Dalit Rishi Maharishi Shambook

Maharishi Shambook
Burnaby :( Ambedkartimes.com News Bureau):- The Maharishi Shambook Memorial Day was observed on Sunday, November 11, 2007 by Chetna Association of Canada. The function was held at the Dr. Ambedkar Memorial Hall Gilley AVE Burnaby. The painting (by Artist Shital Anmol) depicting Rama in anger at Maharishi Shambook just prior tp killing him was unveiled by Chanchal Mall of Golden, BC. After viewing the film Teesari Azadi, several participants discussed the importance of hosting events with the ultimate goal of creating caste-free societies. Participants also appreciated Maharishi Valmiki Ji for giving a granth that gives a true picture of the Ram Raj- a raj that served imnterests of only the upper classes.

The oldest mention of Shambuka occurs in the Ramayana of Valmiki. It is found in the last book of the epic Uttara Kanda which is believed a later addition to Ramayana as it contains many later social issues like casteism, Sita's abandonment etc. After Lord Rama returns to Ayodhya and is crowned the king of Ayodhya.
One citizen of the Republic of Kosalas, an old Brahmin, is waiting in front of the gate of the Rama's palace cuddling the dead body of his fourteen-year-old only son. He is cursing Rama and Rama-Rajya and threatening to kill himself if Rama did not bring back to life his son, and thus emburden Rama with the sin of 'brahma-hatya'.
        (सीता-परित्याग के बाद एक दिन, एक वृद्ध ब्राह्मण एक मृत बालक को ले आता है। श्रीराम के प्रासाद के सामने वह बहुत विलाप करता है। अपने बेटे की अकाल मृत्यु का कारण राजा का ही कोई दोष बताता है )

नेदृशं दृष्टपूर्वं मे श्रुतं वा घोरदर्शनम्।
मृत्युरप्राप्तकालानां रामस्य विषये यथा।।
रामस्य दृष्कृतं किंचिन्महदस्ति न संशय:।
राजद्वारि मरिष्यामि पत्न्या सार्धमनाथवत्।
ब्राह्महत्यां ततो राम समुपेत्यु सुखी भव।।
राजदोषैर्विपद्यन्ते प्रजा ह्यविधिपालिता:।
असद्वृत्ते तु नृपतावकाले म्रियते जन:।।
श्रीराम मन्त्रिपरिषद् बुलाकर ब्राह्मण के लगाये अपराध के बारे में प्रश्न करते हैं। नारद एक भाषण देकर यह सिद्ध करते हैं कि शूद्र के तपस्या करने से ही ब्राह्मण की अकाल मृत्यु हुई है।
"Rajan, during the Krita yuga only the Brahmins used to do 'tapa'. During Treta yuga the Ksatriyas started doing it along with the Brahmins. In the present Dwapar yuga even the Vaishyas are also doing the 'tapascharya'. But it is great 'adharma' - sacrilege - when the Shudras start doing it. In your kingdom some unwise Shudra is doing 'tapascharya'. That is the reason of this 'baal-vadha'. You remove this misdeed. Then the religion and the 'dwija--varna' would progress, and this Brahmin child will become alive again". [Uttar-kand, sarga 74]
Thus the maha-brahmanas in Rama's court, like Vashishtha etc. indicted the Shudra 'tapaswi' - very much .

   Rama calls the "Pushpak viman, who comes, salutes and stands aside. Rama rides on his shoulder and goes alone in search of the Shudra Tapas. He goes towards the South, the direction of death or of Shudras, who are called as 'cremation ground' by the Dharma-shastras. To the south, on the bank of a lake on the mount of 'Shaivala', there was found a Tapasi hanging himself up side down and performing deep 'tapascharya'.

Rama got down from Pushpaka and went near him. He praised the 'tapashya' of the Tapas and asked him his 'varna'. The Tapas replied that to obtain god-hood and enter heaven with the body, he is doing the tapascharya and that he was a Shudra and his name was Shambuka. That was enough inquiry for Rama. He removed his 'Vimal' sword from the scabbard and separated the hanging head of the Tapas from his body. All the devas in the heaven applauded with cheers and flowers. Why were the gods happy? They said to Rama, "Raghunandana, it is because of you that this Shudra who was entitled for heaven, is prevented from coming here." [7.76.8] The rebel Shudra was unwanted even for the devas, who themselves had the system of 'chaurvarna' among them.

Rama asks a boon from the devas to make alive the son of the Brahmin. They tell him that the moment you killed the Shudra Tapas, the boy has become alive. Ramayana does not say whether actually the son of the Brahmin became alive or not. It also does not mention the names of the Brahmin son and father for whom all these events took place

The Imperial Gazetteer emphasizes the religious influence of the two great epics; in addition, the Imperial Gazetteer provides a summary discussion of the Ramayana's plot.

Ralph Griffith's translation (1870-74) of the Valmiki Ramayana is now available online, but it doesn't include the final book that contains the story of the killing of Shambuka. The killing of Shambuka appears in the Valmiki Ramayana, Book 7, the 'Uttarakanda' [Final Chapter], sargas 73-76. Three scene-setting sargas are paraphrased, and then the crucial one is presented in full: (73) When Rama is reigning as a virtuous king, a humble aged Brahmin comes to him, weeping, with his dead son in his arms. He says that Rama must have committed some sin, or else his son would not have died.(74)

The sage Narada explains to Rama that a Shudra is practicing penances, and this is the cause of the child's death. (75) Rama goes on a tour of inspection in his flying chariot, and finds an ascetic doing austerities, and asks who he is. "(76) Hearing the [inquiring] words of Rama of imperishable exploits, that ascetic, his head still hanging downwards [as part of his austerities] answered:— 'O Rama, I was born of a Shudra alliance and I am performing this rigorous penance in order to acquire the status of a God in this body. I am not telling a lie, O Rama, I wish to attain the Celestial Region. Know that I am a Shudra and my name is Shambuka.' As he was yet speaking, Raghava [Rama], drawing his brilliant and stainless sword from its scabbard, cut off his head. The Shudra being slain, all the Gods and their leaders with Agni's followers, cried out, 'Well done! Well done!' overwhelming Rama with praise, and a rain of celestial flowers of divine fragrance fell on all sides, scattered by Vayu. In their supreme satisfaction, the Gods said to that hero, Rama:— 'Thou hast protected the interests of the Gods, O Highly Intelligent Prince, now ask a boon, O beloved Offspring of Raghu, Destroyer of Thy Foes. By thy grace, this Shudra will not be able to attain heaven!'" (583-84) The Ramayana of Valmiki trans.
The place where Shambuka was beheaded is identified as the hill of Ramtek, near Nagpur in Maharashtra.


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