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Tuesday, October 22, 2013

#195 Whom should we worship? rAmA? rAvaNa? or God of some other religion?

Question: Whom should we worship? rAmA? rAvaNa? or God of some other religion?

Present context. Click to see Times of India Article



I quote from the above article.
...Addressing gatherings at Ravan pujas organised at several places in Punjab and Haryana, Adi Dharam Samaj founder Darshan Ratan Ravan said people should recognize Ravan's respect for women and learn a few lessons from him on how to safeguard women in a society. Ravan pujas were held at Ferozepur, Kapurthala, Tohana, Jalandhar and Ludhiana in Punjab and at Uchana Mandi in Haryana on Sunday. ...


Answer
Should we worship any God of any religion, at all?
If so, for what purpose?

GETTING PROTECTION

Getting protection is doubtful. Latest incident which proves non-availability of protection is the death of nearly 200 pilgrims in a stampede on the bridge in Daitiya District, Madhya Pradesh-Uttar Pradesh border, who had assembled there to see the darSan of Mother Goddess. If Gods and Goddesses have capabilities to protect devotees and punish criminals, the Gods and Goddesses should have a priority list. Terrorists, food-adulterators, usurious money lenders, rapists, should get first guillotines.



WHERE IS THE PRIORITY LIST

Poor villagers who assembled in ratnagaDh-datiya should not at all be in the deserve-death list. If at all, they deserve placement on death-list, their names should appear last. Not first and not ahead of murderers, rapists and terrorists, corrupt bureaucrats and politicians. Such priority lists do not exist because Gods and Goddesses (all religions) do not exist. God saving and helping devotees is only an imagination.



Question: Should we pray Gods and Goddesses without asking for boons and fulfilment of our desires

Ans: There is nobody to hear our prayers. It will be immateral whether we pray with desires or, without desires.

Question: Categorically answer, should we pray rAma or rAvaNa?

Answer: There is no historical proof of existence of rAma or rAvaNa. But, there are possibilities, that kings rAma and rAvaNa might have ruled our country. But one thing seems nearly definite. vAlmiki rAmayana may not be absolute fiction which emerged from figments of imagination of poet vAlmiki and his successors. The basic biographies of rAma and rAvaNa interwoven together, might have been colored with likes and dislikes of kings and priests, with added spices of aircrafts, 7 seven story mansions, forest-dwellers as monkeys, stone getting converted into a penitent woman with tearful eyes for washing the feet of her savior, etc. ASI (Archaeological Survey of India) has a great duty to Nation of digging up thousands of mounds for tracing real ayOdhya and real lanka. This is in addition to the present duty of digging up old forts like unnAv in UP, for tracing hidden gold. If dreams of sAdhus are compulsory for ordering then digging operations, then one of my readers has to motivate a sAdhu to get a dream. I am neither a sAdhu, nor do I get dreams.

I have made some studies on the location of ayOdhya and lanka and identified some probable places which might have been ruled by rAma or rAvaNa. Pl. see my other posts here. Examples. ayOdhya may be in Uttar Pradesh or Bihar. lanka may be in Uttar Pradesh, Madhya Pradesh, Chattisgadh, Jharkhand (bhagalpur-baidyanAth), Orissa, North of River GodAvari. Definitely not Sri Lanka.

Assuming that rAma and rAvaNa existed as kings, next question which arises is, do they deserve worship as Gods? The problem with our foremost-Scripture vAlmIki rAmAyaNa is, we can find a deliberate attempt made by those who inserted numerous verses in the Epic, to present rAma as an incarnation of God and rAvaNa as a devil. Neither of the propositions (rAma as God and rAvaNa as devil) seems tenable, if we study each verse of vAlmiki rAmAyana with reasonable care and diligence.

Forest dwellers (Present society and Govt. describe them as tribals, which is not appropriate) were depicted as monkeys wth tails. Forest Dwellers can never have tails. Nor demon women (we can't call them tribal or demon in reality) were shown to have horns, protruding teeth-tongues, etc. They were just women in rAvaNa's kingdom, as beautiful or as mediocre, as the women of ayOdhya or kishkindha.

Kings, whether rAma or rAvaNa, sugrIva or vAli, have their human strengths and weaknesses. Britishers worship Queen Elizabeth I & II with veneration, albeit not in the Indian style of building temples. We can see how Princess Diana was murdered in a cold-blooded manner because some doubts arose about her relationship with an alien.

The degree of veneration extended in different monarchist countries to kings and Queens, though not as God/Goddesses, itself seems to be larger-than-life-size.

Kings of yore appointed court-poets and court-singers to sing the panegyrics and paeans of them + their ancestors. vAlmi, apparently was a court-poet of Shri Rama. He seems to have lived in forests near to ayOdhya. He seems to have shifted his residences from bIhar-vAlmikinagar-SItAmarhi, to mIrzApur-Allahabad area, to stay nearer to ayOdhya.

Though vAlmIki rAmAyaNa does not specifically mention it, vAlmikinagar's proximity to SItAmarhi-darbhAnga-janakpuri-nEpal suggests that vAlmiki might have been a poet gifted by janaka to Shri RAma. vAlmiki's terms of reference, might have included looking after SItA's welfare, by staying as near as possible, to ayOdhya. Thus, vAlmiki seems to have developed a fatherly affinity to Sita, which might have made him to shelter pregnant Sita in uttara rAmAyaNa. Princes kuSa and lava grew up in his hermitage. It will, therefore, be natural for him to write eulogically about Shri Rama calling him "purusha vyAghram" (tiger among men). Shri Rama might have engaged vAlmiki, to write rAma's and Sita's biographical work, which he would have gladly accepted. lava and kuSa might have engaged him to spread its message, by sending balladeers all over their kingdoms.

If 20th and 21st Century rulers of India ask journalists to write their hagiographic biographies, offering them money, padma awards, foreign trips, etc etc., won't they write? Are they not writing? If I am offered some padmaShri or padma bhUshaN, won't I be tempted to write? Depending on who was patronising, journalists wrote about Javaharlal Nehru, Indira Gandhi, rAjIv Gandhi, Sonia Gandhi, A.B. vAjpayee, et al. Some journalists will write about Mr. Rahul Gandhi, tomorrow. But, if biographies and panegyrics, have to survive centuries, some miracles and superhuman elements must be added. We can see how a miracle of lighting lamps with with water when merchants refused to continue providing free oil, was added to the biography of Shirdi Sai Baba.

Question: Did rAma or rAvaNa save women from being raped?

Answer: Where is the proof? When we come to rAma and lakshmaNa, Verses 3-17-7 to 8 describe rAma as an extremely handsome person.
3.17.7
diiptAsyam ca mahaabaahum padma patraayata iikShaNam
gaja vikraa.nta gamanam jaTaa maNdala dhaariNam
sukumaaram mahaa sattvam paarthiva vya.njana anvitam
raamam indiivara shyaamam kandarpa sadR^isha prabham
babhuuva indropamam dR^iShTvaa raakShasii kaama mohitaa
3-17-9 to 11
sumukham durmukhii raamam vritta madhyam mahodarii
vishaalaakSham viruupaakShii sukesham taamra muurdhajaa
priyaruupam viruupaa saa susvaram bhairava svanaa taruNam daaruNaa vriddhaa dakShiNam vAma bhaaShiNii nyaaya vrittam sudurvrittaa priyam apriya darSanaa shariiraja samaaviShTaa raakShasii raamam abraviit |


vAlmiki described SUrpa-nakha as a combination of both beautiful + ugly features. She is also shown as a cannibal. She asked rAma "Shall I eat SIta" ?
3.17.27.
imaam viruupaam asatiim karaalaam nirNata udariim
anena saha te bhraatraa bhakShayiShyaami maanuShiim


As is the nature of the world, handful persons do not bother about ugly persons or persons with mixed features.

Rama did not face a situation of being astonished by a really beautiful woman. He apparently never underwent a test of overcoming temptation on seeing truly beautiful women, except SItA.

Compare this to arjuna the hero of mahAbhArata. He refused to accept the invitation of celestial woman UrvaSi and incurred a curse for rejecting her. Same self-controlled arjuna surrendered before uluci and pramIla (maNipUr Princess.

Though rAvaNa abducted SIta with an evil intent, his waiting for nearly one year without molesting her, is shown as an indication of his self-control. Some say that it was due to a curse. Anyway, this forbearance whether under curse or some other reason, is not sufficient to prove that he was a savior of women against rapists.

rAvaNa quoted the ethics of demons. According to him, it was righteous for him as a demon to take away or abdicate women belonging to others.
5.20.5
svadharmo rakshasaaM bhiiru sarvathaiva na samSayah
gamanaM vaa parastriiNaam haraNam sampramathya vaa.


If abducting is a righteous deed as per the ethics of demons, we can draw an obvious inference that raping was also righteous as per demonic ethics.
5.21.31
na hi gandhamupaaghraaya raamalakSmaNayostvayaa
shakyaM samdarshane sthaatuM shunaa shaarduulayoriva.

Sita called rAvaNa a dog.
5.22.9. Now, rAvaNa spoke like a cannibal and threatened to get Sita killed and served as breakfast.

UrdhvaM dvaabhyaaM tu maasaabhyaaM bhartaaram maamanichchatiim
mama tvaaM praatara ashaartham aalabhante mahaanase.

Now, rAvaNa spoke like a cannibal and threatened to get Sita killed and served as breakfast.

I am unable to trace anything where he threatened to rape her. May be under fear of some previous curse of vEdavati.

Anyway this set of conversation clearly shows that rAvaNa is NOT a paragon of virtue, saving women from rapes.

One pertinent question which arises is: How far the panegyrics of vAlmiki and his successors can be taken as 100% certain. Here, faith enters into picture.


Simultaneously, we do not get adequate evidence to worship rAma.

Question: Give an analogy to distinguish between rAma and rAvaNa?

Answer: We can compare rAma to pink color, which appears rosy and sweet, to look at. But its inner-core is red only, though it is softened by addition of some white. We can compare rAvaNa to blood-red. Because of its darker hue, and association with something frightful when blood flows out of injuries, it is hated. The same is the case with kings. A pink king may appear beautiful when compared to a blood-red king, if we believe that beauty is an external manifestation.

Was rAvaNa alone a cannibal as shown in 5.22.9 or could rAma also be a cannibal?

Answer: There is nothing in vAlmiki rAmAyana which shows that Shri rAma was a cannibal. But both rAma and rAvaNa performed 'yagnas (sacrifices)'.

Ancestors of rAma, ikshvAku kings performed sacrifices. One king ambarIsha performed a sacrifice in which the sacrificial animal disappeared. Leader of the presiding priests advised the king to fetch a human sacrificial animal. The great intelligent king (mahA buddhi) tried to get a human sacrificial animal paying a price of a thousand cows.
1.61.8 and 1.61.9.
praayaH cittam mahat hi etat
naram vaa puruSarSabha
aanayasva pashum shiighram
yaavat karma pravartatE

upaadhyaaya vacaH shrutvaa
sa raajaa puruSarSabha
anviyeSa mahaabuddhiH
pashum gobhiH sahasrashaH.


