Sunday, April 17, 2011

The political genius of Sri Rama - Part 2

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Continued from part 1

Journey of Sri Raama during his exile

So, when he is 18-19, the drama in his life starts to unfold. Somehow, there are no pregnancies described in any of the brother's life in these years. What happened? why did rama-sita delayed the pregnancy till age of 42-43? all four brothers show similar behaviour. After exile, it is understandable, who will take care of young ones in forest. But what about earlier? Fear of Parashurama's return?

Kaikeyi, who is otherwise the most sensible woman in the epic, behaves the way she behaves and Rama is exiled. Kaikeyi was the most beautiful, smart and brave of all dasharatha's queens. She used to accompany dasharatha on wars. She hailed from Kaikeya kingdom in northern Punjab (today's Islamabad/takshashila). Her character development shows that she was extremely thoughtful and balanced woman and loved Rama more than Bharat. She falling to CT by a lowly servant-maid seems to be a bit of anomaly. yet, this is what it is. 

Was Rama chosen to reestablish the hold of kshatriyas over central India which was loosened due to Parashurama? While Rama is nearing Chitrakoot, Indra hastily leaves the ashrama of Sharabhanga Rishi saying rama is on way and he shall meet him only after "the work is done". What is this "job" that Indra refers to?

Why central India? The Sahastraarjuna was king in central Indian province of Nimad and Malwa. His capital was city of Mahishmati (modern day maheshwar which was also capital of Holkar faction of Marathas). He is described as very powerful king who had defeated Ravana and rakshasas. With time, he grew arrogant, and killed Parashurama's father and became autocratic. Whole bunch of Kshatriyas became like him and hence Parashurama did, what he did. Although Kshatriyas mellowed down considerably after chastising actions of Parashurama, the hold of north Indian power centres lost on central India. 

Now, I use the word "north Indian power centres" with extreme caution. There was some sort of competition between power centres of Kaveri basin and rest of India. Rakshasas were constantly trying to expand northwards. While they too were Vedic people (Ravana was a well versed Brahmin and a devotee of mahadeva), the political reasons between their fallout is difficult to ascertain.

1. Ravana was a brahmin and not a kshatriya, hence it was illegal of him to become king. But then the system then was based on guna-karma and not birth. Although Ravana was of brahmin lineage, he had chosen to be kshatriya by profession, just like a kshatriya vishwamitra chose to become a brahmin. 

2. Was Ravan Adharmik, yes. Was Rakshasa system adharmik? yes. simply because they wanted to control everything. There is a tendency of establishing monopoly in adharmik systems which makes them adharmik and hence necessarily expansionist. Furthermore, they expand by means of hard power, as opposed to soft-power of dharmik expansion (as implied in Krinvanto Vishwam aryam). 

But given all this, did Raama's job description include dealing with Rakshasas? no.. not at all. He was not supposed to defeat Ravana. 

Continued to Part 3..


Garvo Gujarati said...
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Garvo Gujarati said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
Garvo Gujarati said...

The reason behind Ram-Sita not producing children is because they were upvasi ever since Ram's rajyabhishek was announced. Unfortunately for them their exile was announced just before Ram's rajyabhishek was to be held. Then after the ritual could not be completed before he came back after 14 years. So all these 14 years they were upvasi. As per dharmik tradition Hindus don't do intercourse when on upvas. Lakshman was not with his wife so no question about him. Bharat also chose to (AFAIK)be upvasi till Ram is back. The only one remained was Shatrughna. We can safely assume that he also avoided intercourse when his three elder brothers were not doing it.

You have beautifully analysed Ramayan apolitically. But my take about it is being different, although I don't have much convincing explanation to that. If we analyse all avtars of Vishnu we see that all of them had something to do about some important and watershading historical/geographical event that would have happened during the formation of the world (or may be universe) and its step by step progress which eventually resulted in a perfect planet called earth which was conducive for life. Kurma avatar describes the Earth's rotations, Varah avatar describes the age of dinasaurs etc. The devta are the favourable forces for cultivating the life and rakshashas should be the opposite to it. The amrut manthan also has some very deep meaning which needs to be explored. Perhaps it is related to forming of hydrogen clouds after the big bang. The big bang theory is also vaguely described in Shiv Puran.

Anyways, back to the topic. What I suspect is that Ram's avtar is also linked to some historical event happened to make human life become more meaningful and dharmik. By his avtar the creation of the world can be assumed to be completed and the place was conducive enough for the mankind. Merely a political battle between two kings can't have its place in the shashtra as an avtar. It is inconceivable. IMO What was needed at that time (after the evolved mankind was established) was the dharmik style of living in more civilized manner. Ram killing different asuras should mean that he removed bad practices among people. Killing of 'Dushan' should be an indicator, however I don't know the meaning of 'Khar' in Sanskrut. Tadka should mean the practice of beating up the weaker people by powerfuls etc. As I said, I don't have enough data or analysis to back this theory but it's just my hunch. Okay, the that leaves the Krishna avtar. IMO by the time of Krishna the world was established perfectly and progressing. So only thing needed to be done was to teach the mankind how to live 'practically' and yet live a meaningful and fruitful life. That is what Krishna did. He also gifted us Geeta so that the mankind knows the purpose of their life in very easy language as compared to very complex language of Vedas and Puranas. The prescription is very clearly spelled out in it. Now the only avatar left is Kalki. That avtar is meant for the destruction of the world - another very important geographical event.