Reading One of the Great Stories

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I just finished reading The Ramayana, an Indian and Hindu epic that has spread across cultures, been read and re-read and interpreted an infinite number of times. There are legends that to read this book is to be healed of affliction.

How should I treat something like that in my mind? Do I view it merely as a story, with bits that drag and bits that sing and a ridiculous number of pages? Do I frame it as a great narrative of religion and faith, the product of centuries of Indian wisdom? Does the feminist in my rise and fume at Sita, the eternal reactor who always takes anything her husband throws at her, and believes him when he says he didn’t really mean it? Do I take is as the ancient Indian manual of the good life, see it as a sort of instruction manual for how men and women and kings should behave?

I enjoyed reading it. That’s all I know how to give.

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