Now the Great ambarIsha went to one Sage called ricika, who had three sons and requested him to sell his son.
1.61.13
gavaam shata sahasreNa
vikriiNiiSe sutam yadi
pashoH arthe mahaabhaaga
krita-krityo asmi bhaargava


This story of ricika and his wife falling in the trap of king ambarIsha, owing to their poverty or greed is worth noting, of the times of trEtA yuga of great 3/4 righteousness, or the sacrificial culture during Gupta dynasty rule, when most of Indian scriptures got consolidated in Sanskrit. King ambarIsha gave ten million gold pieces to ricika, in addition to 1000 cows and took away his middle son SUnaShEpa. Fortunately, Sage viSvAmitra by his intelligent suggestion saved SUnaShEpa from being sacrificed. Sacrifices of yore involved smelling fumes of fat arising from the sacrificial fire. It is believed that fire God carries the offerings dropped in the fire to Supreme God VishNu (God Siva fought for a share in the offerings. Indra, varuNa et al get shares). Burnt meat is shared among the participants as sacred gift by God (nivEdana or prasAda).

This type of offerings of humans/or animals in lieu of humans, can be seen in all the major religions of the world including Christianity and Islam. Over the centuries, Humanity has gradually evolved itself to better, by discontinuing some barbaric practices. Some barbaric practices continue in the name of covenants with God.

Hence, there is nothing divine or special in worshipping an imaginary concept/entity, naming it X God or Y God.

We need not worship anybody.

Thursday, September 05, 2013

#100/#000 BRIEF SEQUENCES OF EVENTS IN VALMIKI RAMAYANA FOR THE BENEFIT OF THOSE WHO DO NOT KNOW ABOUT RAMAYANA


Ayodhya was a city in Uttar Pradesh, India.

King Dasaratha ruled it.
Dasaratha had three queens and 350 wives.
Names of the three queens : 1. Kausalya 2. Sumitra 3. Kaikeeyi.

Dasaratha didn't have sons for long. He performed a horse sacrifice and a son-giver sacrifice (Putrakaameesht`i sacrifice) to please the Gods and beget children.

He got four sons :
Shri Rama - Eldest son through Kausalya.
Lakshmana - son through Sumitra.
Bharata - son through Kaikeeyi.
S`atrughna - another son through Sumitra.

The sons grew up.
MARRIAGES OF THE BROTHERS
Janaka was the king of the neighboring kingdom Mithila. He had a daughter named 'Sita'.
His brother had daughters named 'Urmila, Mandavi, Srutakirti'.
Rama married Sita.
Lakshmana married Urmila.
Bharata married Mandavi.
Satrughna married Srutakirti.

PROPOSAL TO CORONATE RAMA
The tradition of those days was to crown the primogenitor.
Dasaratha proposed to crown Rama, the very next day .
Courtiers agreed.
Dasaratha informed Rama to be ready for the anointment.
Queen Kaikeeyi came to know about it.
She recollected about two boons which Dasaratha had offered her in the past.
She asked Dasaratha to bestow the two boons :
1. Exile Rama to a forest for 14 years.
2. Crown Bharata.
Dasaratha grieved for the turn of the events.

Exile of Rama, Sita and Lakshmana to forest
The three moved in the forests for 13 years.
14th year:
They moved to Dandakaranya forest and settled on the banks of the River Godavari.
Rama killed some demons at the instance of hermits.
Soorpanaka , sister of King Ravana tried to bewitch Rama and Lakshmana.
Lakshmana cut her nose and ears!
Ravana sent a demon named 'Maricha' in the guise of a golden deer as a bait to draw Rama from Sita.
Sita asked Rama to fetch the golden deer.
Rama went far in chase of the deer.
Rama killed the deer. The deer , before dying cries imitating Rama's voice : "Haa Lakshmana! Sitaa!".
Sita became anxious about Rama's safety and sent Lakshmana to help him.
Ravana entered the hermitage of Rama and Sita in the guise of a sage.
Ravana abducted Sita.
Rama and Lakshmana searched for the missing Sita.
They reached the Kingdom 'Kishkindha'.

AT KISHKINDHA
Vali was the King of Kishkindha.
Vali's Queen : Tara.
Vali's younger brother : Sugriiva.
Sugriiva's wife : Ruma.
-do- son : Angada.
Sugriiva's Minister : Hanuman.
All these characters were monkeys with tails, as per Ramayana. They speak in human voices.
Sugriiva, owing to a misunderstanding , started ruling Kishkindhah, when Vali was trapped in a cave , fighting a demon.
Vali, after returning back was furious believing that his brother ditched him.
He drove away Sugriiva.
Sugriiva became a refugee , thus.


Hanuman met Rama and Lakshmana.
Hanuman brought Sugriva and his followers to Rama and Lakshmana.
Rama and Lakshmana entered into a pact to kill Vali in return for Sugriiva sending his citizens in search of Sita.

Rama killed Vali.
Sugriiva sent forces in all the four directions to search for Sita.

Hanuman et al went in the southern direction. Ravana's Kingdom 'Lanka' was in the South.
Hanuman crossed the sea (presumably Pak Straits, as per pilgrim tradition)
Hanuman found Sita under a tree in Lanka.
Hanuman revealed his identity to Sita,
--delivered a proof of identity given by Rama.
--consoled her, etc. etc ...
Hanuman returned to Kishkindha and informed Rama that Sita was found in Lanka.
He conveyed the message of Sita to Rama.

Rama and Lakshmana, Hanuman, Sugriiva, Angada and their army move towards Lanka, to wage a war against Ravana and bring back Sita.
--Rama threatened Sea with dire consequences if he did not allow a way to Lanka.
--The God of Sea appeared before him and advised him to build a bridge.
--Rama built a bridge in 15 days, and reached Lanka using the bridge.

WAR
--Rama sent Angada as emissary to Ravana. Ravana didn't listen.
--Ravana's brother Vibhiishana advised him to return Sita to Rama.






#001EB/#194 More replies to comments of Shri Hariharan



Anonymous M G Hariharan said...

We seem to be talking in parallel. I am not disputing that Rama killed animals for sport. Valmiki has written it. If according to you this shows a low character in Rama then so it is. I want you to understand that you cannot read Ramayana with these sorts of modern ethical parameters and comment. Morals also change with time. Hunting is not a bad activity (Sport). Till recently it was in vogue. And is still practiced by many. Hinduism gives lots of stories to educate people on living. Some of the morals may have changed. But in general it is still applicable to life. Many situations that Rama encounters are still faced by many of us in daily life. These stories inspire us to excel in life. If as you say Rama’s character is all questionable then why are people reading these stories after 1000 years? Why it is religiously accepted and appreciated? You are belittling everything without understanding it. Hence I am saying understand and then comment.

Anonymous M G Hariharan said...

No No I am not belittling your understanding. The problem unlike religious books Ramayana does to discuss the subject. It is as if Valmiki has recorded the scene and voices and presented it to us. It is for us to translate and learn from it. Each person’s perspective will be different and conclusions can be different. You have asked about Vali vadh. It will be interesting to note that Sugriva did not ask Rama to kill Vali. He just wanted the quarrel to be settled amicably. But Rama says bring him in front of me I shall kill him immediately. And further Vali also says to Tara that he does not want to kill Sugriva. Only thrash him and send him back. So various interpretations can be drawn from this. As this is your Blog you are free to give your opinion. But others ideas also will contribute to understanding ethics.

ybrao a donkey finds *nishAda (forest-dwelling hunter) killed kraunca birds for his food. Were rAma and lakshmaNa (in mahAbharata pANDavas in exile) killing deer and pigs for food or for sport? If it was for food, we need not find fault with them except when they infant animals, pregnant animals, and disproportionately large number of animals when compared to their food needs. Anyway, they were not doing any export business. If their killing was intended for protecting innocent citizens , they should have directed their prowess against most cruel animals like lions, tigers, leopards, crocodiles, which might have been plenty in those days. If they were killing just for sport, we cannot, then called oceans of kindness (karuNA-payO-nidhis).

*Comparison of modern times with ancient times: If killing for sport is regarded as barbaric in 21st Century India and it was regarded as a delightful and refreshing sport in trEtAyugam (rAma's age), can we say that the Goddess of ethics and virtuosity (dharma dEvata) ran on 3 out of 4 feet in trEtA yugam and is now running only with one foot in kali yugam (modern evil age)? If killing a person from behind a tree, killing a person without inviting him for a battle or seeking his explanation, r leaving pregnant wife in forest without telling her, were great dharmas performed by maryAdA purushottamas (best persons of etiquette and culture among humans), during trEtA yuga, then which yuga (age) is better? trEtA yuga or kali yuga?

*General belief among Indians who have not read Sanskrit vAlmiki rAmAyaNa with an observant eye, is that rAma went to forest exile VOLUNTARILY, to fulfil his father's promise to his step mother, and thus set a great example worthy of being worshipped as supreme human and supreme God.

Now,let us see these verses: Context, rAma sleeping some of the first nights in forest, after Minister Sumanta left them in forest. Volume is 02 Book of ayOdhya, ayOdhyA kANDa. rAma was telling lakshmaNa that they should spend the night alertly. Chapter 53. Starts with verse 006.

8. anAthaH caiva vriddhaH ca mayA caiva vinAkritaH
kim kariShyati kAma AtmA kaikeyyA vaSam AgataH.
approximate gist: Having gone into the control of kaikEyi (kaikeyya vaSam), what the kAmAtma (a person whose soul is filled with lust), what the old and orphanised (king) can do, without me?


ybrao a donkey's view: Does a son who has voluntarily gone to forest to fulfil his father's desire, call his father kAmAtma? rAma was equating daSaratha to a sinner. If we the 21st Century Indians, whether you hariharan, or myself ybrao, were asked by our fathers to leave house, because step mother want it, we would have straight-a-way refused to go. Whether we go to forest or not, we do not call father a kAmAtma.

Book 2. Chapter 53. Verse 9.
9.idam vyasanam Alokya rAgnAh ca mati vibhramam kAmaeva ardha dharmAbhyaam garIyAn iti me matiH.
Approx. gist: Seeing this addiction (vyasanam, some translators have interpreted as misfortune. Meaning of addiction will be more appropriate, as we have the phrase sapta vyasanams (seven vices= woman, gambling, alcoholism, hunting, using harsh words, administering harsh punishments, squandering money without benefit), and the derangement of mind of theking, I (rAma) get an impression that kAma (lust-passion) is greater than (garIyAn meaning heavy, strong, akin to guru, gauravam etc.) the other two goals of life i.e. wealth (artha) and dharma (righteousness).



ybrao a donkey's feeling: rAma was very harsh on daSaratha. If rAma was unhappy with his kAmAtma father, addicted and mentally deranged father, he ought to have left towards some other kingdom or forest without any commitment f14 years, and lived happily with kausalya and Sita, lakshmaNa and UrmiLa. Nobody would have forced them to stay in ayOdhya. By selling their heavy gold ornaments, they could have built a small home and lived with self-respect.

2.53.10.
ko hi avidvAn api pumAn pramadaayAH kritE tyajEt
chanda anuvartinam putram tAtaH maam iva lakShmaNa.

Approximate Gist: No father, howsoever, illiterate and deluded he may be, under orders of a woman, would have abandoned-relinquished (tyajEt) his son, like me.



ybrao a donkey: Here rAma was comparing daSaratha, with an illiterate and deluded person, and pointing out that even a deluded man would not have done that. Was rAma not an obedient son of daSaratha. Why was he cursinghis father? If this cursing is done in trEtA yuga it becomes righteousness and if done in kali yuga becomes bad?

