Wednesday, 19 November 2014

Srimad Bhagavata: About Caitanya Mahaprabhu

The story of Chitanya Mahaparbhu is narrated in the introduction.. I wonder why such quaint words are used to describe divine people. It of course makes them different.

Lord Sri Caitanya Mahaprabhu, the great apostle of love of God and the father of the congregational chanting of the holy name of the Lord, advented Himself at Sridhama Mayapura 1486 by the Christian Calendar.

It was 500 years ago, a comparatively recent times. He was the youngest and the tenth son of his parents. While all his sisters died at an early age he and his brother survived. He married early but his first wife died at an early age and he married again at the request of his mother. However he took Sanyas at the age of twenty-four and left behind his wife who was barely sixteen and moved to Puri.

He remained in Puri for the next twenty-four years and traveled for six  years preaching Srimad Bhagavatam ......  he deemed it as the spotless literature for understanding the Lord..

His childhood proved that he was no ordinary being.  As a crawling baby he played with a snake and confused a thief who tried to steal ornaments from him. He was a naughty boy and played pranks on orthodox brahmins and girls who were offering prayers to Siva in the hope of getting good husbands. He would tell them that  Lord Siva was his devotee and Parvati his maid servant and asked them worship him instead. ......

Soon after his marriage Caitanaya began to preach the congregational chanting of the Lord and the brahmanas became jealous of his popularity and complained to a Muslim magistrate and were stopped by the Kazi, but Caitanaya asked his followers to disobey . The magistrate then sent his constables to the place, who interrupted the chanting and broke a few of the mridangams. Not one to cowed down Caitanya organised a civil disobedience movement and took one hundred thousand men who chanted and beat drums all the way to the house of the Kazi, who worried ran upstairs. The crowd displayed a violent temper, but Caitanya calmed them down and the Kazi came down and addressed Caitanya as his nephew and they both had a long discussion on the Koran and the Hindu sastras. ... Caitanya then convinced the Kazi and was allowed continue with his sankirtana movement. 

An interesting story and as I  scanned the introduction this caught my eye......All yagnas are forbidden because they are useless attempts by foolish men. There is also a story about two brahmin brothers who were saved. They were not only drunkards, but also meat eaters, woman-hunters, dacoits and sinners... ninety percent of population of this age resembles these brothers, despite high birth........But Sri Caitanya Mahaprabhu...followed the verdict of the sastras in the matter of one's swarupa or real identity.

When I began I felt I could follow the structure of the book, but the number of pages I need to read and specially its style made me rethink. The introduction deals with Caitanya's life in detail and while impressive it took me away from my intentions of blogging about Srimad Bhagavatam. The introduction discusses  the relative merits of 'Mayavada' vs 'Bhakti' which Caitanya propagated with lot of energy and simplicity. There are only eight slokas to his name!
There is also a mystery about his disappearance and there are many stories!

Tuesday, 11 November 2014

Srimad Bhagavatam and Spiritual communism!

I quote from the preface: 'The ideals of spiritual communism, according to Srimad Bhagavatam, are based more or less on the oneness of the entire human society, nay,  of the entire energy of the living beings'.  An interesting combination! Wonder how it works?

Nice that the author has acknowledged that humans are now better off, but are still prone to large scale quarrels. He thinks that Bhagavatam will guide us towards peace, the respiritualisation of the entire human society and says that the ancient  King Prahlada advocated.that Bagavatam be taught to the very young (in schools and colleges!)  in order to change the demoniac face of society.

There is the usual dig at us humans and science. The disparity in human society is due to lack of principles in a godless civilization. There is God or the almighty One, from whom everything emanates....Material science has tried to find the ultimate source of creation very insufficiently....

 A recent study states 'You wouldn't believe it… but having no religious affiliation is now world's third biggest 'faith' after Christianity and Islam'. At 1.1 billion the numbers are significant,  'but overall, 84 per cent of the world's inhabitants, which it estimated at 6.9 billion, identify with a religion, according to the study entitled 'The Global Religious Landscape' issued by the Pew Forum on Religion and Public Life... The 'unaffiliated' category covers all those who profess no religion, from atheists and agnostics to people with spiritual beliefs but no link to any established faith.'

