Dear Seekers of Vedic Knowledge,
Are the two great mythological epics Ramayana and Mahabharata Vedas Retold? A few references are given below. Can any learned Vedic scholar throw any light on this aspect?
Rig Veda 1-97-8 and Y.V. 199 have a prayer to Manyu deva of "wrath" and also other devas (Beings of Light) like Indra who are prone to anger against the sinners. It says, "Give us power not to become insensitive and silent spectator to social and moral evils and bestow us necessary wrath to fight these evils. Are the two noble characters of Lakshmana in Ramayana and Bhim Sen (Bhima) in Mahabharta are based on these hymns in Rig-Veda. The super structure of the epics is built to a large extent on these two noble and divine characters.
2. Sama Veda in a number of hymns/riks, refer to nine kind of hydra headed corruption/evil and the same enters the human body through 99 sources. These two hymns have the corresponding mythological fable about demon king Ravana having nine corrupt heads and one virtuous head. By cutting one head, the second head would crop up and so on. Since he was also a learned person, his tenth head is depicted as virtuous. From his tenth head before his death, Ravana imparted the right knowledge (Brahmajnan) to Lakshmana.
As regards 99 sources/obstacles, Mahabharata has 100 young sons of blind king Dhritrashtra and not so old queen Gandhari. Out of these 99 sons were corrupt, evil minded with firm belief in deception, gambling and other kinds of negativities. Only his 100th virtuous son Vikarna protested against outrage on extremely divine noble lady Draupadi.
Rig-Veda X-34-13 prohibits game of dice and all kinds of gambling based on chance. In Mahabharata, the real climax starts after the deceitful game of dice between Kaurvas and Pandvas. The origin of Great War of Kurukshetra can be traced to this game of dice.
Further Rig-Veda 2-2-12 says that corrupt people face gloom through their children. Blind king Dhritrashtra was the unlawful occupant of the throne and played all gimmicks along with his 99 corrupt sons to avoid giving any land, power etc. to rightful owners Pandavas. The eldest brother of Pandavas was the lawful occupant to the throne. Rig Veda also says more children are source of trouble for parents. Both the parents of Daryodhna and his maternal uncle Sakuni in Mahabharata had 100 sons each. Their parents suffered both mentally and spiritually throughout their lives. Thus Vedic message of small families was conveyed through these epics.
Yajur Veda and Isa Upanishad leave no doubt that any meditation during the stage of ignorance/nescience takes a person from darkness to utter darkness. In both the epics, there are many characters like Ravana, Duryodhan, Kansa and others. They tried to obtain extra spiritual power through meditation but got into utter darkness and lost the discerning power (Vivek) to distinguish between right and wrong. Those who meditated while on the path of right knowledge like Rama, Krishna , Arjuna and many others not only got the divine light for themselves but also for the benefit of mankind.
Chatvar Varna Ashram (four divine professions) in Vedas is not based on birth. It is based on merit, capacity and aptitude and allotted through Vedic education. (Chapter on Vedic Ideal Society in “Glimpses of Vedic Metaphysics” gives complete details about these divine professions). In the mosaic egalitarian society they are equal and can eat together. The great metaphysicists (maharsis) Valmiki, Vyasa and Viswamitra and many others were not born to Brahmins parents. They all became Brahmins through their merits and capacity. Even lord Rama- Kshatriyas varna , ate berries already tasted by a noble lady Bhilni/Shabri of shudra varna. Incidentally Rig-Veda describes the followers of divine profession of shudra varna as handsome, unskilled and selfless worker.
In the Vedas “Guru” is the dispeller of inner and outer darkness. Gu is darkness and Ru is to dispel. No Guru can achieve this objective unless he has attained the right knowledge of all social and physical sciences, spiritual and divine knowledge of spirit and imperishable. Guru, who praises or justifies or lives on the filthy lucre of his/her devotees and followers, is also a wicked person.
While Ramayana depicts Maharsi Vashishta preceptor (Guru) of lord Rama as brahmajnanai– having perfect harmonized material, spiritual and divine knowledge, Mahabharata depicts guru Dronacharya as brhamajnani but supporter of evildoers like Kaurvas. His behaviour towards his old friend Draupad and silence in the deceptive game of dice as well as shameful action of Kaurvas towards their noble sister-in-law Draupadi has also been depicted in bad light. Vedas say such gurus even though having perfect knowledge encourage unrighteousness should be destroyed. In Mahabharata guru Dronacharya and his son are killed in the Great War of Kurkshetra.
The Vedic Science is depicted in both the epics. A few hundreds hymns are there in Vedas to explain in great details physical, military and medical sciences. Ribhus (industrialists) in consultation with ashvinaus (scientists) should build rathas – vehicles moving on land, water and firmament for the benefit of mankind and also for global trade. Aircraft with high speed (vajgatuvimana) capable of going around the entire globe in 6 hours is mentioned in Rig Veda. Maharsi Valmiki in Ramayana included this Vedic concept in the Pushpak air craft which brought lord Rama and others from Lanka to Ayodhya. The various kinds of missiles/bomblets used during war in both the epics are mentioned in Vedas.
The above are only a few illustrations which give the impression that both the great epics are Vedas Retold. If so, those who can not read Vedas in original can learn Vedic teachings and guidelines from these two epics.