Thursday, January 10, 2013

Reclaiming our History | Decoding the Ramayana: The *real* Shri Ram: Whether he was a "bad husband" and what is 'Ram-Rajya'? (Part-XV)

Author's Note: Please visit - The 'Real' Ramayana/ Ram-Rajya - to read the other parts of this series, so as to be able to fully understand or grasp the contents of this one.

What does the 'Buddh-avatar' signify? What were the *real* reasons behind the Ramayana War and the Mahabharata War? What was achieved at the end of these wars? What was 'Draupadi's Vastraharan' all about, and *how* did Shri Krishna come to her aid, despite not being present in Hastinapur? What does 'divya-drishti', 'aakash-vaani' and 'daiva-vaani' really mean? Notes on: genetically engineered humans (cloned humans + highly-evolved humanoids), holographic image, 'Yogeeswara'; 'Kali Yug', 'Dharma Yuddha'; untying of the 'sikha', etc.

As you are aware, based on our earlier discussions: that the 7th avatar of the 'Dasavatara' - the Ram-avatar - represented humans that were born out of their mother's womb but were not conceived the natural way. That is: these humans were a result of very advanced In Vitro Fertilization or IVF therapy. Shri Ram and his siblings were such humans. [Do read: Part-V.]

The 8th 'avatar' in the 'Dasavatara' is 'Balaram', and he is depicted with a plough or 'hal' - probably indicating that after the humans born due to IVF therapy made their appearance (as represented by the 7th 'avatar' - the 'Ram-avatar'), there was a period of calm and prosperity (meaning: there was a lull in such experiments.) Therefore: 'Balarama' depicts an era where various vocations, especially agriculture - flourished. [Do read: Part-XIII.]

[For the 4th-avatar - the 'Narasimha-avatar' and the 5th-avatar - the 'Vamana-avatar', do read: Part-III and Part-XIX. For the Hayagreeva, do read: Part-VIII.]

The 9th avatar or the 'Krishna-avatar' essentially represents yet another set of humans that walked on this earth - the genetically engineered humans (including cloned humans.) [We will discuss this in greater detail soon.]

The 3rd era (Dvapar Yug) saw a big number of genetically engineered humans (cloned humans + highly-evolved humanoids) - who were difficult to kill, possessed extremely destructive weaponry, and could not procreate the natural way. Hence: Gandhari, Kunti and Madri had to take the help of advanced medical science - in order to beget progeny. Even Draupadi's five sons (one by each of the Pandavas): Prativindhya, Sutasoma, Srutakirti, Satanika, and Srutakarma are said to have been spitting images of their respective fathers - the 5 Pandavas. This again points towards cloning. [As for Draupadi's birth, do read: Part-V.]

Genetically engineered humans (cloned humans + highly-evolved humanoids) were a major reason for the Mahabharata War to happen. These unnatural (cloned + genetically engineered) humans had to be eliminated - for civilization to sustain itself and progress naturally. Post the Mahabharata War, this objective was achieved: since all experiments regarding creating unnatural humans were stopped. As a result: civilization progressed in a reasonably smooth manner - as signified by the 10th 'avatar' (the 'Buddha-avatar') in the 'Dasavatara'. [This 'avatar' does not have anything to do with Bhagavan Shri Gautam Buddh per se.]

Why 'Kali Yug'?

The fourth era is known as the 'Kali Yug' - since this was supposed to be the best yug of all. Kali is not a demon (since we do not have such concepts in our culture.) Kali is a "bud" (and a bud is beautiful to behold. It slowly opens and then gradually metamorphoses into a lovely flower, whose appearance and fragrance is appreciated by all.)

Ram and Sita were able to undo a lot of social ills in Treta Yug. Dvapar saw the advent of a new set of humans: the genetically engineered humans (including cloned humans.) However: these unnatural humans were eliminated via the Kurukshetra War (and this no doubt would have helped civilization to progress naturally.) Also: a lot of wisdom and knowledge had been accumulated by then; there was peace and prosperity (since all experiments regarding creating unnatural humans were abandoned after the Mahabharata War.) Hence: the current era was all set to become (largely) a period of tranquility - as represented by the 10th avatar of the 'Dasavatara' - the 'Buddh-avatar'.

