Do we need to celebrate Deepavali and Deify Rama as God?[PART:05]

This same Rama, who mercilessly took away the life of Sambuka for no other fault than that of making penance which was forbidden to him by Vedas as he was a "Shudra" (Uttara kanadam, Chapter 76],who is held as the Avatar (incarnation) of Vishnu (God)! If there were kings like Rama alive now, alas! what would be the plight of those who are called "Shudras?".While killing Sambuka,Looking at is hand Rama said the Sanskirt slogan “O right hand, you kill this Asche Shudra unhesitatingly as killing this Shudra is the only way to get back the life of the deceased Brahmin boy.” He killed Shambuka just because the Brahmins alleged that one of the Brahmin's son died because of Shambuka's penances. He simply killed a native Indian for this reason alone. Such was the devotion of Rama towards the Brahmans.So,the sole aim of Rama was to protect the caste hierarchy,He was killed just because he was from lower caste and lower caste people weren’t allowed to meditate.

Deepavali was not a major festival in Tamilnadu either until the arrival of Vijayanagar
Nayakas( whose rule would go on to make several cultural changes in Tamilnadu). Even today Deepavali in Tamilnadu is a single/ two days affair (unlike in the North)Even,Deepavali is not celebrated on a large scale in Kerala.
We found some references to
"Karthikai vilakkidu "[கார்த்திகை விளக்கீட்டு] festival in  Akananuru poem 141,which is similar to that of Diwali  and This festival is one of the most important in Tamil 'Saiva calender,"Rows of 'agal vilakkus' (oil lamps) are lit in every home to bring happiness.The purpose behind Karthigai deepam is to keep bad things away and welcome goodness and holiness. This festival occurs on  full moon day when the moon is in line with the six-star constellation called Karthigai. Karthigai Deepam is one of the oldest festivals in south India and among tamils , perhaps even before they started celebrating Diwali. It datesback to the Sangam age of 700 BC to 300 AD.

"when the Hare Constellation, with
the moon in its chest, joins the Pleiades
Constellation in the middle of the night,
when farming dies down because
the rain in the sky moved away,
and when Kārthikai festive lights
are lit and flower garlands are hung
in the streets of our ancient town.

A small-bangled bride with fragrant oils
in her soft hair joins other women and boils
milk on a stove with many sides.  Women
pound rice from the bent paddy spears in the
large fields with their strong pestles, and on
hearing the pounding sounds a pregnant heron
perched on a nearby banana tree with sweet
fruits flies away in fear to a nearby mango tree
with a tall trunk."-[Akananuru-141]

I believe  that Deepavali is celebrated because Ravana or Narakasura was killed.Nowhere in the world does anyone celebrate a death?Rama may have been a great man, but what good did it do Sita?The life of Sita got wasted in loneliness, only sorrow was her fate.Ravana is neither devil nor God. He is an ordinary human being, who with a burning ambition and a grand dream decides to live life fully. He has his faults. He is not infallible and does few wrong things. I have not tried to white wash Ravana. I have used the traditional Ramayana, without resorting to super naturals to portray Ravana & Rama.Comparing Ram (who is treated as God?) and Ravana, Ram committed many crimes too. His biggest error was suspecting his wife just because he was afraid of what the world would think.Both have positives and both have negatives. But then, why is one a God and the other demon? Many people over the world believe Ravana was a better and greater king than Rama. Even though Ravana is portrayed as a vile villain in Ramayana, this view is open to question due to lack of any overt instances, and is so questioned by a considerable number of believers.Please think,now,Is it right for
people to celebrate Deepavali for the death of a person? and Is it right to deify Rama as God?Gods are deified or created so as to give us moral moorings.They are role models to emulate (or heroes if you so please). The history (or story) of Rama shows us only one quality in Rama which is constant. This is the quality that we poor humans are required to learn from Rama. The quality of blind obedience! & nothing else!As a child he was a well behaved, lovable child but nothing remarkable!As a young man his whole consciousness was directed towards obedience of the diktats of his father. But then again as a middle aged man –He suddenly remembers his ‘duty’ as a king when a passer-by casts the seeds of doubt in Rama’s mind about Sita’s fidelity. He causes the departure of a pregnant Sita and her eventual suicide. The only constant is that he acted on the words of others.Throughout, Rama comes across as a docile, malleable, obedient person who unquestioningly follows oral directions!! 

[By Kandiah Thillaivinayagalingam]              [Ended]    


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