Monday, October 22, 2007

A time to forgive,a time to be forgiven...

Foremost, this writing is in no way meant to hurt any religious sentiments.

A Google Search has affirmed my belief that Dussehtra is celebrated to mark the triumph of Good over evil. Lord Rama was asked to go on exile because his stepmother, Queen Kaikeyee was tricked into asking King Dasaratha to exile him for 14 years. Lord Rama's wife Sita, and his brother Lakshmana went with him willingly.News of Lord Rama staying at an ashram while on exile spread rapidly. A demon, Shoorpanakha found her way there and demanded that Lord Rama or Lakshmana marry her. When both brothers rejected her, she threatened to kill Sita, so that Lord Rama would then be single again. Lakshmana then cut off her ears and nose.Shoorpanakha's brother was the demon King Ravana. Ravana was incensed to hear what happened to his sister, and kidnapped Sita to avenge the insult..And so, to mark this legendary victory, every year effigies of Ravana, Kumbhakaran and Meghanad are stuffed with firecrackers and set alight.
This epic of a tale is played every year in the form of a Ramlila.
My reservation is that why couldn’t Lord Ram pardon King Ravanna. Why is this ghastly, murderous tale played over and over again every year? So King Ravanna made a mistake by abducting Sita and he was killed. Done, point taken, story over, thank you very much. No sin is so grave that it doesn’t deserve salvation. Imagine your idol being burnt every year for centuries in the form of a “celebration” in lieu of a mistake you made and were killed for. Infact, I believe that if the hands of God kill you, you’ve undergone deliverance. Why not the same for King Ravanna? And Ravanna was a king, the Lord of the Demons, if Sita-Queen of Ayodhya’s return to her kingdom can be celebrated like a festival, then a Lord’s demise deserves some respect too. I don’t believe Lord Ram left any such word stating that this cruel practice should be carried out for centuries, and even if he did, it’s high time-let us forgive!
I believe God will be more pleased with us!


dee said...

That is a perspective I would have never seen... Very Interesting!!

~~Swing said...

hii miss J,
i have come across the same discussion a few time back,, and what our muthology and religion teaches us is not exactly what we follow and what we are supposed to.
so the burning od lord Ravan is a symbol of burning of the evil spirits within us.
Evil has to stay evil always and its the pleasure of the evil spirit if human race deliberately chooses to burn out the evil spirits and feel proud of the good ...
Yes you are right that by getting killed by Lord Rama , Ravana must have gone to heaven or so...and it was a pleasure of Ravana to get that kind of death.
The religion is full of symbologies and Ravana while dying..recited 'Shri Rama' as his last words..clearly symbolizing that the ego(Symbolized as Ravana) has got its end only by following the religious path(by god's hand)
and has to finally surrender herself in front of God.
If we burn the effigy of lord ravana every year it is to remind us that the egoistic nature has to face this end..and we have a chance to improve ourselves..every year.
And now the question--why didn't Lord Ravana forgive Ravana..??
We in this world and thsi ira are incapable of feeling and understanding the reasons, the spirit and the trend of actions they used to this ira is far far away from those times..
we can't even think of what they used to follow religiously.
So, there must have been some justified reason that He had to kill Lord Ravana and the natural powers supported it.
If you have seen ramayana you will realise that Ravana was responsible for the death of so many innocent citizens of his empire because of the war...Ravana without listening to the guidance of his elder gurus and his own wife...decided not to return sita to ravana..all because of his ego.

God has alays the option to forgive any demon..anytime...just the required condition is ..the faith and surrender to loose one's ego..!!

what say!! ;)

abynav said...

First of all, J i am glad that you have put forward a very unique perspective on this yearly drama thats carried out with a great fanfare.

see mass hysteria is good for the public as it brings them closer and gives them something to look forward to.and its especially true with the lower strata of the society. believe you me, when i say that 90% of the people who gather up to watch this great facade are from the segment of society i have just mentioned.

but the point about salvation that you mentioned is where the creme' of the discussion lies. see, its pointless to burn effigies again and again, throughout centuries, blindly, without giving a thought as to whether this drama should unfold or not.

i am firmly of the opinion that no criminal is worse than its crime. if a crime can be forgotten about, why not the criminal. see now, out of the 90% segment i had mentioned, only 10% would be aware of the actual crime which took place like a zillion years ago.

so in short, the point you made is very relevant and we should ostracise the public for the same.

may better sense prevail !

amen !

