Mananam on: Did Sri Rama in fact Abandon Sita or.....?

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Re: Mananam on: Did Sri Rama in fact Abandon Sita or.....?

Postby meera » Sun Nov 14, 2010 9:49 am

Hari Om, pranaam...continuing the discussion on Sri Rama abandoning Sita -ma......


meera May be best that I rephrase my note as follows:

a. Rama’s actions are born on the foundation of dharma which he is a strong adherent

b. His dharma has remained the same always and he has applied them to all situations and persons. So in order to understand whether his act of sending Sita away was one of abandonment (mindless) or one of protecting his wife (born out of his dharma towards his kingdom and family in various ways) one can study his dharma application in a different situation – His own going away to the forest – to see if his dharma was inconsistent, flawed or circumstantial.

c. In examining Ram’s dharma we are tempted to blame either his father or his mother for his banishment to the forest. Facts in the Valmiki Ramayan when examined do show that Ram went to the forest to fulfil his dharma as he saw it.

d. Arguments may be that he disobeyed his father and mother, but it has been shown that Dashrathji never asked him to go to the forest explicitly. But Dashrathji in his heart wished Rama would disobey him and not go to the forest.

e. Kausalyaji also did not want Ram to go to the forest which she expresses in various ways. But Ram explains to her his dharma as a son of the King and where his dharma lay. He also explained to Kausalyaji her dharma as the wife of the King and how dharma required that she stay by the side of her husband.

f. Rama deftly yet subtly points out the difference between Dashrath the father/husband and Dashrath the King. And how the duties enjoining on each are different.

g. Ram’s dharma seems to be the all inclusive one so that he is ever leaning towards wanting to grant greater good. When asked to go away to the forest for 14 years he can save himself or his father’s name, or his country’s kingship or his mother’s angst. Rama looks far into the future and sees that what will endure for all times to come is the name of the Raghuvamsh dynasty and Dashrath’s acts will ever be examined. It seems to me that he felt the promise Dashrathji made to Kaikeyi came before the children were born or before the decision to coronate Rama, so in order of occurrence, the fulfilment of the promise to Kaikeyi took precedence even if it was given a definitive form after Dashrath announced Rama’s coronation. The kingdom of Ayodhya needed to know that its rulers were people who honoured their word, so Rama kept his father’s word even if at a personal level it was painful.

h. Ditto for when Sita was doubted. Although she had proven her purity with the agneepareeksha, the doubts raised their head in Ayodhya so that the subjects were not at peace. At this stage Rama the King gains supremacy over Rama the husband-man. Greater good was to be had by ensuring that the subjects’ were at peace.

i. The word ‘abandonment’ is man made. Rama only gave up his wife to rule the kingdom. But he ensured she was sent to the ashram of Valmiki Muni. (The nuances of a husband’s duties towards his wife, family, children can be examined separately)
Will be nice if some of us can answer the specific questions posed by Neeraj-ji which have not been answered. Then there is the matter of 'Is the Uttarkand fact or fiction...' raised by Geervani amma, which too begs a debate.

Br. Vineet Chaitanya: Namaskaara and Hari Om.

Is the Uttarkand fact or fiction..?

As far as I know there is no evidence to believe that Uttarkand is a fiction.
To the best of my understanding, Uttarkand is really something like an epilogue and/or appendix to Valmiki Ramayan. One may of course question whether it was composed by Valmikiji himself or someone else. Many people believe it was composed much later. But one thing is certain it has been a part of our tradition for more than thousand years. I say so because of Bhavabuti's Uttarramcharit.

Yes, it is also true that many great poets have avoided talking about it. Now this could be for at least two possible reasons.

1. The poet himself did not have a perfect समाधान for it.


2. He himself had the perfect समाधान for it but still he decided to avoid it because the समाधान is rather अनिर्वचनीय. I believe Tulasidasji belonged to this category.

Kindly feel free to point out shortcomings and/or weaknesses in my above arguments and assertions.

Geervani amma: It is controversial on the face of it that the poet Valmiki composed and added 'future events' of unoccured yet were composed and added in Uttarakanda.It means the interpolator had decided to include the Uttarakanda in the original Raamayana.He wanted to include Rama's mahaprasthana and perhaps decided to put it into the mouth of Kusha and Lava. how can reason endorse this?