Certain findings in the study are significant:

 Many of the religiously unaffiliated do hold religious or spiritual beliefs, .......
'Belief in God or a higher power is shared by 7 percent of unaffiliated Chinese adults, 30 per cent of unaffiliated French adults and 68 percent of unaffiliated U.S. adults,' it said. 

'An age breakdown showed Muslims had the lowest median age at 23 years, compared to 28 for the whole world population. The median age highlights the population bulge at the point where half the population is above and half below that number.
'Muslims are going to grow as a share of the world's population and an important part of that is this young age structure,' Hackett said.

So we can say that it is not a godless civilization, but the multiplicity of faiths that is the problem. Faith seems to be the culprit. I go back to the preface, which speaks of an unlimited Supreme Lord ....such transcendental literature, even though irregularly, is heard, sung and accepted by purified men who are thoroughly honest.

We all know the flock in any religion are quite happy to believe, sing in praise and are normally peaceful. They are reasonably tolerant. So what is it that pushes humans towards large scale quarrels as the author terms it?  Hopefully this ancient purana has the answers!

And why is that most, say 9 out of 10, need to believe in god or higher power. I suppose it is much easier and we are built or evolved that way. 

Saturday, 8 November 2014

Srimad Bhagavata is a Purana!

Chandramouli had questions about my choice of word 'Sacred' to describe Bhagavata  and also answered them:
What are the names of these "sacred " books ? Who are the authors ?
Hindu tradition considers these three books alone as SHRUTI (= Eternal ). 
According to the three Acharya's( Shankara, Ramanuja, Madhwa and may be Vallabha) the following are to be considered " sacred "
1. Vedas- in particular the " Upanshads : "That which was heard "
2. Bhagavad Geeta- referred to as Panchama Veda- Krishna as reported by Vyaasa
3. Brahma Sutras of Badarayana
The above three are named as PRASTHANA THRAYA

The Epics are considered as SMRITI- " in memory "- both oral and written down.
Bhagavata Purana is one such Smriti. Both Ramayana and Mahabharata are Mahapuranas; Bhagavad Geeta excluded. There are 18 other Puranas as well. Then there are hundreds of Kshetra and Sthala Puranas..

I am glad  my choice of word  'Sacred'  helped to clarify!  In fact, I first heard the word 'Purana' in the form of a scolding! I was asked to stop this 'Kanthe Purana' (Bundle of silly excuses?) by a teacher. It is not unusual! 

The word 'Sacred' is taken very seriously and it is not something we mess with. It is claimed that our sacred  texts are in the original without any distortions. I remember asking a guru, how could we be so sure that Veda has not changed as it was recited only orally before Vyasa put it in writing. The guru was a bit offended that I had doubts. But he assured me that Veda was constructed in a such way that it could be memorized without distorting it

The volumes with me are Srimad Bhagavatam by  Krishna Dvaipayana Vyasa  as explained by His Divine Grace A C  Bhaktivedanta Swami Prabhupada founder of  ISKON
As I scanned the book  I saw a condition that 'No part of the book may be reproduced or copied etc., ...Breach of this condition is liable for appropriate legal action.  Wonder how serious it could become as I have been blissfully quoting from books without any worries so far. Surprising that while Maharishi Vyasa's work is not protected by the copyright law, commenting on it is protected! 

The concept of Copyright is fairly  recent and is internationally applied. Its duration for a registered literary work in UK is seventy years.  I see that there is one exception: A notable exception: Peter Pan: The copyright for JM Barrie’s work Peter Pan, was due to expire in 1987 in the UK, but an amendment to the 1988 Copyright Designs and Patents Act (instigated by Lord Callaghan) was passed to allow the copyright to run indefinitely in the UK. Any royalties are to be paid to the trustees of the Hospital for Sick Children, Great Ormond Street, London, for as long as the hospital exists.

