An Insight into a JNU Scholar


Tulsi Ram, a professor from the “Kremlin on the Yamuna” Jawaharlal Nehru University, New Delhi provided a nice insight into the scholarship of the Marxist intellectuals at JNU when he; according to TOI news service [1]; accused gosvAmi tulasIdAsa, the author of rAmacharitamAnasa of plagiarizing the vAlmIki rAmAyaNa. Excerpts below.

Had Tulsidas composed his Ramcharitmanas in modern India, he would have landed in a jail on the charge of plagiarism as his book was nothing, but a copy of Valmiki’s Ramayan.

I don’t believe this consummate moronic assertion even deserves any comment. So lets move along.

JNU professor Tulsi Ram said that the orthodox Hindu society popularized Tulsidas creation because he was a Brahmin. But Valmiki’s creation was ignored by the people simply because he was a Dalit.

It really can’t get more asinine than this. mahAR^iShi vAlmIki is one of the most revered sages in Hinduism, and was highly respected by shrI rAma himself. He is also credited with with the first shloka in saMskR^ita. The incident which sparked this is as follows.

One day, mahAR^iShi vAlmIki was proceeding to take a dip in the tamasA river when he saw a couple of lovely krouncha birds in the vicinity of that river’s foreshore, flying about in togetherness and calling charmingly. Even as vAlmIki was peacefully observing the beautiful birds, the male one was suddenly shot by an arrow. Seeing its mate writing in pain, the female bird cried out in heart-wrenching agony. vAlmIki was very touched by this scene and felt anguished for the birds. Looking around he saw the hunter who shot the arrow at the male bird, and uttered the following shloka in the anushhTubh meter of 32 syllables.

मा निषाद परतिष्ठां तवम अगमः शाश्वतीं समाः ।
यत करौञ्चमिथुनाद एकम अवधीः काममॊहितम ॥

mA niShAda paratiSThAM tavama agamaH shashvartI samAH .
yata karau~ncamithunAda ekama avadhIH kAmamohitama ..

(O Ill-fated hunter, by which reason you have killed one male bird of the couple, when it is in love and unsuspecting, thereby you will find no rest for ages to come.)

After saying that, he pondered for a while and realized the beauty of the saMskR^ita liturgical gem he had just come up with. And so it was that vAlmIki used this format (of shloka) to compose the eternal rAmAyaNa. As a recognition for his genius vAlmIki is said to be the first saMskR^ita poet (Adi kavi) and his work the rAmAyaNa the first saMskR^ita poem (kAvya). Along with the rAmAyaNa, vAlmIki is also the author of the the mammoth treatise on yoga, the yoga vashiShTha, and is considered as the father of saMskR^ita poetry.

In rAmacharitamAnasa, tulasIdAsa acknowledges vAlmIki’s momentous contribution in numerous verses. In fact during the invocation section itself, one is supposed to worship mahAR^iShi vAlmIki.

श्रीवाल्मीक नमस्तुभ्वमिहागच्छ शुभप्रद।
उत्तपुर्वयोर्मध्ये तिष्ठ गृह्नीष्व मऽर्चनम् ॥२॥
ॐ वाल्मीकाय नमः।

shrIvAlmIka namastubhvamihAgacCha shubhaprada .
uttapurvayormadhye tiShTha gR^ihnIShva mae.arcanam .. 2 ..
AUM vAlmIkAya namaH .

(Obeisance to you, O vAlmIki! Pray come here, O bestower of blessings ! Take your seat in the north-east and accept my homage. Obeisance to vAlmIki.)

In the bAlakANDa section of rAmacharitamAnasa, tulasIdAsa again pays homage to vAlmIki as the supreme poet.

सीतारामगुणाग्रामपुण्यरन्यविहारिणौ ।
वन्दे विशुध्दविज्ञनौ कवीश्चरकपीश्चरौ ॥४॥

sItArAmaguNAgrAmapuNyaranyavihAriNau .
vande vishudhdaviGYanau kavIshcarakapIshcarau ..4..

(I pay homage to the king of bards (vAlmIki) and the chief of vAnaras (hanumAn), of pure intelligence, both of whom sport in the holy woods in the shape of glories  of sItA and rAma.)

tulasIdAsa further says, again in the bAlakANDa,

बंदउँ मुनि पद कँजु रामायन जेहिं निरमयउ ।
सखर सुकोमल मंजु दोष रहीत दूषन सहित ॥१४ (घ)॥

baMdau.N muni pada ka.Nju rAmAyana jehiM niramaya u .
sakhara sukomala maMju doSha rahIta dUShana sahita  ..14 (gha) ..

