[Advaita-l] mleccha-s not eligible to take Hinduism??

Jaldhar H. Vyas jaldhar at braincells.com
Wed Jul 11 15:56:39 CDT 2012

On Wed, 27 Jun 2012, Kathirasan K wrote:

> I am not sure if the Victorian prudes did it. But I am sure the Bhagavatam
> extols Rama for being a ekapatnivrata and that he had set a role model for
> all common folk. (please see Bhagavatam 9.10)

Specifically you are referring to 9.10.54 and surprise, surprise, it is 
not talking about a rule for monogamy.

ekapatnIvratadharo rajarShicharitaH  ShuchiH |
svadharmaM gR^ihamedhIaM shikShayan svayamAcharat || 54 ||

"Holding to the vrata of one wife[1], the conduct of the royal sage was pure.
He taught grhasthas[2] their svadharma by [the example of] his own actions.[3]"

[1] When there was a hint of suspiction that Sita Ma had consorted with 
another man, Shri Rama exiled her.  But he did not reject her as his 
wife.  If you want to read a modern meaning into this, it is against 
divorce not polygamy.

[2] Grhasthas not "common folk"

[3] His total conduct not just in the matter of one particular vrata. 
Shri Rama is an exemplary illustration of a grhastha who follows his 
svadharma.  His specific svadharma was that of a Kshatriya.  Others may 
have different ones and the intent is that one should emulate His 
diligence not the specific acts themselves.

But anyway did you notice that this is the same Bhagavata whose principal 
subject (and greatest role model for all folk common and uncommon) had 
16000 wives?  Even Shri Ramas own father has 3 wives.  Yet somehow the 
reformers magic eye spots a rule for monogamy in all this?  Whole schools 
of art developed in Rajasthan and elsewhere based on the idea of illustrating 
the Bhagavata.  The patrons of these artists were kings who often had 
harems to rival any badshah.  Nobody informed them that the Bhagavata 
they are paying for is teaching monogamy?

Marriage customs vary by jati and typically polygamy was a practice of 
landowners.  This is the key to understanding where this "Shri Rama taught 
monogamy." meme comes from.  The propaganda that passes for history in 
modern India is replete with details of how the reformers fought against 
the British but this is only half the story.  They were fighting a 
two-front war against colonialism yes but also against the established 
Hindu order.  They did resist Christian attempts to convert them but were 
quite happy to ally with those same Christians when necessary to fight 
their other enemies.  So If you were an East India Company babu in 19th 
century Calcutta, inveighing against polygamy is a win-win situation.  It 
lets you criticize the actual Hindu way of life (and justify why you 
aren't following it) without appearing to criticize the Hindu way of life 
and as a bonus, score morality points with your white boss.

It is easy to make scapegoats out of Macauley or Max Muller but the truth 
is the biggest distorters of Indian history and culture are brown-skinned, 
Indian, "Hindu reformerss"  They are the ones responsible for contemporay 
Indias near total historical illiteracy because it is easier to do 
text-juggling and dubious translations of mythology than deal with the 
messy, incovenient past.  This is why I have not one scrap of respect for 
these reformers and regard them as a dead end for the future of dharma.

Jaldhar H. Vyas <jaldhar at braincells.com>

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