It is tempting to think, if we borrow this idea from the Brits, how money collected as Royalties could easily support many worthwhile causes.


Anyway I picked up the first volume and even the dust jacket of the book itself was amazing! I learn about the existence of the original spiritual planet, called Golaka Vrindavana, the abode of Lord Krishna, the original personality of Godhead.

The golaka throws off brahmajyothi a spiritual ray of effulgence... Within this unlimited brahmajyothi there are unlimited numbers of spiritual planets as there are material planets...the inhabitants there are ever-liberated living beings. They are all four-handed. The lord there is known as Narayana, and the planets are known as Vaikunthas. 

In the jacket, the familiar scene of Maha -Vishnu and the lotus from his abdomen is also described......and on the lotus, the lord of the universe,  Brahma is born. Brahma creates all living beings.....and it is not just one universe......There are millions and billions of suns in all the millions and billions of universes within the mahat-tattva......Srimad-Bhagavatam helps us to reach the supreme planet, Golaka Vrndavana.

I am now all set to discover more about Maharishi Vyasa's vision of the Universe! I remember being thrilled by the Hubble telescope pictures and now to learn that Vyasa envisaged Billions of Universes such as ours is truly exciting! 

Monday, 3 November 2014

Back to blogging our epics. Srimad Bhagavatam

My friend Venkatachalam  gifts me set of sacred books, upwards of 15,000 pages in all, and here I am attempting to blog about them! I am reminded of R K Naryan's novel 'The Guide'.  Like Raju, the tour guide who was pushed to become a spiritual guide, I am being pulled by events

Srimad Bhagavatam 

To be honest I cannot recite even the basic chants from memory. As a kid I felt uncomfortable  with the caste marks my grandmother would paint on my forehead on some chosen days. I would rub it off as I ran to play to avoid friends making fun of me. Not because they were anti- anything. It was because they sported horizontal lines or stamps as against my vertical lines and were bigger than me. But we were open minded and after playing went to drink water from a tap at a nearby Hanuman temple . All of us accepted Hanuman without reservations and also the water there was the coolest.  

As we grew up, we lived in a fairly cosmopolitan middle class surroundings, these differences took a back seat, except when one of us went deep into his religion or caste and started to preach. But we learnt to cope depending how close we were as friends. My Religious practice, mostly token, was to please my parents and specially my grandmother. It was something I grew up with and knew how to balance it with other demands of life on us. Obviously the ugly aspects of human nature were always there and surfaced often but we were lucky not to face its brutalities directly. I vaguely remember ARP's shouting warnings to keep lights off during second world war and my total confusion when I heard of Mahatma's assassination! I was nine years old. 

I shall fast forward to my post retirement days when I chose to read Mahabharata and having nothing better to do, blogged about it sporadically. I was surprised when I was told that Mahabharata was not read as a sacred text not withstanding that Bhagvad Gita was in it. There was a belief that it would create discord in our homes if the epic was even kept at home! With a bit of internet research, I discovered that Mahabharata was a story which was  recited for may years before it was written down by Veda Vyasa. The epic grew with time and many more couplets were added later on.

There are also so many versions and interpretations that it is almost an industry. Getting to know this epic was  a fascinating journey and was surely thought provoking. The stories of mythical gods interacting with humans, living with them like mother Ganga did or bestowing Kunti with children or Draupadi coming out of the fire as fully grown woman are all fantasies that we lap up without batting an eyelid.It was also about human nature with all its frailties and ugliness. The story is heroic as it is tragic and complex. It is also a story of the victory of the good over the evil.To top it all it is a story full of violence.

