Tuesday, 8 May 2018

Should Audrey Truschke Apologize For Saying that Seetha Called Rama "Uncouth" and a "Misogynist Pig"?

A couple days back, I came across some Hindu nationalists who were quite unhappy with a tweet by historian Audrey Truschke regarding Rama. They alleged that Audrey Truschke had insulted Rama and misrepresented the Valmiki Ramayana by claiming that Seetha had called Rama "uncouth" and "a misogynist pig". Now, it should be no surprise that she was targeted by these Hindu nationalists and received much abuse by them for just presenting her views. Audrey Truschke, in her own words, talks about the abuse she received:
After offering a colloquial summary of Sita’s admonishment of Rama during the agnipariksha (fire test) episode, I found myself engulfed in an avalanche of hate. I received – on Twitter, Facebook, and private e-mails – death threats, rape threats, anti-Semitic messages, misogynistic comments, racially-charged attacks and so forth. Some of the death threats were notably graphic in their detail.
Having been on the receiving end of such Hindutva trolls very often, I can sympathize with her. No matter how much one's faith or gods are criticized, they should not find the need to resort to such abuse. The desperate tendency to behave otherwise betrays a lack of culture and couthness in these so-called "protectors of the Hindu religion". It also makes them look like sheer hypocrites when they then go on to say that "Hindus are the most tolerant community"...

That being said, let me move on to the actual purpose of this post, which is, to evaluate the accuracy of Audrey Truschke's claims. The entire fuss began with these few tweets by Audrey Truschke in late April 2018:



Audrey Truschke later went on to say that her source was the critical edition of Valmiki Ramayana. However, many Hindu nationalists began to quote KMK Murthy's translations of the non-critical versions of Valmiki Ramayana (such as the one on valmikiramayan.net) to show Audrey Truschke that her interpretation of the text is wrong. Of course, I don't expect most Hindu nationalists to know the difference between the critical and non-critical versions as it is quite evident that they had never taken the time to seriously read Valmiki's great epic from a non-partisan perspective. However, what is more appalling is that they quoted from the translations of the aforementioned website, which are highly biased and sanitized, as I have briefly mentioned in earlier posts and comments. As I realized when writing my post on Seetha's Agnipariksha, at times even the word by word translation differs greatly from the translation of the actual verse. Hence, it should not take a person with a PhD in Sanskrit to realize how unreliable those translations are, when used as the sole source in studying the Valmiki Ramayana.

