[Advaita-l] Did Shri Rama really abandon Sita?
Jaldhar H. Vyas
jaldhar at braincells.com
Mon Mar 26 03:18:38 EDT 2018
Still working my way through some older topics. This one is apropos for
the blessed occasion of Rama Navami.
On Sun, 17 Dec 2017, Aditya Kumar via Advaita-l wrote:
> Was Shri Rama, the maryada purushottama abandon his dharma-patni because
> some random woodcutter gossiped about her? Even common folk won't do
> such a thing. It is strange. I feel like this woodcutter story was added
> later to undermine/insult Rama/faith in Rama. Any leads or opinions on
> this matter?
In a democracy citizens are of equal worth and all deserve to have their
voices heard. Furthermore whoever is in charge has to apply the rules
equally to themselves as others even at personal cost. Ayodhya was not a
modern democracy but Shri Rama was the ideal ruler so it is not strange
that He would apply similar principles.
On Wed, 20 Dec 2017, Jack Sparow via Advaita-l wrote:
Jatin please do not use pseudonyms on this list.
> Yes it is addition to main Ramayan much later by a poet named Bhavbhuti in
> his work: Uttar Rama charita. It is more of fiction work and prior to this
> there is no mention till 1st century bc.
> The fact can be verified when one reads Bhattiya s work written in second
> century bc by the name Ravan Vadhiyam, it does not mention Ram abandoning
Ravana Vadha Nahakavya popularly known as Bhatti Kavya is actually a work
on vyakarana which ingeniously explains all the rules of Sanskrit grammar
through the medium of a retelling of the Ramayana. The 2nd century BC date
is mentioned because of the tradition that Bhatti (a prakrit form of
Bhartrahari a famous grammarian or some say he was the brother of
Bhartrhari) was one of the nava ratnas of the court of king Vikramaditya.
However historians tend to think a 6th century AD date is more likely as
some of the earliest known manuscripts include colophons that suggest the
author wrote it in Valabhi (not Vikramadityas Avantika) If this were
true, than it would be after known citations of the uttarakanda.
A simpler explanation for the exclusion of uttarakanda in the Bhattikavya
is that it is designed as a textbook for young boys and so omitted
sensitive subjects. The story is that Bhatti was teaching Panini to his
students when a wild elephant crossed their path (I assume he was teaching
outdoors) According to dharmashastras this kind of bad omen meant a one
year suspension of study. Bhatti wrote his poem so he could teach
vyakarana without teaching an actual vyakarana shastra.
Now this is a legendary story but my Guruji once told me of a similar
practice in contemporary times. In Kashi after a boy learned the basics
of vyakarana via e.g. Laghu Siddhanta Kaumudi, he would study the
Raghuvamsha of Kalidasa. But the lessons would start from the 2nd sarga
only. Why? Not because pandits believed that it was inauthentic or
anything but because the 1st sarga contains the story of the curse that
fell upon the ancestors of king Sagara and this is considered too
inauspicious for young ears.
I don't know where you got the idea that Bhavabhuti is from 1st century
BC. The usual date estimated for him is 8th Century AD.
S.V Belvalkar in the introduction to his edition of the Uttararamacharita
mentions a similar idea in the context of the Ramopakhyana in the
Mahabharata which ends with the rajyabhisheka of Shri Rama and is
therefore also often cited as a reason for doubting the authenticity of
the uttara kanda. Belvalkar points out that the context of the narration
of the story (by Rshi Markandeya) is to explain to the Pandavas who are
facing the misfortune of exile a similar example of how good people with
bad luck eventually ended up with a happy ending. It would spoil the
pedagogical point to continue the story onwards.
On Mon, 18 Dec 2017, Aditya Kumar via Advaita-l wrote:
> Sorry for flurry of posts. My last one for the day. But seems like
> Uttara Kanada is indeed a fanciful interpolation. If abandoning Sita
> didn't rattle your Dharmic sense, this another incident might help. The
> infamous incident of Rama killing a 'shudra' ascetic features in the
> same Uttara kanda. But Rama is not the real reason for his hate/bigotry
> against Shudras performing Tapas. A Brahmin complains that his son had
> died mysteriously and so he stages a dharna! in Rama's palace. Rama
> enquires his council which features illustrious sage like Narada. They
> say that a 'Shudra' is performing Tapasya which has caused the death of
> ONE random Brahmin boy. So Rama gets his aerial car! and scouts his
> kingdom. When confronted, the 'Shudra' expresses his wish to go to
> heaven in his mortal form! Rama, without much ado kills the 'Shudra'!
> for performing Tapasya!! Finally, the gods shower a flowery rain for
> preventing a 'Shudra' from entering heaven. So in uttara kanda alone,
> Shri Rama is a misogynist, an oppressor of down-trodden and most
> importantly a Brahmin incites the king to kill the 'Shudras'.
> Hmm...where have I read that before?
I don't know. From one of those mediocre bloggers you like to read?
In the actual Ramayana, Shri Rama is friends with Guha who is described as
being the king of the Naishadas (Some gloss Naishada as Bhil but that is
probably an anachronism. But they were definitely Adivasis of some sort.)
Then He accepts hospitality from Shabari (whose name means "forest
dweller.") who is not only an ascetic but a woman to boot. And he takes
advice from a humble woodcutter as you yourself have mentioned. So other
than a prejudiced mind, who could think that He was against Shudras?
The story of Shambuka is given in more detail in act 2 scene 2 of the
Uttara Rama Charita Here Bhavabhuti says that he was a Gandharva who had
been cursed to his current birth on Earth, a curse that could only be
lifted by being killed by Shri Rama. Shambukas actions were done to
purposely antagonize so this could happen sooner. This similar to how
Jaya and Vijaya the dvarapals of Vaikuntha who fell under a curse chose to
be killed in three lifetimes by Vishnu Bhagavan rather than spend seven
lifetimes away from Him as devotees.
Jaldhar H. Vyas <jaldhar at braincells.com>
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