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Sri Rama Katha Sudha

From: sadagopan iyengar (sadagopaniyengar_at_yahoo.com)
Date: Mon Dec 03 2001 - 01:37:13 PST

Srimate Srivan Satakopa Sri Vedanta Desika Yatindra
Maha Desikaya nama:

Sri Rama Katha Sudha

Srimad Valmiki Ramayana is, for us, the sole authentic
source of information for everything connected with
Sri Rama’s life and times. This is not only because
Sri Valmiki is the Aadi kavi (the first among all
poets, chronologically and otherwise) but also because
he was blessed by Sage narada with yogic powers to
witness Sri Ramayana as it really happened (“tat
sarvam dharma veeryENa yatavat samprapasyati”). Thus
Srimad Valmiki Ramayana is, so to say, an eyewitness
account of the actions of Sri Rama and others, in
public and private. This is the reason for the high
pedestal, which the work occupies in our Sampradaya
and elsewhere. 
However, there has been any number of other poets who
have recorded for posterity their own anubhavams, in
their different styles. While these works may not
boast of either the authenticity or the majesty of Sri
Valmiki’s original work, some of them do provide
enjoyable fare to the connoisseur of literature and
for the Sri Rama Bhaktas thirsty for more
rasAnubhavam.  Adiyen would like to reproduce below a
few slokas from such works, purely for their beauty
and to share with you the pleasure adiyen derived from
their perusal.
The following sloka , from “Raghava Pandaveeyam”,is in
praise of Sri Valmiki-“anyO vidhAta valmiki:aadi
kAvyam kamandalu: 
 RaghunAtha kathA GangA tayA poota jagat trayee”.

During TrivikramAvatAram, when the Lord’s tiruvadi
reached SatyalOkam, Brahma performed tirumanjanam with
his kamandalu teerttham, from which originated the
Ganga, the holiest of waters. In this couplet, the
kavi likens Sri Valmiki to Brahma and his magnum opus,
the aadi kavyam, to his kamandalu. The Ramakatha,
which flowed from the kamandalu, is likened to the
Ganga, which is the purifier of the three worlds.
Kavana chAturyam comes to the fore in the following
sloka of Sri Ramabhadra DeekshitA, in his VarnamAlA
stOtram-
“aamnAya saila sikaraika nikEtanAya
 Valmiki vAg jalanidhi prati bimbitAya
kAlAmbudAya karunArasa mEturAya
                                            kasmaichit
astu mama kArmukiNE praANma :
                          Sri Rama, as the para
brahmam, resides at the top of the vedic mountain
(that is, the VedantA). At the foothills is a great
lake with deep waters, ( Srimad Valmiki Ramayana),
which reflects the mountain top. The purport here is
that Srimad Ramayanam gives us a true picture of the
parabrahma swaroopam. But then, it has to,being an
incarnation of the Vedas (veda; PrAchEtasAt Aseet
sAkshAt RamayanAtmanA”)
                 Bhavabhooti, in his Uttara Rama
Charitam, pays the following tribute to Sri Valmiki-
 “loukikAnAm hi sAdhoonAm arttham vak anuvartatE
 risheeNAm punarAdyAnAm vacham arttha: anu dhavati”

    While in the compositions of great men, the word
follows the meaning, in the divine works of Rishis
like sri valmiki, the meaning pursues the sacred text
closely. In other words, ordinary kavis have to fix
the matter in their minds and search for suitable
expression. However, the spontaneous outpourings of
sages like Sri Valmiki and the Azhwars, are inherently
pregnant with meaning- there is no laborious search
for rhyme or metre, which fall into place by
themselves.  
                      Sri Valmiki and his work come in
for further adulation by the same kavi, Bhavabhooti,
in the following sloka, which is self-explanatory-
                       “pApmabhyascha punAti
vardhayati cha shrEyAmsi seyam katha
                      mAngalyA cha manOharA cha jagatO
mAtEva GangEva cha
                     tAmEnam paribhAvayantu abhinayai
:vinyasta roopam budhA :
                    sabda brahma vida :kavE :parinatAm
prAgyasya vAneem imAm »


