Comparative essay on Ramayana and Sunjata

Magic and Sorcery in Ramayana and Sunjata Epic Texts

Over the years, magic and sorcery have been an essential cultural aspect in different communities throughout the world. Within the same context, magic and sorcery are in different versions with specific significance based on the culture where they are used that may vary from one community to another. For instance, in the context of Ramayana, magic, and sorcery were essential in Rama and his family in terms of dispassion, Unmanifest knowledge of god or Para Vidya, and righteousness.

On the other hand, the Sunjata west Africa epic articulates magic and sorcery in a different version that was mainly based on cultural and social practices within the society. In this sense, magic and sorcery in various communities have been used as a social and cultural context in appeasing the God and acknowledgment of culture in these texts of Ramayana and the Sunjata. As both texts of Ramayana and Sunjata are a world apart, i.e. India and West Africa respectively, it is essential to compare and contrast the use of magic and sorcery in these texts and the reason for such use in these societies. 

Compare Ramayana and Sunjata

In the text of Ramayana of Valmiki, magic and sorcery has been articulated within the religious context in its use within the society. For instance, magic is important in the coronation ceremony in the background that the King and his mother Kaikeyi were to discuss essential details on the tradition while Sita offered her heartfelt prayers to the gods. In this text, there is a high regard for the gods or religious nature of the magic and sorcery as it has been articulated by Sita who offers prayers in connection to the coronation ceremony. Therefore, the text acknowledges the use of magic in the context of religion or praying to their gods within the Indian culture and its spiritual nature in officiating on the coronation ceremony of the king.

Within the same context, in the Sunjata text; there are religious aspects that have been articulated with sorcery in terms of succeeding marriage or a social union. In the text, it articulates that the sorcerer rejected the woman’s dart from her eye who was getting married. It is within this view that in the Sunjata west Africa epic represents the belief that for the woman to get married the sorcerer should have accepted her dart. Thus, the Sunjata of West Africa explores essential aspects of social relations such as marriage that is believed to be blessed through supernatural powers (religious) in an important union such as marriage.  In this view, it articulated the essential concept of religious believes that have been associated with magic and sorcery in both Ramayana and Sunjata.

As a critical social and cultural aspect for both societies Ramayana and Sunjata, magic and sorcery have been used in determining social relations in these texts. In the West Africa Sunjata epic, marriage is conducted in the domains of magic and sorcery as the woman getting married goes to the sorcerer for some form of intervention. In the same light, in Ramayana, the coronation ceremony in the Rama family has a well-intertwined relation with magic and sorcery in this community. For instance, in the Ramayana context, based on Rama’s inflexibility to resolve the difference with the king (his father), Kausalya had no option than to bless Rama on his plan to go to the forest for fourteen years in the forest.  In this context, there is a belief in that magic and a critical in terms of ensuring that Rama should go to the Forest for all that time based on the differences that they had with the king concerning coronation ceremony.

In the West Africa version, there is the concept of sorcery in marriage, and they were strong beliefs that such intervention was critical if such a union was to succeed. In society, magic and sorcery have been used effectively in terms of important social aspects such as married life and childhood in this aspect of society. As a result, there is a more realistic approach in terms of its use as compared to Ramayana as it has captured all aspects of social life in the society, for instance, in the childhood of Sunjata, there is a belief that God made him a person. Also, on the same concept, the text argues that through sorcery his two feet tendons were stretched. In this sense, it can be concluded that sorcery in the society has been used as a critical social aspect within the growth and development of the society based on family life have been well-articulated with sorcery and magic.

In this aspect, magic and sorcery have been articulated within the domains of culture and social life and its role in shaping society. In both texts, there is a belief that magic and sorcery have a critical connection with God and the supernatural in both Ramayana and Sunjata text. For instance, Sita and Rama in different situations seek the intervention of God as a supernatural being to resolve the hard times. Also, it has been articulated that within these religious domains, there is the concept of having a sacred connection in terms of the divine power in the text. On the other hand, religious beliefs or supernatural exist as the woman seeking the sorcerer for her marriage has to offer some tokens that are believed to have some superpower intervention. Thus, there is the concept of having sorcery and magic intervention especially in the social and cultural aspects of life in both Ramayana and Sunjata communities.

Differences on Ramayana and Sunjata Texts on Magic and Sorcery

As much as there exist essential connections and similarities especially on the concept of religion and social role of magic and sorcery in Ramayana and Sunjata, there are several differences that can also be noted in this case. For instance, in the Ramayana text, there is a belief of demon existence in the society that Sita and Roma should be protected against while in the forest. In this sense, the text articulates that Diti had given birth to a demon, on the same view Rama sought protection to his new friends in for Sita protection from demons in the forest. In this case, there is the concept of having demons in the society while the power of God is regarded as supernatural and further shows the meaning of such demons in the forest.

In the West Africa Sunjata text, there is no acknowledgment of any time in the use of their magic and sorcery but further provides the basis of using magic and sorcery constructively. For instance, there is a notable difference between the two communities in terms of magic and sorcery based wild animals. In this view, on their visit to Soso, there is an acknowledgment of several animals such as the big ram, and the leopard that should enter the ram which differs from the Ramayana community in the whole practice of magic and sorcery. In both texts, there is an acknowledgment of nature in terms of the forest in the case of Ramayana while in the Sunjata epic there is an acknowledgment of wild animals. Thus, the whole concept of magic sorcery in these communities may be viewed differently based on the point of view and the objective in this case.

In summary, magic, and sorcery in the context of Ramayana and Sunjata articulate similarities and differences in equal measure based on the setting of the different culture of the texts. However, it could be noted that in both cases, there is a concept of supernatural God or power that is governing the order of society. In the case of Ramayana, Sita and Rama articulated the religious aspect of the community as they could offer heartfelt prayers to God that is essential in times of trouble or hardship. On the same view, Sunjata in seeking for a sorcerer; there is a sense that is created of seeking a higher power that is important to ensure that they have obtained stable social relations such as marriage. Based on nature and how magic and sorcery are done in the two societies, they relate to the broader theme of supernatural or might beings that both communities’ belief.