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Thursday, December 31, 2015

The Golden Sandals

My past few blogs were focused on the exile commandment for Shri Ram and different perspectives had been showed since. We all know what happened at last; in spite of all the labor Bharat did to make sure Shri Ram's comeback, he had to accept what was already scripted by the almighty.

According to Valmiki Ramayan; before giving in, Bharat left no stone unturned to ensure Shri Ram's crowning. He sat on strike to change his decision, he even volunteered to live the exile in Shri Ram's place, Everyone watching the brothers debating for each other’s good was overwhelmed; not just the civilians, even the scholars were bemused. Both of them were right with their set of rationale, one brother was setting highest standard for truth, honor, pride, responsibility for an ideal son whereas another brother was himself an idol of a true brother whose love, devotion and adherence mesmerized everyone.
Shri Ram was dazed with Bharat's persistence but refused to revoke their late father's command. Vashishth for the first time was in a perplex as what to say and whom to support as both were royalties and right on their part.
It was that time when the cosmic sages decided to intervene, they were aware about the prophecy and
Narayarn’s incarnation and the very motive of it; Raavarn’s end. They reminded Bharat of his late father's commitment and the condition put by Kaikeyi(only Ram had to live in exile).


Bharat's plight was pitiable, with a heavy heart and tears in his eyes he asked Shri Ram to step on a pair of gold plated sandals for once as  a symbolic gesture of his presence in Ayodhya. He bowed before the sandals and announce that for the coming fourteen years, those sandals would be placed at the royal throne and he would serve the kingdom affairs staying in Nandigram
So this was the unforgettable legend of Bharat; no brother had been like him till date, he had shown world the real devotion towards a brother. He stayed complete 14 years in valkals and jatas, served the sandals as a king and looked after the kingdom efficiently.
Whoever listens this part of the legend, praises Bharat for his unconditional devotion. Still there are minds who tend to think different, I sincerely thank them as it is their curiousness that a fairer picture of Ramayan comes out every time a query raised.
"Did Bharat had those gold plated sandals(chararn paduka) along with him all the time, when he was confident for his efforts why did he brought them, was that on purpose?"



Certainly a big NO; he was Shri Ram's brother, he had the element of Narayarn, doubting his intent is as pointless as doubting Sunrise, no matter how dark the night is, it is bound to happen.
He never ever aspired the throne, he always visioned himself serving his elder brother the way a devotee does. But he also knew Shri Ram; he saw a minuscule chance of his success and for that he decided to play against all odds. Kaikeyi put the exile condition very cleverly, it couldn't be revoked and Bharat tried to counter it by offering a switch(he living the exile in Shri Ram's place). Whether he would succeed or not, he needed Shri Ram's graciousness in either condition and for that he took those golden sandals with him; if Shri Ram would have agreed to Bharat's request, then also he would have requested Shri Ram to step on those sandals so that he can live the exile worshiping them. Inside, he knew the rarest chance of it and that's what happened, those sandals acted as cicerone in running the kingdom.

That's the affection and sanctity an ideal relationship demands; so out of touch in present times ain't so, well that is the reason of our miseries too. We cry foul for our sufferings alleging others when we ourselves are not honest(neither with others, nor with ourself). The world doesn't need a hero, it needs trueness and compassion in every individual's heart and mind. Within moments, the new year will arrive bringing new hopes and happiness. This new year; be yourself, be humane.

Have a joyous 2016. 
"a true relation never needs attestation"
'सियाराम'
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Friday, December 25, 2015

Anouncement

    It all started three years back when I decided to pen my thoughts and boy what a journey it has been since, and this is when I haven't even started yet. The passion of writing kindled inside me when I decided to put Ram-katha in front of the world to let know it's actual perspective. I invite you to visit my page:

    Check out my website for all updates with regards to my literary works:


    I seek your best wishes and support to put forth my efforts.
    'सियाराम'

Wednesday, December 23, 2015

Saints of Aryavart(contd.)

We will start from where we ended last; everyone was astounded to what Jabali tried to preach Shri Ram. His materialistic words that disapproved spiritualism, the very basis of dharm, for a moment created discomfort around putting the wisely sages in a tight spot. And it happens when an acclaimed sage or intellect decides to play contrary. They were also anxious as how Shri Ram will deal with this new school of thought, he being the supporter of ideals and traditions those coming straight from the vaidas(being rational).

