Ramayanam Vedasamam….

“रामयणं वेदसमम्”, goes the adage: Ramayana is the equivalent of the Vedas. This is explained in slightly more detail in this sloka:

वेदवेद्ये परे पुंसि जाते दशरथात्मजे। वेदः प्राचेतसादासीत् साक्षाद् रामायणात्मना।।

vedavedye pare puṃsi jāte daśarathātmaje। vedaḥ prācetasādāsīt sākṣād rāmāyaṇātmanā।।

When the Paramapurusha, who is known through the Vedas, was born as Rama, the Vedas themselves took upon the form of Ramayana and were written by Valmiki Maharshi.

The Illustrated Ramayana series that I have been compiling from the past month brings new hope into my quest to introduce the Ramayana and the Mahabharata to my kid, and other kids of his generation. I was introduced to these epics in the early 90s, through the mega-serials that were telecast on Doordarshan and brought the entire country to a standstill. These two series brought the Ramayana and the Mahabharata into our homes, through an easy-to-understand medium, loved and cherished by all.

Cut to 2020. The Immortals of Meluha opened the doors (more like Pandora’s box) to many other pop-mythology books, that bore little resemblance to the actual epics and looked more like half-baked characters from a Marvel Universe. Bollywood didn’t take long to come up with their own versions of kitsch – Brahmastra and Adipurush, one worse than the other.

And so I have been asking myself – how will Rohāmrta be introduced to these immortal characters? Will we have to wait for yet another adaptation? Today’s kids would not be able to sit through the originals, given their predisposition to binge-watching seasons rather than waiting for a week for another episode…

Am still searching for the answers. Maybe I will come up with something myself. Do you have any ideas?