Did Shabari feed false berries to Ram?
Ram had gone to Shabari’s hut, this incident is present in almost all Ramkathas. But it is not written anywhere that he had eaten Shabari’s false berries there. In all the ancient Ramayanas that have been written regarding Ramkatha, there is no mention of Shabari eating false plums. However, it is definitely written in everything that Ram and Lakshman had gone to Shabari’s hut while searching for Sita. While waiting for him, Shabari fed him tubers, roots and fruits. After this Shabari told them about Sugriva and then entered the funeral pyre. Despite this, filmmaker Ramanand Sagar included the scene of Shabari eating false plum to Ram in his TV serial Ramayana. Perhaps he may have taken reference from the Ramayana of Radheshyam narrator in the 20th century.
Radheshyam, the narrator, wrote Ramayana in drama style in the first half of the 20th century, then he added this story which was prevalent among the devotees of devotion. According to senior journalist Hemant Sharma, who has special authority on Ram Katha, there can be no difference between the devotee and God during the time of devotion. So why is there any conflict between the two? That is why it is written in Sukh Sagar, that Lord Ram ate the false berries of Bhilani with relish. She first tastes the berries herself, so that she can know that she is giving only sweet berries to the Lord.
Narrator Radheshyam takes this incident from Sukh Sagar written in the second half of the 19th century and writes, “She makes her Lord sit on the cushion of beautiful leaves. The guest brings some berries in a basket. Those fruits were the lies of Shabari, this is written in the ocean of happiness. We also say, whatever exists exists in love and respect.”
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Ramayana ,-Urdu mixed Khadi dialect
Since the narrator Radheshyam has written his Ramayana ,-Urdu mixed Khari dialect, hence Ramlilas were held on the basis of this Ramayana from Banaras to Lahore (Punjab before partition). This Ramayana has been written in the style of dialogue, all its incidents have become popular among the public. Radheshyam narrator used to write dialogues in the style of Parsi theater, hence similar incidents appeared in Ramayan TV serial also. Apart from this, in all the earlier films made based on Ramayana, the dialogue style and context of Ramayana was also taken. Radheshyam storyteller had also worked for films. But there was no depth in this Ramayana, that is why it was forgotten as quickly as it became popular.
Leave aside the views of the so-called secular people who consider Ram as just a story or myth. Yet there are at least five Ramayanas which are taken in historical contexts. These are Valmiki Ramayana, Kamban Ramayana, Ranganath Ramayana, Krittivas Ramayana and Tulsikrit Ramcharitmanas. Of these, Valmiki wrote Ramayana in Sanskrit, Kamban wrote his Ram story in Tamil and Ranganath in Telugu. Kritivas’ Ramayana is in Bengali and Ramcharitmanas is written by Tulsi in Awadhi. Valmiki’s Ramayana is considered to be the most authentic and Ram of Tulsi’s Ramcharitmanas is more an incarnation of Vishnu than Maryada Purushottam. That’s why Tulsi’s Ramleela is performed. He is supernatural and every step he takes has a meaning in the future. But in none of these Ramayana is there any description of Shabari eating false plums.
Valmiki was contemporary of Ram
Among the authors of these five Ramayanas, only the Adi poet Rishi Valmiki is considered to be from the time of Rama. It is also a belief that he had also met King Ram. The remaining poets based his story and described it according to the circumstances of the society of their time. That is why many interpolations of the five Ramayanas are different. Of these, Tulsidas belongs to the 16-17th century. He was a devotee poet, his name is taken at the top in the Saguna Bhakti branch. He is not only a poet who praises his idol, but he was saddened by the weakness of the then Hindu society. This was the time when Hindu kings were being defeated and the Mughal Empire was expanding. They felt that the reason for this was the departure of Hindus from the Varnashrama religion. Therefore, he wanted a society according to the system of every caste.
It has to be kept in mind here that the system according to Varnashrama Dharma does not mean declaring someone superior or someone inferior. Rather, there is a system of society which makes each of its units self-reliant. India has been a village based society. And the village is also self-sufficient. Every person’s work was fixed. But when this system deteriorated, the discipline of the society broke down. According to him, this is a major reason for the disintegration of Hindu society. That is why they do not invent the allusion to Shabari feeding Ram false plums.
Unrighteousness is also religion in love
Whereas his predecessor Meera had already described this and the contemporary Sagun devotee poet Surdas had written this in Sur Sagar. Obviously, despite being a devotee, Tulsidas was more of a social reformer. Their Ram is an ideal and also a hero who keeps the society disciplined. This was the reason, he describes the Shabari incident in the same way as sage Valmiki did.
In love, unrighteousness is also religion. Therefore, if Shabari feeds her false plum to Ram then there is no injustice. Her beloved Ram is her lover. Meera also called Krishna her lover. In devotion, the status of girlfriend or boyfriend is above that of worshipper. It is written in Padma Purana, “The four fruits of eating the remainder of love. Sabari Kabari is the jewel of the devotees made by Rama” (Prem Pattanam) i.e. by eating four false fruits, Ram ji made Shabari the jewel of the devotees. Surdas writes in Sur Sagar, “Raghubar came to Shabari Ashram, made Arghyasana dai Prabhu sit. Khate taji phal methe layi, juthe bhaye su sahaj narayai” Namdev says, “Eat the false fruits of Shabari. Rishisthan spread.”
But Meera was crazy about love. Meera writes that Bheelani Shabari was not a beautiful woman, yet Ram ji showered her blessings on her and as soon as she got darshan, she went straight to Vaikuntha.
“Bheelani brought good and sweet fruits like chakha plum, this is what said Rati, not a pickled form, she is a very low caste, Ram took false fruits, the seeming breath of love, does not know high and low, the nectar of juice, this is what the Vedas said. I read, I boarded a plane in my hands, I tied my eyes to you, I swung in the sky, I slept in my sleep, I love you so much.”
What did Matang Muni say to Shabari?
According to Valmiki Ramayana, the demon Kabandha tells the address of Shabari to Ram Lakshman who is wandering from forest to forest in search of Sita. Ram and Lakshman reach Shabari’s ashram. Then she is waiting for them, because Matang Muni had told her that Ram of Raghuvansh will come to her himself. You leave your body only after meeting him and showing him the path. Seeing Ram and Lakshman coming, Shabari got up and caught hold of their feet. Ram asks this Siddha ascetic Shramani Shabari how her penance is going. There is no hindrance in penance. Shabari tells that I have been waiting for you only. I have collected for you the tubers and roots growing on the banks of this Pampa lake.
Shabari offers him various fruits grown in her forest. Sage Valmiki has written only this much in the context of this entire incident, that Ram ate the fruits given by Shabari. She told Ram the whereabouts of Sugriva and entered the burning pyre. The same description is found in Sundar Kanda of Valmiki Ramayana. He has not mentioned false berries. Permitted by Rama, he offered himself in the fire. She went to heaven like a burning fire.