But Shri Ram was steady and calm like always, his composure never got disturb by any situation. Though there was more gravity in his talks this time; he not just addressed Jabali, but everyone around, explaining every aspect of dharm that Jabali tried to counter. Dharm, that acts as a guide, as a companion for all mankind to live an ideal life also saves from any involvement in peccancy.  It directs their conduct and thoughts towards truth without getting corrupt and the ones who disbelieve never gets respected in the society. It is the conduct of  a person that describes his/her roots, whether he is pure or distorted.
The conduct that Jabali preached might make a man look noble if he follows it but in reality it would be un-sanctified, it was actually adharm in the guise of dharm.

' I will be the corrupt one and will be taken as disgraced, if I follow to whatever you just said. Charity, rituals, ascesis and vaid- these all stand on a strong basis of satya, therefore everyone should be truthful and so am I and I swore on truth following my father’s oath and why shouldn’t I do it? I won’t  betray my father breaking morality by following your instructions. Whatever sin a man commits from his body is first well thought in his mind, only then he is able to deliver it through his words and action, and it happens whenever there is absence of vaidas, shastras.'
{Valmiki Ramayan; Ayodhya Kaand; Chapter 109}

He further  spoke on the essence of vaidas that is only possible from the divine inspiration that comes from the devotion one has towards the almighty. In this earth, it is the sages who educate the being, the gist of dharm delivering him/her towards emancipation. The existence of a soul/spirit cannot be denied(even modern science validates it) and so are the rituals which connects the alive to the deceased. Yes the rituals performed in the shraddh karm promote donation, but that's a miniscule dimension of the real picture. A soul is indestructible and immortal, it originates from the almighty and arrives in this mortal world through a body that is mortal. A body is a mere mode for a soul to function, it will deteriorate after a span of time but the soul is eternal, it will travel other realms based on the deeds it performed through the body and then again will be born with a new body(look around, take your smartphone for instance, functions amazing, isn't so. But without the battery it's nothing, the battery too functions with the help of electric charge. With the course of time, the smartphone and battery will perish, what will remain is electric, likewise, a human body is nothing without a heart and brain, but they too can't function without a soul). A death happens to a body, but the souls remain alive and hence can connect, the rituals of shraddh karm are the means of communication between us and the deceased, physically we make the donations in the form of food and clothes, but it is our true devotions and emotions that connects our soul to the deceased's  and the services reaches them hence.
Jabali was a virtuous sage, he was aware of what Shri Ram told, he apologized to Shri Ram and others for his behavior as he did so to induce Shri Ram so that he might change his mind. Vashishth also assured Shri Ram of Jabali's motive.
So this was sage Jabali; as I told in my last post, he was neither a revolutionary nor an atheist, but a royal sage who tried a different approach in order to propel Shri Ram, that's it.
The mentioning of Bharadwaj's and Jabali's episode shows a different side of our saints. Usually what we read or hear is they being preaching, teaching or penancing. Grand hosting or hate speech is never found in our scriptures(the welcoming of Vishwamitra by Vashishth was limited to edibles).
My friend asked once whether other sages also were this powerful and did they indulged themselves in such pleasures?

My answer; not just Bharadwaj, there were many profound sages who were equally or more powerful, yet composed. We need to understand the essence of a sage’s life, he doesn’t perform ascesis and achieves miraculous boons and powers for his enjoyment, he does attain them for society's benefit, the only reason why that is, as only that person can be a sage who is free from all desires and has won over his senses. There’s not an obligation to be a sage as even anyone can get booned by the Gods or devas through ascesis but that is for him only, but sageship is meant to be for the society’s good and that’s what Bharadwaj did. He was pleased by Bharat’s will and devotion so he used his tapobal to greet them for a day. Another merit of doing so was that the huge army that Bharat brought was motivated with it as they were personally serviced and now they could go ahead with new energy.
Our saints laid the basis of this world's civilization; Vishwamitra, who founded the Gayatri Mantra, Dadhichi on whose bones was the mighty Vajra was made, Gautam laid the foundation of Dharm-Sutra, Kashyap who was the father of the humanity and all other races and so many sages were there to guide humanity. They are and will always be the reason of our pride, a few incidents what we see or hear today won't change this truth. Such individuals are not eligible to be acknowledged as a saint who doesn't have in them to qualify, humility is the biggest prerequisite and they lack it. What we must learn that a few bad examples won't change our legends, we will be able to identify the good ones only if we are aware of our heritage.
Like I always say, be proud.