2.53.11.
sukhii bata sabhAryaH ca bharataH kekayI sutaH
muditaan kosalAn Eko yo bhokShyati adhirAjavat.

Approximate gist: bata means alas! kekayI's son bharata alone (EkO) is enjoying with his wife (sabhAryA), the kOsala kingdom like supremo.



ybrao a donkey's feelings: Why all this lamentation by a maryAdA purushOttma? Didn't rAma like bharata to rule ayOdhya, to fulfil his father's will? .

Now, rAma curses daSaratha:

verse 12 also shows rAma's worry. bharata singly gets kingdom. I am condemned to forest.

sa hi sarvasya raajyasya mukham ekam bhaviShyati
tAte ca vayasA atiite mayi ca araNyam ASritE.

2.53.13. artha dharmau parityajya yaH kAmam anuvartate evam Apadyate kShipram rAjaa daSaratho yathA.

Approx.gist: whoever abandons righteousness, and follows kAma (lust) will fast fall in danger, like daSaratha.



ybrao a donkey's feeling: Was rAma cursing daSaratha?

Verses 14 to 21 contain more lamentations of rAma. let us verse 22.

2.53.22.
manye prIti vishiShTA sA mattaH lakShmaNa SArikA
yasyAH tat shrUyate vAkyam Suka pAdam arEr daSa.

Approx. Gist. O lakshmaNa: The parrot (SArika) which was uttering the words "Oh parrot (Suka)! Bite the feet of the enemies (ari=enemy. arEr=enemies. arEr pAdam=feet of the enemies. ), must have been more affectionate to my mother (kausalya)."



ybrao a donkey's feelings: daSaratha's queens and servants of rAmAyaNa period, might have been teaching parrots tosay "Bite the feet of the enemies". Or, the parrots might have heard these words from Queens and their servants, and learnt them on their own. Anyway, the parrots were repeatedly saying "Bite the feet of the enemies" to the Queens, and in turn getting some fruits and nuts as reward. Queens+servants might have been cursing their co-queens and asking the parrots to bite the feet of their enemies (co-queens). Why rAma was comparing himself with a feet-biting parrot?

2.53.25. ekO hi aham ayodhyAm ca prithivIm ca api lakShmaNa tarEyam iShubhiH kruddhO nanu vIryam akAraNam.

Approx. Gist. Angered I am, I can single-handedly subdue not only ayOdhya, but also the whole Earth, but I am not doing it , without reason.



ybrao a donkey's view: rAma's wrath over his father, kaikEyi and bharata was very clear and understandable. I do not find fault with that. But, again he was indulging in hyperboles. Destroying not only ayOdhya, but also the whole Earth. (But he required sugrIva's help to search Sita and vibhIshaNa's help to kill rAvaNa. He could have straight-away gone on to destroy ayOdhya and the Earth.) What prevented him. Following verse gives the answer.

2.53.26.
adharma bhaya bhItaH ca para lokasya ca anagha
tEna lakShmaNa na adya aham Atmaanam abhishEcayE.

approx. gist: I am afraid of doing doing something which is not righteous. I am afraid of what will happen to me in the other world (paralOka bhayam= fear of heaven or hell). For that reason only, I shall not allow myself to be crowned.



ybrao a donkey's views: Sometimes, rAma behaved that he knew that he was an incarnation of God. Here, ignorantly, he is attributing his inaction to the eventualities in heaven/hell. Suppose, there was no fear of hell (paralOka bhayam), would he have killed bharata and kaikEyi and crowned himself? Either he was incapable of attacking ayOdhya or the Whole Earth, or fear of hell paralOka bhayam stopped him from doing so.

We can compare this predicament of rAma to the predicament of Arjuna in bhagavadgIta. Arjuna was hesitating to kill his brothers, uncles and grand-fathers. He was afraid of unleashing bloodshed. krishNa called it ignorance. krishna insisted that warriors should fight, as it is their svadharma. Here, lakshmaNa should have taken up the role of krishNa. but lakshmaNa seemed to know cutting trees for raising cottages, hunting deer and barbecueing and bringing water from rivers. He (preachers of rAmAyaNa) did not think of Bhagavad Gita. Preaching rAma was left to vasishTha (book: yOga vAsishTham). Primarily, the predicament of rAma-lakshmaNas was not different from the predicament of pANDavas of mahAbharata. They lost their kingdom, owing to the avarice of their step brothers. Why, What was a solution for krishNa-arjunas could not become a solution for rAma-lakshmaNas?

2.53.27.
Etat anyac ca karuNam vilapya vijane bahu
aSru pUrNa mukhO rAmaH nishi tUShNIm upAviSat.

aSru pUrNa mukhO rAmah = Tear-filled-(eyed) rAma, spent his night wailing.



ybrao a Donkey's feelings: This cursing, lamenting, weeping, wailing, should have been reserved for ordinary souls of kali-yuga like us. rAma was a dharmagna (one who knows what was right and what was not right). He should remained more composed and steadfast.

More to write. To continue, after waiting to find if anybody will be hurt. if necessary, this blog post will be revised/deleted.

Thursday, August 29, 2013

#001EA Replies to the comments of Shri hariharan

Anonymous M G hariharan said...

I find my comments in other columns are not being answered by you. Probably you are waiting. But I request your reply for this comment. It is a clarification regarding your comment 94/95 After Bharadwaj muni Rama again goes and kills and eats( Exactly similar to Guha episode). But the word in sloka is charathur (Charathi = Sanchara or roaming) How did you translate it as ate. So here again Just because they killed does not mean they ate it. It is to your advantage that Valmikiramayana.net also translates it as ate. Your knowledge of Sanskrit is good so please clarify.

Reply by ybrao a donkey

.

I am not a Sanskrit scholar. Hence, please accept my apologies for erroneous translations. You are free to correct me

Apart from the translation at vAlmikirAmayan.net, I have analysed the meaning of charatur as eating, using the following analogy.

In my mother tongue telugu language, we have a phrase called carvitaa-carvaNam (or charvita charvaNam). The renowned poet bammera pOtanAmAtya of 15th Century used this phrase in his telugu translation of Srimad bhAgavatam. Context: prahlAda carita. History of prahlAda.

prahlAda was replying to his father hiraNya kaSipa.

verse in utpalamAla meter. accapu cIkatim baDi griha vratulai vishaya pravishTulai carvita carvaNulaina vAriki etc. etc. etc.

English: Those householders who fall in the darkness of ignorance, becoming householders, becoming enamored with worldly pleasures, charvita-charvaNulaina = those who eat what was already eaten.

Thus the Sanskrit root 'cara' might have given birth to 'carvaNa'.

tAmbUla carvaNam (charvaNam) means = chewing pan leaves and betel nuts.

Thus I felt that it was reasonable to accept the vAlmIkirAmAyan.net's translation of charatur to mean eating.

Anyway, this needs greater investigation.


The following verse is after crossing ganga river with the help of guha and before reaching bharadwAja's hermitage.



We shall take up the original verse: 2.52.102.

tau tatra hatvA caturaH mahA mrigAn
varaaham Rishyam pRiShaTam mahaa rurum
Adaaya medhyam tvaritam bubhukShitau
vAsAya kAle yayatur vanaH patim.



The following verse is after leaving bharadwAja's hermitage and crossing yamuna.



We shall take up the original verse: 2.55.33.
kroshamAtram tato gatvA bhrAtarau rAmalakshmanau
bahUn mEdhyAn mrigAn hatvA ceratur yamunaavane



hatvA indicates that the brothers killed. bahUn indicates many animals. mEdhyAn indicates killing. Though the meaning of consecrated can be taken, it will not work here, because rAma and lakshmaNa were not performing any sacrifice or worshipping Gods. They were just hungry. medhyAn, therefore indicates worthy of killing and eaten.

Suppose rAma and lakshmaNa killed the animals without intent to eat, that will, then be worse, because it becomes purposeless binge of killing. There is difference between harmful cruel animals like lions and tigers and innocent grass-eating animals like deer and pigs.

See this verse.2.56.23.

mrigam hatvaa a anaya kshipram
lakshmaNEha shubhekshaNa
kartavyaH shaastradriShTo
hi vidhirdarmamanusmara



rAma was asking lakshmaNa to kill and bring an animal for performing a ritual before entering the thatched hut.

See this verse 2.56.25.

iNEyam shrapayasva itach
cchAlaam yakshyamahe vayam
tvarasaumya muhuurto ayam
dhruvashcha divaso.apyayam .



rAma was asking lakshmaNa to boil the antelope. Now see 2.56.26.

sa lakShmaNaH kriShNa mrigam hatvaa medhyam pataapavaan
atha cikShepa saumitriH samiddhe jAta vedasi.



Now, lakshmaNa throws the blank antelope (krishNa mrigam without white spots) into the sacrificial pyre. 2.56.27.

tam tu pakvam samAGYaaya niShTaptam chinna shoNitam lakShmaNaH puruSha vyaaghram atha raaghavam abraviit.



Now, lakshmaNa informs rAma, after duly barbecuing the poor deer. Here, readers, please see: Valmiki was calling lakshmaNa= purusha vyAghra (tiger among men) for doing this dirty job. Tigers devor deer, of course without throwing them into fire. Humans throw the deer into fire/pyre and devour them later.

Now see verse 2.56.28.

ayam kRiShNaH samApta angaH
shritaH kRiiShNa mRigo yathaa
devataa deva samkASa
yajasva kushalo hi asi.



Now, lakshmaNa was telling rAma that the black fellow was burnt. lakshmaNa was comparing rAma to God. dEva samkASa means 'Oh equal to God'. He was asking rAma to worship Gods. What was all this God-like persons throwing that poor black antelope into fire? Was there anything really Godly in that ghastly cruel deed?

Let us see this verse. 2.56.29.

rAmaH snaatvaa tu niyataH
guNavAn japya kovidaH
samgraheN AkarOt sarvaan
mantran satrAvasAnikaan.



rAma now chants sacred script. Here, see the adjectives used by vAlmiki. guNavAn=virtuous person. japya kOvida=learned in meditation. What did he learn? Throwing antelopes into fire? What scripts were they? How they were going to purify the thatched hut?

Throwing the black deer, rAma became glorious and purified. See this verse.2.56.30

iShTvaa devagaNaan sarvaan
viveshaavasatham shuciH
babhuuva ca manohlAdo
raamasya amitatejasaH.



See the adjectives manOhlAdO= delighted, jubilant and relaxed. amita tEjasah= with great shining.



Now see this mEthyam and 2.96.1 and 2.

tAm tathA darshayitvA
tu maithilIM girinimnagAm
niShasAda giriprasthe siitAM
mAMsEna chandayan .

idam medhyam idaM svAdu
niSTaptam idam agninA
evam Aste sa dharmAtmaa
sItayA saha rAghavaha.


Context: Now rAma was feeding pieces of steak into SItA's mouth. idam mEdhyam= this is worthy of eating? idam svAdu= this is succulent and tasy. nistApam idam agninA = this is well-roasted in fire.

We can see this verse:3.47.22 and 23.

samAshvasa muhuurtam tu shakyam vastum iha tvayaa AgamiShyati me bhartaa vanyam Adaaya puShkalam ruruun godhAn varAhAn ca hatvA AdAya amiShAn bahu.



Context: rAvana visited Sita at pancavaTi, with intent to abduct her, in the guise of a priest. Sita, initially was not aware of rAVaNa's intent. She was asking him to wait, indicating that her husband would bring lot of meats consisting of pigs, deer, lizards (gOdhA probably means lizards or four leg snakes) etc.

