Ideal Hero – S’rii RAma and His approach to war

Most of the so-called Hindu right wing love to call the iks.vAku as an ‘Indian hero’. Some more sensible persons prefer to identify Him as a/the Hindu hero. Both these groups hail rAma and hold him aloft as an ideal hero, an ideal king etc etc.

But as with most other instances, these groups have a ‘vision of rAma’ in their minds and it is not as much based on the text of Adi kavi’s mahAkAvya as on their fertile imagination. Their vision of rAma is that of an ever forgiving benign person who was almost always distressed about bloodshed. The truth is something else. S’rii RAma was indeed the ideal hero and followed the rules of warfare. He offered peace to a powerful enemy (rAvan.a) when he saw that the war will cause terrible devastation. As a king, one of His duties will be to try to avoid any possible causes for social devastation. Yudhis.t.hira and Kr.s.n.a tried for peace for the very same reason. But this preference for peace does not make them ahimsa mongers. While Yudhis.t.hira bemoaned the loss of lives several times in MahAbhArata, S’rii RAma stands as a class apart. The iks.vAku hero’s lapse into such guilt feeling was very rare. The characterization of RAma reaches its pinnacle in His determination to do what he perceives as dharma.

RAma was born into a Ks.atriya royal family. As such, his duty was mainly two-fold: 1. rule his subjects with love and care, 2. Protect the innocent and uphold dharma by punishing the wicked. RAmacandra was especially good in the latter. While the former duty was glorified by MK Gandhi with his eulogizing speeches on rAma rAjya, the doyen of ahimsa preferred to gloss over the latter of the two duties upheld by the rAghava.

Let us take a look at how Adi kavi Valmiiki portrays Him

1. abhiyAtA prahartA (2-1-29) – one who sought out his enemies and destroyed them.

2. gatvA saumitrisahito nAvijityA nivartate – He goes to war with by His side. And He never returns without winning.

3. When Khara sees RAma in dand.akAran.ya, Adi kavi describes his vision as follows:

“avas.t.abdha dhanum rAmam kruddham ca ripu ghAtinam” (3-25-1)

The angry RAma, destroyer of enemies, was holding his bow. Note the words ‘ripu ghAtinam’ and kruddham. His prowess in destroying His enemies and His anger are very clearly mentioned.

4. ‘bhiima dhanvAnam’ (3-25-7) – One with a ferocious bow (no arms control act there!!)

5. ‘durjayam’ (3-25-7) – Invincible.

6.  “tatho rAma susamkruddho man.dalii kr.ta kArmukha I sasarja nis’itAn bAn.An s’atas’aH atha sahasras’aH II” (3-25-16,17)

On becoming extremely infuriated, RAma bent his bow into a circle and unleashed a torrent of arrows in hundreds, nay, in thousands. (He was not a wimp who cried out his eyes upon killing an enemy. Nor did He feel squeamish about becoming a killing machine on facing His enemies).

This is just the tip of an iceberg. Similar glowing description of RAma’s unyielding anger and invincible prowess in the battlefield is given by VAlmiiki throughout his kAvya.

That such prowess was highly valued by the ks.atrAn.iis is very clear. Upon RAma’s victory over Khara and his army, Vaidehii behaved thus:

“tam dr.s.t.vA s’atruhantAram mahars.iin.Am sukha Avaham I babhUva hr.s.t.A vaidehii bhartAram paris.vaje II” (3.30.39,40)

On seeing her husband, the scorcher of enemies and bringer of happiness to the mahars.i-s, SiitA embraced him with great rejoice. It is to be noted that when RAma tried to dissuade SiitA from following Him to the forest (by saying how the forest is full of dangers and hardships), SiitA reproaches him very harshly with these words:

“kim tvA amanyata vaidehaH pita me mithilA adhipaH I rAma jAmAtaram prApya striyam me purus.a vigraham II” (2.30.3)