"One must be open and know the subject thoroughly in and out and then arrive at an opinion"
 'सियाराम'


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Saturday, December 12, 2015

Saints of Aryavart

Today there won't be any alluring prelude, we will get straight to the point and look over two scenarios:

Bharadwaj: On his journey to bring Shri Ram back to Ayodhya, Bharat first met Guh after being advised by Sumantra(he dropped Shri Ram at Shrungverpur, Guh's district). Guh not only helped with all his means but also accompanied him to Prayag(Allahabad) where a great sage was based and who was well versed with the whereabouts of the aranya(forest area) that lied ahead. Sage Bharadwaj, a renowned sage who also helped Shri Ram guiding him towards Mount Chitrakoot. Bharat and sage Vashishth decided to consult him  before proceeding further in the dark.


Bharadwaj advising Shri Ram to base at Mount Chitrakoot
The prince didn't receive a warm welcome from the sage, 'you are ruling Ayodhya aren’t you, then what brings you here. Be truthful as I don’t feel right about you, I am not able to have faith on you. The great son who spread cheer everywhere was banished by your father due to a woman for 14 years. Are you here to eliminate him so that you can rule without any hurdles?'
{Valmiki Ramayan; Ayodhya Kaand; Chapter 90; Verse- 10-13}

But Vashishth cleared all his doubts, he was pleased to see Bharat's devotion and blessed him for his sanctity. He then expressed his wish to host Bharat and the people with him and thus, asked him to accept his hospitality for the night.   
Bharadwaj then invoked Vishwakarma and other devas to make arrangements and requisites for Bharat's reception.
Within moments, grand arrangements were made; a light and cool breeze started prevailing in the air that with its touch soaked the sweat, a spin drift of flowers from the clouds fragrant the ambiance. Gandharvs and nymphs arrived  to entertain the guests with their dance and music, the whole environment transformed divine and magical. Land of closed sides were balanced and dense grass was all over there that shined like blue sapphire and emerald. Square shaped mansions for people and stables for elephants and horses emerged. Maireya(a wine made from date palms), sura(a kkind of wine) and water as fresh and sweet like sugarcane juice along with range of delicacies were presented to pamper every individual. It was a dream come true for the citizens of Ayodhya, everyone was witnessing an absolute heaven on earth, no one had any desire left that evening and even the animals were deeply contented.
A divine palace that gleamed synonymous with the white clouds emerged for the royal family, it was enriched with all facilities. With Bharadwaj’s permission Bharat entered the palace with his family as well as the ministers and the sages, they all were amazed with it's ostentatious beauty.
The palace offered a royal throne and an umbrella over it. As Bharat looked at those, he saw Shri Ram' glimpse there, joining his palms; he bowed the throne and be-seated at the minister’s seat.
The wondrous night passed and the new day arrived with the sunrise. People of Ayodhya were still bewitched with the ecstatic evening they experienced. Bharat took Bharadwaj’s permission as well as his assistance to depart for Chitrakoot and left for his pursuit.

Jabali: The reunion of Bharat and Shri Ram was an emotional moment, everyone surrounding them praised both brothers for the affection they shared. But soon things turned serious when Bharat asked Shri Ram to take the throne, ' bhaiya, our father fulfilled my mother’s boons and then she presented this kingdom to me. Now, I present this kingdom at your service, kindly rule it as per your accordance.You are the only rightful person who deserves to rule this great kingdom of Ayodhya.'
{Valmiki Ramayan; Ayodhya Kaand; Chapter 105; Verse- 4}

Shri Ram humbly refused to Bharat urge, reminding him of the boons that their father promised Kaikeyi as well as the famous Raghukul pledge "prarn jaye par vachan na jaye"(live up to your words, even if you loose your life). Even after rounds of debate no outcome could be derived. Bharat refused to give up, but he was loosing his point against Shri Ram's firmness that was driven by righteousness. The wise sages were also perplexed whether to speak in whose favour as they both were right at their part. One sage though was quietly observing all, in order to support Bharat's view he chose to do something that he in his wildest dreams hadn't think off. That sage was Jabali; he tried to deviate Shri Ram with an effort to persuade him through a whole different school of thought. Donning atheist approach that was unthinkable, his words were, 'a being comes alone in this mortal world and dies alone, no one is related to anyone and one is a fool to have been caught in false grief for his parents. As a traveler halts in a place during his journey and the next day leaves for further way, likewise mother, father, money, home all are just like the same, therefore you shouldn’t be distracted by leaving your father’s kingdom and living on these hard conditions.
King Dashrath was nobody to you neither you are anyone to him, he was someone else and so are you, father is mere a reason for a son’s being. People do shraddh for their loved ones and keep food so if they will come and eat it; think about it how a dead man is going to eat it. Such wastage of food, this all hippocracy was created to divert mankind’s mind towards donation.
{Valmiki Ramayan; Ayodhya Kaand; Chapter 108}
Imagine such guts that too in those times. Everyone else eagerly awaited for Shri Ram's response.


