In 21st century Bharat, when Indians are wondering if Hanuman was a Dalit, a twist in the tail: “Lord Rama ate meat and drank alcohol”

The cover of K.S. Bhagwan‘s book ‘Rama Mandira yeke beda?’
News story in Praja Vani on Bhagwan’s new book

Controversial Kannada writer K.S. Bhagwan has kicked up a fresh row with his claim in a recently released book that Lord Rama drank “alcohol” and ate “meat”.

Bhagwan, 74, a retired English professor and reportedly the target of those who gunned down Gauri Lankesh, quotes the shlokaSeetha maadheya hasthena madhu maireyakam” to underline his claim.

The Kannada daily Praja Vani reports in its editions today that on page 101 of his book “Rama Mandira yeke beda?’ (why we don’t need a Ram Temple) Bhagwan cites the shloka as proof.

In addition, Praja Vani reports, Bhagwan claims that young girls and women, well versed in performing arts, danced and cavorted in front of Rama while he imbibed.

Bhagwan has said he has based his claims on shlokas from Valmiki‘s Ramayana. The book, released in March this year, is now in its second edition.

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Praja Vani story quoting Vishvesha Teertha swamiji of the Pejawar Mutt

In an accompanying story, Sri Vishvesha Teertha swamiji of the Pejawar Mutt, a prime mover behind the Ram Temple movement, has said in response that there is no need to take Bhagwan’s claims seriously.

“Lord Rama was a Kshatriya, not a Brahmin. Meat is not forbidden for kshatriyas. Even if Rama ate meat, it is not a big issue. But there is no proof anywhere that he ate meat or drank.”

The Rig Veda has mentions of soma rasa, a fermented juice, being consumed in vedic times.