Mass murder by fire in Ramayana/Mahabharat
#1
What has always bothered me about Ramayana and Mahabharata is that despite all the crap about morality and rules of war, they contain instances of mass murder of non combatants by fire.

In Ramayana, Hanuman burns down Lanka, wouldn't that have included civilians?

In Mahabharata, Arjuna and Krishna burn down a forest containing Naga's and kill a Naga mother who causes a distraction for her son to escape. Surely the Naga's were actual tribals instead of shape changing snakes, and surely other women and children were killed.


What's hypocritical about most Hindu's is that even the non-fanatic ones go on about mass murder in the Bible/Quran but ignore these two incidents.
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#2
(09-Jun-2012, 09:58 AM)Prahalad Wrote: What has always bothered me about Ramayana and Mahabharata is that despite all the crap about morality and rules of war, they contain instances of mass murder of non combatants by fire.

In Ramayana, Hanuman burns down Lanka, wouldn't that have included civilians?

In Mahabharata, Arjuna and Krishna burn down a forest containing Naga's and kill a Naga mother who causes a distraction for her son to escape. Surely the Naga's were actual tribals instead of shape changing snakes, and surely other women and children were killed.


What's hypocritical about most Hindu's is that even the non-fanatic ones go on about mass murder in the Bible/Quran but ignore these two incidents.

Upon seeing Lanka, Hanumaana uttered in surprise:

swargoya devlokaayamindrasyeyayam puri bhavet |
siddhiveryam paraahi syaadityamanyat maarutih ||

( Vaalmikiya Ramayana , Sundarkaand, 9/31)

Why did Hanumaana compare Lanka to 'swarg', 'devloka' and 'indrapuri'? It was clearly supposed to have been a beautiful city.

Let us now carry out an analysis as to who drew the first blood. Rama had already spent about 13 years(out of the stipulated 14) when the Surpanakha-debacle came about. The latter wished to marry Raama,but was told to approach Lakshamana instead, since the elder brother was married. What manner of perverse humor was this? Did Raama not know his younger brother too was married? He could simply have asked the 'raakshasi' to leave.This playful, joking disposition ultimately resulted in Surpanakha's mutilation. A very irresponsible thing to have done, especially by someone who is frequently and vehemently eulogized as Maryaada Purushottama.
Had Raavana been the lustful brute he is usually made out to be, why did he not abduct Sita earlier? He was provoked into committing the abduction as an act of revenge, following the precept 'shathe shaathyam samaacharet'.

How did Raama not foresee all of this? Or was he too interested in farcical situations involving unnecessary conflict and needless destruction?
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#3
I agree with you. Furthermore compare the treatment of Sita in Lanka to Surpanakha's mutilation. Ravana did not lay a finger on her, and Sita was under armed female protection so no one would be able to physically/sexually abuse her.

Coming back to Mahabharata, it's interesting that despite being classed as villains the Kauravas only harmed the Pandavas, while the Pandavas and their well wishers also harmed innocents who had nothing to do with their conflict:

1) Ekalavya's thumb episode
2) Causing death's of Nishada family at lac palace for distraction
3) Burning Naga's to death at Khandav forest
4) Getting Hidimba/Uloopi preganant then abandoning them and using their kids as cannon fodder
5) Abandonment of Krishna's female family members

Oh and in Mahabharata the Pandavas also drew first blood.

(09-Jun-2012, 11:03 AM)Naushirvan Wrote:
(09-Jun-2012, 09:58 AM)Prahalad Wrote: What has always bothered me about Ramayana and Mahabharata is that despite all the crap about morality and rules of war, they contain instances of mass murder of non combatants by fire.

In Ramayana, Hanuman burns down Lanka, wouldn't that have included civilians?

In Mahabharata, Arjuna and Krishna burn down a forest containing Naga's and kill a Naga mother who causes a distraction for her son to escape. Surely the Naga's were actual tribals instead of shape changing snakes, and surely other women and children were killed.


