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.
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?
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.
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.
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?
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.
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?
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.