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toney

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Re: (non-cricket): Interesting Blog - Existence of God?
« Reply #40 on: April 11, 2006, 07:27:57 PM »

bouncer, sorry to jut in but if there were no siginificant truth to a person/god/reincarnation called Rama, how come Valmiki was able to write so correctly about every part of India? Do you think he actually travelled across the country in those times? Do you really think there is no divineness to the texts?

Wouldnt that mean the same for every religion? The Red Sea splitting on Moses' command or getting the tablets, Jesus walking on water, Mohammed receiving the word of god? Or are you an athiest?
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When intelligence matures and lodges securely in the mind it becomes wisdom. When wisdom is integrated with life and becomes action it becomes Bhakti. Knowledge when it becomes fully mature is Bhakti. To believe that Jnana and Bhakti, knowledge & devotion, are different from each other is ignorance.

flute202020

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Re: (non-cricket): Interesting Blog - Existence of God?
« Reply #41 on: April 11, 2006, 07:30:46 PM »

Blasphemy is allowed where thought is allowed. :D
flute, what you said is news to me. Why is it that no attempt is made to show what the authentic Valimiki product is and what came in later on? How does this reinforce the caste based society that the Brahmanas wanted?

I learned an interesting thing yesterday. I had always assumed that Hrishikesha (as in Sri Kirshna) was the combination (sandhi) of Hrishi + Kesha but heard yesterday that the actual words were Hrishika +Isha. Hrishika means the senses (taste, smell...) and Isha means god. So, that seems apt for Krishna too.

Toney, good question. For first time, I am sharing this thought with Digians, one of my life goals is to make a movie of the valmiki version, where Rama is not god , but a great prince, who travelled all over subcontinent, fearlessly and with utmost pride and astuteness overcoming various small kingdoms(mostly tribal & beast settlements), integrating them into mainstream. Agreed not always perfect, with shades of imperialism, but it definitely laid foundations of India as we know it today. We make him out to be this dumb , perfect hero, in reality as depicted by valmiki, he was an astute military strategist with great political wisdom.

As for brahminical version, if you remember the Ramayan side story about how ParushuRama, brahman was humbled by Rama, a prince? One lesser known facet of Indian history is that, with changing fortunes of Brahmins & skhatriyas, the version of our scriptures & epics changed. It was done with more subtlety unlike Arjun singh & BJP types. The idea was always to add to existing versions and not delete or remove anything, for a large portion of the literature was in oral form and there is no way to erase it.

There is also this small story about how Rama asked Lakshmana to donate all his gold to poor before leaving to forest. At that time, he also tells his brother "Bro, there are some brahmin, who are lazy and who waste away whole day simply parroting vedas, make sure you donate to them too, to carry on the tradition'. There is another instance when Rama challenges this old guy acting like he is immovable to throw the stick in his hand as far as he can and he will donate all the cows in that range. This old guy immediately shows lot of energy and becomes active and uses all his strength to throw the stick.
Many such stories which make him humane and smart, which are lost with changing times.

Uttara Ramayan was written at a later age when Brahmins were on ascendency and they wanted to reinforce the caste based soceity then in vogue, sothey wanted to show this Perfect Hindu God to have followed it in his Ram Rajya too. So, he was depicted as going and killing this shudra who was doing penance, liberating his soul in the process. The language of Uttara Ramayan is totally different from Valmiki's original version. Valmiki's original version doesn't even have the parts of first kanda which is the bala kanda which talks about how Dasharatha had 3 sons as boon etc.

visit www.valmikiramayan.net

Extract:

While stabilizing the original text of Ramayana, historians surmised that portions of two Books [Kaandas], namely Book I, Bala Kaanda and Book VII, Uttara Ramayana (not listed above) are later additions - "The first and the last Books of the Ramayana are later additions. The bulk, consisting of Books II--VI, represents Rama as an ideal hero. In Books I and VII, however Rama is made an avatara or incarnation of Vishnu, and the epic poem is transformed into a Vaishnava text. The reference to the Greeks, Parthians, and Sakas show that these Books cannot be earlier than the second century B.C......"[ The cultural Heritage of India, Vol. IV, The Religions, The Ramakrishna Mission, Institute of Culture ].

