Child : Mom, would you please tell me about the sacred books which you have just mentioned? I have often heard about them, but I don't have a clear understanding of their contents.
Mother : The Ramayana relates the life story of Ramchandra, the ideal man who is also considered a famous God by Hindus. He was the oldest of the four sons of king Dasharath of Ayodhya -Rama, Lakshmana, Bharata and Shatrughna. In his early life Rama was trained as a great archer. He showed his valor by killing many unbeatable demons who used to harass saints while they worship. Later, at the time of his coronation, he was exiled to the forest by his jealous step mother Kaikeyi for 14 years. Rama's wife Sita and his brother Lakshmana accompanied him in exile. During the exile Sita was abducted by the demon Ravana. In order to rescue Sita Rama later killed Ravana with the help of the great monkey armies of Sugreeva and Hanumana. Rama returned to Ayodhya and became its king after finishing his exile.
The Ramayana has seven Cantos. This epic was originally written by the sage Valmiki a long time ago and then by others in many regional Indian languages. More recently, Tulsidas, a famous poet of the seventeenth century, rewrote the story of the Ramayana in Hindi folk language to make it more popular. The book is known as Ramcharit Manas. The main teaching of the Ramayana is to show the human race the proper way of living, devotion to God, obedience to elders, and a path of moral duties.
The Mahabharata, on the other hand, is the story of a family feud. The cousins Pandavas and Kauravas who were the descendants of the great Hindu king, Bharata, were involved in a fight in the battle of Kurukshetra. Krishna who possessed a godly power and who was a relative of the family took the side of Pandavas. During the battle he preached the great gospel of the Bhagvad-Gita to Arjuna for whom he was working as a charioteer in the battle. The Mahabharata is an encyclopedia of Hindu dharma and is sometimes referred to as the fifth Veda.
The glorious and famous Bhagavad-Gita is the essence of the Mahabharata and Upanishads. It contains the essentials of Hindu dharma in the form of a dialogue between Lord Krishna and Arjuna who represents the average person. Bearing the essence of the Upanishads, the teachings of the Gita focus on performing one's proper duty while keeping the body and mind sound and poised. The Gita is highly respected among the sacred writings of the world and has been translated into numerous languages. As a matter of fact, the Bhagavad-Gita is the most precious jewel in the Hindu scriptures.