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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.