She turns RAma’s very words upon Him. By trying to make SiitA afraid of the forest’s dangers and hardships, it seems as if RAma is stating that He is not capable of fighting danger (and hence, a coward and unmanly person). Thus, she says “Hey RAma!! What will my father think of himself about gaining a woman in a man’s body as his son-in-law?” In the aran.ya kAn.da, RAma proves that he is certainly not a woman in a man’s body. He kills the entire army of Khara within seventy two minutes and SiitA is rejoiced by this show of valor from her husband, the mahAvIra. It is worthy to note that BhavabhUti titled his drama on rAmAyan.a story as ‘mahAviira caritam’. S’rI vedAnta des’ika, a polyglot acArya from the south, titled his stotra gadya on RAma as ‘mahAviira vaibhavam’. It is seen that Hindu scholars did view RAma as the mahAvIra par excellence. Even in Bhagavad giitA, Kr.s.n.a says “..rAmaH s’astrabhr.tAmaham” (10-31, I am RAma among those who wield weapons).

Thus, RAma was never hesitant in punishing the wicked. His ability to do the needful in the times of war is well brought out by one incident during the war at LankA. Ramayana 6-75 describes how the vAnara-s burnt down LankA nagara a second time. This was done after was healed with the herbs brought by HanumAn. While the city was burning, RAma and brought down the gates of the city. The chapter describes how men and women of LankA suffered due to the scorching fires spreading through the city. It is to be noted that some rules of war do not apply when your enemy is not a follower of dharma. The RAks.asa-s were not bound by dharma and indulged in vices. RAma’s army burned down their city without any hesitancy. The general rule of leaving the civilians alone was not followed in this occasion (after all, the RAks.asa-s never cared to leave enemy civilians unhurt).

Modern day Hindus must learn from their ideal hero. Rather than relying on some imaginary nonsense, they must try to know the truth about RAma and try to follow in His footsteps.

A Hindu view on Gun control

Another shooting in the US, more hysteria from Hindu “right wing” on twitter and the pattern repeats itself.

It is interesting to note that these alleged Hindu “right wing” crowd don’t ever dare question India’s gun control over countless atrocities against Hindus by their Muslim brothers. It is also interesting to note how they selectively ignore countries such as Switzerland with very high gun ownership rates and very little gun crime, perhaps because it pokes holes into their shoddy theories.

They didn’t find it pertinent to ask how 26/11 could have happened if gun control worked. They never ask how well gun control worked out for Hindu Kashmiris or the Bodos.

The truth is that these are no Hindus or right wingers but arm chair liberals living in the safety of America or some other place of safety. They think the masses of Hindus are nincompoops and should be abandoned to their fate if Muslims attack them, in other words Hindus have no right to self defense.

But what do Hindu texts and tradition say about the right to bear arms?

Acharya Medhatithi (9th century CE) answers this question in his Manubhashya when he points out that a Kshatriya is to live by bearing weapons, but common people are also permitted to bear arms for self protection. In support of this he points out that the king’s arms cannot reach all men, and that there are some wicked men who attack the most valiant of the king’s officers, but are afraid of persons bearing arms.

The Hindu tradition from the earliest times has been that the right to self defense cannot be outsourced to the government and this has always been the practice of Hindu kings. Indeed this is how Hindus survived centuries of Muslim tyranny, the common people being armed would resist the tyranny of Muslims using their weapons.

Let us look at history:

These comprised mainly of two options – to fight with determination as far as possible, but, if resistance proved of no avail, to flee and settle down elsewhere. Medieval Indian society, both urban and agrarian, was to some extent an armed society. In cities and towns the elite carried swords like walking sticks. In villages few men were without at least a spear or bow and arrows, and they were skilled in the use of these arms. In 1632, Peter Mundy actually saw in the present day Kanpur district, “labourers with their guns, swords and bucklers lying by them while they ploughed the ground”.70 Similarly, Manucci described how in Akbar’s days the villagers of the Mathura region defended themselves against Mughal revenue-collecting officers: “The women stood behind their husbands with spears and arrows, when the husband had shot off his matchlock, his wife handed him the lance, while she reloaded the matchlock.”71 The countryside was studded with little forts, some surrounded by nothing more than mud walls, but which nevertheless provided centres of the general tradition of rebellion and agrarian unrest. Armed peasants provided contingents to Baheliyas, Bhadauriyas, Bachgotis, Mandahars and Tomars in the earlier period, to Jats, Marathas and Sikhs in the later.