For instance it was a shock to learn that in the eighteen days of the great war of Mahabharata, more died per day than in the second world war. It is difficult to comprehend that people killed per day in the 18 days of Mahabharata war was almost three times that of second world war and the proportion would be higher if civilian deaths are not considered! Civilians did not die in the Mahabharata war. Of course the second world war was on from 1939 to 1945 and 40-50 million deaths occured.
Courtsey Wikipedia

Clearly Vyasa narrated this story as a cautionary tale. We also learn that Krishna an avatar of Vishnu master minded the whole war to ensure the destruction of Kshatriya clan, the warriors.   in spite of such eforts we seem to be perpetually on the brink of all kinds of disasters notwithstanding the appearances of more and more saviors on earth since the advent of Mahabharata war. Even second world war was declared to be a war which would end all wars. 

I am told that Vyasa was so distraught after reciting this violent story that he chose to narrate the Srimad Bhagavatam to give humanity some hope. I promise I will plunge into it with a open mind and react as a typical rambler. But if you are looking for a worshipful narration of the stories that Vyasa chose to tell us, you will be disappointed.

Recently  I  also heard a series lectures on coursera  by Yuval Noah Harari of Hebrew university, an eye opener. He gives us a very different view of the world. It is the story of our evolution as a species, whether it was a divine decision or an intelligent design one can debate forever. However it is worth a visit. Some excerpts:

About the Course

About 2 million years ago our human ancestors were insignificant animals living in a corner of Africa. Their impact on the world was no greater than that of gorillas, zebras, or chickens. Today humans are spread all over the world, and they are the most important animal around. The very future of life on Earth depends on the ideas and behavior of our species.
This course will explain how we humans have conquered planet Earth, and how we have changed our environment, our societies, and our own bodies and minds. The aim of the course is to give students a brief but complete overview of history, from the Stone Age to the age of capitalism and genetic engineering. The course invites us to question the basic narratives of our world. Its conclusions are enlightening and at times provocative. For example:
·         We rule the world because we are the only animal that can believe in things that exist purely in our own imagination, such as gods, states, money and human rights. 
·         Humans are ecological serial killers – even with stone-age tools, our ancestors wiped out half the planet's large terrestrial mammals well before the advent of agriculture.
·         The Agricultural Revolution was history’s biggest fraud – wheat domesticated Sapiens rather than the other way around.
·         Money is the most universal and pluralistic system of mutual trust ever devised. Money is the only thing everyone trusts.
·         Empire is the most successful political system humans have invented, and our present era of anti-imperial sentiment is probably a short-lived aberration.
·         Capitalism is a religion rather than just an economic theory – and it is the most successful religion to date.
·         The treatment of animals in modern agriculture may turn out to be the worst crime in history.
·         We are far more powerful than our ancestors, but we aren’t much happier.
·         Humans will soon disappear. With the help of novel technologies, within a few centuries or even decades, Humans will upgrade themselves into completely different beings, enjoying godlike qualities and abilities. History began when humans invented gods – and will end when humans become gods. 

Sunday, 28 July 2013

Kamba Ramayana A study 33, I conclude with Sita

The study offers many more insights, including a comparison to western thoughts and classics.  But I focus mostly on the personality traits and differences as seen in VR and KR. The translation in a poetic form gives a different feel to the episode.

I have not dwelt on the various contests between the two warring groups. They are imaginative and individual powers of both Rama and Ravana are highly exaggerated. Obviously, we all enjoy a good fantasy! But it is also true that humans today, as a species, have developed capabilities for untold damage to themselves and the world. So the poets and seers of the old were not too wrong!

 Description of Ravana in death is impressive .... but the hero's face even at the awful moment wore a look of majesty, surpassing far the splendour even of days when saints and rishis had to flee for safety from his oppressive rule.

This explains why he had to die. The opinion that Ramayana is also the story of Aryans vs Dravidians is interesting. Worth examining further!

One chapter is devoted to Bharata who loved Rama to the extent that he tries to get him back to Ayodhya and does not succeed! He does extract a promise from Rama that he will return after completing twelve years of vanavasa! He also vows to immolate himself if Rama fails to return and is saved dramatically at the last moment by the arrival of Hanuman. It is the story of a decent man with values, who does not accept the kingdom given to him on a platter!

As VVS Aiyar died before he could complete the study, the chapter on Sita is written by others.

