Thursday, August 23, 2007

#025, No loin cloth to cover himself

There is an impression that there was no poverty during Ramayana days. First of all there is no proof that Ramayana was a historical fact. It is only a mythological narrative. The existence of poverty should, therefore, refer to the socio-economic environment during which Ramayana evolved i.e. approx. 4th Century / 5th Century A.D.

One blogger at this itself wrote: "... Rama did not say to be compassionate, it was part of the natural expression of that society. There was no poverty, everyone had plenty. ..."

2-32-28 of Valmiki Ramayana; Book 2 - Book of Ayodhya or- Ayodhya kanda:
Tataha sa purusha vyaaghraha tat dhanam saha Lakshman`aha
Dvijeebhyoo baala vriddheebhyaha kripan`eebhyoo abhyadaapayat.


Before going to forests, Rama distributes his wealth mainly to priests and the remaining to others:

Gist: That tiger of humans along with Lakshmana got distributed the money among priests, children, aged, and the pitiable.

2-32-32 is more revealing: NOT EVEN A LOIN CLOTH TO COVER THE BODY

There was a Priest-caste born (Brahmin) called Trijata just on the other bank of the river Sarayu. He lived by digging soil carrying an axe and a spade. His wife came to know that Rama was distributing his wealth to Priests. Unable to bear her poverty she entreated her husband to approach Rama for charity. In this verse the Brahmin proceeds towards Rama's house wearing a loin cloth, which hardly covered his body.

Sa bhaaryaa vacanam s`rutvaa shaat`iima achchhaadya dushchhadaam
Sa pratisht`hata panthaanam yatra raamaniveshanam.

If this is the condition of a priest living just a few kms. away from the Capital Ayodhya, what will be the extent/magnitude of poverty at far of places? One can always say that it was the misrule of Ayodhya and not that of Rama. This argument is not tenable. Prince Rama was in Ayodhya for twelve years assisting his father in administration. Even otherwise, had he gone to the other side of the Sarayu river just to know how the people were living, nobody would have stopped him from helping them.

The case is not like Manmohan Singh (PM of India 2007) not knowing that a particular Delhivala did not have a loin cloth to wear. In those days there were no millions and multitudes. Anyway, there were the services of spies. Prince Rama could have enquired from any spy how the people on the other side of the river were faring. (Remember: In the last book 7 (Uttara Kanda) Rama drove away his pregnant Queen Sita to forests because a spy told him that a washerman uttered some words to indicate that Rama was a fool to cohabit with Sita after she was in Lank for an year.) Where there is a will, there is a way.


ImmortalMan said...

all he had to do was ask. he was too proud until this time and finally gave up. no use blaming the kings.

Anonymous said...

here is a poor brahmin. what about your statement thaa all brahmins are greedy, avaricious etc.

Anonymous said...

read yoga vasista to understand that Rama as a prince did not assist his father.
He spends 1 year in disguise to study people of his country and goes into depression due to the sorrows he sees (like siddartha/buddha)

He eradicates poverty after he gets power.
Rama Rajya had no poverty(after he became king) but Dasaratha Rajya might have poor people