(I bow to the lotus feet of the sage (vAlmIki) who composed the rAmAyaNa, which though containing an account of the demon khara (a cousin of rAvaNa), is yet very soft and charming, and though faultless, is yet full of references to dUSaNa (another cousin of rAvaNa).)

There are other instances as well in the rAmacharitamAnasa where tulasIdAsa pay homage to vAlmIki which for the sake of brevity I won’t dwell upon here.

Now if tulasIdAsa, a brAhmaNa did intend to overshadow mahAR^iShi vAlmIki, another brAhmaNa, why would he be so mellifluous in his reverence of the latter? In certain traditions, tulasIdAsa is in fact considered as an avatAra of mahAR^iShi vAlmIki [2]. When tulasIdAsa in the 16th century embarked upon writing the rAmacharitamAnasa in avadhi, a commonly spoken language, he had to face objections from some orthodox brAhmaNas who preferred to keep rAma’s eternal life story in saMskR^ita, the language in which vAlmIki has composed the rAmAyaNa. If the brAhmaNa community indeed wanted to put-down mahAR^iShi vAlmIki, why would they oppose tulasIdAsa in the first place? I am sure our eminence from JNU, Prof. Tulsi Ram didn’t have time to dwell upon such questions before proving us a glimpse into his scholarship.

Even though vAlmIki wasn’t born to brAhmaNa parents, his is considered a supreme brAhmaNa (as is evidence from the very respectful appellation mahAR^iShi bestowed upon him), due to his momentous accomplishments and the way he lived his life. This is completely consonant with most revered scriptures which repeatedly assert that a person’s varNa is determined by his/her karma (actions) in life and not janma (birth). Fortunately, the likes of Prof. Tulsi Ram weren’t around back in vAlmIki’s time to throw around terms like “Dalit” or there probably would have never been a mahAR^iShi vAlmIki and we wouldn’t have had the vAlmIki rAmAyaNa.

The only reason tulasIdAsa’s rAmacharitamAnasa is more popular than vAlmIki’s rAmAyaNa is because of the languages in which they were composed. While rAmAyaNa was composed in saMskR^ita, by the 16th century, saMskR^ita was hardly the spoken language of the masses. So when tulasIdAsa composed the rAmacharitamAnasa in avadhi, a commonly spoken language in Northern India during his time, it became wildly popular. But our eminence, presumably only views this through parochial lenses of the kind found in places like JNU. Which forces him to provide outrageously twisted arguments.

Consider this other pompous assertion regurgitated by our eminence.

…the ancient Gurukul system was also meant to provide education only to the wards of Brahmins and Rajputs. No Gurukul ever allowed the entry of Dalits and other weaker sections of the society. The then society had conspired to keep the downtrodden away from education…

Given that our eminence so eagerly pontificates on the rAmAyaNa and the authors of its different versions, his knowledge of its characters seem abysmal. guha the king of the niSAda tribe, was a good friend of rAma and studied together with him in the gurukula under mahAR^iShi vashiShTha. The woman ascetic shabarI belonged to the bhil tribe and was a student of mahAR^iShi mataNga. shabarI was in fact highly respected by rAma. The very thesis that gurukulas only educated brAhmaNas and Rajputs (kSatriyas), is debunked by the aforementioned instances from the rAmAyaNa. mahAR^iShi veda vyAsa who is credited with authoring vast portions of the vedas, the oldest of Hindu scriptures, was neither a brAhmaNa nor a kSatriya by birth. Another fine example is that of satyAkAmA (from the ChAndogya upaniShad) [3] who was excepted as a student by gautama R^iShi even though he didn’t know his varNa or gotra. vidura from mahAbhArata also comes to mind. In more recent times, AchArya viSNugupta, or chANakya as his is more popularly known as, accepted chandragupta as his student even though chandragupta was neither a brAhmaNa nor a kSatriya by birth. Incidentally chandragupta under chANakya’s able guidance went on to establish the mighty Mauryan empire. There are many such wonderful examples which I am sure our eminence Prof. Tulsi Ram either doesn’t know or willfully avoids. Even if we graciously allow him the benefit of doubt and assume that his bile was indeed the result of genuine ignorance, his puke worthy assertions still don’t stand the test of any moral or well meaning societal intent. The example of mahAR^iShi vAlmIki should be proudly put forth as in indicator of the inherent egalitarianism in Hindu society that all Hindus should strive for. mahAR^iShi vAlmIki along with other aforementioned examples can be great unifying factors and can help rid social evils that have crept into Hindu society due to both external and internal influences. Instead our eminence choses to make some absolutely outrageous divisive statements. Sadly, this phenomenon of making some ridiculous blanket statement directed at Hindu dharma, without any sort of logical or scriptural aegis to back it up has taken root in Indian society, particularly among the self-proclaimed left-liberal-secular brigade. Many of whom can be found in the labyrinths of places like JNU. Not surprisingly in many instances such pontification is in fact rooted in ideological agendas and political predilections. To make matters worse, it is considered by many as a yardstick for liberalism, secularism or social justice. Even the honorable Supreme Court is not untouched by this phenomenon [4]. Another blogger has aptly deconstructed most of the facets of the SC issue [5]. One “observation” [6] [7] by the honorable court however really struck me.

