Killing of Shambuka by Rama, a woven fantasy

Killing of Shambuka by Rama, a woven fantasy

Read original text of Sage Valmiki or of Andhra Valmiki devoid of interpolations

Promoting a fabricated story in favor of an unimportant and self-created killing of Shambuka (by King Sri Rama), a character purported to have been mentioned in Ramayana's Uttara Kanda, notwithstanding the fact that whether it was a postscript insertion, and writing innumerable articles, parodies, commentaries, both in the past and in the recent past, is nothing short of deliberately demeaning, distorting and disrupting the age old vast culture and traditions that the Indians have been meticulously practising and passing on to the posterity.

The story form of the satire highlights that, at the time when Lord Srirama was ruling righteously, a Brahmin came to him and showing him the dead body of his son, questioned as to who should be held responsible for the premature death of his son, and, blamed Rama that, it was because of his sin. The Brahmin threatened that if Rama fails to bring back the life of his son, he and his wife would commit suicide resulting in his sin of killing a Brahmin!!! Unbelievable indeed!!!

Sage Narada who was unpredictably present there, briefed Sri Rama about the 'Yuga Dharma' supplementing the fact that according to that, in Tretha Yuga, only Brahmins and Kshatriyas were eligible for performing penance and contrary to that a Shudra was doing penance in gross violation of prevailing Dharma, and as a result the son of the Brahmin died untimely. Narada was supposed to have advised Rama to take suitable remedial action! It appears, as per the imaginary story, that immediately Rama evoked the powerful 'Pushpak Vimana,' got in to that, and started flying. During his journey, he found a person performing penance with his head upside down and obviously guessed that he was the person Sage Narada mentioned.

Rama approached him. Elicited from him the reason for his penance. Responding to Rama, the person said that his name was Shambuka, a Shudra by birth and with an intention to access Heaven with his physical body he was performing penance. The woven fantasy further continued with the story, that without even a second's thought and not even listening to the rationale behind his argument, Rama pulled his sword and chopped off his head. The rest of the story was that Shambuka got salvation since he was killed by Rama, (who was the Ultimate Godhead according to Veda) and son of Brahmin got back his life. How far the facts and fiction of this were believable can be evaluated and understood only by those who read it at length.

The Great Sage Valmiki blessed the whole humanity with his first of its kind Epic and a Great Literature Sri Ramayana that speaks about the story of Sri Rama known to be an exceptional 'Role Model' and a person of inimitable courtesies and mannerisms (Maryada Purushottam). The Text in Sanskrit (Devnagari) which consisted of 24,000 + Shlokas stretched into 7 Kandas (Parts) and popularly known as 'Valmiki Ramayana' was translated into Grammatical Telugu 'as it is' with 24,000 poems about 100 years ago by a saintly scholar Late Vavilikolanu Subba Rau (Vasudasa Swamy) and named it as 'Shrimad Andhra Valmiki Ramayana.'

The Telugu text that was originally only in poetic rendering was later rewritten by giving purport of every word in every poem and as well as the prose version of each poem and added the word 'Mandaram' to the title. Popularly known as 'Vasudasa' he was awarded the title of 'Andhra Valmiki' by the renowned literary scholars of his times. Having had the pleasure of reading the entire text of thousands of pages of 'Vasudasa Swamy Mandaram' volumes a couple of times, and also having transliterated and rewritten in to colloquial Telugu Language to the extent possible, I understood that several features which are almost in campaign mode were not in the original text of Valmiki Ramayana. As far as Ramayana is considered, Valmiki Ramayana is the one and only standard text that talks about the exact story of Sri Rama and Sita Devi. Rest are all texts with self-styled insertions and poetic nuances by the later poets out of their adoration to the dignified qualities and character of Rama.