                               Leave alone Sri Rama-He
has been the object of enough epics, poems and text. A
famous poet, Sri Ramabhadra DeekshitA, has made Sri
Rama’s bow, the KothandA, the subject of  lavish
praise, as the following extract from his “Sri Rama
ChApa stavam” would indicate- 
“Yen moole Raghunandanasya jagatAm trAteti
keertyankura:
dEvi cha archati JanAki sa vinayam yet gandha pushpa
akshatai :
yet kOtyA krita lanchanamcha jaladhou sEtu :jagat
bhadrAyAstu jagat traya stuti padam tat Raghaveeyam
dhanu:”
   Sri Rama’s renown as the protector of the worlds
flows indeed from the exploits of his famous Bow, the
KothandA.
Sri Sita pirAtti performs daily pooja to this Bow,
which united Her with the Lord. And the Rama Sethu,
which is a purifier of people the world over, is but a
creation of the Bow-end. (Even today, pilgrims to the
Sethu draw a picture of the Kothanda in the sands and
propitiate it before taking a dip in the holy waters).
Thus the RamaChApA (bow) is indeed the object of
adoration of the three worlds.
      The very same kavi is the author of “Sri Rama
Bana stavam”,( in praise of Sri Rama’s arrow.) from
which the following sloka is taken-
 “Mareechopagya vEgam bala vijayi suta prEkshita
amOgha bhAvam
parAvArAvarodha vraja vidita mahA dussahArchi
prabhAvam
leela lOlooyamAna tridasa ripu sirO tOraNee drishta
taikshnyam
bhakta trANa praveenam saranam asaranO Rama BAnam
pranoumi”
  The author performs saranAgati to the Rama BAna,
(rather than to Sri Rama himself) which, he says, is
the only refuge of the unprotected.
  Sri VenkatAdvari kavi, in his well-known “Visva
GunAdarsa Champu”,inimitably describes Sri
Chakravarthi Tirumagan’s felicity –He is capable of
turning even a blade of grass into BrahmAstram (as He
did in the KAkAsura vrittantam); and He could turn
into a blade of grass (as light as it is) even the
hard-to-lift, extremely heavy Siva Dhanus. A stone was
turned into the beautiful AhalyA and His own footwear
assumed the role of the Emperor of AyOdhyA (vide the
PadukA PattabhishEkam).
The deep and wide ocean was turned into a shallow lake
across which a bridge could be built easily. Ordinary
monkeys were transformed into great warriors and the
dreaded ten-headed Ravana was killed as easily as a
mosquito. All this was achieved by Sri Rama, who posed
as a mere mortal.  Following is the beautiful poem-
 “astrAmAsa trinam priyAdruhi, triNAmAsa purArer
dhanu:
dArAmAsa mune :silApi, nrivarAmAsa svayam PadukA
kulyAmAsa mahArnavOpi, kapayO yOdhAm babhoovu : tadA
poulastyO masakAm babhoova bhagavan tvam
mAnushAmAsita”.
      Sri Rama KarNAmrutam is another beautiful work,
from which is reproduced the following sloka-

Though Sri Rama’s swaroopam was there for all to
enjoy, only certain people knew full well the rasA of
each angA of Raghunandana. For instance, the true
prowess of the Lord’s shoulders is known only to the
Siva Dhanus, which was hoisted by the Prince almost
playfully, while other Rajas struggled even to lift
it.
 
The true power of the Lord’s feet are known only to
Ahalya, who, by the mere touch of the purifying
tiruvadi, was transformed from barren stone into a
beautiful woman.     Only the intransigent Samudra
Raja, whom the arrow bulldozed into submission, knows
the true powers of the Rama BanA.                And
likewise, the true sweetness of the Rama NamA is known
only to Siva, who not only recites it constantly, but
is also supposed to whisper it in the ears of the
dying, at Varanasi.
   JAnAti Ramah tava Nama ruchim MahEsa:
   JAnAti Goutama sati tava charana prabhAvam
   JanAtidorbala parAkramam Eesa chapa:
   JanAti amogha patu bAna gatim payOdhi :’

There is an almost endless repertoire of stotras,
composed by well-known and not so famous poets, which
provide a varied and uplifting fare to the palate of
the Rama Bhakta, ever thirsty for more rasAnubhavam. 
If Sri Rama so wills, adiyen would like to continue on
this some other time.

Srimate Sri Lakshminrsimha divya paduka sevaka
SrivanSatakopa Sri Narayana Yatindra Mahadesikaya
Nama:

-dasan, sadagopan.
 





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