Hence, it is clear that the three Sita, rAma, and Lakshmana were using meats as staple-diet. See this verse. 3.44.27.

nihatya pRiShatam ca
anyam mAMsam Adaaya rAghavaH
tvaramANo janasthAnam
sasAra abhimukhaH tadaa.



Context: After killing mArIcA rAma had to return in a hurry. But he chose to hunt another deer in lieu of mArica.
summary: Nowhere in my blogposts, I commented that it was wrong on the part of rAma taking n.v. food. My criticism was against his breaking promises, in spite of telling kaushalya, guha et al , that he would live on fruits. rAma declined to take meats offered by guhA. In two days, Rama and Lakshmana started killing animals 'bahUn=many'.

As a kshatriya (warrior), they were justified in hunting and eating.

Was there any justification in throwing the black deer into fire? Rama was a karuNa payO nidhi = Ocean of compassion. This throwing into fire was not for any great purpose. Just to enter a leaf-hut!

What rAma and lakshmaNa were during 13 years in the forest? They could have learnt some agriculture. No mention at all about agriculture by the brothers. Did they go on a killing spree day in and day out.

It is worth comparing this "series of killing" to what pAnDavas had done during their 12 year exile to forest.

For this hariharanji, kindly see my mahabharata blog. Click to go to mahabharatayb.blogspot.com. arjuna went on pilgrimage. Four brothers were remaining. Their daily ritual was hunting pigs, each one going in one direction. I shall add those details here later, as it is already past midnight before my computer table. This blog post will be thoroughly revised after taking your views into consideration.

Wednesday, July 24, 2013

#192 What is the difference between tulsidas and valmiki ramayana?

What is difference between tulsidas and valmiki ramayana?

This question was asked at www.in.answers.yahoo.com three years back. Some learned readers expressed their views. It was finally treated as resolved, with no further scope to add an opinion. Hence, I am writing my view here.

One generally held view is that tulsidas depicted Shri rAma in rAm carit mAnas as supreme God himself. vAlmiki tried to present rAma as an ideal human being, worthy of emulation by every one of us.

tulsidas made modifications to vAlmiki rAmAyan story, to make it appear more sacred. This trait/tendency of making modifications to base story is common among Indian translations and re-adoptions, such as kamban rAmAyana in TAmil, molla rAmAyaNa or bhAskara rAmAyaNa in telugu, etc.

By reading translated and modified texts, devotees become greater devotees and when devotion reaches it zenith, they may attain unity with rAma.

From a truth-seeker/analyst's point of view, reading translations, can make us deviate from the base story. For this reason only, I have, as far as possible, confined this blog only to vAlmIki rAmAyaN.

Even vAlmiki rAmAyan's base story contains COUNTLESS insertions, deletions, and modifications, which may be the work of priests and temple preachers. vAlmiki rAmAyan was carried over from generation to generation, through oral traditions and palm-leaf inscriptions. Hence, during transmission stage, several additions, deletions and modifications might have taken place.

Examples:
Converting vanacarAs (forest-dwellers) to vAnaras (monkeys), by adding tails, including to hanumAn. hanumAn was, according to VR, a great scholar well versed in three vEdAs. How can a great scholar have a tail?

Adding pushpaka aircraft, to a human fantasy of flying in the sky. pushpaka aircraft becomes a dream, because it had not only been made to fly, but also able to accommodate millions of monkeys, which even a 21st Century Boeing Dreamliner or AirBus cannot accomplish.

Adding hyperolic figures of speech (atiSayOktis) as adjectives to the main characters. Example: rAma was called purusha vyAghram (tiger among humans) at several places.
6-48-10. shankhE netrE karau pAdau gulphAv UrU ca mE citau anuvrittA nakhAh snigdhAha samAsh ca angulayO mama.

6-48-11. stanau ca aviralau piinau mama imau magna cUcukau magnA ca utsanginI naabhih paarshva uraskam ca mE citam.


If going to forest on the orders of stepmother and a weak father, a part of intrigues to succession to royal throne, is considered as cause sufficient enough to worship a person, those who lay down their lives for worthier causes, will be entitled to a thousand times more intensive worship. Example: bhagat singh, rAs bihAri bOse, chandrasEkhar AzAd, rAjguru, et al. We have thousands of Indians who suffered endlessly in the prisons of anDamAns Islands. We should be grateful enough to build hundreds of temples for them, not just memorials.

This tendency of making humans Gods, or sons of Gods, or prophets, for relatively less worthier causes exists not only in hindUism, but also in other religions. I am unable to cover them, because they are outside the purview of vAlmiki rAmAyan.

rAmAyaN could have ACTUALLY happened and would have been (is, in fact), a part of our folk history. Folk histories do not lose the character of history, simply because stone inscriptions are not available or palm-leaves/copper-plates are not available. Histories can live over our tongues.

Only need is, we have to ignore SUPERLATIVE ADJECTIVES AND HYPERBOLES added by priests and temple preachers.

About frequent preachings to emulate rAma, lakshmaNa et al.

Very often we find that many average Indians seem to appear have better personalities, than the personalities of rAmAyaN characters. Among millions of Indians, only thousands or hundreds of Indians may venture to ask a wife to keep your mind on any body you want and compel her to enter fire for proving faithfulness. In spite of succeeding in this fire-test, later on, few pregnant wives will be abandoned in forests.
6-115- 22 and 23 BOOK 6 - BOOK OF WAR - YUDDHA KANDA CHAPTER 115 - SARGA 115 VERSES 22 AND 23 - SLOKAS 22 AND 23

tadadya vyaahritam bhadree mayaitat kritabuddhinaa Lakshman`ee vaa tha Bharate kuru buddhim yathaa sukham (22)

Shatrughne vaa tha Sugriivee raakshase vaa Vibhiishan`ee niveshaya manaha Siitee yathaa vaa sukha maatmanaha (23)


Here rAma was asking Sita to bind herself to lakshmaNa, or bharata, or Satrughna, or sugrIva, or vibhIshaNa. Few Indian husbands ask wives to set their minds on somebody else.

Important note: I may have to reedit this, to soothe hurt feelings of my readers.

Wednesday, April 24, 2013

#191 chAru nivEdita about writing on rAmAyaNa



``...The second point was financial. I have written on several controversial subjects, and with only a hundred copies of my novel selling, it sometimes feels like writing in my personal diary. So you can imagine my financial situation. I had to borrow money from my friends, wife and son to travel to the US. I have some fans there with whom I could have stayed.

There is only one way to enhance my financial situation: writing for the Tamil cinema. But there is a problem — I will have to spend sleepless nights after calling all those mediocre Tamil films as “classics”. Even my greed to follow Chettiar to America won’t allow me to ditch my conscience. Perhaps I should write novels with with Lord Rama or Shiva as the central characters — I could portray them like Akshay Kumar in Special 26 and sell million of copies? Does anybody know which IIM gives training for this? Please help me out if you do! ...``


We can see the above quote from the English Daily Deccan Chronicle. Here is the link to the complete article:

http://www.deccanchronicle.com/130424/commentary-op-ed/commentary/poor-writers-naked-rajas .

title of the article: poor-writers , naked-rAjas.

Mr. chAru nivEdita, author of ``Zero Degree``, a novel considered as his magnum-opus.

ybrao-a-donkey`s views

For the purpose of our blog, Lord rAma and Siva are relevant and important. I do not know about askhay kumAr except that he is a top Hindi-bollywood film star. This ``special 26`` referred to by Mr. chAru nivEdita also I do not know. I have to do some hard-work, home-work.

In the meantime, I shall confine myself to say : ``selling a million copies, is a great dream.``

As on date about 25,000 have touched our blog. I shall not say that many of them have read it. They might have touched the blog quite by an accident. A sort of lottery-prize to me. Some of them have abused me. But I shall not blame them, because we have to respect their right to have different opinions.

These 25000 views of my rAmAyana may be equal to the 100 copies of Mr. chAru nivEdita`s novel sales mentioned in the above quote. I believe that Mr. chAru nivEdita might have been joking when he referred to only a hundred copies of his novel selling.

Mr. chAru nivEdita`s liking for following the trail of Mr. chettiar`s (for details pl. see his article linked by me above) journeys from Los Angeles to New York by train and by cars in the return trips. I greatly appreciate his ideas.

Till recently, I too had a dream (fad?) to visit U.S., albeit on a different goal. It is interviewing people who live under bridges and flyovers. For us, the poor and LMC Indians, U.S. is a land of honey and milk. Even swAmi vivEkAnanda wrote:

" ... I have had two classes already — they will go on for four or five months and after that to India I go. But it is to Amerique — there where the heart is. I love the Yankee land. I like to see new things. I do not care a fig to loaf about old ruins and mope a life out about old histories and keep sighing about the ancients. I have too much vigour in my blood for that. In America is the place, the people, the opportunity for everything. I have become horribly radical. I am just going to India to see what I can do in that awful mass of conservative jelly-fish, ... "


I lived in Hyderabad for a number of years and am quite familiar with the people who live under bridges and flyovers. Even this place Guntur City of a million - at which I live - have people stretching themselves under bridges and flyovers. But, I could never believe that in the honey-milky-yankey-land also there are God-driven (God-ditched? God-damned?) people who live under bridges.

Here is a beautiful link about the tunnel people, tent-dwellers, truck-dwellers etc. in New York, Las vEgas, Kansas City, New Jersey, etc.

Click to go to http://theeconomiccollapseblog.com/archives/the-tunnel-people-that-live-under-the-streets-of-america.

Conclusion: A million copies of a book with Lord rAma and Siva as central characters, resembling akshay kumAr, -- idea of my writing such book, I shall send to a cold-burner.

#190 Mother- Why did you undertake a thing which threatens my life?


ayOdhyA kAnDa (Book of ayOdhya City)
Volume 2
Chapter 73 - sarga 73
verse 25 - SlOka 25 na tu kAmam kariShyAmi tavAhm pApanishcayE tvayA vyasanamArabdham jIvitAntakaram mama.


CONTEXT
Youngest queen kaikEyi asked her husband-king-daSaratha to send Prince rAma to forest on exile for 14 years and coronate her son bharata in his place. rAma, sIta, and lakshmaNa left to forest. bharata was brought back from his maternal uncle`s place kEkaya kingdom, for coronation. bharata instead of accepting the crown rebukes his mother kaikEyi.

GIST
Oh the one who is determined to sin! (pApa=sin nischayE=determined) I shall not undertake the wrongful act initiated by you and fulfil your desire. The act is life-threatening to me (jIvitA=life; anta=end; karam=doing; i.e. that which ends lives).

ybrao-a-donkey`s-views
We have to take a direct meaning. Why bharata was considering the act of kaikEyi as a criminal act which threatened his life? The circumstances of cold-war going on in ayodhya fort we can gauge. rAma and lakshmaNa, probably courtiers and citizens on one side. bharata, the 1500 horsemen presented by his maternal uncle on the other side.

rAma-lakshmaNas might have left to forest probably because they were apprehensive of aged-king`s regal powers (though exercised by proxy kaikEyi with king in her apartments.

bharata might not have been sure of his de-facto power, though he may become a de-jure king after coronation. If daSaratha`s army and courtiers revolted because the the tradition of crowning the primogenitor (first-born) was not followed, bharata and his mother might have been treated as criminals and condemned to a dungeon or even sent to gallows. Human history is full of many such acrimonious bitter incarcerations. bharata seems to have preferred a safer course of recalling his brother to ayOdhya, pacify the citizens and courtiers and decide on future course of action depending upon the course of eventualities.

