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Musings on sita's "agni-pravEsam"#17

From: sudarshan (lucasfie_at_md2.vsnl.net.in)
Date: Mon Dec 21 1998 - 08:35:56 PST

Dear members and friends who are following this thread,

There is a very famous Sanskrit stanza which most of you, who are are
ardent Ramayana lovers, may be already be familiar with.

It goes like this:

"vedavEdyE parE pumsi jatE dasarathAtmajE
   veda: prAcEtasAdAsitsAkshAt-rAmAyanAtmanA II "

"vedavEdyE" means "He who is to be known through means of the Vedas".

Who is "He" ?

"He" is "parE pumsi" ..... the Supreme Being... Sriman Narayana !!

The stanza tells us that when that Supreme Being, who is to be known
through the instrumentality of the Vedas....i.e. with the aid of
"pramANa-sabda" of the Vedas.... when that Supreme Being descended to earth
as Rama the son of Dasaratha, the Vedas too took re-birth, simultaneously
alongwith Him, and assumed the form of Valmiki's "child" named Srimad
Ramayana ! (What a beautiful verse this one is !)  

What does this little Sanskrit stanza convey to us?

At one level, the stanza tells us about the towering greatness of the
Ramayana as an "itihAs-ic" equivalent of the Vedas.

At another level, it tells us about the greatness of Sri.Valmiki as a Vedic
seer ... a veritable "brahma-rshi" who was fully cognizant of the Truth of
the "parE pumsi", Sri.Rama. 

At a third and esoteric level, the stanza reveals to us that the Vedas and
the "parE pumsi" are mutually inalienable..... that we cannot conceive of
one existing without the other.... and that one follows the other wherever
it goes... just as Life follows vital-breath... or, as the lustre of the
shining moon waxes forth and wanes away with it... 

Thus, Sri.Rama and the 3 Vedas (in the form of Srimad Ramayana), you may
say, were "avatar-ic" inseparables !

****************        *******************     ******************

If you were to consider carefully all that we discussed in the last post
(musing#16) and also make a serious effort to contemplate on what has just
been explained by way of the Sanskrit stanza above, the following
impressions will dawn on your minds as slowly and surely as the sun climbs
the eastern horizon on a winter's morning :

---- In the story of the Ramayana, when Sita was abducted from Sri.Rama,
allegorically speaking, it was the Truth of the Vedas .... i.e.
that "vital-breath of para-brahmam" which the Upanishad describes as the
"nihsvasitam" of the "parE pumsi" .... it was 'veda-sabda" that was in fact
waylaid and spirited away by Ravana to Lanka. 

---- From the very moment Sita-pirAtti... the personified "nihsvasitam" of
the Vedas... was taken away from Him in the story of the Ramayana, an
unfortunate but definite transformation takes place in Rama's
characterisation!  From the robust and dashing Prince that He is in the
"bala-kAnda" or the "ayOdhya-kAndam", Rama quickly turns into a pale ghost
of His former Self in the pages of the ensuing "aranya-kAndam" and
"kishkanda-kAndam". Without Sita-pirAtti He behaves like someone suffering
from the racking pain of "acute difficulty in breathing".... We see Him
sad, forlorn, torn and tortured by fears and anxieties and often given to
bouts of suicidal depression, raving and ranting....!!
(The "sarga-s" of the "aranya" and "kishkanda-kandam" graphically describe
Rama in such black moods.)

--- However, towards the end of the "sundara-kAndam" Sri.Rama receives, as
we saw, from Hanuman the "words" of Sita ... the "vAkya-vAriNa". Instantly
a remarkable
recovery in Him and His characterisation takes place thereafter! Those
"words" of Hers that He begs Hanuman to relate to Him, Rama Himself
describes, we saw earlier, as "maDhurA maDhurAlApA kimAha mama BhAminI "!

-- Those special "words" were, after all, Valmiki's "children" too! Or so
we might fancifully say going by the Sanskrit stanza :
"veda: prAcEtasAdAsitsAkshAt-rAmAyanAtmanA" !
In effect, Rama's long-lost "avatar-ic companions" ... are restored to Him
again when Hanuman reports to Him the "sweet words" spoken by Sita in the
Asokavana! .... 

---- The moment Sri.Rama thus receives from Hanuman the "vAkya-vAriNa" of
Sita.... which we must now clearly understand to be nothing but the pure
and simple allegory of Truth contained in the "veda-sabda" or
"veda-nihsvasitam".... the moment Rama receives it we see Him instantly
rejuvenated .... like "the parched earth that blooms green under a shower
of rain"!     

---- His Vedic vital-breath so regained and His strength restored,
Sri.Rama thus regains His former Self ... glorious and valorous! He readies
Himself and strides forth then into the great and climactic battles of the
"yuddha-kAnda" ...!

***************         **************         *****************

We will continue in the next post.

adiyEn dAsAnu-dAsan,
sudarshan