Bharat Ek Khoj 07: Ramayana, Part-I

Bharat Ek Khoj 07: Ramayana, Part-I


O’ Fowler ! You will never have
peace of mind for you have killed this innocent
bird during his act of love What is this I have said from
the depth of my grief ? Four lines of eight syllables,
each! From my sorrow came this
verse From SHOKA came SHLOKA For there is no poetry without
compassion Fowler ! You will never have
peace of mind For you have killed this
innocent bird during his act of love May this shloka bring you glory May this be the beginning of a
great poem ! I, Brahma, in my mind arose
this astonishing thought and from your lips flowed this
verse Michelet, the French historian Michelet, the French historian with special reference to
Ramayana says Whoever has done or willed too much let him drink
from this deep cup a long draught of life and youth There lies the great poem as
vast as the Indian Ocean A serene peace reigns there
and in the midst of conflict and infinite sweetness, a
boundless fraternity which spreads over all living things an ocean of love, of pity, of
clemency On the banks of the Sarayu
was a city like paradise On the banks of the Sarayu
was a city like paradise Dasharatha was the king of
Ayodhya, favourite of the Gods Everyone in that noble city was
righteous and gentle Every citizen was a follower of
the law More potent than the king’s
rule, was his discipline Law was in the hands of
ascetics Their devotion was complete They held no secrets This city where battle was
unknown was called Ayodhya, City of no warriors Such was the kingdom of Raja
Dasharatha According to Rabindranath
Tag ore, According to Rabindranath
Tag ore, it is not enough merely to say
that Ramayana and Mahabharata
are two great epics They are also a history; though
not of a particular time or period They are the eternal history of
India The story of Rama is one of
heroism, greatness and unflinching
devotion The love of Rama is tender and
at the same time austere There is hardly any literature in
the whole world which set such high examples
of pure conjugal love as between Rama and Sita, paternal love, brotherly affection, respect for the King love for
subjects aobservance of Dharma This epic clearly proves the high
expectation in which the householder’s
was held in our land King Dasharatha had four sons, King Dasharatha had four sons, Rama, Bharata, Lakshmana
and Shatrughna They were four petals of one
flower All lived in harmony Rama was everyone’s ideal Lakshmana was like his
shadow, Bharata was the dutiful one, Shatrughna was the obedient
one One day there arrived in
Ayodhya the Sage Vishwamitra… who complained to Dasharatha O King, demons give us great
trouble Send Rama with me, he will kill
them So with the King’s consent
Rama, with Lakshmana set forth The strong army of the demons
was destroyed, by Rama, Protecting pious Vedic Sages he gave life to Ahilya who had
been cursed into stone He then went to Mithila with
Vishwamitra where he broke Shiva’s bow
and married Sita Rama returned victorious
praised by everyone King Dasharatha weighed down
by age… decided to crown Rama as King The first version of the Valmiki
Ramayana was composed during the later Vedic age But at the same time the
description of court life shows that a new version of this epic emerged around the Gupta
period The earliest literary work based
on the Ramayana is the poet Bhasa’s play “Pratima
Natakam” written about second century B
C In this play Bhasa concentrates
on the human rather than the super human
characteristics of Rama and Sita Sarasika! Sarasika! Go to the
concert hall and tell the actresses to be ready
with a performance appropriate to the occasion Meanwhile I will go and report
to the King that everything has been done Avadatika has a startled look What is the matter? Servants are always ready for
mischief Princess she must have been
up to something What have you got in your left
hand, Avadatika? A dress of bark, princess A bark dress? who gave it to
you? How would it suit me? Princess beauty looks well in
anything Try it on your Highness How do I look? Very beautiful The bark seems turned to gold Bring a mirror my dear As your highness commands Princess, can you hear the
drums? Yes But they have stopped Yes, perhaps the consecration
is interrupted These things happen in a court Princess, I have heard that after
the King has anointed the prince, he will go away to a
forest If so, the consecration water
must wash away our tears Oh! here comes the prince,
and you have not taken off the bark dress! Lady of Mithila, where did you