Vinni said...

well, what you say may be true in many ways. But burning an effigy for long has been a show of our solidarity (whether it exists or not is not being questioned).

the same goes for many festivals like ganesh chaturthi, durga puja and so on. we express our solidarity and a single belief.
I personally dont find anything wrong in burning an effigy. Its legeng, myth or folklore (or whatever you'd like to call it) and its best kept alive.

I spoke to you last night... said...

With all due respect to everyone here, theres no point in looking for shades of grey in a world that exists (more often than not) in black and white. No one can live without having certain constants, good and evil included. Duality and perceptions aside, there are things that are EVIL plain and simple. Everyone thats born already has a good idea of whats "good" and whats "evil". I fail to see why people feel this desperate need to follow a hollow and needless "belief system" in order to validate the obvious. Do i really need a holy book/effigy/psalm etc to tell me not to lie, or never harm a child? Religion is , has been and always will be a tool. A misused one, albiet, but a tool nonetheless. Nothing more.

The notion of one mans meat being another's poison can only take you so far. What Im saying is that there are certain universal "values" (for lack of a better word) that you cannot deviate from. You cant tell me there is another way to look at a paedophile, or a rapist or a serial killer for that matter. These acts are evil. Anyone who thinks otherwise ought to seek professional help (btw this is not a personal affront to anyone so please dont take it as such). Society, upbringing and conditioning have their part ofcourse but the fundamentals of good and evil exist. A child that hasnt even worked out the nuances of speech still knows it isnt right to go around "hurting" things. We can’t equate ourselves to animals, an unfair analogy to say the least. Man is what he is because he is (supposedly) a thinking being. A rational being. Nature doesnt understand cruelty. Nature simply IS.

Whats to keep you from harming a child? Do you honestly believe its society? Or the fact that mommy says its a baaad thing?! Come now, even tribal cultures that we wouldnt even call "civilized" wouldnt do something like that. Our species is "connected" in ways that I for one find humbling. Religion serves only to disconnect us. But regardless of how a child was brought up and what it was told whilst it was growing up, the first time the child did something "wrong" his/her senses would have rebelled. It would have questioned. Sure society or whatever quashed those questions till the point that its very memory was erased but thats precisely the point isnt it?

And heck, why go as far back as the Primitive/Mythological Ages, just look at apartheid or the holocaust. Now consider this: wouldnt a white child at least ask "why?" when it was told by his parents that the black kid across the street was an animal? Where did that come from? Even the fuhrer following 19 yr old recruit in nazi germany would have hesitated the first time he heard that all jews were "vermin". Conditioning is a powerful thing, but so is inherent human conscience. Your entitled to your opinion of course, disagreeing is a prerogative we all have. Some things are just "hard wired" into our system. Its as natural as biological functions. Call it instinct if the word "conscience" makes you uncomfortable. (Theres actually a term for it, one that for the life of me I cant recall now. "Racial memory" perhaps?) Take every childs fear of the dark, or something loud, or a billion other things. No one "teaches" them any of this.

So let me summarize what I wrote for the sake of ‘superficial readers’:

Burn ‘em till the end of time. Not because our religion says they’re supposed to be treated that way, BUT because they’re evil. Plain and fucking simple.

Anonymous said...

Dear Jasmine,

The thought is new and really encouraging. But, there are certain traditions / rituals necessary to be passed on to the coming generations. How many of us do really read Ramayana or Mahabharatha...i hope very few. What we see / hear is what we remember or percieve. Imagine urself and ur family (with a kid) being watching the Ravanna efigy burnt in a large ground. Now the but obvoius question from the minors will be why is it so?.
You would explain him is that it is the victory of good over evil ( as u have mentioned a nutshell) and dare not explain him the whole of Ramayana.
So this creates a impression in the minors brain that he should do good things and not evil things as doing bad will lead to downfall.
In a nutshell certain things should be communicated to the coming generation and this is one of the thing ie. Ravana efigy being burnt.


