Reply to the Comments made by Shri Anand. He says: Can you give evidence of this kind of act from the original valmiki ramayana? If so, there is some necessity to investigate. Otherwise it is a cock and bull story. Ans: Govt. of India, through its Organ Archaeological Society of India (ASI), is unable to confirm that Ramayana is History, before Supreme Court of India, in the RamSetu Construction Case. Initially, ASI seems to have indicated that Ramayana is not History, but later it has withdrawn its Opinion. There is some vagueness about the Historicity of Ramayana. One of the objects of this Blog to identify areas where Valmiki Ramayana can be taken as History, or seems to contain Elements which can be reasonably construed as possibilities of Historical Events. For example, Ravana is believed to have abducted Sita, flying on his Pushpaka Aircraft. This is an impossibility because even if we assume that Avionics had developed in those days, Valmiki Ramayana itself is very clear that Ravana's aircraft was drawn by Donkeys the horns of which were adorned with gold. If Ramayana is to be accepted as History, first we have to keep aside its Superhuman Elements, till such a time more solid proof is obtained, and we have to process only such material which will be practical and realistic. For this reason only, I have spent a number of blog posts, trying to sketch where Kyodhya, Kishkindha and Lanka are located in Central India, Rajasthan, Bihar, Jharkhand. Odisha, searching for clues and evidences.
Can you give evidence of this kind of act from the original valmiki ramayana? If so, there is some necessity to investigate. Otherwise it is a cock and bull story.
*The historic validity of Ramayana-events and incidents, is doubtful, because adequate evidence is not available. This, the Archaeological Survey of India and the Govt. India have admited before the Supreme Court in their first affidavit in the Rama Setu case. They went back subsequently owing to public outcry and submited a different affidavit.
*Bhavabhuti, was a Sanskrit poet of 8th Century, of great reputation. His Uttara Rama Charitra is famous for its compassion i.e. Karuna rasam. You can buy two or three different editions of Uttara Rama Charitra published by different publishers and verify the contents. You can also discuss the contents with Sanskrit scholars.
*Both Valmiki and Bhavabhuti were poets and literary creators basically. They were not history writers. Valmiki Ramayana is regarded as a standard for narration of the story of Ramayana because it is considered as the first Ramayana. Some people regard that Valmiki did not write Uttara Kanda, i.e. the post coronation chapter of Rama's life.
*Some scholars and historians opine that Ramayana existed as folk song and ballad, even before Valmiki. Valmiki seems to have consolidated the oral renditions.
*Both Ramayana and Uttara Rama Charitra are regarded as fictional, rather than historical.
*Valmiki Ramayana contains more elements of fancy and fantasy than URC. Examples: Monkeys helping man, an aeroplane which can carry infinite number of people, a kite fighting for a human king, a kite preaching caste system etc. We can call these as monkey, bear and kite stories instead of cock and bull stories.
*Historians opine that Valmiki Ramayana took its shape during the Gupta rule i.e. 4th Century A.D. Yagnas were dominant during Gupta rule. Samudra Gupta performed horse sacrifice (Asva Metha). Literary works may reflect the socio political environment either of the theme-subject or the contemporary environment in which the works took shape. V.R. may, therefore, contain socio economic elements of Aryan Kingdoms of the pre-Buddha age i.e. 1000 B.C. circa, or the socio economic elements of the Gupta age. Hinduism was the dominant religion, though Fahiyan visited India.
*Uttara Rama Charitra was written in a Buddhist environment. Bhavabhuti did not seem content by evoking sympathy for Sita, highlighting her hardships. He included a Chapter which highlights the fate of the Kapila-Kalyani, the calf which was "mada madaayita" (munched) by Vasishta, the bearded sage. He did not seem inclined to hurt the audience by castigating beef eating. He tried to create some laughter by using the tritiya vishkamba. The disappearance of Kapila-Kalyani calf had, therefore, became a subject matter for exchange of views and clearance of doubts between the Valmiki's disciples. The chapter is very clear about Srotriya customs and the description of Janaka's abstinance from beef, is obvious about beef consuming habits of those days. If Janaka was a beef eater, his daughter Sita and son-in-law Rama could not be different. Why should Bhavbhuti write Cock and Bull Stories? What could be his motives?
*I am not able to recall when, but once I read in "The Hindu" news paper that Brahmin lecturers teaching in Sanskrit Colleges skipped teaching this Chapter, while teaching Uttara Rama Charitra. I also read in the same article, that Christian lecturers of a Christian College in Delhi were hesitant to teach this chapter because it would hurt the sentiments of Hindus and they sought the help of Brahmin Pandits in Sanskrit Colleges.
*The Hindus need not get hurt to know that their ancestors were beef eaters. The Hindus must take pride that they NOW regard a cow as sacred mother and do not slay it for mada-madaa-ing (munching). Today's Hindus are more cultured persons than the Hindus of the yore. They must be happy for the positive change WHICH THE THREAT OF BUDDHISM BROUGHT IN THEM.
*Brahmins of Andhra Pradesh coast, Tamil Nadu, Kerala and Karnataka were influenced by Buddha's preachings of non-violence and have become vegetarians, while their Northern counterparts remained meat eaters. India is a Nation of Unity in diversity.
*I am unable to trace any direct evidence of beef eating in Valmiki Ramayana. Pandits read Valmiki Ramayana more than URC. Hence, over the Centuries, it might have undergone changes. Obnoxious portions might have been expunged. URC might have gone into obscurity and over the Centuries it might have remained unedited because it was read less. Ramayana became a temple scripture, i.e. lectured in temples. Which priest would dare to read out chapters which indicate beef eating. Hence, censoring and excisions might have taken place. URC was read only by Sanskrit language learners and connoisseurs where "Rasa poshanam" was important.
*See my post #088. In
1-61-8, Sanskrit verse of Valmiki Ramayana,indicate that priests advised Ambarisha to trace the lost sacrificial animal or bring a human in lieu thereof. Vasishta was the kula guru of the Ikshvakus. He was present at Ambarisha's sacrifice, and he might have been one of the advisors of the human sacrifice. If kings and priests do not hesitate to slay humans in a sacrifice, will they hesitate to kill cows?
Praayaha cittam mahat hi
eetat naram vaa purusharshabha
aanayasva pas`um siighram
yaavat karma pravarttatee.
*See my post #088 about Sita offering 1000 liquor pots to the River Ganga and 100000 cows to Brahmins. The population of Ayodhya might have been about 10,000 in those days. Brahmins might have numbered about 100 in the town. What they would have done with the one lakh cows? People normally offer what they eat, to Gods and Goddesses as bali. Hence, we can probably presume that Sita was a consumer of liquor. There can be nothing wrong in that habit of consuming Sura by the kings and queens of yore, because it was their custom.
*See my post #002 at my blog Mahabharatayb.Blogspot.com:--
Verses 3-199-6, 3-199-7, 3-199-8, of Mahabharata:
Aranya Parva - Volume 3 (Volume of Forest)
Raagnoo mahaanase puurvaan
Rantidevasya vai dvija
dvee sahasree tu vadhyetee
pas`uunaam anvahan tadaa
samaansan dadaato hi annaan
atulaa kiirtir abhavan
vadhyanta iti nityasaha.
The verses show that King Ranti Deva killed 2000 cows everyday, to feed Brahmins.
*The Asvametha performed by Yudhishtira also resulted in killing of bulls (children of cows). You can see Vyasa Mahabharata for proof. I shall shortly provide these verses in my blog Mahabharata shortly.