One of the most respected incarnations of God in India is Rama. His wife, Sita, was stolen by Ravana. After years of fight and struggle Rama defeated Ravana, brought his wife back, but first she had to pass through an utterly inhuman examination. The examination is called agni pariksha, “the fire examination” – she had to pass through fire. If she had been absolutely free of any sin while she was away from Rama, even in her dreams, then she would come out of the fire unharmed. If she had sinned, even in her mind, then she would be consumed by the fire.
Now, this is sheer stupidity. Fire does not believe in your morality! Fire has no respect for any culture, any religion, any values. Fire has its own laws; it cannot suspend those laws.
But one thing more also has to be noted: only Sita had to pass through the fire, not Rama. And there is a greater possibility… He was also away from his wife – what had he been doing? But he was beyond question. He was a man, and this is a man-dominated society. And he was really a male chauvinist pig!
Sita passed through the fire, and the story is that she survived. And back home, when they reached their capital, just a single man objected. But not to Rama himself – the man’s wife had not come home one night, and when she came back in the morning he simply said, “I will not accept you. I am not Rama. Get lost! I am finished with you.”
This was reported to Rama and he simply threw the pregnant Sita into the forest. She was not even given a chance to say something – she was not even asked. She was not even told what was happening to her. Who asks one’s own property? If you want to dispose of your furniture you dispose of it. If you want to burn it, you burn it. If you want to sell it, you sell it.
And still Rama is worshipped by the Hindus as God, he is thought to be one of the greatest incarnations. People seem to be utterly blind – even women go on worshipping Rama! At least they should start burning his effigies, they should start throwing his statues out of the temples, because no man has done so much harm to women as this man has done.
Another Hindu, Yudishthira – he is called Dharmaraj, “the king of religion”… He was a gambler, and not only did he gamble away his whole kingdom, he gambled away his wife too. He staked his wife and lost her in the gamble. A woman is just property – you can gamble away your house, your kingdom, you can gamble away your wife! And still he is called the king of religion, one of the most respected persons – a great saint. Nobody raises the question of what he did with Draupadi, his wife. Is it human? Even a very barbaric person would think twice before doing it. Even a criminal would not dare to do it. And still he remains one of the most respected persons in the history of India.
Not only did he stake her and lose her in a gamble, but Draupadi was shared by five brothers. Dharmaraj had four brothers and they all wanted Draupadi – she was so beautiful. They were all interested in getting her, so the only solution was that they divide her; she would be the wife of all five. So in a week, time was divided – how many hours she would be a wife to one brother and how many hours a wife to another brother. A possession can be divided. And she was not even asked. This is ugly. This is subhuman! This is animal! And this is India’s past.