AD (Fellow chemical engineer)

MoonStone said...

AHHHH!!! ... This is painful... I mean really, this is pure sham... I am not bashing you or your thoughts or anything, but I certainly am showing resent because of the fact that
a) you have written some views about things that you obviously don't know a great deal about and
b) out of the people who have commented here, most of them have just nodded in agreement ... mostly likely since you are a girl...

There are some intelligent points in the comments as well.... but I think the point that went unanswered is this
why couldn’t Lord Ram pardon King Ravanna??

Lord Ram is known as Maryada Purushottam and that is for some reason.. right?? yes...

Ravan was given the time and option to return Sitaji... he refused again and again... once when Lord Hanuman went as a messenger... then again when Prince Angad went...

you know there were reasons to kill Ravan... and the abduction of Sitaji was not the only one...

And no ... you haven't hurt my religious sentiments ... I am not a religious person anyway ... but if you want to discuss mythology or for that matter anything, you need to know about it in somewhat good detail, you know....

People generally don't have the capacity to forgive... and as the famous proverb goes
To err is human, to forgive is divine

Everybody can't forgive, Gods should..... Lord Rama tried... but Ravan refused to accept His benevolence...

Kindly excuse my use of strong words at the beginning of this comment.. I was, well let's just say, angered. Now in the process of writing so much, I have cooled off. I am not editing it though. Excuse that as well, if you would...

Nice writing style, by the way... :)

May God be pleased with you... :)

Jasmine said...

@the gemstone i hate:

Lord rama tried and yet couldn't....
You didn't even try and you couldn't...

Thank You...

p.s.things like "
Nice writing style, by the way... :)"
also happen because i'm a woman,aint it???:)

MoonStone said...


well I am just another mortal.... I don't have the capacity to forgive everything...

There are things I hate... and even if I try, its quite difficult for me to overlook.... but if I can, I do ....

and NO!! .... things like that happen because they are like that... but in the end, it comes down to yourself having a belief in your own writing style... you would know yourself better...

Anonymous said...

oolala, a google search to learn about ramayan.
u see ramayan is type of good old hindi movie where villain has to be villain and killed in the end."in the end" thats important.
otherwise why even forgive ravan just tell hanumanji to go an forcefully carry sita back from lanka :P.he could do that hahaha.

But as for your question about ravan and ram, if you GOOGLE search bhagwat geeta and with patience really read it you will find that there are four ways to get associated with the parampitah parmashwar or moksh:
a)bhakti marg
b)karam marg
c)prem marg
d)"hate" marg
ravan's was the last one.

seriously you should download old mahabharat, ramayan and shree krishna type serials and watch the most boring episodes where the characters only talk(because they talk shastra there and give explanation for all what they are doing the way they are doing).

Read mahabharat ki ek talks about problem with mahabharat search it.

Jasmine said...

I think I'm gonna change my blog settings and not allow any more anonymous postings,thanks for the links,i'll try and look them up!I have a colleague who plays laxman in a ramlila,he's my google search for now!

vinay said...


The problem with the people is that they take the story quite literally. According to some learned men all vices that a man can have can be classified into 'ten' categories. Ravana was one person who couldn't control his desires, so each vice became a head for him. (ten heads).Rama's father, his name was "Dasha-Ratha'...does it strike something? 'Dasham' means 'ten' and 'Ratha' means chariot. So dasharatha was one person who could control the ten vices like the horses of a chariot. The other end of the spectrum.

Ramayana/mahabharatha are not stories....they are imageries....look for the inner meanings and you will surprised.....they are not just stories....that can be told and retold....they contain truths..which you can digress only if you put your heart n soul into it...


push said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
push said...

wow woman you really have a point. i would have never looked at it this way.
millions of people go to rishikesh to "wash" off their sins. dont they know better? that the heavens above this country are unforgiving?
no wonder there is a hell at all.

the basic thing is that forgiving is a bigger act than burning a damn statue. and maybe our gods arent great enough to carry that out.

x HC said...

Ravana is my favorite character in the epic. Granted I've only read the prose translation/adaptation by Narayuna but without a doubt Ravana struck me as the most alive and enjoyably human presence.