[Buddha-l] Another One Bites the Dust

Ashok Aklujkar ashok.aklujkar at gmail.com
Wed Mar 6 22:33:55 MST 2013

On 04/03/2013 and earlier Jo wrote: 
>> ... but "people gossiping" led Rama again 
> to put her [= Sita] aside as a cheater. 

According to the oldest available Ramayana, namely that of Vaalmiiki, "as a cheater" is not a part of Raama's thinking; cf. Uttara-kaa.n.da (= 7th book), sargas/chapters 42-44 of the critical edition. There is no expression in these chapters that suggests that Raama was angry or felt 'let down'. On the contrary, he is depicted as having eyes full of tears and caring only for his effectiveness as a ruler. He also mentions that Lak.sma.na was a witness to the earlier fire-test which Siitaa passed and which the gods like Indra/Mahendra indicated to be adequate. 

'Caesar's wife must be above suspicion/reproach' is the principle behind Raama's decision to abandon Siitaa according to Vaalmiiki and every other Indian Raamaaya.na of which I am aware. 

Not directed individually at Joanna or anyone else who has participated in this thread:
Modern academics, of course, have the freedom to be cynical, but even in exercising that freedom they should check if there are textual indications in support of their interpretation, if the discussion is to be really academic. Otherwise, their statements will not be different from rewriting the Raama/Siitaa story or the Cincaa-maa.navikaa story and arbitrarily deciding that there can never be a noble side to human beings, especially to traditionally respected heroes. 

Rewriting is not to be rejected entirely, but it should not be presented as history or used as a basis for tenure at a university (except, maybe, in a department of creative writing). 


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