get these clothes? Victory to my lord! Princess, the prince is in
ordinary clothes The consecration does not
seem to have taken place Many things can happen in a
court Maithili, what are you talking
about? Avadatika was talking about the
consecration Yes, there was a consecration Today the king summoned me
in the presence of the Preceptor, ministers and citizens The King placed me on his lap he used to do, when I was
child He called me Kausalya Nandan
(Son of Kausalya) Then in a gesture encircling the
entire realm of Kosala he said “Rama my son, accept
this kingdom” My lord, what did you reply? What do you think I said? You must have remained silent
and fallen at his feet with a deep
sigh Your guess is right Rarely are couples born with
natures so alike I did fall at his feet My father’s tears mingled with
mine And then ? Then as I was deaf to his
entreaties, he swore me upon his life into
acceptance Well? Then as the consecration was
about to begin Manthara came and whispered
something in the royal ear, and so! I was not crowned I am glad. His majesty is King, and my lord remains my own
dear lord But Maithili, why have you worn
this dress of bark ? Your laughter gives you away or is this a desire for penance ? Avadatika brought it and I wore
it to see if it suited me Lady of Mithila, I like it, give it to
me No, no, don’t say that it is
unlucky Why do you stop me? My wearing it, stopped your
consecration It is unlucky Don’t believe that. When you
put it on, half my body was already in it Maharaj, Maharaj ! What’s wrong my lord? Help, my prince, help! Who needs my help? The King! The King? Who has created
this trouble? His own kin His own kin? This is grievous,
and beyond help The enemy strikes the body
while the kinsman strikes the heart Who will shame me with the
name of kin? The queen Kaikeyi What? Then this is a curse
decreed from the past How so? Her husband is a second Indra In me she had a son What fruit can she desire from
such an unworthy act? The infatuated minds of women
do not possess your sincerity At her request your
consecration was stopped This will benefit everybody In what way? The Maharaja will not depart for
the forest And I will remain under his
protection People won’t have to worry
about the new King, And my brothers will not be
deprived of royal pleasures You cannot blame mother
Kaikeyi But she came uninvited and
demanded that Bharata be anointed king. Is
this not greed? Your love for me blinds you to
the truth If she demands the kingdom for
her son, as agreed in her dowry, is that
greed? Are we not greedy if we rob our
bother of his realm? But… I wish to hear no further
charges against my mother Tell me what has happened to
the King After that the King mute with
grief gestured me to come to you It is almost a blessing the king
went into a swoon What? He fainted? Did you say he lost his senses? If you cannot bear the King
losing his wits en arm yourself with your bow
and have no compassion What has so moved
Lakshmana, who is an ocean patience? your anger unfolds before me
like an army of hundred foes What? You ask me what this
means? The realm you inherited has
been grabbed and the grieving king has made the
bare floor his throne and you cannot distinguish
between mercy and cowardice O Lakshmana, has the loss of
my kingdom caused this excitement? It is sad that your thoughts are
clouded It is all the same if Bharata or I,
became the king If you have any pride in your
bow then protect Bharata I cannot contain my anger I will
go Lakshmana, Just a moment I spoke thus to calm you. Now
speak Should I raise my bow against
my father? Should I aim an arrow at my
Mother because she has taken
wealth? Should I slay my brother
Bharata though he is not involved in
these machinations? Of these three crimes which will
satisfy you most? It grieves me, brother, that you
scold me without understanding me I care nothing for the realm for
which there is such a struggle I am only worried that you will
be exiled to the forests for 14 years Is that why his majesty fainted? Alas! that shows weakness in a
ruler ithili give me this dress of
bark I, Rama will strive to achieve
that Dharma which no other king
has achieved I will go with you No, I must go alone That is why I must go with you It means dwelling in the forest Then the forest will be my
palace But your duty is to attend to my
parents For that may the Gods forgive
me Maid, bring me one more dress
of bark What about me? You always gave me half your