Temple preachers may deduce a different meaning. bharata`s love for rAma was of such a great magnitude that bharata would have died of grief arising out of departure of his beloved brother rAma. But, there are circumstances to also deduce that bharata`s love to his brother rAma was not so ardent and glowing. Pl. see post No. #051 at this blog from the contents box.

Tuesday, April 16, 2013

#189 subrahmaNya vijayayam discourse by Mr. cAganTi kOTEswara rAo



Writing this blog is a balancing-act for me a la the balancing-acts of politicians who have to satisfy different sections of their vote-banks. I have an imperative to take special care in choosing every word I write in this blog and every sentence I construct, lest what I write may unintentionally hurt the sentiments of readers, particularly those who are not interested in digging into beliefs, facts, histories, legends and myths.

I have just now come back from tv viewing. Watched SVbC (Sri venkaTEswara bhakti channel) TV channel of tirumala venkaTEswara temple, also known as TTD. Today is subrahmaNya shashThi (6th day on which Lord subrahmaNya was born).
For the benefit of those who are not aware: Lord subrahmaNya = kumAraswAmi = kArtikEya = murugan = shaDAnana = SaravaNabhava.
ShashThi = 6th day of the 15day lunar fortnight. We get two shashThis in every lunAr month.
TTD-SVBC organised special orations of Mr. chAganTi kOTEswara rAo, a scholar of Hindu scriptures, enjoying the patronage of TTD-SVBC channel. He has today from 6.30p.m. to 8.30 p.m. dealt with in his oration, the whole story of birth of Lord kArtikEya.

Shri kOTEswara Rao, has during his two hour speech stretched in length, the basic story of subrahmaNya`s birth, and some other topics such as sanAtana dharma, vEdAs, Adi Shankara, kumArila bhaTTu, gnAna sambandha nAyanAr et al. He has explained that kumArila bhaTTu was the incarnation of Lord subrahmaNya, and that he defended the vEdAs against an onslaught of yagnas (sacrifices) as great evils, by the critics of his days (approx. 7c A.D.).

The venue, sAtya sAi nigamAgamam hall, Hyderabad, was fully packed, with audience standing or squatting even in alleys. The audience also responded with claps enthusiastically and voluntarily. He has great control over Sanskrit and telugu verses, which he quoted profusely. He deserves great praise for his oratorial skills and his retention powers of sAnskrit and telugu verses. He quoted extensively from vAlmIki rAmAyaNa, volume 1 (bAla kAnDa - shrI rAma`s childhood).

ybrao a donkey`s views

High-flow-style, oratory and verbal-ornamentation cannot create facts and truth-s from illogical interpretations and narrations be they in the original scripture or added by interpretors. They can only serve as audio-visual treats and do not serve truth-seekers. Dress-codes, facial-symbolic-marks, ear-rings, etc. also do not add anything to facts-truth(s).

Relevance of Mr. kOTEswara rAo`s discourse for this rAmAyaNa blog

The speaker referred to two stories of kArtikEya. 1. kumAra sambhava in volume 1 bAla kAnDa of vAlmiki rAmAyaNa. 2. kumAra sambhava literary work by 5th Century (or 11th Century) by kALidAsa.

Mr. cAganTi kOTEswara rAo, quite rightly, took up the vAlmiki rAmAyaNa school for his discourse. It seems that he has treated kALidAsa`s kumAra sambhava as a more literary work.

Context of kumAra sambhava story in volume 1 of vAlmIki rAmayan
Chapters=sargas 36 and 37. Young rAma and lakshmaNa were accompanying sage visvAmitra, to save his sacrificial pyres from the misdeeds of demons. visvAmitra uses the time spent on forest-trekking from ayOdhya to his hermitage, for narrating tales pertinent to the places they saw enroute.

The problem with temple interpreters-preachers-scholars of hindu scriptures is that they use their contents for justifying their personal beliefs, without at least mentioning that what they are dishing out is their personal beliefs rather than a realistic delineation of the legends and sagas of the great-inherited-epics. (to continue and revise without prior information).

Monday, January 28, 2013

#188 Can you comment something about Mr. Veerappa Moily's rAmAyaNa?

Question Can you comment something about Mr. Veerappa Moily's rAmAyaNa?
Ans: I cannot afford to buy the book priced at Rs. 500 (equal to my two months' 3g internet subscription to BSNL data card), in these days of spiralling prices. I shall try to get some extracts from the book, whenever I can find something authentic, on the internet and try to connect myself with the vAlmIki rAmAyaNa.
Mr. Moily is a powerful Union Minister. Central Ministries and the State Governments will compete with one another to buy all the volumes of the book for public libraries. Someday, I may be able to glance through them, on the shelves of public libraries. Can you write something about Mr. Narasimhan's (Governor of Andhra Pradesh), observations while releasing the book?
Ans: Here is a quote: ``... The Ramayana, as an epic, belongs to every citizen. The work by Moily delves into the nuances of relationships at various levels, between humans and the larger one between a ruler and his subjects. The ideal life of ‘Maryada Purushottama’ Ram has something for everyone to learn from. ...``
What sort of maryAda purushottama (the best human of great etiquette and inter-personal conduct) was rAma, can be seen from his slaying SambUka, a fourth-caste youth, simply because SambUka had the courage to undertake penance, which the rulers and priests was reserved only for themselves. A brahmin complained to rAma that SambUka undertook penance and consequently his son died. rAma immediately went to danDakAraNya on his pushpaka aircraft where SambUka was doing penance and beheaded him without at least hearing his side of things (audi alterim partem).
What sort of maryAda purushOttama was rAma, we can see from his mounting on the shoulders of hanuman, who was a scholar well-versed in vEdAs. Besides, hanumAn was a Minister in sugrIva's Cabinet. lakshmaNa mounted Prince angadA. Prince angada had no alternative except to carry lakshmaNa on his shoulders for 1500kms. kishkindha to lanka (which most Indians believe as today's srIlanka). It was nothing but slavery-- the slavery comparable to the slavery imposed on black slaves brought from Africa, by the Europeans.
Question: Can you write something about the observation made by Ms. Pratibha Ray, jnAn pITh awardee and Odishi writer, at the book-release ceremony?
Ans: Here is a quote:
``In his book, the character of Lakshmana becomes the hero. The narrative provides a different perspective touching upon various issues such as sexual oppression of women.``

Whether lakshmaNa becomes hero or rAma becomes hero, is immaterial as far as common people are concerned. It is just like this: Whether rAhul gAndhi becomes PM or whether priyAnka becomes PM or Robert Wadhra becomes PM, may be immaterial for the poor of India, as long as there are politicians to carry ruling clans on their shoulders and as long as there are voters lacking evaluating capabilities.

Friday, January 04, 2013

#187 Madhya Minister quoted a non-existing lakshmaNa rEkhA

"... Only when Sitaji crossed the Lakshman rekha, she was kidnapped by Ravan...If Sitaji (woman) crosses the Lakshman rekha, then 'Sitaharan' (crime against them) is bound to take place as Ravans are out there, ...
"
"When people cross their limitations, deterioration is bound to happen. It applies to everyone in the society, men or women,"
The above two statements were said to have been made by Madhya Pradesh Minister Mr. Kailash Vijayawargia, on the 4th Jan. 2013. He was said to have withdrawn his remarks later, stating that he was misquoted.

ybrems
Whether the above statements hold good or withdrawn or misquoted, it will be apt for us to note that vAlmiki rAmayaNa does not mention anything about lakshmaNa rEkha (the line drawn by rAmA's brother lakshmaNa, advising SItA, not to cross that line, till he returned to the hermitage.
VAlmIki rAmAyaN, book 3, (AraNya kANDa or book of forests) , sarga 29 - chapter 49, deals with abduction of SIta by rAvaNa at panchavaTi. The chapter has 40 verses. The chapter starts rAvaNa's self-praise. Ends with jaTAyu seeing the abduction of SItA by rAvaNa.
Chapter 45 describes the scene of lakshmana, folding his palms before Sita, and moving away, as he was unable to bear her harsh criticism for not going to rescue his brother.

3.45.39
taam aarta ruupaam vimanaa rudantiim
saumitriH aalokya vishaala netraam
aashvaasayaamaasa na caiva bhartuH
tam bhraataram ki.mcit uvaaca siitaa. 3.45.40.
tataH tu siitaam abhivaadya lakSmaNaH
kRita anjaliH kimcid abhipraNamya
avekSamaaNo bahushaH sa maithiliim
jagaama raamasya samiipam aatmavaan .
These verses show that lakshmaNa just moved away from SItA looking at her again and again with folded hands. There was no lakshmaNa rEkha (line drawn by lakshmaNa, limiting the movement of SItA).
When there was no line, where was the question of SItA crossing the line? The story of lakshmaNa rEkhA is in legends.

Friday, December 28, 2012

#186 Which dharma directed rAma to ask Sita to set her mind on sugrIva?

--Context: Place: Bengaluru (Bangalore), karnATaka, India. Date and time 28.12.2012, 6.15 p.m. to 8.00 p.m.

Subject: Shri rAmAyaNa vaibhavam (the glory of Shri rAmAyaNa). Speaker: Shri brahmashri cAganTi kOTEswara Rao.

TV channel: S.V.B.C. (Sri VenkaTESwara bhakti Channel), run by T.T.D. (tirumala tirupati dEvasthAnam, the famous Hindu Temple of tirumala, tirupati, Andhra pradEsh, inDia.

of the program: The speaker has great control on his voice modulation. He has great dhAraNa (memory retention). He has quoted sanskrit verses profusely from vAlmiki rAmAyaNa and probably other scriptures. He has also quoted some telugu language verses, particularly from bhAskara rAmAyana. I greatly appreciate his oratorial skills. May be from childhood. May be from continuous practice of lecturing and preaching.

Audience have also received it well. They have occasionally clapped and smiled in response to what he said.

The lecture is very long. Nearly two hours.

My memory retention power is unfortunately poor. I am unable to recall the verses quoted by him. But, I can say that many of the events of rAmAyaNa referred to by him, I am unable to trace in vAlmiki rAmAyaNa. His narrations may be from other rAmAyaNAs. Hindus regard vAlmIki rAmAyaNa as the first epic in Sanskrit language. Other rAmAyaNas are believed to be adaptations, improvements and modifications, to the basic story of vAlmiki's narrations. Hence, whatever does not find mention in vAlmiki rAmAyaNa, we can accept as a part of the rAmAyana story, for analysis -- at least for the purpose of this blog.

I do not have an audio or video of the oration of Shri CAganTi kOTEswara rAo. I can reply to every preaching made by Shri kOTEswara rAo in his speech.

Shri cAganTi kOTEswarao Rao, as he himself accepted in his speech, cannot speak freely. His brief was not to depart from the custom and scripture. If that was the case, he should have at least confined himself to vAlmIki rAmAyaNa. He was probably expected to speak as per the guidelines of TTD, SVBC channel, the SringEri maTh (monastery), the audience themselves, Hindus in general, etc. Besides, lecturing and preaching is his livelihood. Hence, I sympathise with him.

I believe that audience have taken pains to visit the venue of the speech, spending money and time. I found on T.V., one gentleman folding his hands and nodding his head in obedience. Others were also very much appreciative. They looked as though they were believing everything, the preacher said.

