[Advaita-l] Re: Advaita-l Digest, Vol 37, Issue 20

Annapureddy Siddhartha Reddy annapureddy at gmail.com
Mon May 22 03:22:25 CDT 2006

Shree Siva Senaniji, Jaldharji, Viswanathanji, Kashyapaji, Shreemati
             Thanks for your opinions on the episode of Sri Rama and
Please see my comments/questions below.

Lakshmiji said:

> This episode piucturises the extent to which the rules of
> the  varna ashrama dharma was adhered to during Ramarajya.
> The gurus were so powerful that they could even identify
> the cause too and immediate action for correction is also
> taken.
> "Every thing has a place in ith jagat and its in its
> place", this includes human beings also. Violation leads to
> problems. Every Karma has a karma phala. This is the
> message.

If we agree that Shambuka was killed for violating the rule about Sudras not
eligible to do penance (and not for trying to ascend into heaven in his
mortal coil, or
for trying to usurp the position of Indra), then I see a problem. There is
also a rule that
Kshatriyas should not take up the duties of a Brahmana. But we have the
example of
Brahmarishi Viswamitra who violates that rule. Similarly, in the case of
Shri Parasurama,
who violates the rules governing Brahmanas. How do we reconcile these two

Jaldharji said:

> One thing we have to understand about itihasa-puranas is they are not
> "books"
> with a fixed set of contents.  If you have heard a kathakar, they never
> stick
> to the plain text but mix in material from other shastras, jokes, current
> events etc. The main story is a framework to improvise upon.  So I think
> attempts to show one particular story is original and another is added
> later
> are not going to be very successful.

This is interesting. I felt the traditional view was that Ramayana and
were authored in their entirety by Valmiki and Vyasa, as opposed to the
view that there would have been several interpolations (for example, that
Geeta is probably a later addition). And also, that people have been as
careful in
preserving the contents of the Itihasas, as they have been in the case of
the Vedas.

> I do get the impression that the main point of this story is to illustrate
> the
> perfect practice of dharma in Shri Ramas reign.  So while it is
> uncomplementary
> to shudras, it is not for the reason you might think.  The point is Shri
> Rama
> is so diligent that even misconduct by a "nobody" did not escape his
> notice.
> And even in those times in the list of possible sins, praying too much can
> hardly have been too high up in rank. It is not that Shambuka had
> committed a
> heinous transgression but that he committed a very minor one.  That even
> the
> smallest blemish on perfect order deserved a beheading is what the author
> wants
> us to be impressed by.

The sin, at least in its effect, was definitely not minor. A Brahmana's son
died because of
the Adharma (or so, the story goes).

> I should note here a Gujarati translation of the Ramayana (from a
> Pushtimargi Vaishnava perspective) has a different take on it.  The
> commentator starts by noting that being a Shudra tapasvi is not reason
> enough for such drastic action.  After all Shabari was also one and there
> was no talk of chopping heads in connection with her.  Rather there had
> been an asura called Shamba who had done tapa to get the favor of Shiva
> Bhagavan but then got mad with power and tried to seduce Parvati Mata.
> Where upon She cursed him to be born as a human until such a time as the
> avatar of Vishnu Bhagavan would release him.  Knowing that violating
> Dharma would be the swiftest way of getting Shri Ramas attention, Shambuka
> did what he did and after being beheaded ascended to Heaven.

This seems also to be the Dvaitin view. That Shambuka had the soul of an
Btw, could you point the source for this translation (I mean what is the
source for this Pushtimargis' story). Seems like this is not in the
Sanskrit version you were mentioning. And also, I too do not remember this
from when I read this episode a while ago.



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