One of the sepoys of the gatekeeper’s cabal, Devdutt Pattanaik (DP) strikes again. This time it was an article about Buddha, but interestingly titled to propagate his own lies. The New Year began with the myth manufacturer shedding more of his dark wisdom, or rather peddling his duplicitous perverted distortion as if it were absolute truth.
To his credit, DP has authored many popular books and is popular in the media. Still, he publishes his half-baked ideas only in places where comments are either regulated or not published. This artificial protection, he perhaps feels gives his writings a scholarly touch. Or is it really? He has made a career by writing his own bungled ideas and passing them for mass consumption.
Let us analyze the third-rate gibberish branded by the elite cabal as scholarly. For this analysis we will merely centre the discussion on just the title – ‘Why is Ram misogynist, but not the Buddha?’ The entire article can be proven to be a delusional motivated one.
DP claims of being a scholar: A gross falsification!
Let us first consider the lineage of peddled lies. Wendy Doniger, the guru of Devdutt is ignominious for her Freudian views of misinterpreting Hindu Dharma. She is infamous and very unscholarly for portraying Mother Kali as a prostitute and for making ridiculous comments about Sri Ramakrishna Paramahamsa as a homosexual. So it is no wonder that as a true disciple and maintaining the traits of a good sepoy, DP resorts to ostentatious methods to cover his lack of real expertise in Bharatiya tradition.
None of these western scholars study our shastras with either Bhakti or Shraddha. Just because one can either read a language or understand certain alphabets, can one interpret with total abandon? Not only do they ignore our traditional scholars or their interpretations of several millennia, but also bring a complete personal slant. Wendy brings a defunct Freudian sex prism to all her Hinduphobic studies. Sheldon casts a political motive, social oppression angle to all his Indology versions. Worst amongst these categories is the one DP represents – the one focused on spreading lies, manufactured delusions.
As a self-certified mythologist, he seems to have misunderstood that generating myths is the role of a mythologist, as he launches into repeated lies, gross misinterpretations and deliberate peddling of bunkum. He can be congratulated on having a long public tenure in this devious role.
Why he is not a true scholar in my eyes:
- First of all, as a scholar why is he not open to publishing on platforms where comments can be posted or rebutted. Of course, it is easier to peddle lies from safe forts with guarded entries.
- Analyze the pattern of lies – With such a spurious title, which is a blatant lie, and the contents not related to Bhagwan Rama, he can achieve two objectives – Claim to make two truths (both are in fact lies) and also get away easily as people will not focus beyond the title. It also gives him ammunition to recycle this garbage as a fact as he had published it for future reference.
- This cheap trick of building layers of fabrications has been perfected by the likes of Sheldon Pollock. Of course DP’s level of cheap understanding and motivated stone throwing can only operate many notches below that of Pollock’s scholarliness, which he most definitely lacks. DP is neither a historian, nor a scholar of Hindu granths. This pop writing with manufactured artificial understanding and a strong proclivity to his Guru parampara is very dangerous, unless questioned.
Is Rama a Misogynist? – A cheap trick to pass a manufactured lie as a fact in the title
“The world is conditioned to see the Ramayana and Manu-Smriti as anti-women, but not the Buddhist lore.” – Devadutt
We will focus the remainder only on exposing the lie that Rama was a misogynist. If we can prove that, DP can be clearly showed to have either very bad motives or absolute lack of scholarly understanding, or both. The title gives an illusory feeling that if Rama is a misogynist, why not Buddha, thereby implying both are.
We will let Valmiki’s writings emasculate the lies of DP. Let us parade the leading women who were in contact with Rama and his attitude towards them and for the sake of authenticity, stick to only Valmiki Ramayana.
Three Queens – Kausalya, Sumitra and Kaikeyi: Rama did not differentiate between his biological mother and the other two queens. Despite Kaikeyi being the reason behind his exile and his father’s death, Rama’s affection, love and respect towards her is unflinching. He sternly reprimands even Lakshmana and Bharata when they even attempted to talk ill about her. Even the lady who does the maximum damage to him by snatching his rightful kingdom, sending him, his wife and brother to the forest to lead an ascetic life only receives respect and love. If there is any claim that Rama is a misogynist, it dies right here.
