Symbolism is in fact the message given by
Scriptures and Ithihasas.
It starts right from the Vedas.
Rig veda is full of connotations
that can be deciphered only by enlightened minds.
To an ordinary reader they would
look like abstract thoughts sprung from mystic minds.
But that they are not so is what all the later works
starting from Upanishads to Ithihasas have established.
When the spiritual prowess of the
people of vedic age started declining,
there came a transition from mythical imagination
to abstract philosophy which found a place in the upanishads.
Learning from a teacher or guru kula vaasam
was unheard of in vedic period
when the son learnt from the father
(one instance to substantiate this is the Brahmopadesam
that is originally done by father to son.)
who in turn transferred the knowledge
to the next generation.
But the decline continued and
the guru-sishya relationship also took a beating
resulting in further dilution (or simplification of Thought)
and Ithihasas filled the bill to import the knowledge of the Vedas.
We find continuous re-orientation with reference to
all mystic issues
from Agni to Attainment of Brahman to Prapatti.
Everywhere the symbolism is maintained or
sought to be conveyed by means
appropriate to the conditions of time.
For instance, the whole of Sundhara khandam
is a symbolic representation of the Jiva’s plight
in samsara and the qualities such as seshatwa etc
that have to be observed by the Jiva,
waiting for the Paramatman to give the lift.
This view –
that the jiva is waiting and it is for Him to lift ‘whom He chooses’
- is to be found (back-travelling chronologically)
in Vedartha sangraha and in Sri Bhashyam
to the 1st sutra of the Bramha sutras,
in Bhagavd Gita (10-10 ‘dadaami buddhi yogam’)
and earlier in Mundaka upanishad.
(“whomever He chooses, by him alone He is reached.
To him this Self reveals his own form” (Munda III-2-3)
Another symbolism of Sudhara khanda is
the role of Acharya ( in Hanuman)
in enabling the Jiva attain Him.
If we substitute ourselves in Sita’s position
(when we read Sundhara Khanda)
and make all the pleas and prayers from our life’s point of view,
we would realise how it would help
in understanding the wonderful relationship
that has to exist between Him and us.
The same feeling or import can not be had
when we read the respective passages
from Vedas or upanishads.
It is because of the limits in the level of evolution of our minds.
It is for people like us,
Ithihasas have come in place.
If we fail to understand the symbolism,
they are said to have lost their purpose.
That is how the need arose in later years
To give us one line solutions like
and charama slokam.
Coming to the symbolism of Ramayana,
the incident around the golden deer alone
has too many meanings.
First of all why did Sita ,
who was prepared to shed
all mundane wishes and
ready to wear the mara vuri,
desire the golden deer?
Is it to convey (to us) that she is Sri,
the HiranmayI having a natural affinity to things golden?
Is it for this reason Rama immediately obliged her
(as against the caution sounded by Lakshmana)?
Since Sri is His manas, mind and Will,
he could not say a single word against Her?
Since the deer also was golden,
did He as one having affinity to Sri, the Golden,
not stop till He got it?
Was it the reason Mareecha chose to look golden
Than anything else?
Taking the gold stuff further,
is it because she is Hiranmayi,
did Rama make an image of hers in gold and
used it in his sacrificial karmas?
I am saying this
because commentators have expressed doubts whether
shastras have approved of this.
Taking this further to Vedic and upanishadic thought,
is she, as golden and desirous of things golden,
the personification of the of the glow at the heart
of the Sun, the seat of Brahman as scriptures say?
Coming to mundane life,
is the kundumani pon (gold)
that even the poorest of the poor manage to tie
in the mangalya sutra because of wishing for Her
(the golden one with all auspiciousness and riches)
presence in the coming of the bride?
Is Sita herself a personification of womanhood,
revealing in the episode under discussion,
that whenever the Mind (of the woman) fails
in rational thinking,
the entire life (of the couple) is bound to be ruined?
Entire Ramayana is around what happened to Sita.
So too the entire life of a person around what/
how his wife behaves?
Is that why the very first hymn in the marriage
function runs thus:-
“Oh, Girl, get up on the head of your husband!” The
assembled people echo the sentiment in the words :-
"You are the full blown monarch of this house.”
Thus any and every incident of the Ithihasa
can be explained at three levels,
physical, vital and mental
(Bhoo, Bhuva and Sva).
Every part / aspect of creation
including the human body and the world around us
is seen to be at three levels.
Even genetically these
three levels are inherited from three generations
starting from parents to great grand parents and the
return of obeisance to them is done to these three
levels (vasu, rudra, adithya).
From the medical
science also we have proof,
that diseases of the vital
level (fluids etc) are passed on to grand children and
not to one’s own children.
The grand children inherit the faculties of the vital level
from the second generation, i.e, grand parents.
In the above episode,
the importance given to gold in mundane life is to be deemed as symbolism
at physical level.
Connecting gold (also manjaL or turmeric which
is equated to gold and Sri)
to auspicious qualities of Lakshmi is the symbolism at vital level.
Rama listening to Sita (as manas) and going after the deer
is the symbolism at mental level.
Again Sita desiring the deer is a physical level phenomenon.
Rama going after the deer is one dictated
by vital level happenings (harmones?).
And Sita ever glowing in Rama’s manas (Sun / Brahman)
is a mental level phenomenon.
In short it is to convey ideas by different means,
that scriptures and Ithihasas have come to stay.
Those ideas are picked up by people in accordance with
vasanas, experience etc.
But to completely fail to see the symbolism in them
beats the very purpose of their creation..
Related post on symbolism of Vaali vadam:-