I wish that they start studying vAlmiki rAmAyaNa carefully, before they start every word of the speech. Nobody will dispute some of the advice given by the preacher about the need to respect elders, love brothers etc. Nobody, will demur on the need to make 'dharma' (duty- broad meaning).

But, the problem is, the preacher has a different meaning of 'dharma' or duty. His (and most of other preachers of not only Hinduism, but also all religions in the world) definition revolves around scriptures and what the preachers interpret as the decree of the pictures.

This need to blindly accept the contents of the scriptures, and the interpretations made by preachers, can lead to grave injustice to truth (sathyam) and dharma (duty) itself.

We cannot make out a list of erroneous preachings made by preachers and scriptures, of all religions in this world because, today the tendency is to claim that their sentiments are hurt. There will be street demonstrations and public outrage.

The same public which has time to throw stone and torch buses and buildings, has to change its ways, if they are to progress civilly, philosophically, and spiritually. They should start studying vAlmIki rAmAyaNa in an effort to find out truth.

I shall give one example from vAlmIki rAmAyaNa :

The preacher repeatedly stressed that rAma's greatness lay on his persistent adherence to dharma i.e. sanAtana dharma. I shall, now, ask the preacher one simple question:

Which sanAtana dharma asked or prompted rAma to say harsh words to sItA?

6-115- 22 and 23 BOOK 6 - BOOK OF WAR - YUDDHA KANDA CHAPTER 115 - SARGA 115 VERSES 22 AND 23 - SLOKAS 22 AND 23

tadadya vyaahritam bhadree mayaitat kritabuddhinaa Lakshman`ee vaa tha Bharate kuru buddhim yathaa sukham (22)

Shatrughne vaa tha Sugriivee raakshase vaa Vibhiishan`ee niveshaya manaha Siitee yathaa vaa sukha maatmanaha (23)

gist: Oh secure lady! I am declaring this today, with a determined mind. Set your mind on Lakshmana or Bharata as is comfortable to you.

Alternatively, set your mind, as per your convenience, on S`atrughna, Sugriva or Vibhishana.


I invite the great speaker, to quote the scripture (SAstra) or smriti, which rAma followed. Why didn't he wait to consult about dharma with vaSishTha or viSvAmitra or agastya or at least hanumAn? hanumAn himself was well-versed in three vEdAs. He might have known a lot about dharma.

Thursday, November 08, 2012

#185 Mr. Ram JethmalAnI seems to have erred

Mr. rAm JethmalAni is said to have commented as under:
Ram was a bad husband. I don't like him at all. Just because some fisherman said something, he sent that poor woman (Sita) to vanvaas (exile). Lakshman was even worse. When Sita was abducted, Ram asked him to go find her as she was abducted under his watch. Lakshman simply excused himself saying she was his sister-in-law and he never looked at her face, so he wouldn't be able to identify her.
I must say, on the basis of vAlmiki rAmAyaNa, araNya kAnDa (Book of Forest), that Mr. Ram JethmalAni seems to have erred, particularly about his comment on lakshmaNa's excuse. I quote below the relevant verses of the vAlmiki rAmAyaNa.
3-61-14 maa viShaadam mahaabuddhe kuru yatnam mayaa saha ,br>idam giri varam vIra bahu kandara shobhitam.
mA vishAdam. Pl. do not become desperate. mayA saha kuru prayatnam. Search for her w along with me. This hill is glistening with many caves.
3-61-15 priya kAnana sancAraa vana unmattA ca maithilii
saa vanam vA praviShTaa syaat naliniim vaa supuShpitaam
saritam vA api saMpraaptaa mIna vanjula sEvitaam.
Maithili (sIta) is fond of forest. She might have entered the lotus blooming foret. Or she might have entered streams full of fish.
3-61-16 and 17
vitraasayitu kAmaa vaa lAnaa syaat kAnanE kvacit
jiGnAsamaanaa vaidehI tvAm mAm ca puruSharShabha
tasyA hi anvEShaNe shrIman kShipram eva yatAvahe.
gist: She might have hidden herself somewhere, for fun (prank), to know how we react. tasyA hi anvEshaNE shrIman kshipram Eva yatAvahE. O prosperous one (shri = Goddess of wealth, shriman = one with the Goddess of Wealth. But, this word is now used as a title of honor = honorable), for her search, we shall now proceed without delay.

ybrems (remarks of this blogger) Where is the question of lakshmaNa not co-operating? We must say, in all fairness to lakshmaNa, that he made as much as effort as rAma, and underwent as many travails and troubles as rAma while searching for sItA. I personally view that lakshmaNa's effort deserves a rank higher than that of rAma, because rAma was wailing all the time (I shall not use the word grumbling, because I do not want to be disrespectful to rAma) , while lakshmaNa did his work almost silently.


Additional observation: lakshmaNa's extra effort must include his hunting deer for their food and cooking them, while rAma kept on wailing. lakshmaNa might have even made the steaks succulent by roasting with extra care and fed into the mouth of his brother, to entice a reluctant rAma to take food.
Mr. malAni might have made his off-the-cuff comments, may be with a view, to generate laughter in the audience. But a Senior Lawyer like Shri malAni, who writes good essays in newspapers on the ethical professional philosophy of lawyers (jurisprudence), when there is criticism against him on his enthusiasm to accept briefs even from terrorists who attacked Indian Parliament, ought not to have made such comments based on some secondary evidence.

Tuesday, October 23, 2012

#184 rAma's advice to vibhIshaNa

Vol. 6 Book of War yuddha kANDa Chapter 19, sarga 19, verses 2 to 4 , SlOkAs 2 to 4.
khAt papAta avanim hriSTo bhaktair anucaraiH saha sa tu rAmasya dharmAtmA nipapAta vibhISaNaHa.
pAdayoH AaraNa anveShI caturbhiH saha rAkSasaiH abravIt ca tadA rAmam vAkyam tatra vibhIShaNaHa dharma yuktam ca yuktam ca sAmpratam sampraharShaNam
anujo rAvaNasya aham tena ca asmi avamAnitaH bhavantam sarva bhUtAnaam SaraNyam SaraNam gataH.
parityaktaa mayaa lankaa mitraaNi ca dhanaani ca bhavad gatam hi me rAjyam ca jIvitam ca sukhAni ca. (rAma said to vibhIshaNa:-) tasya tadvacanam shrutvA rAmo vacanamabraviit :- vacasaa sAntvayitvainam locanAbhyaam pibanniva aakhyaahi mama tatvena rAkshasAnAm balAbalam. (6-19-7).

Context rAvaNa abducted sItA. hanumAn traced sItA in lanka. rAma built a bridge across Sea and reached lanka. It was just before the war. rAvaNa's younger brother vibhIshaNa advised rAvaNa to return sItA to rAmA and make a truce. rAvaNa didn't heed vibhIshaNa's advice. vibhIshaNa and his four followers approached rAma and took refuse with him.

Gist vibhIshaNa with his men joyously (sampraharshaNam) fell at the feet of rAma and placed himself at the disposal of rAma. Now, rAma asked vibhIshaNa: "Tell (AkhyAhi) me the true strengths and weaknesses of the demons."

ybrems rAma clearly knew what he wanted! He wanted to know the secrets of demons, through the (traitor??) vibhIshaNa. Nothing more, nothing less!

question: You are too unreasonable towards rAma and vibhIshaNa. Explain


Ans: rAma was supposedly maryAdA purushOttama (ramA was the embodiment of courtesy and ethics). rAma as a true maryAda purushOttama should have asked vibhIshaNa to go to some other land and spend rest of his life peacefully, contemplating on Lord Shiva, the God of demons (daityas). Instead, rAma preferred to extract secrets of demons from vibhIshaNa and obtain his help in annihilating one's (vibhIshaNa's ) own brother. Had lakshmaNa or bharata done this type of thing, how rAma would have treated them? Younger brothers rendering slavish service to elder brothers cannot be restricted only to ikshvAku dynasty. The ethic should apply to all brothers.
We can compare here, vAlmiki rAmAyaNa and vyAsa bhArata.
99 kauravas were the younger brothers of duryOdhana. When mahAbhArata war broke out between pAnDavas and kauravas, none of them deserted duryOdhana, and took refuge with pAnDavas. All the brothers died in the war, with duryOdhana being the last to die.
In the same way, two alternatives were available to vibhIshaNa. 1. Fighting on the side of his brother rAvaNa and sacrificing his life, just as kumbhakarNa did. (kumbhakarNa too advised rAvaNa against war, but did not persist with his advice. He did not use the opportunity to join rAma's bandwagon. We can see how noble was kumbhakarNa when compared to the traitor vibhIshaNa.).
2. Leaving to a desolated place and lead a secluded life, till the outcome of rAma-rAvaNa war, consolidates. There would have been no need for him to return to lanka, had rAvaNa won the war. Why didn't vibhIshaNa choose this alternative? Why didn't rAma render this advice to vibhIshaNa? rAma is eulogised as being capable of vanquishing the entire world with his arrows. Did he need the info of demons from vibhIshaNa, really? Should a maryAda purushOttama sink to a level of encouraging traitors?
No wonder, there are a few tribes in Central India, who abhore vibhIshaNa and adore rAvaNa.

#183 Ravana worship can be as futile as Rama worship

We occasionally see news reports indicating that people(s) at some place or other worship rAvaNa, though this number can be insignificant when compared to the multitudes who worship rAma.

We also occasionally see news reports of some leader or other of some caste/community calling their members to worship rAvaNa instead of rAma.


Observations of this blogger (ybrems)

1. Worshiping kings  serves no purpose, if they were only humans (of history).  They can never protect or save individuals, communities and societies from invasions by foreigners.  For example, India was plundered by numerous invaders, over centuries.  Neither rAma nor rAvaNa saved the Indians.  The real difference was the fire-power (guns and mortors), a strong urge to kill people and plunder villagers, which Indians lacked.  Though, NOT PLUNDERING or NOT INVADING are noble qualities, this world does not respect noble nations or races.

Question: How to measure worship-worthiness? Ans: Worship of rAma is based on his proceeding to forest, to fulfill his father daSaratha's desire. For this relinquishment, rAma will probably deserve respect and not worship as God. We have thousands of freedom-fighters in India, who have suffered greater hardships, than those suffered by rAma. e.g. bhagat singh, khudirAm bOse, chandrasekhar Azad, rAj guru, to name a few. Then, there were soldiers who laid down their lives in the First War of Indian Independence, India's War with China, Pakisthan. If rAma was the incarnation of Lord VishNu, whose incarnations were bhagat singh and khudiram bose? Why temples are built for Shirdi Sai Baba all over India and no temples are built for bhagat singh? Ans: People worship Gods/goddesses of all religions, and humans whom the people treat as Gods/goddesses, simply because they expect satisfaction of desires and perception of protection and security from the Gods and saints. People believe that Shirdi Sai Baba can satisfy their wants, while bhagat singh cannot satisfy. This satisfaction of wants should take place WITHOUT DELAY. The people are prepared to pay a monetary price for it, apart from prayers and worship, by themselves, as well as through the proxies i.e. priests. Even VATican wants proof of miracles, before beatifying a person. If no such proof is available, it will have to be contrived by those who want to spread the cult. rAma's feet touch a stone in Sage gautama's hermitage, and it gets converted into a woman, gautama's wife ahalya.

