Some lesser known facts about Ramayana

Author: Khushi Puri (B.tech from Sri Sukhmani Institute of Engineering and Technology)

First of all, we all should understand Rama is not just Sita’s husband.

A king, a son, a brother, a ruler. Too often we try to see a husband when he is harsh as a ruler. We like to see a ruler in him when he is crying and fighting for his wife, we mix and try to match his roles.

The entire problem is in our understanding about those times, those dharmas, we compare everything with present times.

Though Rama knows about Sita, he doesn’t want to give anything to chance. As a husband he saved her. As a ruler he asked her she can follow her wish.

One more thing. Where is the chance for him to explain?

Sita is not a timid lady. So, is it not clear she understands her husband better than us? If she has any problem with his behavior she has enough guts to question him but she loves him like anything. Trusts him, still questions him.

It’s we who wants to question everything though we didn’t live in those times.

Here I would like to quote from the works of legendary Swami Vivekananda-

There is another peculiar conception of the Hindu. Those who have been studying with me are aware that the central conception of Hindu philosophy is of the Absolute; that is the background of the universe. This Absolute Being, of whom we can predicate nothing, has Its powers spoken of as She — that is, the real personal God in India is She. This Shakti of the Brahman is always in the feminine gender.

Rama is considered the type of the Absolute, and Sita that of Power. We have no time to go over all the life of Sita, but I will quote a passage from her life that is very much suited to the ladies of this country.

The picture opens when she was in the forest with her husband, whither they were banished. There was a female sage whom they both went to see. Her fasts and devotions had emaciated her body.

Sita approached this sage and bowed down before her. The sage placed her hand on the head of Sita and said: “It is a great blessing to possess a beautiful body; you have that. It is a greater blessing to have a noble husband; you have that. It is the greatest blessing to be perfectly obedient to such a husband; you are that. You must be happy”.

Sita replied, “Mother, I am glad that God has given me a beautiful body and that I have so devoted a husband. But as to the third blessing, I do not know whether I obey him or he obeys me. One thing alone I remember, that when he took me by the hand before the sacrificial fire — whether it was a reflection of the fire or whether God himself made it appear to me — I found that I was his and he was mine. And since then, I have found that I am the complement of his life, and he of mine”.

These words from one of the speeches of Swami Vivekananda Ji are enough to shatter all myths and misconceptions related to the divine relationship of Sita and Rama that are prevailing in this 21st century.

According to Valmiki Ramayana, Sita was Rama and Rama was Sita,

They mutually agreed to every decision they took, Rama fully respected Sita’s opinions and decisions.

They both were obedient, and tolerant towards each other. period!

Some people have been trying so hard to demonize Sanatana Dharma, Sri Ram and Sri Krishna. We will not let them do it.

For example in Ramayana when Ashvamedha Yajña was being done People of ALL Varnas were invited to attend it ब्राह्मणान्क्षत्रियान्वैश्याञ्छूद्रांश्चैव सहस्रश:। समानयस्व सत्कृत्य सर्वदेशेषु मानवान्।। Shudras were invited respectfully to attend Yajña.

Not only this, he said – सर्वे वर्णा यथा पूजां प्राप्नुवन्ति सुसत्कृता:। न चावज्ञा प्रयोक्तव्या कामक्रोधवशादपि।। People of ALL Varnas must be treated with respect. Hence there was NO discrimination or Untouchability.

ब्रह्मचर्य्येण कन्या युवानं विन्दते पतिम् – अथर्ववेद (This means that girls after going through Brahmacharya period choose a husband in youth by themselves)

This quite is enough to destroy myth of the child marriage of Rama and Sita.

We should follow Vedas and original Sanatana Dharma not medieval customs.

When ma Sita was going to forest with Sri Ram, Vashishtha stopped her and said “Sita won’t go to the forest, she will remain here and rule this kingdom in place of Ram. People in those times were ok with a woman ruling their kingdom.

She could have even ruled the whole empire herself as Vashishtha had suggested, still, she went. Also everyone is allowed to listen to Vedic mantras.

In the Ramayana, we see women as equals to men. For example, Kaikeyi fought in a war side-by-side with Dasharatha. Kausalya used to perform Agnihotra yajna every morning. Sita used to deliver her discharging religious duties in morning and evening daily like men. So women weren’t excluded from any activity.

