The story Ramayana* is his entire life journey starting from his innocent youth, his mastery over skills in winning Sita, his role as dutiful and obedient son to adhere to his father’s words while aware of the flagitious intensions of his step mother. He gives up all the worldly richness and sets away to spend 14 years in jungle. Sita being his wife accompanies him followed by Laxman, Ram’s younger brother.
They spend quite an adventurous and romantic** life in the forest. Sita finds her world in her husband Ram and experiences an unspelled love for him. Everything works fine when one day, Sita gets abducted by Ravana while Ram is away to fulfill one of her impossible wishes. Ram does everything possible to get back his love. He gathers a huge army, builds a bridge across an ocean, does all that he could. Finally, he succeeds to kill Ravana and gets her back. With this they complete 14 years of stay in jungle and they return to their kingdom after which they should have lived happily ever after.
But the story takes turmoil instead, Ram’s story ends here and Sita’s story begins. This happens when a subject of Ram’s kingdom whispers “how could Ram trust Sita, who been with Ravana for so long”. Ram wants a test now, Agni-Pareeksha – A test to check purity of a woman, by entering into fire. Exactly this part of the story becomes hard to digest. This is where so many questions arise and is left unanswered.
- Did it serve right for a person like Ram ‘the so called God’ to come down to such a cruel act?
- Is he setting example for all men or rather his followers to commit such an act?
- Or is he doing right by following well set example from his predecessors?
- Ram must have done justice to his kingdom? But why not to his wife? Had he really loved her he wouldn’t have banished her at such a crucial moment.
Did it serve her right to undergo another painful punishment after she had been a victim and had already suffered years of pain in the evil’s custody?
Why anywhere in the whole epic Sita does not have any views? Why didn’t she refuse when they were to leave for jungle (her sister Urmila does that)? Why didn’t she not ask back “why should I jump into fire?” “Don’t you trust me?”
We often come across people stating ‘Ram jaisa pati mila hai’. Can we really consider Ram as an ‘example for perfection’?
If these questions are answered they can be called as Sitayana. It should contain the entire possible thing Sita would have had in mind, but not presented in Ramayana. Nina Paley an Indian born professional animation moviemaker is releasing Santayana. She says:
“We never really know why Rama banishes Sita. Common interpretations resemble rationalizations and apologies: Rama “had to” abuse Sita to maintain the traditional order of his kingdom, in which the opinion of the lowliest man ranked higher than the life of any woman. As literature, Rama’s behavior towards Sita makes no sense…except it’s so realistic. It is the Ramayana’s ambiguities that make it so compelling.”
I strongly feel, movie is going to make some level of controversy and protest. If you are planning to participate, please make sure you have answers to all the questions Ms. Paley is asking.
Some clips of the movie have already reached youTube reservoir. I have posted two of them.
Sita in Love
Ram in Doubt
* Ramayana – the most popular mythological epic dwells around Ram –ninth incarnation of Lord Vishnu as believed by most of the Hindus. Ram is another name for a ‘perfect man’ and is symbolized for loyalty, respect, courage, justice and unbound love.
** Their romantic story in forest is only next best to Kalidasa’s Shakuntala. They sit watching “Kaumauda” near lake cheek to cheek whole night long with “rAtrirEva vyamsIt” (a great literary work in Sanskrit).