Valmiki composed the Ramayana in order to illustrate a heroic leader, who was able to combine in him the virtues of truth, heroism, love and justice. Sri Rama shines out in this great epic as an embodiment of all these virtues. Indeed, Sri Rama is the beloved hero and victor.
The episodes selected for this monograph are expected to be read by students and teachers to discover in them that sterling quality which Sri Rama inspires in us — Truth, whatever the consequences — that which is the greatest demand on the upward evolutionary effort of humankind. This is the one virtue that humanity is required to cultivate today.
Value-oriented education is the theme to which this series of monographs is devoted, and the entire series f aims at presenting to the educational world the life- currents of some of the greatest leaders in world history, who have demonstrated that there are three aspirations, which can uplift ordinary human life to the higher peaks of excellence, nobility and divinity, viz., Illumination, Heroism and Harmony.
The readers will find in this monograph four great events in the life of Sri Rama, each one of which illustrates how Sri Rama surmounts the most adverse conditions by means of his steadfast adherence to the light that comes from the illumined seers and to the unyielding calls of heroism and harmony.
The task of preparing teaching-learning material for value- oriented education is enormous. There is, first, the idea that value-oriented education should be exploratory rather than prescriptive, and that the teaching-learning material should provide to the learners a growing experience of exploration. Secondly, it is rightly contended that the proper inspiration to turn to value-orientation is provided by biographies, autobiographical accounts, personal anecdotes, epistles, short poems, stories of humour, stories of human interest, brief passages filled with pregnant meanings, reflective short essays written in well-chiselled language, plays, powerful accounts of historical events, statements of personal experiences of values in actual situations of life, and similar other statements of scientific, philosophical, artistic and literary expression.
Thirdly, we may take into account the contemporary fact that the entire world is moving rapidly towards the synthesis of the East and the West, and in that context, it seems obvious that our teaching-learning material should foster the gradual familiarisation of students with global themes of universal significance as also those that underline the importance of diversity in unity. This implies that the material should bring the students nearer to their cultural heritage, but also to the highest that is available in the cultural experiences of the world at large.
Fourthly, an attempt should be made to select from Indian and world history such examples that could illustrate the theme of the upward progress of humankind. The selected research material could be multi-sided, and it should be presented in such a way that teachers can make use of it in the manner and in the context that they need in specific situations that might obtain or that can be created in respect of the students.
The research team at the Sri Aurobindo International Institute of Educational Research (SAIIER) has attempted the creation of the relevant teaching-learning material, and they have decided to present the same in the form of monographs. The total number of these monographs will be around eighty.
It appears that there are three major powers that uplift life to higher and higher normative levels, and the value of these powers, if well illustrated, could be effectively conveyed to the learners for their upliftment. These powers are those of illumination, heroism and harmony.
It may be useful to explore the meanings of these terms illumination, heroism and harmony — since the aim of these monographs is to provide material for a study of what is sought to be conveyed through these three terms. We offer here exploratory statements in regard to these three terms.
Illumination is that ignition of inner light in which meaning and value of substance and life-movement are seized, understood, comprehended, held, and possessed, stimulating and inspiring guided action and application and creativity culminating in joy, delight, even ecstasy. The width, depth and height of the light and vision determine the degrees of illumination, and when they reach the splendour and glory of synthesis and harmony, illumination ripens into wisdom. Wisdom, too, has varying degrees that can uncover powers of knowledge and action, which reveal unsuspected secrets and unimagined skills of art and craft of creativity and effectiveness.
Heroism is, essentially, inspired force and self-giving and sacrifice in the operations of will that is applied to the quest, realization and triumph of meaning and value against the resistance of limitations and obstacles by means of courage, battle and adventure. There are degrees and heights of heroism determined by the intensity, persistence and vastness of sacrifice. Heroism attains the highest states of greatness and refinement when, it is guided by the highest wisdom and inspired by the sense of service to the ends of justice and harmony, as well as when tasks are executed with consummate skill.
Harmony is a progressive state and action of synthesis and equilibrium generated by the creative force of joy and beauty and delight that combines and unites knowledge and peace and stability with will and action and growth and development. Without harmony, there is no perfection, even though there could be maximisation of one or more elements of our nature. When illumination and heroism join and engender relations of mutuality and unity, each is perfected by the other and creativity is endless.
This monograph presents a glorious illustration and description of that personality who was devoted to the constant search for and obedience to, the ideal of Truthfulness derived from the highest peaks of illumination and wisdom, as also to magnificent valour and heroism that fights against obscurity, falsehood and evil. It also illustrates the majesty of love that never stoops to mere sentimentalism but expresses itself in total sacrifice of one’s personal happiness in order to uphold equally the great value of the imperative call of the highest action that aims at collective and public welfare. Sri Rama, the hero of this story, a few glimpses of which are given in this monograph, has been engraved in the hearts of the people of India and in the general ethos of the culture of India. He shines out as an incomparable warrior and victor as also an embodiment of the ideal of harmony that can be secured only if one lives in union with all and in a love that is intense and suffused with truthfulness, impartiality, justice and constant sacrifice. Truth, — at any cost, whatever the consequences, is brilliantly exemplified by the life of Sri Rama. The concept of Dharma signifies not merely duty for duty’s sake, but obedience to the Supreme Law of the Supreme Harmonies of the progressive movement of evolution, and can best be studied by examination of the intimate details of thoughts and actions of this great personality, which have been described by one of the greatest poets of all times, Valmiki, who is also recognized as a most ancient poet of classical Sanskrit literature.
Illumination, Heroism and Harmony, — all the three are found to be united in all the episodes that have been chosen in the monograph. It is hoped that the teachers who will study this monograph will find valuable help from its study and will tell the children the story contained in it.
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