STRANGE STORIES ABOUT RAMA’S SONS -THAI RAMAYANA-3 (Post No.5023)

STRANGE STORIES ABOUT RAMA’S SONS KUSA AND LAVA-THAI  RAMAYANA-3 (Post No.5023)

 

WRITTEN by London Swaminathan 

 

Date: 18 May 2018

 

Time uploaded in London – 11-54 am (British Summer Time)

 

Post No. 5023

 

Pictures shown here are taken from various sources such as Facebook friends, Books, Google and newspapers; thanks. Pictures may be subject to copyright laws.

 

 

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Thai Ramayana ‘Ramakien’ differs with Valmiki Ramayana in the birth story of Kusa and Lava. They were the twin sons of Rama and Sita according to Valamiki. But ‘Ramakien’ of Thailand and Ananda Ramayana of India differ very much. It is an interesting animal story.

 

A son was born to Sita and he was named Mongkut. But her second son was created by a miracle by sage Vajmrga (Valmiki). One day Sita went into the forest to gather fruits after leaving her son Mongkut with the sage. She was enjoying nature and saw a family of monkeys. She told the monkey mothers to be careful with their babies otherwise they may fall from the trees. Monkey mothers laughed at her and said to her that they were better than Sita who left her child with the sage who closed his eyes for meditation. Sita was shocked to hear this and rushed back to the sage’s ashram and brought back her child.

 

In the meantime, sage opened his eyes after meditation and found the child was missing. Thinking that Sita would feel sad, he created another child by miracle. When Sita came back he explained what happened and advised her that the second son will be the playmate of her first son. He gave it the name Lava.

This Thai versions is somewhat similar to Ananda Ramayana:

It is in the Janmakanda section (Canto 4, verses 21-86).

Sita had only one son and he was named Kusa because sage Valmii sprinkled holy water on the baby with Kusa grass.  Rama came by Pushpaka Vimana (aeroplane) and did the birth rites with some brahmins and went back to Ayodhya by the Vimana. He told them not to reveal the news to anyone. Sita’s father Janaka also came but he stayed even after Rama left.

 

One day she went to the river to take bath and saw a monkey mother with five baby monkeys. She left her baby with the sage Valmiki. When she saw the mother monkey carrying five of its litter, she felt very guilty for not taking her baby. Sita rushed back to the hermitage of Valmiki and took her baby. At that time, Valmiki with his disciples went to the riverside. When Valmiki came back to his hermitage, he was surprised to see Sita’s son missing. So he created a double of her first son. He gave the second son to Sita and named him Lava, because he was created with Lava/wool. Both the children grew up together at the hermitage and their parents showered love and affection on them.

 

Kathasarit sagara, slightly differed from this version and said Lava was her first son and Kusa was the second son who was created by Valmiki’s miraculous power.

 

One can understand the deep impact of Ramayana  on a vast geographical area and long span of  time. Valmiki’s original version was distorted here and there in course of 2000 or 3000 years. Ramayana is in Buddhist and Jain literature as well.

 

Sita’s ‘infidelity’!

Hindus never like one woman staying with another man who is not her brother or father. So there are lot of stories about the infidelity of Sita.

 

In Thai Ramayana Adul, a demoness daughter of Surpanakha wanted to take revenge upon Rama, because his brother Lakshmana cut off Surpankaha’s nose. Adul was working as a servant maid in the palace of Rama under a different disguise. She asked  Sita to draw the figure of Ravana and when she drew the picture out of fun, Rama saw that. The demoness used that opportunity to betray Sita and Rama wanted to kill his wife Sita. He assigned the task of killing Sita deep inside the forest to Lakshmana. And Lakshmana took her to the jungle, but his mind didn’t allow him to commit the ghostly act. So he showed her the hermitage of Valmiki and took back the heart of a deer and showed it to Rama as a proof of killing Sita. Rama came to know that Sita was alive after a very long time. In the original Ramayana of Valmiki she was simply banished from the country because a washer man suspected her chastity.

 

Tribal Folk song!

Ramayana is the only epic in the world which has penetrated the deepest parts on earth in the oldest time. Even tribal communities have different versions of Ramayana episodes in their folk songs. That shows Ramayana might have happened several thousand years ago.  The folk song in the tribal Bundelghund region says when Sita visited the forest she drew a portrait of Ravana at the behest of her friends. They insisted her to draw the figure to see How Ravana looked like. This happened long after the death of Ravana and Sita’s joining her husband. Sita did it with the cowdung.  As she was making the figure up to waist, there appeared Rama and suspected Sita’s fidelity. Then he ordered her expulsion.

 

There are over 3000 versions or more of Ramayana. Every time I go to British Library in London, I see a new Ramayana episode or many episodes in very old Tamil Books. In 2000 year old Sangam Tamil literature there are two episodes which are not found anywhere else in the world. In the Alvar/ Tamil Vaishnavite saints’ poems we see new episodes about squirrels helping in the bridge work. In the Pali and Prakirit language literature we see newer versions.