However Book I, Balakanda is considered to be an original version except for some injected stories. Story starts from the fifth chapter of Book I, and tradition demands it to be read with the others. This stipulation is not obligatory to Uttara Kaanda, a later kaanda, wherein Sita's expulsion to forest takes place. Theologists worship Sri Rama as a God incarnate, philosophers make him the philosophical Absolute, while at the same time, materialists, condemning the above, appreciate the lyrical values of Ramayana, but as a great devotee-singer said "Whoever calls you in whatever way, you are that One".  


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toney

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Re: (non-cricket): Interesting Blog - Existence of God?
« Reply #42 on: April 11, 2006, 07:35:50 PM »

flute, interesting.
But wouldnt it be a serious challenge to filter out the later additions and create a pure Valmiki version? I dont even understand how this task can be approached because, as you said, the text was orally passed down and there will be a point where the additions could be easily obscured.
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When intelligence matures and lodges securely in the mind it becomes wisdom. When wisdom is integrated with life and becomes action it becomes Bhakti. Knowledge when it becomes fully mature is Bhakti. To believe that Jnana and Bhakti, knowledge & devotion, are different from each other is ignorance.

flute202020

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Re: (non-cricket): Interesting Blog - Existence of God?
« Reply #43 on: April 11, 2006, 07:37:15 PM »

Flute,

Who was Rama? There is no historical basis of his existence. Why do you keep saying that he is your favorite? It is the mythical charcater who you like, right? You do not mean to say that Rama indeed was the king who attacked Lanka with the monkey soldiers and killed a ten-headed monster!
bouncer, there is enough historical evidence to say that a prince by that name existed. There is also archeological evidence to existence of a man built bridge between SL & Ind. My take is , the real prince was lost and is rolled into a mythical one since it was so long ago and when India was covered by dense forests and mostly beastly , cannibal tribal people populated those lands, hence the reference to monkeys & monsters etc.

If you ever followed ancient Indian history, all of the epics have some historical basis, which was used to come up with larger than life , godly characters. A lot of the characters in epics start in Rig veda like a everyday hero and then later ages simply add to it. For example, there is possbile reference to Karna, Krishna & Bhishma  in Rig Veda. Only in Rig Veda, Krishna kills Bhisma. Ofcourse, going by references and tribal names etc., it is just a postulated theory, but thats the state of Ancient Indian history.
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flute202020

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Re: (non-cricket): Interesting Blog - Existence of God?
« Reply #44 on: April 11, 2006, 07:41:39 PM »

flute, interesting.
But wouldnt it be a serious challenge to filter out the later additions and create a pure Valmiki version? I dont even understand how this task can be approached because, as you said, the text was orally passed down and there will be a point where the additions could be easily obscured.
Toney, there is a very well develop field called linguistic studies. Simply by looking at the language being used, we can deduce a lot of things from it. For example, say 200 hundred years from now, people can safely deduce simply by looking at telugu literary works from 2000 that america was the premier nation at this time and that there was heavy english influence on the language etc. Extra polating, if a object or new invention has a non-telugu or non-Indian term, deduce that it was not invented in India. Its amazing how language serves as a tape record of sort of a linguistic groups progress or degeneration thru ages.

IMHO, getting Valmiki's version no challenge. The work is already done to a large extent.
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devatha

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Re: (non-cricket): Interesting Blog - Existence of God?
« Reply #45 on: April 11, 2006, 07:59:55 PM »

But who is this low caste guy doing tapasya, whom Rama killed?
Flute, You didn't answer my question though, who is this low caste guy? Dasaratha had 4 sons, all were part of boon. Not sure where you got this version of Ramayan where it tells that his 3 sons only as boon.
« Last Edit: April 11, 2006, 08:01:55 PM by devatha »
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toney

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Re: (non-cricket): Interesting Blog - Existence of God?
« Reply #46 on: April 11, 2006, 08:10:06 PM »

Thanks, flute. Yeah, I have heard of those linguistic traits being used to predict the age of a text.  But my question is, since these texts have been orally passed down, wouldnt there be unintended changes in the style of the language anyhow? Say, if an uncorrupted Valmiki version was handed down to today's generation, wouldnt there still be influences of today's linguistic trends on the text? If there are such issues, the filtering becomes a lot more difficult, right?
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When intelligence matures and lodges securely in the mind it becomes wisdom. When wisdom is integrated with life and becomes action it becomes Bhakti. Knowledge when it becomes fully mature is Bhakti. To believe that Jnana and Bhakti, knowledge & devotion, are different from each other is ignorance.

flute202020

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Re: (non-cricket): Interesting Blog - Existence of God?
« Reply #47 on: April 11, 2006, 08:14:01 PM »

