The program of Ramlila is one of the major cultural programs celebrated in India. It is a type of drama staged, which is based on the life of Lord Shri Ram, one of the main idols of Hinduism. It starts a few days before Dussehra and ends with Ravana Dahan on the day of Dussehra.
Along with India, in other countries like Thailand and Bali, Ramlila program is staged with great pomp. The history of this program of Ramlila, based on the life events of Maryada Purushottam, is quite ancient as this festival is being celebrated in India even before the 11th century.
Ramlila Festival in India 2022
In the year 2021, the stage of Ramlila in most areas of India will start from Thursday, October 7, and will end on Thursday, October 14.
Why is Ramlila celebrated? (Why Do We Celebrate Ramlila)
The ‘Ramayana’ composed by Maharishi Valmiki is one of the oldest Hindu texts. Written in Sanskrit, this book is based on Lord Shri Ram, the seventh incarnation of Lord Vishnu. In which his life struggles, values, works done for human welfare have been described. Ramlila is staged on the basis of Ramayana, in which the description of the life of Maryada Purushottam Prabhu Shri Ram is seen.
Various stages and events of Lord Shri Ram’s life are staged during Ramlila staging. Despite being the prince of a large and prestigious kingdom, he followed his father’s word and spent many years of his life in the forests.
He always followed the path of religion and gave the message of kindness, humanity and truth to the people. After killing his demon enemies, he got them duly cremated because he believed that any enemy of ours is our enemy only till he is alive. We do not have any enmity with him after death, after killing his own ultimate enemy Ravana, he had atonemented for his murder for a year.
Despite being the prince and future king of such a large kingdom, he married only one person, in fact his life is an inspiration to humanity. This is the reason that to stage these great works of his life, programs of Ramlila are organized at different places across the country.
How Ramlila is celebrated – Custom and Tradition of Ramlila
Although the story of Ramlila is based on the epic ‘Ramayana’ composed by Maharishi Valmiki, but the script of the Ramlila which is staged in today’s time is based on the epic ‘Ramcharitmanas’ composed by Goswami Tulsidas. Although the mode of staging Ramlila is different in India and other countries, but their story is based on the life of Lord Shri Ram.
Ramlila is staged in many places of the country from the first day of Navratri and ends with Ravana Dahan on Dussehra. However, Ramlila celebrated in Ramnagar of Varanasi lasts for 31 days. Similarly silent Ramlila is also staged in cities like Gwalior and Prayagraj. In which nothing is spoken by the characters, but only by their gestures, the entire Ramlila program is staged.
A large number of people gather to watch the program of Ramlila all over India. Various episodes of Ramayana are seen in all the Ramlilas of the country. In Ramlila, these characters are performed by the people who are staging them according to their character.
In the Ramlilas that take place at many places, the life of Lord Shri Ram is described in detail, but in a nutshell, it mainly includes Sita Swayamvara period of exile, Nishad crossing the Ganges, Sita abduction, Angad going to Lanka in the form of a messenger, Events like Hanuman ji giving the message of Lord Shri Ram to Mother Sita and burning Lanka, Lakshman ji fainting and Hanuman ji bringing Sanjeevani, Meghnath slaughter, Kumbhakarna slaughter, Ravana slaughter are prominently displayed. This entire program of Ramlila comes to an end with the burning of the effigies of Ravana, Meghnath and Kumbhakarna on the day of Dussehra.
Modern Tradition of Ramlila
There has been a lot of change in the present form of Ramlila and its celebration in today’s time. In today’s time, when frenzy and fanaticism is at its peak everywhere, then this program of Ramlila, which is organized during Dussehra, has not remained untouched by it.
Before independence, Ramlila programs were organized from Lahore to Karachi. In which Muslims along with Hindus used to go to see with great interest. During the reign of Mughal emperor Bahadur Shah Zafar himself, the Ramayana translated into Urdu language was recited in his court as well.
Along with this, Ramlila was staged on the banks of Yamuna in Delhi. For this program both Hindus and Muslims used to donate jointly. But in today’s time the situation has changed a lot. Nowadays, religious fanaticism and hysteria have increased a lot among the people. In many areas of India, many bad incidents are heard during the Ramlila staging.
In today’s time, everyone is engaged in proving his religion and sect as superior. If we want, we can learn a lot from the life staging of Lord Shri Ram shown in Ramlila and these lessons will prove to be very beneficial not only for Hindu society but for the whole world. We should make maximum efforts that we celebrate Ramlila with each other in good faith so that its real importance remains.
Significance of Ramlila
Ramlila has its own importance, in fact this program serves to give us a unique message of humanity and values of life. In today’s time, the decline of moral values is being seen in people day by day. If in today’s time we have to promote truth and religion, then we have to walk on the path of Lord Shri Ram. By learning from their sacrifice and work done for religion, we can make a significant contribution in the development of society by improving our life.
If we adopt the common things shown in Ramlila in our life then we can bring many big changes in the society. Small things shown in Ramlila based on Ramayana such as Shri Ram going to the forest to follow his father’s word, eating Shabari’s leftovers, not making any distinction between people, to protect truth and religion. Many important things like to bear many hardships are told, which gives us important messages like keeping the word, removing discrimination and sticking to the path of truth.
In fact, if we want, we can learn a lot from the instructive things given during Ramlila staging and if we adopt even a little of these things in our lives, then it can bring a big change in the society. This is the reason why the program of staging Ramlila is so important to us.
History of Ramlila
The history of this program of Ramlila folk drama based on the life of Maryada Purushottam Shri Ram is quite ancient, it is believed that Ramlila started in North India and from here it spread everywhere.
Many such historical evidences have been found about Ramlila, which shows that this festival is being celebrated even before the 11th century. Although its old form was based on Maharishi Valmiki’s epic ‘Ramayana’, but the Ramlila which is staged today is based on ‘Ramcharitmanas’ of Goswami Tulsidas.
There are many beliefs about the current form of Ramlila in India, scholars believe that it started in Varanasi in the 16th century. It is believed that the King of Kashi at that time resolved to conduct Ramlila in Ramnagar after completing the Ramcharitmanas of Goswami Tulsidas. After which it was staged for the first time in Varanasi by the disciples of Goswami Tulsidas.
Ramlila is very famous in India as well as in many other countries. Apart from India, Ramlila is also staged in countries like Bali, Java, Sri Lanka, Thailand. Thailand’s Ramlila is very famous in these countries, in Thailand the Ramlila staged is known as Ramkirti. Although this Ramlila is slightly different from the Ramlilas happening in India, but still its characters are based on the characters of Ramayana.
In ancient times, India had a great influence on South Asian countries. The merchants, knowledgeable and curious people here always traveled to the regions of South Asia for trade and in search of new places. Because of him, this cultural heritage of India became popular in many countries. According to historians, Ramayana is being staged in Thailand since the 13th century.