We know that the sage Valmiki composed the epic on the basis of the sketchy outline of the story of Rama that he heard from sage Narada.None of the incidents of Uttarakanda has been referred to in the story of Rama given by celestial sage Narada.
Generally Indian tradition will not allow a tragic finish to its literary works. The Ramayana of Valmiki has a
happy ending after Yuddhakand after Sri Rama's coronation.
The uttarakanda is a medley of several things such as the early fight between demons and gods,the birth and exploits of Ravana ,Hanuman's childhood and some further developments.It looks odd that after Ravana's death and successful mission of Hanuman such a celebrated poet like Valmiki should be giving about the earlier lives of Ravana, Vali and Sugriva.
The Uttarakanda has been added perhaps to impress on the readers about the Rajadharma of Sri Rama and concept of king's duties.after having put Sita to Fire Ordeal what sense does it make from any point of view that she should be tested once again and humiliate a noble lady?A noble poet would not have written in this
Last of all why should Lakshmana and other brothers endorse blindly Rama's decision ,especially when Rama declared that he had no doubt at all about Sita's chastitiy.Infact Lakshmana did not hesitate to critisize even his father in Ayodhyakanda when Rama's coronation was put off .
From all these considerations it is clear that Uttara kanda was an extrapolation and not of sage Valmiki.

Meera Geervani amma has a strong viewpoint on this and I urge others who may have a counter point, to present the same.

Equally I ask Geervani amma's pardon for my seeming argumentative-ness - yet plead with you that this is a mananam and will be read by a far wider audience of CM devotees and members who are bound to have similar doubts:

a. If we accept that the Uttarakand is fiction, then I wonder how is it then that Tulsidasji has also a Uttarkand in the RCM but it seems to be selective, ie, it does not address the Sita-abandonment issue? However Tulsidasji has very marvellously addressed the Agni Pareeksha in the Lanka-kaand.

b. I am a novice and have not studied the Ramayan too deeply and a child before greats like you, hence consider my question from that standpoint: Is it not possible that Valmikiji having faced the biggest dharma-sankat of his time as Ratnakar the dacoit, who was asked by the saptarishis to go home and ask his family if they shared in his sins or only his it not possible that, that very Ratnakar having faced his dilemma and wife/son head on and shocked to know that 'family' itself was backing off when it came to sharing in his sins, wanted us to be similarly shocked by the possibility of a Raja dharma being greater than wife-dharma? That this Rama who was loving and giving and generous and compassionate had a viewpoint that was starkly different and alarming and he wanted for us to grapple with this seeming unfairness?
That Valmikiji could well have been aware of the coming of Kali Yuga and wanted to leave this chapter for us to deal with knowing that there would be some who would still find Rama's dharma exemplary but in the face of Kali Yug may buckle down? Could that not have been Valmiki's intention? And Tulsidasji's briefer Uttarkaand can be explained away as the refusal of a bhakta to question his idol but rather glorify His ideals?

I urge you to tackle these 2 questions please...

In our hesitation to deal with the Uttarkaand maybe we are (ok, I am…) grappling with my fundamental definition of Rama. I ask myself, could it not be that Rama lost Sita-ma once when Ravana took her away and then He had wept loudly and openly in the forest, pleading with even the birds and squirrels asking them if they had seen her....What if Rama was throwing before us this dilemma that:

Should I have even taken her to the forest with me? Was I a responsible husband/Lord who took his wife on an unsafe, potentially dangerous expedition when I could have forced her to stay back in Ayodhya?

If I could argue my way through my father's pleas not to go, not to listen to Kaikeyi, If I could argue my way through a brother Lakshmana who dared to rebuke our father and still go to the forest, if I could even discard the arguments of my dear brother Bharat who was going to spend his youth sitting outside the kingdom wearing bark and eating roots for 14 years for no fault of his... if all that I could deal with, how come I did not deal with a wife who told me it was her dharma to be by my side?

Is this what Rama is throwing at us infact?

Is this why we are struggling to give Rama a definition?

Was this why the second time around, Rama decided to let his Sita go into the future in peace and quiet, so that never again would he in fact lose her? Was this the punishment that Rama was giving unto himslef for having not been firm 14 + years ago when the young bride Mithila stood her ground and insisted she would follow him?

So what is wrong with Valmikiji challenging us?

Geervani amma: First of all, I have only read Valmiki Ramayana and not any
other. So my views are likely to be not the same as others.
To answer Meeraji's question----------

a) as I am not so familiar with Tulasidasji RCM ,I can't comment on 'a'.

