Sita’s emphatic use of her knowledge of the nature

By Bal Ram Singh, PhD

Sita being born on Earth, choosing to accompany Ram to the forest, and suggesting that Ram go after the golden deer, all point to one thing for sure that she was well connected to nature.

Why did Sita want the golden deer dead or alive?

Most people think she was attracted to the golden look or the gold on the skin of the animal. This makes sense for an ordinary person, not to a person of Sita’s stature, who we know spurned the great kingdom of Ayodhya to accompany her husband to the forest, and she vehemently and contemptuously spurned Ravana’s golden palace in Lanka. Thus, this could not be so mesmerized with a golden deer!

On top of that, she is known to have vituperatively pressed Lakshmana to go to help Ram when she heard a call for help in Ram’s fake voice by Maarich, who apparently had masked himself as a golden deer! All this did not happen without her deep knowledge of culture and practices those days, and how such traditions were used for fight and deceit.

Animal Symbolism

Animals have been used extensively in India for depicting characters, wisdom, and action. This involves representing some deities, such as Hanuman, Ganesha, Garuda, etc. However, taking them to mean literally as animals is false, and brings contempt and shame in today’s world.

It is known that Hanuman was born with blessings from Shiva and Parvati, and also was helped by Vayu devata. All of them are well grounded in mountain, forest, and air. In other words, Hanuman was influenced mostly by nature and was connected to native people with wisdom from nature. It was natural for Hanuman to consider himself as the son of all nature knowing Sita! The native people those days used to have kings and queens in the forest communities also, just like the rest of India. India was always ruled locally, although they all thought globally not only to humans for the entire nature.

 

The question of mask and tail

The question is why male members, be Bali, Sugriva, Kesari, Hanuman, or Angad wore monkey masks and displayed a tail. It seems that was to show their identity and display their natural skills. They chose their symbols wisely reflecting their motto and qualities. This was more like a competitive sports mascots in the USA today. Here we have falcons, badgers, panthers, bears, etc. In those days they had monkeys (Vanaras-Hanuman), bears (Bhalu-Jamvant), vultures (Giddh-Jatayu).

The outfits were also protective gears in conflicts, in addition to recognizing their own soldiers from those of enemies. It is like putting on different types of jerseys for different teams today. In some sports different t-shirts or sash is assigned by the referees if their outfits are too close to each other.

The British and several other militaries in the world keep animal mascots today for morale boosting and for good luck. This tradition apparently started in the 18th century. Although there is no mention as such in any of the literature or historical descriptions animal mascots were clearly used during Ramayana time in India, as is evident from the story of golden deer for which Ram went out, followed by Lakshamana, before Sita was abducted by Ravana. This was particularly true for the tribal groups, such as Jatayu, Jamvant, Bali, Sugriva, etc.

Even on Ravana’s side Kumbhakarana used an animal horn on his head. During the Mahabharata war, all the major warriors had symbols on their chariot flags, most of them as animals, such as Arjun had monkey, Duryodhan had cobra, Sahadeva had swan, Nakula had deer, Ashwatthama had lion tail, and so on.

Given the European people originally migrated from India, this culture of animal mascot may in fact be a continuation of that lineage.

Taking the concept of mascots literally is a lackadaisical action by Indian intellectuals, including those who claim to be spiritually inclined, unfortunately.

Symbolic communication

Symbolism is the most ancient form of communication, which is found quite frequently in animals from whom humans have evolved and to continue to remain behind in evolution. In the times of Ram and Sita such knowledge was given to students in Gurukulas.

The latest evidence of this knowledge is when in 2004 Tsunami hit India, Sri Lanka, etc. in 2004 you, not a single tribe member died in Andaman Nicobar whereas thousand perished in the beaches of Tamil Nadu.

Interestingly, not a single animal was reported to die in Sri Lanka National Animal Park, as animals had a better sense of Tsunami than the cell phone wielding humans at the beaches!

This goes a long way to show the symbols in Indian culture, be it in deities or in language, have great values, of course, only when understood appropriately!


 

7 Kumaon regiment’s SATVIR soldiers on

When Havildar SATVIR retires after serving the Indian Army’s 7 Kumaon regiment, his namesake takes charge. It has been so for 60 years.

SATVIRs are goats brought from the higher ranges of the Indo-Tibet border of the Kumaon hills at a young age. The regiment’s present Havildar SATVIR is the sixth goat in the lineage. SATVIRs retire at the age of around ten years and are accorded a military funeral upon their death and buried with a three-gun salute.

SATVIR started as Lance Naik in the 7 Kumaon in 1965. Later, like other regular soldiers, he was promoted to the rank of Naik in 1968. He was appointed as Havildar in 1971.

—————–

 

Balram Singh is a Professor and the President of the Institute of Advanced Sciences, Dartmouth, Massachusetts, researching Ayurveda, Yoga, Vedic education, and Vedic social and political traditions. He is also an adjunct faculty at Jawaharlal Nehru University (JNU), New Delhi.

Image courtesy of Images provided

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