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Ramayanam

From: Vasudha Narayanan (vasu_at_religion.ufl.edu)
Date: Wed Feb 05 1997 - 07:16:02 PST

Dear Members of the Bhakti group:
Thank you for the excellent postings on the Ramayana.  I hope we can have
some detailed analysis of the Pasurappadi Ramayanam soon, with contributions
from all.  I do have a copy of the text if anyone wants it.
Several years ago (1983 I think) I wrote an article called "The Ramayana in
the Theology and Experience of the Srivaishnava community." It was for a
conference and I meant to add more to it, but never got around to it.  It
was published in an "as is" condition by the Journal of Vaisnava Studies
(Focus on "The World of Rama;" vol 2, no 4, Fall 1994.)  I would be happy to
send it by e-mail to those whose machines can take a long file (it would be
about 1 and 1/2 times to twice the size of a long bhakti digest).  I only
focus on two areas in the paper (a) incidents on Rama and Sita that the
alvars cite and which are not in Valmiki Ramayana and (b) some-- very
limited-- aspects of Periyavacchan Pillai's anubhava of the Ramayana.  In
the latter topic I deal primarily with (i) his commentary on the Tiruppavai
(because he was such a great bhakta of Rama, Periyavaccan Pillai could not
resist bringing in Rama even though Andal speaks of Krishna, and his
anubhava is very beautiful), (ii) briefly with Ramayana Tani slokam and
(iii) Paranta Rahasyam, etc.  The paper is in no way exhaustive, but I'd be
happy to transmit it by e mail to anyone who wants it (it might take me a
couple of days to find the right disk).
By the way, a word on the greatness of Kamban.  Many of you may know that
some great scholars of the Kamba Ramayanam are Muslims in Tamilnadu and I
have seen many of them give speeches in Kamban Vizhas held at the Rajeswari
Kalyana Mandapam every August. The list includes Justice MM Ismail.  THe
history of this goes back a few centuries and a Tamil Muslim work on the
life of the prophet (called Ceera Puranam; 18th century) is modelled quite a
bit on Kamban.  Not only are there similarities in the structure and
arrangements of the chapters, but several verses closely follow Kamban in
detail.  Infact, just as Kamban projected the Tamil landscape into Ayodhya,
the author of the Muslim work imagines Arabia to be like the Tamil country!
The wedding procession of Rama in Mithila is the inspiration for the
description of Ali's wedding to Fatima, and so on.  It is quite interesting
to see how Kamban has been held in such high esteem by Tamil speaking
Muslims also.
Best wishes, Vasudha