Does rAvaNa represent dalits or tribals or some other oppressed class? Ans: It is very difficult to answer this question, in the absence of adequate evidence, in either direction. We can only say that battles took between/among invader races/tribes and native races/tribes. Thereafter, even intermingling and intermarriages took place, out of necessity. Thus, we are left with mixed breeds all over the country. We cannot say with 100% certainty, who is who and who is NOT who. Of course invader races/tribes tried to stop hybrid-izations and interpolations, by enforcing caste system and vilOma marriages. They succeeded in oppressing the defeated castes and tribes, but could not succeed in preventing hybridisations and interpolations. In the light of this background, and in the context of the 21st Century imperative problems of India (poverty, hunger, disparities of income and wealth etc.), it will be more apt for Indians not to give undue importance to birth. We must realise that inheritance is the root cause of most of our problems. These inheritances are worse than the proverbial ten heads of rAvaNa : Ten heads of modern rAvaNa 1. inheritance of political power 2. inheritance of income and wealth 3. inheritance of lazy occupations 4. inheritance of unduly large chunks of land 5. inheritance of sport careers 6. inheritance of filmy careers 7. inheritance of drudgery and slavery occupations 8. inheritance of corrupt, garbage and junk beliefs and knowledge 9. inheritance of rude behaviors 10. inheritance of greed for possessions and satiation of insatiable desires.

summary: We should live our own lives. Why should we worship somebody?

(To continue and revise)

Friday, October 19, 2012

#165 Did rAvaNa participate in durga pUjA?

Here is a link to an article in Dailypioneer.com., state editions, ranchi, dated 16th Oct. 2012.

http://www.dailypioneer.com/state-editions/ranchi/102138-asuras-who-hate-durga-puja.htmlhttp://www.dailypioneer.com/state-editions/ranchi/102138-asuras-who-hate-durga-puja.html .

This article highlights two things:

1. asura - sura role reversal.  In Iran, suras were bad guys and asuras were virtuous persons.  In India, suras are virtuous persons and asuras are bad guys.  According to researchers, Aryans migrated to India, via the Iran route.  The reversal of roles have taken place, over centuries.

2. asuras not worshipping Goddess durga, because she slew their ancestor mahishAsura.



ybrems (Observations of this blogger)

* hanuman's mother anjana dEvi's birth place being in gumla, jhArkhand and ravana-installed Shiva temple being located at dEvgarh, jhArkhand, I have many times at these blog posts expressed the feelings that rAvaNa's lanaka was in jharkhand.

*  The article of dailypioneer.com linked above, is speaking about asuras opposing and mourning durga pUja.  Their disinclination being based on the slaying of their ancestor 'mahishAsura' by 'mahishAsura mardini durga' is quite understandable.  (slaying of mahishAsura is an important theme of durga pUja).  Here, I wish to add:  Even rAvaNa was not a worshipper of Goddess durga (or parvati or any other form of shiva's wife).  This was probably because asuras were not sAktEyas (worshippers of mother Goddess Sakti).  In Hindu mythology, it is very difficult to trace out an asura, who worshipped female Goddesses.

*  I believe that Shiva worshippers (whether phallus-linga worshippers or not) migrated into India from Crete of Mediterranean sea.  Vishn - lakme worshippers migrated from Northern Europe's Old Prussia, Latvia and Lithuania.  Thus both Shaivas and VaishNavas were Europeans and whites.  asuras of jharkhand knowing 'iron' smelting strengthens the view that they were of European origin.  Other native tribes of bIhAr, jhArkhand, bengal and Orissa might have been the worshippers of Mother Goddess (durga or numerous other names).  asuras might have lost their ancestors mahishasura, ravana (all were whites) in battles with the Mother Goddess Worshippers.  VishNu worshippers didn't have to fight Mother Goddess worshippers, presumably because they (vishNu worshippers) did not try to conquer jharkhand.  Whether rAma won the battle over rAvaNa or whether durga won the battle over mahishAsra, they only indicate inter-tribal battle victories or colonial-tribal battle victories.  There is nothing like "victory of good over evil" etc.  We cannot make such attachments simple because, every victor considered himself 'virtuous' and that 'truth (dharma)' was on his side.  The poets, artists and balladeers receiving food and money from the victors sang the glories of the ancestors of the conquerors and tarnished the enemies.  Ravana, mahishAsura, being the losers might have naturally received the 'mud-slinging'.  These things happen even in today's elections.  Winner becomes the hero and Mr. Clean.  Loser becomes the villain and has to hide himself from public glare for some months.

*Visn-lakme worshippers of Latvia-Lithuania-Old Prussia-Norway-Sweden had 14 mAtE worship.  Historians have a great burden to find out how the 14 mothers of North Europe got integrated with the Mother Goddesses worshipped by Indian native tribes.  One probable distinction we can make may be in color of Goddesses.  Example Goddess kAli's black color.  It is not clear whether the North European 14 mAtEs consumed liquor, wore bones, stretched their tongues out etc.  Most of them  might have been white in color and consumed refined liquor, whereas the native Indian tribal Goddesses took unfermented toddy (palm juice) etc.  This integration might have taken place sometime around 4th Century A.D (to) 11th Century A.D.  For example, poet kALidAsa's ShyAmala danDakam (starts with mAnikya vINA mupalAlayantIm, madAlasAm etc.) eulogises the Mother Goddess Shyamala (shyAmala = one who is black/blue) combining all the qualities (imported and indigenous).



summary: I reiterate that rAvaNa might have been the ruler of deoghar area, jharkhand, with his capital at bhagalpur.  Difficult to trace evidence of his worshipping Goddess durgA or any other of her forms.




I invite the esteemed views of my readers, particularly those from jharkhand and south bIhar.

=====Subject to further editing. =====

Friday, September 07, 2012

#000j Replies to comments of Shri Jolly

Jolly has left a new comment on your post "#073, Mother- I shall satisfy myself with roots an...":

Valmiki Ramayana, the original narration of Ramayana, has a total of 537 chapters, and over 24,000 verses, arranged into six kandas, or books. There are only two references to meat, and over a hundred references to vegetarian diet.
of one is :-
The Ayodhya Kanda has 119 chapters. Chapter 20 describes Mother Kaushalya's grievous lamentation on hearing from her son Rama, that He has been banished to the forest. Rama tells her in verse 29,"I shall live in a solitary forest like a sage for fourteen years, avoiding meat and living with roots, fruits and honey". Can we validly infer from this that Lord Rama ate meat while in Ayodhya, and now He promises to avoid it in the forest? The exact words used are 'hitva aamishham'. 'aamisham' refers to meat and 'hitva' refers to 'disregarding' or 'with the exception of' (Monnier Williams dictionary). Traditionally, in Vedic culture, when a son leaves home to go to distant lands, he reassures his parents, that he would abide by strict moral codes and never deviate from the religious principles. Say a student promises his parents when going to stay in the hostel, "I won't drink alcohol while in the hostel." Does this mean that he is drinking it while at home? Obviously not. Similarly it's in this mood that Lord Rama assures His mother that he wouldn't stoop low.

ybrems
*Rama was a Prince prior to going on his exile to forest. He could do anything, as was common for other princes in India and abroad of his days.
Nowhere, did I say anything about what rAma ate or drank as a Prince. Hence, rAma taking meat in Ayodhya, as a Prince, is immaterial for me.

*His step mother kaikEyi did not ask his father for the arrangement of rAma living like a muni (hermit). Her demand was that he should go to forest, and that her son bharata should be made the king. rAma had unnecessarily and hastily made a promise that he would like a hermit, abstaining from meat. Had he broken the promise after some weeks or months, we need not have bothered much, because he, lakshmaNa and Sita MIGHT HAVE found that going was tough in forest without non-veg. Necessity compels people to break promises. He made a similar promise to the tribal king Guha, before crossing the river Ganga. The promise was 'to live like a hermit suriving on fruit'.
The problem here is, rAma broke both of his promises, the very next day of entering the forest.

The key laughable event here you can see in the Book of Childhood (the bAla kAnDa). It is almost the preamble to rAmayAna. :

PART 1, CHAPTER 1, VERSEs 2, 3 and 4, SANSKRIT:
kahnu asmin sampratam lookee gun`avaan kaha ca viiryavaan
dharmagnaaha ca krutagnaha ca satya vaakyoo dhrud`ha vrataha.


See the last two phrases: satya vAkyO = one who speaks truth. dhruDha vrataha = a person who is strong in adhering to vows (oaths).
sarva bhuuteeshu koo hitaha = who is the benefactor of all living beings.

Now you will get the questions: 1. How strong was rAma in keeping vows; 2. how strong was he in telling truth.3. how strong was he in benefiting all the living beings (3 people killing four deer in one day and throwing away major part as not-edible. For 3 people, one deer would have been easily adequate, as a deer might have weighed at least 30 pounds.
4.Why could not they (Sita-rama-lakshmana) satisfy themselves with one deer?

ybrems: about your comment comparing rAma to a student going abroad


This comparison is not really relevant because rAma was already acting as de-facto heir apparent of the king for 17 years after his marriage (rama's marriage). We would think that he was a responsible person and that he would not make loose breakable promises.

Thursday, August 30, 2012

Was rAmA born on January 10, 5114 BC?

Question: Do you agree with the calculation that Rama was born on Jan. 10, 5114 BC?



Ans: (yb's personal views)
Internet is ablaze with the I-SERVE Planetarium Software Calculations, that Shri rAmA was on born on Jan. 10, 5114 B.C.
T.V. Channels are hammering with the news that rAmA is now a historical figure.

*Computational software are based on mathematical calculations and we can expect exactitude as per as calculations are concerned. Hence we need not dispute the date.

*We need not be adamant that rAmA was not a historical figure. He might have ruled his kOsala kingdom or ayOdhya town/city. But the usual evidences copper plate inscriptions / stone inscriptions / temple walls / forts etc. might have been lost with efflux of time.


*Question: Lunar month caitra (the month in which, the moon will be in conjunction with the star citta [spica in constellation virgo] on the full moon day) comes in March/April every year. How can it come in January?

yb's explanation: In 5114, the caitra month might have come in January. Zodiac starts with the star alpha aries (asvin) and ends with the star rEvati in the constellation Pisces. In the Hindu Indian callenders, the equinoxes, winter solstice, and summar solstice seem to have moved and have been moving continuously, albeit at a very minute pace.

For example, according to western astronomy, winter solstice (longest night) falls on Dec.21/22 and the Sun starts on a return journey from the constellation, capricorn. In the Hindu calendar, we are still celebrating it on January 14 i.e. a forward movement of 24 days. If a forward movement of 24 days can take place over some centuries, a forward movement of 90 days (Jan 10 to April 10) is not impossible. I am not confirming this theory. I am just indicating a possibility of caitra coming in January in days gone by.

Question: According to Hindu traditions, Rama was born in 2nd of the 4 ages i.e. trEta yuga (the Era of three feet), the length of which was 1.7 million years. Then, the 3rd age dvApara yuga (The era of two feet) has to expire. It was 1.2 million years. In the 4th age kaliyuga (The era of evil), we have gone through another 5,000 years. Total comes to nearly three million years. 5114 is just 7000 years ancient. We cannot accept this outrageous reduction in the period.


Ans: 1.7 years and 1.2 years are too long periods to measure, by Indians and Hindus. They are just the creations of temple scripture preachers.