The 4th era or the Kali Yug was supposed to be the best yug of all. And it was a great era indeed... until this period of prosperity and relative tranquility was shattered by the arrival of barbaric Mlechchas (as depicted by the Kalki figure.)

[These Mlechchas and their ancestors were folks that ate snakes and lizards; mistreated their women; buried their daughters alive; coveted and kidnapped other peoples spouses; mercilessly put people to the sword; attacked caravans; murdered, looted and plundered with abandon. Strangely: we seem to have no dearth of people that profess to uphold many of these very aspects - by forcibly calling them: "a part of our ancient culture and tradition"...!! Amazing, indeed.]

The 2nd era or the 'Treta Yug' accepted the humans born as a result of IVF therapy as 'full-fledged humans' and as good for society - given Ram and his siblings' noble deeds. And this would have undoubtedly helped childless couples, especially women (who otherwise have to bear the brunt of taunts or the stigma of childlessness.) However: the 3rd era - the Dvapar Yug - rejected genetically engineered humans (cloned humans + highly-evolved humanoids.)

[As to why Shri Ram and Shri Krishna are depicted as blue-skinned, do read: Part-XIII.]

The Ramayana and the Mahabharata are part of different eras or yugs - with very different societies and challenges. The former is the history or itihasa of the 2nd era (the Treta Yug), while the latter is the itihasa of the 3rd era (the Dvapar Yug). There are similarities as well as differences; hence, we should not try to mix them.

However: neither the Ramayana War nor the Mahabharata War was fought over riches or territories. Both were 'Dharma Yuddhas' or 'Battle of Principles'. Meaning: these were wars fought over principles, in order to establish certain norms in society - for the greater good of mankind (Loka-sangraha or Loka Kalyana). These were wars fought to determine the way of life that ought to prevail in society, to defend the right principles (dharm) and to undo certain social ills and negative aspects (adharm).

The Ramayana War took place in order to establish certain guidelines in society; this era accepted the following: 1. It accepted humans not born the natural way i.e. humans born out of an advanced IVF procedure - as humans. [Shri Ram and his siblings were born as a result of IVF therapy.] 2. It accepted forest-dwelling humans (i.e. various groups of "van-nar" or "Vanaras") - as full-fledged humans. 3. There was a big improvement in the status and position of women and other marginalized people - in society. 4. Ram was able to safeguard the lives of humans from unnecessary bloodshed (and thereby protected this planet from annihilation.) 5. Cannibalistic humans were largely eliminated - and this helped the non-cannibalistic humans to thrive (which in turn helped civilization to progress smoothly.) 6. Humanoids (e.g. Kumbhakarna) were eliminated. [To know more about Kumbhakarna, do read: Part-XVIII.] 7. The noble principles of the "Sanaatan Dharma" were salvaged, since Ram was able to establish a just society (Ram-Rajya), by undoing an assortment of social ills (that prevailed in the garb of 'accepted societal norms' or "maryada"); in the process successfully breaking the influence and stranglehold of a certain class. [Do read: Part-I, Part-II, Part-III and Part-VII - for more details.]

Note: As for the Mahabharata War or the Kurukshetra War, it was fought for the following reasons: 1. In order to eliminate the unnatural humans, who possessed dangerous weaponry; these humans were much advanced, far more numerous and several times more destructive than Kumbhakarna. 2. To put a stop to all experiments regarding creating unnatural humans. 3. To protect this planet (Prithvi-loka) from destruction (due to the unnatural humans + destructive weaponry), and to help civilization to flourish naturally and peacefully. 4. To establish certain noble or dharmic ideals and principles in society and to eliminate certain negative or adharmic aspects. 5. To preserve the noble principles of the "Sanaatan Dharma". [Sanaatan = timeless, eternal. Dharma = right path, noble principles/way of life.]

