In 1987, when the ‘Ramayana’ is being televised, Shri Nathji and HH Priya Nath watch it punctually every Sunday. Shri Nathji reclines in his bed and watches from the inner window that opens into the big room. The television set has been placed on a tall table in the big room and is clearly visible to Shri Nathji. Mangla and Mrs. Taman and the others watch the serial in the big room.
There is the scene of Lord Rama eating the berries that Bhilnee gives him, after sucking them to make sure they are not sour. Lord Rama eats them despite the unhygienic mode of offering, such is His Love. Shri Nathji was watching His own past as Lord Rama, on the television.
Mrs. Taman feels that the Lord Rama of the television serial bears a striking resemblance to Shri Nathji in his mukat. However HH Priya Nath feels that Shri Nathji is much more beautiful than any actor playing Lord Rama.
Every Sunday Shri Nathji would set aside everything that he was doing and get ready to watch the Ramayana serial. Priya Nath would place the pillow behind his back while he reclined in his bed, facing the inner window of the room. It was not that Shri Nathji was particularly fond of the serial, it was only because he thought Priya Nath liked it that he would watch it punctiliously with him. This was yet another aspect of Shri Nathji’s self-sacrificing nature, he would be ever ready to do anything for anyone in the world, even cater to the slightest of his whims, especially if the person was Priya Nath.
Ramayan is a highly successful and phenomenally popular Indian epic television series created, written, and directed by Ramanand Sagar. The 78 episode series originally aired weekly on Doordarshan from January 25, 1987, to July 31, 1988, on Sundays at 9:30 a.m. IST. It is a television adaptation of the ancient Indian Hindu religious epic of the same name and is primarily based on Valmiki's Ramayan and Tulsidas' Ramcharitmanas. It is also partly derived from portions of Kamban's Ramavataram and other works.
In 1986, following the moderate success of his television series Vikram aur Betaal and while he was in the midst of producing Dada-Dadi Ki Kahaniyan, Ramanand Sagar approached executives at Doordarshan about the possibility of producing a serialized version of the Ramayana, of which Sagar was a lifelong devotee. The idea was initially rejected, then revived, but delayed due to concerns that such a television series might lead to a rise in communalism. Finally, the show was indeed approved for 52 episodes (which would later be expanded twice in response to the series' overwhelming popularity, each time by 13 episodes, bringing the total to 78 episodes), and was given the unpopular time slot of Sunday morning at 9:30 a.m. Doordarshan budgeted Sagar, Rupees1 lakh per episode.During its original broadcast, Ramayan was enormously popular, drawing over 100 million viewers. Although rising slowly at first, its popularity reached a point where the entire nation of India came to a virtual stop as nearly everyone who could gain access to a television stopped what they were doing to watch the televised adventures of Rama. In a phenomenon that the newsmagazine India Today dubbed Ramayan fever, religious services (Hindu and non-Hindu) were rescheduled to accommodate the show's broadcast; trains, buses, and inner-city trucks stopped running when the show was on; and, in villages, hundreds of people would gather around a single television set to watch the show.
At the time, Prime Minister of India Rajiv Gandhi stated, "Ramayan has stirred the imaginations of millions of viewers. It has imbibed the great Indian culture, tradition and normal values especially in the young."
While religious-themed films had been produced since the beginning of Indian cinema, Ramayan was the first Indian television series based on religious stories and is widely credited with inspiring the production of many other religious television series, most notably B. R. Chopra's Mahabharat. At the time it aired, Ramayan quickly rose to become the most popular programme in the history of Indian television and the Limca Book of Records as the world's "most viewed mythological serial" until June, 2003.