One Hindu, Venkat Vaikuntanarayanan, had written to Prof. Robert Goldman (one of the more serious translators of the Critical Edition), asking him for the veracity of Audrey Truschke's claims. Venkat had (incorrectly) thought that when Audrey Truschke had mentioned her source as the Critical Edition of the Valmiki Ramayana, she was referring to Prof. Robert Goldman's translations. Unfortunately, he failed to realize that Goldman is just a translator of the Valmiki Ramayana, and that Audrey Truschke, herself being very knowledgeable in Sanskrit, worked with her own translation on the epic. Prof. Robert Goldman had then pointed this out to Venkat, and clearly said that he disagreed with the conclusions that Audrey Truschke arrived at. Below is the entire e-mail exchange, as posted by Swarajamag:
Dear Professor Goldman,
I am writing this email with respect to Twitter posts by Dr Audrey Truschke of Rutgers University.
Dr Truschke has said in these posts that in the Ramayana, Sita basically "tells Rama he is a misogynist pig”, and seems to have based these on her reading of the "critical edition" of the Ramayana, by which I think she means your translation of the Ramayana, with critical commentaries. Her actual posts are:
For anyone unfamiliar with these episodes, in Valmiki’s telling (I’m loosely translating here): During the agnipariksha, Sita basically tells Rama he’s a misogynist pig and uncouth.
Folks, I provided the citation to the Sanskrit critical edition. If the accusation is that I did not put a scan of the text up here, well, as a professor I can live with the accusation that I didn’t do your homework for you. #Ramayana #AcademicTwitter
On page 53 of the translation of the Yuddha Kanda, you write: “Wiping her tear stained face, she replies to her husband with calm and reasoned dignity, defending her honor, asserting her loyalty, and criticizing him for harboring feelings of misogyny. She accuses him of giving way to anger like some common man...”
In your view, can this be the basis for saying that in the Ramayana, Sita called Rama a misogynist pig? Would that be a fair characterization of the interaction between Rama and Sita towards the end of the Yudha Kanda?
I appreciate your taking the time to read this email, and would greatly appreciate your comments.
With best wishes,
Sincerely,
Venkat Vaikuntanarayanan
Prof. Robert Goldman's reply is as follows:
Dear Venkat,
Thanks for your message. I find it extremely disturbing but perhaps not unexpected to learn that AT (Audrey Trushcke) has used such inappropriate language and passed it off as coming from Valmiki. Neither the great poet nor we used anything like such a vulgar diction and certainly Sita would never have used such language to her husband even in the midst of emotional distress. Nowhere in our translation of the passage do we use words such as you mention AT as using.
When she refers to the "critical edition” she is referring to the Sanskrit text of the Ramayana as reconstructed by the scholars at the Oriental Institute of Baroda. We have, of course translated the whole text but she is in no way quoting our translation but giving her own reading of the passage in her own highly inappropriate language.
Sita is, or course distressed by Rama’s words when she is first reunited with him after her captivity. But her speech is dignified and moving. We have tried to capture her level of diction in our translation which nowhere uses either an anachronistic term like “misogynistic” or the utterly vulgar and wildly inappropriate term “pig”. Quite shocking, really. It seems as if she is superimposing her own feelings on the poetry of the Adikavi. It has nothing to do with our translation.
For your information I am attaching a copy of our published translation of the relevant passage.
With all best wishes.
Dr R P Goldman
The following is the text that Prof Goldman has provided, and which Audrey Truschke is citing to defend her claim:
23. ‘‘Or, Sita, set your mind on Sugriva, lord of the monkeys, or on the raksasa lord Vibhisana, or on whomever you please.
24. ‘‘For surely, Sita, once Ravana had seen you, so enchanting with your heavenly beauty, he would not long have left you unmolested while you were dwelling in his house.’’
25. When Maithili, who deserved to hear only kind words, had heard those cruel words of her beloved after such a long time, she shed tears and trembled violently, like a vallari creeper struck down by the trunk of an elephant lord.
The end of the one hundred third sarga of the Yuddha Kanda of the Sri Ramayana.
Sarga 104
1. When Vaidehi was addressed in this cruel and horrifying manner by the furious Raghava, she was deeply wounded.
2. Hearing those cutting words of her husband – words such as she had never heard before – in the presence of that great multitude, Maithili was overcome with shame.
3. Pierced, as it were, by those verbal barbs, the daughter of Janaka seemed to shrink within herself and gave way to bitter tears.
4. Wiping her tear-stained face, she replied softly to her husband in a faltering voice:
5. ‘‘How can you, heroic prince, speak to me with such cutting and improper words, painful to the ears, as some vulgar man might speak to his vulgar wife?
 6. ‘‘I am not as you think of me, great-armed prince. You must believe in me, for I swear to you by my own virtue.
7. ‘‘You harbor suspicion against all women because of the conduct of the vulgar ones. If you really knew me, you would abandon your suspicion.
8. ‘‘If I came into contact with another’s body against my will, lord, I had no choice in this matter. It is fate that was to blame here. 
9. ‘‘My heart, which I do control, was always devoted to you. But I could not control my body, which was in the power of another. What could I have done?
10. ‘‘If, my love, you do not truly know me despite our long-nurtured love and intimacy, then surely I am lost forever.
11. ‘‘When you dispatched the hero Hanuman to search for me, why, heroic prince, did you not repudiate me then, while I was still being held in Lanka? 
12. ‘‘No sooner had I heard your words to that effect, heroic prince, than, abandoned by you, I would have abandoned my own life right before the eyes of that monkey lord. 
13. “Then you would not have had to risk your life in a useless effort nor would your allies have had to suffer hardship to no purpose. 
14. “But now, tiger among men, you have given way to anger like some lesser man, taking into account only that I am a woman. 
15. ‘‘Since my name is derived from Janaka, you failed to take into account the fact that I was born from the earth itself, nor, though you are an expert judge of conduct, have you given due consider- ation to my virtuous conduct. 
16. ‘‘Moreover, you do not weigh the fact that, as a boy, you firmly clasped my hand while I was but a child. My devotion, my virtuous conduct – you have turned your back on all of that.’’ 
17. “As she was speaking in this fashion, Sita turned, weeping, to Laksmana, who stood there, despondent and brooding. Then she spoke, her voice choked with tears. 
18. ‘‘Build me a pyre, Saumitri, the only remedy for this calamity. I cannot bear to live tainted by these false allegations. 
19. ‘‘Rejected in this public gathering by my husband, who is not satisfied with my virtues, I shall enter the fire, bearer of oblations, so that I may follow the only path proper for me.’’ 
20. “When Laksmana, slayer of enemy heroes, had been addressed in this fashion by Vaidehi, he was overcome with anger and closely studied Raghava’s face. 
21. “But, sensing Rama’s intentions, which were betrayed by his facial expression, mighty Saumitri, obedient to Rama’s wishes, built the pyre. 
22. “Then Vaidehi slowly and reverently circumambulated Rama, whose face was downcast, and approached the blazing fire, eater of oblations. 
23. “After making her obeisance to the gods and the brahmans, Maithili cupped her hands in reverence and, in the presence of Agni, said this: 
24. ‘‘Since my heart has never once strayed from Raghava, so may Agni, the purifier, witness of all the world, protect me in every way.’’ 
25. “When she had spoken in this fashion, Vaidehi reverently cir-cumambulated the fire, eater of oblations. Then, with complete detachment, she entered the blazing flames. 
26. “The vast crowd assembled there, filled with children and the aged, watched as Maithili entered the fire, eater of oblations. 
27. “As Sita entered the fire, a deafening and prodigious cry of ‘‘Alas! Alas!’’ arose from the raksasas and monkeys. 
The end of the one hundred fourth sarga of the Yuddha Kanda of the Sri Ramayana.
With those verses, translated by Prof. Robert Goldman, comes to an end his e-mail post. Many Hindu nationalists, including Swarajyamag, used Prof. Robert Goldman's e-mail post to conclude that Audrey Truschke was wrong in the conclusions she makes. Indeed, Goldman did not agree that Seetha used the terms "misogynist" and "pig", but neither did Audrey Truschke. Audrey Truschke said in the Twitter Post, "I am loosely translating here", and then in a later article she clarified that misogynist pig is a loose colloquial summary of Seetha's admonishment of Rama in the agnipariksha (see the first quote in this article for the source of this statement by Truschke). Venkat, who wrote to Prof. Robert Goldman, did not emphasize this, and hence did not correctly describe to Prof. Robert Goldman what Audrey Trushchke had actually said.