Mistreatment of women (insulting women or behaving violently with them or coveting other people's spouses, etc) - was considered to be the lowest of the lowest form of 'paap' or sin - in the "Sanaatan Dharma". Duryodhan and (his younger brother) Dushyashana crossed this very red line by insulting and making lewd gestures at Draupadi - the wife of their cousins (the Pandavas)... and therefore, their "Kula-Vadhu" as well. [Kula, kul = family, lineage.] Draupadi's Vastraharan or the disrobing of Draupadi - is an event that we all are very familiar with; however, this event is also a metaphor to suggest that she was constantly harassed and demeaned by the Kauravas (led by Duryodhan and Dushyashana.) None came to her aid; despite being cognizant of the fact that what was happening should not have happened in the first place, nor should it have been allowed to happen - ever. Dhritarashtra was helpless and blind to his sons' fault; while the others like: Dronacharya or Bheeshma may not have had the strength of character to intervene, or may have simply opted for silence - given Duryodhan's nature. Shri Krishna's use of power (for the greater good: loka-sangraha or Loka Kalyana - "welfare for all" or "welfare of the world") is precisely what should have inspired or engaged Bheeshma Pitamah: to protect the noble/dharmic and destroy the wicked/adharmic, paritranaya sadhunam vinasaya ca duskrtam. [Part-VIV.] Unfortunately, that did not happen. These great men (Bheeshma Pitamah, Dronacharya, et al) were too busy deliberating about who should succeed Dhritarashtra, i.e. whose right it was to ascend the Hastinapur throne: whether Yudhistira or Duryodhan; instead of fighting adharm - that was unfolding right in front of their eyes. [Dronacharya of course had scores to settle with Draupadi's father - Raja Drupad, and this too may have clouded his judgment and better sense. He failed to rise above narrow selfish thoughts for a larger cause - to confront and prevent adharm, despite being fully aware of the havoc such adharm could wreck on society.]

Duryodhan was someone that did not listen to good counsel; he did not even heed the advice of his parents or elders (including the wise and widely-respected Vidur.) And though the current versions of the Mahabharata extol the virtues of the Pandavas, glorifying a weak-willed Yudhistira as 'Dharmaraj' (or the very 'incarnation' of 'dharma' or righteousness), while conveniently sidelining two great women (Kunti and Draupadi) - we must not forget that a lot of water has flown under the bridge. Meaning: that there have been innumerable mistranslations and mutilations of our ancient texts, not to forget concerted attempts towards their 'contemporisation' (post the demise of the Gupta era.) While some efforts have clearly gone into turning the flighty Arjun into a (sort of) 'part' or 'manifestation' of Shri Krishna (and hence, by extension: a 'part' of Shri Vishnu as well - i.e. of what various people thought or believed to be Shri Vishnu); there have also been much efforts invested (by a succession of humans) to turn both Shri Ram and Shri Krishna into 'avatars' or 'physical manifestations' of Shri Vishnu (meaning: 'physical manifestations' of what various people thought or believed to be Shri Vishnu). [Do read: Part-X.]

Bheem possessed immense physical strength, but somewhat lacked in strength of character. While the twins - Nakul and Shahadev - were great warriors and handsome in appearance. But that's about it; all the five Pandavas together could not match up to Draupadi; in fact, they remained passive observers, even when she was being insulted.

The only one who came to Draupadi's aid was her best friend (sakha) - Shri Krishna. He was also her brother-in-law, since Kunti was his paternal aunt (his father, Vasudev's sister.)

Krishna was not in Hastinapur at the time. Yet he was able to help Draupadi. How?

Well, we all know Krishna was an immensely knowledgeable and wise person. He is also known as Hrishikesa - the master of the senses. He had not only gained mastery over his own senses (indriyas), but also over those of others. Hence, he was 'illusionist' par excellence - the best of his era no doubt, but of all times as well. [This 'illusionist' is not to be confused with what passes for magic and magicians these days. Krishna's mastery over the senses was due to 'yog' - a combination of illumined knowledge and very advanced technology. He was a 'Yogeeswara' - which is a Sanskrit word, and means: 'a great yogi who is equivalent to the Almighty (Ishvara or Parameshwara.) However, 'yog' should not be confused with what passes for 'yoga' or has been passing for 'yoga' - since many decades.]