What is this three feet and two feet, you have written above:
According to temple preachers, the Goddess of Righteousness and Virtue has four feet, like a cow. It walks with four feet i.e. with full strength during the krita yuga, the first age. Then the 2nd era, trEta yuga will start. The Goddess loses one foot of virtue, and limps with three feet. Ramayana Age.

Next follows, the 3rd era, the dvApara yuga. The Goddess of Virtue walks with two feet, losing one more foot. More lies and more sins. Mahabharata Age.

Now, the last Age 'kali yuga' starts. The Goddess loses its third foot, and barely walks with only one foot. There is only evil everywhere. We have already gone through nearly 5,000 years in the fourth Age i.e. kali yuga.

This story has only a fantasy value. It is just a figment of imagination.

summary: We need not dispute the computation of Jan. 10, 5114 BC, till contrary evidence is available.

Friday, August 17, 2012

recasting of rAmAyan TV serial

Question: Will it be reasonable to recreate the rAmAyana TV serial, with narration from rAmcharit mAnas of gOsWAmi tulsidAs?


yb's personal opinion: vAlmiki rAmAyan is believed to be the Adi kAvya (first book/poetical work) of India. We, naturally, expect it to have less number of insertions and interpolations, when compared to subsequent works which are only free translations of the first book.

I have great respect for tulsIdas. He was the greatest poet of Hindi language. Nobody doubts his devotion to rAmA. But, this devotion is the very reason for his altering many events of rAmAyan , from the original story built by vAlmiki. The alterations were from a devotional approach, where a devotee wants to see his God as an incarnation of perfection and rectitude.

This desire for depicting one's God as great embodiment of perfection and rectitude, we can see in vAlmiki, but vAlmiki did not consider some sentences and actions of rAma as inappropriate, probably because they were in tune with the expectations of perfectness and rectitude of his days. Such additions and alterations which glorified rAma were apparently made by priests and preachers.

In case of tulsidas, it was inherent in him to see Rama as the ultimate at the zenith of perfection. Hence, the verses of tulsidas were naturally more glorifying and deifying, when compared to vAlmiki's verses. Story-line alterations were also handled in that direction.

Example: vAlmiki did not hesitate to write that Ravana lifted Sita with his left hand holding her hair behind her neck and with his right hand holding her thighs. tulsidas avoided thighs, by changing the narration. Then Sita was kept under the protection of the fire God agni, while some surrogate Sita sat in the Ashoka Gardens of Lanka.


ybremI wish that the new rAmAyana serial which is being recast by door darSan and Z TV should have a base of Sanskrit vAlmiki rAmyANa without alterations. Let the people know what the first poet vAlmiki wrote.


ybremI downloaded to Hindi rAmcharitamAnas with a view to study it in depth. But, I am already 62. It may take another four years to complete the study. Then only I can write something meaningful from that great work. I do not know whether I can do it or not. I do not have rAma or rAvaNa behind me to push me.

Sunday, August 05, 2012

#165 Did rAma use his Creator's Weapon on sundry animals?

Vol. 6, Chapter 108, Verse 9
Book of War (yuddha kanDa), sarga 108, SlOka 9.

dvArANAM parighANAM
cha giriiNAM chApi bhedanam
nAnArudhira digdhAngam
medOdigdhaM sudAruNam .


CONTEXT
Battleground between the protagonist rAma and the antagonist rAvaNa.
Last stage.
rAma used Creator's Weapon (brahmAstra) on rAvaNa.

11 verses from 6-198-5 to 15 describe the arrow. Above verse 9 has some adjectives for the weapon.
1. The arrow broke gates, iron bars.
2. The arrow pierced through hills.
3. The arrow has smears of blood of numerous animals killed by it. (nAnA rudhira digdhAngam).
4. The arrow has smears of fat and marrow of the killed animals.
5. The arrow has a frightening appearance.

ybrems
*Breaking gates, iron bars, piercing through hills -- are all fantasies.
*How many times did rAma use the arrow? The Creator's Shaft was supposed to be used only in rarest of the rarest and the deadliest of the deadliest situations. Here, the weapon is having blood, fat and marrow marks of numerous animals.
*Did rAma use the arrow against small fries like rabbits, deer, wild pigs?
*Didn't rAma have the time to cleanse it or wash it with water at least once, because the weapon was considered to be sacred?
*The arrow was said to have been given by Sage Agastya to rAma, to enable him slay rAvaNa. Did Agastya or his predecessors use it to kill sundry animals?


ybrem 2
At Vol 3 Chapter 12 verse 1, rAma, lakshmaNa and SIta visited agastya's hermitage during their forest exile. The hermitage was supposed to be north of gOdAvari river in madhya pradEsh State or chattIsgadh State, because they (SRLakshmaNa) reached pancavaTi and GodAvari travelling south on agastya's advice.

If Sage agastya was to bestow the Creator's Weapon brahmAstra to rAma just before the war, the battleground should have been in the vicinity of Sage agastya's hermitage. In other words, it must be in Central India or jhArkhand. It cannot be in Tamil nADu or kEraLa, so as to be accessible to Sri lanka. If we accept this logic, Jabbalpur, panAgarh, mayhAr, amarkAntak, chindwAra, sAgar, kaTni, bAndhavgharh and many more places in the Madhya Pradesh, Chattisgarh, and jhArkhanD States perfectly establish themselves as the venues of rAma-rAvaNa war. We have to forget Sri lanka and rAma sEtu.

So, summary for this post: Did agastya or rAma ever wash /cleanse the brahmAstra? Or were they carrying it on their shoulders with all the smears of blood and fat? Does power, sacredness, and slime all go hand in hand?

Does creator's weapon need speeding up by bird's feathers?

Vol. 6, Chapter 108, Verse 12
Book of War (yuddha kAnDa), sarga 108, SlOka 12.

nandanaM vaanarendrANAM
rakShasAm avasaadanam
vAjitaM vividharvAjaish
chaaruchitrairgarutmataH.


CONTEXT

The scene : war scene between the protagonist rAma and the antagonist demon king rAvaNa.
rAma used the Creator's weapon (brahma astra) against rAvANa.

This made the forest-dwelling rAmA's vAnara army happy (nandanam).
It was capable of destroying (avasAdanam) the demons.

It was made fast (vAjitam = made fast like a horse), tied with beautiful light-weight awesome feathers (cAru citrair garutmataha) and with a replica of the fast-high-flying-kite God garuDa.


ybrems
Can't creator's weapon fly on its own? Does it need aero-dynamic pushers?

6-108-7 says that it was ornamented with gold. Gold is a metal with high specific gravity and it increases the weight. Not suitable to make or adorn flying objects. We have to presume that the arrow was made of bamboo only, but was coated with gold or tied with some gold bands.

The temple preachers say that even a blade of grass is sufficient to imbibe it with the power of the Creator's weapon (brahma astra), but rAma was not using such simple things.

6-108-20 says that the arrow came back after piercing through the chest of rAvaNa. Was it a boomerang?

Temple preachers have another story to tell: rAma was advised by vibhIshaNa to hit rAvaNa on his navel, because it contained the pot of immortal nectar which protected rAvaNa. We do not find this advice in vAlamki rAmAyaNa. According to vAlmiki, rAmA aimed his arrow towards rAvaNa's chest and killed him.

More about this Creator's weapon brahma astra, in the next post.

Proof for demons also being Aryans


Book 6, Chapter 109, Verse 23
yuddha kANDa (Book of War), sarga 109, SlOka 23.

eShohita agnishcha
mahaa tapaashcha
vedantagaH karmasu
chaagryashuuraH
Etasya yatpretagatasya
krityam
tatkartum ichchhaami
tava prasaadaat.



Context: Lanka's king (Demon?) rAvaNa abducted protagonist rAma's wife SIta.
rAma crossed the Sea, reached lanka, fought a battle with rAvaNa and slayed him.

rAvaNa's younger brother vibhIshaNa wants to perform rAvaNa's last rites. He was seeking rAma's consent. vibhIshaNa was describing the noble qualities of his dead brother.

1. rAvaNa maintained sacred fire meticulously (hitAgni).
2. rAvaNa practised great penances (mahA tApasa).
3. rAvaNa was well-versed in philosophy (vEdantAga).
4. rAvaNa was well-versed in sacred rites. (karmAsu).

(O rAma, I wish to perform with your graceful consent, to the departed soul, whatever is due.).


ybrems
Our temple preachers and priests have a tendency to depict rAvaNa and his asura (demon) relatives and soldiers as some barbaric cannibals, ever craving for 'nara vAsana (smell of humans)'.

Do savages and cannibals maintain sacred fire? Do they perform great penances? Do they study the Aryan sacred scriptures --the vEdas and vEdAngas? Will they be well-versed in sacred rites (presumably sacrifices).

Some researchers said that rAvaNa was a buddhist, bent on disrupting the sacrifices performed by Aryans.

rAvaNa had all the qualities of Aryans of his days. The war between rAma and rAvaNa was, therefore, apparently between two rival Aryan kings. Not a war between Aryans and drAviDs.

According to Zend Avesta, suras and asuras were step-brothers. (There suras were bad guys and the asuras were good guys). According to Hindu scriptures, suras were demy-Gods and good guys. asuras were demons and bad guys. This reversal of roles between Iranian and Indian scriptures might have taken a few Centuries to materialise. Both suras and asuras came to India just as the Portuguese, Dutch, British and the French all the four entered as merchants and invaded India. The British and the French fought. In the same way the suras and asuras fought. The folk-singers (paregynic singers) sang as per the desires of their patrons. Suras apparently dominated the city-kingdoms and consequently all the praises went to them. E.g. Everywhere in vAlmiki rAmAyan, rAma was compared to the sura chief Indra (also called Sakra).


Question: How about rAvaNa being a "gOnD" king of Central India?
Ans: We may have to consider that Gonds, and asuras of Jharkhand were also Aryans-- belonging to the asura clan (sons of great grandmother 'diti') while suras, Indra, vishNu (whose incarnation was rAma) were sons of the great grandmother aditi. Both were sons of the same father Sage kashyapa. kasyapa seems to have greater sympathies towards his elder wife 'aditi'.

We can have some contemporary 21st Century examples:

*The former Chief Minister of Andhra Pradesh Late N.T. Rama Rao had two wives. The first wive's sons did not like their step mother and vice versa.

*One former Chief Minister of Uttar Pradesh and uttarAncal States had legitimate son through his official wife and another son, through another friendly woman. The son of the unofficial wife had to fight a legal battle to establish the identity of his father.

*One former Mayor of the Delhi city and former Army Major nearly crushed his son born through his first wife. This was necessary to satisfy his second wife. The son suffering from 'battered child syndrome' had to be rescued by his maternal grand parents.

*Both rAmAyaNa and mahAbhArata were battles among sons of brothers. The battles between suras and asuras (deified as Gods and vilified as demons) had nothing special in them.



Question: At verse 6-108-17, we find that rAma killed rAvaNa by using the weapon of the Creator (brahmAstra). Why did n't rAvaNa too use it against rAma? This was the same brahmastra which was used by rAvaNa's son mEghnAth (indrajit) against hanuman a forest-dweller of monkey totem-clan. If rAvaNa's son could have it and use it on a flimsier occasion, why didn't rAvaNa possess it and use it when the situation was very critical?

Ans: Apparently, the producer of the epic vAlmiki wanted to bring rAmAyaNa to a close. Already nearly 24,000 verses have been spent.