b) a number of commentators have said that the purpose of incarnation of SriRama is to establish dharma and is considered as a treatise on Dharmasastra. also.We all know that it is easy to preach but difficult to follow the path of dharma.Ramayana is a comprehensive guide that teaches us how to pattern every aspect of our lives-thought,word and deed.Rama demonstartes perfectly how to be a good disciple,a good son,,brother,husband,friend,and enemy.Valmiki has symbolised Rama as an ideal of perfection. Infact it is established that dharma moved with Rama.
For us marriage is a sacred union. Ramayana emphasizes on mutual love ,loyalty and sacrifice in marital life. Absolute chastity on the part of the wife and loyalty on the part of husband.
Coming to the comment on abandonment of Sita,it is possible even the interpolater had added this incident to establish how Rama upheld Rajadharma!
It is also possible that the purpose of Sita's birth had been accomplished and Rama wanted her to merge with Paramatma. Sita is considered as Atma and SriRama as Paramatma.She must have become
one with Him.
When Rama could not find Sita (Aranyakanda) he weeps aloud, asks every tree,bird and beast. I consider this is a natural feeling of a loving husband and well depicted by sage Valmiki. If we think of Rama as god and say why should he get so depressed it is not correct.
I do not know if I have confused or clarified.I am a strong believer of the fact that 'Ramo Vigrahavan Dharmaha'. Rama
practiced dharma and protected dharma.

Manisha Khemlani: I think I am always the last to say something. Having gone through all mails so far I don't have much to say.

Totally agree with Geervani Amma that Rama represents Dharma.

Just last night someone asked Guruji, 'How do we please everyone?'
Guruji's reply was perfect.‘Never try to please anyone either yourself or someone else. You will never succeed. You don't know the mind of the other person and so you can never please him. You cannot please yourself too. What is important is to do what is correct. In all our actions we must follow Dharma.’

Ramaji could have pleased himself and refused to go to the forest as his father had promised the kingdom to him. He could have pleased his father and listened to him and not gone to the forest. But he didn't do that. Ramaji was the epitome of Dharma and so always only did that which was correct. The essence of Dharma is sacrifice. Only a tyagveer can be a dharmaveer.

I know only a little of Tulsi Ramayana. For me Lord Rama is the Lord and is the perfect person. I don't know whether what is written is an addition or not and truly speaking personally for me I don't care about that. All I know is that He is Dharma incarnate and so all his actions are correct. With my limited intellect I may never understand the logic of every action. It is important that I understand what is Dharma for me and I get the required inspiration and courage to follow
my Dharma. If I can learn that much from Lord Rama then my purpose of studying the Ramayana is fulfilled.

Neeraj Bhai: Hari Om and Pranaams
(This mail was started some time back and completed over a long time so it may appear disjointed)

I sincerely hope Tulsidasji had shed some light for confused persons like me. Whether Valmiki Rishi actually wrote the piece or not can be debated - so it seems. There can be many ways of establishing that - (PS: Geervani amma's mail is very forthright on that subject) since that has not been done, we are only giving our individual interpretations.

As Pujya Swamiji said, if we presume that uttarkanda (or at least Sita prasanga) was a later addition then the debate ends there itself. So, when we presume that it was indeed a fact/ history I have following thoughts:

a. There is no doubt that Rama followed Raaja Dharma and is an ideal for all us.

b. He also appear to have done things (subjecting Sita to hardships) to that no one doubts Sita any longer.

c. My immature mind however does not accept the manner in which He seems to have done it. My questions (which continue to bother me) are straight

- why He did not take Sita into confidence when sending her to forest (Sita would not have said no).

- why He did not visit his children and give them the love that He as a father should have (that is also a Dharma, is it not?)

d. My question to female members of this forum - how women (or they as a woman) take this incident - has not been taken head on by anyone (except by MK who says she does not care). With a king like Rama, whatever the King does becomes an ideal for Praja. So this behaviour - of abandoning wife and kids - does it not become something of a social norm?

In my mind also the simile of Raja Harishchandra came. However in case of Harishchandra his wife and kid knew that they were being sold - and it was all with their consent.

My apologies if some of what I said sounds DhraSTatA. I am genuinely seeking information which i can use to give convincing answers to those who ask me - as well as for me.

At His feet, with all reverence.......Neeraj

meera: Geervani amma's argument is also from the standpoint of a Bhakta who having followed the Lord until the Lanka Kaand suddenly faces a dissonance in the Uttarakaand and rejects it as not being representative of the sutradhaar Valmikiji, or the protagonist, Ramji.

Clearly Geervani-amma has followed Valmiki Ramayan very keenly and Valmikiji's writing styles to comment thus.

Manisha makes a strong point too: If I have accepted Bhagawan as profiled, then I accept Him completely. If there are aspects that appear unacceptable, that is my problem, the problem resides in me, in my resistance, in my judging the events from my standpoint, and therefore I am already saying 'my standpoint is better than the Lord's.' The problem does not reside in the event or the words spoken by the Lord or His thoughts. I would think this is surrender.

To answer Neeraj-ji's question: (and this is my opinion pls...and how it works in my head, and has nothing to do with any law or rule.)