We will continue the rest in the forthcoming post to know their significance, before we sign off, let me brief about these two sages. Sage Bhradwaj was an esteemed and highly revered sage of those times, a great scholar of vedic knowledge. Son of Brahaspati(guru/adviser of the devas) he was a Saptrishi(one of the prime seven sages). 

Sage Jabali was one of the prime sages of Ayodhya, he was also among the royal sages headed by Vashishth. Contrary to the "popular" belief, he was never outcast from the royal court and was a devoted and a theist sage like others. More on him and Bharadwaj next week to reason their mentioning as what we saw today is quite unusual(knowing the simplistic approach of our sages).
Till then, be curious.

"Being unusual doesn't mean being unorthodox"
'सियाराम'

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Thursday, December 3, 2015

Agni-Pariksha

Agni-Pariksha - the moment these two words appear, the picture of Devi Sita comes in our mind. The innocence that endured within, the clearness and uprightness in her conduct, her fortitude that shook the rakshas empire. The term is famously associated with the incident of yuddha kaand in Ramayan when Devi Sita had to testify her chastity, where she sat firm on fire in order to prove so. Since then, any stiff situation where an individuals' sanctity is in dock, this term is coined(not in a literal way though). Neither Agni-Pariksha, nor her banishment can be justified knowing her chastity and divinity but the rationale behind would surely be brought up in near future(as why and how it befell) as a lot has to be understood before we reach there.

This moment, its all about Bharat, as I promised that there is more of Bharat we must know and here it is. He did went through such hardships plenty of times where he underwent in disbelief. In his expedition from Ayodhya to Chitrakoot in order to bring Shri Ram back, he had to prove himself, even to people that were close to him, they all knew him since the day he was born and yet he was the man in dock. Let's review those conditions one by one:

  • Kaikeyi - yes, his own mother failed in understanding him. The point that she aspired for Bharat's kingship even after knowing about the tradition that only the eldest prince is crowned, raises doubts. The doubt being, she believed that even Bharat aspires the crown and there, she did the blunders, blunders for which Bharat's image put at stake and after this episode, everybody doubted the poor soul's intentions. 
  • Kaushalya - when Bharat came back from Kaikeya, he straightway went to meet his mother Kaikeyi only to be cognized about the unfortunate happened. Afterwards, when Kaushalya summoned his presence, he appeared in front of her. Kaushalya was a simple woman, an optimist, even her brain was forced to doubt whether Bharat's intentions were dubious, was he the actual conspirator.
  • Vashishtha -After Dashrath's cremation, the royal sages lead by Vashishth straightaway asked Bharat to accept the throne. They didn't cared to take his views on his father's sudden demise, Shri Ram's exile and, whether he was interested in taking over the throne. They were pretty much perturbed with the recent happenings and had no more faith left in him.
  • Guh - After Bharat convinced the sages about his intentions those were never desecrated, he was poised to bring his brother back. He planned an expedition and took the royal family, the sages and the prominent people of Ayodhya with him. When they reached Shrangverpur(a district ruled by Guh) the tribals were horrified looking at the gigantic army. Their leader Guh decided to inspect what Bharat was up-to and asked his troops to be ready for the war situation in order to guard Shri Ram. The plight of  Bharat was piteous when Guh asked his sudden arrival with a huge army.
  • Bharadwaj - When Bharat approached sage Bharadwaj(he guided Shri Ram towards Chitrakoot) along with sage Vashishth, sage Bharadwaj bluntly questioned his intent whether he was there to finish Shri Ram in order to be future safe. Bharat's stream of tears even moved Vashishth and he defended the former answering Bharadwaj on his behalf.
  • Lakshmarn - While they were close to Mount Chitrakoot, Lakshmarn saw the royal flag and an enormous army, he predicted it right that it was arrival of Bharat, but reasoned it wrong that he was here to slew them. Lakshmarn's rage is hidden to no one. He pledged to eliminate Bharat along with anyone allied to him. It was then Shri Ram who reprimanded his such behavior and calmed his anger. 
No one except Shri Ram and Devi Sita trusted Bharat, those who did were unsure. Kaushalya, Vashishth, Guh, Bharadwaj and Lakshmarn all misunderstood Bharat because of what Kaikeyi did. Though they all were convinced after conversing to him but his heart was broken every time. I know above all given incidents are short in duration and have not much to interest you about. 
But, try to put yourself in Bharat's place, what he would have went through every time he visited the people above described. It wasn't just that particular moment he was questioned, but his whole lifespan, his all good deeds were been discarded for something he was not even accused of. 

