Re(2): Re's: SrI bApA rAo and SrI PALANA gArla comments on pancama vEdam

Ramabhadra Dokka (sdokka@st6000.sct.edu)
Wed, 30 Oct 1996 12:55:23 -0500 (EST)


Wow, this discussion is getting into more and more interesting twists 
with many deviations from the original point of evaluating the poem from
a literary point of view and the response. I am happy that it is generating 
light and not HEAT enroute. Yes, the responses so far have been educative,
incisive and informative. I try to answer some of the points raised and 
comments in this response.

First of all, the objections raised on the poem were about the --

1. Symbolic mis-representaion
2. Castigating attitude
3. The author missing the view of the whole picture
4. The author not staying focused on what he is saying

They are easy to be misunderstood for -

I did not like the poem for -- 

1. its content
2. the author's sentiment
3. the author's feeling and resentment 
4. the thoughts generated by the poem
5. the overall subject and the views expressed there in

I see many of the responses except those from a couple of netters falling 
in this second category, unfortunately. I'll try to stay focussed on the 
points that we started with and see how many of them are answered either 
fully or partially and see what are the points that still remain unanswered. 
If still any one thinks that the second set describes my opinions, it is a 
BIG NO and I have already said enough(..:-)) on 'why' in my previous posts.

Lemme go with the details of issues listed in the first group --

POINT 1 : Symbolic mis-representation

- Thanks to SrI PALANA and SrI bApA rAo gAru for evaluating the socio-
  biological and psychological analysis that MIGHT HAVE gone behind this 
  symbolic representation, while the POET was creating this piece. (I'll 
  answer why I said 'MIGHT HAVE' in the later paragraphs)

  The point made by bApA rAo gAru stating that "the poem should have been 
  ended with the re-sprouting of the thumb" or "with a dialogue between 
  arjuna and Ekalavya" is EXCELLENT. But, the author could not have done 
  that as by that time, I feel that he swayed too much in many directions.

  That is starting with the "ahankAram/ego" of the guruvulu, going to 
  the jealous attitude of the young kuru dynasty and the resentment
  from the oppressed sections. Yes the voice is good, but still, the 
  focus is lost.

  SrI PALANA's detailed analysis of this socio-biological evolution 
  still did not explain its continued symbolic coherence and bApA rao 
  gAri suggestions for modifications did indeed do that. The original 
  question raised was answered partially here as far as the issue of 
  heredity is concerned but there is no support for the re-sprouting 
  and its relevance to present day's situation nor do I believe that 
  the epic was written in a supporting tone of these anti-social
  practises...:-)

POINT 2 : CASTIGATING attitude

- This point was answered by SrI bApA rAo and SrI PALANA gArlu again.
  This question concerning the sincerity and commitment of the POET can
  be answered COMPLETELY ONLY when we look at the other pieces of the 
  POET. But as far as this piece is concerned, there is every chance 
  for one to think the other way because of the swaying of the author 
  in this piece from one issue to the other.

  The swayings pointed out were discussed in detail by bApA rAo gAru and
  SrI hari krishNa and the questions why did the author sway and could
  not hold his focus may give rise to more questions and that's what
  exactly, is my question and observation too.

  The questions about --why did the author have to bring in the SAstrAlu ??
  why did he talk about "talli"ki puTTina and other birth issues as if it is 
  a custom ?? and the biggie "WHY DOES ONE HAVE TO belittle something/someone 
  else for making his/her way in POETRY" seem to be eternal (Also, I feel 
  that it is becoming a more and more common practice in today's society for 
  the upcoming kavulu/kavayitrulu, to a larger extent than what it was in the 
  days of prabandha literature contrary to what was pointed out by another 
  netter some time back. At least in those days, to prove one's merit people 
  never stooped to belittling others, they produced something on their own 
  first.. I feel that this is a very very sad trend for our literature... 
  "avatali vADidi / prAcInamainadi / nAkartham kAnidi cetta ani ceppaDamtO 
  Agaku, dAnitOnE kavigA nI asthitvAnni nilupukondAmani ASapaDaku, mundu nI 
  sattA EmiTO cUpincu -- anE challenge lu rAnu rAnu karuvaipOtunnAyi I kAlamlO
  anipistOndi". Does the author believe that people followed the anti-social
  practices after reading the Ekalavya incident in BAratam ??, I feel that
  even vyAsa's idea was to symbolically uphold them as ANTI-SOCIAL practices
  ONLY and not for propagating them, more on this in later paragraphs. But,
  this poem seems to be conveying the contradiction and seems to be 
  propagating what I think are the distorted views too..) 

  Remember, I said that I liked the subject and the Arti behind the poem but 
  the objections are still centered around above points. Any takers to 
  articulate on where does the poem stand poetically on this issue, and 
  not politically (irrespective of the discussions of caste etc..) ???

POINTS 3 and 4 : AUTHOR's SWAYING and MISSING THE WHOLE PICTURE

- To answer this question and my claim that the author missed the whole
  picture and to answer bApA rAo gAri comments on BAratam, I have to 
  deviate and put in what I my views (corrections invited) of this epic 
  are too.. (Since I too have to sway here..:-) for answering these things, 
  the claim of UNBIASEDNESS, that was made before may not hold here..:-))

I said that --

>> I fear that the distorted views may lead to illogical references like
>> the epics were written by a section/so called upper class of the society
>> for their own benefits

and bApA rAo gAru said in his response that --

> I am sure they were, at least in part...

