One of the greatest merits of Hindu Scriptures is that it is open to interpretation and criticism. Some of the actions of Lord Ram in Ramayana have been criticized and many even doubt whether Lord Ram deserves the reverence and worship that he is getting. All the actions of Lord Ram that are open to criticism today could have easily been polished and edited by Sage Valmiki and presented him without any so called flaws. This is the greatness of Hindu scriptures; it does not preach or impose teachings and ideas but kindles the reader to think, participate in a healthy debate and reach a conclusion. It wants the reader to remain independent and think independently.
Our king might accept a wife who had stayed in another man’s home but not me – On hearing a washer man question the purity of the Queen of Ayodhya, Lord Ram decides to send a pregnant Mata Sita to the forest. Rama is the ideal king and for a modern reader this is heights of stupidity and absurdity. A modern reader would want Lord Ram to stand by his wife and defend her and not to fall for the irresponsible prattle of his foolish subjects.
If Lord Ram had sent the washer man questioning the purity of Mata Sita to prison, he would be performing the duty of a husband. But will he be performing the duty of a King? Lord Ram could have beheaded the washer man on the spot. But will he be able behead all those people that questions the purity of Mata Sita. Lord Ram would have become a dictator! Would we worship such a Lord Ram today?
Some would suggest that Lord Ram should ignore such silly comments. A husband can ignore silly comments but an ideal King cannot.
The people of a kingdom looked up to their King for inspiration and all his actions had a meaning and they were followed and often quoted by elders in a village whenever there was a crisis situation. He is the best and final example. An ideal king like Lord Ram who accepted all his subjects as a part of his family was forced to act when there was a dissenting note in the society. It was not a silly dissenting note but one that questioned the very moral fabric of the society. Lord Ram was forced to sacrifice his wife for the well being of the society and to stop it from undergoing moral degradation.
We are used to prime ministers, presidents, chief ministers and ministers who are corrupt, and famous for nepotism. So we cannot even imagine about a ruler like Lord Ram. A ruler like Lord Ram is utopian for many of us. But it is true that a king like Lord Ram ruled this earth and even today we dream of Ram Rajya.
But did Lord Ram marry again? No, in fact he suffered more than Mata Sita. He was lonely in the huge palace. He was always immersed in the thought of Sita. He had to bear the voidness created by Mata Sita’s departure. He was filled with remorse - a husband who had to send his pregnant wife away. A father who could not even look at the face of his children.
So what did Lord Ram gain by sending Mata Sita to the forest? Nothing but pain and misery and he is criticized for the act even after thousands of years.
But Rama did his Dharma, he upheld the accepted standards of ideal kinghood. It might not be acceptable to modern man who is rarely bothered about Dharma.