Furthermore, as someone who has read and admires Prof. Robert Goldman's work on the Valmiki Ramayana, it must be said that he likes to remain politically correct when he writes about the Ramayana. For instance, in a paper titled "Tracking the Elusive Ṛkṣa: The Tradition of Bears as Rama's Allies in Various Versions of the Rāmakathā", Prof. Robert Goldman had brilliantly argued that in Valmiki's Ramayana, there are only primates, not bears, and the sanskrit word rksha cannot be translated as "bear". Below is the abstract of his paper:
This paper is a must read for those that have a serious interest in the Valmiki Ramayana, as it breaks some common stereotypes regarding the rksha of the Valmiki Ramayana. What I am however interested in, with regards to this post, are the introductory paragraphs of his paper.

In the introductory paragraphs of his paper, we see a rather apologetic and politically correct Prof. Robert Goldman, who tries to portray himself as more humble, as opposed to arrogant, with respect to his portrayal of the rksha of the Valmiki Ramayana. He makes it very clear that his intention is not to hurt anyone's sentiments or to say that the traditional depiction of the rksha in the Valmiki Ramayana is absolutely wrong, despite the fact that the rest of the paper deals with debunking the common stereotype that the rksha of the Valmiki Ramayana are bears:
It is very important to keep this in mind when looking at Prof. Robert Goldman's e-mail post. He would, in no way, want to hurt the sentiments of the Hindus by adopting a colloquial translation where Seetha's speech calls out Rama as "a misogynist pig". He would rather prefer to remain politically correct in this matter, and adopt the literal translation of Valmiki's verses, as opposed to a colloquial one that hurts the collective Hindu sentiment.

Hence, if one wants to look at how truthful Audrey Truschke's claims are, we need to dig a bit deeper than the literal translation that Prof. Robert Goldman (and others) restrict themselves to, and that is what I intend to do in this post.

