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Lavanya Rama

From: Balaraman M Sriram (srirambm_at_hotmail.com)
Date: Thu Mar 11 1999 - 13:44:16 PST

Dear Sri Vaishnavas

With Rama Navami just days away, adiyen wanted to hear more about the 
glories of Rama and fortunately came across an old article which had 
appeared in the Hindu a few years ago.Some of you may have seen this 
article before but then to describe and enjoy Rama's glory, will 
definitely take many many life times with each experience being unique. 

In the words of Valmiki

            Pumsaam-dhrishti 
            Chittaapa-haarinam 

Lord Rama's beauty is such that it lures the sight and minds of people.

And so does it exist to this day making Brahma's words true

"As long as the mountains stand and the rivers flow, so long shall the 
Ramayana be cherished among men and women and save them from sins." 


adiyen hopes to see more about the glories of Sri Rama and remebers the 
time when in India, a special place was reserved for the most glorious 
devotee, Sri Hanuman whereever Srimad Ramayanam was recited ,without a 
doubt, he will be present.

Maybe some member will come forward to tell us Valmiki Ramayan and I 
wonder if a cyber Hanuman will be present with us.

adiyen dasan 

sriram,balaraman

The glory of Rama (Hindu Newspaper)
-----------------------------------

MANY bhaktas have lost themselves in the contemplation of the beauty 
of God. In this category comes the kirtana of Sri Thyagaraja 
`Lavanya Rama'' in Poornashadja raga. For ordinary people the 
concept of God's ravishing form has been gathered from the 
descriptions left by great souls. But how were inveterate devotees 
ale to visualise the effulgence as described in the Upanishad? 
Thameva - bhaantam - ambhaati - sarvam - Thasya - Bhaasa - sarvam - 
idam - vibhaah. God is the repository of all radiance and the other 
luminaries like the sun, moon and the stars are but a fraction of 
God's jyoti. 


The intensity of devotion helps a bhakta to occasionally gain a 
fleeting view of God's glory. It was such a vision that Sri 
Thyagaraja has frozen in the song ``Lavayna Rama.'' 
surmise of devotion leading to a glimpse of God's radiance rests 
on the Sruti.
 
            Na-sandrise-thistathi-asya-roopam 
            Na-chakshusha-pasyati-kaschana-yenam 

(None with the mortal eyes has even seen God's figure with all His 
 dazzling splendour). 

It implies that only the eyes of bhakti lead to God's vision. How 
the gopis, the great devotees of Krishna, saw His presence after a 
temporary disappearance during rasakrida. Sukha Brahman says: 

            Peetambarada-sragvee 
            Saakshah-manmatha-manmathaha 

(Dressed in peetambara, like cupid's cupid Sri Krishna appeared 
 before the gopis) 

What form Krishna took was equally visualised by Sri Thyagaraja, for 
in the anupallavi of the song, he describes the lavanya of Sri Rama 
as ``Sataananyaja'' (a thousand manmathas). In this Kritana Sri 
Thyagaraja uses two significant epithets to go with Sri Rama's 
lavanya - (Ati-lavanya and divya-lavanya) 

In the first usage is to be seen the way Sri Rama' beauty lured 
whoever came across Him in the Ramayana. Valmiki in a few words has 
portrayed Sri Rama's form 

            Pumsaam-dhrishti 
            Chittaapa-haarinam 

            (beauty that lures the sight and minds of people) 

How? Sri Rama enters the Dandakavanam and the rishis, says the Adi 
Kavi, looked at the Prince of Ayodhya with wonderment (Dadrusuhu 
rismithaakaraha). 

What does Divya Lavanya reveal? In this context the great Vaishnava 
Acharyas have sought to make a clear distinction between Soundarya 
and Lavanya, which to us appear to be synonymous. Soundarya 
indicates the beauty of the limbs of God from the Holy feet to the 
head including his weapons like chakra, sankha, lavanya is the sum 
total of all these soundaryas put together which pervades the whole 
universe. Thus the overall radiance gains the appellation Divya 
Lavanya. This aspect has been very succinctly suggested when Valmiki 
says: 


            Sobhayan Dandakaaranyam 
            Deeptena-swena-thejasa 

(Sri Rama by his presence at Dandakaranya illumined the whole forest 
with his effulgence) 

Such is the nature of divya lavanya. 

For Sri Thyagaraja to go ecstatic over the lavanya of Sri Rama, we 
have to see how during Sri Rama's life He attracted people. If His 
charm can infatuate a rakshasi, Soorpanaka, how would rishis, the 
all-time practitioners of Brahma Vidya, have fallen for Sri Rama. 
Disfigured Soorpanaka relates to Khara the beauty of Sri Rama 

            Tharunow-Roopa-sampannow 
            Sukumarow-Mahaabalow 
            Pundareeka-Visaalakshow... 
            Gandarvaraja-prathimow 

(Young, well endowed with bewitching beauty, powerful and like 
 manmatha.) 

