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Now Ramayana is an epic text, and not a divine text in lines of Vedas. So, while Vedas have been preserved for ages through a variety of methods to protect from even minutest aberration, other texts have not enjoyed that protection. Ramayan and Mahabharat are thus replete with latter day adulterations. Same is the case with Manu Smriti.
Please note that for ages, there was no printing press and publication house to publish authentic versions of any text. They used to be written by hand and memorized and spread across various schools and among scholars. So adulteration was easier. While it would be impossible to decipher each adulteration, if one analyzes one can identify the obvious adulterations. Such adulterations can be identified by change in language style, change in story flow, being out of context, suddenly a miracle happening and then the story continuing again as normal and contradiction with rest of the text.
We have already analyzed how more than 50% verses of existing Manu Smriti can be purged out as adulterated through analysis.
In case of Ramayan, if we analyze the verses elaborating the Sita Fire-Proof test, startling truths emerge.
The story by and large goes on smoothly till 113th chapter of Yuddha Kand. In this chapter, Hanuman goes to Sita to inform her about victory of Ram.
In Chapter 114, Ram states that women are respected by the respect they get from nation and their own habits. Any kind of restriction on women ' of home, dress code, boundary ' in order to protect their respect is unwise. (27). This shloka sums up the Hindu view of woman.
The rest of the verses in Chapter 114 except the last verse do not take the story any further. They seem to be adulterated.
In the first 6 verses of Chapter 115, Ram emotionally elaborates how he destroyed the enemy who had committed a grave crime. In the next 4 verses, he acknowledges the efforts of Hanuman, Sugriva and Vibheeshan. Verses 11 and 12 seems to be a clear adulteration that act as a filler to redirect the story.
In Verses 13 and 14, Ram expresses his satisfaction of getting back Sita after winning over such grave challenges.
And then in Verse 15, he takes a surprise U turn and states that he did not do all this to get back Sita. Clearly this verse is an adulteration. Not only it suddenly gives a new direction to the story, it does not relate to rest of the Ramayan where Ram had been even weeping in separation of Sita. Even if Ram had to force Sita for Fire-test, he could have said this straight instead of lying here. In entire Ramayan, Ram has been a truth-seeker, so this sudden twist is an obvious adulteration.
And from there, all the remaining verses of Chapter 115 appear clear adulteration. For example, in verses 22 and 23 he advises her to live with Bharat, Lakshman, Sugriva, Shatrughna or Vibheeshan. The fake verses cover the entire 116th chapter where Sita answers Ram's allegations and asks Lakshman to prepare a fireplace. Then she jumps into it. Suddenly, in this chapter, all Rishis, Gandharvas, Gods emerge, who were non-existent so far.
In Chapter 117, all the major Gods come to Ram to talk to him. This is perhaps the only instance in Ramayan where divinity suddenly overpowers the normal course of story. This is the first time that Ram is spoken of as the Ultimate God Himself. If Ram alone is Ultimate God, why the lesser Gods are coming to convince Him of his 'mistake' is unexplained. And why Ram asked so many Gods to come. In this Chapter, they praise divinity of Ram for all the 32 verses.
In Chapter 118, Fire God comes out with Sita in her lap and offers to Ram. Then Ram explains that he was playing a game to convince people about chastity of Sita. Finally the last verse 22 says:"Having said so, Ram met Sita with great happiness."
If all verses from Chapter 115 verse 15 onwards upto Chapter 118 verse 21 are deleted, the story continues smoothly and this intermediate miracle drama has no relevance or impact whatsoever.
Recall that Chapter 115 verse 14 has Ram emotionally explaining how he got back Sita with great efforts. And then Chapter 118 verse 22 says: "Having said do, Ram met Sita with great happiness." There is perfect continuity.
Now Chapters 119 and 120 are again pure adulterations where the Gods praise Ram even further, then Dashrath also comes with God Indra and they have very long discussions. Indra then makes dead soliders alive again through magic. Chapter 121 starts with: "Ram slept peacefully that night and spoke with Vibheeshan in morning." With minor adulterations, story continues as normal about how Ram and Sita went back to Ayodhya on Pushpak plane. Now, till end of Ramayana, nowhere does any reference to miracles happening emerge.
So, if one undertakes a cursory glance of Ramayan, this episode clearly emerges as a latter day adulteration which may have fuelled many debates, groupism, anti-Hindu mindset, anti-woman mindset, conversions and insults thrown upon character of Ram. However, the fact remains that the very basis for all this is dubious.
To sum up:
Following verses are clear adulterations:
Chapter 114: Verse 28 onwards, except last verse
Chapter 115: Verse 15 onwards
Chapters 116 and 117
Chapter 118: Except last verse
Chapters 119 and 120
If you remove all these adulterations that bring discontinuity, the story moves very smoothly and logically.
P.S just a different opinion on agni pareeksha..no offence to the scriptures.
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