 

The most attractive story of Rama and Sita stand for the purest qualities and virtues on earth. No other literature of the ancient world has made such an impact anywhere on earth. After the founding of ISKCON and other organisations, story of Rama and Krishna and the Mantra ‘Hare Rama’ have been echoing in the nook and corner of the world.

Please read also my articles on Vivekananda’s lecture on Sita and Sangam literature poems on Rama and Sita.

Long Live Rama’s Name!

–Subham–

STRANGE STORIES ABOUT TREES, KUSHA AND DHURVA GRASS IN VEDAS –Part 1 (Post No.4368)

Ganesh with Dhurva Grass (Arukam Pul in Tamil)

 

STRANGE STORIES ABOUT TREES, KUSHA AND DHURVA GRASS IN VEDAS –Part 1 (Post No.4368)

 

Written by London Swaminathan

 

Date: 5 NOVEMBER 2017

 

Time uploaded in London- 14-11

 

 

Post No. 4368

Pictures shown here are taken from various sources such as Facebook friends, Books, Google and newspapers; thanks.

 

 

Origin of vegetation on the earth explained in the Aitareya Brahmana (5-23):

“The earth is the Queen of the Serpents, for she is the queen of all that moves (sarpat). She was in the beginning without hair (without grasses, bushes, trees etc). She then saw the mantra of the Rig Veda (10-189) which commences with

‘This spotted Bull (the sun) hath come, and sat before the mother (the Earth) in the East

Advancing to his Father, Heaven. ‘As expiration from his breath, his radiance penetrates within’.

 

In consequence of it she (the Earth) obtained a motely appearance, she became variegated, being able to produce any form she might like, such as herbs, trees and all other forms. Therefore, the man who has such a knowledge obtains the faculty of assuming any form he might choose.”

DURVA GRASS

The origin of Durva grass, of which much is made in connection with Hindu sacrifices, is described as follows:

“The Hair of Prajapati, which were lying n the ground when he was disjointed, became herbs. The vital air then went out from within him, and that having gone out, he fell down. He said, ‘Verily this vital air has undone me!’ and because he said, ‘it has undone (dhurve) me’, hence  the name Durva; durva doubtless being what is mystically called Durva, FOR THE GODS LOVE THE MYSTIC”—- Satapata Brahmana 7-4-2-11/12

 

Concept of ‘body being Microcosm and the Earth being Macrocosm was borrowed by the Greeks from the Hindus; so plants are equal to hair, blood vessels are equal to rivers etc.

 

The second point to be noticed is Gods love the Mystic, hence queer names and strange explanations. This means they dot speak straight forward language. So one must be careful in translating or interpreting.

 

The third point is reasoning out is found in the Vedic period itself. People named different plants differently on the basis of certain things.

KUSA GRASS

“He then places a bunch of Dharba grass (Kusa) on the middle of the altar site; for the gods then placed plants thereon, and in like manner does the sacrifice, now place thereon- — Satapata Brahmana 7-2-3-1

 

The reference in the next quotation is to the legend of Indra’s killing of Vritra, when the waters, disguised by his putrefying carcase, rose and flowed over —– Satapata Brahmana 1-1-3-5

“Whence spring these grasses of which the strainers are made; for they represent the water which was not putrified; in 7-3-2-3, we read of ‘Stalks of Kusa grass, for these are pure, and sacrificially clean……….. for the top is sacred to the gods.

 

Unclean Plants

There were plants , which are sacrificially unclean; it is said that Greek Philosopher Pythagoras banned beans and fasting Roman Catholics banned certain food.

 

Vedas allowed Forest Plants and Fruits of trees:

“Let him therefore eat only what grows in the forest or the fruit of trees. Barku Varsha said, ‘Cook beans for me, for no offering is made of them! This, however, he should not do; for pulse serves as an addition to rice and barley; and hence they increase the rice and barley by means of it; let him therefore eat only what grows in the forest —– Satapata Brahmana 1-1-1-10

 

Referring to the same incident in Prajapati’s life, we read the origin of Udembara tree —– Satapata Brahmana 7-4-1-39

“When Prajapati was relaxed, Agni took Prajapati’s fiery spirit and carried it off to the south, and there stopped; and because after carrying (karsh) it off, t stopped (ud-ram), therefore Karshmarya sprang up. And Indra took Prajapati’s igour and wet away to the noth; it became the Udumbara tree”

(Fig and its varieties)

UDUMBARA TREE

In Vishnu Sahsranama Nyagroda, Udumbara and Asvatta are worshipped as Vishnu. All these belong to Ficus family.

 

The bathing chair of Udumbara wood figures prominently in Taittiriya sBrahmana 2-6-5, where we find an address to to it and another to the leather spread upon it, a mantra to be repeated when sitting upon the chair, another after sitting thereon, another when descending rom chair, another inaudibly after descending from the chair, and no end of others in the course of the bathing, including many addressed to Agni and the Sun; some of which may be heard uttered to this day on the banks of the Ganges or other bathing places.

 

When Hindus couldn’t get the Udumbara wood they replaced it with a bundle of Dhurva grass. The details are given in Taittiriya Brahmana2-7-9-10/11

 

Tomorrow I will give the stories of Krimuka and Viekantka Trees

 

—-to be continued

 

–subham–