Wednesday, March 21, 2012

#119 Why the preachers and priests could not digest the idea of a tribal writing an epic?

Blind beliefs tend to be irrational, very often.

Beliefs without proper digging up and enquiries, can sometimes end up as good things.


Many people that the poet of rAmAyaNa i.e. vAlmIki was a born tribal.

A wayside robber turning into a great poet will do good for the social integration of a country like India.

Even today, fortunately, about 90% of Indians believe that vAlmiki was a tribal.

But the preachers and priests could not digest this very idea. Just as the preachers and priests could not digest the idea of a 4th caste (sUdra) person doing penance, they could not digest the idea of a tribal authoring an epic.

uttarA kAnDA (Last and supplementary volume of rAmayaNa, has the indications for this.

uttara = post, after. kAnDa = events. Events after coronation of the protagonist rAma).

The story of SambUka is the proof for preachers and priests not digesting a 4th caste person doing penance. They reported the matter to rAma and got SambUka beheaded personally by rAma himself, without any enquiry.

The story of prachEtasa. According to this uttara kAnDa story, poet vAlmiki was a brAhmin and son of a sage. The boy vAlmiki went to forest, with his parents, to pick up some wood. The boy pracEtasa lost his way in the forest, and got separated from his parents. The wandering boy was picked up by a tribal hand and given the name ratAkara. prachEtasa alias ratnAkara, succeeded his father as a tribal head. His wife was avaricious. To satisfy his wife's demands ratnAkara became rapacious and started robbing people.

One day he attacked Sage nArada. nArada, smilingly asked ratnAkara to verify from his wife whether she would share his sins, as he was doing everything for her. ratnAkara went home and asked his wife whether she would take a share. She refused.

Truth dawned on ratnAkara. Sage nArada taught him rAma mantra.

ratnAkara did rigorous penance. Anthills and molehills grew around him. valmIkam = anthill or a snakepit. Thus ratnAkara-alias-pracEtasa became the Sage valmIki.

Today, temple preachers and story-tellers of VishNu (hari kathakas) do not forget to emphasise and overstress that vAlmiki was a brAhmin by birth.

Their idea seems to be 'how can we allow a tribal to write epics? how can we allow a 4th caste man to undertake penance?'

vAlmiki does not get a place in mahAbharata, while almost all the sages of rAmAyana got their places even in mahAbharata. Excommunication of vAlmiki had taken place. surreptitiously.

All sages are worshipped. Rarely vAlmiki is worshipped.

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