As for the rishis we have the Sri Thyagaraja kirtana 

            Muddu-momu-elaagu-chelangeno 
            Munuletla kani-mohinchiro 
  
(How did the sages in the forest get infatuated with the beauteous 
face of Sri Rama?)

The first Pallavi word Lavanya carries so much impact. The 
anupallavi reads: 

            Sri-Vanita-Chitta kumuda 
            Seethakara-sataananyaja (Lavanya) 

(The moon making the lily-heart of Sita blossom) 

This aspect has endeared the Alwars and devotees, like Sri 
Thyagaraja, to dwell on the oneness of Narayana and Mahalakshmi. 

Nammalwar tersely says: 

            Namakkum-Poovinnisai 
            Mangaikkum-Inban 

He, who is dear to us and to Goddess Lakshmi seated on the lotus) 

Again he exclaims: 

            Agalagillen-irayum-Enru 
            Alarmel-mangai-Urai-maarba 

(Lord Venkatesa providing a seat to Alarmel Mangai on His chest). 

The anupallavi has to be savoured in the words of Hanuman when he 
sees Sita in Asokavana 

            Asya-Devya-yatha-roopam 
            Anga-pratyanga-sowshtavani 
            Raamasya-cha-yataa-roopam 
            Thasyeyam-asithekshana 
            Asya-Devya-Manas-thasmin 
            Thasya-cha-asyam-prathistitham 

(Whatever charm is in Sri Rama and his form, it is found in Sita 
 too. Their minds are mutually alike) 

The charanam is equally uplifting. It reads: 

            Nee-manasu-nee-sogasu 
            Nee-Dimusu-vere 
            Thamasa-mada-Deivamela 
            Thyagaraja muta-Divya (Lavanya) 

Nee-manasu: What is the greatness about Sri Rama's mind. Look at his 
arrival at Bharadwaja ashramam when he sends Hanuman to probe the 
attitude of Sri Bharata to his veturu - whether he has gained 
attachment to the kingdom having enjoyed it for 14 long years. 

            Sangatya-Bharata-Sriman 
            Raajyartee-Cheth-swayam-bhaveth 
            Prasaasthu-Vasudham-Kritsnaam 
            Akhilam-Raghunandana 

          (If Bharata desires to rule over Ayodhya, let him) 

what a mind it was to make this declaration when on the promise given to 
his father he resorted to the forest and by the same token he has the 
right to take back the kingdom from Bharat. 

Nee Sogasu: What graciousness has Sri Rama. In a beautiful Divyanama 
kirtana in Bhairavi (Natha Brovave) Sri Thyagaraja gives expression 
to this graciousness 

            Aganita-ripulaku-vagaloninchi 
            Swa-nagaramu-nela-vachche 
            Sogasunu-Joopu.. (Natha Brovave) 

(With what grace and charm did you enter Ayodhya after vanquishing 
 your enemies!) 
 
            Bharatuni-gani-mathi 
            Karagusuvaani 
            Yuramuna-Jevchi 
            Karamunu-Joopn (Natha Brovave) 

            (How affectionately you embraced Bharata) 
   
 These attributes singles out Sri Rama - Nee-Dinusu vere. 
 How did all those visions melt the mind of Sri Thyagaraja. In the 
 Gowri raga divynama kirtana ``Jaya Jaya Sri Raghu Rama'' he 
 acknowledges 

            Chakkani-nee-roopamumu-gani 
            Sokkithi-naa-Hrudayamuna 

(My heart is lured by your bewitching form, Sri Rama) 

When such was the mind of Sri Thyagaraja, a slave to Sri Rama's 
Lavanya, where is the question of obeisance to other lesser Gods. We 
may not be able to get a glimpse of Sri Rama as Sri Thyagaraja was 
blessed with, but through his songs epitomised in the Kirtana 
``Lavanya Rama'', Sri Thyagaraja has incorporated the outpourings of 
 Azhwars and painted the episode from the Ramayana in sublime poetry. 
It is no wonder that, at least in the evening of life, we lose our 
hearts to the Beauty of Sri Rama and to his story as ``Ramo 
Vigraharan Dharmaha'' (Rama an embodiment of Dharma.) It is this 
beauty arising from Sri Rama's steadfastness to drive into the minds 
of mortals His Dharmic precepts that has kindled Sri Thyagaraja's 
poetic and pietic instincts to exclaim Lavanya Rama, Kanulaara 
joodave. 






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