Why did lord Rama shoot a deer during his stay in forest?

“Why did lord Rama shoot a deer during his stay in forests? Was he a non-vegetarian? I hate non-vegetarians.”

Yesterday, a kid asked me this. I answered “I don’t know.” I have translated the question into English from Hindi.

The conversation ended there. The reason why such a question was put before me is because some kids consider me knowledgeable. I certainly don’t consider myself capable of answering each and every question. I feel it’s better to pass over those you don’t know or don’t want to belabor with rather than trying half-heartedly. The question was asked online therefore there wasn’t enough time to answer it properly. I also doubted if the questioner would understand me and hence I decided to remain silent.

Now, as I have some time to kill I have decided to elaborate on it.

Why does this question matter to that kid or any other kid?

Yoga of devotion means loving the object of devotion whole-heartedly. Gandhi, Buddha and Mahavira teach non-violence. Even Patanjali’s eighth-fold system of Yoga has non-violence exalted as a virtue in Yama-Niyamas(dos and don’ts). Non-violence is indeed a great virtue to practice especially if you are devoted to realizing supreme. Now this certainly confuses some of us. If Rama did not practice non-violence how could I be a devotee?

Rama was from a Kshatriya(warrior) clan. So was Krishna. Warriors in India and elsewhere have been non-vegetarians. It shouldn’t be hard to accept. Even today most of the kshatriyas are non-vegetarians. A devotee might like to assume that Rama and Krishna never killed an animal for pleasure but scriptures certainly point to otherwise(Read Srimad Bhagvatam for Krishna’s hunting trip with Arjuna!) In that case, should the devotee who considers non-violence a great virtue simply abandon being devoted to them? What should he do?

The problem is- we try to fit everything into the mold we have. Rama, Krishna, Buddha, Mahavira, Nanaka, Ramkrishna, Ramana and Jesus were all enlightened but their life-styles were very different. First you should understand what makes all of them Bhagwan. Then you should understand that their outer appearances, their deeds and their teachings can’t be same(verbatim.) Indeed essence of their teachings is same and no matter how much followers distort them they are the expressions of the same source. But if you get stuck in the outer appearances you would be confused. Rama and Krishna were enlightened but played along the roles of warriors and diplomats. They behaved as warriors and politicians do with the awareness of parabramhan intact all along. Knower of parabramhn is equal to parabramhn. That is why Rama, Krishna, Buddha and Ramana are all Bhagwan.

Some of the aforementioned personalities had great social burdens even after enlightenment, therefore, instead of simply remaining in trance and teaching silently they took an active part and created social, religious and political movements or fought in wars. But they all had unflinching awareness of the ultimate and their outer act could not distort their awareness of supreme even for a moment. We should look for the essence of teachings and also observe their lives in their proper contexts instead of blindly comparing them against each other and against our rigid moral standards.
Most of the pure vegetarian Bramhin people from north-India have a hard time accepting Ramakrishna and Jesus as enlightened masters. Their argument is that if they ate fishes and meat they lacked awareness. This is simply ridiculous. You can’t use your moral compass to asses enlightened sages. Vegetarianism is indeed a great practice for healthy body and mind, especially if you live in Indian subcontinent
but not all people had the same cultural upbringing. Bramhins in Bengal have been eating fishes after offering the same to Thakur(Krishna) and to other deities. This is merely a local practice. Similarly for Jesus. Having an ideal religious figure in mind and then imposing your own standard onto them is merely  going to mislead you and confuse you. First realize the Self and then see if there remains the necessity to think over such things.
Whether Rama was a shooter, a warrior or a non-vegetarian I don’t hate him. It doesn’t matter to me if you hate him or love him. I just told you what I thought on the subject.

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33 thoughts on “Why did lord Rama shoot a deer during his stay in forest?

  1. Pingback: Peace and Enlightenment Are The Same! – blabberwockying!

  2. Pingback: Faith! – blabberwockying!

    1. Thanks for re-blogs and comments.

      You don’t. Only an enlightened sage knows another(Actually, there are no ‘others’ for a sage). But he doesn’t need to; because for him Self alone remains. Who wants to know whether someone is enlightened or not? Seeker. Why? To follow or convince himself. Like all other questions this one(whether X is/was enlightened or not?) is also futile. All questions are mind playing tricks on you. What to do? Follow anyone. You might follow a sage from past or present. Doesn’t matter much(unless there is evident exploitation!) Your sincerity and faith take you to the goal. Your inner Guru is already with you all the times. The point in question was from my viewpoint–I feel sages and avataras are to be followed and not questioned. If you can’t–then move on–follow nobody in particular. Hope this answers your question. 🙂

      Liked by 1 person

      1. Grandtrines

        I found variations on the same answer many times over the years. I always enjoy hearing yet another. One of my favorites is the title of this book: https://www.amazon.com/Meet-Buddha-Pilgrimage-Psychotherapy-Patients/dp/0553278320 I found another one recently I like even better (give that, among other things, I am an astrologer): Neptune is the sign of religion and especially of the guru. Not everyone reaches that, but many who do are stuck there. But, in our system, Neptune is not the final word. Pluto is. And Pluto is birth, death, and re-birth. Pluto is for those who kill the guru (not necessarily physically) and move beyond him to find the answers from their own transformations (birth, death, rebirth)… …hope this questions your answer! 🙂

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        1. “…hope this questions your answer!”

          No, it doesn’t. As told before your inner Guru manifests in a physical form only if there is an indispensable need. ‘Killing the Guru means’ relying on inner Self entirely or being the Self. I covered this in the previous response.