The Kshatriyaas women in ancient India used to be well-acquainted even with the military science, or how could they have gone with their male relations and fought side by side with them in battle-fields, as Kekai did with her royal husband Dasharatha. Therefore it clearly shows that Braahman and Kshatriyaa women used to acquire all kinds of knowledge, and Vaishya women used to learn trace, and the mechanical arts and the like, and Shoodraa women, the art of cooking, etc.

Also, I want to mention here that make no mistake, Sita was not a docile or subservient woman by any means. Sita bullied Sri Rama in taking her also with him to the forest instead of leaving her with her inlaws. She openly put down Rama on at least two occasions in front of Lakshmana. She also bullied Lakshmana to go after Rama when she heard his false cries. Finally after war, as per Raj Dharma when all Rama told her was that she was free to do and go what and where she wanted, she became wrathful (yes Sita was not timid or silent by any means) and called for the whole agni pareeksha (acutally Agni Pravesh). Sita was an outspoken and aggressive woman.

Rama was deeply in love with Seetha by heart, mind and soul. Despite having the option to marry again, he chose to remain with her forever. He was so in love with Seetha that when she was kidnapped by Ravana, he writhed in pain wailing Seethaa Seethaa falling on the ground crying like a mad man even in front of the vanaras totally forgetting all his stature as a king. In fact, In Ramayana, it is mentioned many times that Rama often shed so many tears for Seetha that he lost all his strength in crying and often fell down unconscious.

Lastly, I want to quote words of Devi Sita in praise of our Maryada Purshottam Rama which are a tight slap to all those who are trying hard to demean him and misinterpreting this greatest “Sitayaha Charitam Mahata”(shocked ?? Raamayana is not the only name of this epic) and creating false narratives with vested interests.

“The valiant and pious Rama who is devoted to Dasartha and free from all sense of importance treats all those women as his mothers on whom Dasaratha has even once bestowed a single glance”

Thanks for reading

PART 2

We all have heard about the story of how once Dashrath in his youth went near Sarayu river for hunting and by mistake he killed a young man Sharavana Kumar (who was the sole support of his blind aged parents).

Note-I am using the name Shravana in this answer, Vakmiki ji has not used any name for the ascetic killed by Dasrath mistakenly.

You might be wondering why I am using the word ascetic for him, don’t be surprised read the answer further to know this unknown fact in detail.

Let me tell you more interesting facts related to this incident from Valmiki Ramayana on how he and his parents used to spend their time in the Ashrama.

These are Shravana Kumar’s last words as recorded in Vakmiki Ramayana.

Its worth noting that Valmiki ji repeatedly uses words “Rishi”, “Muni” and “Tapasvi” to describe all three of them.

२-६३-३०

“To a seer like me, of having laid down violence and living a fruits and roots of wild plants in the forest, how a killing by an arrow is enjoined?”

२-६३-३१

“Who is desirous of killing me, wearing a mass of locks of hair and clad with the bark of trees and deer-skin? What harm was done to him by me?”

Note he was called a Jatadhari ascetic, not only that he is mentioned to be wearing bark of trees and deer-skin like sages.२-६३-४४

‘Surely, our (mine or father’s) religious austerity or sacred knowledge have not borne fruit because my father does not have information about me, having fallen down and lying on the ground.’

Now, mark that Shravana Kumar is mentioned to be performing Tapasaya, not only that its clearly mentioned he used to do Shastra Adhyayana along with his parents.

There is one more detail about this family that takes us the modern readers by surprise.

It is clearly mentioned that the Muni’s (Shravana Kuamr) father was a Vaisya by birth and the mother belonged to the Shudra community.

Note that Vakmiki ji has only mentioned this in passing.

For him, this was nothing extraordinary.

Clearly, intercommunity marriages were common then.

२-६३-५३

‘O, king the ruler of the country! I am born through a Sudra woman by a Vysya

Now, let’s see how his aged blind father reacted when Dashrath came to tell him the truth of the grave mistake he committed.

२-६४-२३ २-६४-२४

“A killing brought about by a warrior premeditatedly and in particular to a hermit, would expel even Indra from his post.”

२-६४-२५

“The head of a dispatcher of a weapon with a knowledge of the matter on a sage established in austerity or such an unmarried student practicing sacred study, gets burst into seven pieces.”

So, the young man who was killed by Dashrath was not only established in austerity, but also he is mentioned as an unmarried student practicing sacred study. Now, all those ignorant people who daily chant-” Educational and religious equality was not present in ancient India”, the above Shloka is for you, read it repeatedly till you get this fact right in your head.