Tataka: This is perhaps the first time Rama had to take a dharmic stand. He hesitates to raise a weapon against the attacking rakshasa, Tataka, because she is a woman. Maharishi Vishwamitra had to convince him that she was a Yakshi who got cursed by Maharishi Agastya to become a rakshasa. Vishwamitra had to guide the perplexed Rama that his duty is to first protect the ones who need his protection before getting mired in unwanted questions like if the aggressor is a rakshasi. We see the same theme in Bhagavad Gita with Krishna’s message. So for doing the dharmic activity, there are no hurdles like gender, jati, status, relationship and the like. Does that sound like misogyny?
Ahalya: Rama’s grace was the antidote, suggested by Gautama Rishi, to his wife Ahalya’s curse. Again, self-appointed experts who specialize in twisting up facts with motivated opinions under the garb of being a scholar, will showcase Ahalya as a case of patriarchal domination and misogyny. The same Sarga ends with Gautama Rishi appearing when Ahalya resumes her original form and accepting her as his rightful wife. If we corner them with the correct story, they will ask the next question – how can a stone become a person? Couldn’t that have been a metaphor of her repenting? No one in their senses will claim that helping a lady is misogyny.
Shurpanaka: Panchavati is perhaps the turning point in Ramayana, next only to Kaikeyi’s
episode of sending Rama to exile. Shurpanaka falls into deep lust for Rama, at a mere glance. Rama patiently explains his married state to her. Rama points that Lakshmana is the one who is not having a wife around and Shurpanaka finds this a wonderful compromise only to get informed that he is a mere daasa of Rama. Seeing her obstacle as Sita, she menacingly moves to kill and eat Sita, at which point Lakshmana chops off her nose and ears.
Firstly, she was a Rakshasi and no offense was meted to her as long as she did not become a threat to Sita. Yet the same Shurpanaka when asked by Khara, behind the cause of her sad plight, sings several verses of slokas in praise of Rama-Lakshmana. (Valmiki Ramayana slokas- 3:19: 14 -17) Unlike Tataka who was far more powerful and dangerous to society, Rama-Lakshmana deemed her not a major threat to society. So they spared her life after teaching her a lesson. One must remember this was the same solution given by Vibhishana to spare Hanuman’s life by setting fire to his tail. We are again seeing extreme restraint on part of Rama- Lakshmana and only mirroring the same level of response as the threat. Is that misogyny, DP?
Sabhari: Perhaps the best example in Ramayana to prove all the critics wrong is Sabhari’s episode – an aged ascetic from a tribal society and her guru Matanga Rishi, both from Shudra varna, something which most critics are ignorant about. Rama partakes the food she offers, despite knowing pretty well that she has partly eaten the same fruit offered. In those times, one could only eat food that has been eaten by Father, Guru, elder brother and I assume wife. But Rama cared less for such societal prescriptions as he could only see the huge bhakti of Sabhari. So misogynist mythology propagators fall flat on their face.
Tara: We have dealt about the case of Vaali vadha in detail elsewhere. But the case of Tara, the wife of the fallen warrior, Vaali, provides ample insight about Rama’s grace. (In Valmiki Ramayana, she doesn’t get remarried, atleast explicitly, like in the more popular versions like Tulsi or Kamba Ramayana). In spite of variance, we find Tara morphing from seething rage at Rama to praising his glory, at his mere sight. This is not due to fear of the opponent, but due to her clarity of mind. Being a pious and intelligent lady, the one who counseled Vaali not to confront Sugriva on account of Rama, she was able to see the divinity in Rama. We also see Rama comfort Vaali on the future of Angada and Tara. Again, DP is caught lying.
Mandodari: The primary queen of Ravana, laments and finds the flaws in her fallen husband, yet when she sees Rama, she is not able to find one fault. Rama reprimands Vibhishana who refuses to perform obsequies to Ravana, thereby according respect to even the departed enemy. Following Dharma was critical rather than taking revenge on a fallen warrior’s family. Does that sound like misogyny? Irrespective of Mandodari’s post Ravana period, she holds Rama in high esteem and only faulted Ravana for not reining in his senses. DP’s pants on fire again?
