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From: Mohan T R (MS Mail) (MohanT_at_nhampton.lighting.light.ge.com)
Date: Thu Jan 18 1996 - 05:49:00 PST

[[ RAMA : 3646 in RAMA. ]]

Friends,

This is with reference to the discussion on Rama's treatment of Sita.
This and many other incidents are present in our epics, which need to
be viewed from a different perspective. I am not wellversed  in these
things.  But  still I would  like to  share  with you, my  methods of 
analysing this  which might  help in creating a paradigm shift in the 
analysis our beliefs. 

Before  I  go into the topic in discussion, I would like to mention a
few things.  You  might feel I am  deviating from  the topic... But I 
have to set the premises for my reasonings and hope you will have the
patience to read this in full.

Was it right? or Was it not??.... To answer this we should first  have
a clear understanding of what is right and what is wrong.  Being right
according  to  me means doing  things that keep us moving in the right
direction  we  are created to move.  Hinduism ( Yes - I mean Hinduism,
irrespective of whether you believe in Vaishnava,Shaiva or any another
school of philosophy of our land) believes that the purpose of life is
to attain mukti or liberation. This is not something that has to be or
can be achieved in one birth. Through a series of janmas, improving or
purifing ourselves, we travel towards identifying ourselves with  God.
At times we do sins and fall back in the ladder.   It can be  compared
with a game of snake and ladder.

( In fact there was a  version  of this  game played  in ancient India 
called Mokshaphalam. They  used  different states of life as different
squares and the dice contained sins and good deeds. ) 

Great Vishnu Bakthas like Poonthanam have very clearly explained  this
concept. 

In Gnana-paanaa, regarded as the Gita of Malayalees, Poonthanam says:

'After years stood as trees, years  spent as  animals,  years lived as
worms, We have now got the blessing to be born as Man or Human.'
	
Even Krishna has explained this concept at length in Gita.

This clearly explains that at any given time  each soul is in its  own
level  in the  ladder of life. Some are still in the form of trees and 
animals, some noble men, great seers and saints took leaps  and bounds
and have already attained their goals.

We  dont want to lead an animal life, nor  are we enlightend enough to 
sacrifce  the worldly pleasures  (which is for the sake of this body).
We  talk of mukthi, the  liberation of our  soul, when  our soul  will
throw  away  this body and  unite with the Lord.  But we dont hesitate
to spend our last  bit of wealth to  make sure  that  our life in this
Janma is prolonged to the maximum.

As we  can see from the above...  what is  right for  one is wrong for
another depending on which state in your journey you are in. It is  Ok
for an animal to do somehting which  is wrong  for a man to do.  Along
with  the  individual souls, the  universal behaviour also undergoes a
change, which  can  be regarded as the aggregate or average behaviour.
Even  though  individuals  can  go down the  ladder, the  system on an
average should be travelling upwards. When some individual  or limited
souls try to upset this flow, Lord will have to interfear.

If you  look at the lines of Gita 'Yeda yeda hi dharmasya...', Krishna
speaks of the decline or Glani of the aggregate position.  He says  He
will  be  born to uplift this situation  by  protecting  the good  and
punishing the evil.

When Krishna talks of avthar, it means He is not appearing in this world
Himself.  The most logical way for  Vishnu to do this is by appearing as
an example of the right aggregate behaviour of the time. 

Lets  look into sience  for a minute and see what they believe. Darwin
has  beautifully  established the theory of evolution. And if you just
look the dasavtars a little more closely you can see....

When life started in water and things started going wrong, Vishnu took
birth in the form of a fish. When the life form was not matured enough
to protect the real knowledge of the universe (the vedas), like a real
father, Vishnu had to do this.

When the water creatures started to venture out in the land, to protect
the land (a hill) from going down into water, God had to take birth as
an amphibian (capable of living in water and land)- tortoise.

Then as an animal.. later as half animal and half man ( an animal with
thinking and rationalisng capacity)

In the earlier stages, the avatars were of short spans. The life forms
were  not developed enough to understand from  examples.  As the forms
started advancing, the  avatars  also had to be advanced.  We can find
a real appeal to the brians only in Krishana Avatar, when the thinking
capacity of the life forms had also increased.

When time Rama was born, the  concept of society was well established.
The life form had lost its physical weapons (nails and sharp tooth) to
destroy  other  forms or to protect themseves.  There was the king who
ruled the land.He had all the wealth under his disposal, but his prime
responsiblity was towards his duty and subjects.  

Well friends... just imagine the situation at that time.. dont compare
it with the current beliefs. If Vishnu was born as Vishnu with his full
potential he would have acted much differently. But why?  He could have
got what he wanted without even moving an inch.

He took birth as the most perfect example of the aggregate life form at
that time.  Many of his actions when viewed by us and compared with the
current situation of things may seem illogical.  But he was born  at  a
time when the world believed in norms and customs different from ours.

Lets look at an example...

Suppose that God is born today as the ruler of a country.  His wife was
traped in a foreign country for some time. There is absolutely no doubt
her behaviour. Nobody in his country has any doubts. But still the laws
of the country demands a medical test for anybody entering from outside.
What should the ruler do ?????

We  have  written  laws whereas customs and practises were paramount in
those days. We dont feel if the ruler demands a medical checkup for his
wife.

The  agnipariksha  of Sita  was done in such a situation. To uphold the
customs and beliefs of that time.  Also women  were treated differently
in those times. Even the concept of marriage was different.Sita was won
by Rama and she was his property.  She  was not a gift to Rama as Kanya
dhan.. nor  was Rama choosen by  her  on a  Swayamwar.  All these meant
different at that time. For us a marriage is a marriage and wife  is  a 
wife.

A dhobi, may be looked down as an ornary voter today. But was a subject
to the King. It was the duty of Rama to convince every subject of  His,
even  if meant  sacrificing his  personal pleasures.  He had a dhobi in
front of him,  whose  logical thinking power was not high as Arjuna. So
So Rama had to appeal to him mind through actions.

Bali was a storng man(?)  and was misusing his strength.  Rama with the
limited  powers  with which he was born and with the  responsibility of 
protecting the people, had to attack him hiding. 
      
Dhasaratha  had  three wives, but  no  children.  He wanted a child to 
continue as the King after him. It didnt mattered which wife gave birth
to that child. When he got the medicine from the puthrakamesti, he gave
it those wives immediately available to him. There is no discrimination
shown there.

Friends... I know there are a lot of bugs in the above way of looking at
things. I am always ready for any discussions in this matter.