Friday, 4 November 2016

FB Discussions - Ramayana - For, Against (2)

(via Meena Sethu's comment on Piyush Manush's post)

Coming back to Ramayana being blamed for all the ills of our land - here are some statistics from the internet –
“If they were only allowed to have one child, more Americans would prefer it be a boy rather than a girl, a new survey finds.
Despite the intervening woman's movement, the results are very similar to those found when the same question was asked of Americans in 1941.”

“Women are generally subjected to domestic violence more often and more severely than are men, according to research.
In the United States, according to the Bureau of Justice Statistics in 1995 women reported a six times greater rate of intimate partner violence than men.”
Would you attribute these also to the “ bunch so crooked as ram and his cronies?”

Patriarchy and desire for male child have been there since ages , all over the world– if we find it unacceptable we should take efforts to change the mind set of people – that cannot be done by condemning Rama but only by empowering the women. Rama in today’s context may be worshiped as God but he is not in any way responsible for female infanticide and the universal preference for a boy child.

Ramayana has in no way decried a female child – If Dasaratha had 4 boys then Janaka and his brother had between them 4 girls and Sita who was adopted was the apple of her father’s eye – Isn’t that glorifying a girl child? Even Dasaratha glorifies Sita!

Even thousands of years ago we see Kaikeyi as an accomplished and intellectual woman who excelled in many arts – During a fierce battle, the wheel of Dasharatha's chariot broke and Sambarasura's arrow pierced the King's armor and lodged in his chest. Kaikeyi, who was acting as Dasharatha's charioteer, quickly repaired the broken wheel and then drove the chariot away from the battle field. She nursed the wounded King back to health. Such was the status of women in the days of Ramayana.

Can you name one war that has been fought in this world that can be justified? Condemn war in general and include Ramayana in that
Don’t single out Ramayana and hold it responsible for all the wars fought before and after.
Kaikeyi was the daughter of king Ashwapati from the place which is the present day Ukraine, and his daughter was named after the Kacus(Cacus) mountain ranges in Serbian region. Mithila was in Nepal
Kosala Kingdom was in Uttar Pradesh. During his exile Ram moved south through Prayag,(Confluence of Ganga and Yamuna), Chitrakuta (south of Yamuna) , Dhandakaranya ( south of Vindya ranges) Panchavadi ( near Nasik) Kishkinda ( the banks of Thungabadra river) Rameshwaram and finally Lanka.

Given the period of Ramayana (atleast a few thousand years ago) it is unfathomable how Valmiki could have known the length and breadth of the Indian sub continent with accurate distances and time taken to travel from one place to another.

When Sugreeva meets Rama he says he was circling the earth when Vali chased him from his kingdom and he saw the earth as a bright ball rotating on its own axis – even if Sugreeva was a fictional character isn’t the astronomical fact accurate – when the rest of the world was still thinking that the world was a flat disc?

Valmiki ‘s period may or may not have had real airplanes but Valmiki speaks of the ‘vimana’ that had to run on the ground for a short distance before taking off!

Even if the characters and events may be fictional, as an epic, Ramayana is a real treasure trove of information – the history, geography, scientific advancement, the culture, the social structure and so much more pertaining to a period so long ago!

If we ‘pooh pooh ‘the whole great epic as nonsense and a tale of some cronies and keep it away from the children we are surely making a grave mistake. Delve deep into it – take what you need and leave the rest.

I am giving below a synopsis of a Greek legend – The Helen of Troy.
In Greek mythology, Helen of Troy was considered the most beautiful woman in the world. By marriage she was Queen of Laconia, the wife of King Menelaus. Her abduction by Paris, Prince of Troy, brought about the Trojan War. Elements of her putative biography come from classical authors such as Aristophanes, Cicero, Euripides and Homer (both The Iliad and The Odyssey).
In her youth she was abducted by, or eloped with, Theseus, and in some accounts bore him a child. A competition between her suitors for her hand in marriage sees Menelaus emerge victorious. An oath sworn beforehand by all the suitors (known as the Oath of Tyndareus) requires them to provide military assistance in the case of her abduction; this oath culminates in the Trojan War. When she marries Menelaus she is still very young; whether her subsequent involvement with Paris is an abduction or a seduction is ambiguous.
The legends recounting Helen's fate in Troy are contradictory. Homer depicts her as a wistful, even a sorrowful, figure, coming to regret her choice and wishing to be reunited with Menelaus. Other accounts have a treacherous Helen who simulates Bacchic rites and rejoices in the carnage. Ultimately, Paris was killed in action, and in Homer's account Helen was reunited with Menelaus, though other versions of the legend recount her ascending to Olympus instead.
Her beauty inspired artists of all time to represent her, frequently as the personification of ideal beauty. Christopher Marlowe's lines from his tragedy Doctor Faustus (1604) are frequently cited: "Was this the face that launch'd a thousand ships / And burnt the topless towers of Ilium?"
A cult associated with her developed in Hellenistic Laconia, both at Sparta and elsewhere; at Therapne she shared a shrine with Menelaus. She was also worshiped in Attica, and on Rhodes.
Don’t you see many similarities between both legends?

As George says” The world would be a better place with moderation and respect for the sensibilities of others”. If you want people to change their ways of thinking – it can surely be done better by reasoning out than ridiculing them. Don’t put down people and their traditions – rather add a new dimension to their beliefs – like Mari sthalam and Iyyappa vanam where we take advantage of their faith. If Mari is best worshiped by reviving and maintaining water bodies, and Iyyappan by planting trees, let Rama be worshiped best by people being honest, benevolent and just. Let Hanuman be worshiped by people being upright and fearless. Let us ask our rulers for a real Rama Rajya – where no one who is idle, no one is uneducated, no one is poor and where everyone has everything!
As you said let's brand Ramayana and use it to our advantage!

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