It was just yesterday when Mr. C sent a yahoo link titled Hearing Sita’s silence, written by one Mr. Devdutt Pattanaik, and I have gone all rapt. The author writes about Ram, Krishna, Draupadi & Sita, and the different ways through which each of them uphold dharma.
The post is an absolute beauty, and a definite food for thought. On the material (artistic) side, I am enthralled by the author’s proficiency in mythology, and I turn wistful: if I could be as adept some day! On the spiritual side, I am marveling at His intricate design of ‘Dharma and Karma Theory’, and I turn wishful: of the very same ‘someday’, when I would do my bit to His mission.
I liked how the author chose the right words to say, “Thus Vishnu is prescribing a system and at the same time warning one against it” using his examples of Ram & Shyam, “His focus is not tangible action that can be misunderstood, as in case of Ram, but of intangible intention.”
I liked how the author didn’t superficially speak just about his perception of what Sita stood for, and close the story, but how he went into the very roots of why people did, what they did, by encapsulating the Hindutva: “Hindu philosophy is all about outgrowing the animal within us. We can civilize the world around, but dharma is about civilizing the beast within, that predatory instinct that makes humans territorial and dominating”
I liked how he opened it with the one common question that all Indian girls are subjected to answer: “I once asked my sister if, given a choice, she would marry Ram or Krishna. Her reply was predictable: “Krishna, of course!””
A similar answer to what I had written in one of my FB notes: ‘Peek-a-boo with Mr. God’.
“But he would not be faithful to you, I warned her, reminding her about Radha and Satyabhama and Rukmini.”
The author possibly takes a decided turn after the above line to focus on Ram, and thereby Sita, but I wished the author did clear out the air of what he said about Krishna, for it has become sort of a ritual to raise a brow, if not indict Krishna and His ways with the women folk. I don’t think that’s how the author meant it to be, but I will, for my satisfaction, complete what I think he probably left unsaid.
Krishna, unlike Ram, descended as a Poorna avtar, and so exhibiting absolute, unsullied love to all creation is like a prima facie for that incarnation. The word ‘faithful’ seems not just out of context, but a blasphemy to the concept of love itself, if one dares raise a question. He saw Himself in everything and everyone, not just Gopis, as is manipulated, but even the Gopalas. It’s like abhorring a mother, who loves all her kids equally. Even if one goes to the specifics: Satyabhama & Rukmini are the manifestations of the one ‘Devi’ principle, while Radha simply personifies devotion, and how devotion can/how love can transcend one to the level of Godhood. All in all it’s just about the oneness state.
Mother Radha herself has overtly stated as to how unjust it seemed to her to want Krishna all for herself, for He is not one to be contained, or possessed. He is to be experienced like love, for He is love. And that love is an open ticket.
Coming back to Devdutt’s words, I also liked how he dished out honest facts, things as they are, without any seasoning, flavoring, or blanching. “Culture, by default, is not fair. It feeds on nature, destroying ecosystems to nourish itself. Cultural delusion prevents us from recognizing this truth. No matter how hard we try, every society will have rules, and rules will create a hierarchy, and hierarchy will have its oppressor and its oppressed. To imagine a society without this hierarchy is like imagining a forest without a pecking order or a food chain.” Isn’t that what evolution is all about: growing, learning – first apart, then together – then finally apart, while the togetherness still remains.
The author reminds us how world is such a beautiful maze, which at our level might seem all haphazard and messy, but with Him designing it, one can bet its a wonderful tapestry.
I was impressed especially with his lines about Mother Sita: “She observes how people judge her silence as weakness, not the patient and affectionate acceptance of people’s shortcomings that stems from her confidence that they need her, while she does not really need them.” I really didn’t see that one coming, but am amazed with what he said, and am so looking forward for his book on ‘Sita’ that is getting released soon.
“Sita reveals that actions can be provoked not just by desires or rules, but also by affection.”
That’s how much I would like to dissect mythology too, absorb every bit of what each character stood for, and what it could teach me. I mean, reading a one page gist of our epics gives me goose bumps, so forget describing what sort of transcendental, idyllic feel it would give one when they delve deep into the grand scheme of things. Wah! That indeed sounds ‘grand’ to me.
And as I read the words – “Brahma struggles to create a perfect society but eventually succumbs to his animal side, provoking Shiva, who destroys his creation. Between the creator and destroyer stands the preserver, Vishnu, as Ram and Krishna – upholding and breaking rules, fighting wars with Ravana and Duryodhana, hoping that people realize that if they act too smart, disrespect Sita and Draupadi, fail to recognize the power of nature represented by the female characters of Hindu mythology, the demure Goddess will turn into Kali, spread out her tongue and consume the world whole.” – a tear gets flushed down, for I see Mr. God’s arduous and ardent ways of upkeep to make all this myriad complexities in the wide universe, a home for each of us, not just you, me and the next door neighbor, but even to the millipede that visits our backyard, or the crow that caws its way into our everyday reverie.
As I get set to hit the sack, am in awe with life, and in love with Mr. God, all over again.
And as for what I said in my FB post –
“I have always been a huge Krishna fan, and I don’t know why. I mean Ram is this super ideal guy with the oneness vow, while Krishna was parading the streets writing His own dharma. Still if I get to choose between meeting Ram or Krishna, I would choose my blue boy.”
Let me re-affirm, that’s where I stand even today, not for anything, but I too go by what Chitra Banarjee said in her book ‘ The palace of illusions’: “Bheesma thought too deeply of the laws of the men. It paralyzed him. He wasn’t sure whether you were already Durodhan’s property – in which case he had no right to intervene. But sometimes one has to drop logic and go with the instinct of the heart even if it contradicts law”. And that’s what my Krishna did… To you honey bun, and to the same you in Ram, Allah, Mahaveer, Jesus, Buddha… And to the same you in each of us in the wide, wide world… To loving, living, and learning!
- Book Review: Sita (dnaindia.com)
- A Little Song for ‘Krishna’, Coming Up Again In Me Today (labofevolution.wordpress.com)