Here we also see the role of Guh and Lakshmarn; both devotees of Shri Ram, both were ready to fight for him. The difference was their attitude and the way they interpret the situation. Guh stayed positive and before making a final opinion, confronted Bharat, whereas, Laksmarn in spite of knowing Bharat, refused to be rational and gave in to his rage. It teaches us one thing, being emotional is okay, but not being rational will only harm you, as it did in Laksmarn's case where he had to face Shri Ram's anger.

One last thing, for the feminists who regularly cry foul to the injustice happened to Devi Sita or with any women; it was never about gender inequality in our legends but about the particular situation. What about the situation when two women conspired against Shri Ram and delivered him to exile. What about the situation when Lakshmarn's character, his conduct that was pure, was questioned and allegations so untrue were imposed on him that brought tears on his eyes. EMPORER Dashrath, fell week against a woman.
You reason.
"never make an opinion before closely looking at both sides of the situation, you may end in remorse otherwise"
'सियाराम'

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Thursday, November 26, 2015

Kaikeyi; Blessed or Cursed

While turning pages of our pauranik/ancient yarns, oftenly we come across with events that excites our minds with extraordinary instances and larger than life characters. And why not, with legends those are truer and that too divine, its quite obvious. One thing that is pretty usual or causal that we find is boon(vardaan as we popularly know). Sometimes the whole saga revolves around such episode or episodes and sometimes, such episodes immortalize the particular character. Vishwamitra's austerity pleased Brahmm Dev and he blessed the former with 'brahmmrishi' position. Youngling Dhruv penanced for Narayarn's affection and his fame went immortal. Iksha-Mrityu, a boon given by a loving father to his virtuous son, Bheeshm, initiated the epic, Mahabharat. Most of the incarnations taken by Bhagwan Vishnu were due to these boons only; demons like Hirarnyaksh, Hirarnyakashapu, Raavarn obtained boons from Brahmm Dev and became invincible and were finally eliminated by the avatars to install dharm.
Now, when the boonathon is currently in play and my last two posts were on Shri Ram's exile, I recollect an episode of two boons that actually were curses in disguise and hence resulted catastrophically.
Kaikeyi; Dashrath's favorite queen, had those two boons with her that did turned the tides in distant future. How she received those boons? Well the story goes like this - once, Indra, king of devas pleaded Dashrath's help in the war between devas & asurs. Dashrath agreed and fought bravely in the war, his vigorous display of strategics helped Indra winning the war later. But during the war, there came a situation when he got severely injured and lost his consciousness, it was the charioteer who not just saved his life but also  treated all his injuries and helped him getting his strength back. The charioteer was no one but Kaikeyi who accompanied Dashrath to the war. Beholden to what she did, Dashrath granted her two boons and asked her to wish whatever she aspires for. The benign queen averted those boons for future course as she cared for nothing more but her husband's long life which she already took care of.

Quite a legend, ain't so; there's more to it if we read between the lines. Before that, or rather to understand that better we will learn about Kakeyi.
Daughter of King Ashwapati, she was the only princess of Kaikeya. Her alluring beauty was renowned everywhere. She also had a brother named prince Yudhajit. The wise King Ashwapati treated both of his children equally and made sure that the prince and the princess are endowed with education uniformly in different streams. Kaikeyi proved to be a great scholar along with her brother and mastered all genres that included the warfare(yes, she was a warrior too). Later she was married to King Dashrath of Ayodhya, she proved to be an ideal wife who accompanied her to the great war where she saved his king's life. She mothered the great Bharat, for whom she dared to play the woman she wasn't in actual.

Now if we compile the above stated, we can comprehend that Kaikeyi was not any usual princess but a great intellect, an enlightened soul and certified adventuress. The war where she saved Dashrath's life wasn't any regular one. Indra is the king of the devas and he himself was a mighty dev, but he had to ask for Dashrath's help as this time it was Shambar, a very powerful being and king of the rakshasas fighting against him. Indra was aware of the enimity between the suryavanshees and the rakshasas(read : http://srirom.blogspot.in/2015/06/the-uncrowned-king-khar.html) and was helped consequently. Dashrath took kaikeyi as his charioteer knowing her presence of mind and she proved working in great co-ordination with him. It is pretty clear that when Dashrath was wounded badly, he was encircled between the rakshasas, a mere charioteer would have failed in saving him. But Kaikeyi was not any mere, she not just safeguarded her king but efficiently fought the enemies. This again proves that there was gender equity in those times(read : http://srirom.blogspot.in/2015/07/ayodhya-prime-and-eternal-ii.html)