Shri Krishna had mastered Yog - in all its forms, and derived his immense strength and power, of the body (sharira), the mind (manas) and the senses (indriyas) - from this timeless treasure-trove of illumined knowledge (jnana) - Yog. He had acquired profound wisdom, perception, insight and foresight, as well as awesome technology - thanks to Yog.

In a way, he had become Trikalagya, a "bhuta-bhavya-bhavat-prabhu" or "The Master of all things past, future, and present". [Nirukti - trikAla vartinAm seshi - The Master of all things that exist in the past, present, and future.]

In short: he had 'acquired' the Tritiya-Nayan - the Third-Eye. Meaning: he had acquired (or was able to inculcate) great powers of perception + tremendous amount of wisdom and knowledge. Hence, it is a small wonder that Shri Krishna was not only able to figure out the way events were going to unfold, but was also able to provide guidance to those concerned - for the greater good, accordingly.

[Shri Krishna was able to rise above his own attachments and emotions. His adherence to Karm Yog (action), especially Nishkam Karm Yog (selfless action) - helped stabilize civilization, and helped preserve the noble principles of the "Sanaatan Dharma".]

Krishna was able to aid Draupadi through very advanced technology - despite not being physically present in Hastinapur. The Krishna that appeared in the Hastinapur Court and successfully foiled the shameful designs of Duryodhana and Dushyashana - was his holographic image. A highly advanced, realistic and human-like hologram or holographic image that not only looked like or resembled Krishna completely (or at least very closely), but was also able to perform a variety of tasks (including: inducing illusion and hypnosis, by gaining control over Dushyashana's senses or indriyas), so as to prevent a great adharm from materializing. [Possibly by controlling Dushyashana's brain and thoughts; some kind of inception. Result: Dushasana was led to believe that Draupadi's sari was an unending one; and so, he continued to 'unwrap layers and layers of it' (under hypnosis), and finally fell to the ground - exhausted.]

Now, how did Shri Krishna get to know what was unfolding in the "Kaurav" Court (in Hastinapur)?

The narrative says: Draupadi prayed to him, requesting assistance. This could be an allusion to "telepathy". Though we are aware of "telepathy", we are yet to figure it out fully. Krishna and Draupadi were the best of friends, and so, Krishna may have shared this procedure with her. Also: we cannot rule out television (referred to as: "divya-drishti"). Krishna may have caught the goings-on @ the Hastinapur Court via television. Remember: Sanjay too was able to view the goings-on in the Kurukshetra War and narrated the events to Dhritarashtra due to television (divya-drishti) - thanks to Veda Vyasa. [Though "divya-drishti" is also a reference to one's "mind's eye" (or "manas-chokshu"), but here it means television. Even the role of radio or wireless or satellite phone (aakash-vaani, daiva-vaani) cannot be ruled out; meaning: someone may have informed Krishna via wireless or satellite phone.]

Later translators did not understand the references to technology or advanced medical science (in our ancient texts, including the Ramayan and the Mahabharat) and hence, in an effort to 'fill in the blanks', tweaked the narrative as per their (mis)understanding or as per the sign of the times. Technology has been referred to as 'trickery' or 'illusion', and attributed to either super-human powers or to magic...! Needless to say, a lot has been lost (or altered) in translation. Sadly. The views and perceptions of various humans have crept in, and an assortment of negative influences have also made their mark. We must try and peel off these unnecessary layers and embellishments, and try to salvage the real/original narrative as best as we can. The Ramayana and the Mahabharata are part of our ancient history or pracheen itihasa, and we should be very clear on that. Hence: we must view them as part of our ancient history and heritage, and not as some discourse on excessive morality or Bhakti. That is very wrong. We must learn to view the various characters that people these ancient texts as humans and not as some magical beings. Some of them were great humans who accomplished various noble deeds.

Krishna's clarity of thought and action is exemplary. Once this event (Draupadi's Vastra-haran) happened, and though he was able to prevent it, it was no longer a matter of succession for him. Duryodhan's conduct was contrary to the accepted guide-lines/rules of that era (meaning: it was contrary to the noble principles of "Sanaatan Dharma".) Our ancients followed the Arya (noble) way of life and subscribed to a set of principles: they did not indulge in rape, molestation, slave-taking or pillaging - even when they fought amongst themselves or conquered other kingdoms. They did not kidnap or covet other people's spouses either. This is because: such actions were against the Kshatriya-dharma and the Arya-dharma (or the noble way of life that prevailed in this great land.) Yet, despite all this, Duryodhan behaved in such an abominable manner with his own Kula-vadhu. If such a man ascended the throne, what values would prevail in society?

