Black Panther; a spiritual perspective from the Ramayana

Dear readers,
I hope you are having a great day, it is a pleasure to be able to share with you all another blog today.
Many of you might have seen the movie Balck Panther which came out February this year and I know this is somewhat “late” nonetheless I felt I share some things which struck me about it. The movie had various open and hidden messages and I guess depending on what you are searching for, we cannot miss them. Seeing the global performance as the 9th highest grossing film of all time with a whopping sum of $1.34 Billion, I knew there had to be more to it than just the action.
Let us start from the very obvious one; the ritual combat between King T’challa and M’baku for the throne. Right after T’challa accepts the challenge, M’baku responds by saying “glory to Hanuman”. For those who know who Hanuman is, there isn’t much to be said but for those who don’t, I guess a little introduction is necessary. Hanuman is the son of the Wind-god born with half Man and half Monkey features. He is very powerful and helped Lord Rama (avatar of Vishnu) conquer Ravana in his attempt to retrieve his wife who was kidnapped by the latter. It is worthy to note that the Jabari tribe worshiped an “ape-god” from whom M’baku got his superhuman strength. Thus, it comes as no surprise when he gives glory to Hanuman whom he worships just before combat.
Also, just like the Epic Ramayana, when there was a dispute between Bali and Sugriva as to who would ascend the throne, Sugriva seeks refuge in the forest in fear of Bali after their misunderstanding. Similarly, in the Black Panther, M’baku’s tribe also leaves for the mountains after his clash with the King. Killmonger the villain of this story challenges king T’Challa to a ritual combat and wins, with this short victory he usurps the throne leaving the king for dead. The King is found in a river by someone from the Jabari tribe (who worship the monkey god). The king makes an allegiance with the head of the Ape warrior in order to get back his throne.
This is almost parallel to the Ramayan because Lord Rama loses his kingdom (gets banished) and then sought the help of an ape warrior (Sugriva) in order to get back his throne. In the Black Panther, King T’challa depends a lot on his sister Shuri, who is in charge of his weapons and self-defense mechanisms. In the Ramayana, Laxmana who is Lord Rama’s brother is a formidable fighter and was known to have taken out many great warriors during the war at Lank but most especially Indrajit the son of Ravana. Now one may wonder what the connection here is. Indrajit was said to have been blessed with so many Astras like the Brahmastra, Vaisnavastra, and Pasupatastra just to mention a few. Defeating someone with so many weapons would require a person of superior power.
In the battle at Lanka, Laxman was knocked out into a coma that left him almost lifeless and he was revived by a special herb the sanjivani, which was brought by Hanuman. In the Black Panther, when T’challa was thrown off the cliff by the Killmonger and left for dead, he was also revived by the heart-shaped plant which had special powers and could infuse whoever took it with superhuman strength and the power of the panther god. During the war at Lanka, Ravana’s brother Vibhisana leaves his brother’s camp and decides to join Rama’s camp, he then gives a lot of information about Ravana which helps Rama to eventually kill him. In the Black Panther, we see a parallel with the CIA agent Everett Ross who although working with the US government to investigate Wakanda and their Vibranium resource, eventually joins forces with T’Cahlla and gives him information about Killmonger. Agent Ross is also seen to have helped the warriors of Wakanda, take out those who were commissioned with supplying arms from Wakanda to the rest of the world. Just like Vibhisan, he switched sides and was quite helpful.
In the Ramayana, the killings and war are all about rescuing and regaining Sita; who is Lord Rama’s wife and the most valuable person in the Epic. She is none different from the goddess of fortune and as such having her makes one the richest person. Although the comparison is not equal from a spiritual perspective, however, we can see that the most valuable item that is been fought for is the Vibranium; which is the strongest metal and has a large variety of uses. This has made Wakanda a very rich and advanced nation. Thus, we see the battle to Lord over this precious item. Besides all these interesting similarities, the Black Panther is also laden with lessons just like the Ramayana and I’ll share a few.
A true warrior or Ksatriya would rather die than accept defeat or be humiliated, and we see this spirit in Killmonger who after he was stabbed in a fight with T’challa, had the option of been healed with the Technology in Wakanda but chose to die instead, knowing that recovery only meant a lifetime in prison for treason. He replies with the statement that he should be buried in the sea with his Ancestors who knew that death was better than bondage. It is also interesting to see how Lord Rama and King T’Challa; who were both superhuman, at some point in their lives hit rock bottom. They were without a Kingdom, they had lost practically everything but they survived because they had a few loyal friends and family around them.
In life, we would all hit rock bottom at some point and our recovery or ascent from there would be greatly influenced by those we surround ourselves with. Just as King T’Challa’s father said; “A King must surround himself with people he can trust”. Rama had Laxman by his side and then added the company of Hanuman, these two people were totally loyal to Rama. We see the Black Panther have his Sister and Fiancee, both of whom were also most loyal to him. Likewise, as we journey through life, we must also have people we can trust and have faith in. These people will be very beneficial in helping us whenever we hit our lowest points.
I hope you all enjoy this little comparison of the Ramayana and Black Panther, till next week do read, share and follow for more.


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