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Fact or fiction

From: Ramaswami Vasudevan (aurum_at_cadvision.com)
Date: Mon Jan 19 1998 - 21:30:29 PST

Dear learned members of the Bhakti group,
Let me say at the outset- this article should be viewed in the sincerity

of it's conception & should not be mistaken as an insult or offence,nor
should it be considered as any blatant demonstration of whatever little
knowledge I have.
I was sending  this message, when fire alarms rang in our place, things
devoloped into a sort of crisis& for a few hrs,. we felt like being in
Montana or Montreal. We are back now.Sorry for the inconvenience caused
to all our members.
Now,'fact or fiction' seems like opening 'Pandora's box'. Ramayana&
Mahabharatha are epics & classics unparelleled at any time. Oxford
dictionary defines epic- as a long poem telling the story of the deeds
of one or more great heroes, usually over a period of long time. L et
us keep aside 'godliness& spirituality ' & view them as epics.They meet
the 'epic doctrine' to their fullest. Now let us add the doses of
'godliness to both.A book named 'geethai peAr uraigall' says
'ArjunanukkAgha arulappatathuthAn Geethai endra
pizhaipatta karuthill naam irukka vEndAm.Nammudaiya manathill undaagum
pOr
kalame kurushetram-kalangi nirkum naamellorum arjunandaan.nammai meetka
nirpavanE Kannan.Arjunanukku SAradhiyaay irundu eppadi BAAradadhai
nadathinano adhe maadhiri nammudaiya vaazhkai thEriyum nadathi koduppan-

naamum arjunani pOll saran pugundaal'.-idhuvE GEETHAI sollum paadam- the
book
says so.
Similarly Kamban has surmised Ramayana in saying 'rAma endra
irandezhuthinAl'. Is it enough if they said just this & nothing more.We
need metaphors,similies& all the jargons of language.Poetic freedom &
Poetic justice are two tenets of all poetry.Poetic freedom permits him
to fly on the wings of Pegasus to flights of fantasy & with poetic
justice he has to justify in glorifying the hero.Poetic freedom allows
the bard to portray 'raavana' as ten headed because the message driven
home is that
the evil in him  is ten times or so many times high as in any other evil
charecter& poetic justice empahsises how Rama defeated him & how He was
prepared to even forgive him & other facets of divinity.Similarly
'mahaa'baratms 'maha' descriptions are fruits of freedom & Lord Krishna
as being in the midst of all this 'pot-pouri' enabling good to triumph
over evil  is the epic's justice.Let us bring Alwars also into the
picture- all the works of Alwars are classified as Bhakti Literature.So
each of them is essentially a poet.But like other poets the Alwars never
sit in one cosy corner penning down tons of poetry. They have endured
hardships to partake the grandeur of the Lord in His Archaa roopam.I beg
to differ with-surreal imagination also.'Neela mEni iyyo nirai kondadhen
nenjinnaiye' is felt &is true when we worship Lord Ranganada.When we go
to the Divya Desams we have the tangible proof of all that the Alwars
sang & we live in the joy of the moment, just as the ALwars did long ago
& we need not indulge in surreal imagination- for the ecstacy of the
moment is true.When all other literature of the world are savoured
purely on it's literary merit, for they speak of the perishable things,
our Puraanas, epic&ithihaasas are held high for addressing the eternal
truth,ofcourse with the flavour of poetic imagination.
'Variety is the spice of life'-imagine, if we were given the same type
of food,same type of dress- we would despise life itself.So is with
puraanas etc,-they would be unappealing,if doled out like sermons.We are
confounded with too many a choice& to justify our choice we throw the
shroud of doubt on the rejections we've made.
May I be permitted to quote Swami Chinmayananda-"People ask
me-"Swamiji,why is Hinduism dwindling today" To this he said-'who told
you Hinduism is dwindling.-it does'nt rise or sink-the very fact that it
has stood the test of time is proof enough.It does not depend on any
body for it's survival.-maybe it's followers may increase or decrease in
no,. from time to time.So we needn't be scared, if Hinduism will prolong
or perish in it's inefficiency to face such questions -is Nagusha true
or false.
The Supreme Being,Truth -our 'kula dhanam' is gifted to us embedded in
the jewelbox of Puraanas, epics,prapandams,etc, with the lusturous gift
wrapping of tales like Nagusha,chamanthakamani,so on & so forth.There
are some smart people who unwrap gifts with least damage to the wrapper&
have them as keepsake. But if they are lost in the uniqueness of the
wrapper they are missing out on the gift- which is none other than the
LordHimself adorned in the many splendoured( attire)- box of Puraanas,
epics&other scriptures.
Thanks for reading this posting of epic proportion& I'm sorry it came
out in instalments.
"NArAyananE namakke parai tharuvaan"
With highest regards,
Subadra.