GUWAHATI, Sept 21 � Dharma or religion as was understood in ancient India had more to do with duties and responsibilities than with paying obeisance to gods and goddesses. And nowhere does this concept get better elucidation than in the epic Ramayana.
This was observed by Dr Malini Goswami of Gauhati University while addressing a gathering at the South East Asia Ramayana Research Centre, New Sarania, on the occasion of the inauguration of the renovated �Mamoni Raisam Sabhagriha� (auditorium) on Saturday evening.
�The enduring appeal of the Ramayana which has transcended the boundaries of India during the centuries lies in its eulogy of humanism. It is also a truthful account of dharma in that the epic tells us of our duties and responsibilities through the saga of Lord Ram, his consort Sita, and other characters. It is a poignant narrative that concerns human relationships and their complexities, including human action and attitude,� she said.
Pointing out that the Ramayana spread to all the countries of South East Asia such as China, Thailand, Cambodia, Laos, Myanmar, Nepal, the Philippines, Japan, etc., � thanks to written as well as oral traditions � Dr Goswami said that the legend found adequate reflection in various tribal languages of India also.
�As the tale of the Ramayana spread far and wide, it was but natural that the narrative would acquire local ingredients. This has made it all the more unique and fascinating,� she said.
Dr Malini said that entire South East Asia was taking renewed interest in the Ramayana, and research on the epic was throwing new light on the time-tested narrative. �I hope the Ramayana Research Centre here will be a facilitator in promoting more and more collaborative research (with other South East Asian nations) on the Ramayana,� she added.
Another distinguished guest, Dr Amarjyoti Choudhury, Pro-tem Vice Chancellor of Tezpur University, in his address, said that Ramayani literature was all the more relevant in today�s troubled times as it teaches one how to distinguish good from evil.
�We are in a time when life-giving rivers are carrying corpses, and corruption and crimes have attained shocking levels. Therefore, the relevance of Ramayani literature is more than ever today,� he added.
Dwelling on the works of the late Dr (Indira) Mamoni Raisam Goswami who was also an authority on the Ramayana, Dr Choudhury said that rarely could one see a person combine the qualities of a creative writer and an academic engaged in research pursuit of the highest order.
�A genius that she was, Mamoni baideo combined literary creativity with serious scholastic research. In Assam, I do not think there was ever one who integrated these two excellences,� he added.
Dr Choudhury said that the greatness of Dr Mamoni Raisam Goswami lay in the fact that she triumphed over the trials and tribulations that life cruelly heaped on her, and instead drew ingredients from her misfortunes to create her monumental literary works.
Ramanjali, the journal of the South East Asia Ramayana Research Centre, and Subrata Baruah�s Assamese translation of Sriramakirtimahakavyam, a classic by Pandit Satya Vrat Shastri, were formally released at the function.