You are here: Sri Vaishnava Home Page : Bhakti List : Archives : January 1996

Re: Rama's banishment of Sita

From: Vijay Srinivasan (Vijay_Srinivasan_at_PRAXAIR.COM)
Date: Thu Jan 18 1996 - 09:38:51 PST

(i) For a kshatriya, His dharma is to protect his honour.
(ii) Sugriva's dharma is different.  Sugriva even accepts Tara as his wife and 
the manava dharma of that time was certainly different.  Rama cannot be accused 
of hypocrisy for applying one standard to sugriva and a different standard to 
himself.

(ii) In the unfolding of the divine drama the deer incident was essential.  I 
do not think anyone blames Sita for the deer incident.  As a consequence of 
what she had to undergo, she did repent her action later.  Rama could not bear 
the separation of seetha even for a moment and that itself could be considered 
as a self-inflicted punishment for the Lord.  While logic and reason disects 
everything thread-bare, love harmonises all contradictions.  The Sathyam, 
Jnanam, Anantham Brahman puts on limitations when He decides to incarnate. Even 
the fact that Rama is the incarnation of the Supreme being is denied by him. He 
looses Himself inorder to find Himself in the divine game.  I think banishing 
Seetha was perhaps less painful to her compared to the pain Rama had to undergo 
because of separation.  Still the Lord did it.  We can easily imagine what a 
mental agony it would have been for our Prabhu to have done that.  It is 
essential that when we read the Ramayana our heart, more than our head, must be 
in it.  Thanks.

Vijayaraghavan

   
To: bhakti-digest @ srirangam.esd.sgi.com @ Internet
cc:  (bcc: Vijay Srinivasan)
From: phijag @ cobra.nus.sg (John Grimes) @ Internet
Date: 01/18/96 01:10:43 AM
Subject: Rama's banishment of Sita


These are some points that my students raise in regards to Rama's
banishment of Sita:
1) If, Rama did what he did because he was upholding dharma.
        i) this assumes Sita was somehow blameworthy yet, Rama must be at
least partly to blame for her kidnapping. So why didn't he banish himself
too? What is
good for the gander is good for the goose. Surely, no matter how much
blame one wants to put on Sita for desiring the golden deer, Rama, too,
played a part in that episode. Shouldn't he have to suffer for his part, no
matter whether it was equal to, or less than, Sita's? Valmiki says, "In
fact, Rama was curious, too. And so, he took Sita's side and said, it is
beautiful, it is unusual." When Lakshmana tells him don't be fooled, Rama
says, "Princes do hunt such animals and cherish their skins. By sporting
and hunting, Kings acquire great wealth." Thus, against Lakshmana's advice,
Rama went ahead. He is directly implicated in the scandalous affair.
        ii) to banish Sita is a utilitarian solution - the greatest good
for the greatest amount of people. Supposedly the banishment "prevented"
his people from committing acts of infidelity. Thus, he was putting
people's happiness above an innocent individual's, ie. Sita's.
        iii) Rama says directly that he did what he did, "not for your
(Sita) sake, but for the sake of preserving MY honor." So which is it? To
preserve dharma or to preserve his honor? Are the two the same/related?
        iv) the root cause of the scandal lay not in Sita but in the mind
of a perverted individual. So why punish an innocent Sita?
        v) Rama tells Sugriva (who was also a King) to take his wife back!
Yet, he doesn't take his Sita back. Is this hypocrisy?

Then there is the injunction: "Do not enquire into the origins of a holy
river." Yett that is but one more attempt to explain what seems
inexplicable!

John Grimes

---
John Grimes, Dept of Philosophy, NUS