From reading Audrey Truschke's tweets, a couple things should become obvious. The first is that she does not mean that Seetha literally called Rama "a misogynist pig" and "uncouth". Rather, she is paraphrasing the essence of Seetha's speech, and repackaging it by giving it a modern touch. That is to say, she is saying that in essence, Seetha was accusing Rama of being a vulgar/uncivilized (uncouth) asshole (pig) who was treating her unfairly as she was a woman (misogynist). Of course, in today's unabashed speech, such an allegation would translate into an "uncouth, misogynist pig". Such colloquial translations were done much before Audrey Truschke's time as well, hence it is not that she is introducing anything new to the table. For example, the Kakawin (Indonesian) Ramayana is greatly influenced (at least up and until the end of the Sundara Kanda equivalent in the Kakawin Ramayana) by Valmiki's version. Last year, in 2017, I got an opportunity to read this version of the Ramayana, and one thing I noticed was that the vulgarity/abuse in heated conversations was much more in the Kakawin Ramayana, compared to the Valmiki Ramayana. For example, if you have time to read the Kakawin Ramayana, please do have a look at the Hanumana-Ravana debate that occurs when the former is captured and brought to Ravana's court by Indrajit, prior to the burning of Lanka. The sheer abuse and vulgarity in their debate makes it a very comic piece, and quite a treat to read, even though such unabashed abuse would not be directly present in Valmiki's Ramayana. Hence, such colloquial translations/interpretations of Valmiki's Ramayana have been going on much before Audrey Truschke's time. If Audrey Truschke uses a colloquial phrase summarizing Seetha's admonishment of Rama at the time of the agnipariksha, so that modern audiences can better connect to the epic characters, then I don't see what is wrong here.

The only real dispute that one can have here is whether or not Audrey Truschke's repackaged summary of Seetha's speech as calling Rama "a vulgar/uncivilized (uncouth) asshole (pig) who was treating her unfairly as she was a woman (misogynist)" has any basis in the Valmiki Ramayana. To do this, I will utilize Prof. Robert Goldman's translations (Critical Edition, Yuddha Kanda, Section 104):
1. When Vaidehi was addressed in this cruel and horrifying manner by the furious Raghava, she was deeply wounded.
2. Hearing those cutting words of her husband – words such as she had never heard before – in the presence of that great multitude, Maithili was overcome with shame.
3. Pierced, as it were, by those verbal barbs, the daughter of Janaka seemed to shrink within herself and gave way to bitter tears.
4. Wiping her tear-stained face, she replied softly to her husband in a faltering voice:
5. ‘‘How can you, heroic prince, speak to me with such cutting and improper words, painful to the ears, as some vulgar man might speak to his vulgar wife?
 6. ‘‘I am not as you think of me, great-armed prince. You must believe in me, for I swear to you by my own virtue.
7. ‘‘You harbor suspicion against all women because of the conduct of the vulgar ones. If you really knew me, you would abandon your suspicion.
8. ‘‘If I came into contact with another’s body against my will, lord, I had no choice in this matter. It is fate that was to blame here. 
9. ‘‘My heart, which I do control, was always devoted to you. But I could not control my body, which was in the power of another. What could I have done?
 10. ‘‘If, my love, you do not truly know me despite our long-nurtured love and intimacy, then surely I am lost forever.
11. ‘‘When you dispatched the hero Hanuman to search for me, why, heroic prince, did you not repudiate me then, while I was still being held in Lanka? 
12. ‘‘No sooner had I heard your words to that effect, heroic prince, than, abandoned by you, I would have abandoned my own life right before the eyes of that monkey lord. 
13. “Then you would not have had to risk your life in a useless effort nor would your allies have had to suffer hardship to no purpose. 
14. “But now, tiger among men, you have given way to anger like some lesser man, taking into account only that I am a woman. 
15. ‘‘Since my name is derived from Janaka, you failed to take into account the fact that I was born from the earth itself, nor, though you are an expert judge of conduct, have you given due consider- ation to my virtuous conduct. 
16. ‘‘Moreover, you do not weigh the fact that, as a boy, you firmly clasped my hand while I was but a child. My devotion, my virtuous conduct – you have turned your back on all of that.’’ 
17. “As she was speaking in this fashion, Sita turned, weeping, to Laksmana, who stood there, despondent and brooding. Then she spoke, her voice choked with tears. 
18. ‘‘Build me a pyre, Saumitri, the only remedy for this calamity. I cannot bear to live tainted by these false allegations. 
19. ‘‘Rejected in this public gathering by my husband, who is not satisfied with my virtues, I shall enter the fire, bearer of oblations, so that I may follow the only path proper for me.’’ 
20. “When Laksmana, slayer of enemy heroes, had been addressed in this fashion by Vaidehi, he was overcome with anger and closely studied Raghava’s face. 
21. “But, sensing Rama’s intentions, which were betrayed by his facial expression, mighty Saumitri, obedient to Rama’s wishes, built the pyre. 
22. “Then Vaidehi slowly and reverently circumambulated Rama, whose face was downcast, and approached the blazing fire, eater of oblations. 
23. “After making her obeisance to the gods and the brahmans, Maithili cupped her hands in reverence and, in the presence of Agni, said this: 
24. ‘‘Since my heart has never once strayed from Raghava, so may Agni, the purifier, witness of all the world, protect me in every way.’’ 
25. “When she had spoken in this fashion, Vaidehi reverently cir-cumambulated the fire, eater of oblations. Then, with complete detachment, she entered the blazing flames. 
26. “The vast crowd assembled there, filled with children and the aged, watched as Maithili entered the fire, eater of oblations. 
27. “As Sita entered the fire, a deafening and prodigious cry of ‘‘Alas! Alas!’’ arose from the raksasas and monkeys. 
Through such speech, Seetha rebukes Rama for his act of abandoning her, and his insensitivity towards her condition, in a very mild manner. It is not expected that she would go full out and abuse Rama, by directly calling him "a misogynist pig", as she was financially and emotionally dependent on him, him being her protector in the patriarchal society she lived in. In today’s time, women are beginning to enjoy financially independence, and hence can speak to their husbands using very direct, harsh words (such as directly calling them a "misogynist pig"), because speaking in such a manner would not have an impact on their survival, as they would still have resources to survive even in the absence of their husband. However, it was not the same situation back then, in Ramayana times. For this reason, Seetha had to choose her words carefully. She spoke to Rama in a semi-polite manner, so as to not anger him, yet get her sharp and piercing message across, to him. Based on the essence of her speech, however, we can reconstruct what she really meant to say and what she would have unabashedly said, had she not ben restricted by these financial barriers and societal norms of how a wife should speak to her husband...