When Shri Ram's coronation was announced, whole Ayodhya was decorated and were celebrating. Kaikeyi was unaware of such news as earlier Shri Ram was only being promoted as Yuvraj. When Manthara informed her about the crowning, she was ecstasized and presented a necklace to the her. Manthara threw the necklace in fury and explained why and how the coronation may harm her and Bharat's future(baseless). Kaikeyi tried her best to resist but Mathara gained over her motherly love and brainwashed her, totally. She reminded her of the two boons that Kaikeyi let go once. Now the ball was in Kaikeyi's court and her hidden aspiration for Bharat's kingship pushed her towards the path she regretted her whole life. She wasn't herself anymore but transformed into hideous berserk woman and put those two boons in front of Dashrath; Bharat's crowning and Shri Ram's exile for fourteen years. Dashrath was ripped inside out, he was shocked as suddenly what turned her love and affection into hatred towards Ram. At the end, her firmness won and the exile was commanded that ended up taking Dashrath's life.


A genuine woman who fell prey to her hidden aspirations, without caring to know whether her own son wished for kingship or not. It is often said that Kaikeyi was right on her side and she was misguided. Accepted, but again revisiting the above stated, she wasn't the one who could be easily mislead, she had a brain and she knew how to use that. I remember to what Benjamin Parker said once, 'with great powers comes great responsibilities', she didn't cared for that and at the end came out as the biggest looser where her own son relinquished her. Moral or immoral, who are we to decide when she was revered by Shri Ram himself, as whatever happened, was his will after all.
"An opportunity to transform must prioritize societal benefit only"
'सियाराम'

Grammer Gyan

Hirarnyaksh:     he-rurn(n being silent)-yak-sha
Hirarnyakashapu: he-rurn(n being silent)-ya-kash-yup-oo
Bheeshm:         bhee-ishm

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Wednesday, November 11, 2015

Manthara's Mantra


MANTHARA; insidious, devious, amoral, unscrupulous and what not, words that come to our mind with a certain rage in order to define her vicious character whose trickery turned the tables overnight and the virtuous son of Ayodhya was enforced for exile. Such an evil woman was she; but wait, I mean if she hadn't been "the bad", then Shri Ram would have been coronated. Sweet, an ideal king would have ruled Ayodhya, but what difference could it made as Dashrath was also a great king by all means. How would have he became 'the one', the installer of dharm, annihilator of Raavarn, the very motive of Shri Ram's descent.  In fact, why would I have been be sharing my views with you as there wouldn't have been any epic created.
So, whatever happened due to Manthara; was it good, was she a moral woman who sacrificed herself only to be remembered as we recognize her at present. First, we should know what our legends tell about her:
  • Manthara, a native of Kaikeya kingdom(present day Pakistan, to an extent), maid to the royal family. She was appointed as Kaikeyi's governess where they both found a mother-daughter affection towards each other.
  • Her appearance was pretty unusual; hunchbacked and quite ugly.
Manthara, corrupting Kaikeyi's mind
  • When Kaikeyi was married to King Dashrath; maids and servants were sent as dowry. Manthara also accompanied Kaikeyi due to the bond they shared and to guide her for her new responsibilities.
  • She loved Bharat like a grandson and always aspired kingship for him. When Shri Ram's coronation was announced, she was fumed with rage and jealousy and thus brainwashed Kaikeyi's mind deviating her to enforce expulsion for Shri Ram.
  • According to a theory, King Dashrath had promised King Ashwapati(father of Kaikeyi) that the son born from his daughter would be the heir apparent of Ayodhya, as Kaushalya; the senior queen failed to produce any son. But when Kaushalya gave birth to Shri Ram, being the eldest, he was announced as the future king. This was unacceptable to Manthara as it was unjustified the King breaking his promise.
  • Manthara also saw it as a threat(unfounded), as the coronation of Shri Ram would devalue kaikeyi's position ultimately affecting her grounds.
  • Post Dashrath's demise; when Shatrughan found the horrids that Manthara plotted, he decided to execute her for the offence she committed. It was then Bharat who interfered and saved her life.
The role of Manthara had been very critical and always has created curiosity among the minds of the curious'. She is considered to be the stimulus who actually triggered the whole set of events that proceeded afterwards and made the legend presumable. The above mentioned facts belong to different theories or sources, one theory also states that after Shri Ram's coronation was announced, Indra(king of the devas) requested her to corrupt Kaikeyi's mind in order to banish Shri Ram for the woods. But this theory along with the Ashwapati story described above are not mentioned in the Valmiki Ramayan, hence authenticity is doubted. According to V R, Manthara was a canny maid who was filled with jealousy and insecurity and hence fomented Kaikeyi. It doesn't matter much, whether Dashrath made any commitment or Indra requested Manthara, what matters is, a divine motive was accomplished in her guise. May be she was negative for planning the exile conspiracy, but her loyalty towards Kaikayi and Kaikeya can't be questioned and through that perspective, she was doing her job, where she went wrong? Well she went too far and conspired putting all the ethics aside that ultimately took the king's life. I say all this to present an open picture, where we can see as well as put our point of view.

