'Ram is God'
Ram is God to us, but he is also our son-in-law. He is our relative because here he was married to Goddess Sita. If Ram is known as Maryada Purushottam (most dignified man) today, Mithila has a big contribution in this. I want to tell those who are chanting Ram, Ram, that if he had not been married in Mithila, no one would have known him. If he was not married to Sita, he would have no identity. But, it is a matter of misfortune that those who are chanting Jai Sri Ram are not doing anything for Sita. Punaura Dham where Sita was born, should have been developed as Ram temple is being developed in Ayodhya but this is not happening.
MAHANT KUSHAL KISHOR
Mahant (Chief Priest) and caretaker of Punaura Dham where he has been staying for 65 years.
'Ram is a warrior'
Ram is Kshatriya (warrior) for us, whose adornment is arrows and bows. He is such a king who kills enemies. But, he is also a soft hearted, who has compassion for the downtrodden. I believe Ram's name is not complete without Sita. I am not in favor of the slogan of Jai shree Ram. Whenever Ram is mentioned, Sita should also be mentioned along with it. Sita-Ram should be the slogan, not Jay Shree Ram. But today politics is being done in the name of Jai Shri Ram, which should not happen. His name should not be used for gaining votes. He is god and his name should be used for only worshipping.
Sitamarhi resident and security guard
'Ram Is Our Relative'
Ram is God to us and also our relative because here he was married to our daughter Sita. But, only the name of Ram is incomplete. It is completed only when Sita's name is added to his name. Rama will appear before you in the form in which you worship him. If you consider him as the mighty king, then he is a mighty king and if you worship him as the husband of Sita, he is the same for you. Ram's name is like salt. The taste will come as you put it. If you take his name with love, it will work as low salt in vegetables and if you raise his name with a high voice, it will work as high salt in vegetables and make its taste bad.
Sitamarhi resident and housewife who spends most of her time in Janki temple.
(As told to Umesh Kumar ray in Sitamarhi, Bihar, a place known for being the birthplace of Sita and home to the revered Janaki Temple)
(As part of its latest cover on 'The Many Ramayanas', Outlook asked people across India who Ram is and what the Ramayana means to them. What we found is a rich oeuvre of testimonies, histories, emotions and identities. Read all the Ramayana stories here).