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ANANDA RAMAYANAM - III

From: Kalyani Krishnamachari (kkrishnamachari_at_lucent.com)
Date: Thu Apr 24 1997 - 12:37:04 PDT

                          Sri RAmajayam

                       Stories from SRI VALMIKI's ANANDA RAMAYANAM - Continued

This is the third posting in Ananda RAmAyaNam series:

3.  Story from SAra KAndam - Chapter Four:

3.1  Dasaratha's previous birth:

The original VAlmIki RAmAyaNam does not talk about Dasaratha's previous
birth.  Ananda RAmAyaNam gives the following story:

A Brahmin named Dharmadatta lived in a country named KaravIram near
SAhya mountain.  He was always worshiping Lord VishNu and chanting the
dwAdasa mantram.  One KArthigai month, he fasted on an EkAdasi day and was
going to the temple at night with some pooja items in his hand.

An ugly demoness appeared before him.  He got scared and threw all the 
pooja things at her, including the tulasi water, chanting Hari NAmam.  
As soon as the tulasi water touched her body, she got purified of all her 
sins and she remembered her previous birth.  She told Dharmadatta "Sir, 
I got this hideous birth because of my bad karma.  How can I get salvation?"

The Brahmin asked her what bad karma she had committed.  The demoness went
on: " My name was Kalahai in my previous birth.  I was married to a man 
named Bikshu.  I never listened to my husband's words any time.  I was always
doing the opposite of what he told me.  I never spent any time with him
happily.  I never fed him even once properly.  But,  I used to cook for 
myself and eat well first and then feed him.  He got fed up with me and 
tried to marry another girl.  I took poison and died.  Because of my sins, 
I have been wandering with great hunger and saw you.  Your tulasi water 
dissolved all my sins. Please help me attain salvation." 

Dharmadatta told her: "SnAnam (in sacred rivers), dAnam (giving alms to
the needy) and vratam (austerities)  will dissolve all sins. I feel sorry
for you; but, your sins are too strong to be dissolved by the few puNyams 
you may attain.  I have been observing kArthigai vratam ever since I was
was a young boy.  I bestow upon you half of that puNyam. There is nothing 
equal to KArthigai vrata puNyam."

Saying thus, he chanted VAsudEva mantram and bathed her with tulasi water.
The demoness turned into a beautiful lady and prostrated before Dharmadatta.
Immediately, a plane descended from VaikuNtam and Lord VishNu's servants and 
apsara ladies took her in the plane.  Dharmadatta was surprised and prayed
to them.  They praised him saying:  "O great man!  You did a great deed
today!  You are a great Vishnu worshiper. Since you gave half of your
puNyam to her, your puNyam has doubled now; she is now dissolved of the
sins she committed in her previous births and the sins in her future births,
because of the tulasi water. Because of the deepa dAnam you did on KArthigai 
day, she got this radiant body.  Because you did tulasi  pooja, she got to come
to VishNu sannidhi.  We are taking her to VaikuNtam with all the bhOgams.
At the end of your birth, you will also come to VaikuNtam.  You will serve
Lord VishNu for eight thousand years in VaikuNtam; at the end, you will be
born as Dasaratha in SUrya vamsam. You will get MahAvishNu's darsanam in that 
birth also.  Lord VishNu will be born as your son RAma."

Dharmadatta was born as Dasaratha and Kalahai was born as Kaikeyi in their
next births.
    
More to come,

>From Kalyani Krishnamachari