Answer by Raakhee V. Menon:
Thank you for the A2A.
Personally, I don’t engage in such discussions with shallow minded individuals. I would not want to justify myself, my beliefs and my relationship with the Divine. My relationship with God is my private affair.
That said, I admit that I have also been bombarded with questions pertaining to my faith. I have not been asked to answer questions like the ones you have mentioned, but they were close enough to border on any Hindu feeling hurt somewhere deep within.
The reason why they ask such questions is because Hinduism or Sanatana Dharma is the only faith which allows people to ask questions and arrive at their own answers. Nobody decides the right and wrong of things. Yes, there are advices aplenty. But no doctrines that say this is how it is and this was how it was not.
Much of our puranas and itihasas have very deep inner meanings to them. They were not intended for the layman to just read and understand. Instead, it aimed at making everyone think deeply, and thus develop our inner consciousness. If people read and go by everything at face value (as is the case in most other faiths worldwide where they have clearly written down what is right and what is wrong), then they miss most of what the text attempts to teach us. We have what is known as a typical iceberg situation…
What is seen outside is nothing compared to what lies hidden. And it is for us to seek that which is hidden. If we are able to grasp even a tenth of what each one of our scriptures aims to tell us, then we would have an entirely different way of looking at things.
It is not right to expect this from unfamiliar people who are not used to this method of learning. I have had people ask me how it is even possible for a woman to have a thousand hands wielding weapons or how can any man walk around with an elephant’s head. It baffles them because they don’t understand and unless they have an open mind, which they are normally trained against having, it will still remain a mystery and something worth being branded as ‘wrong’ or ‘pagan’.
To justify or explain the various stories in our scriptures, one needs to delve very very deep into them. Sometimes you might have to go backwards and even forwards…find the deeply interlinked stories…understand the relation between all these stories…try and find the real reason behind these stories. It takes a lot of time to do so unless you have been doing so continuously and have sound knowledge to be able to counter any question pertaining to your faith, derogatory or otherwise.
So the next time anyone asks you out of the blue how you would justify Lord Shiva ‘raping’ someone, just tell yourself that the question is not being asked out of a sincere need to know the truth. To such people, even if you tell them that it wasn’t rape and even try to explain, they wouldn’t agree and would just keep on arguing. What’s the point of it all? Waste of time and energy, and it would just result in bad tempers. They are taught to view the world in a different way than us. Trying to make them see it in the way we do will be a futile exercise.