Tuesday, February 01, 2011

Maha-Men in our Epics. Part II

Another ex: "Sita..or Not-to-Sita" by Ram

This is from the other great Epic, Ramayana.. which basically talks about SriRam (yes, only one 'Sri') and his life, battles & marital struggles...and most of all his sense of insecurity as a person.

Sita weds Ram in a Swayamvar .. for her it was love at first sight. Shortly after, back in Ram's kingdom Ayodhya, his stepmom, Kaikeyi schemes to send Ram into the jungle for 14 years. Ram obeys his dad's order & packs up his trekking gear. Sita, who i presume had been reading too many 'Go Vegan'.. 'The Natural way' and the likes, puts her dainty pedicured foot down to take her along. They are joined by Ram's half-bro Lakshman (who incidently, did not take his wife along..but instructed her to take care of his old parents than slurping on a 'Carribean Cocktail' in the jungle resort with him).

Many think that it was Sita's fascination with beautiful things which paved the way for the great battle of Lanka. I think not. It was Ram's lack of common courtesy which started it all. Ravana's (the demon king of island Lanka) sister had the hots for Ram. She asked him nicely  Ram ridiculed her. Well, he could have left it at that..but he instructed Lakshmana to cut her nose & ears out as well.. Ok!! this kinda mutilation shouldn't go unanswered ..should it? Ram had it coming... (though he get bonus marks for saying 'No' to a one-night stand with Surpanaka). Snubbing the babe is scorn-worthy enough, why throw in an unrequited cosmetic surgery??

Ravana made Mareechan transform into a golden deer & prance around Sita.. Bored with the old copies of 'Cosmopolitan', she wanted the deer to play with and asks Ram to get it for her. Off went Ram (anything to stop the nagging!) trailing the deer.. Dinner time..Sita worried herself sick that the Soup would go cold and asks Lakshman to go fetch Ram. Off he went as well. The coast being clear of deer-chasers, Ravana makes his entry and carries off Sita to Lanka..

Go to www.sitasingstheblues.com for Sita's view on Ramayana
 Now starts the part that irks me. Ram gathers together a battalion of Monkey-men, builds a bridge to the island Lanka kingdom, beats Raavan black and blue and then.. and then..throws a tantrum saying he cant take Sita back. So why the hell did he do all this naatak for, one may ask. And the answer is "Ego". How can an Indian male take it lying down when a random guy runs off with your wife? You do the socially accepted thing.. i.e. track the bugger down, stop just short of murdering him and then dump her. Makes perfect sense, doesn't it. Nobody gets the better of you..mind it!!

Sita musters up a plan to prove her innocence & chastity. Ram is convinced (for now), re-instate her position as his wife and all of them pack their bags to head back to Ayodhya to claim the rightful place as King & Queen..as Papa dear is no longer warming the throne. Things go hunky-dory for some time until Ram gets provoked by a comment made by a washerman regarding Sita's chastity. 'The King should be blemish-less' and off goes the now-pregnant Sita outta the palace again. Ram this time delegates the dirty work to Lakshmana..and like a kitten litter being dumped, Sita is taken away from the metropolis to the forest and left to fend for herself with some old-as-wood ascetics to keep her company.

Their story, their marriage..fine. No problem of mine.. But SriRam being touted as the 'ideal man' ?? Heck no!! What he wanted Sita for...was to fill up a position - the would-be prince should wed, the King should have an heir...there were a list of 'should be' attached to his own social standing he had to perform. His marriage to Sita was one such pre-requisite. Even this is acceptable..if only he could have been a bit more secure as a person and trust that his wife will not leap on the next available man in his absence. 

But i guess the 'ideal men' are supposed to look outward for social acceptance than inward for concerns on emotional security.


Balaraman (Bala) said...

How did I know you were writing on Ram today?
And how did you miss the childhood pranks He had played on kooni?

For want of knowledge I cannot defend the accusations. But here are some excuses I have heard
1. Surpanaka was no baby to be told nicely. If you believe one part of the story believe the rest as well. She is one capable of swallowing things alive. Her name literally means one who has fan like nails! And Rama did not order anything. Lakshman is known for his anger and when Surpanaka tried to pounce on Sita, he decided to act.

2. Rama asked Sita to prove her to the world not only himself. We all know what questions we ask Kamsa for keeping Devaki and Vasudeva together. If you think they are divine, then the question does not arise. If you think it is a story, then there is no reason to complain.

3. Rama is celebrated not for the things you mentioned. But, for the things that you did not mention. And I need not tell you about the qualities He had..

keerthy karthikeyan said...

@ Bala: There are so many versions of the story that it is rather hard to stick just one. But anyways, let me counter-argue.

1. I have not heard about the Surpanaka attacking Sita part. In the version known to me maybe they left Sita behind in the hut while doing manly stuff like hunting for food and visitng ascetics. Regardless of the leap-before-you-think nature that Lakshmana is attributed with, he would have been restrained had Ram said a 'No'. Also, Surpanaka had disguised herself as a Mohini to seduce Ram.. but changed her form once he rebuffed her.

2. Yes..and why should she?? Even Ram was alone and frustrated. He had his share of beauties lusting after him. Cant she suspect the same and ask for a chastity test in return? If she had indeed caved in to Raavan's demands, would she still be spending her days guarded by demons in a garden? For love of God, why can't he just trust his wife to be faithful to him?

3. Ram is also called the perfect man - the perfect husband. In a wedding, the bride & groom are likened to the Ram-Sita couplet. I am not pointing finger at any other aspect - only the relationship he had with his wife here..which is glorified, and in my views..shouldn't be.

Balaraman (Bala) said...

Well I told you I am not going to defend.. and those were just arguments I have heard

1. If what was done to Surpanaka is wrong, then by the same argument Thataki should not have been 'killed'.. Ravana should have been advised and rendered an upadesam.. Non-violence is the way to go! Coming in as a disguise is ok, killing and torturing creatures is ok. They should be reformed and not punished.

2. We all know the situation and this is often a repeated argument with endless debates.. Looking at two yugas back, it is difficult to argue on the customs and practices then. If we believe Dasaratha was 1000s of years old, then we can comment little on the customs part. Both sides are not equipped with full information is my point.

3. No one can deny the mutual love that existed between the divine consort. Whether few days or years they stand as the greatest husband and wife on earth. For want of a better pair I would still consider them as a role model. As I said I will still focus on the good parts and leave the rest not because they are wrong but because I don't understand.

Vinumon S said...

Hi Keerthy,
Chanced upon ur blog and went through a few of them - Too good - refreshing style of writing and frank opinions :)

Wish u all d best..Keep writing :)

We Love Shata Shloki Ramayana said...

Story of Rama, Ramayana video with original Sanskrit Chant and beautiful pictures RamaStory.org