You are here: Sri Vaishnava Home Page : Bhakti List : Archives : April 1997

ANANDA RAMAYANAM - II

From: Kalyani Krishnamachari (kkrishnamachari_at_lucent.com)
Date: Thu Apr 17 1997 - 07:59:45 PDT

                          Sri RAmajayam

                       Stories from SRI VALMIKI's ANANDA RAMAYANAM - Continued

This is the second posting in Ananda Ramayanam series:

[NOTE:  In the course of reading these stories, you will notice some 
contradictions from the original Valmiki Ramayanam.  I will try to
point these out as much as possible.  Later in the Ananda Ramayanam, the
stories are told in a conversation form between two bhaktas, Ramadasar
and Vishnudasar.  When Vishnudasar asks Ramadasar as to why there are so
many discrepancies in some of the details, Ramadasar tells him that Rama
avataram was done in every kalpa and He played differently in each kalpa.
Valmiki (again, it is possible that Valmiki avatarams were many too)
tries to capture them all in different stories.]

2. Story from Sara Kandam - Chapter 3:

2.1 Story about Sita, the Ayonijai (not born from garbhavAsam):

In Valmiki's original Ramayanam (Balakandam 66th sargam, slokam 14), King Janaka
says that Sita came out of his yagabhumi when it was being ploughed and she is
"ayonijai".  Ananda Ramayanam gives an exciting story leading to the 
appearance of Sita in the ground.

A demon king named Padmakshan desires to have Lakshmi as his daughter and 
observes a severe penance.  Lakshmi appears before him and Padmakshan asks for 
his desire to be fulfilled.  Lakshmi tells him that She is in the service of
Lord Vishnu and if he prays to Him, his desire will be fulfilled.  He does
that and Lord Vishnu appears before Padmakshan and offers him a fruit
(mAdulam pazham - pomegranate).  The king breaks it into two halves;
in one half are the fruit seeds and on the other half is a golden colored
girl.  She is the most beautiful girl on earth and is called Padmai.  
Padmakshan gladly takes care of Her as his daughter.  When She reaches
Her marriage age, the king arranges for a svayamvaram. Devas, asuras
(including Ravana), yakshas, kinnaras, gandharvas and all the kings come to
the svayamvaram.  The king declares: "whoever takes the blue color in the 
sky and wears it on his body, shall marry my daughter".

The kings, feeling ashamed that it would be impossible, start fighting
Padmakshan.  During the tough fight, the Devas run away from the scene.
The asuras try to capture Padmai, but She enters into an Agnikundam and 
disappears.  Those looking for Padmai, destroy the whole city, in despair. 

Padmakshan dies also.  Padmai lives in the agnikundam for many days and
then comes out one day and sits by the kundam.  Ravana in the meantime,
is traveling in his pushpakavimanam and sees Her.  When he tries to
capture Padmai, She vanishes into the agnikundam again.  Ravana pours
water over the kundam and searches the ashes.  He finds five beautiful
ratnas (gems) and takes them to Lanka.  He places them in a box in his 
pooja room and tells Mandodari (his wife) that she can have them.

Mandodari tries to carry the box and feels it is very heavy.  Ravana
fails to move it also with all his twenty hands.  Frustrated, he opens
the box; out comes the radiant Padmai.  Ravana explains the whole story
to Mandodari.  Mandodari advises Ravana: "this girl destroyed her race
even when she was young; why did you bring her here?  I think death
is coming to you through her only.  Please throw the box with her inside
in a forest".  On Ravana's orders, the servants try to do so.  Mandodari
tells them: "this girl is capable of destroying the life of whoever sees
her - do not throw the box on the earth - bury the box inside the earth."

When the servants are about to leave in the pushpaka vimanam, a voice 
comes from the box:  "I will come back to Lanka to cause the destruction of
 Ravana and other asuras.  I will come back again to kill Nikumba's son 
Poundraka and then hundred headed Ravana and again to kill Moolakasuran and 
Kumbakarna's son Suran".  Ravana tries to kill the girl, but, Mandodari 
pleads with him to let her go.  Ravana agrees and orders his servants
to take the box away. They bury the box in a land near Mithila.

Janaka, king of Mithila, in the meantime, has donated some land to a 
brahmin.  The brahmin asks a farmer to plough his land to start farming.
The farmer finds the box and gives it to the brahmin (without opening it), 
who in turn, gives it to King Janaka.  Janaka does not want to own it 
because he has given the land away in donation; the brahmin insists that 
Janaka was not aware of the treasure when he donated the land and so, it 
belongs to him.  Finally, the courtiers tell Janaka to decide ownership 
after finding out what is in the box.

King Janaka is extremely happy to find the exquisite girl, Padmai, inside.
He takes Her from out of the box to his palace.  At this auspicious
time, Devas play on their musical instruments and shower flowers on them;
gandharvas sing and apsaras dance. The king takes care of the girl as his 
own daughter.  She is called by various names - MAdulangi (since She
originally came from the MAdula fruit, as mentioned earlier), Agnigarbhai
(born from Agni or fire), Ratnavati (appeared as ratna or gem), Bhuputri
(daughter of Mother Earth), Janaki( Janaka's daughter) and Sita (sprung
from a sita or furrow/plough).

[Rama, who has the blue color of the sky, marries Sita, just like Her father, 
Padmakshan had promised.]

Thus ends the story behind Sita being called "ayonijai".

This leads me into the following topic of interest:

2.2  Birth of Rama and His three brothers:

Valmiki's original Ramayanam leads us to think that Lord Narayana and His 
three accompaniments (Adisesa, Sankam and Cakram) had garbhavAsam.  We read 
that the three wives of Dasaratha became garbhavatis (Balakandam sargam 16,
slokas 31 and 32) and Rama, Lakshmana, Bharatha and Satrugna are born to 
their respective mothers (Balakandam sargam 18).  In fact, one interpretation
(there are many) of AndAl's Thiruppavai praising the Lord as "ThAyaikkudal 
vilakkam seyda Damodaran" is that He cleansed His mother's kudal (garbhA) by 
being born to her.  

Ananda Ramayanam (SArakAndam chapter 2) tells the story differently,
implying that Lord Rama and His brothers are ayonijas. Lord 
Narayana appears before Kausalya with his Sankam and Cakram and His four 
hands during the time of His birth.  Kausalya prays to the Lord to take the 
form of a baby and He does.  (This is similar to Lord Krishna's birth details 
given in Srimad Bhagavatam - Skandam 10, chapter 3).  Adisesa becomes baby 
Lakshmana; Chakram and Sankam become Bharata and Satrugna.  

Original Valmiki Ramayanam presents Lakshmana and Satrugna as Sumitra's
sons.  Ananda Ramayanam presents Bharata and Satrugna as Kaikeyi's sons. 
[kalpa bedam, may be].

More to come,

>From Kalyani Krishnamachari