Alas! It’s Dasharata and not Janaka’s motif of parenting.

Raja Ravi Verma’s painting depicting Sita swayamvar where Rama breaks the shaft of Lord Shiva’s bow.

King Dasharata of Ayodhya had three wives. But none of them could give him a son. So, he invoked the Gods and was blessed with four sons. Rama being the eldest his entire life was only a preparation to carry on the onus of the dynasty values of dharma. Hence through the entire epic you mostly see Rama only doing things as per the prescription.  

While in Mithila, a land not so far away from Ayodhya, King Janaka finds an abandoned girl baby in his field. Having no children of his own at that point, he adopts this baby as his own and she is named as Sita. Janaka never burdened Sita or his other daughters with the rules of the society but allowed them to cultivate a mind of their own. Hence contrary to Rama, Sita’s every action arises from her own will.

I know not if Ramayana was a true occurrence. It matters not. The fact though remains that the great epic along with Mahabharata is deeply soaked into our collective consciousness. And we choose the most convenient story and idol to follow. We choose to be a father like Dasharata and not Janaka.

Female infanticide in certain sections of the country demonstrate the literal obsession of Dasharata for a son. While in all parts of the country the robbery of an intellect done in the name of family values is only on the rise, and in many instances, we out-beat the Ayodhya King.

Children and specially sons continue to be domesticated to provide for their families. A false sense of bonhomie is instilled in them, where they are told how they are just a part of a larger “dharma” chain and how sacrificing their own dreams and desires is the most virtuous thing.

The most gruesome part of the domestication of sons is how they are again made to believe that women are also a piece of property and belongs to the family. Taking care of the women, is more of an obligation and status symbol than any emotion. Hence Rama had to pursue for Sita not to really rescue her from Ravana, but to claim that no other man can take what is his or his families. Rama, seeing Lakshmana hurt so severely in the battle does think was it worthwhile to wage a war for Sita if it meant to lose a brother like Lakshmana.

Today AC schools, gadgets, apps, 95% marks, international holidays, branded stuff etc have become the beautiful synthetic carpets that cover the foundation of the dogmatic society that we live in. Children are not only crippled in their minds but are made obese too so that their physical moments also get restricted. A false sense of security in early childhood is leading its way to rising suicide rate and mental sickness. The primal question of “Who am I” does not trigger curiosity to find purpose and meaning in life but starts to haunt you and hallucinate you.

We need to change our parenting methods with great urgency. We need to allow the natural character of kids grow like a wild deep-rooted tree and not prune them into beautiful bonsai. We need to have real conversations with them, tell them stories, hug and kiss them, talk about their dreams, trust them, allow them to fail – once, twice and many many times. Tell them that they are not the flag bearers of their sir name. Not your retirement plan. Not money-making machines. Not objectifying beings. Tell them though that they are unique. That they have a purpose in life. That they need to find and pursue that purpose.

Coming back to Ramayana,  Sita as a child was able to lift Lord Shiv’s bow with great ease. A bow that needed 100 men to just move an inch. Symbolically if you see a bow needs poise and balance to be handled, and it being Lord Shiva’s who is an epitome of attachment and detachment weighs heavy on the ordinary conscious. But Sita’s conscious was never burdened by King Janaka and hence she was strong enough to maneuver the bow, her life and “dharma”. While Rama, even though gifted naturally with a clear conscious was able to lift the bow with the same ease, but the pressure of having to uphold the virtues of the Ragu kula and “dharma” breaks the bow – repeatedly!

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