Ramayana and Mahabharata - hese two are the undisputed pride of Hinduism. They have set many examples to follow in our day to day life. But if we analyze them in little more detail, we will find they have few similarities. They are as different as chalk and cheese. In most of the cases we will see they are quite opposite to each other.
Now let us do the detailed comparisons about the following points.
If Ramayana has the harmonic, beautiful relationships then Mahabharata has ugly, awful relationships. In family whenever there is warm relationship, then the comparison with Ramayana is made and whenever there is cold relationship between the family members then it is said Mahabharata is there in that family.
Characteristics of the God
Lord Vishnu came to the world as Ram in Ramayana and Krishna in Mahabharata. But like the two epics, they both were poles apart. Lord Ram was an idealistic person in every aspect. He was exemplary in every way; he was an ideal son, ideal husband, and ideal brother. In one term he was purushottam. In contrast Lord Krishna was not the same. He was a very mischievous in his childhood stealing butter and troubling all the villagers. Then he started his leela with Radha. Afterward he married so many women like Rukmini, Satyabhama, Jambavati to name a few while Lord Ram had only one wife and not thinking of any other woman. However in some areas Lord Krishna was ahead of Lord Ram. Lord Krishna was the complete incarnation of the Lord. Hence he had many magical powers like lifting the mountain on his little finger and many such. So if Lord Ram was idealistic then Lord Krishna was realistic. In today’s world following Lord Krishna’s views or Bhagavad Gita will be the perfect guide for us.
Laxman vs Balaram
Laxman was a truly devotional brother. He always followed Lord Ram everywhere and anywhere. In contrast Balaram didn’t follow Lord Krishna so devotionally. For example Balaram was more inclined towards wrong Duryadhana than Bhima or any Pandava. Balaram wanted his Subhadra to be married to Duryadhana instead of Arjuna. Laxman was never inclined towards any sinned person.
Now consider the two women Sita and Draupadi. Sita was pativrata, being completely devotional to her husband, while Draupadi had five husbands. Sita was very soft spoken and always was ready to follow every instructions of her husband even if it was agnipariksha. But Draupadi was quite different. She had loose tongue. For example consider when Duryadhan was fooled by the illusion of the Pandavas’ palace in Indraprastha, Draupadi mocked him calling him blind. Also given Draupadi’s characteristics, she would have never given agnipariksha. Also Sita, the incarnation of Goddess Laxmi, did more memorable works than her Dwapad Yuga’s counterpart Rukmini.
Also the villains of both the epics were also different. Ravana was son of brahmin and hence he had the devotion towards God. He was a great devotee of Lord Shiva. However his ego got the better of him and he got spoiled. This was not the case of Duryadhan. He hardly had any faith on any kind of Gods. Also unlike Ravana he did not have boon from any God. However both of them made the sin of hurting women which ultimately resulted wars.
The Great Wars
If we see the wars of Ram vs Ravan and Pandavas vs Kauravas, you will find many differences. In Ramayana the war took place between demons and man (along with monkeys). In contrast, the Kurukshetra war took place between the relatives which is more difficult to understand. Also the war in Ramayana took place pretty fairly while in Mahabharata many codes of the war were violated. In Ramayana, the Lord himself fought the war directly. But in Mahabharata he was only a guide showing the Pandavas the right path rather than fighting on their behalf.
So from the differences it was clear that the two epics were poles apart. However, they have some similarities also. Both gave us the message of following dharma and remove adharma. So we can conclude they both were two individuals following different paths but had the same goal i.e. dharma.