Now before anyone pounces on me with pre-concceived notions, (based on reactions I have seen on Twitter) as being blasphemous, anti-Rama, Anti-Hindu or any such thing, here is a disclaimer, at the beginning. This is a post, voicing out questions that I have had, in the quest of finding the answer.
While I have the questions I am also aware that
- Our texts have been translated and interpreted in various ways by various people and Sanskrit (Valmiki Ramayana which is my point of reference here) being the complexly beautiful language that it is, a single statement could be interpreted in several ways, based on whatever little I have read in my short span of literacy and living.
- My questions may provoke arguments, incite anger, irritate or any other simile to that effect one may deem correct at the point of reading this post.
- The reader may be firing on all cylinders which may eventually lead to emotional outbursts on the comment section.
- I can be labeled Anti Hindu as said earlier
- People may say I hurt sentiments. To this I can only say that questions have almost always hurt someone or the other. But that has never deterred an inquisitive mind
- having been given the 'celebrity' tag, enough people tell me to measure my words a million times more. I always wondering a million times more than who? Because I am not meeting too many people organically or virtually who measure their words at all. If Twitter is anything to go by profanity, abuse and vulgarity is pretty rampant in the name of Freedom of Speech.
Anyway if I think up of anymore disclaimers I shall add that as a P.S.
Though the questions that you may see below are not something that have risen suddenly, I base these on the books that I have read. Amar Chitra Katha initally. Some other books and translations. By oral tradition as well which is one of the most important traditions of our culture. The Karna Parampara. Or rather I should say the Story of Ramayana. I confess I have not read the treatise in Sanskrit. If you have a suggestion on any work on the Ramayana I should readthat may state the reasons and the hidden meaning for various actions, given in English, please do let me know. I am happy to expand the horizons of my mind which I think, to the end of my days will always be limited in some way or the other. And my quest- among the other quests that I have - will be to bring down one limitation after another.
I happened to be dubbing for Sri RamaRajyam in Tamil for the character of Sita and as I dubbed I guess the questions I have always had kept bobbing up and I knew I had to blog about it. Sitting in Hyderabad after a pretty long session today and having some time on my hands, I figured I had deliberated enough before writing about it.
Sita seemed to have gone through only misery from the time she married into the Raghukula. More so Urmila, the wife of Lakshmana. But then I guess I will have to write about Urmila another day.
Coming back to Sita, after Rama, Lakshmana and her return to Ayodhya. After her Agni Pariksha which Rama thought was necessary to prove to the world that Sita was above blame and not for his sake, because he knew Sita was peerless. Rama becomes King. Sita is queen. Then comes the famous washerman who is said to have driven his own wife out of the house saying "I am not Rama to take back a wife who has lived in another's house".
Rama is informed of this and he decides, in the interest of the kingdom and his Dharma as a ruler first that he must banish Sita, who is with child, back to the forest.
Without delineating on the story further, since I assume, you the reader knows it, I have only these questions of Lord Rama. I dont mind it if He were to condescend and answer them to me in my dream or something (:p), so that I may understand. Or in any other way He may deem right which definitely does not involve suffering. (You know we must be careful what we ask of God or in the name of a wish, the problem sometimes that it will come true, as some famous quote says)
1. As a husband of Sita, who was peerless and blameless, the pativrata, he sent her to the forest again, without telling her what her crime was. She receives punishment, but he doesn't deem it necessary to tell her himself what has wrought this situation. Though there is an explanation that his heart would have broken if he had to break the news to Sita who was to become a mother, I can come to terms with this reasonably about him not informing Sita of the goings on.
2. Lakshmana is ordered to drop her in the forest. Just drop her and return. She is not invested in the care of any sage or an ashram. She is not entrusted in a safe haven. She is not even offered a decent dwelling to take care of herself or her unborn child/children. She is just left high and dry. She faints and then according to the legend, Sage Valmiki finds her and takes her to the hermitage where Luv and Kush are eventually born.
3. Rama, does not even attempt to find out if Sita is safe, whether his children are safe. Or if they are even born. But just deserts her because a washerman questioned her chastity, if that would be the right word to use here, since I cannot think of a safer word now.
4. Finally an exchange of arrows happens between Rama and Luv and Kush. Rama not knowing they are his sons. And Luv and Kush not knowing Rama is their father. Until Sita comes and stops the exchange of arrows. Rama is introduced to his sons but still refuses to take Sita back but is OK about taking his sons back. Question here is, if Sita were questioned, would the sons not be questioned too? Wouldnt some washerman ask about how Rama could declare one fine day that Luv and Kush are his sons? However I have no idea what happened after Sita decides she has had enough and returns to her mother Bhoomi Devi.
5. Even if not a husband, as a ruler, if he had to suddenly remove Sita from the status of the queen, did he not fail in his duty as a ruler to provide for a safe haven for his subject?
I made a mistake of asking these questions on Twitter and I have realized that Twitter is no space for serious conversations with rank strangers. But then I ll write about this in another post. Deserves it. Or at least I feel like writing about it, deserving or not :)
Is there a reason other than
1. Sita chose to suffer
2. Rama is the all-knower
3. Sita sacrificed
4. Rama sacrificed
5. You have to have faith and the answer will come to you.
and explanations to that effect? Is there a reason as to why Rama behaved in such an unjustified way?
I am questioning the human being that Sri Rama chose to be because he chose to suffer all that a human being would suffer in a lifetime. That's all. Vishnu is my favorite God. But then so is Shiva. I cant claim to know the creator Mr Brahma much. There isnt enough written about him except that he makes a special appearance in stories that concern Shiva and Vishnu or their progeny. But I like Shiva and Vishnu.
If you can give me an answer, or can point me to a book or a link that can give me the answer I would be happy. Please don't point to a godman though. That is one thing I am not interested in :)
Sincerely and humbly