But who is this low caste guy doing tapasya, whom Rama killed?
Flute, You didn't answer my question though, who is this low caste guy? Dasaratha had 4 sons, all were part of boon. Not sure where you got this version of Ramayan where it tells that his 3 sons only as boon.
typo, yes 4 sons as boon. About the low caste guy, here is an extract from web

From wikipedia:

The oldest mention of Shambuka occurs in the Ramayana of Valmiki, in the last book of the epic, Uttara-kanda.After Rama returns to Ayodhya and is crowned the king of Ayodhya, a child-death occurs in the kingdom. He is told that calamities, such as this, occur when Dharma is not followed in a kingdom. Rama tries to find out the reason and comes to know that a Shudra caste person called Shambuka is performing penance which he is not supposed to do according to the Varna sytem rules prevailing in that period. He is executed personally by Rama.

This incident is quoted often as an example of caste/varna-based cruelty and to condemn Rama as a heartless, blind follower of varna-based rules. However, the implication of this incident is far from clear. To begin with, it occurs in the Uttara-Kanda, believed by many to be an interpolation and not the work of Valmiki. Even if this issue is not pertinent to understanding the tale, it is quite bizarre.

After revealing to Rama the reason for the death of the Brahmana’s son, it is added that this is the result of the Shudra violating the rules of the TRETA age. This is the age in which the tale is set and the present degenerate Kali age comes only after an intermediate Dwapara one. The book says that the austerities are forbidden to the Shudra's in Treta and Dwapara. Considering the fact that all of 'historical' time is set in Kali, the incident could hardly be a template for Shudra-behaviour of any time after about 3000 B.C.! To complicate the mater further, when Rama sees Shambuka, he is hanging upside down and trying to gather enough merit to enter heaven in his won physical body! This looks like a mirror-image of the tale in Bala-Kanda of Ramayana,‘The Book of Childhood’, about Trishanku. By no stretch of imagination is he an ordinary Moksha seeking mendicant.

All this becomes more puzzling when we meet a non-Brahmana/Kshatriya ascetic in 'The Book of Ayodhya' in the same epic. When Dasaratha recounts a terrible deed of his impetuous youth, he tells show he shot a young ascetic (not named by Valmiki) in the forest. The dying boy absolves the prince of the sin of 'Brahmincide' by telling him that his father is a Vaishya and the mother a Shudra. This old couple is praised in glowing terms in the passages that follow. Does this mean that there was no prohibition on austerities for Vaishyas and Shudras in Treta? Or was it a Brahmincide, quite permissible in the ancient times, desperately disguised by later pedants? An even more unambiguous story that makes a mockery of the Shambuka incident can be found in 'The Book of the Forest'. In search of Sita, Rama and his brother arrive at the hermitage of a lady hermit called Shabari. Her name indicates that she is clearly a forest tribal, outside the pale of varnas. She is again glorified in many terms and these passages are not really cast in Bhakti terms to make it a very late addition. In addition she mentions that her teachers were the disciples of sage Matanga: the name is same as that of another tribal community.

Kalidasa (circa 4 A.D) mentions the incident of Shambuka in Raghuvamsa without any comment, whereas Bhavabhuti (circa 7 A.D) is clearly uncomfortable with the story in his UttaraRamaCharita.
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devatha

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Re: (non-cricket): Interesting Blog - Existence of God?
« Reply #48 on: April 11, 2006, 08:16:22 PM »

O.K. But was this "putrakaamesti" not part of Valmiki Ramayan? That website you posted, also tells about this yaga.
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flute202020

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Re: (non-cricket): Interesting Blog - Existence of God?
« Reply #49 on: April 11, 2006, 08:19:18 PM »

Thanks, flute. Yeah, I have heard of those linguistic traits being used to predict the age of a text.  But my question is, since these texts have been orally passed down, wouldnt there be unintended changes in the style of the language anyhow? Say, if an uncorrupted Valmiki version was handed down to today's generation, wouldnt there still be influences of today's linguistic trends on the text? If there are such issues, the filtering becomes a lot more difficult, right?
toney, oh you will be surprised how well preserved some of the scriptures are , ONLY because we have the oral tradition. Since Indian way was oral for a long time, the tradition placed great importance on diction, correctness of sound, accent etc. It was remarkably well preserved until 300 BC probably, which is when we had written tradition coming into force. In fact, India beinga tropical country, we would have lost great many literary works if we had written word tradition. Even in that, linguists also rely on cross referencing literary works before concluding anything. Of course it is never 100% proven, it is always refined etc., but we do get the gist of it..In case of valmiki work, a major portion is alreay identified simply by comparing the language in most part of the text Vs the uttara ramayan text.
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flute202020

