A-Z Book List: R for Ram

I was tempted to go with ‘Redeeming Love‘ or ‘The Rosie Project‘ but then I remembered that I had already written posts on them. So I went back to my first choice, which is another epic story from the Hindu Mythology.

Name: Ramayana by C. Rajagopalachari

Genre: Hinduism, Fantasy, Spirituality, Fiction, Mythology, Classics

Rama (pronounced as Raamaa)or Ram (pronounced as Raam) is the main character of the Hindu Epic novel called Ramayana. He is the epitome of a Virtue, Self Control etc. There is no such thing as going wrong with what he does. There are no shades of gray at all, unlike Krishna even though both are incarnations of Vishnu. This story is about the eldest son of a King, Ram, who is sent on a exile by one of the stepmothers and how he, his wife, Sita, and his brother, Lakshmana, (who refused to leave his eldest brother’s side) survive the tough life with a lot of help from a lot of people in the forest and how Ravana abducts his wife to exact revenge and how Ram follows Ravana to Srilanka to rescue his wife with the able guidance and help of the Vaanar (Monkey) army which includes Hanuman.

This book is an abridged version of the story by the famous Rajaji (who was also an able politician) and I kind of liked his version which is easy and simple to read giving us the essence of the story along with some explanations on certain aspects. I do not agree with everyone on how Lord Ram is the epitome of everything that is right. My friend Sree and I used to have so many discussions on this. But let me tell you one interesting news that I read recently. In Bihar (one of the Indian States), one guy filed a case against Lord Ram, because he exiled his wife (owing to public pressure) just because she was in the custody of a man (Raavana) for a long time. It was hilarious to read this article 🙂 It might not make much sense if you don’t know the story of Ramayana. So if you fancy a mythological story just read about it in Wikipedia to get the gist of it.

PS: Check out the rest of the A-Z Book list here

 

 

SoCS: Between Hell and Heaven

I am a software engineer and I deal with the term binary and everything related to it, day in day out (and I am glad I could use that excuse to start the post with the exact words required for the prompt). Everything in my line of work and understanding boils down to 0 and 1. My livelihood depends on it. But I am not going to talk about binary mathematics or binary logic here. Too boring. Let us look at other duality of life too. Good / Bad, Yin / Yang, Day / Night, Male / Female, Right / Wrong, Life / Death , Black / White, Hell / Heaven so on and so forth.  These are just a few examples. But with all duality, more than the actual dual elements, the ones that are in between that are more interesting. Don’t we have grey in between black and white ? There is something called right kind of wrong isn’t. Wait, is there or is it just the lyrics of a song by Leann Rimes ? Well, whatever. You get the point right ? I am going to tell you about something a little mythological story surrounding about one such duality of nature.

 

We know about Hell and Heaven. You do good and you go to heaven to the Gods and you do bad bad things and you go to hell to deal with the Satan. Well, that is what I was taught anyways. Do we question about who decides about what we did was good or bad ? How is the decision to find out which side of the balance we tilt towards, done ? What are the factors ? I was told that there is this Lord of Death , Yama, who has an assistant called Chitragupta who maintains this account ledger for our life and based on the debit or credit side of the balance sheet, your room will be allocated either in the haven of hell or in the much hailed heaven (did that come out right?). Oh hell, I am digressing aren’t I ? OK, backtracking a little bit. Back to the story now.

 

So, there was this King named Trishanku who wanted to go to heaven while he is alive. (It is a mythology, so lets just go with it OK ?) So he went to one of the very powerful sage of those times, Vashishta and asked him for a favor to do a pooja to send him to heaven even before his death. Vashishta rejected him saying that it is against all rules of the nature and God and so he won’t do it, how much ever Trishanku is eligible for such an extraordinary request. The story goes here and there a little bit, because Trishanku tries his hand with lot of people even Vashishta’s sons to help him against their father (not so good now is he…but then he was desperate). Finally he comes to the almost second powerful sage of those times, Vishwamitra. Now that sage, he had some mean temper and a grudge against Vashishta. That is a long story for some other time. When he heard the sad plight of Trishanku, he was more than willing to do the pooja to help him. Knowing that he is capable of doing so, the Lords (especially Lord Indra, the leader or rather the President of Heaven) came down and had a one on one with Vishwamitra on how these things can’t work at his will and that he cannot help Trishanku against the nature to send him to heaven. Vishwamitra refused his counsel and said that he had promised Trishanku already and he cannot go back. So Lord Indra goes back to Heaven to discuss with his ministry on what to do next. In the mean time Vishwamitra does the pooja and there ascends Trishanku slowly to the Heavens. But when he goes to the doors, Lord Indra and others reject his entry and tell him that he is not allowed inside alive. So he is sent back, where he is travelling back upside down to Earth again. Seeing this Vishwamitra gets angry that the Lords have questioned his capability. Then he says, ‘To Hell with Heaven’ and then he goes and creates a new Heaven between the Earth (or Hell) and the Heaven , fully filled with stars and constellations and then makes Trishanku the Lord of that heaven, even though he sort of dangles upside down in it. And there he lived (?) happily ever after(even though he had to dangle upside down like a bat). 

 

Since then, whenever we are in a gray state i.e neither fully happy nor fully unhappy (not necessarily sad) we refer to the state of our existence as Trishanku heaven. What were we talking about ? Oh right, Duality. Where is the fun in that ? The whole spectrum that lies between the two dual extremes is where all the interesting journey is , isn’t ? And what is the little story actually trying to tell us? 

 


Post for this week’s Stream of Consciousness Saturday prompt. Anyway–drumroll please–your Friday prompt for Stream of Consciousness Saturday is: double/two/bi-/twin or anything else you can think of that means “two.” Use the prompt at will!