As I conclude I quote from the version of Ramayana written by my favourite author Kamala Subramanyam. Valmiki asks Narada, 'I wonder if there is, in this world of men, a single individual, a man blessed with all the many good qualities one can think of.'  And Narada narrates to him the story of Rama as the man who possesses all the good qualities which Valmiki is hoping to find in one man.

 Sita is introduced in an appealing manner in KR.
  'So stood that maiden of rare loveliness and eye caught eye and each the other ate: as quiet they stood, minds into one were fused; the hero looked at her and Sita looked at him. The pair of pointed lances called her glance sank deep in shoulders broad of handsome Ram......Kamban's Sita was of an age to fall in love at first sight .... she suffers the pangs of love... .while not a word has passed between the two.....Rama in turn suffers no whit glance at Sita, the yet unknown  was enough to set aflame the heart of Rama. And mere words about her was enough to enslave Ravana.

Sita had even made a resolve to end her life if it was other than Rama who succeeded in the Swayamvara the next day! Sita is heard to speak rarely. Once when she insists that she is going with Rama to the forest and again when she asks Rama pettishly to catch the golden deer himself for her. Otherwise Sita's liquid eyes alone are the quiver-full arrows, eloquent messenger of love.

Sita does worry about Rama's killing Rakshasas who have harmed the sages, but not Rama directly. She expresses her worries to Rama in VR, but Rama maintains it is his duty to protect the rishis. The transition of Sita's life from that of a princess and a bride to that of a forest dweller while tough would have gone well. After all she was young and was in love!

 Her life changed dramatically when she was abducted by Ravana. She dreaded the daily visits of Ravana, there were moments when she wanted to give it all up, but is saved from the extreme step. There are many moments of highs and lows then on, but nothing prepares us for the cold manner in which she is greeted and treated by Rama after his victory against Ravana. Especially after such an introduction of their first meeting!
 The way Rama treats Sita, especially after a year of separation is shocking!

'You loved the fleshly form, and honor stained; and yet died not, but risked your conduct poor and stayed content one year in the capital of Rakshasas of evil walk of life. With what design have you returned unabashed? Is it that I would cherish you? It was not for you I filled the sea....It was for naught but to redeem my name that to Lanka I came.'

These are moments when I wonder about the claims made by Narada about Rama. It is difficult to understand, except that it was the reflection of the times, thousands of years ago. Or a reflection of human nature itself.  Even Sita resorted to accusing Lakshmana of having designs on her. It could be explained as the only way she could get Lakshmana moving, but it worked as such possibilities were always in the air.

While Sita proves her chastity by going through the ordeal of fire, its effect was short lived as she was sent away when people gossiped about her later! The price she had to pay for being the wife of a public figure. Anyway Ramayana is about ideals and not really a love story!

I have not seen a temple of Sita and was surprised that there are not many 'only Sita' temples. However there is one in Nepal and a couple of them in India. Not too many! It is said that there is one in Srilanka .

Janaki Mandir Nepal

A temple in India:
According to Indian mythology, Sitamarhi has got immense significance, because it was here that Lord Rama’s wife Maa Sitaji was abandoned, gave birth to Luv & Kush and descended into the lap of Mother Earth forever. The only existing Valmiki Ashram on the banks of the river Ganges is located here. Sitamarhi thus carries deep religious values and significance and is considered a holy ‘Teerth’ like Prayagraj & Kashi. Today, here stands a magnificent and beautiful Shree Sita Samahit Temple visited by thousands of pilgrims everyday with deep faith and reveranice.

 In the Ramayana, Maharishi Valimiki .. very delicately defined the nobility of Maa Sita and her sincerity, devotion and sacrifice which made her an ideal woman. Sitaji’s life is full of pathos, agony and suffering. .. This sacred spot is very near to Valmikiji’s Ashram on the banks of holy Ganges...

.. The Sita Samahit temple stands exactly on the mound where Bhagwati Sitaji descended into Mother Earth. .. Within the campus of the main temple there exists temples of Maa Sita & Lord Shiva. There also stands 108 ft. high statue of Ram Bhakt Hanuman installed on an artificial rock of 20 ft...