The tribals were called ‘rakshas’ (demons), ‘asuras’, and what not.

With due respect to the honorable court, this comment is simply astounding. Tribals in Hindu society have always been respected. I have already mentioned the instances of guha and shabarI. Nowhere in the rAmAyaNa or in any scripture or epic are the niSAda, bhil and other tribes referred to as rAkSasa or asura. In fact the tribals have always been an inseparable part of Hindu society and played a seminal role in opposing foreign invasions. Some examples are that of the bhils fighting alongside mahArAnA pratApa (as the honorable court itself observed [6] [7]) and the tribal kings in Dang, Gujarat decisively defeating the British. It is hard to miss how the “tribals-hounded-by-Hindus” theme fits perfectly into the Goebbelsian Marxist-missionary propaganda. That a consummate mendacity was propounded which bolsters this theme truly reflects how deep the rot it. Speaking of rot, it would be pertinent to mention the questions being raised in certain quarters regarding the recently retired CJI and his family members’ disproportionate assets [8] [9] [10] [11]. Readers can draw their own inferences.

While it is very disheartening to see the sort of apocryphal, malicious pontifications being thrown at Hindu dharma by all and sundry, the insidious agendas of the eminences and their bedfellows, and the fallacious assertions must be unequivocally countered and exposed.

As svAmI rAmadAs said in the manAce shloka

मना सर्वथा सत्य सांडूं नको रे।
मना सर्वथा मिथ्य मांडूं नको रे॥
मना सत्य ते सत्य वाचे वदावें।
मना मिथ्य ते मिथ्य सोडूनि द्यावें॥

manA sarvathA satya sA.nDU.n nako re .
manA sarvathA mithya mA.nDU.n nako re ..
manA satya te satya vAche vadAve.n .
manA mithya te mithya soDUni dyAve.n ..

(Oh, dear Mind! give up never the eternal truth;
Oh, dear Mind! cling to never the eternal falsehood;
Truth alone speak, with truthful speech, oh Mind!
Untruth hold never, falsehood ever abjure, oh Mind!)

REFERENCES

[1] http://timesofindia.indiatimes.com/city/patna/Tulsidas-accused-of-plagiarism/articleshow/7006690.cms

[2] http://hinduism.about.com/od/gurussaints/p/tulsidas.htm

[3] http://www.swamij.com/upanishad-chandogya.htm

[4] http://timesofindia.indiatimes.com/india/Dronacharyas-act-was-shameful-says-SC/articleshow/7226157.cms

[5] http://www.sandeepweb.com/2011/01/10/social-justice-catches-up-with-sc/

[6] http://www.samachar.com/India-largely-a-country-of-immigrants-lbmaMpebcgj.html

[7] http://www.hindu.com/2011/01/12/stories/2011011253071300.htm

[8] http://www.thehindu.com/news/states/kerala/article1076080.ece

[9] http://www.sify.com/news/times-have-changed-for-k-g-balakrishnan-news-columns-lblmkgbbeij.html

[10] http://www.dnaindia.com/opinion/editorial_kg-balakrishnan-needs-to-speak-up_1490800

[11] http://www.haindavakeralam.com/HKPage.aspx?PageID=12982

[12] http://valmikiramayan.net/bala/sarga2/bala_2_frame.htm

[13] http://www.sacred-texts.com/hin/rys/rys1002.htm

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