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Re: (non-cricket): Interesting Blog - Existence of God?
« Reply #50 on: April 11, 2006, 08:23:07 PM »

O.K. But was this "putrakaamesti" not part of Valmiki Ramayan? That website you posted, also tells about this yaga.
putrakaamesti, I think is not part of the original Valmiki Ramayan according to linguists. Original Ramayan actually starts with Rama & Sita in ayodhya, with some references to their marriage and his heroic effort in getting Sita's hand in marriage. This site tends to translates everything depending on tradition.
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devatha

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Re: (non-cricket): Interesting Blog - Existence of God?
« Reply #51 on: April 11, 2006, 08:28:16 PM »

O.K. But was this "putrakaamesti" not part of Valmiki Ramayan? That website you posted, also tells about this yaga.
putrakaamesti, I think is not part of the original Valmiki Ramayan according to linguists. Original Ramayan actually starts with Rama & Sita in ayodhya, with some references to their marriage and his heroic effort in getting Sita's hand in marriage. This site tends to translates everything depending on tradition.

Can't agree with this. Any story of God, whoever writes it,  begins with His birth. You are telling me that it begins with His marriage. Can you show me any source that shows Valmiki starting his Ramayan with the marriage?
« Last Edit: April 11, 2006, 08:30:06 PM by devatha »
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flute202020

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Re: (non-cricket): Interesting Blog - Existence of God?
« Reply #52 on: April 11, 2006, 09:02:29 PM »

O.K. But was this "putrakaamesti" not part of Valmiki Ramayan? That website you posted, also tells about this yaga.
putrakaamesti, I think is not part of the original Valmiki Ramayan according to linguists. Original Ramayan actually starts with Rama & Sita in ayodhya, with some references to their marriage and his heroic effort in getting Sita's hand in marriage. This site tends to translates everything depending on tradition.

Can't agree with this. Any story of God, whoever writes it,  begins with His birth. You are telling me that it begins with His marriage. Can you show me any source that shows Valmiki starting his Ramayan with the marriage?
-:) not marriage, it just begins, with a description of Ayodhya, later in the text, there are some references to marriage etc. To agree with this, you will have to be open to looking at things as a historian, do not look at it as a story of God. I will try to get your references by historians. Most of it is my readings of books on ancient indian history.
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devatha

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Re: (non-cricket): Interesting Blog - Existence of God?
« Reply #53 on: April 11, 2006, 09:26:08 PM »

O.K. But was this "putrakaamesti" not part of Valmiki Ramayan? That website you posted, also tells about this yaga.
putrakaamesti, I think is not part of the original Valmiki Ramayan according to linguists. Original Ramayan actually starts with Rama & Sita in ayodhya, with some references to their marriage and his heroic effort in getting Sita's hand in marriage. This site tends to translates everything depending on tradition.

Can't agree with this. Any story of God, whoever writes it,  begins with His birth. You are telling me that it begins with His marriage. Can you show me any source that shows Valmiki starting his Ramayan with the marriage?
-:) not marriage, it just begins, with a description of Ayodhya, later in the text, there are some references to marriage etc. To agree with this, you will have to be open to looking at things as a historian, do not look at it as a story of God. I will try to get your references by historians. Most of it is my readings of books on ancient indian history.

Leave the historians aside. But as far as I know, Valmiki is not a historian.  Do you mean to say Valmiki didn't belive that Rama is a God and he wanted to just tell the history of a normal human being in his Ramayan?
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flute202020

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Re: (non-cricket): Interesting Blog - Existence of God?
« Reply #54 on: April 11, 2006, 09:38:13 PM »

O.K. But was this "putrakaamesti" not part of Valmiki Ramayan? That website you posted, also tells about this yaga.
putrakaamesti, I think is not part of the original Valmiki Ramayan according to linguists. Original Ramayan actually starts with Rama & Sita in ayodhya, with some references to their marriage and his heroic effort in getting Sita's hand in marriage. This site tends to translates everything depending on tradition.

