Wednesday, September 8, 2010

Kama, Karma, Artha

We discussed how dharma works in the Ramayana today in class. Can anybody find examples of how kama, karma, and artha manifest in the text?


Samantha said...

Karma, the Indian religious concept in which prior actions affect a person’s future, is manifested in the text through Rama. As we briefly discussed in class today, when Rama learned about his father’s wish for him to enter the forest, he willingly accepted the duty. Furthermore, he mentions that he must deserve this responsibility as punishment for a bad deed he committed in his past. This comment exhibits the idea of karma.
Kama, the Indian concept of sexual pleasure, is manifested in the text in several instances. The most obvious reference involves Ravana’s lust for Sita. Although kama is one of the four goals of life, the text explicitly reveals that this lust is responsible for Ravana’s defeat and death.

chrissy said...

Kaikeyi's desire for her son, Bharata, to be king is an example of artha. By being king, he gains the highest social status, fulfilling his artha. However, I feel as though he gains this position in a corrupt way which may result in bad karma on either Bharata or on Kaikeyi (because she forces the king to send Rama off, which is the last thing he wants to do to his favorite son).

Julia Dean said...

Also, the concept of karma comes into play when Ravana is killed while fighting Rama. Because of his past wrongdoings, Ravana is doomed to die. "Rama was determiend to win; Ravana was sure he would die: knowing this, they fought with all their might" (page 754).
Another example of kama is Surpanakha's lust for Rama. She even tries to convince her brother that Sita would be a perfect match for him so that Rama would be available for Surpanakha herself.

Steven said...

Although this is an assumption I'm making, I find it curious to consider why the King gave away the two wishes in the first place. Perhaps this is an implied usage of kama? After all, according to Mrs. Quinet, she was the "younger, hotter" queen. If this is the case, the King would be fulfilling his physical pleasures, or his kama. This, of course, sets up the situation for the Queen to fulfill her purpose or dharma by using the two wishes to make her son the next king.