Seetha initially starts her speech in verse 5 by accusing Rama of speaking like a vulgar man. In other words, she accuses him of lacking the couthness that separates a civilized person from the uncivilized, vulgar masses... She further builds on this uncouth nature of Rama by accusing him of speaking harsh/coarse/cruel/thorny words that are violent/dreadful/frightful to hear. I quoted the many translations of the words रूक्षं and दारुणम्, used in verse 5, to show that the verse spoken by Seetha unequivocally accuses Rama of  lacking couthness in his speech.
5. ‘‘How can you, heroic prince, speak to me with such cutting and improper words, painful to the ears, as some vulgar man might speak to his vulgar wife?
She sees Rama's speech very coarse, harsh, violent, and cruel, all of which characterize uncivilized speech. Seetha then, in verses 6-9, begs Rama to show some faith in her character. She explains the situation under which she was kidnapped and says that she was not at fault as whatever Ravana did to her was done forcibly and against her wishes. She then accuses Rama of stereotyping and assuming all women to be vulgar, based on the vulgarity of just a couple of women, in verse 7. This was a rather polite way, by Seetha, of pointing out the inner vulgarity in Rama (i.e. “a vulgar person is always focused on the vulgarity in others” kind of statement). She then ends the verse by saying since Rama is showing suspicion on her character, he does not even know her properly.
6. ‘‘I am not as you think of me, great-armed prince. You must believe in me, for I swear to you by my own virtue.
7. ‘‘You harbor suspicion against all women because of the conduct of the vulgar ones. If you really knew me, you would abandon your suspicion.
8. ‘‘If I came into contact with another’s body against my will, lord, I had no choice in this matter. It is fate that was to blame here. 
9. ‘‘My heart, which I do control, was always devoted to you. But I could not control my body, which was in the power of another. What could I have done?
Seetha subsequently pleads Rama to look at her emotional purity instead of her physical purity, in verses 9 and 10. However, seeing no response from Rama, she gets somewhat frustrated, and towards the end of verse 10, taunts Rama by calling him so ignorant that that despite them both living together for so long, he could not realize her emotional purity, that is, how much she loved him, and instead remained fixated on the less important physical purity aspect.
9. ‘‘My heart, which I do control, was always devoted to you. But I could not control my body, which was in the power of another. What could I have done?
 10. ‘‘If, my love, you do not truly know me despite our long-nurtured love and intimacy, then surely I am lost forever.
In modern terms, such a man, ignoring a female’s love for him and her emotional purity, and only looking at whether she is physically chaste, would be called an asshole or a male chauvinist pig. Seetha's above accusations at Rama, when colloquially summarized, can therefore be said to be accusations that her husband is an asshole and a male chauvinist pig.