clothes, jewels and garlands But the bark you do not share Why are you so attached to this
bark? Sir, I also need these Maithili dissuade him My lady, you wish to corner the
entire pleasures of serving my brother Well you shall be at his right
foot and I shall be at the left. Permit me
brother Share it with him my lord. He is
in such distress Saumitra, this bark is armour
for the battle of penance It strengthens our self control It is a curb on our prancing
senses, and guides us towards virtue Here take it I thank you Prince you must not go When the king heard, you were
going to the forest, with your lady and
Lakshamana, he got up from the floor, his limbs all smeared with dust
like an ancient tusker, and is coming here Brother, why do those who
dwell the forests, clad in coats of bark, need to
see anybody Lakshamana, after we leave,
the King shall see our empty rooms which we once occupied Rama is not so simple a
character as he might appear from a reading of the epic However Lakshmana’s wrath
may reflect the subconscious conflicts in Rama’s mind which
he himself cannot express This is deliberately devised by
Valmiki to contrast the dark and the violent drives
that Lakshmana is prone to and the magnanimous and
moral gestures that Rama represents which are but two facets of the
same person for the followers of Rama as
embodiment of virtuosity cannot accept the traits of
frenzy and excitement in him Hence Lakshmana acts as a foil
to heighten Rama’s virtues by contrast, and partly to afford
Rama an opportunity to expound correct values to expound correct values Greetings to the king the noble
Sumantra has arrived With Rama ? No, with a chariot What? Only with a chariot ? please be composed your
majesty, Alas! if the chariot has come
back empty, my heart is broken Death has sent the chariot to
fetch Dasharatha So bring Sumantra in at once As your Majesty commands Blessed is the breeze in the
forest circling the lake caressing Rama as he
wanders, in the wood Greetings great king Brother Sumantra, where is
Rama ? And where is the daughter of
the Videha so completely devoted to her
spouse ? Where is Sumitra’s son
Lakshmana ? Have they sent no message for
their wretched father on the point of death I beg your Majesty do not utter
such inauspicious words You shall see them soon You are right my words are out
of place It is not a proper question to ask
of those in penance Tell me then, is all well with
their penance? At Sringabera they got out of
the chariot and stood looking, towards Ayodhya Bowing low they were about to
send your Majesty a message They pondered long on what
they should say and their lips trembled with the
words but their throats choked with tears and
remaining silent they went off into the woods What? Went off without a word
into the forest ? Hold my arm, Kausalya Oh Rama my son, I firmly
believed that by enthroning you I would be
blessing my people with a noble king. And having
left your brothers in your care, I would go away to the forests,
but alas in a second all that was
changed by Kaikeyi Sumantra take this message to
Kaikeyi My Rama has gone to the
forests and thus her wish is fulfilled But I am on the point of dying,
so send for Rama As the King commands After hearing of Rama, my
ancestors have come to comfort my burning heart Here is Dilipa, here is the noble
Raghu and this is my father Maharaja
Aja But why have you all come? My time has come I myself am leaving to dwell
with you I myself am leaving to dwell
with you Bharata had gone to his
maternal grandparents’ house He was called back immediately He came back running leaving
everything He was asked to stay in the
outskirts of the city No, no do not worship them Why do you stop me? I will not have a Brahmin
worship them, thinking they are Gods. They
are only warriors Warriors, did you say? What are their names? They are Ikshvaku Clan Sons of Ikshvaku ! So they are
the rulers of Ayodhya What a great privilege ! Who
are these noble kings? The royal Raghu The grandfather of the king, go
on The royal Aja The father of my dear father Good Sir ! One question Do they put up statues of living
Kings? Oh no, only of the dead What? Then I bid you farewell Stay Why don’t you ask me
any questions of this statue The statue of Dasharatha who
yielded up both life and realm as Kaikeyi’s bridal fee ? If this “bridal fee” touches me,
then my body must be cleansed with fire, noble Sir “Noble Sir”? That is the greeting
used by princes of the royal blood Can you be
Bharata, Kaikeyi’s son? Yes, I am Bharata the son of
