The ancient seers had an interesting concept of fun. The debates are well and good, they focus the important messages of Vedas and Vedanga and Itihasas and as a corollary create Rupyams and the lists.
New terms were invented in such debates and they become the food for thought for the poets and philosophers. The poets are literally nurtured by the bye-products of the debates. The commentators used the debates to demonstrate their viewpoints and most of all, everyone asked questions.
These questions and the discussions are our dharmashatsras, the Samhitas, their Parisista, Brahmanas, Arayankas and Sutras.
One of the most powerful aspects of our religion is our right to question. There is no blind obedience, no forceful acceptance, no fear of punishment, the Gods never rule by fear or by bribing the devotee.
As the joke goes, a “hindu” boy growing in America is always the “good boy”, because when his friends suggest some crazy escapade using the oft-repeated quote “come one, we don’t live forever”, the hindu boy goes “Hold on!”.
Yup! we get multiple chances to get it right. Something called reincarnation. Not only for us, even the asuras and others, everyone gets the chances. An asura became a gandharva then gana then son of Parvati and rose to be the great omniscient one who revealed his own viswaroopa to Indra and killed Madhu-Kaitabha. The potential is limitless; there are no boundaries to what the soul can achieve. Even Brahma and Siva are always in meditation creating, reaching out, and moving to higher and higher plane. As the popular TV saying goes, Seekhna band to Jeetna band!! 🙂
Imagine Brahma‘s call-a-friend list: Vishnu, Siva and Saraswati! The only person who can use that option knowing he would get the right answer! (of course he already knows it!)
Why multiple births, a man can plumb the depths of a dyuta hall and then return refreshed rejuvenated and win back his brothers from death and eventually ascend in the highest heavens in the same mortal coils. The redemption is limitless.
And if Kak bhushundi is to be believed, we repeat the whole cycle just for the heck of it.
Next time, I am sure Lomasha has the entire upakhyanas for Vana Parva on his ipod with headphones for Yudhishthara. Fourth time would get repetitive even for the mischievous cat! Only works if he remembers to bring the charger along. It is always difficult to get the right travel charger. What, you ask where would he plug it in? I am sure he can catch a bunch of asuras and get the charge out of them.
The Eco-friendly recycling asura energy concept which would be the next big thing of next Manvantara, mind my words. Do not kill the Asura, trap him inside the box in front of the ratha and you have your own internal combustion engine! Do not need to send them to yamaloka, put them running on the wheel and you have energy independence. Have them pick up the trash! Swachha-prithvi abhiyana! Bhasmasura can use his powers burning trash all the time. Recycle your Asura (‘s energy)!!
And I can do these jokes and no entity especially Brahma boils my cold coffee in anger. Because they love me.
Love is the other part of the compact between the devotee and Deity. It is not over a handshake but a hug that this religion is founded. The jokes, the questions, the queries, the discussions, the debates are all part of that covenant. That is the obligation of the devotee. Without the questions of Arjuna, would we ever know of the sublime beauty of Bhagvada, if Dhritrashtra had not queried, would we have the Ethos of Sanatasujata.
And their joy is when we understand and demonstrate that. They delight in us as we delight in them. The answers to few questions were enough for Nahusha to return the life of Bhima back to Yudhishthara. Just a few answers are worth a life in their eyes. Our understanding, our conscious thinking is what drives our Gods, not our blind obedience.
Dharma took away four lives and would return only one for all the answers Dharma would give Dharma. But it was the conscious choice of the devotee for which live he chooses to be returned, that choice earned him back three more lives!!! That is the liability of the Deity that is the guarantee for the devotee.
So much can be bestowed for so little effort. No, that is not right. So much is bestowed for so “right” an effort. Do the karma, do not worry about the rewards!!
So, when the seers discussed, they found all nine rasas in their discussions:
- शृङ्गारं Love or Attractiveness
- हास्यं hasya
- रौद्रं Fury (let us keep away from that one in OUR discussions)
- कारुण्यं compassion (by the way this one belongs to Dharmaraja the presiding deity)
- बीभत्सं disgust (this is my favorite, see there are levels to it. When Balarama states that one roar from Bhima would see Kauravas shitting and pissing with fear, that is बीभत्सं.
- भयानकं Terror or scary!
- वीरं. Heroic
- अद्भुतं amazement , wonder
- आनन्द् Gladen, rejoice
Of course, this is our religion, there is never a list which we cannot add to, improve to:
You know Navarasa have three more!!
- शांतम् tranquility peace
- वात्सल्य Love Parental love tenderness सुहृद् family friends
- भक्ति devotion, Bhakti!
That is why Cricket is our favorite sport. Even in a list of nine, we add tail-enders and someone to carry the drinks.
So, our seers in these debates use all the rasas and probably even more. (there is rati, soka, krodha, Utsaha, Jugupsa, Udattara, prabala, addhati, rama, bhimarasa, Dravaka, sankalpa, rasika, sarasvata, kumati, rasajyestha and vismaya!! And lot more!)
And we had Dharmaraja निरहङ्कारिन् (free from egotism rasa) containing hari hara, ahankarin,
and Rama इङ्गितज्ञ.
Rama is ing-Gita-jja one who is skilled in the interpretation of internal sentiments of the devotee!
Where did this great word come from. Rama and Gita!
Remember the debates and the fun part!! Remember the rasa presided over by GaneshA. Yes हास्य
When you have created the lists and discussed the metaphors and told the akhyans, you now have fun with it!
The poets would use the new terms, words, and use them to create new slokas.
They will write a sloka on Ramayana, the use of rupyams in the sloka would make a second meaning appear, it becomes a sloka of Mahabharata!!
The next debater writes two slokas and they both tell a part of story of both Ramayana and Mahabharata.
The round robin continues, whole books have been written where one way is a story of Mahabharata and read using rupyams, or palindromes of the slokas or arranged in anustupha and other meters, same book is a story of Ramayana.
That is how they have fun.
Later on as the sectarian divide constricted debate, several geniuses created whole books that has three or four meanings, story from Ramayana, Mahabharata, shiva Purana and shakta Purana or Vishnu Purana. Demonstrating, again and again, the unity, total alliance and flexibility of our polytheistic faith.
Yes, I am sure many people who cannot abide or understand how one can love multiple gods and they are welcome to their corner. Our love for one is not the hate for another and that they will never understand and atleast I am never willing toआदधाति towards them.
An example of the sloka goes
वन्देऽहं देवं तं श्रीतं रन्तारं कालं भासा यः ।
रामो रामाधीराप्यागो लीलामारायोध्ये वासे ॥
- “I pay my obeisance to Lord Shri Rama, who with his heart pining for Sita, travelled across the Sahyadri Hills and returned to Ayodhya after killing Ravana and sported with his consort, Sita, in Ayodhya for a long time.”
Reverse the sloka:
सेवाध्येयो रामालाली गोप्याराधी मारामोरा ।
यस्साभालंकारं तारं तं श्रीतं वन्देहं देवं ॥
- “I bow to Lord Shri Krishna, whose chest is the sporting resort of Shri Lakshmi; who is fit to be contemplated through penance and sacrifice, who cherishes Rukmani and his other consorts and who is worshiped by the gopis, and who is decked with jewels radiating splendor.”
We do not even need to change the clothes (as soul moves from one body to another), we wear reversible coats!!
by Pranshu B. Saxena