The husband's style of management of a marriage and the family leaves a mark of trust and equity only when he is consistent and has kept his values untainted all through the marriage management. In marriage there has to be unity of command as in any organisation and the principles governing the marriage has to flow from the vision for the home which in my experience works better when it comes from the accepted leader (whether it should be the husband or the wife should be mutually agreed -- but there can be only one leader). It is a two way street when it comes to faith, trust, integrity and respect. You give it and get it as well. However the definitions of faith, trust, integrity and respect are defined by the institution of marriage not by ordinary convention. (just as the rules of organisation are defined by the Companies' Act)

If both parties adhere to these tenets, honestly AND have a common spiritual path or spiritual ethos (at least), then like Rama and Sita there will be mutual trust and faith. I believe the union of two people in marriage is the merging of the souls as one... if that truly happens, then there is no aggressor and no victim. There is only a decision for greater good and that decision has to be made by the one accorded the role of leader. It becomes acceptable when there is faith in the leader.

Actually, we are talking about dharma again...and it seems to me Rama hung on to dharma at all costs. And so deriving from Vineetji's point about other authors, it is possible that as long as we do not have the समाधान for it, we will struggle with the Sita prasanga...and samaadhaan would be a function of a far greater law operating at a macro level. Today our samaadhaan may be disturbed because our world itself is not following laws anywhere!

I request the experienced seniors here to correct me where I have erred.

Geervani amma: The episode of Sita Parityaga has caused much discussion many times among scholars.Let us set aside for a moment about the controversy of Uttarakanda and understand the incident from the point of the dharma followed by Sita and Rama.

The essence is Sita realized more than ever that Rama was not only her husband but was also her king and the king of his people.His efficiency glory,fame as king depended as king depeneded largely on the loyalty of his subjects and their respect for for his high personal character and unstained conduct which should be above the merest suspicion or cavil. She remembered how Sri Rama as an ideal son had made a great sacrifice voluntarily when he renounced his claims to the crown and accepted banishment in order to uphold the promsie of his father to the queen Kaikeyi. She must have felt that she too must make a similar sacrifice in order to uphold the honour of king Rama even if it involved the sacrifice of her companionship with her
husband. She resolved in her mind to abdicate voluntarily her office as queen and banish herself from the kingdom. She decided to to exile herself to that peaceful and holy hermitage and pray there throughout for Rama's welfare as king. Sita knew that Rama never banished her from his heart but only from his house.

While parting from Lakshmana also she beseeched him to look after Rama with greater diligence and devotion than ever before and help him to forget her if possible and concentrate exclusively on his duties as king so that welfare of the subjects stand s important in his reign.
Ramayana presented a new set of values to the people through Rama and Sita in the most adverse and critical situations faced by them. The hero of Ramayana is not god, but a man for a man can only become a convincing ethical model. Narada says 'not even among gods do i find one eddoed ith all virtues. Hear of the great man'. Sita was no other than goodness in esence. Greatness of one depends upon the response to suffering. Rama and Sita subordinate their purely personal interest to an ideal or a cause.

Br. Vineet Chaitanya: Let me venture to add following:

Yes, Sita accepted the banishment to protect the glory and fame of Rama.
But Rama banished Sita to preserve her glory and fame and to save the ignorant masses from the great sin of suspecting an ideal Sati.

Does the above statement make sense?

meera: Hari Om...Both their reasons are credible. Both were doing their duty by their marriage. The saptapadi (7 steps) around the holy Agni that a couple take requires them to vow in the 7th step: to lead a life of understanding, loyalty, unity and companionship not only for themselves but also for the peace of the universe.
This promise to each other we see playing out in the Sita-parityaga.

Unless Vineetji, you have a different thought...?

Br. Vineet Chaitanya: Let me attempt to answer Neeraj Bhai's following questions:

- why He did not take Sita into confidence when sending her to forest (Sitawould not have said no).

- why He did not visit his children and give them the love that He as a father should have (that is also a Dharma, is it not?)

In the Balakanda 77th sarg 28th shloka it is said:

"they both used to clearly converse about their thoughts in their heart of hearts, just by their hearts."

If we take the above statement seriously then where is the need of talking explicitly? Specially in this case when some people would have construed such an action as a "planned arrangement".

To save the ignorant people from the sin that they were foolishly committing Rama and Sita did what was the best.

Following चौपाईs from रामचरितमानस are also relevant in this context:

प्रनवउँ पुर नर नारि बहोरी। ममता जिन्ह पर प्रभुहि न थोरी॥
सिय निंदक अघ ओघ नसाए। लोक बिसोक बनाइ बसाए॥

दोहा :
* गिरा अरथ जल बीचि सम कहिअत भिन्न न भिन्न।
बंदउँ सीता राम पद जिन्हहि परम प्रिय खिन्न॥18॥

Meera: Dear Vineetji. Is this a function of the purity of the treta yug? Often this thought comes to me that we are sitting in a more inefficient environment, an 'impure' one which even makes it impossible to produce a pure thought, let alone communicate it.