What's hypocritical about most Hindu's is that even the non-fanatic ones go on about mass murder in the Bible/Quran but ignore these two incidents.

Upon seeing Lanka, Hanumaana uttered in surprise:

swargoya devlokaayamindrasyeyayam puri bhavet |
siddhiveryam paraahi syaadityamanyat maarutih ||

( Vaalmikiya Ramayana , Sundarkaand, 9/31)

Why did Hanumaana compare Lanka to 'swarg', 'devloka' and 'indrapuri'? It was clearly supposed to have been a beautiful city.

Let us now carry out an analysis as to who drew the first blood. Rama had already spent about 13 years(out of the stipulated 14) when the Surpanakha-debacle came about. The latter wished to marry Raama,but was told to approach Lakshamana instead, since the elder brother was married. What manner of perverse humor was this? Did Raama not know his younger brother too was married? He could simply have asked the 'raakshasi' to leave.This playful, joking disposition ultimately resulted in Surpanakha's mutilation. A very irresponsible thing to have done, especially by someone who is frequently and vehemently eulogized as Maryaada Purushottama.
Had Raavana been the lustful brute he is usually made out to be, why did he not abduct Sita earlier? He was provoked into committing the abduction as an act of revenge, following the precept 'shathe shaathyam samaacharet'.

How did Raama not foresee all of this? Or was he too interested in farcical situations involving unnecessary conflict and needless destruction?

Quote:"I'm normally not a praying man, but if you're up there, please save me Superman."
Homer Simpson
http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=MILArKLKUEk
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#4
How could anyone forget the whole character of "Karna". The Karna character shows that the casteist/varna bias in that period. How could one deny education to able person? Even if you are able and just person, changing the status from one varna to other was impossible in that period. So much for vedic dharma. Huh !
Indians today are governed by two different ideologies. Their political ideal set in the preamble of the Constitution affirms a life of liberty, equality and fraternity. Their social ideal embodied in their religion denies them. - Ambedkar
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#5
(09-Jun-2012, 09:09 PM)nispat Wrote: How could anyone forget the whole character of "Karna". The Karna character shows that the casteist/varna bias in that period. How could one deny education to able person? Even if you are able and just person, changing the status from one varna to other was impossible in that period. So much for vedic dharma. Huh !

Hi this is what I meant when the Pandavas (and their wellwishers) 'drew first blood'.
1) Drona who was openly biased to Pandavas denies Karna education. According to other versions, he did provide education, but only the basics (he flatly refuses when Karna asks for the same level of training as Arjuna).
2) The Pandavas provoke Karna during the exhbition. They displayed casteism and insulted Karna's father (sutaputra/'son of' a suta) so much for respecting elders.

I would also say that the Pandavas and their wellwishers also drew first blood regarding Duryodhana.
1) Denial of kingship to Duryodhana's father who was capable in my opinion (there were no major wars when he was king except those involving the Pandavas).
2) Duryodhana gets demoted. (he goes from being the next potential king to a nobody as soon as the Pandavas show up) Anyone with self respect would feel the same as Duryodhana.
3) Bheema's so called 'childhood pranks' were blatant bullying. Duryodhana has every right to hate the guy.


Btw off subject, Duryodhana is my favourite character in Mahabharata who has the potential of becoming iconic as Darth Vader if done correctly. I hope Ashok Banker has done him justice in his fantasy novels based on Mahabharata, I loved his portrayal of Ravana in his Ramayana series.
Quote:"I'm normally not a praying man, but if you're up there, please save me Superman."
Homer Simpson
http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=MILArKLKUEk
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#6
Read the different prospective of life of Karna in Mrityunjaya, The Death Conqueror: The Story Of Karna. The novel is also literary gem [atleast in Marathi, I don't know how good the translation is].
Indians today are governed by two different ideologies. Their political ideal set in the preamble of the Constitution affirms a life of liberty, equality and fraternity. Their social ideal embodied in their religion denies them. - Ambedkar
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