Sunday, April 17, 2011

The political genius of Sri Rama - Part 2

The political genius of Sri Rama - Part 2: "

Continued from part 1

Journey of Sri Raama during his exile

So, when he is 18-19, the drama in his life starts to unfold. Somehow, there are no pregnancies described in any of the brother's life in these years. What happened? why did rama-sita delayed the pregnancy till age of 42-43? all four brothers show similar behaviour. After exile, it is understandable, who will take care of young ones in forest. But what about earlier? Fear of Parashurama's return?

Kaikeyi, who is otherwise the most sensible woman in the epic, behaves the way she behaves and Rama is exiled. Kaikeyi was the most beautiful, smart and brave of all dasharatha's queens. She used to accompany dasharatha on wars. She hailed from Kaikeya kingdom in northern Punjab (today's Islamabad/takshashila). Her character development shows that she was extremely thoughtful and balanced woman and loved Rama more than Bharat. She falling to CT by a lowly servant-maid seems to be a bit of anomaly. yet, this is what it is.

Was Rama chosen to reestablish the hold of kshatriyas over central India which was loosened due to Parashurama? While Rama is nearing Chitrakoot, Indra hastily leaves the ashrama of Sharabhanga Rishi saying rama is on way and he shall meet him only after 'the work is done'. What is this 'job' that Indra refers to?

Why central India? The Sahastraarjuna was king in central Indian province of Nimad and Malwa. His capital was city of Mahishmati (modern day maheshwar which was also capital of Holkar faction of Marathas). He is described as very powerful king who had defeated Ravana and rakshasas. With time, he grew arrogant, and killed Parashurama's father and became autocratic. Whole bunch of Kshatriyas became like him and hence Parashurama did, what he did. Although Kshatriyas mellowed down considerably after chastising actions of Parashurama, the hold of north Indian power centres lost on central India.

Now, I use the word 'north Indian power centres' with extreme caution. There was some sort of competition between power centres of Kaveri basin and rest of India. Rakshasas were constantly trying to expand northwards. While they too were Vedic people (Ravana was a well versed Brahmin and a devotee of mahadeva), the political reasons between their fallout is difficult to ascertain.

1. Ravana was a brahmin and not a kshatriya, hence it was illegal of him to become king. But then the system then was based on guna-karma and not birth. Although Ravana was of brahmin lineage, he had chosen to be kshatriya by profession, just like a kshatriya vishwamitra chose to become a brahmin.

2. Was Ravan Adharmik, yes. Was Rakshasa system adharmik? yes. simply because they wanted to control everything. There is a tendency of establishing monopoly in adharmik systems which makes them adharmik and hence necessarily expansionist. Furthermore, they expand by means of hard power, as opposed to soft-power of dharmik expansion (as implied in Krinvanto Vishwam aryam).

But given all this, did Raama's job description include dealing with Rakshasas? no.. not at all. He was not supposed to defeat Ravana.

Continued to Part 3..