Geervani amma: I think in each yuga the dharma was different. In tretayuga Sri Rama 's birth was to up hold dharma from all points and to prove that it is possible to follow dharma implicitly for a human being through the
life of both Rama and Sita. Dharma in treat yuga was pure compared to the present, because even Ravana followed certain principles and did not violate his word to Sita.

meera If we read Vineetji's post two things emerge:

a. Both Rama and Sita were each protecting each other's dignity and glory

b. Both as King and Queen, hence taking responsibility for their praja did what they did to prevent their people from committing more sin of judgement and thus gave the world time to think, contemplate, ponder over their mind's interpretations and come to a state of realisation (and that, I imagine is still going on, because we remain in doubt even today). In so 'asking' Sita -ma to go, Bhagawan protected her fabulously for even today we think of ma with such respect and use Her as a yardstick for measuring duty, adherence/obedience, tolerance, faith and stoicism.

This confirms my view that Ram-Sita union was an exemplary marriage for humans to place before them to audit their own responses on the marital plane.

Now when we read Geervani-amma's post, we get a glimpse into the filth that our external environment is mired in: it is the energy of the collective adharma that prevails around us that makes our yuga far less pure; I would therefore think that even one individual's purity can go a long way in cleansing the world outside, so we are being called upon to walk the path of dharma IMPLICITLY as Geervani-amma says! Yet amma leaves a poignant message for us to think: even Ravana followed certain principles and did not violate his word to Sita. From the standpoint of our gross worldly existence, this statement should cause us to be awakened much more than Ram-Sita dharma, because we can see how decrepit and depraved our world is so that even the criminals and adharmic people have sunk to a level beyond endurance.

Manishaji has said that 'All I know is that He is Dharma incarnate and so all his
actions are correct. With my limited intellect I may never understand
the logic of every action,' and in that she tells us there is a Rama dharma.

Yet the most touching affirmation came from Neeraj Bhai who unwittingly said "Why did He not take Sita into confidence when sending her to forest (Sita would not have said no)."

"She would not have said No!"

Therefore we know the outcome, so what was this debate about? Rama's action or Sita's adherence? Which of the two bothers us more? It seems to me after reading Neeraj-ji's pink highlight heart felt words, that we deeply WANT that the dharma be thus! This is our need for purity and goodness which we wonderfully KNOW, but yet struggling to bring into our lives... This is like a little child testing the stretch of his parents' patience not because he is an unruly child, but because every now and them he wants to check if the standards of discipline laid down by his parents have not been corrupted by them!

So we are back to asking a different question: Is this dharma followable by one and all and at all times? That treta yuga made it possible is an easy way out. Yet, the fact that the Ramyana continues to be sharp and clearly present even in this Kali Yuga... does mean that Bhagawan meant this for us... Yet again, a learned master I spoke with said, 'That was Rama's dharma and his standards. What he did was against the backdrop of his own standards. One should not ask for its replication in current times....For the reason that the King in those times was the embodiment of dharma, and people looked up to him for dispensing justice. Whereas in modern times we do not look up to our government as the embodiment of this is why we cannot expect to follow Rama's dharma in modern times....."

May I request each of you to contemplate on the highlighted sentence Is this dharma followable by one and all and at all times? and post your deepest thoughts on this? If we don't go into debate further, this could well be the concluding round...

Neeraj Bhai: Hari Om…Let me take up the question that you have asked viz., Is this dharma followable by one and all and at all times?

My take is as follows:

Dharma is based on absolute satya - and absolute satya is changeless. So the obvious interpretation is yes this dharma (in fact all dharma) is followable by all at all times and at all places.

That is one way of looking at it.

There is another thought where there is a feeling: 'He is Narayana while I am only a Nara' - so will I be able to follow it? He is omnipotent while I am only a क्षुद्र कण.

Another way of looking at it: Dharma may be sanatana but its implementations have changed with times.

So when I revisit your question, I am confused and stumped. If I am faced with similar situation will I do it? Possibly not, but then that would be my personal weakness rather than the doability of it. I personally feel that what is right in one Yuga is right in all yugas.

While I say all this, it is my logical mind speaking. There is also an emotional me which still carries a feeling, "why is it that it has to be generally a woman who has to do the sacrifice - be it Sita, be it Yashodahara or even Sati - to glorify a male"? Of course in case of Ramaji, he too 'suffered' (actually God never suffers. In His leela he did).

