Let us next consider the character of Rama as an individual and as a king. In speaking of him as an individual I will refer to only two incidents one relating to his treatment of Vali and other relating to his treatment of his own wife, Sita. First let us consider the incident of Vali.
Vali and Sugriva were two brothers. They belonged to the Vanar race and came from a ruling family which had its own kingdom the capital of which was Kishkindha. At the time when Sita was kidnapped by Ravana, Vali was reigning at Kishkintha. While Vali was on the throne he was engaged in a war with a Rakshasa by name Mayavi. In the personal combat between the two, Mayavi ran for his life. Both Vali and Sugriva pursued him. Mayavi entered into a deep cavity in the earth, Vali asked Sugriva to wait at the mouth of the cavity and himself went inside.
After sometime a flood of blood came from inside the cavity. Sugriva concluded that Vali must have been killed by Mayavi and came to Kishkintha and got himself declared king in place of Vali and made Hanuman his Prime Minister.
As a matter of fact, Vali was not killed. It was Mayavi who was killed by Vali. Vali came out of the cavity but did not find Sugriva there. He proceeded to Kishkintha and to his great surprise he found that Sugriva had proclaimed himself king. Vali naturally became enraged at this act of treachery on the part of his brother Sugriva and he had good ground to be. Sugriva should have ascertained, should not merely have assumed that Vali was dead. Secondly Vali had a son by name Angad whom Sugriva should have made the king as the legitimate heir of Vali. He did neither of the two things. His was a clear case of usurpation. Vali drove out Sugriva and took back the throne. The two brothers became mortal enemies.
This occurred just after Ravana had kidnapped Sita. Rama and Laxman were wandering in search of her. Sugriva and Hanuman were wandering in search of friends who could help them to regain the throne from Vali. The two parties met quite accidentally. After informing each other of their difficulties a compact was arrived at between the two. It was agreed that Rama should help Sugriva to kill Vali and to establish him on the throne of Kishkindha. On the part of Sugriva and Hanuman it was agreed that they should help Rama to regain Sita.
To enable Rama to fulfil his part of the compact it was planned that Sugriva should wear a garland in his neck as to be easily distinguishable to Rama from Vali and that while the dual was going on Rama should conceal himself behind a tree and then shoot an arrow at Vali and kill him.
Accordingly a dual was arranged, Sugriva with a garland in his neck and while the dual was on, Rama standing behind a tree shot Vali with his arrow and opened the way to Sugriva to be the king of Kishkindha. This murder of Vali is the greatest blot on the character of Rama. It was a crime which was thoroughly unprovoked, for Vali had no quarrel with Rama. It was most cowardly act for Vali was unarmed. It was a planned and premeditated murder.
Consider his treatment of his own wife, Sita. With the army collected for him by Sugriva and Hanuman, Rama invades Lanka. There too he plays the same mean part as he did as between the two brothers Vali and Sugriva. He takes the help of Bibishana the brother of Ravana promising him to kill Ravana and his son and place him on the vacant throne. Rama kills Ravana and also his son Indrajit. The first thing Rama does after the close of the fight is to give a decent burial to the dead body of Ravana. Thereafter he interests himself in the coronation of Bibhishana and it is after the coronation is over that he sends Hanuman to Sita and that took to inform her that he, Laxman and Sugriva are hale and hearty and that they have killed Ravana.
The first thing he should have done after disposing of Ravana was to have gone to Sita. He does not do so. He finds more interest in the coronation than in Sita. Even when the coronation is over he does not go himself but sends Hanuman. And what is the message he sends ? He does not ask Hanuman to bring her. He asks him to inform her that he is hale and hearty. It is Sita who expresses to Hanuman her desire to see Rama, Rama does not go to Sita his own wife who was kidnapped and confined by Ravana for more than 10 months. Sita is brought to him and what does Rama say to Sita when he sees her? It would be difficult to believe any man with ordinary human kindness could address to his wife in such dire distress as Rama did to Sita when he met her in Lanka if there was not the direct authority of Valmiki. This is how Rama addressed her:
“I have got you as a prize in a war after conquering my enemy your captor. I have recovered my honour and punished my enemy. People have witnessed my military prowess and I am glad my labours have been rewarded. I came here to kill Ravana and wash off the dishonour. I did not take this trouble for your sake.”