Dash a rat ha not of Kaikeyi Then excuse me, I have to
leave Stay Tell me the rest No escape ! Then listen The King was about to
consecrate Rama, when your mother said Wait ! She said ” Remember
the bridal forfeit and let my son be king”. Then
encouraged by his patience she addressed my elder
brother, “Go my son, to the forest” When he saw Rama dressed in
bark the King came to an unhappy
end and the people just cast all the
blame on me Son, Bharata, Noble Sumantra, I want you to
tell me which lady should I address
first? Certainly This is Prince Rama’s
mother, Queen Kausalya Mother, I, as an innocent,
salute you My child, may you be free from
distress That implies a reproach I thank
you This is Prince Lakshmana’s
mother, Queen Sumitra Mother, I that am forestalled by
Lakshmana, Salute you My child, I wish you glory Mother, I shall strive for it I
thank you Go ahead This is your own mother Oh sinner! You do not belong
between these two mothers You are like an impure stream
in between the Ganga and Yamuna My child what have I done? My child, you are versed in all
the rules of etiquette Why don’t you salute your
Mother? Did you say “Mother”? No Lady, you are my mother
and you I will salute No, no she is your mother She once was, but not now I will proclaim a new law in the
world that a wife who deceives her lord is not fit
to be a mother I said what I had to say to make
the king keep his word What did you say ? Let my son be king I see, but my elder brother is
not a son to you ? Is he not the legitimate son of
my father ? Is he not the heir in
succession? Did he not adore his brothers? Did the people disapprove ? Shall a woman be questioned
for wanting her bridal fee ? You sent him on foot with his
bride, replacing his royal splendor with
bark, and bid him dwell in the forest Is this also written in the bridal
bond? I will explain, my child, at the
proper time and place If you were greedy for shame,
why drag in my name? what profit did you expect from
Kingship? what was that the king did not
give you? The deed was evil, madam In your lust for power you had
no thought for the king Prince, here are Vasishtha,
Vamadeva and the people they have come to prepare you
for your consecration Did you say “consecration”?
Bestow it on the lady here Where is your highness going? Where Lakshmana’s dear
brother Rama abides Without him Ayodhya is not
Ayodhya For Ayodhya can only be where
Rama lives At the consecration ceremony
Bharata is reluctant to ascend the throne This shows the influence of the
laws of Manu during this period Earlier in Chanakya’s
Arthashastra, the most capable of the sons had a right
to the throne, even if it meant killing one’s
father and brother for it By the time of Manu, kingship
became more absolute and the king assumed divine
status A kingless society was seen as
being in danger Without a king a country is
doomed Without a king the clouds do
not rain And the grain rots in the soil Without a king sons and fathers
are enemies, brothers become traitors,
mothers turn greedy and all ties are broken Without a king fear invades
people’s mind, and truth destroys itself Without a king there is no
culture Even artists are forced to
become traders Without a king there is no
charity, nor a token of survival Rivers without water, forests
without trees cattle without a cowherd Such is a kingdom without a
leader The soul of a kingdom is the
King The King is upholder of truth
who sees to the good of everyone Without a King there is no
protection Let us therefore install another
king, The throne should not remain
empty any longer Let us make Bharata who is
most deserving our new king This humble token that Rama
gave me will decorate the throne They shall proclaim to the loyal
people the absent monarch’s will They shall strengthen my
resolve to fulfill my duties For fourteen years, I too shall
live as a hermit in the palace waiting for Rama Then if Rama does not return I will immolate myself upon a
pyre In the jungles three figures
were seen Rama leads followed by Sita
and Lakshmana man lives even in this thick
forest forests are life givers so he
prays for their prosperity Rama has come to this forest a
new wave has come The saviour has come clouds
shower happiness The Valmiki Ramayana has two
centres, Ayodhya city and the jungles In the story Ayodhya city and
the jungles present a striking contrast Fear made the tribals in the
forests to be regarded as demons As they were still dependant on
food gathering and hunting, they were considered as
uncivilized, and were called Rakshasas or