One more temple:
The Sītā Māī Temple is an ancient structure situated in the village of Sitamai in the Karnal district of Haryana in North India. It is at a distance of 19 kilometers from Nilokheri and lies on one of the alternative routes available to travel between Karnal and Kaithal. This is perhaps the only temple in the whole of India that is solely dedicated to the Hindu Goddess Sita, the divine consort of Rama of Ayodhya.
The temple is made of bricks and the striking feature is the elaborate ornamentation, which covers the whole shrine. The pattern of the shrine is formed by deep lines in the individual bricks, which seem to have been made before the bricks were burnt. This means that the forms they were to take must have been separately fixed for each brick when the temple must have been originally designed.
The temple stands on the spot where the Goddess Mother Earth split open, to allow Sita to repose in her bosom, in answer to Her appeal, in proof of Her sinlessness.



According to legend, Sita Eliya Temple is believed to mark the spot where Sita, the heroine from the Indian epic Ramayana, was held captive by her abductor, King Ravana. Some people call this the only Sita temple in the world.
The recently constructed complex, which is modelled on a modern south Indian temple, is set in idyllic countryside beside a clear stream. Next to it is another new temple dedicated to Hanuman, the monkey-god, who according to mythology was instrumental in rescuing Sita.
"There is a rock on the opposite bank where Sita sat and meditated. Also, this ashoka forest is a clear indication that she came here when she was brought to Lanka," says GT Prabhakaran, who is in charge of the temple.
Temple workers are keen to show visitors the spot where Sita bathed, the stone she sat on, and where she prayed.  There is also a belief that at a particular point in the stream the water has no taste. "This is the spot she cursed. You cannot drink the water. Drink it further downstream," advises one temple worker.
Distance from hotel: 18 km
 The present MP government has offered to contribute to this project in Sri Lanka.
Travelling time: 1 h

Lanka Buddhist Forum wants Ravana statue before Sita temple

10th June 2013 07:49 AM
Ravana  Balaya, a militant Sinhalese-Buddhist organization, has urged the Sri Lankan government to erect a statue of the ancient Lankan king Ravana, before letting the Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP) to build a temple for Sita in the country.
“Before allowing the Sita temple, the Lankan government should honour Ravana, the first Lankan king to resist a foreign invasion. If Sita is a Goddess for the Hindus, Ravana is a God for us,” Ravana Balaya chief, Ven Iththakandhe Saddhatissa Thero, told Express.
The Buddhist monk was responding to reports that the BJP leader and Madhya Pradesh Chief Minister, Shivraj Singh Chauhan, had announced that the Lankan government would help the BJP build a temple for Sita at Divirumpola in Central Sri Lanka, where Sita had gone through the Agnipariksha or the Fire Test, to prove her chastity to Lord Rama.
Ven Saddhatissa Thero suggested that India should help erect Ravana’s statue in Lanka, “to help cement India-Lanka ties”.
The Hindus should have no difficulty in accepting this idea as the Sinhalese Buddhists had been very accommodative towards Hinduism, he argued.
“All Buddhist temples in Lanka have, within their precincts, shrines for Hindu Gods like Ganesha, Vishnu and Hanumantha,” he pointed out.
Need for Ravana
Asked why he was promoting the Ravana cult, Ven Saddhatissa Thero said that the Ravana Balaya, which had come into being to promote Lankan nationalism, saw Ravana as the first major Lankan king to resist a foreign invasion.
Besides that, he was a man of many talents and virtues.
“Ravana fought Rama’s powerful army very hard. It took Rama eight years to defeat him.
“Although Sita was in his custody, he did not molest her. The Lankan government should revive memories of such kings, who had fought for the country and not betrayed it,” Ven. Saddhatissa Thero said.

