Ramayana and Mahabharata

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develop two-three full paragraphs in response two of the ‘prompts’ listed below. As the reading are very long I recommend you utilize the Power Points for details and assistance regarding your responses: that’s what they are there for! The format is informal, you can use first person and your response is a ‘reading analysis’ not an essay. You do not need to ‘retell’ the story, unless placing the text in context adds to the response in your opinion. You need to discuss the topics in your own words.

Choose ONE question from each reading


  1. After reading Ramayana discuss the story of Sita from her perspective. Why did she choose to stay in Lanka after Hanamun offered to take her back, please consider all of the elements in your response keeping in mind that we as readers know the terrible treatment she has received at Ravana’s hand and her devotion to Rama? Consider why she considers Rama’s future glory more important than her rescue.
  2. After reading Ramayana discuss and describe the elements of the story that make it entertaining and engaging from your perspective. Is it the fairytale like stories in the text: flying monkeys that turn into mountains, talking animals, walking through fire and so much more? Is it the love story, friendship, folly of youth or all of the above?
  3. After reading Ramayana ( special focus on readings pp. 1180-1183) Why does Rama put Sita through a ‘test of fidelity’? What is her response to his doubt? AND, lastly after (reading p. 1136 and lecture) how does she become the figure of devotion and honor for Indian women for her strength amid suffering. Note: our text does not have the final books of the Ramayana but p.1136 tells the end of the story for us.


  • After reading the Mahabharata discuss the character of Bhishma who is seen as a spiritual and military leader who must model behavior of both positions. from the perspective of his ongoing struggle to fulfill his Dharma and especially how he faces death on the ‘bed of arrows’. Does he want the combatants to see peace?
  • After reading The Bhagavad-Gita, discuss the nature of Arjuna’s fear. Can it be interpreted from the level of imprisonment in Do you think he tries to reflect his Dharma in battle? What do YOU see as his fatal flaws as a character?
  • After reading the Mahabharata, discuss the tragic character of Karna. How has his upbringing influenced his behavior? How does he see his Dharma as the warrior code of loyalty by which he lives? And lastly, Why does his fallen body emit a light so powerful as to illuminate the sky?

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