Could there be anything more cruel than this conduct of Rama towards Sita ? He does not stop there. He proceeded to tell her:
“I suspect your conduct. You must have been spoiled by Ravana. Your very sight is revolting to me. Oh you daughter of Janaka, I allow you to go anywhere you like. I have nothing to do with you. I conquered you back and I am content for that was my object. I cannot think that Ravana would have failed to enjoy a woman as beautiful as you are.”
Quite naturally Sita calls Rama low and mean and tells him quite plainly that she would have committed suicide and saved him all this trouble if when Hanuman first came he had sent her a message that he had abandoned her on the ground that she was kidnapped. To, give him no excuse Sita undertakes to prove her purity. She enters the fire and comes out unscathed. The Gods satisfied with this evidence proclaim that she is pure. It is then that Rama agrees to take her back to Ayodhya.
And what does he do with her when he brings her back to Ayodhya. Of course, he became king and she became queen. But while Rama remained king, Sita ceased to be a queen very soon. This incident reflects great infamy upon Rama. It is recorded by Valmiki in his Ramayana that some days after the coronation of Rama and Sita as king and queen Sita conceived. Seeing that she was carrying some residents of evil disposition began to calumniate Sita suggesting that she must have conceived from Ravana while she was in Lanka and blaming Rama for taking such a woman back as his wife. This malicious gossip in the town was reported by Bhadra, the Court joker to Rama.
Rama evidently was stung by this calumny. He was overwhelmed with a sense of disgrace. This is quite natural. What is quite unnatural is the means he adopts of getting rid of this disgrace. To get rid of this disgrace he takes the shortest cut and the swiftest means—namely to abandon her, a woman in a somewhat advanced state of pregnancy in a jungle, without friends, without provision, without even notice in a most treacherous manner. There is no doubt that the idea of abandoning Sita was not sudden and had not occurred to Rama on the spur of the moment.
The genesis of the idea the developing of it and the plan of executing are worth some detailed mention. When Bhadhra reports to him the gossip about Sita which had spread in the town Rama calls his brothers and tells them his feelings. He tells them Sita’s purity and chastity was proved in Lanka, that Gods had vouched for it and that he absolutely believed in her innocence, purity and chastity.
“All the same the public are calumniating Sita and are blaming me and putting me to shame. No one can tolerate such disgrace. Honour is a great asset; Gods as well as great men strive to maintain it intact. I cannot bear this dishonour and disgrace. To save myself from such dishonour and disgrace I shall be ready even to abandon you. Don’t think I shall hesitate to abandon Sita.”
This shows that he had made up his mind to abandon Sita as the easiest way of saving himself from public calumny without waiting to consider whether the way was fair or foul. The life of Sita simply did not count. What counted was his own personal name and fame. He of course does not take the manly course of stopping this gossip, which as a king he could do and which as a husband who was convinced of his wife’s innocence he was bound to it. He yielded to the public gossip and there are not wanting Hindus who use this as ground to prove that Rama was a democratic king when others could equally well say that he was a weak and cowardly monarch: Be that as it may that diabolical plan of saving his name and his fame he discloses to his brothers but not to Sita the only person who was affected by it and the only person who was entitled to have notice of it. But she is kept entirely in the dark.
to be continued in the next issue….
MYTHICAL NARADA MUNI WAS LIKE GOOGLE- CM, Gujarat
After Tripura CM Biplab Deb, this time his Gujarat counterpart Vijay Rupani who equated Naradana Muni, the messenger of god in Hindu mythology, with internet giant ‘Google’.
“Just like Narada Muni, Google is the source of information” the CM of BJP ruling Gujarat said in an event organized by RSS-affiliated Vishwa Samvad Kendra to celebrate Devrishi Narad Jayanti. He equated Narada Muni with Google simply for the mythical story that Narada Muni used to deliver news to Balram (brother of Lord Krishna) during the Mahabharata period and also to others at various points of time.
‘Birds of a feather flock together’
Similarly the saffron leaders starting from PM Narendra Modi, HRD Cabinet Minister and the State Minister and the CMs of States do consistently derive ‘divine’ pleasure in comparing scientific findings as if it had existed in mythology. How long the saffron brigades prolong with these sorts of statements after they assumed the office promising ‘growth’ for the country. They will not set at rest till they deliver the goal of growth, perhaps, total myth to the people of this ‘divine’ country!