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For an ambitious King, his army is the reflection of his aspirations; greater the army, better the chances for his conquests and when in n...

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'

[Book is now available for your read:

Amazon(e-book): amazon.in/7th-Incarnation-Ram-Janki-Book-ebook/dp/B01E8LJ9HG (including other amazon domains)

Visit my website:

http://www.srirom.in)