Seetha then continues to get more and more frustrated due to Rama’s indifference towards her, and then asks Rama, in verses 11-13, why he did not send the message that he had abandoned her, through Hanumana, when Hanumana was sent to search for her in Lanka. She reasons that upon hearing this message, she would have committed suicide in the presence of Hanumana, and hence, there would have been no need for Rama or his allies to risk their lives in war with Ravana.
11. ‘‘When you dispatched the hero Hanuman to search for me, why, heroic prince, did you not repudiate me then, while I was still being held in Lanka? 
12. ‘‘No sooner had I heard your words to that effect, heroic prince, than, abandoned by you, I would have abandoned my own life right before the eyes of that monkey lord. 
13. “Then you would not have had to risk your life in a useless effort nor would your allies have had to suffer hardship to no purpose.
It is noteworthy that Seetha still asks this question to Rama, in spite of the fact that Rama had addressed this very same point in his speech, earlier on, in Yuddha Kanda Section 103 of the Critical Edition. In that section, he essentially said that he had waged war against Ravana to reassert his manliness that had been attacked when Ravana had kidnapped his wife. Rama's speech implies that he would have invaded Lanka, regardless of whether or not Seetha was alive, to show the world that he was still very manly... Seetha, however, in her frustration and extreme anguish, ignores Rama's words, and continues to make the same point that Rama had earlier addressed.

This frustration starts to become more unabashed by verse 14, and as a result, Seetha then tells Rama, in a very direct manner, that he is behaving like a "lesser man", and that he is discriminating against her only because she is a woman (i.e. the equivalent of "you are an asshole, and are behaving like a misogynist").
14. “But now, tiger among men, you have given way to anger like some lesser man, taking into account only that I am a woman. 
It therefore seems that the allegations made on Rama, in Seetha's speech, very clearly suggest that she was describing him as what we would call, in modern times, “an uncouth, misogynist pig/asshole”, and hence Audrey Truschke's colloquial interpretation of Seetha's speech is spot on! Some people may find what she said as very uncomfortable, as she abandoned the etiquette and grace in which Seetha spoke, and instead conveyed the bare, naked essence of Seetha's speech. As far as Audrey Truschke's claims that "during the golden deer incident, Sita accuses Lakshmana of lusting after her and setting up Rama" are concerned, they are also very true, and are mentioned in Aranya Kanda Section 45 in the non-Critical Versions (and Aranya Kanda Section 43 in the Critical Edition). This has been explained in depth by me, in a previous post from December 2017, titled "Seetha's Kidnap and the Associated Sexuality Politics".

In conclusion, I appreciate Audrey Truschke for the courage, boldness and lack of political correctness that she has shown, in talking about Seetha's speech and the associated criticism that Seetha made of Rama. I do not see any reason for her to apologize for what she has said.

Now, prior to this smear campaign against Audrey Truschke by the crowds of Hindu nationalists, I had never heard about Truschke. Doing a little bit of searching, it seems that Audrey Truschke is well known for her books on Aurangzeb. I never really had a positive opinion of Aurangzeb, but maybe after reading her books, it might change. Through the (Hindutva) criticism of scholarly work that the these Hindutva proponents find as "Hinduphobic", I get to learn more and more about interesting work produced by academics, and for that, I must thank these Hindu nationalists. After all, it is only through Rajiv Malhotra that I first heard of the name, Wendy Doniger. Without his propaganda and popularity, I may have perhaps never known of such a fine scholar of Hinduism!

Well, that is it from the content part of my side, today! I will end this piece with a light hearted joke...

(Please, Hindutva Vadis, don't brand me as Hinduphobic for this!)

Hyderabad: Case filed against journalist for Facebook cartoon that ‘insults’ sentiments of Hindus

[Image Source: Scroll Article]

15 comments:

  1. And yet still no post of "Who killed Karna?"

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. As I earlier said, I am still working on it. It will take some time to complete it, and it is going to be a long post...

      Delete
  2. Milin, I agree with your analysis.

