How much personal choice does Lord Rama have in becoming a hero?

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Ashley Kannan | Middle School Teacher | (Level 3) Distinguished Educator

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I tend to think that Lord Rama has little in way of personal choice in terms of becoming a hero.  I would even go as far as to argue that he never really sought to become a hero.  He was never one who coveted being a hero, but rather understood the challenge of carrying out his duty.  It is here where he is heroic.  Lord Rama does not choose any of the elements that make him heroic.  He did not choose to receive exile at the devious suggestion of Kaikeyi and Manthara.  He did not choose to have Devi Sita kidnapped.  He did not choose Ravana's challenge of war against him in Lanka.  He did not even choose to endure the public chastisement of Devi Sita upon his return from defeating Ravana.  Lord Rama had no personal choice in any of these. He is heroic because he did not use the lack of choice as a barrier to embracing his duty and the law to which that he was held.  It is here where I think that Lord Rama is a hero because of his lack of choice.  He is not a victim.  Rather, Lord Rama reminds all of humanity that the lack of choice is not a sufficient reason to abandon responsibility and adherence to a law of personal ethical conduct.  In doing so, Lord Rama represents an ideal to which humans can only try to grasp to and hold, if only for a moment.


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