Monday, February 15, 2010



(Part I)


A quick preview for Warner Brothers' Ramayana to be released on Oct. 15, 2010

(Confronting the frivolous erotic and morbid symbolism from the Unconscious
of Wendy Doniger in her recent book "The Hindus: An Alternative History")

Hindus have understood the meanings of Ramayana and Mahabharata for many millennia because they view both as products of the Prajna and Pratibha of two greatest Yogis, Rishi Valmiki and Rishi Vyasa. These are the divya kathas or enlightening stories told in a highly ornamental poetry. Prajna is that faculty of Dhee which leads to Jnana. Pratibha is the reflection of the light representing the Jnana.

Raama is the divine in each human being that is enjoying life. The word comes from the root,"rama," which is a verb meaning "to play." The concept is that every human being has this divine element that is residing in him/her. It is a tatva that Narada indicates as fully “seen” (drishtva) by Valmiki before he started composing this Mahakavya, as stated in the introduction to Valmiki’s Ramayana. (Tat sarvam tatvatah drishtva). In what state of mind did Valmiki “see” this? Valmiki is described by Narada as “Yogastha” or “Samadhistha.” After such "self-realization" Valmiki decided to write this perennial story of Rama.

Rama is abandoned or banished in the dandakaranya which is the darkness of the Unconscious in every human being and Rama lives in incognito form, struggling with many undesirable human drives and instincts for “fourteen"” years. The forteen years is to be understood as year after year just like the month after month the year passes imperceptibly. The Bhumi tatva or Prakriti is represented by Sita. The human body is the product of the earth with all elements in it originating from the earth. So, Sita is described by the pratibha of Valmiki as originating in the Earth. Simply speaking, the “Kaala-kshepa Ramayana” (Ramayana projected through time) sung in any temple in South India in the afternoon pravachana (lecture) year after year for many millennia or centuries gives this simple meaning for human existence which is evolving from the mundane to “spiritual” (no such word exists in Sanskrit) which is a close translation of Adhyaatmic.

Rama is to return to conscious awareness for the human being to realize his true nature (divine) in the domain of Ayodhya (the domain where there are no conflicts) where there is peace. “That is the way it is,” which in Sanskrit means “Itihaasa,” sometimes erroneously translated as “History.” It is in the nature of things that someday Rama has to distance himself from his earthly attachment. So Sita has to return to where she came from, which is to her mother, the bhumi or earth. In the Hindu tradition the body without Rama goes through the process of cremation or “chitaa” or Agni. So the union of Rama and Sita is a joyous one but not a permanent one.

In this plot then there are many subplots but they are all illustrations of this divya katha depicted in the Aadikavya by Aadikavi Valmiki who was incidentally a fisherman turned into a “highway robber” meaning given to robbing innocent travelers. This too symbolizes that even such base behaviors are modifiable when an individual is reformed by the blessing of realization of Rama. This is all explained in the introduction to Valmiki’s Ramayana and it is shown how after his reformation Valmiki became compassionate and cried with tears in his eyes when he saw a Hansa (swan) injured by a hunter’s arrow. The empathy for other living beings’ pain is a quality he experienced in himself, which he did not have when he was killing travellers to rob them. So, Valmiki then asks Narada to be introduced to an ideal man that has compassion for all living beings. Narada tells him the story of Rama which Valmiki’s pratibha (poetic inspiration) has elaborated in the most beautiful poetry which is even made sweeter by Santa Tulasidasa in Ramacharitamanasa.

Western culture will find this frame of reference from Vedic understanding gained by Valmiki in his Yogic consciousness rather difficult to comprehend although some of the Western Indologists may be recognized in the West as the “foremost authority on Hinduism” as Wendy Doniger is grandiosely described by her publisher. The Western Indologists lacking the cultural bearings and background will distort and may even demean this story, a divya katha. Indians and Hindus are to be urged not to pay attention to such corrupt and sexualized versions of this story as is depicted in the misrepresentations deliberately inflicted on the Hindu sacred epic in a recent book , “The Hindus: An Alternative History.” (Wendy insists that Lakshmana described his own father Dasharatha as a "sex addict", and Rama chased the deer to hunt it down to fulfil Seeta's taste for high quality Tiffany style clothes while banished in the forest!!!) May these individuals lost in the Western dandakaranya (dark forest)find their own Rama someday to achieve the "humanness" needed in all human beings including for those who call themselves Professors in the School of Divinity at University of Chicago (SEE ARTICLES POSTED ON WENDY DONIGER IN JUNE, JULY & AUGUST 2010 ON THIS WEBSITE).

Interesting take on fact and truth. Both refer to different aspects of reality. Both can be correct and can co-exist. So dvaita and advaita are two different ways of looking at the reality.

Please see the commnet by Desh Kapoor:

Very interesting take. But after reading the very fine translation of Yoga Vasishta by Swami Venkatesananda (himself a spiritual giant) - I am convinced that to understand Ram, one has to read Yoga Vasishta. It is BY FAR the most profound book ever written. Check it out here -, There are 36 reviews of it and except one (3 star), ALL are 5 stars.. never seen any book with that kind of rating on Amazon.

It is sad that our encounter and understanding of Ram has only been limited to Ramayana - which is exemplary, but Yoga Vasishta was at a different level...

As for what is often referred to as "Mythology" by others in Hinduism.. Sadguru Jaggi puts it correctly, when he says that Shiva created the world and can destroy it by just chanting Aum. Now this may not be a "Fact" but it is the "Truth". Just like - pointing to a lady - that you are a woman is a "fact", but inputs of both a man and a woman went into creating you.. so the "Truth" is that you are BOTH! Btw, anybody needing to know more on Karma/Liberation etc in detail may also like to read "Mystics Musings"... it should be a required reading along with Yoga Vasishta for everyone!

Desh Kapoor