Friday 22 February 2013

Sita's wise counsel in the Ramayana

I've been reading Arshia Sattar's translation of Valmiki's Ramayana, published by Penguin Classics. At nearly 700 pages, it's a bit intimidating. But once into the story, it's hard not to be swept along by this story of the virtuous prince Rama, exiled to the wilderness by a greedy stepmother. His wife Sita, used to a life of luxury, insists on accompanying him.
She warns Rama about the weaknesses that arise from desire. One of these is inflicting violence on others simply because of "the proximity of weapons." I feel for her as she warns Rama that "like dry fuel bursts into flame when it is near a fire so too, a Kshatriya's passions are ignited when he has a bow at hand."
Americans, South Africans, listen to Sita's wise words.