Like I said once, destiny will happen no matter how impossible the conditions may look. Manthara was a maid, but a divine inspiration and her affection towards Kaikeyi pushed her to dare what even she had not imagined. Now consider the following incidents; association with Guh and the Vaanars, annihilation of the evil rakshasas in the dandkaranya, upliftment of the sages, redemption of Sugreeve and Vibhisharn, annihilation of Raavarn and unification of civilizations(arya and non-arya; humans with vaanars and rakshasas) all these that I have been discussing about in my blogs initiated here, from this incidence. You can now see how things are interrelated and hence the actualization has arrived.

Today we are celebrating Deepawali, Shri Ram's arrival after completing the exile; festivals of lights, luminosity everywhere where there would be no scope for dark. Take one more step and spread this cheer out of your circles, try to bring smiles to those who are not fortunate enough to do so themselves and the feel great will do the job for you. Remember, even a small diya can eradicate complete darkness, like the small episode of Manthara lead to the installation of righteousness.


नमोस्तुते श्री राघवम्, जिनकी माया से चराचर जगत मंत्र-मुग्ध है 
"your one small step can turn out to be an accomplishment, if your heart is at the right place and the timing of your attitude is right"
'सियाराम'


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Saturday, November 7, 2015

The Exile

Last week we cognized various aspects of Bharat's character those were unknown to us, certainly he did set high standards of brotherly love and devotion, but there's a lot more of his mettle we are to know. Before that! before knowing more of him, I must put out the aspects of the exile first. Shri Ram was announced as the future king of Ayodhya, celebrations were on, every citizen was in a joyful state waiting for the coronation.
But suddenly the tables were turned overnight; that one night, turned a loving step-mother against his dear step-son, made an powerful king so weak that he couldn't defend his most valuable possession, his son and the commandment was out that changed everything. I am often asked a lot about Shri Ram's exile, for example why did Shri Ram chose the certain route for his exile over the other pleasant options, why didn't he stayed near Ayodhya?
To answer the FAQs and understand the working of the divine, let's get sorted one by one:
  • The displacement of Mareech proved to be a logical shift. It showed that Shri Ram was already aware of destiny and in future it proved to be a reason good enough for choosing Chitrakoot followed by Panchwati where Mareech confronted Shri Ram again, only to get liberated of his hands.
  • In order to forewarn the impregnable Rakshas empire, Shri Ram chose his stay at Mount Chitrakoot that was adjacent to Dandkaranya(outpost of the rakshas empire, current day region of Maharashtra and Madhya Pradesh{confluent}). There he met sage Valmiki who helped him selecting an ideal spot to build his hermitage as well as sages who aware him about the menaces of the rakshasas that wasn't much known to him(humane perspective).
  • Though the Suryavanshees were efficacious in the whole Earth along with Aryavart, yet there wasn't much of an communication or territorial integrity among them. The rakshasas under Raavarn’s shelter had based in the forest regions of the Dandkaranya and were endorsing unethical practices along with tormenting the sages.
    While preparing for the exile, Shri Ram also prepared himself strategizing as to how he would approach this region. The persecution of the rakshasas was well known. It was time for him to execute the very motive of his incarnation as well as installing dharm and expanding the ambits of Aryavart for the world’s benefit with the elimination of Raavarn. 
  • The varn-vyavastha followed those times was ideal, without any disparity. But that had a slight adverse effect, lesser participation from the cogent minds of lower castes due to lack of motivation from the regime. Also, there was negligible rapprochement between the Aryan kingdoms and the southern kingdoms including the vaanars. Shri Ram unified the Aryan kingdoms with the great Kishkindha through Lanka. The kingdoms of the south also were affected by that positively as due to the torments and the dread created by Raavarn the communications were gone null. Shri Ram's association with Guh, Shabri and the vaanars improved the interactions. 
Raavarn-Vaddha wasn't the only motive of incarnation, the exile was meant to serve a lot more purposes and the above stated points brings our attention to that. The commandment for exile was meant to be only for Shri Ram but Devi Sita stressed on her going she was aware that without her the actual motive won't be accomplished, together, they both planned the exile and succeeded. Lakshmarn, though not aware of the divine also went along as without him it would have been difficult.