Can't agree with this. Any story of God, whoever writes it,  begins with His birth. You are telling me that it begins with His marriage. Can you show me any source that shows Valmiki starting his Ramayan with the marriage?
-:) not marriage, it just begins, with a description of Ayodhya, later in the text, there are some references to marriage etc. To agree with this, you will have to be open to looking at things as a historian, do not look at it as a story of God. I will try to get your references by historians. Most of it is my readings of books on ancient indian history.

Leave the historians aside. But as far as I know, Valmiki is not a historian.  Do you mean to say Valmiki didn't belive that Rama is a God and he wanted to just tell the history of a normal human being in his Ramayan?
yep, valmiki was a poet , going by historians take, all the references to Godliness of Rama were later day additions..see the link I gave..just google on Ramayana and you will know how much interest is there on this subject. There is a international Ramayana conference conducted in US by a university about a year ago...people are facinated by this story...

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senthilpeter

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Re: (non-cricket): Interesting Blog - Existence of God?
« Reply #55 on: April 11, 2006, 10:39:53 PM »

so god created man in his own likeness or did we come from apes???
which has more validity? in terms of scientific proof? we know adam and eve and whoever is such a hogwash with scientific proofs for dinasour to human existence for over 50000 years. evolution is a slow process i had in posted an article on human evolution happening even know from NYT in the etc forum....or in jest like saturday night live said dinasours are jesus's horses or kailas is actually a peak...or cows after all are not divine nor is sun a god. Many of this same expostulations would have me stoned death say 100 years even know could happen if i visit middle east certain other parts of the world. if man could exist 45000 years without god where did he come from in last 5000 years? man has an image of self which makes him think in terms of soul and life after death.....to me a god as defined any religious books doesnot exist...buddhism has dealt with this in what it terms as nirvana a state of nothing ....or like thich nhat hanh says how come something which is not there exist or not exist. what exists is our genes which still can evolve and who knows what it will be thousands of years hence that is if we dont blow up the toposphere with nuclear devices.....man today lives stronger and better than what he did in ages......we could once who knows conquer death itself. Am i afraid of death definetly....that is what stops us from doing lot of stupid things.....but i know there is no heaven with 52 maidens or indras apsaras waiting for me in yonder. a benovolent god as described in various books definetly is not out there.....

Sorry fellas, i'm way behind this avalanche of posts thats happenning!!!

Tombaan, adam/eve or apes... these are basically mental conceptions that we may or may not use in helping ourselves understand the mystery. I myself dont care about the conceptions. I'm sure when i figure out the crux, all these conceptions will seem to embody some element of the truth in some fashion.

As to evolution and the connection to the larger questions we all are clueless about -- The common idea of evolution is the statement of a process of formation, not an explanation of our being. Its basically limited to the physical and biological data of Nature.  We dont quite know its own meaning. At most, its believed to be some function of a quite mysterious and inexplicable energy. For ex, yeah we evolved from apes, lets acknowledge that. But in what facets have we evolved? Physical changes, of course. Seems like the mental faculties have bloomed too. How did this come about? What caused this evolution? There is clearly no answer to that. And what gaurantees that we are the final product of this evolution? What about we being a pre-cursor to another species that is set to manifest here on Earth which will embody faculties that are perhaps only latently present in us humans?
Evolution is just the externally visible aspect of the evolution of the spirit/consciousness already latent in beings may be? well, along these lines is what i've found the most satisfying of explanations thus far. But it requires some work...considerable work infact. If you can, read the book The Life Divine by Sri Aurobindo. You've probably heard of him, if you haven't he's a great yogi of the early part of this century. Wrote tons of stuff on this front and easily the most satisfying to my curious yet typically modern skeptical mind. There are other writings by him too that must give one a flavor of his unravelling of this mystery, but surely this book is his magnum opus. Not an easy read. Wiki says this -- "It combines a synthesis of western thought and eastern spirituality with Sri Aurobindo's own original insights, covering topics such as the nature of the Divine (the Absolute, Brahman), how the creation came about, the evolution of consciousness and the cosmos, the spiritual path, and human evolutionary-spiritual destiny

Anyway, To go back to what started it all... its not about God's existence of non-existence, its about whether we feel like putting in the needed effort to learn for ourselves whether something worthwhile about ourselves awaits discovery.

Krishna or Rama or Jesus -- they all annouced the betterment of the terrestrial existence at that point in evolution, even if thats a hard thing to believe judging by the acts of some of their 'followers' today. But thats to judge erroneously. I bet their primary purpose for gracing the Earth was not to create hordes of pious followers. But to support some evolutionary leap forward for Nature.
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