    When Sita says that she was helpless during the kidnapping, because her body/limbs were under the sway/control of Ravan, it gives an impression that Ravan forcibly raped her or kidnapped her. But, it has been discussed on this blog previously that Ravan did not rape any woman or force himself on any woman.

    So, what Sita was trying to say to Ram - she couldn't control her lust/passion for Ravan, but the attraction was just at the physical level. At the level of the heart, she loved Ram.

    She said this confidently to Ram in front of everybody. It was a time when feeling naturally attracted to a handsome man or a beautiful woman, and then trying to satisfy the wish, was not considered immoral.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Thank you Rohit. But I don't think that Seetha was saying that she could not control her passion for Ravana. She wanted to return to Rama, as Ravana was dead, and Rama was her only option left. Rama refused to accept her, one of his reasons being that she had sex with Ravana. Had Seetha said that she could not control her passion for Ravana, Rama would have never accepted her back (considering how possessive Rama was for her). So, she told Rama that Ravana raped her and what happened was non-consensual... and that he (Rama) should focus on her emotional purity, instead of her physical purity. She could not have said that Ravana did not rape her, as the details of her kidnap were not a secret. We have cross references by Hanumana, Mandodari and Sampati that she had sex with Ravana, so had she outright said that she did not have sex with Ravana, she would have appeared as a liar, and Rama would not have accepted her back at all costs.

      Of course, we know that the "kidnap" and sex was consensual, but she could not have said that to Rama, otherwise her overly possessive husband would have never accepted her back...

      That is my perspective on this matter...

      Delete
    2. Thanks for the reply. I completely agree with you. Your perspective is correct. Sita lied to Ram.

      If you have time, can you please briefly post in a comment about the cross references by Hanuman, Mandodari, and Sampati?

      Thanks.

      Delete
    3. Rohit,

      In Ravana's Sabha, Hanumana says:

      रामेण हि प्रतिज्ञातं हर्यृक्षगणसन्निधौ।।5.51.32।।
      उत्सादनममित्राणां सीता यैस्तु प्रधर्षिता।

      "Rama made a vow in the presence of bears and vanaras that he would exterminate the arrogant enemy troops by whom Sita is abducted and assaulted.

      [The sanskrit word used here is प्रधर्षिता. Its stem, धर्षिता, refers to rape/copulation. The translator translates it as assault over here]

      After Ravana's death, Mandodari laments and says:

      अरुन्धत्या विशिष्टान् तान् रोहिण्याश्चापि दुर्मते |
      सीतान् धर्षयता मान्यां त्वया ह्यसदृशं कृतम् || ६-१११-२३

      "O the foolish one! An unworthy act was indeed done by you, in raping Seetha, who was more distinguished and more respectable than Arundhati (wife of sage Vasishta) and Rohini (the principal spouse of moon-god)."

      [The sanskrit word used here is धर्षयता, which very clearly means rape]

      तदैव यन्न दग्धस्त्वं धर्षयंस्तनुमध्यमाम् || ६-१११-२६
      देवा बिभ्यत ते सर्वे सेन्द्राः साग्निपुरोगमाः |

      "It is because, the gods together with Indra the ruler of gods including those headed by the fire-god fear you, that you were not consumed even while you were raping Seetha, the slender-waisted woman."

      [The sanskrit word used here is धर्षयं, which once again means rape]

      Sampati tells the Vanaras:

      तरुणी रूपसम्पन्ना सर्वाभरणभूषिता।
      ह्रियमाणा मया दृष्टा रावणेन दुरात्मना।।4.58.15।।
      क्रोशन्ती राम रामेति लक्ष्मणेति च भामिनी।
      भूषणान्यपविध्यन्ती गात्राणि च विधुन्वती।।4.58.16।।

      'I saw a young lady of beautiful appearance, adorned with all kinds of ornaments borne away by the evil minded Ravana. That passionate lady was calling out, 'O Rama, O Lakshmana' and was crying aloud. She was throwing away her ornaments and was moving her limbs in a "to and fro" fashion.

      [In the above the verse, emphasis is placed by Sampati on the beauty of Seetha. She is also addressed as "bhamini", meaning a passionate woman. The word "vidhunati" was used to describe Seetha's actions, with respect to her limbs (gatrani). Vidhunati has a wide range of meaning, and refers to a state of being afflicted/shaken/harassed, as well as the "to and fro" motion that characterizes sexual intercourse. I therefore see Seetha as being described as afflicted/shaken by the "to and fro motion" of her limbs, that she experienced in the sexual intercourse (with Ravana). So this reference by Sampati also talks about Ravana having sex with Seetha, although in a more graphic manner...]