Note-Shravana Kumar and his parents used to spend time in the study of scriptures and discussions on them.

२-६४-२६

“You are still surviving because you have done it unknowingly. Not even you, but today the whole of Ikshvaaku dynasty would have been no more, if it is not the case.”

२-६४-२७ २-६४-२८

This shloka is very crucial as it shatters the myth spread by many propagandists that certain sections of people were not allowed to take the spiritual path and wearing a garment of deer skin (which was a symbol of Tapasvis, sages, etc) was forbidden for them.

२-६४-३३

“Whose sweet and heart touching voice, reciting one sacred text or the other in particular at the end of the night, shall I hear from now?”

२-६४-३४

“O, son! Who after taking bath, worshipping the goddess of dawn, and offering oblations in fire, will be sitting beside me and talking confidently looking at me, as I was afflicted with grief and fear?”

It is quite interesting to note how his father says that his son was regular with his Sandhya Upasana and other daily rites.

I have been fed up hearing this non-sense that performing certain religious rites(like offering oblations in fire or doing Sandhya rites/Sandhya Vandanama) were not open to all sections of society, but yet again Valmiki Ramayana shatters this myth.

You will find people till today justifying such restrictions but we should follow original Sanatana Dharma and not medieval customs.

Restricting certain section of people from delivering their discharging religious duties (not allowing them to hear or chant mantras) is a medieval thing, it’s not a part of our glorious Sanatana Dharma.

२-६४-४१ २-६४-४२ २-६४-४३ २-६४-४४ २-६४-४५

“O, son! Obtain that destiny, which is obtained by all the sages, by those who studied scriptures, by an act of austerity, by a gift of the land, by him who has maintained sacred fire, who has taken a vow of marrying a single wife, who gifts a thousand cows, who are owed to the service of the preceptor and that which is obtained by those who have abandoned their body (by journeying to Himalayan Mountains, or drowning themselves in water or leaping into the flames)”

२-६४-४६

२-६४-४७

“Thus, that sage repeatedly wept there pitiably. Then he, along with his wife, started doing the ceremony of offering water to his demised son.”

२-६४-४८

“The pious son of the sage on his part, soon ascended the Heaven, wearing a wonderful form along with Indra (the king of celestials) as a result of his own pious acts.”

Now, you see the family in which a person is born does not decide your supreme destiny, your pious acts (Karmas) only are the deciding factor. Also, it’s worth noting that the young ascetic ascended to Heaven along with Indra himself. This reveals the fact that entry to heaven is not forbidden, I have seen some morons saying in ancient times it was a belief that one needs to take birth to parents of higher varna in order to ascend to heaven (or higher spiritual planes) with Indra (King of Celestials) himself. Its worth mentioning here in this very epic itself we see how Indra Dev himself used to come to take pious sages residing in the Dandkaranaya forests to heaven along with him.

२-६४-४९ २-६४-५० २-६४-५१

“The son of the sage, whose senses were subdued, thus spoke and by a wonderful aero plane with beautiful form, quickly reached Heaven.”

२-६४-५२

Then, the rest of the story is well known how the curse was issued to Maharaja Dashrath because of which he had to part with his beloved son Sri Rama.

२-६४-५४

“Since you have killed my holy son through ignorance, I shall pronounce a most painful and very cruel curse on you.”

२-६४-५५ २-६४-५६

“O, king! Since the sage was killed by you, belonging to the warrior class, through ignorance, the son of killing a Brahmin will not take possession of you.”

The above Shloka literally will shock many people, this is a very unknown fact. Shravana Kumar was not born to Brahmin parents as mentioned earlier still his father says that since Dashrath killed his ascetic son unknowingly, he will not get sin of Brahamahatya !!

२-६४-५८

“Pronouncing the curse thus on me, that couple wept many times pitiably, placed their body on the funeral pile and proceeded to heaven.”

I have also seen people having this misconception that only people of higher varnas by birth were allowed to issue curses, Valmiki Ramayana ends that myth too.

The reason why Dashrath could have got sin of Brahmahatya can be understood from various other sources very well.

जन्मना जायते शूद्रः संस्काराद्द्विज उच्यते ॥ This is from Skanda Purana, it says all are shudras from birth, with samskaras they become dwij.

