Ravana and the Khettarama stadium

The Ramayana is an ancient Indian epic poem about a prince called Rama (the hero) who sets out to Lanka/ancient day Sri Lanka to conquer Ravana (the villain portrayed as a “demon king”) and rescue his wife.

We were in the midst of a chapter detailing a small story from the Ramayana in our 6th grade when our Sanskrit teacher stopped for a moment to tell us about the “Khettarama stadium.” Cricket matches between India and Sri Lanka were common fare growing up and these were often played in the Premadasa Stadium in Colombo. And, it turns out the founding name of the stadium was “Khettarama” or “Bad Rama.”

He went on to explain that the version of Ramayana we were told was not the only version. In Sri Lanka, Ravana was famous for his wisdom and valour and wasn’t portrayed as a “demon king.” There were versions in which Rama was the bad guy – a fact that blew our minds back then. :-)

It’s been close to two decades since I heard this story and, yet, I think about it time to time as I reflect on the many stories we’re told that are just versions from one point of view. There are often two or more sides to every story and there’s a lot of wisdom in listening to both/all sides before we rush to judgments.