Purely at a personal level I have never been able to see Sitaji's episode as something detached from the treatment that women have received in our society. Again, quoting Maithili Sharan Gupta,
अबला जीवन हाय तुम्हारी यही कहानी
आँचल में है दूध और आँखों में पानी
Sorry if I am getting too emotional and hence have digressed form the main topic.
All said and done, Rama is Narayana Himself so to be revered. Even as a King has is adarsh purusha - an ideal for all of us.
I was really impressed by what Meera said, "what is this debate about?" isn't the content more important than the form?

In case this round is the last - I must say that I have learnt a lot - have seen at newer angles of looking at things including Pujya Swamiji's guidance onhow Ramayana could be interpreted at different planes the lovely interpretation by MK something to the efeect that my lord is my lord - that is all that matters to me. True Bhakti demands that.
Coincidentally today a book happened to come into my hand - a thin book titled, श्रीमद भागवत की प्रमुख कथायें
The very first tale has a beautiful quote which I would like to end with:
मनुष्यों के लिए सर्वश्रेष्ठ धर्म वही है जिससे भगवान में भक्ति उत्पन्न हो. भक्ति भी ऐसी हो जिसमें कोई कामना न हो.
May such Bhakti develop in me is all my prayer is. Need blessings and wishes form all of you that it happens - soon.

Br. Vineet Chaitanya: Namaskarra and Hari Om Meeraji.

If you consider it appropriate then you may comment on the following:

1. Ram tells Bharat:

yaani mithyaa abhishastaanaam patanty asraaNi raaghava |
taani putra pashuun ghnanti priity artham anushaasataH || 2-100-59
59. ashruuNi= the tears; patanti= fallen; yaani= from those who; mithyaabhishastaanaam= are the victims of false accusations; raagha= O, Bharata; taani= they; ghnanti= destroy; putra pashuun= their sons and herds; anushaasataH= of those who are indifferent to justice; priityartham= merely for the sake of pleasure.

"The tears fallen from those who are the victims of false accusations, O Bharata, destroy their sons and herds of those who are indifferent to justice, merely for the sake of pleasure."

2. If instead of Ram, Sita would have come to know what some people were talking about her and Ram what would have been her decision?

3. Ram sent her wife to forest because she was imprisone by Ravana. But Krishna married 16,000 girls because they were imprisoned by Narakaasura!

meera: Hari Om....What can one say to your posers, Vineetji !! They each stand for dharma as defined by an individual. In the 59th verse of Canto 100, Ayodhyakanda, which you quote from, Ram is advising Bharat who has come to see him in exile, about how to rule. And in this verse, he says, injustice and inequity dispensed by a King or a dispensation that is unjust, with no care for equity, will bring pain to the kingdom through the tears of the falsely accused one or one falsely convicted.

Say, who is the victim here then?

I believe that Sita ma was completely in sync with her husband, hence not grieved, I cannot say she was aggrieved. But that is only as far as doing her husband's bidding goes. She acquiesced being banished and did not even see it thus maybe. She went away as it was what her husband wished her to do. So she even did it happily. But I wonder, did she not think during her ride to Valmikiji's ashram, "Why did that man/those men/those people think I was unchaste, impure, unworthy? I did not wrong, in fact I was wronged by why did my own people think poorly of me?"

In 1989, within a few days of his taking over as Union Minister for Home Affairs, Mufti Mohammed's daughter Rubaiyya was kidnapped by terrorists; they released her in exchange for 5 militants.

I was thinking about this versus Sita's forced exit.

Rubaiyya too did not hold her father responsible. She knew his work (esp in the context of J&K) would expose him to attack.... she was even happy to have gone through that...for her dad. But somewhere her heart would ask, I am sure: how are our people, that they think less and poorly?

So in the verse you quote, can we not say Sita's tears (if she shed any) would bring pain to Bharatvarsha for having accused her falsely?

Or like Neeraj Bhai, I am prone to think/say that Sita-ma would never have felt pain for she already knew her husband's dharma that her tears would bring destruction to her own husband's kingdom. I know one cannot stop pain being experienced; pain happens. Therefore if Sita ma did not feel the pain, she also did not experience it even in thought. So Ram Rajya was what it was, glorious, beautiful, successful.

So can we say then that had Ramji not accepted the verdict of his people, then he would have caused them pain and their tears would have destroyed Bharatvarsh? Just as today the millions suffering in India owing to the near absence of a fair judiciary, will cause untold pain to the future of India?

