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ANANDA RAMAYANAM - I

From: Kalyani Krishnamachari (kkrishnamachari_at_lucent.com)
Date: Tue Apr 15 1997 - 21:00:31 PDT

                          Sri RAmajayam

                       Stories from SRI VALMIKI's ANANDA RAMAYANAM

Charitam RaghunAthasya satakOti pravistaram
Ekaikam aksharam prOktam mahApAdaka nAsanam

Sri Rama's history has been depicted in hundred crores of slokas. 
Every aksharam in Ramayanam is considered holy. It has the power to 
dissolve all the sins and bestow happiness in this and other worlds.

Valmiki Ramayanam (24,000 slokas), Ananda Ramayanam (12,252 slokas), 
Adyatma Ramayanam etc.  are all said to be part of the Satakoti Ramayanam.  
Ananda Ramayanam was written by Sri Valmiki himself.  It is believed that 
Sri Valmiki felt sad that he left out some important details of Sri Rama's 
life in his original work, and wrote Ananda Ramayanam to get more peace 
of mind.  There are 9 kandams in Ananda Ramayanam:

1. SAra KAndam  (has the sAram or the juice of Rama charitam)
2. YAtrA KAndam (Sri Rama's yAtras after His pattAbhishekam)
3. YAga KAndam  (Sri Rama's asvamedha yAgam)
4. VilAsa KAndam (Sri Rama's and Sita's daily life)
5. Janma KAndam  (Birth of Lava and Kusa)
6. VivAha KAndam (Weddings of Sri Rama's and his brothers' sons)
7. RAjya KAndam  (fights with other asuras, expansion of kingdom, rajya pari-
                  palanam)
8. ManOhara KAndam (slokas, Rama nama mahima etc.)
9. Poorna KAndam   (Sri Rama and others leaving for Sri Vaikuntam).

Today (4/16/97) is Sri Rama Navami (Birthday of Lord Rama). I had indicated 
in my earlier posting that I wanted to write some interesting stories from 
Ananda Ramayanam. I would like to start doing that on this auspicious day,
seeking the blessings of Lord Sitarama and Lord Hanuman.  The stories have been 
taken  from "Ananda Ramayanam" - Prose version (in Tamil) of Valmiki's 
Ananda Ramayanam, rendered by Mahakavi Subrahmanya Bharathiyar (a great
poet of South India).  

I beg forgiveness for spelling, grammar and other mistakes and also 
inconsistencies in marking pronunciations.


1. Stories from Sara Kandam - Chapter 1:

1.1 Story about Dasaratha and Kausalya:

Valmiki's original Ramayana starts with Dasaratha ruling Ayodhya as a great
king and desiring to do asvamedha yaga with his wives (Balakandam 5-8 sargas).
Ananda Ramayanam goes many years prior to that and starts with Dasaratha and 
Kausalya's marriage.

It is the time when Dasaratha's marriage with Kausalya is being fixed.
Dasaratha is enjoying himself on the Sarayu river in a boat.  

Ravana calls for Brahma and asks Him who will cause his (Ravana's)
death.  Brahma tells him that Lord Narayana will be born to Dasaratha 
and Kausalya as Rama and will kill Ravana.  He also tells him
that Dasaratha and Kausalya are going to be married in 5 days.

Ravana gets on his pushpaka vimana with several asuras and goes to Ayodhya,
fights with Dasaratha and breaks the boat Dasaratha is in.  Dasaratha and
Sumantra somehow escape holding on to a piece of the boat and float down 
the Sarayu river, reach the Ganges and eventually the ocean.

Ravana proceeds to fight Kausalya's father (the Kosala king) and abducts 
Kausalya. On the way to Lanka, he decides to hide Kausalya in a safe 
place and leaves her in the custody of a shark, after placing her in a 
box.  The shark carries the box in its mouth.  Sometime later, the 
shark happens to encounter another shark. It places the box in a nearby 
island and starts fighting.  In the meantime, Dasaratha and Sumantra, who 
are floating in the ocean, discover this box and open it.  They are 
surprised to see Kausalya.  Dasaratha marries Kausalya immediately in 
gandharva vivaha fashion and all the three stay put in the box, exchanging 
stories. The shark carries the box again into the ocean.

Ravana calls Brahma and boasts that he has killed Dasaratha and abducted 
Kausalya.  Brahma laughs and tells him that they have already been married.
The angered Ravana calls for the shark and opens the box; out come the 
three people. The scared Ravana tries to kill them with his sword.  Brahma tries
to console him saying, " You put only one girl in the box and now she has
become three.  Is it not possible that many more will be coming out of the box?
Rama could be one of them.  Just close the box and send it to Ayodhya".

So, Ravana asks his servants to leave the box near Ayodhya.  The box is 
discovered by the people of Ayodhya.  The Kosala king gives his daughter,
Kausalya, in marriage to Dasaratha in a formal ceremony.

Thus ends this episode with a happy ending, as will be the characteristic of
most events in Ananda Ramayanam.

1.2 Story behind the two boons given to  Kaikeyi:

Valmiki's original Ramayanam version:

Once, Dasaratha helps the Devas in their fight with asuras. Dasaratha 
takes Kaikeyi with him.  Valmiki Ramayanam - Ayodhya Kandam -
9th sargam sloka 16 states that Kaikeyi takes Dasaratha away from the 
battlefield when he becomes tired and swoons in his chariot.  She attends to 
him and gets him back to good health.  Dasaratha subsequently wins the war
with the asuras. The pleased Dasaratha grants her two boons, which she
chooses to use later.  

Ananda Ramayanam gives a different story.

During the Deva-asura fight, the stick or support that holds the wheel to
the chariot, breaks in Dasaratha's chariot and the chariot is about to
collapse.  Kaikeyi places her left hand in the place of the wheel-holder, 
in order to help her husband proceed without interruption.  Finally, Dasaratha 
is victorious and being pleased with Kaikeyi's help, grants her two boons.

Connected to this story is the following anecdote about Kaikeyi:

Once, Kaikeyi, when she is very young, makes a paste out of coal and applies
it on the face of a sage, for fun.  He curses her saying "later in life,
you will be put to shame - no one would like to see your face even".  Kaikeyi
gets scared and brings a stick to him, so he can punish her.  The pleased
sage grants a boon - " you left hand will be as strong as iron and will
never fail in any instance".  

More to come,

>From Kalyani Krishnamachari