Half knowledge is always dangerous……. Until you have the capacity to understand and accept the whole truth when the time comes! Sadly we never have people who are capable enough for that. Recently I came across a few posts where to prove a woman place in society, Ramayana and Mahabarata were quoted. Well, time and again I have been hearing this thing about how Rama is not a good husband to make Sita undergo Agnipariksha. Now, my question is why are Ramayana and Mahabarata remembered only for this? Those great epics are a treasure house of all knowledge. Take Ramayana for instance. It talks about how a good son should be to a father, how a good brother should be towards a brother. Beyond all that it talks about how a good King should be towards its subjects. So why is it that only the Agnipariksha episode that comes to people's minds when Ramayana is talked about? A person can't do justice to all. Rama was born to do just one thing….to set an example to people as to why and how to follow the path of Dharma – even when it is not on your side. Rama did that unfailingly till the end. Ramarajyam was and is still considered to be the best period in Indian history. The Ramayana era specially seemed to be very liberal from perspective of women rights (if we would just care to read the verses). Women even took part in battles. Ram's step-mother herself had accompanied Dasaratha in one such war. Rama himself had been instrumental in uniting those women with their husbands who had been cheated by someone else. He made his friend Sugriva accept his wife again who was captured by his elder brother. So, why did he 'make' Sita take the Agnipariksha. It was Sita herself who called for the test by fire to prove her worthiness – according to Valmiki Ramayana. We just need to sit back and question ourselves. Why did the King who did justice to all his women subjects not do the same for his own wife? ….when you are the King, anything should be possible for you, right? However, Rama was not any King. To be a just King, you need to have so much more courage. Rama was doing his duty as a King before that of a husband. As a King your action should be above reproach. You should not be put in a position where you end up justifying yourself though you know the truth. Rama didn’t want Sita to face all that. Let's come back to the present for a moment. Few months earlier, the Congress was trying to show how Modi did not even complete his education for which the BJP came back with a copy of the pass out certificate. Why did the BJP have to do that? They could just be content among themselves thinking, I have completed my education, why do I need to prove to all these people. The reality is that when you are the central figure, everything matters. So to be a just King, Rama had to do that. I came across a very nice quote some time ago pertaining to the ritual burning of Ravana'a idol during Navrathri. So quote goes as – How many of you are Rama here to kill me? These days there are many articles and news where the guy asks a lady to hold a hot iron to prove her chastity?!? The question is – was he a good husband as Rama for the lady to undergo all that. The liberal use of terms like Agnipariksha, taken so lightly in today's context has given the entire Ramayana a new meaning. Now comes in another epic 'Mahabarata'. If Ramayana talks about the ways that a person has to be, Mahabarata shows all the ways a person should not be. Well, sadly the only thing that comes to people's minds here is 'Draupathi Vastrabaranam'. Now, anything makes sense only when you look at the whole picture. If you single out the events in itself, it would seem senseless. We talk about women's rights today and say how shameful an act that Vastrabaranam is and how our texts are highlighting it. We are forgetting a very big fact that the entire Kaurava dynasty was destroyed due to that one single act of humiliating a woman. Not many, just one! Why are we not looking beyond that Vastrabaranam. Look at the way the entire dynasty got wiped out for that one reckless, adharma act done. That shows a woman's power. The lesson here for us is NOT that women were ill-treated, but that women should NEVER be mistreated for the results of such acts are disastrous. It led to the destruction of a great mighty kingdom in itself. Now, few others might argue here, how did that destroy the Kaurava dynasty? Wasn’t their refusal to give the kingdom the reason for that? You might be right…..the actual reason might be the refusal but the beginning was and is always that humiliation done to Draupathi. It began there…… Hindu scriptures always believed in Karma and re-incarnation. Now, there is a story of why these incidents had to happen. I don’t want to go into detail of those. But to let you know, there is always a reason why certain things happen in a certain way. We just need to open our minds to accept the universal truth. We Indians have been blessed to be born in this great place which is a treasure house of knowledge. All you need is the will to tap into that. Let us not lament about the bad things of the past. Yes, Sati system did exist. Widows were and still are looked down upon. Our forefathers believed in those traditions because they thought that was the best for their society at that time. However, times are changing. With that the traditions that do not make sense to use should be let off too. Just being born into this great culture doesn’t mean that you are entitled to greatness. People should be inquisitive enough to be able to understand, probe and look deeper into the actual meaning of things. Ours was and is a patriarchic society. No matter how much we sit in an AC room now and lament that fact, it does and will not change until we do something about it. NOTHING can change the past. However, the future can change. For that change to happen, it needs to begin with you! Disclaimer: My intention for the above post is NOT targeted at anybody or to hurt anybody's feelings. I just wanted to bring out my point of view of certain things. My humble apologies if anybody is hurt after reading this!