In Bhagwad Gita, Sri Krishna says-

brāhmaṇa-kṣatriya-viśāṁ
śūdrāṇāṁ ca parantapa
karmāṇi pravibhaktāni
svabhāva-prabhavair guṇaiḥ

TRANSLATION

Brāhmaṇas, kṣatriyas, vaiśyas and śūdras are distinguished by their qualities of work, O chastiser of the enemy, in accordance with the modes of nature.

यथेमां वाचं कल्याणीमावदानि जनेभ्यः ब्रह्मराजन्याभ्या शूद्राय चार्याय च स्वाय चारणाय।। This mantra from Shukla Yajur Veda says that Shudras and women must be taught, Vedas are for everybody. This debunks 2 lies that are circulated by propagandists Not only do people talk with shudras they were taught also. (Shudra here is not birth based)

Some people claim after reading medieval texts that even stepping in Shadow of shudra is banned (LOL)which of course is a lie, nowhere it is mentioned in Vedas. Looking at ancient texts you can clearly see that all 4 Varnas lived together. It is said that Adi shankaracharya touched the feet of so-called Chandala.

Various misconceptions have been circulating on various social media platforms (calling our Gods casist) that Claim the killing of Shudra is like killing an animal in Hinduism which is an outright Lie.

If we look at Valmiki Ramayana 2/63/53 There Shravana Kumara says I am a shudra. So Dashratha killed a Shudra and felt guilty throughout his life, it was the guilt that killed him. So this claim is also a lie. Also, I have already mentioned how Shravana kumar’s ascetic father clearly told Dashrath that he could have even got sin of Brahmahatya if he deliberately wanted to kill his son. It’s very much evident that only birth does not decide which “varna” do you belong.

See below screenshot sums up which qualities according to Sri Krishna one needs to have to be considered a Brahmana.

Let me quote Mahabharata Santi parva, Chapter 189 :

Brighu Rishi explains that if SYMPTOMS of a brahmana are found in a sudra and if the symptoms of a sudra are found in a brahmana, then the sudra should NOT be called a sudra and the brahmana should NOT be called a brahmana.

Here is a again an amazing shloka from MBH Vana parva, Chapter 211 which shatters the myth of Hinduism supporting a rigid caste system based on “Birth” only.

“O brahmana, if a person is born in the family of a sudra and posesses good qualities, he becomes a vaisya or a ksatriya And if he possesses the quality of simplicity, he is a brahmana”

Vana parva, Chapter 215: also says

Brahmana involve in sinful activities is equal to Sudra. & self-controlled, truthful Sudra is equal to Brahmana. Indeed, the ONLY criteria for being a brahmana is to possess pure characteristics.

Let me quote the words of Yudhishtir too to shatter the myth that ancient India had a a very rigid oppressive by birth caste system.

(Don’t confuse medieval customs of practices with the origianl Sanatana Dharma)

Then Comes Very special Evidence From a conversation between Uma and Mahadev from the Mahabharata (Anusasana parva163.5, 8, 26, 96, 98,51&59) “Birth, purification, the study of the Vedas, and good birth are not the criterion for being a brahmana The ONLY criterion is one s behavior”.

The above words of Bhagwan Shiv are clearly in line with what Bhagwan Krishna also said about the qualities of a Brahmin in Bhagwat Gita.

What’s more Apastamba Dharma Sutra(2,5,11,10-11) it says – धर्मचर्य्यया जघन्यो वर्णः पूर्वं पूर्वं वर्णमापद्यते जातिपरिवृत्तौ….. It means if a person does dharma, he rises to better varna and if he does adharma his varna changes to a lower varna. Hence Varna changes.

That’s the reason why Shravana Kumar was a Brahmin/Tapsavi/Seer/Sage, etc by his Karmas.

From various ancient texts, its evident that Varna of a person is according to his qualities i.e. Samskaras, Birth in a particular family is a factor but not the only factor hence Varna System is merit based NOT birth based.

In Chhandogya Upnishad we have story of Jānashruti who was a King and was not born in Shudra family(according to Adi Shankaracharya commentary) still he was called a “Shudra” because of his actions

Conclusion-A person born in shudra family can become a Vaishya, Kshatriya or Brahmin according to his qualities.

This has been enough affirmed by the above-cited proof. Regardless of whether reality remain undiscovered because of deficient investigation of the shastras and extreme selfishness of some hypocrites, it will surely become evident to all in future.

Thanks for reading

Jai SiyaRama

Har Har Mahadev

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