My thoughts on Ramayana

《Alert: This is purely my own opinion of the Mythology. No intention of hurting anyone’s feelings or religious sentiments》

Sita by Devdutt Patnaik – I have read reviews of this book by Maya and always thought I should put my bias aside and pick up some book related to Ramayana. I first picked up Ramesh Menon’s Ramayana but that still remains untouched on the book shelf…

So, when I saw Sita on the flipkart new releases, I picked it up thinking that my first foray into Mahabharata was also through Palace of Illusions which is a woman’s viewpoint of the mythology. Having already read Jaya from the same author, I thought it would be a good read.

Yes, it is a good read alright. Well written, especially the Gray-ed snippets of the story of various versions of the Ramayana give insight to how the story differs based on the region and culture of the place. Some parts of the story, like how Rama and Sita had met before the swayamwara, how Jambuvan convinced Hanuman that he had the ability to fly the seas and what was the discord between the Vanara brothers – Vali and Sugreeva – were all new to me. I could get some connects there which I didnt know before. I have actually always liked the character of Mandodari – Ravana’s wife who comes across as his moral-keeper- telling him what is right and wrong. The way it has been written in this book also impressed – that she wanted to continue to be the “queen” of her home and how she also kept Sita safe.

But unfortunately, my mental blocks on Ramayana didnt get resolved even a single bit post this book. Im still not convinced that Rama had to kill Vali in hiding. It still pricks me that despite being away from Sita and having learnt from Hanuman that Sita is not living in Ravana’s house but his garden and not in the best of situations, he needs proof of her fidelity. Why? At that point in time, he was no king and he had no kingdom to please! When he trusted Hanuman to fly the seas and get him information about Sita, could he not trust the same Hanuman’s words on Sita’s situation? What was he trying to prove? That he was “Purity incarnate”? Sita lived through hell dreaming and hoping for the husband to come and liberate her – but then what did he do? Put her through the Agni pareeksha…

Post all that Agni pareeksha, once they go back and she gets pregnant – he doesnt even know that she is pregnant?! What kind of a husband is he? Just being an ‘Eka Patni Vrata’ is no big deal when you dont even care for that Eka-Patni! He just hears of some person talking rubbish in the heat of the moment and decides that Sita is not fit to be the queen? Who gives him the authority to banish her from the kingdom? He does not even bother to check where she is or even if she is alive or dead for so many years?! Is that what being a husband is? I dont think he is a good “Pati” forget the Eka Patni Vrata tag…Later it is depicted that he keeps a golden Sita next to him – for what joy? when there was a good enough Sita who was his wife during the 14 years of tough times and supported him in all ways?

Not considering the faxt about some “magical” mythology on how Sita was found, or the Agni Pareeksha itself or the patriarchial society that the story is portrayed in…these few questions are still left unanswered or not convincing enough for me.

As a book, to read Ramayana – do pick up the book. Nothing against the book, well may get a bit slow at times, but I guess Ramayana is a lot more sober than Mahabharatha 🙂

I could maybe write more on my discontent but I am yet to read the Ramesh Menon version and I might just get some better perspective and write something good about Ramayana – who knows?!

NOTE: Sorry, Maya, I just couldnt get convinced about Rama…

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6 thoughts on “My thoughts on Ramayana

  1. ‘Just being an ‘Eka Patni Vrata’ is no big deal when you dont even care for that Eka-Patni!’ – Can’t agree more to this statement. Loved to read your take on Ramayana RS.

  2. My friend once told me that her english teacher used to read chapters from ramayana and mahabharata and then ask students to point out the loopholes in the story. She asked the students to not accept the story as it is fed to them, to question the beliefs that are glorified in the story. I hope even when today the story is being narrated to a child, the narrator should not only concentrate to highlight the positive lessons, but also teach the child to rationally look at it and enable him/her to criticize it 🙂

  3. Preeti

    The fact that Rama wanted her to be pure is disappointing.
    What if Sita had been raped ? Would that make her impure and so not worthy of Rama ?

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