Friday, 26 July 2013

Kamba Ramayana A study 32, Ravana

 The author says; Ravana's cheif characteristic is his unholy passion for women.  But he is much else besides. Learned in vedas, handsome with the handsomeness of strength, who with great austerities has acquired immense strength and invincibility......Even the supreme trinity desisted from interfering with him, for austerities must always have their full effect till their strengths are exhausted, and his austerities were not ordinary.

He says that VR also depicts him as a hero proud and fierce and full of authority that comes from supreme power. Every one obeys Ravana's slightest word. Only Shurpanaka has the temerity to criticise him after she was maimed by Lakshmana. 'Wilt thou absorbed in pleasure, still pursue unchecked thy selfish will; nor turn thy heedless eyes to see the coming fate that threatens thee?'

However she is more respectful to her brother in KR. While all Lanka was thus immersed in grief as she walked along, she reached the audience hall of Ravana and fell at his feet as a cloud settling at the foot of a hill. Darkness fell over the universe as a pall. Adishesha was terrified.., mountains of the earth shook. The Sun was beside himself with fear and the devas concealed themselves in fear.

With smoke rushing through his mouths even as he bit his lips...with his teeth giving out the sheen of lighting when he ground them in anger, he thundered out, 'whose deed is this?' ...Shurpanaka narrates the story and extols Sita's beauty and  after rousing Ravana's passion for this unseen beauty reveals her motive and tells him: 'Possesses her, immerse thy soul in love, while all the world will sing in joy thy marriage song, a guerdon now I  claim, put forth thy valor and, defeating Ram, wed me to him, for, him I as life  .... and adds ..'Tis such a fair that  I did try to bring for thee, when Lakshman the brother of Ram attacked and wounded me.

 Kamban then describes the pangs of the rakshasa filled his lustful thoughts...Shurpanaka looking at his condition suggests: 'Thou art the undisputed master of the universe. Why art thou then hesitating to act? Go to the place where she is, and capture her for thyself!'

Kamban's Ravana as he looks at Sita thinks that his twenty eyes are not enough and wishes he had thousand unblinking eyes. His passion for Sita is not the vulgar lust of a depraved heart, but the tender and delicate desire of a heart that desires reciprocal affection. He wants to win Sita's heart and win her willing love. He does not desire to force her hand. ..And so the words that he address to Sita are full of a rare delicacy..No death, no defeat-- death of even his nearest and dearest--will induce him to part with her or give up the hope of making her own.

Tuesday, 23 July 2013

Kamba Ramayana A study 31, Hanuman

Vali carries no ill-will against his younger brother and accepts that there was indeed an higher order which ruled him guilty. Even Sugriva does not gloat when he sees blood sprouting from his brothers chest and in fact faints. Before he dies Vali ensures that there is peace between Sugriva and Angada. Unlike in VR, he does not recommend Tara to either Sugriva or Rama. Tara comes on the scene only after his death. Vali also forgives Hanuman and speaks well of him to Rama. The Vanaras definitely come across as civilized beings.

 Hanuman a Vanara is highly revered as a god is as popular as the trinity. The most outstanding feature of Hanuman is his devotion to Rama. At the very first meeting with Rama and Lakshmana, his hearts melts with love for them. 
  He tells Sugriva that Rama is Vishnu himself worshipped by the devas. He accepts Rama as his lord, does what he is asked and more if it helps. He motivates other vanaras in their search for Sita and flies across the sea to locate her. He is constantly at the service of Rama and Lakshmana and brings essential drugs to save their lives.

He does not expect anything in return! Rama as they part after the coronation, turning full on him his eyes that rained affection and love said, 'There's none like thee......what guerdon can I give thee for the help invaluable that thou hast rendered me in the past? Embrace me my hero brave!'

What better reward indeed can be greater than embracing the sacred body of Rama says the author. But Hanuman's modesty and devotion would not allow him to put himself on a plane of equality with his master. He just hung down his head and stood  aside---- thus showing the world that true merit always effaces itself avoiding public recognition. 

I guess while there would be some who emulate Hanuman, happy to serve! Most I believe would aspire the position of Rama and hope for one or more Hanumans around them.