Sita: Sita is the most central figure in Ramayana and in fact Ramayana is also called as Sitaya’s charitam mahat. Rama lets her convince him with her logic on why she must accompany him to the forest. We see numerous glimpses of an ideal householder relationship between Rama and Sita throughout their stay in the forest. Ravana kidnapping Sita brings to us the human side of Rama. He is unconsolable, and many sargas are filled with only his weeping. Unlike his father Dasaratha, who weds many, Rama is setting the role model to all of us by being eka patni vrta. We find Rama so overwhelmed when Sugriva shows the jewelry which may possibly have been from Sita. The episodes of lamentation continue throughout Kishkinda Kanda.
When Hanuman meets Sita after his long ordeal, the information exchanged to validate his authenticity and also the incidents narrated by Sita to be relayed back to Rama, confirm the deep love and respect Rama had for Sita. Even the best of romances written cannot match a fraction of the love Rama expresses for Sita over and over. Yet he shocks everyone, including Sita by abandoning her and giving her freedom to go anywhere. One must remember that Rama does not ask her to jump into fire to prove her chastity, which was Sita’s choice. The last words by Rama in this regard gives us ample clue as to slighting himself for not being able to see her chastity. Refer sloka 6:115:17 of Valmiki Ramayana.
Whenever pious people of impeccable character resort to making an odd choice, it shocks the Sages and Devatas, who rush to the scene to make amends to restore Dharma. We find a similar incident in the Mahabharata on Day 15 of the war. Drona starts violating every agreed upon code of conduct in the war. He uses Brahmastra on defenseless foot soldiers. He uses all sorts of divyastras to attack the Pandava army. We find great sages appear to confront and advise him.
Similarly, when Rama created a situation which forced Sita herself to jump into a fire, all Devas and Brahma and Siva appear. Agni brings her and vouches for her chastity. Rama never doubted it, but used this as an opportunity to compel his departed father Dasaratha to revoke his words. Rama wanted Kaikeyi and Bharata to be accepted back by Dasaratha, which he obliges. Dasaratha pleads and advises Sita never to repudiate Rama for the Agnipariksha episode (Sloka 6:119:35), as it was done to prove her chastity to the world.
Misogyny propagandists immediately resort to their last salvo – why did Rama abandon pregnant Sita? While this needs an elaborate discussion, it must be sufficient that when the Devatas, Brahma, Siva and his own departed father have given a strong statement about Sita, it must be remembered that Rama has no reason to doubt Sita again based on some ill-informed citizen. Rama bites the bullet for the sake of his citizens, yet makes the personal sacrifice. Even today, we slight only Rama and do not question Sita.
We have taken a quick look at the different woman characters and the way Rama interacted with each one of them with love and respect. So which version of Ramayana are these mindless motivated characters talking about – the one they wrote? Or the one written by their sex frenzied Guru Wendy? Or the super scholar who knows good Sanskrit, to bend and twist it to his narrative, Sheldon?
Mythman DP, if you like myths, the one you should worry about is that of Pinocchio. If that story were to be true, you could end up with the longest nose ever in the history of the universe.
From a simple exercise of walking through Valmiki Ramayana, we have proved that all these myth creators revel in our ignorance. Can we crack open our own Itihasas and study it periodically? Can we do more Svadhyaya daily? Fair warning, you may grow spiritually over time, if you do so.
The only reasons why such cheap interpretations can even exist are-
- Motivated authors pursuing selfish gains – Question them on every platform.
- Tamas of the masses not to read itihasas – Read. Daily svadhyaya will evolve us spiritually.
- Lack of enough education to rebut the motivated misinterpretations – I am hopeful more are coming along to counter. Watch out for Swadeshi Indology Conferences.
Om Tat Sat
Satchitananda is a Sanatana Dharmist. You can read more of his thoughts at:
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