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Raghu Veera Gadhyam -Yuddha Khaandham: Part 7

From: V. Sadagopan (75041.3037_at_compuserve.com)
Date: Tue Dec 10 1996 - 19:12:19 PST

GS 56 : Gagana chara Kanaka giri garima dhara nigamamaya 
nija Garuda garudhanila lava gaLitha visha vadhana sara kadhana !
Jaya ! Jaya ! 

(Meaning ) : Hail to thee ! O Raghuveera , whose sufferings 
from the tips of the poisonous  NagAsthrams were chased away by the 
slight breeze associated with the wings of your friend Garudan,
who has the reputation both as the embodiment of the Vedas
as well as the mighty Meru mountain flying  in the skies! Hail to Thee!

(Background ) ; The last salutation (55th) was associated with the twenty second
canto of Srimadh RaamayaNam , where the reference was to the building 
of the Sethu and travelling across it by Rama and his retinue to arrive in
LankhA .
Swami Desikan jumped now  over tweny second Cantos and focussed
on an incident described by Sage Valmiki in the 45th canto of his 
epic work . 

The battle at the four gates of the city of LankhA had begun. Night set in  . 
Monkeys had a disadvantage in fighting the ogres at night
since the ogres doubled their strength at night . Rama came to their rescue
and used six flaming arrows to kill six of the chieftains of the army of
RavaNA : Yajnasathru , MahaaparsvA , Mahodhara, the gigantic VajradamshtrA,
and the two spies , Suka and SaaraNA . Their death is described by Valmiki as 
that of the moths coming in contact with a flame ( PrathangA: iva Paavakam ) .
Rama"s golden-feathered arrows raining on all sides of the battle
field made the autumnal night look as though it was illumined with 
resplendent  fire flies ( Bhabhuva rajanee chitrA gadhyOtairiva saaradhee ) .

Elsewhere in the battle field , the mighty Angadha , the son of Vaali 
wounded Indrajith , the powerful warrior and the son of RaavaNA .
The valor of Indrajith was legendary . He had defeated Indra in a previous
battle and derived his name from that exploit. Now , AngadhA overpowered
the powerful Indrajith . Rama , LakshmaNa, VibhishaNA and SugreevA 
applauded the bravery and heroism of young AngadhA .

The humilated and enraged Indrajith used his magical powers 
and became invisible. He used a boon conferred by Brahma and 
hit Rama and LakshmaNa with powerful arrows , whose shafts 
consisted of formidably poisonous snakes ( naagAsthram) . 
The scion of Raghu could not locate  the cowardly 
Indrajith , who was fighting in an unethical and  treacherous manner 
defying the accepted practises of  face to face combat . Protected by
his supernatural power, Indrajith remained invisible , while showering 
NagAsthrams on the princes of AyodhyA . Rama and LakshmaNA
were bound tightly by the darts in the form of venemous snakes 
through an act of conjury by Indrajith. Rama and LakshmaNA were 
immobilized by the network of poisonous  snakes biting into them .
Indrajith continued to torment the heroic bothers , even when they
were unable to fight him . With all of their limbs pierced by the son
of RavaNA practicing witchcraft , the two princes of AyodhyA swooned .
Indrajith concluded htat the brothers were dead and returned to his
father's side in a triumphant mood . 

RavaNa congratulated his valiant son and then commanded his 
servants to transport Sita in the Pudhpaka Vimanam and to show her
the sad and helpless plight of her husband and her brother -in-law.
Sita burst into a wail on seeing her husband lying helpless tied by
the net of hissing serpents. Trijata , one of the prison guards of 
Sita consoled her and assured her that no evil would befall the 
scions of Raghu and took Sita back to asokhA grove.

Rama regained consciousness and wailed over the lot of LakshmaNA .
Hearing Rama's wail , the monkeys got despondent.  . Rama thanked
Sugriva for his display of extraordinary friendship and support and 
all around there was a thick curtain of melancholy . The father-in-law of 
SugreevA , SuseshaNaa, suggested that HanumAn should rush over to 
the milky Ocean and bring back the medicinal herbs of SanjivakaraNi
(Life restorer ) and Visalyaa ( healer of wounds inflicted by the NagAsthram
invoked by Indrajith ) . As these discussions were taking place , something
totally unexpected happened .

There arose a mighty wind and the sky was filled with lightning.
Waters of the ocean rose whipped up by the furious winds. The 
son of VinathA , Garuda became visible in the sky flying at a 
terrifying speed . The serpents  covering the bodies of the brothers 
ran for their life at the sight of their feared enemy . Garuda descended and 
lifted the brothers and then wiped their faces with his hand . The touch 
of Garuda cicatrized the wounds on the limbs of the brothers inflicted by 
Indrajith and their skins turned bright and smooth . The strength , majesty ,
splendour , perspicacity and the intelligence of the brothers redoubled as
a result of the touch of Garuda , the embodiment of Vedas . Garuda 
joyfully embrced both the brothers . Rama asked the life-saver Garuda as to
who he was and what he can do for his extraordinary service. Garuda replied:
" aham sakhA tE kaakuthstha priya: prANO bahiscchara { I am GarudA , your
dear friend (nay ) your (very ) breath moving outside , arrived here for your
help} .
Hearing that you have been fettered by the sankes , I rushed at once to
your side out of my affection and friendship for you . I shall now depart. 
You should not be curious about our friendship any more . At the conclusion
of your battle with RavaNA and your victory over him , you will come to
recognize the mystery behind our friendship . You will destroy all the 
demons of LankhA including the evil RavaNA and rejoin with Sita."

After the above response to the queries of Rama , GarudA walked
clockwise around Rama to show his respect , embraced Rama ,
spread his golden wings and soared into the sky with the speed
of the winds of deluge. The simian army was thrilled to see Rama 
and LakshmaNA restored to their original selves and raised a tumultous 
noise in happiness.

Garuda BhagavAn is the Lord of Pakshiraja Manthram , which was 
recited by Swami Desikan on OushadhAdhri at Thiruvahindrapuram.
Garuda was pleased and appeared before Swami and initiated him 
into Sri Hayagreeva Manthram and Lord Hayagreeva sat on the tip
of Swami's tongue and rest of what happened led to us being blessed 
with the Sri Sookthis of Sri Nigamaantha MahA Desikan . Thus , Swami
Desikan was indebted to Garuda Bhagavaan immensely . His tribute to 
Garudha BhagavAn tok the form of Garuda PanchAsath and Garuda 
daNdakam.  He describes the embrace of Garudaa on the battle field in 
LankhA  in the 48th slokam of Garudha PanchAsath . He calls that 
kaimkaryam as " Labdha SevA visesha: " ( one who obtained that 
bhagyam of distinguished service to Rama ) . Swami goes on to
describe that GarudA  was fortunate to receive the embrace of 
the shoulders of Rama , which were renowned for their fragrance
arising from the association with the flowers decorating the ears of 
SitA dEvi ( VaidEhi karNapoora surabhiNA ya:  samAsleshi DhOshNA 
Sa Garuda : ) .

On tha tfrgrant note , I will conclude this posting .

Sri VaishNava Daasan ,

Oppiliappan Koil VarasAchaari Sadagopan