Sunday, January 8, 2012

Progress of Rama

In this blog, we see there is a transition from Dutiful Rama->thoughtful->scientific and morally correct Rama which is essentially the progress of society, humanity and thus universe.

Ramayana is one epic which is rewritten by many Greats belonging to different times, here i try to discuss with you 2 authors along side original specifically concentrated on a UttarakhaNda story about shambooka a shudra tapaswi/muni. The part of Ramayana after victory over Ravana/ "Rama's later life" is the UttarakhaNda, some of the stories appearing in original have forced authors to question and do a reconstruction.

Let’s see how each of the below author 's have seen this story in their plays and modifications adapted with passing time...
a) valmiki [Ramayana, Uttara khanda, sanskrit ] b) Bhavabhuti [ Uttararamacharitha,8th century, sanskrit] c) kuvempu writes play "Shudra tapaswi" [ kannada, 20th century]. Read the table in order (original,bhavabhuti, kuvempu) to appreciate the transition

Original story (*passed under) in the name of Valmiki Bhavabuthi renders the heart of real Rama who is thoughtful Kuvempu gives a meaningful reconstruction to shambooka episode
-) This incident takes place after abandoning of seeta by rama.
-) Worried aged vehement Brahmin brings his dead son To rama's palace and accuses him of a dosha, a reason for his son's  premature death.
-) while Rama is discussing this issue with ministers, Narada appears and concludes adharma has happened in his kingdom, because a shudra is performing penance[Tapas] permissible only for the higher castes.
-) Rama goes down south to dandaka, finds Shambooka asks his caste[varna],by the time he completes uttering "shudra' Rama removes the sword strikes his head and  kills him.
-) All the Gods and Goddesses witnessing this dutiful act of Rama,  praise and shower flower on Rama
-) Story is almost same as original but at the end moment when Rama has to go to panchavati to kill the shudra muni in discharge of his duty, outward calm is maintained but while killing feels great pain in his heart knowing it is wrong, he does it just to satisfy the Shasta’s and his people , just as he abandoned seeta for the sake of satisfying his people.
This glimpse into the mind of Rama is a staggering revelation. It shows Rama is not only Dutiful but at the same time thoughtful and worried if he is doing right thing. Still Shambooka loses his life
-) Rama becomes a true advaitist here and asks what is wrong if shudra practices
penance, Brahmin gets into the argument with Rama citing Shastras which say shudra cannot perform penance.
-) Rama says listen to your heart, why we ought to refer to Shastras, all humans are equal.
-) But Still Rama has to be dutiful, so he tries a brahmastra, but pious effect of shambookas penance calms the bramhastra.
-) Brahmastra changes direction & starts following the Brahmin, Brahmin runs for his life and says Hey Rama i agree with you for doing good deeds there is no need of shastric approval we need to be thoughtful and logical.

(Ending in Kuvempu's shudra tapaswi: Rama seeing the transformed Brahmin nullifies the bramhastra. Father, child, shambooka non face death. Greatness is Brahmin undergoes a realisation, nobody dies and all is well.)

Transition of Rama:  Dutiful -> Thoughtful ->  (Dutiful, Thouhtful, scientific and moral)

Rama is becoming Rama [ Last chapter of Ramayana is yet to be written, more we learn, more Rama becomes the Rama ].
Thus Bhavabhuti to some extent, and Kuvempu have introduced bold innovation and recreated Ramakatha in a new form transforming it into a moving human story. With such stands Modern writers like tagore, kuvempu etc stand tall.

Later Propoganada Insertion
  Many conclude that stories such as Ekalavya, shambooka, abandoning seeta etc are a result of later additions to the original Ramayana and are passed under the name of Valmiki inorder to tag shastras as supreme and society needs to adhere to shastras by looking down lower caste people not allowing them to study, do penance etc.... So conscious efforts are made be later authors time and again.  We have to correct ourselves and go forward.

Further Links

Courtesy: To all those authors whom i have referred to write this article.


  1. अथ नवमोऽध्यायः | राजविद्याराजगुह्ययोगः श्रीभगवानुवाच |
    मां हि पार्थ व्यपाश्रित्य येऽपि स्युः पापयोनयः | स्त्रियो वैश्यास्तथा शूद्रास्तेऽपि यान्ति परां गतिम् ||९- ३२||


    Anybody, including women, merchants, laborers, and the evil-minded
    can attain the supreme goal by just surrendering unto My will (with
    loving devotion), O Arjuna. (9.32)

  2. Alas poor Man Valmiki was not aware of this truth.

  3. This is the irony in Hinduism for that matter in any religion, one set of people decoded truth at highest level and rendered it to humanity but at the same time other set of selfish people recoded the truth according to their advantage. Exactly for the same reason thoughtful,watchful people, people with tremendous insight to history,philosophy have questioned and condemned recoded truth but appreciated the decoded truth. This is the duality surrounding us, one who understands this can go ahead and reveal the other facets of truth and reemphasise in a ratinal way the famous hindu quote "ekas sath vipra bahuda vadanti".