x: Name the two books which gave rise to popular Hindu Gods, Rama and Krishna.
y: Ramayana and Mahabharata.
x: Wrong answer.
x: Manu Smriti and Bhagwad Gita.
Well, if you knew the above 'correct' answer and also agree that Krishna, Shankara, Buddha and Mahavira were all atheists, then you can skip this series of posts!
I'm fairly convinced that Ramayana and Mahabharata are just propaganda material for two more powerful and influential books of India. First is the Manu Smriti,the bedrock of Aryan Racism and the second, Bhagwad Gita, the most important work on Hindu Philosophy. The characters in the epics being historical, mythical or metaphorical makes no difference to the above conclusion.
Ramayana and Racism:
Have you read the Laws of Manu? If not, I urge you NOT to read them! Because, I have read and can certify that Manu Smriti is the most despicable racist work in the history of mankind! In theory, Manu Smriti lays down the rules of behavior for the four Varnas and Women. But practically it says Shudras and Women should be treated like vermin.
Ramayana and its chief protagonist Rama obey the Laws of Manu to its last word! In other words, Rama was the paragon of Aryan Racism. No wonder the Aryans were so keen to celebrate and propagate Ramayana. Lets see why.
Rama and Brahmins:
Manu Smriti says Brahmins are the ultimate creation and their words are final. So does Ramayana. Do you remember the conversation between Viswamithra and Dasratha, when the former had come to request the services of latter's son Rama? [Hint: you cannot dishonour a rishi's request] Or do you have the count for the number of women and shudras killed by Rama, simply because Brahmin rishis ordered him to?
Rama, the Kshtriya:
Manu Smriti lays down fairly obvious rules for the conduct of Kshtriyas and Vaishyas. We all know Rama waged wars on the other indigenous people of India, adhered to 'Caesar's wife should be above suspicion' thing to banish Sita to the woods and provided Ram Rajya. But its the next two cases that are disturbing.
Rama's treatment of Women:
1. Manu Smriti doesn't seem to encourage polygamy. So nothing great in Rama being married to just Sita. In anycase having seen his father battered by his four mothers, Rama might have just been smart!
2. Rama doesn't hesitate to kill women at all. Infact scores of women are killed in Ramayana. Is it because, Manu Smriti gives very strict guidelines about things women should not do? Well, practically everything except serving her Lord is a no-no for women!
3. Can anyone justify Rama's treatment of Sita? This guy suspects that Sita's modesty was compromised and hence will no longer accept her. And we worship him as God?
4. What about the treatment of Surpanaka, (Raavan's sister) whose nose was sliced off by Lakshman? What's wrong if Raavan wanted to take revenge for this insult?
5. What about Lakshman rekha? Women who disobey the lines drawn by Manu Smriti will meet Sita's fate?
Rama's treatment of Shudras:
1. Manu Smriti says Shudra's only purpose in life is to serve the top three varnas. So says Ramayana with Guha, Hanuman, Sukreeva, Jadayu etc, etc.
2. But Shudras cannot dare usurp the rights of others. For instance Rama will kill Shambhuka, a shudra simply because he did penance. Shudras should know their place!
3. Despite all their help and sacrifices, people of Kishkinta will only be called 'vanar sena'. (I know vanar is not a derogatory word, but even educated people call Hanuman, a monkey god!)
4. And what on earth did Vali do to deserve being stabbed in the back by this God Rama? Rama had seen him only for the second time in his life. The first time he couldn't differentiate between Vali and Sukreeva, to kill the former when they were fighting!
Well, I have just listed some fairly well known flaws in Rama's character. Ram Bakhts would like to think that they're all God's lessons for us. And that Ramayana just happened to obey the rules of the time. But believe me, Ramayana is just racist propaganda! In anycase, its totally anachronistic in this age. Even school kids these days have better morals than Rama ever had.
And now to my hero, Krishna!