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    4. Thanks Milin.

      It is painful to read all this about Ramayan, Ravan was one lucky dude !

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    5. Rohit, yeah Ravana was quite lucky. He had a brilliant military career, lived a luxurious life, and had the best women in his harem. Even though he was killed before he could have a natural death, he had an awesome life prior to being killed... and when he was killed, he fought single handedly against a vast army of Vanaras and Rama (in a group attack), such that Rama's self confidence was completely shattered and Rama needed Agastya's motivation in the battlefield to regain his confidence and fight Ravana till his end...

      Indeed, Ravana was a very lucky, and talented dude!

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  3. One question arose in my mind is that from when did the vibhishana stopped being the king of lanka?

    In the Yuddha Kanda of ramayan after Ravana's death Vibhishana is coronated as the king of Lanka:

    Hearing the words of the great soled Rama, Lakshmana replied, 'so it be' and rejoicingly procured a golden pot. That mighty Lakshmana, then placing that pot in the hands of the monkey-chiefs, instructed them, who were as swift as thought, to bring sea-water. Thereupon, those excellent monkeys, with the swiftness of thought, moving very quickly from that place, returned, having obtained the water from the sea. Thereupon, Lakshmana together with his friends, taking one pot and making Vibhishana sit on the throne, sprinkled him with sea-water from that pot in accordance with the rule prescribed in Vedic scriptures, while the demons were witnessing the ceremony, to make him the king for Lanka, as directed by Rama. Then, all the demons, as well as the monkeys, consecrated Vibhishana.

    In Uttara Kanda of Ramayana describes how Rama blessed Vibhishana with immortality right before Rama departed the Earth:

    He then said to Vibhishana the king of Rakshasas: As long as people shall breathe, O Vibhishana, O highly powerful lord of Rakshasas, thou shalt preserve thy body in Lanka.

    the Nagara Kanda of the Skanda Puranas describes how when Rama's son Kusha was ruling Ayodhya, he sent a message to Vibhishana to keep the Rakshasas from coming into India and creating havoc. So Vibhishana was still ruling Lanka during Kusha's reign. And going to even more recent times, Vibhishana was still ruling Lanka during the time of Yudhishthira's Rajasuya Yagna, as described in this chapter of the Sabha Parva of the Mahabharata:

    And, O king of kings, that slayer of all foes, the virtuous and intelligent son of Madri having arrived at the sea-shore, then despatched with great assurance messengers unto the illustrious Vibhishana, the grandson of Pulastya. And the monarch willingly accepted the sway of the son of Pandu, for that intelligent and exalted king regarded it all as the act of Time. And he sent unto the son of Pandu diverse kinds of jewels and gems, and sandal and also wood, and many celestial ornaments, and much costly apparel, and many valuable pearls. And the intelligent Sahadeva, accepting them all, returned to his own kingdom.

    So even during the Mahabharata period, Vibhishana was still ruling Lanka. So what changed between then and now?Do any scriptures describe Vibhishana handing the throne to one of his sons?Do any ancient Indian writers living in the Kali Yuga state that Vibhishana was still ruling Lanka in their time?

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    1. Harnaman, I have not come across Vibhishana giving the kingdom to his sons. But by Mahabharatha time, he was probably very old, and his sons likely ruled after him.

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  4. Milin, man, you need to stop posting about Ramayan !!!
    After reading your blog articles for so long, I have fallen in love with Sita, and I am truly lovesick. It is becoming torturous to read this blog.

    But, seriously, kudos to you man, for bringing the reality of the Ramayan to light.

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  5. What are your opinions on this blog post? https://logicastra.blogspot.com/2017/02/debunking-several-misconceptions.html? And have you sent it to Shantam Sharma yet? If not then send it to him, and tell him i have updated it severely.

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    1. I will read it and show it to Shantam. By the way, has your Quora account been banned? And are you joining facebook again?

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    2. Why are you asking these two questions? And also i made another post on my blog, it's about all the incidents in the war where the ape is mentioned on Arjuna's flag, to analyze whether it was Hanuman or not. From Bhishma parva to Drona Parva to Karna Parva and even Shalya Parva. https://logicastra.blogspot.com/2018/05/the-ape-on-arjunas-chariot-hanuman-in.html

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