          Further, I wonder why you would ask the same question many times over the years? Must be because you’ve not found the peace yet. 🙂

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              1. Grandtrines

                I disagree. That is just the standard pap that is told to the masses because that is what they want to hear and it sells well.

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            1. Funny, on one hand you suggest the need of first hand knowledge/awareness and OTOH you keep quoting papers! I don’t know who Bateson is and yet after reading that article I find where he is coming from. I still maintain that enlightenment/peace/bliss are equivalent. I can quote other sages like Ramana, Nisargadatta, Buddha, Adishankara and Krishna. When they all say it brings peace and I do feel peace it’s beyond any doubt. I don’t need any school telling me otherwise . All your papers are undoing your own argument about the necessity of first-hand experience.

              Liked by 1 person

              1. Grandtrines

                Not at all. The papers, and I have only mentioned one, are simply of different logical type than first hand experience. (Did you read the paper with enough depth of understanding to understand what “logical type” is?)

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              2. Grandtrines

                Not everyone agrees with this “natural state is peace” stuff. See, also: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=qJ6td1J0-Us and https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=xnxvKJAv5Ik (You have admitted, above,that you have not heard of Bateson, and apparently not willing to make the minimal effort necessary to run a search, but maybe you have heard of Star Trek?) While I am at it, considering that you are probably to lazy to make even the minimal effort to run a search, I am wondering if you have heard of any of these people: (1) Robert K Merton, (2) B F Skinner, (3) Ivan Pavlov, (4) August Comte, (5) Herbert Simon, or (6) Daniel Kahneman?

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          1. Grandtrines

            Indeed your own article makes such a point. Expecting to necessarily find “peace” because of “enlightenment” is like doubting Rama because he shot a deer. It is the same error in thinking.

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            1. No. You misunderstand it. I started the article with “Bhakti Yoga”(Yoga of devotion)–it needs faith to reach the goal. Therefore you need to have faith in divinity/sages/self to practice Bhakti Yoga.

              Liked by 1 person

          2. Grandtrines

            And, obviously it does “question your answer” or you would not still be discussing it, would you? If you were satisfied with your own answer, then you would not feel an urgent need to defend it, would you?

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            1. It’s a common courtesy to answer comments on your blog. It’s not a vehement urge. I was done with the article. If I don’t respond that would be rude. I really don’t feel our discussion has added anything.

              Liked by 1 person

        1. Seems like a paper on learning. Spiritual enlightenment is not intellectual learning but another dimension in awareness which is as simple as our existence and hence as easy to miss. I don’t feel that paper is pertinent to the subject matter we were discussing. Maybe you were referring to some other ‘enlightenment.’ My apologies for miscommunication.

          Liked by 1 person

          1. Grandtrines

            I do not think you read it. It is completely on target. Re-read it, maybe more than once if necessary. You will eventually get it if you make the necessary effort.

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      2. Grandtrines

        Furthermore, none of this matters. You (specifically the author who wrote “Only an enlightened sage knows another”) cannot validly make such a statement about what someone at any particularly level knows without being at least at that same level or higher. Whatever an “enlightened sage” may be, to claim to be able to evaluate them in any way, to make statements such as “your sincerity and faith take you to the goal” requires you be at least at that same level yourself.

        Anything else is mere speculation by someone who does not know what they are talking about. It is a bit like a person who has been blind from birth trying to describe the color “red.” He can only echo what he as heard others say that may or may not be true. Without personal knowledge, his statements are suspect from the very beginning.

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        1. “Furthermore, none of this matters. You (specifically the author who wrote “Only an enlightened sage knows another”) cannot validly make such a statement about what someone at any particularly level knows without being at least at that same level or higher.”

          I agree. It doesn’t matter.

          Whatever an “enlightened sage” may be, to claim to be able to evaluate them in any way, to make statements such as “your sincerity and faith take you to the goal” requires you be at least at that same level yourself.

          If I say I am at the same level you would raise doubts. If I say I am quoting other sages you would raise doubts. I feel it serves the purpose of the article if we accept that it’s indeed sincerity which takes you to the goal rather than sitting in the judgement .

          Anything else is mere speculation by someone who does not know what they are talking about. It is a bit like a person who has been blind from birth trying to describe the color “red.” He can only echo what he as heard others say that may or may not be true. Without personal knowledge, his statements are suspect from the very beginning.

          Maybe for you. I don’t claim anything but I know what I am talking about and since the kid approaching me raised doubt because of his faith in me I simply guided him to be sincere and faithful as a devotee. I am not speculating. Enough has been said already. Peace.

          Liked by 1 person

  3. Interestingly, or not? I just finished watching this youtube video.

    Really the only link being Rama. I have been a vegetarian for many years. Yet i still eat both fish and eggs. Not in any great amount. I see them as lower life forms. Unlike mammals.

    While a deer may not be of the same level of awareness as a human? That they suckle their young, puts them very close. Compared to the fishes, or even birds?

    One has to make their own adjustments when it comes to eating. The killing to eat; that forces a lower life form upward according to the law of karma. Again, I may not consume fish nor eggs to any large amount? Yet the society I live in forces some choice that is, difficult to avoid. Fish stock for sauces and eggs for binding flours, cakes and cookies.

    I consciously avoid those foods, yet if comes down to it? I will opt for them, over other inconvenience. My life as a vegetarian is difficult enough in North America.

    So, whether Lord Rama killed a deer? Is of little consequence, it seems. We only assume it was for food? It may have been the only food source available? It was unlikely for a vendor’s cart to have been in the vicinity? This also ignores the Jain connotations, of modern hindu life.

    Cheers Jamie.

    Liked by 1 person

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