So how did weapons control & disarmament of Hindus begin?

It began with Muslim tyrants such as Aurangzeb who issued the following order:

In March 1695, all the Hindus, with the exception of the Rajputs, were forbidden to travel in palkis, or ride on elephants or thorough-bred horses, or to carry arms. (Muntakhab-ul-Lubab, ii, 395; Maasir-i-Alamgiri, 370 and News Letter, 11 December 1694).

Imagine the fate of our ancestors if Hindu rulers had practiced bow control, matchlock control, or sword control. The result would have been enmasse foreskin control of the unarmed population by Muslims.

Now we move forward a few centuries, the British were now the rulers of India and the 1857 rebellion breaks out which shakes British control. How was this rebellion made possible?

By an armed populace of course, Tatya Tope did not do Satyagraha but fired guns against the Christian British tyrants. Unfortunately the rebellion failed but the British had learned their lesson and began a systematic disarmament campaign of Hindus along with suppression of Hindu martial arts. In 1878, Lord Lytton helped pass the “Indian Arms Act” which made it illegal for any Indian to possess arms unless he was considered a loyal subject of the empire. Europeans in India were of course exempted from this act.

Even the ahimsa monger Gandhi had recognized this great crime of the British tyrants & commented:

Among the many misdeeds of the British rule in India, history will look upon the Act depriving a whole nation of arms, as the blackest.

— Mahatma Gandhi (An Autobiography OR The story of my experiments with truth, by M.K. Gandhi, p.238)

In fact before India’s independence from the British, one of the items on the Congress party platform was lifting the arms control imposed by the British. But the brown sahibs who replaced the gora sahibs thought the average Hindu was an idiot who cannot be allowed to defend himself, the same view held by fake Hindu “right wing” today.

To conclude, these fake Hindus & “right wingers” have more in common with Aurangzeb and the British than with the traditions of our ancestors. If they had been living under Aurangzeb they would have no doubt supported his efforts to disarm Hindus.

These people have no shame or conscience because they know they never have to face the guns of the terrorists as the common people did on 26/11 or Hindu Kashmiris during their ethnic cleansing by Muslims or more recently the Bodos at the hands of illegal Muslims. Many live in the safety of the West or in affluent non-Muslim majority areas in India while demanding that everyday Hindus be made defenceless.

People such as these are more dangerous to the survival of Hindu civilization than any Kasab & every right thinking Hindu should emphatically reject gun control.

Hedonism vs Dharma – Part 1

Hedonism, as a philosophy, gives great importance to the pleasure of an individual. Nothing is more important than pleasure. The aim of life is to enjoy pleasure (and avoid pain completely as much as possible).

Thus, most hedonists are also great supporters of individual freedom. They will support the freedom of an individual to do whatever he/she wants unless it hurts another individual. Traditional morals/ethics do not matter to them.

Ancient India had a school of hedonistic atheism – lokAyata. One branch of it, the niilapat.a (aka niilAmbara) made hedonism the basis of their very existence. The famed tolerance of Hindus towards diverse philosophical traditional found its limit with the niilapat.a doctrine. Jayanta bhat.t.a ad RAjA Bhoja of Dhar made it a point to exterminate this sect.’ belief could be summarized as follows:

“Indulge in coitus with any woman/man you like. Give up social norms (let there be no barriers to pleasure). Drink wine as much as you want. In short, do whatever gives you pleasure.”

Jayanta understood that even faithful wives will be instigated to leave their households as all restraints are rejected by this cult. Family system will cease to exist and with it, the entire society will fall into abyss. The community will cease to exist in a few generations. That is the reason why Jayanta and Bhoja exterminated this cult.

This opposition to unadulterated hedonism is one major reason for the continued survival of Hinduism despite the various onslaughts throughout the centuries. Greek and Roman pagans became extinct as they had taken to hedonistic values. Various civilizations have met their end within a short span of taking to hedonism – the end result of which was undermining the family system (Sumeria, Greece, Rome, Persia). We will take a detailed look at these cultures and how hedonism undermined them in the next post.