[Advaita-l] Raslila

Ramesh Krishnamurthy rkmurthy at gmail.com
Fri Dec 16 03:35:43 CST 2005

Namaste Bhaskar-ji,

I clearly said that the rAmAyaNa and the mahAbhArata have a historical
"core" with some embellishments. I mentioned SrI hanumAn lifting up
the mountain as an example of such an embellishment. SrI hanumAn
jumping/flying across the sea and rAvaNa's ten heads are others. These
cannot be historical incidents, but they can be interpreted
metaphorically. However, SrI rAmacandra having been a great and
virtuous ruler, a maryAdA-puruSottama is probably true in a historical
sense. Atleast I believe that it was so. Similarly, the battle of
kurukSetra and the gItopadeSa can also be true in a historical sense.

But SrI laxmI emerging from the ocean during the samudra-ma.nthana
certainly *cannot* be interpreted literally as a historical event. I
dont think any traditional acArya does so.  Accepting itihAsa/purANa
as pramANa does not mean that they have to be interpreted literally.
Even the veda is not always interpreted literally. That is why we have
the mImAMsa darSana in the first place. That is why the AcArya-s wrote
bhAShya-s. What does "pUrNamadaH pUrNamidam....." mean literally?
Nothing much. Without the aid of the  bhAShya-s and traditional
interpretations to guide you, you are not going to make much progress
just by reading "pUrNamadaH...".

Also, we have had many discussions on this list about the jurisdiction
of pramANa-s. If the  veda says "fire is cold" it cannot be
interpreted literally. This has been discussed ad nauseam on this
list. The same/similar principles should apply when deciding what is
historical and what is not.

Allegories and metaphors are important elements in the language of the
shAstra-s. They are NOT "mere concoctions" or "mere stories". The
usage of "mere" is not at all appropriate here. They exist because a
complex topic is being discussed and there are multiple
interpretations. There is no other option.

And yes, we have to be "choosy". That is what viveka is all about. We
have the good tradition to guide us. In fact, the tradition itself has
been choosy and as long as we follow it, we dont have to be too choosy

Hari Om

On 16/12/05, bhaskar.yr at in.abb.com <bhaskar.yr at in.abb.com> wrote:
> praNAms
> Hare Krishna
> However, the purANa-s are not historical in quite the same sense.
> >  bhAgavata mahApurANa gives elaborated account on krishna janma & bAla
> Lila..again dEvi bhAgavata also gives details about dEvi mahAtma...can we
> say these are all mere allegorical concoction??
> They can only be described as allegorical, metaphorical, etc. Things like
> the samudra-ma.nthana,
> >  if samudra maNthana is mere story..then neelakaNta, vishadhara names to
> rUdra is meaningless...lakshmi mAta who born while churning is mere story
> then. We are accepting hanumAn's samudra *laNghana* in ramAyaNa is real but
> not samudra maNthana in purANa's...prabhuji, dont you think we are choosy
> here??
> how SrI gaNeSa got the head of an elephant, etc
> cannot really be taken as historical events.
> >  We've accepted rAvaNa's ten heads in rAmAyaNa & kumbhakarNa & hanumAn's
> gigantic body as real & historical event in rAmAyaNa, we have accepted
> khAndava dahana, wax palace, ghatOdgaja's (bhImA's son) mAyAjAla etc. in
> kurukshEtra ...I dont know what is the problem in accepting gaNEsha's
> elephant head!!
> Basically, I'm suggesting that the itihAsa-s are more "historical"
> than the purANa-s.
> >  honestly speaking,  I dont think there is an unanimously accepted
> criteria to conclude like this...the parameters which you have chosen to
> prove one is historical and another is mere allegory can be applied to
> prove other way round!!  As a matter of fact both ItihAsa & purANa are
> accepted as valid pramANa -s in darshana-s.

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