The importance of letting go in the epics of Hinduism — Stories that were never told to us.
I recently finished reading some books related to The Ramayana & The Mahabharata ( 2 of the holiest books in Hinduism) and realized that out of all the things these two texts teach, the most important is to let go and move ahead in life. In the Ramayana we learn it through Shurpanakha and in the Mahabharata, through Yudhishthir.
It is really interesting that the endings of these epics hold the most interesting stories and the most important lessons most of which are never told to us.
In The Ramayana, Shurpnakha was eager to take revenge from Ram and his family for disfiguring her but primarily due to killing of her son by Lakshman.
After the war, Ram along with Sita, Lakshman and Hanuman returned to Ayodhya and after a few months Sita became pregnant. Shurpnakha came to know about it at managed to enter the women’s chambers in Ayodhya’s palace disguised as an hairstylist from the southern parts of the country.
The royal women inquired if she had heard of Ravana and she gave a description praising Ravana’s looks. Everyone then inquired Sita if what she had said was true. Sita had only seen Ravana’s shadow and never his face. So she drew Ravana’s drawing on the floor with rice grains and Shurpnakha said this is exactly how he looked, this drawing is exactly like him. This is what started the gossips about Sita having lived in Ravana’s palace and ultimately this gossip is what let to Ram asking Sita to leave Ayodhya.
Sita left Ayodhya and while alone in jungle one day met Shurpnakha who wanted to take joy in Sita’s suffering but Sita did not look sad. Instead Sita made Shurpnakha realize that she would keep suffering if she did not get the feeling of revenge out of her heart. After a brief conversation Shurpnakha realized that Sita was indeed right and she should move on in life and hence finally returned to Lanka where she lived peacefully under the reign on Vibhishan.
In the Mahabharata, one fine day the Pandavas renounced the world and climbed the Mandar parvat to go to heaven and fell one by one.
Draupadi along with all the Pandavas except Yudhishtir went to hell and only Yudhishthir went to heaven.
The reasons were breaking of Dharma by all of them. Bhim ate more than required for a human being. Arjun was a arrogant about being the best archer in the world. Nakul was arrogant about being the most handsome man in the world. Sahdev was arrogant about being the man with the most knowledge. And Draupadi because though she was married to Arjun, she liked Karna (The enemy of his husbands).
Only Yudhishthir went to heaven as he was the protector of Dharma and was surprised to find that neither Draupadi nor any of his brothers were present there, but what shocked him the most was that all the Kauravas were in heaven because a boon to the land of Kurukshetra that anyone who’d die there fighting a war as a warrior will go to heaven.
Yudhisthir inquired the gods where his brothers were? The gods took him to hell where Yudhishthir was full of rage upon finding his brothers. He had a brief argument that this was not fair and that his brothers deserved heaven and the Kauravs deserved to be in hell. The gods made him realize that rage among the family members had already caused a war where hundreds of thousands had died and no one gained anything out of it. He had renounced the world but not his anger and he was not the great protector of Dharma he thought he was as he had prejudice and anger within him which was of no use. He thus gave up all his anger and decided to move on and was accepted by the gods as Dharmraaj — the real protector of Dharma.
I think this is one of the most important lessons both the epics teach us, but it is really sad that we’re not told these stories and are deprived of these big lessons. Lessons that in order to be happy with yourself, you have to learn from things that happen to you and let them go, you have to forgive people who have hurt you or caused you any harm. Only then you find peace and only then you find peace of mind and most importantly only then you find yourself.
If you want to learn more about Hinduism, please read books written by Devdutt Pattanaik. An amazing writer who explains the most complex concepts of religion in the easiest ways possible.