- Did Rama doubt chastity of Sita?
- Did our ancestors wrongly believe that “A snake called Rahu would swallow the sun and the moon”?
The answer to both the above questions is found in a single verse of Mahakavi Kalidasa’s epopee Raghuvamsha.
Context: News of people talking negative about Maa Sita’s chastity in the streets of Ayodhya has reached Rama through his spies. As a corrective measure Rama has called for his brothers and explains the goings on to them. Look at the way Rama describes about chastity of Sita with beautiful examples:
“अवैमि चैनां अनघेति किंतु
लोकापवादो बलवान् मतो मे |
छाया हि भूमे: शशिनो मलत्वेन
आरोपिता शुद्धिमत: प्रजाभि: ||”
(Kalidasa’s Raghuvamsha, Canto 14, verse 40)
Rama asserts that he is certain about Sita’s chastity. He goes on to compare the ill-conceived public outcry on her chastity to a lunar eclipse:
“Though factually the moon doesn’t undergo any deformation, people allege it as impure on seeing the shadow of earth which passes over it; similarly people accuse flawless Sita as unchaste for being in the shadow of Ravan for sometime.” This is Rama’s impression on Sita.
Those ignorant people who are under the wrong impression that We know everything!’ say things like ‘Rama doubted Sita’s chastity’, ‘Our ancestors had misconception on eclipse’ . They only have to look at their faces in Kalidasa’s mirror for an answer.
When Rama proclaims Sita as “Anaghaa-One without sin” , it is as clear as the Sun that he had not even an iota of doubt about his wife Sita. Likewise Rama’s words “Earth’s shadow on crystal clear moon” gives the precise scientific account of lunar eclipse.
A verse from Mankutimmana Kagga is relevant here, which we translate to English for the benefit of English readers:
Weren’t there intelligent people even in olden days?
People who were well-wishers of people who worked hard?
Too much medication can get you more diseases
Novation has its limits!
(ಮತಿವಂತರಿದ್ದರಲ ನಮ್ಮ ಹಿಂದೆಯುಮಿಲ್ಲಿ |
ಹಿತಚಿಂತಕರು ಜನಕೆ, ಕೃತಪರಿಶ್ರಮರು? ||
ಅತಿವೈದ್ಯದಿಂದ ಹೊಸರುಜಿನಕೆಡೆಯಾದೀತೊ |
ಮಿತಿಯಿಂ ನವೀಕರಣ – ಮಂಕುತಿಮ್ಮ ||877||)
Illusion of ‘We are cognizants; our ancestors were oblivious’ is undeserving! In this land of Bharata, there were men of great wisdom; they were well wishers of whole world. There was lot of effort behind their accomplishments, discoveries and preaching! As over-treatment can be a cause for a new disease, unlimited modifications due to the delusion ‘All old practices are superstitions, all present practices are correct’ can cause incurable woes!
Let modernization bring about stabilization; let it not be expressly erratic!
It would do a world of good for the betterment of our nation if those who claim every Bharatiya belief per se as ‘superstition’, without even subjecting them to the test of reasoning, are garlanded with the verse of Kalidasa in the thread of DVG’s Kagga (Word ‘Kagga’ also means ‘a thread’), dip them in the ocean of Bharatiya culture for three cycles of births!*
If it proves to be insufficient, then they can be bathed with these immortal lines of Aryabhata!
छादयति शशी सूर्यं शशिनं महती ज भूच्छाया |
(Aryabhatiya, Golapaada, 4th chapter, verse 37)
The moon covers the sun and earth’s vast shadow covers the moon; this is eclipse.
Aryabhata belonged to very olden times; even today’s astrologers too based on solar mathematics of ancient times, can precisely tell us whether eclipse is partial or complete, start-middle-end timings of eclipse and publish them in panchangas (almanacs), right? What would be the measure of brilliance and intelligence of our ancestors if today’s not so great astrologers can precisely predict the different parameters of eclipse based on the mathematical formulae developed by those greats?
Many facts discovered in the recent times by modern astronomers have already been stated long ago in works of Aryabhata, Someshwara, Bhaskaracharya, Vedas, Upanishads and Puranas.
Eclipses in space do not last for longer time; they play the game of light and shadow for some time and then they give way for radiance;
But when will the eclipse end for immature critics who decry on Bharatiya culture and earn their bread and butter!?
Way to wisdom:
This #Lokalekha is to answer the critics who denounced Bharatiya customs during the partial lunar eclipse on 31st January 2018, Wednesday.
*<Dipped for 3 cycles>: Ayurveda employs a practice called Bhavana. It is filling essence to an object by dipping it in a medicinal fluid, drying it in sunlight, dipping in the fluid again, drying again – repeating it three times. The article opinionates such a treatment for the good-blind who acclaim Bharatiyata to be superstitious.
Translated blog of Sri Samsthana SriSri RaghaveshwaraBharati MahaSwamiji