I was totally amazed by this response and could figure out what he meant by 
it ONLY when he was talking about the piTTa kathalu etc.. in the epics. I 
agree with the point that not all of us can have the same opinion about the 
epics, SAstras etc.. but Sir, don't you think that your statement is like 
stretching it a bit too far ??
 
I am not gonna comment more on it but my view of these epics is if I don't 
understand something and if I can't make something applicable to present 
day straight in a 1-1 manner, I'd rather give the benefit of doubt to the 
author and start thinking from his point of view to find out what he is 
trying to convey rather than DENOUNCING it for my lack of understanding. 
Well, that helped me a lot in improving my understanding and I believe 
that it helps others too.  

I'll answer the questions on PURUSHA sUktam from PALANA in another message 
and for now I will just say that, if people DID NOT think this way, all of 
those Sastras, vEdas and epics would have been denounced LONG TIME BACK. 
May be those are the 10% of people that PALANA is talking about who 
understood the actual meaning of those and I AM NOT one among them and am 
NOT ASHAMED to admit that I TOO DO NOT KNOW MOST OF WHAT IS HIDDEN INSIDE 
what seem to be some meaningless verses if you make Sanskrit as the base 
for that (Vedic language is NOT Sanskrit, Sanskrit is just another language 
in which the vEdic ideas were expressed, interpreted and to a large extent 
mis-interpreted too) I hope that you and I are on the same frequency here. 

And the CONFUSION you said IS NOT CREATED by the VEDAS and EPICS. I am SORRY
but I feel that this is again an EXTREME statement, I'd say that the 
CONFUSION is created by one's own interpretation and mis-interpretation and 
as you said it is created by those views which I termed as DISTORTED which 
take the LITERAL meaning of without trying for the details and without 
thinking about the essence of what is said. I bet the attitude of such 
readers is like -- I'LL DENOUNCE WHATEVER I DON'T KNOW -- but, as far as I 
am concerned, a better attitude would be to say I'LL TRY TO UNDERSTAND THAT 
THERE COULD BE THINGS THAT I DO NOT KNOW AND I SHOULD START ATTEMPTING FOR 
ENHANCING MY UNDERSTANDING. (More on this and the seemingly meaningless 
"sahasra SRngO vRshaBO jAta vEda:" later)
 
Coming back to bApA rao gAri statement, IMHO, the epics (of course not 
talking about the piTTa kathalu and pilla kathalu etc..) are symbolic 
representation of our culture and are of equal literary and historical 
value. Literally, rAmAyaNam and BAratam are the longest versifications 
known to history, in any language. They wouldn't have survived for 
generations and stood against time if they are mere anecdotes comparable 
to the stories written by BRITISH or somebody else for their own benefits.

Coming back to the point of discussion(I've already swayed too much..:-)), 
Baratam was not written to please anybody ( a king or somebody else ) and 
BAratam was not written for the BENEFIT/GAIN of any one person or a section 
of the society. The last thing one would do is to attribute the SELFISH 
and BIASED attitude to its author -vEda vyAsa-. IMHO, the epic is a symbolic 
representaion of the good and bad practices and the characters portray the 
symbolic notation of what goes on in everyone's mind. As far as the history 
part of it is concerned, vyAsa wouldn't have expected anyone to mis-interpret 
this incident in his epic as "EKALAVYA WAS A PANCAMA AND HENCE HIS FINGER HAS 
TO BE AMPUTATED" for the simple reason that he himself belongs to the same 
section of the society and was called a sUtaputRDu, in those days. The points 
I think vyAsa wanted to make at this instance were the 

-- ARROGANCE OF DRONA, JEALOUS, ARROGANT, INSECURE and INTOLERANT ATTITUDE OF 
   THE MORE POWERFUL OVER THE POWERLESS, FEAR OF DEFEAT from a MORE SKILLFUL
   PERSON NOT BELONG TO THEIR OWN CLOUT -- 

Yes, vyAsa did portray the social conditions and practises when drONA said 
that he'll not teach Ekalavya for his pancamatvam but vyAsa DID NOT portray 
its extension. 

The whole incident of amputating the finger has to deal with the issue of 
jealous, arrogant and insecure attitude of the powerful over the powerless
or the HAVES over HAVE-NOTs as vElUri said. That's why I opined that the 
author satish cander missed the whole view. I bet, has it been some other
character in Ekalavya's situation who is at least as capable as arjuna if 
not more, and who didn't belong to that kuru-pAnDava clout, the feelings 
of insecurity and jealousy would have forced drONa and his sishyas to do 
the same thing. Yes, being robbed and deprived is the depiction of social 
ill practices of caste that are followed in those days but the AMPUTATION 
incident has to do more with the points discussed above. Ekalavya was not 
asked for such a horrifying and disgusting guru dakshiNa just because he 
is a pancama. vyAsa was not insensitive to these issues and he DID NOT
UPHOLD the anti social practices in his epic. Get the point ?? 

At least that is what as far as my understanding goes, but there could be 
more and more factors involved in it but if I want to write a 'kavita' just
by highlighting a portion of what I think is the truth, can I be called a 
responsible POET ?? IMHO, I DO NOT THINK SO...

regards..

- Ram (Ramabhadra Dokka from sdokka@st6000.sct.edu)

P.S. : Sorry for the long post but I couldn't have answered all those points 
       without spanning this far...:-) and as always your comments/criticism
       are welcome !!