2. Had Sitaji heard about the words of the praja before Ram did, what would she have done? She would have told Ramji that her presence was likely to cause pain to the people of Ayodhya and that maybe she should leave the palace (she was finally only leaving the palace, not life) and move to the forest, where she had the assurance of as safe a life under Valmikiji's care. What would Ramji have done? Likely he would have placed the prastaav before his ministers and he would be back to the same place of sending Sita ma away. The difference would have been this: Had Sita ma left on her own, she would definitely have confirmed public opinion (doubts) about her goodness. When Rama sent her away, AND SHE WENT WITHOUT A WHIMPER, her purity stands untarnished.

3. I don't see much difference between Rama and Krishna's acts I feel. Both actions were done to save the dignity of the women in question. Rama had to resign his wife, Krishna had to receive them to restore their dignity. Unusually both sets of women had been kidnapped by unscrupulous men. Yet I am also reminded of Amba, Ambika and Ambalika who Bhishmaji kidnapped for Vichitravirya, the prince; Amba was sworn to Salva, so it were the other two Kasi princesses for Vichitravirya. Yet Salva refused Amba on similar grounds -- that she had been kidnapped by another man. Amba, we know confronted Bhishma and asked him to marry her... Bhishma had his own dharma and he declined.

So we have a Rama dharma that let's his wife go; a Krishna dharma that receives many wives; and a Bhishma dharma that declines everything and looks away!

On net, dharma is (it seems to me) what we define for ourselves and it is dharma when we follow it unflinchingly.

I do feel now that only men can counsel, correct, coach, errant men. But this has to be done without anger, hatred, very calmly, with composure... In doing what he did, Rama taught men like Ravan a lesson, as well as to judgmental men like the washerman.

Geervani amma: Dharma was valued very high in Tretayuga.Everything else came next to dharma. After the coronation was over once again Rama's reaction to follow his dharma inspite of Sitaji having proved herself, and even having to abandonSita shows that Rama is an embodiment of dharma.

This incident once again the most critical situation faced by Rama and Sita, focuses on or is meant for us to pay attention to how they stuck to dharma alone. The crux is adherance to dharma and nothing more or less. We may look at any number of incidents in Rama's childhood or youth if only to confirm the consistency of Rama's dharma, but it is not what He did; it is what powered what He did.

Neeraj Bhai: A small deviation from the thread. The thirst to find answers led to two interesting pieces of reasoning which I want to share with all:

"The abandonment of Sita was not faked. Rama, however difficult it might have been for him, did renounce her completely. Else, had Rama known where Sita was and that she was doing quite fine and had he been checking on her once in a while, the people of Ayodhya would again say that the whole abandonment itself was faked and Rama had pre-arranged all this. So, he had to be true to the spirit of renouncing (Sita)."

This answers my query on why Rama did not contact her/ kids.

On Rama setting a bad precedent:

"Firstly, Rama did not have the faintest suspicion about Sita. He only reacted as RAJA Rama to the widespread opinion amongst his subjects. For Rama, his first duty (dharma) was as a ruler. And as Ram (it is from a discussion) has pointed out, Rama did not have any recourse for redressal. For his subjects on the other hand, their primary duty was infact to their families. So, abandonment by Rama was not a precedent and was certainly not an option for his subjects. It was not to be 'followed'. It was only an act to re-establish his subjects' faith in the administration"

Very interesting and pertinent I think.

meera: Thanks very much Bhai-ji; the bit about 'Rama as King has no further course for appeal' endorses the fact that the buck stops with the King.

That, the King's 'abandonment' is a dharma of his role and goes with the role is also well made. That it is not meant for the subjects to follow is also accepted, BUT....

.................when I watch that the King renounces what the subjects deem unfit for that office, I learn a couple of things:

a. Duty is non-negotiable
b. Duty is to be done with no strings attached
c. Duty is to be performed pleasantly -- not with regret, irritation, sour faced, cursing the day/boss/organisation/one's fate....
d. That if for the performance of my duty as whatever, efficiently, honestly,with the praja, employer, family as my customer, then I perform it 100%, not 99%. Anything less than 100% is dishonesty towards my customer - family, employer, praja.
e. Duty is to be done because it is my duty, not so that I look good and win praises.

Therefore Bhaiji, your 2 observations drove home the point for me marvellously! But at the same time, I was also wondering, how come such a simple point is not apparent to most? And the answer, it seems to me, is: Most of us go through life not even knowing what our duties are. (Or even why we must perform our duties) The system teaches us perfectly how to demand rights but not fulfil duties! Schools and colleges too do not exact performance of duties; in many homes too the compromising of duties leads to confused messages taken away by children.

Now, I have a communication from Pujya Swamiji that he will post soon.
Manisha has almost declared she is unable to as she is attending to Guruji's work. Since we are waiting for Pujya Swamiji, we may as well leave that time slot open for Manisha also, should she find time to post.