Thus started the chain of events, that resulted in the installation of Dharma. 

"Destiny, this way or that way, it will happen to you"
'सियाराम'

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Thursday, October 29, 2015

The Crown Conspiracy

Last week, we celebrated Dusshera followed by Bharat Milap and the festivity will continue to cheer us till Deepawali. While we celebrated the former to recollect the victory of good over evil, the very next day we celebrated the brotherly love between Shri Ram and Bharat that became immortal, it is said, that the occasion of Bharat Milap marks the comeback of Shri Ram where he reunited with his dear brother Bharat in Nandigram. Shri Ram's care and affection; Bharat's unquestioned devotion, such was the bond they shared that stands at the pinnacle of kinship. We are aware about Lakshmarn; his devotion towards Shri Ram, the sacrifices he made, his gallantry in the great war of Lanka in order to serve Shri Ram's purpose. But very less is known or said about Bharat and Shatrughan and their accomplishments. When Dashrath decided to crown Shri Ram as the prospective king of Ayodhya, Bharat and Shatrughan were in Kaikeya. This was seen as a conspiracy plotted by Dashrath to sideline Bharat as the latter was also considered eligible by some. Was it so, today we will try to unravel the actual reasons, if there were any. But first, let's get to know Bharat:
  • According to Valmiki Ramayan, Bharat was born to Dashrath and Kaikeyi. Unlike Shri Ram, he wasn't the complete incarnation of Bhagwan Vishnu, but carried an ansh/portion of his radiance.
  • An epitome of righteousness, when came to know about his mother's felony, Bharat condemned Kaikeyi for her selfishness and renounced the throne.
  • After he came back from Chitrakoot with Shri Ram's sandals(an episode to be discussed in one of my future posts), he placed those sandals in the king's seat and left for Nandigram(adjacent to Ayodhya) and administered the kingdom for the coming fourteen years, the same amount of time Shri Ram was on exile.
  • Not everyone knows that Bharat also decided to quit the royal clothing and lifestyle even before he met Shri Ram and that was the reason he stayed outside the kingdom, as these were the terms of exile being imposed on Shri Ram and so he decided to undergo similar conditions.
  • He was an acclaimed warrior and coversant in deploying divine weapons like his elder brother. In Uttar Kaand, Bharat attacked the kingdom of Gandharws, Gaandhaar(Kandahar of current day Afghanistan) where he annihilated the enormous army of Gandharws with the assault of a single weapon, The Samvart(a divine weapon that belonged to kaal, the lord of death). This very much elaborates his vigor.

Going through the above stated points, it is clear that Bharat never aspired the throne nor there would have been any animosity with regards to it. But then, there are people who have nurtured intense rage as to why such partiality with poor Bharat(really?), declaring it as the crown conspiracy.

'Don’t you think if Dashrath would have been patient and intimated Bharat about the coronation, then he would have lived, Ram with no hassles might be coronated. Why was he in such a hurry, did he sent Bharat on purpose?’ a friend of mine asked me once.

Dashrath only wished to promote Ram to yuvraj/crown prince not to coronate him as the king and that is why no one was intimated, not even Bharat. The coronation was planned after a particular time till Ram is accustomed for the kingship and there not only Bharat, but also Janak, other kings of Aryavart and non-aryan kings would have been intimated, it wasn’t a regular occasion you see.
However, Dashrath was also witnessing some very bad omens which were only visible to him or rather noticed by him only; those omens signified his sudden possible demise that would occur anytime. He sensed it and so rearranged the event and decided to coronate Ram instead of promoting him to yuvraj position. It was impossible to inform Bharat and Shatrughan in such a short span of time now. Even king Janak and other relatives were not informed as it wasn't viable.
Though Dashrath knew Bharat would understand as he was devoted to Ram, still, those omens scared him as they also indicated conflict of interest. The king read those omens right but sadly, doubted on the wrong person as he never imagined it would be Kaikeyi and why would he, as she was brainwashed by Manthara.
At the end, destiny made its move and circumstances took place as per those omens and Shri Ram was banished to the woods.
So this was it, we are through now. It is good to doubt to raise questions, contradictions are fine as only then we discover the causes, the answers; provided, they should come with a right spirit and will.
"Focus on your deeds and character, as your conduct will never go unnoticed no matter how hidden/low profile you are"
'सियाराम'

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