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Saturday, December 2, 2017

The Unsung Empress

'Even after being clobbered, somehow he managed to escape. My point is, how come he is back in such a short span and roaring dauntlessly at our face; it creates doubts in my mind. I suspicion his coming back in such a short while; a definite external support that has given him an extraordinary encouragement. We must not forget that he is a knowledgeable and an resourceful person; he would never ally someone without testing his/her potential. Even Angad informed me about the arrival of two persons. You must consider this information. Kindly think over my request and don’t do anything in haste and anger.’

{Valmiki Ramayan; Kishkindha Kaand}

This looks familiar, ain't so? An insightful and prudent statement like this might have reminded you of the other statement, from my CosmicMother blog, where I tried to put forward Devi Sita’s persona; not the false hapless/victimized portrayal by pseudos, but the actual one, Goddess dimensional, presented by sage Valmiki. We were able to see her real side, which made the divine purpose behind Ramavtar accomplishable. But this blog-post is not about her, as we will always fall short of words in describing her, she being the incarnation of supreme goddess.

Today's post is the mentioning of another woman from the same era, an empress of the vast vaanar empire, queen of Kishkindha, Tara. Though Devi Sita & Tara belonged to different regions and species, one thing were identical in both, sanatan values. Her role is limited to Kishkindha Kaand only, but in that single canto, the world saw her eminence; which is why, despite her moderate description, her mention is imperative. And there is a reason for it, to present the real picture in order to disprove the propaganda, that ancient India was biased, patriarchal, casteist, discriminatory towards women. Was it so?

Well it wasn't, and the conviction to say so, it only comes after knowing the past and to know the past, there's literature. A fair read of Valmiki Ramayan, or any scripture we pick, clearly states one basic: parity, as it knew no region, caste, species, but common to all of them. Women were not considered equal or given the right of equality, they were equal. This is where the difference lies, while today there are movements promoted to give women equal rights, in times ancient there wasn't any such situation, as there wasn't any need for consideration, because man/woman knew no bias among sexes. The Vaidas, which laid the foundation of Dharm (not religion) guided mankind towards morals and righteousness and hence there was no place for discrimination. But then, came the dark times, centuries of invasion and oppression, our values got crushed and mutilated, foreign customs and beliefs successfully intruded in, while our values blemished with our helplessness.

Thankfully, there's always a ray of hope, likewise, various personalities rose time and again and kept the essence of Dharm alive, otherwise we wouldn't have been readings this post (in absence of resources).

A fair read of many female legends: Kaushalya & Sumitra, Kaikeyi, Shabri and many others, is enough to clear the air; all we need is an open and receptive mind to gain a perspective.  

Coming back to Tara; she was born to another vaanar king, Sushern,  who was renowned as an expert medic among the vaanars. Her mother is believed to be an apsara or celestial nymph. She was married to king of Kishkindha, Bali, with whom she shared a lovable relationship. Later, when Shri Ram annihilated Bali, she companioned Sugreeve and continued counselling him on kingly matters as she did previously to Bali. She was a woman with genius level intellect and an expert in political matters and diplomacy.

Like said before, she's mentioned only in Kishkindha Kaand off the whole epic, but two episodes clearly state her eminence where :
  • When Sugreeve befriended Shri Ram, he was fused with new hopes. At Shri Ram's assurance, he went to fight his brother, Bali, but was pummeled and ran off the fight. But he did return, that too very soon, challenging Bali. Tara sniffed trickery and straightaway warned Bali. She was pretty much aware of the presence of two strangers in the regions of Kishkindha, Shri Ram & Lakshmarn and could foresee what's approaching. She was a skilled politic and hence advised Bali to accept Sugreeve and announce him his successor.

  • After Bali-Vaddh, Sugreeve was the new vaanar-king. He promised Shri Ram to help after the completion of monsoon season. But he got absorbed in pleasures and lost track of time. Shri Ram sent Lakshmarn with his message to remind Sugreeve of his promise. An enraged Lakshmarn marched towards Kishkindha, there was upheaval among the vaanars. Tara at that time not only faced Lakshmarn, but with her diplomacy, calmed him and saved Kishkindha from his wrath. Sugreeve regained his senses and then helped Shri Ram with his intellect (we will see that in coming blogs).
  • When Bali was on his deathbed, he instructed Sugreeve to always consult with Tara on political matters and to follow her guidance.
This is possible only when the society gives equal opportunity without discriminating between genders, and that's exactly what used to happen.
"The sooner we learn about our roots, the better shape will our society take"

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