Br. Vineet Chaitanya: Namaskaara! I feel what Rama did, was not what would normally consider "a duty" of a king. It was more out of Karunaa (करुणा) to save the people from the sin of spreading rumors about a Sati.

meera: Hari Om Vineetji, Can it be them said that we all perceive the same act from our standpoint as householders, bhaktas, gnyaanis and so on? So the arthaarthi will seem Rama as a mere King and the Ramayana as a story of a boy who was sent to the forest by his wicked stepmother; while seekers, bhaktas and gnyaanis will vary in their interpretation of the Lord's seeming action?

Br. Vineet Chaitanyaji: Namskaara! Of course it is true that:

jinha ke rahI bhAvanA jEsI
prabhhu mUrati tinha dekhI tEsI

However, in the current context, I feel that, we can't say that it is the dutyof a king to remove false assumptions from the minds of his subjects. On the other hand just as father, out of his love for the son, would not ignore some false assumptions in the mind of the son, because it will have some adverse effect in his future life; similarly an ideal king may go out of his way for the future welfare of his subjects.

So I feel that this "करुणा" part must be emphasized. The subjects cannot consider it as their right!

meera: Hari Om Vineetji, Fascinating!

So then, is a father duty bound to apply compassion in his parenting methods, so that he equally watches out for the son's future? Or is a compassionate parent just a matter of grace or punyam so that it is enough if a father provides and brings up his son well?

I also recall the ऋण that a human has towards his ancestors and Bhagawan Himself where (arising from the blessing putravaan bhava!) the father is duty bound to invest his children ('putra' being gender indifferent) with values so that the child may go forth and imbibe such values and apply them in society and thus make it a better place to live in, thus fulfilling the father's debt to life. How can such values be invested in the child without bringing to bear compassion in parenting?

In the matter of Ramji's kingship if you say we can't say that it is the duty of a king to remove false assumptions from the minds of his subjects then may we infer that governance which will not choose to exert compassion towards the subjects, in the matter of showing them the way are absolved of guilt? Eg: in our own country where corruption is rampant in governance is the leadership duty bound to remove the false assumption of the people that corruption is ok? (Yet it will be very funny if our governors talk about corruption...)

So then where is the fine line of difference between compassion and duty?

Or are you saying that a compassionate leader who 'sacrifices' out of karuna for the people, is a function of grace or punya of the praja? That if we have such chaos in our governance today it is the harvest of our collective karmas?

Br. Vineet Chaitanya: Namaskaara! Corruption is not the right example! The government must make sure that the Government servants do not take bribe. It is the right of citizen that they should expect fair deal.

Let us assume that there is a great saint, but some people believe that he is a thug. Would you say that Government is duty bound to correct their belief?

The fine line is to distinguish between what subjects can demand as a matter of right and what an ideal king may do!

There is a story that when a certain person was sentenced to death for a crime, he claimed that actually his mother should be punished because she was not vigilant enough to stop him when as a child he committed minor crimes. Yes, this story is a great lesson for parents but is it a right one for children?

I think the fine line can be understood as a difference between "Rights of a citizen" vs. "Directive Principles" for the government.

Meera: Hari Om Vineetji, Yes, this is perfect. I now understand clearly. Directive Principles are those that are fundamental in national governance, so that it is the duty of a country to 'apply these principles in making laws to establish a just society in the country". Now a new question comes to mind which I fear may take us into a spiral of debates: Did the washerman who wanted Sitaji to leave the palace asking that as a right (of a citizen)?

And was Ramji sending her away in fulfillment of the citizen's right or as a fulfillment of His Raja Dharma? While the answer is very clear to me, I wonder did the people of Ayodhya take away a feeling that their King acquiesced to the demand of a citizen? Was that risk not there?

Anyway, Directive Principles of State Policy are not enforceable in a court of law I understand... therefore it really comes down to dharma and integrity in executing the office of a King!
Thank you very much for this engagement of the mind.

Pujya Swamiji is travelling and has communicated inability to post but has been following the discussion and says, he is enjoying the discussion!

Geervani amma: The king is the first citizen who should set an example as follower of dharma. Srirama did it as his dharma,full stop.Washerman did not want Sitaji to leave.It was Srirama who decided to send reacting to the information and recognising his responsibility to protect dharma at
any cost.

meera -- In closing:

Thank you all very very much for taking part in this discussion. It was very invigorating and enabled a lot of new learning and reasoning. I am indebted to you for your patience and kindness with which you guided us and made learning a richer experience.

We will conclude the discussion here with prostrations to Pujya Gurudev and Lord Sri Rama.
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