Rama, The Hero
Brave and righteous prince; a god, and incarnation of the god Vishnu
Rama, the main character of the epic, is brave, virtuous, and handsome—an ideal prince, and later king. His rectitude, patience, selflessness, obedience to elders, and determination to uphold the approved social order have made him a model for generations of men in India and beyond.
In addition, Rama is an incarnation of the great god Vishnu, who, when the world is threatened by evil and chaos, descends to set things right. For some Hindus, Rama (often together with Sita) is the Supreme Deity.
Rama’s great strength is seen, for example, when he rids a forest of demons, bends a great bow that no one else has even been able to lift, and kills thousands of attackers single-handed.
his patience and selflessness: Rama’s father intends for Rama to be crown prince and heir to the throne, but his plans are thwarted by court intrigues. The old king is forced by circumstances to send Rama into a fourteen-year exile and to designate another heir in his place. Rama accepts his father’s decision, and his own fate, without protest.
HIS ADHERANCE TO DUTY:
Rama is sometimes faced with a conflict between his own wishes and his duty. For instance, when he has conquered the demon-king Ravana and set his wife Sita free from her captivity he does not welcome her back but questions her faithfulness and harshly dismisses her. He does this because his duty as a ruler requires him to protect his own reputation and pay attention to uncertainty about Sita’s faithfulness. If Sita proves her purity (as she does), then the people will be reassured and he will be able to accept her back in honor. While Rama is widely revered, some of his actions, such as his questioning and rejecting Sita, have long caused discomfort and have generated debate up to today.
When Rama eventually becomes king he establishes a golden age that lasts for thousands of years. Under his divine rule discord, illness, and crime disappear and the well-being and prosperity of all are assured. Numerous kings in Indian and Southeast Asian history used Rama’s example, his name, and his symbols to fortify their own rule.