demons As agriculture spread the state
expanded towards jungles The Brahmin clans cleared the
jungles and encroached upon the Rakshasas’ domain This gave rise to conflict At last in you two we have a
protector I will do my best to aid you in
any way you wish But from whom do you need
protection? Though we are peaceful we are
not left in peace We come away from cities with
our families and disciples to live peacefully in
this forest While some of us only meditate,
others do the needful to survive in these forests We cleared the forests and built
simple huts while some grow rice and
others keep cattle We have no quarrel with
anyone We have renounced all such
worldly passions But the Rakshasas in the
forests are hostile to us They do not like our being here You must protect us We have waged war on many
Rakshasas They are our enemies But why do they hate you
sages? They claim this forest is theirs They do not accept the
Ikshvaku rule They disturb our sacrifices,
destroy ashrams and even kill many of us. We
are harassed As a royal person it is your duty
to protect us It is also the duty of your clan,
whether you dwell in the city or forest to protect us We bring our learning, our way
of life our civilization here. But we are
not warriors Hence it is the duty of Kings
and princes to see that we are safe The King who receives one
sixth of the people’s income but does not protect them
incurs great sin While the king who protects his
subjects ike his own children reaps
great fame on earth He attains Brahmaloka after
death He also attains one fourth of the
merit of all ascetics You are now the lord of this
forest This is why we ask for
protection O Sages, I shall do everything
to protect you I shall free you from the
menace of the Rakshasas My lord! When we set out from
Ayodhya it was to ead our lives as ascetics, isn’t
that so ? Yes, this was Mother Kaikeyi’s
wish That explains these clothes of
bark and our hair in a knot Why then do you carry arms,
always ready for war ? You know that it is the duty and
the right of a Kshatriya to carry arms He must be armed always
whether in city or in forest Arms do not go with the life of
an ascetic In the forest you must follow
spiritual pursuits On returning home you can
take to arms again Duties and obligations cannot
be given up at will to suit some other purpose Man is bound to them for ever I am worried. Weapons have
their own logic They lead to wars and killings A pious ascetic was once in
deep meditation To test him Indra came to him
in the garb of a warrior and left his sword with the sage
for safe keeping To guard the sword the Sage
never parted from it This constant association with
the sword changed the Sage He became cruel and
slaughtered everything As the fire destroys the
firewood, constant carrying of weapons
vitiates the human mind Do not forget that I have
pledged to destroy Rakshasas to protect the sages in this
forest I must fulfill my pledge How can you treat all
Rakshasas as enemies? It is wrong to kill any creature
unless it does you great injury Killing without provocation is a
great sin I think you should not kill all the
Rakshasas The Rakshasas claim these
sages have no right to be in this part of the forest They do not accept our way of
life They do not even accept our
authority They destroy ashrams, kill the
sages They have shown themselves to
be our enemies We cannot go on examining
each Rakshasa’s intentions we must destroy them and secure the land for our own
people.

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About the Author: Oren Garnes

27 Comments

  1. Ye aaklan galat hai asur sikaar aur ann sanchay par nirbhar the unke paas astra shastra to achche the

    Nehru ji in mato ko theek se ujaagar kar paane me nispaksh nahi the

  2. ye raksha koi aur nahi jungli dalit aur muslim ka vans k
    the kuch jise ikckwaku ne mar ke bhgya arab lekin wo phir aa gye isi ko adharm aur dharm bolte jo har yug me hota hain irani iraki bhi nahi arbi registhan

  3. Bharat Ek Khoj – a great docu-drama in the history of Indian TV!
    This is such a contrast to the melodramatic nonsense shown on TV!

  4. राम से कहीं ज्यादा तर्कशील सीता थी, लेकिन राम के जैसे हत्यारी मनोवृति को समाज ने भगवान् बना दिया,इसलिए आज जय श्री राम बोलकर हत्याएं की जा रही है।।।।

  5. Now I understand, according to Nehru ji "Rakshas" or Demon were Naxalites, they were just misguided youths.
    This is the best example of communist and leftist form of Ram and Ramayana.

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