at 7:01 pm

    that is the indian way of computing eternity-like endless rings of time -as henry vaughan wrote-“I saw Eternity the other night/Like a ring of pure and endless night.”

  3. Nageswara Rao v  March 6, 2015 at 1:51 am

    interesting to read and nicely presented. Wish to know more about our sastras and Vedas.

  4. Vamsi  March 28, 2015 at 4:20 pm

    Lord Hanuman is known as ‘Chiranjeevi’ which means he doesn’t have the death. Is that only for one Kalpa or all the Kalpas? If he is chiranjeevi for all the kalpas, how come he is repeating the same thing over period?

  5. openderkrishandhar  March 29, 2015 at 11:31 am

    we all know how by force conversion took place and the temples were damaged and converted to differrnt structures but unfortunately some national parties supportrd it for vote bank policies at thr time of independence two nations eere created afterwards how seculsr colour was given while other nation stick to their terms and what happened to minority there.in one esstern state bangladesh muslims are in majorty the corrupt politicians and concerned people issued them voter id ration card.think over it.thry are killing innocent people support to terrorism and bolywood people giving work to these idots.be faithul to lord rama.and make ram temple.

  6. D.N.Azad  March 29, 2015 at 2:16 pm

    worthseeing all the blogs ‘, very informative & educational Devendra N Azad ,Bangkok

  7. aman  March 31, 2015 at 3:31 pm

    Story is correct but it is missing one major point.
    Rama was the incarnation of LorD Vishnu. And god never born and die. They praghat and elope.
    Same way Rama eloped in Saryu river. ALso there is no proof or Rama’s birth but “Praghat”.

    For reference have a look in Tulsidas’s Ramcharitmanas.

    • Salil  October 23, 2015 at 6:25 am

      Aman, I agree Gods don’t die,but I think their incarnations do.

  8. malini  October 25, 2015 at 9:09 pm

    What a beautiful story, it has an interesting meaning. Allot to think of. Jai Shri Ram!

  9. shankar Guha  December 22, 2015 at 11:25 am

    Feel blessed to be born a Hindu.
    Feel sorry that this life is so small, how can one know all knowledge of this great sanatan dharma.
    Prabhu kevalam.

  10. Atif sayani  December 22, 2015 at 1:39 pm

    Intresting ..

  11. Vyom Jayaswal  December 22, 2015 at 6:44 pm

    Beautifully written

  12. manav  February 17, 2016 at 9:15 am

    I like this story. From which book/Puran this story taken?


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