Hence: for Shri Krishna it was no longer a matter of succession; instead, it was a matter of: paritranaya sadhunam vinasaya ca duskrtam, protect the noble/dharmic and destroy the wicked/adharmic, so as to preserve the noble principles of the "Sanaatan Dharma". [Also: it had become necessary to eliminate the unnatural humans. Therefore, though Krishna rarely picked up arms - to fight, he chose the time, the moment of action, and the instruments of action - with precision, in order to be able to eliminate the negative entities successfully.]    

However, the events at the Hastinapur Court had saddened and angered him - since it was also an eye-opener/indicator of how passive society had become. Therefore he asks: a society that stood by silently and simply watched such a shameful event (the "vastrahaaran" or the disrobing of Draupadi); a society that did not react nor protest the "apamaan" (insult, dishonour) of the Queen of Hastinapur, the daughter of Raja Drupad, the wife of the Pandavas, an extraordinary woman and an important personality in her own right, what will such a society do when ordinary people, the weak and the defenseless, including ordinary women, are subjected to ill treatment and injustice?

It will shatter society and give rise to all kinds of ills. When women are not treated well, society falls.

Therefore: Shri Krishna advises Arjun (and through him to all of us) - to do our "duty": to uphold "dharma" (or the right principles - as best as we can), without thinking or worrying about the consequences or aftermath. 'Coz, if we fail to do our "duty" when we should, or are overwhelmed with worry or fear, or choose to remain passive or inactive, adharm will creep in and pervade every aspect of our lives. It will destroy us. Krishna urges us to fight the forces of darkness (aasuric entities and adharm) - as soon as they become apparent. He asks us to remain vigilant and not become lethargic; 'coz if we choose to ignore the warning signs, we should not blame external factors later on (for the decadence of society.) In other words: we should not blame external factors - for the decline in the right values or in the right societal principles [dharm], since: everything happens due to our action only (including misguided action, lack of action and/or lack of timely action.)

[Unfortunately: his words are being echoed today. No wonder our lethargy and inaction has turned this beautiful "bud" (Kali) into an age of decadence. And it is us that have allowed things to come to such a pass.]

Draupadi also undertook a vow (Draupadi Shapat) in the assembly (court) of the 'Kauravas' (the 'Kurus'), after Duryodhana and Dussasana insulted her: that she would remain with disheveled hair until the perpetrators of adharm (the Kauravas) were completely destroyed. In another era (the Kali Yug), the great Chanakya (son of Chanak) too undertook a similar vow - to leave his long 'sikha' un-knotted or untied - until he succeeded in humbling the Nanda Kings (the decadent ruler of Magadha, King Dhana Nanda, and his drunkard and wastrel Princes). True to his oath, it was only after he had engineered a swift demise of the debauched and worthless rulers of the Nanda dynasty, did this great man tie up his tuft of hair (sikha) again.

[The 'sikha' (also called 'shikha') is a Sanskrit word that refers to a long tuft, or lock of hair left on the top or on the back of the shaven head of a male member of the priestly class. Though traditionally, all males (that were a part of the Sanaatan Dharma) were required to wear a 'sikha', yet, today it is seen mainly amongst those that have taken up Brahmacharya (i.e. celibate monks), and temple priests. The 'sikha' is tied back or knotted - to perform rituals, rites or ceremonies. Only funerals and death anniversaries are performed with the 'sikha' tuft untied or with disheveled hair. Disheveled hair is considered inauspicious, and represents times of great sorrow or calamity.]

Both Draupadi and Chanakya were from two different eras ('yugs'), yet they have left their footprints on the sands of time, and their actions have had far-reaching and epoch-making consequences.

[We will continue our discussions in the next post...]

(Do stay tuned…)

Pictures: Illustrations of Bhagavan Shri Ram, the Buddh-avatar and Draupadi-Vastraharan 

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