Saturday, September 12, 2009

Draupadi episode is the invention of later versions; Radha is the problem child of our national imagination

[India’s Independence and the Spiritual Destiny: Part U
Mirror of Tomorrow Mon 07 Sep 2009 03:30 AM IST Permanent Link Re: Indian-ness, etc
by Anonymous on Sat 12 Sep 2009 11:56 AM IST
Permanent Link
Alternatively stated, define or be defined - the new survival of the fittest. Is Aurangzeb more or less Indian than Sambhaji? Is Abdul Kalam more or less Indian than Lalu Prasad? The only two "great" emperors of India - Ashok and Akbar - how Indian are they? Ram or Ravan? Duryodhan the cheat or Yudhisthir the gambler? ... Is one who lives by the Dharma Indian or is this just a circular definition?]

[Arjuna, Akbar, Amartya - R Jagannathan 9 Sep 2009
The best part of Sen's jargon-filled book is where he explains his ideas through examples. This is where Ashoka, Akbar and Arjuna figure in large doses. Through Sen's lens, all three emerge as one-dimensional heroes, reasoning automatons, not real people.
Ashoka figures in almost all of Sen's recent books as a kind of champion of public reasoning and moderation. There are, however, problems with the blind lionisation of Ashoka. No thinking person should presume that the historical Ashoka was the same as the Ashoka of the rock edicts. All emperors have hagiographers and Ashoka surely had his... That Akbar was a moderate and tolerant ruler is fact. What is not is the tacit presumption that secularism or tolerance was not a part of the Indian ethos before him. Secular rule is the only way to keep diverse populations together, and many rulers before Akbar knew that... Now comes Arjuna. Amartya Sen, the peacenik, obviously prefers Arjuna's reasons for avoiding war at Kurukshetra to Krishna's call to duty. Sen casts Arjuna in the role of unwilling warrior when he had no qualms fighting other wars before Kurukshetra. By implication, Krishna is the agent provocateur. Dead wrong... Amartya's Ashoka, Arjuna and Akbar are great historical characters who contributed to India's cultural nationhood, but he reduced them to cardboard characters of dubious authenticity. He hasn't done them or Indians much justice.]

[Sunil Sethi: Ashoka, Akbar, and Amartya
Ashoka and Akbar are but two figures from India's past that Amartya Sen returns to again and again... The distortions and falsities of history perpetuated by the Hindutva brigade sadden the Nobel laureate.
business standard Hindutva blinds Tagore’s view of the Ramayana as “a marvellous parable”, insisting that we see it as an unquestionable historical document; it negates ancient atheistic and agnostic traditions and, in the grotesque rewriting of school textbooks recently, pushes back the Vedic age to the Indus Valley civilisation.
It is time for the learned professor to have some fun. It’s not known what language the inhabitants of the Indus civilisation spoke, he says, but it was certainly not, as champions of Hindutva claim, Sanskrit.]

[Reviews: Books The winner takes it all The Difficulty of Being Good: On the Subtle Art of Dharma
Gurcharan Das, Allen Lane, Pages: 434, Rs 699
Meghnad Desai : Saturday , Sep 12, 2009
The central question concerns dharma and its changing meanings as attributed by the characters in the epic and the way we would think of dharma today. In the Vedas, dharma applies only to Brahmins and concerns yajna. Later in the Gita, it is the cosmic order which Krishna must uphold. Then in 19th century, it is another name for religion and later for norms of ethical conduct.
The best chapter in my view is the one that concerns Draupadi. Das has read the Bhandarkar Institute’s Critical Edition carefully and tells us that Krishna’s rescue of Draupadi is not in the original (as the famous Lakshman Rekha episode is not in the Valmiki Ramayan either)... The gambling match and Yudhishthira’s behaviour defy belief unless he and his brothers were drugged as well. It is probably a later interpolation.
The Draupadi episode is in my view the central invention of these later versions. It is so heinous an insult, that even in a patriarchal society, it gives the Pandavas a ‘get-out-of-jail-free’ card to disregard all moral scruples and defeat the Kauravas. Dharma is suspended because of this one grievance. But that is my personal view.]

[Radha is the problem child of our national imagination. Her origin is shrouded in mystery. She is not mentioned in the Mahabharata, Harivamsa or Bhagwat, which was probably composed in the eighth century AD. Hindu Mythology - Krishna - free Suite101 course]

[Science, Culture and Integral Yoga Re: Objectivity by Lorraine Datson & Peter Galison (Book Review by Norberto Serpente)
by sane yeshwant on Wed 09 Sep 2009 07:52 PM PDT
Profile Permanent Link Arjuna, even the great warrior or a ripe Kshatriya Spiritual aspirant, could not bear, or realize, or understand fully the “Vishwa Rupa Darshan” i.e. the actual reality of the universe offered by Krishna, for direct and deep perception, after specially arming his mortal senses of perception. I am aware, that this would be labeled disdainfully as a ‘story’. But, the fact is that the present day episteme or the technology and the testing laboratories and instruments equipped with a self assumed judicial status of pronouncing final judgment by mortal sense observations, aren't not at all equipped to decide the issue or dictate the conclusions. Their development or evolution is also on a unitary level of consciousness. They, also, now have a burden and an obligation to qualify for a higher spiritual level of consciousness. It is here that sadhana offers a way for solution. (Yeshwant Sane) e-mail: 10-9-2009]

[Science, Culture and Integral Yoga Re: Objectivity by Lorraine Datson & Peter Galison (Book Review by Norberto Serpente)
Debashish on Wed 09 Sep 2009 09:44 PM PDT Profile Permanent Link As for the Viswarupa Darshan, I certainly do not take it ot be a "story" but a sign of experience by Grace for which adequate preparation and internal formations do not exist. Such experiences are also part of a subjective ontology, exposing the subjectivity to what is alien to it and this preparing it. Reply
Debashish on Thu 10 Sep 2009 06:30 PM PDT Profile Permanent Link
I was trying to point to the conditions for a wider opening in the contemporary age. To hold on to the wisdom of the seers etc. can be of help to you and me, but is unlikely to have any effect on the world at large. Here, Sri Aurobindo and Dayanada are exotic names hardly attracting a second glance.]

[If the life of the Avatar is to have any meaning, it means the coming forth of the divine through an actual person, in all its messy complexity. The divine is emerging in each of us, not just the Avatar. If we worship the myth, we have Krishna in Brindavan, not Sri Aurobindo in Pondicherry. Auroville Today > Current issue > August 2009
Questioning is not skepticism: David Hutchinson]

[Mirror of Tomorrow Re: The Lives of Sri Aurobindo says Savitri is a fictional creation by Tusar N. Mohapatra on Thu 13 Aug 2009 12:20 PM IST Profile Permanent Link I don’t subscribe to mythological stories. As in The Secret of the Veda, I am interested in the “symbol” aspect and not in the fiction (katha) part... Again, the symbol is all. TNM Reply 11:53 AM]

Demarcations between mythology, legend, literature, history, gossip, news, and current affairs are so porous in our country that no one is in a position to assert anything for certain. Seamless magnitude indeed signifying eternity. [TNM]

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