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Why "Sundara Khandam" is "Sundaram"?
Date: Sun Apr 02 2000 - 13:50:56 PDT

Dear Bhagavatas:
In Srimad Ramayana, the names of the respective Khandams are based on the 
events narrated therein.
BAla khAndam describes the story of RAma in his boyhood; 
AyoDhyA khAndam describes the events taking place in Ayodhya during his age 
between 12 to 25.  
AaraNya khAndam relates the events in the DanDaka araNyam; 
KishkindA khAndam describes the events that took place in KishkindA; 
Yuddha khAndam deals with the details of the war between the forces of RAma 
and RAvaNa; 
Utthara khAndam describes the events that took place after the return of RAma 
to Ayodhya. 
But, how did Sundara khAndam get its name?
If "sundaram" means beautiful, does it mean that the other khAndams were not 
"sundaram"- beautiful? It cannot be so.
Then, there must have been some other reason for VAlmiki to name this as 
"Sundara khAndam".
The way in which AnjanEya jumped over the ocean, the description of the 
beautiful city of Lanka, the description of the rising moon, the lush gardens 
of AsOka vanam and Madhu vanam, etc., are accepted as nonpareil by all.
But, are these sufficient reasons, yet?
The esoteric and allegorical meanings (Tattva arthas) contained in this 
khAndam are unique.
The jeevan leaving its rightful place, the JnAna bhoomi undergoes several 
hardships enmeshed in SamsAra. BhagavAn out of infinite compassion desires to 
take it back to His fold. He deputes the AachArya to redeem the jeeva. The 
jeeva secures the Darsana soubhAghyam of the Guru who expounds the 
kalyANaguNas of BhagavAn, with special emphasis on His compassion This gives 
courage and confidence (mahAviswAsam) to the jeeva that the Lord will 
definitely save if it surrenders to Him. The jeeva conveys word through the 
AachArya (gOptrutva varaNam) about its utter helplessness (KArpaNyam) and 
utter dependence on the Lord's mercy for its own emancipation. The Aacharyan 
carries this message back to the Lord. The Lord saves the jeeva and takes it 
back to its rightful place beside Him. 

This Khandam illustrates how ignorance is dispelled, how true knowledge is 
gained, and how through Prapatti mArga a jeeva can attain MOksha SAmrAjyam. 
This is one reason why this is called "Sundara khAndam.

If the whole Ramayana is taken as the ornamental chain, the central gem that 
gives brilliance to it is AnjanEya ("Ramayana mahAmalA ratnam vandE 
anilAtmajam"). From the beginning to the end, the hero of this khAndam is 
AnjanEya. His Buddhi, Balam, Yasas, Dhairyam, Nirbhayatvam, ArOgatha, 
AjATyam, VAgpaduthvam, etc., permeate throughout this canto. 

Even the Almighty Lord is shown to seek his help in his search for Sri Sita 
and that it was he who rendered lifesaving service to her - are all brought 
out in this khAnda. Both PerumaL and PirATTi express that they can never pay 
back their debt of gratitude to his help. 

This KhAndam which tells the story of AnjanEya and conveys the esoteric inner 
meanings of SaraNAgathi tattva is indeed "Sundaram"

Anbil Ramaswamy

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