For instance, rather several instances are a proof of this. It is not true as per Valmiki Ramayana that, During Sita Devi's 'Swayamvaram,' Demon King Ravana was present there and tried in vain to put up the bow. There was no such thing as 'Laxmana Rekha' said to have been drawn by Laxmana before leaving Sita and go to help Sri Rama while in forest. Ravana did not dig the earth to lift Sita for fear of touching her and in fact threatened her and kidnapped right royally by pulling her according to Valmiki Ramayana. It is also not mentioned anywhere in Valmiki Ramayana that Ahalya was in the form of a rock and with the touch of the foot of Rama she got back her original human form. Jabali, the Charvak was not an atheist as certified by Sage Vasishta, the Raj Guru of King Rama.

Ravana having an immortal pot in his abdomen which protected him from death and the secret was revealed to Rama by Vibhishana advising him to destroy it and kill him was a funny distortion. Valmiki Ramayana says that Rama used 'Brahmastra' and killed Ravana. Sita Devi was not ordered by Rama to enter into the fire to prove her virtue and chastity. It was purely her option according to Valmiki Ramayana. Sabari did not feed Rama with fruits tasted by her first. The Monkey Lord Hanuman did bring Sanjeevani Mountain but the context that is being misquoted by many is different. It was brought when Ravana threw the weapon 'Shakti' on Lakshmana resulting in his unconsciousness for a brief while. It was not because of his deathlike state in the hands of Indrajit.

Normally 'Phala Shruti' (The Result of reading Divine Books) that is mentioned at the end of the book is given after 'Yuddha Kanda' and not after 'Uttara Kanda' meaning, perhaps, Uttara Kanda itself was a later interpolation. In other words, the story that appears in Uttara Kanda is also a subsequent addition and hence has no authenticity. killing of Shambuka (by King Rama) that appears in Uttara kanda is certainly a fabricated woven fiction. The curse of Sage Valmiki on a fowler, who killed the male of a pair of Krauncha birds while they reveled, was the reason for the genesis of Sri Ramayana. When he witnessed the scene, filling with compassion, Valmiki involuntarily burst into a poetic verse that seemed to flow out spontaneously without any effort on his part. Only those who inquisitively and devoutly read Valmiki Ramayana with research bent of mind will be able to differentiate between it and other Ramayanas as well as the greatness of Valmiki's text. In addition to grasping Valmiki Ramayana, one should have knowledge of numerous literary and scientific works of that nature.

To that matter, Shrimad Ramayana is a Great Book of righteousness (Dharma Shastra). It narrates all kinds of righteousness namely, virtue of king (Raj Dharma), virtue of people (Praja Dharma), virtue of husband (Pati Dharma), virtue of wife (Sati Dharma), virtue of brother (Bhatru Dharma), virtue of son (Putra Dharma), virtue of servant (Bhrutyu Dharma), virtue of friend (Mitra Dharma) etc. The ordinary virtue (Samanya Dharma) and special virtue (Vishesha Dharma) practiced and followed by Lord Sri Rama may be understood by reading original text of Valmiki Ramayana or of Andhra Valmiki's Mandaram only.

Sage Valmiki who initiated writing Ramayana asked Sage Narada 16 questions. In response, Narada described Rama's qualities contextualizing various phases of his life that included killing of Demon Tataki a lady, making friendship with monkeys and tribal king Guha, Sabari, monkey king Sugriva, symbolizing Rama's virtues. If any disciple just remembers (Smarana Matra Santushtaya) Rama, he blesses him immensely and if any one just salutes Sita (Pranati Prasanna Janaki) she equally blesses him in the same fashion. For every devotee both Sita and Rama are to be revered equally. This is what one can understand by reading Valmiki Ramayana.

Ramayana was the first and foremost literary exposition (The Adi Kavya). It is not only an equivalent of Veda but also Veda by itself. Wherever Vedic reading is mandated, reading of Ramayana is prescribed. The essence and meaning of Vedas have been empirically elaborated in Ramayana. Lord Brahma also said that Ramayana is Vedic form. Whether one reads or listens or recites it, Ramayana provides immense happiness. And hence everyone shall read Ramayana and that too Valmiki Ramayana original Text excluding insertions to avoid fictious stories like killing of Shambuka (by Lord Sri Rama) which is nothing but absurd. Let us go to the original text of sage Valmiki or of Andhra Valmiki's Mandaram.

(The writer is Chief Public Relations Officer to Chief Minister of Telangana)

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