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From: John Grimes (
Date: Thu Jan 18 1996 - 16:45:03 PST

>Regarding Krishna Praba and Vijay Srinivasan's comments per Sita:

Certainly there have been many "explanations" or proposed explanations put
forth through the centuries in an attempt to explain/justify/make
comprehensible or meaningful the events which took place in regards to
Sita. I did not propose any "solutions" - I merely stated some queries that
my students have put forth. In the classroom (and outside of it) I have
been known to attempt my own interpretations and defend them vociferously
with all the weapons at my command - quoting scripture; logic; analogy;
devotion, etc. In this instance, however, I merely was sharing some
enquiries which University raise for our mutual contemplation. Some of the
points I find often unexamined.

On one point, let me apologize. It was not Sugriva (as I had mistakenly
stated)  but Valli that Rama asked to forgive his wife. Rama asked Valli to
forgive Tara for "being with Sugriva" and to take her back. One may attempt
to explain this as the dharma for Rama is not the dharma for Valli - but I
find that unsatisfactory. If the point is to protect the nation's citizens
from adulterous ideas, and to uphold the honor of the King, then it
pertains to Kings everywhere does it not?

Per the deer incident, it was precisely because of the deer incident that
she was "touched" (in some sense or other) and thus put through fire ordeal
and finallly even banished (as the story goes). As Vijay says, the incident
may have been essential - and Sita may have repented for it - and Rama may
have been remorseful over it, but the point of the student's enquiry is,
"If Sita was put through the fire ordeal because she had been with another
man, Rama, too, must bear part of the blame for he, too, was part of the
cause."  The question is not that the divine is inexplicable or that Rama
and Sita were divinity in disguise or that both underwent mental agony -
the question is, why does Sita have to undergo the fire ordeal and Rama
gets away with his behavior.

John Grimes

John Grimes, Dept of Philosophy, NUS