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Raghu Veera Gadhyam: Aaranya KhAandam--Part 1

From: V. Sadagopan (
Date: Thu Nov 14 1996 - 18:43:47 PST

Dear Rama Bhakthaas  :

With Padhukaa Dhaanam to Bharathaa , Ayodhyaa khaandam  
was concluded. Rama at this time was haunted by the memory 
of the visit by his brother and his mothers.Hence , he wanted to leave
Chitrakutam . He  paid a brief visit to the hermitage of 
Sage Atri and his dear wife Anusuyaa. After enjoying their hospitality 
and staying one night there, Rama ,Sita and Lakshmana moved 
on and entered  the Dandakaa forest . The events that happened there
are the subject of Aaranya Khaandam . Swami Desikan sumamrizes
those happenings in 14 brilliant salutations .

GS : dhandakaa tapovana jangama paarijaatha! Jaya! Jaya !

Here Swami Desikan salutes Sri Ramachandra as the abundant
boon -giving , celestial paarijaathaa tree that moved around the 
Dandakaa forest which was ideal for performing penance.

Sri Rama entered the  Dandakaa forest. The sages performing severe
penance there advised Sri Rama about the atrocities committed  by
the Rakshasaas that interfered with their Tapas. Sri Rama came 
to their rescue and moved from hither to thither in the forest and
protected  them from the harm's way. These good deeds done by 
Rama are described as the equivalent of the boons conferred by 
the celestial Parijaathaa tree in Indra's garden. 

GS 29 : Viraadha hariNa saardhoola ! Jaya ! Jaya !

O Lord who was like a tiger to the deer of Viraadha ! Hail
to Thee! Hail to Thee! 

There was a Gandharvaa by the name of Thumbhuru ,
who committed Apachaaram to Kubheraa and was cursed in turn  by
latter to become a Rakshasa. Viradhaa  was causing a lot of mischief 
in Dandaka forest and was making the lives of sages unbearable.

Viradhaa saw Sita with Rama and lifted Sita and began to run deep into
the forest. The brothers followed and engaged Virradhaa in a 
fierce battle. He could not however be killed with weapons due to
a boon that he had obtained earlier . Rama then asked LakshamaNaa 
to dig a big pit and bury him there alive . As he was about to die, Viradhaa 
saluted Rama for helping him to get rid of Kubera's curse and 
restoring  him his former body. He also advised Rama that the 
hermitage of a great Rishi by the name of Sarabhangaa was 
near by and that Rama should go there . Sarabhanga was waiting 
for seeing Rama before ascending to Brahma lokam . Rama was greeted 
by the sage and obtained Moksham thereafter. The valour of Rama 
in Dandaka Vanam is displayed first in the battle with Viradhaa.

GS 30 : viluLitha bahupala maka kalama rajanichara mruga
mrugayaarambha sambrutha cheerabrudhanurodha! Jaya ! Jaya !

The Raghu Veeran's many battles with the Rakshasaas of
the fearful Dandakaa Vanam are equated here to the hunting
down of beasts that destroy the crops . Penance of the sages
are compared to the crops here and the hunter is the Lord himself .
Sri Rama's welcome help to the sages wearing the processed 
bark of trees as their dress ( Cheera Bruth ) . Sri Rama's blesssed 
and heroic deeds are saluted here. 

GS 31 : Trisira siras trithaya timira niraasa vaasara kara ! Jaya! Jaya !

O Lord who resembled a sun in banishing the deep darkness 
caused by the three heads of the Rakshasa by the name of Trisiras.

After Viraadha vadham , Rama moves with his brother and wife to 
the interior of the deep forest. They visit the hermitages of many 
sages including that of Agasthyaa.Latter advises Rama to stay 
at Panchavati .

 During this journey Sita requests Rama not to kill innocent 
animals of the forest and to observe Ahimsaa.
Rama commends his wife for the counsel and vows to kill only the ogres.
They arrive at Panchavati and LakshmaNaa builds a cottage for Rama and 
Sita there.

SurpaNakaa arrives at the hermitage and invites Rama to marry 
her and she insults Sita. LakshmaNa could not brrok that insult and 
lops the nose and ears of SurpaNakaa for that offense. She runs in great
pain and humiliation and approached her notorious brother by the name
of Kharaa , who lived in Janasthaanam surrounded by an army of ogres.
Kharaa sends first fourteen ogres with his sister  to kill Rama and they are all
swiftly dispatched to Yama lokam by Rama. Surpanaka rushes back to her brother 
and now Kharaa himself comes for a battle to Panchavati  with  DhusaNaa and an 
army of fourteen thousand ogres . Rama kills off the fourteen thousand 
night-stalkers first. Dhushanaa is killed next. Trisiras , one of the major 
commanders of Kharaa is killed next . Swami Desikan salutes the valour 
of Rama here in killing the fearsome Trisiras , who caused so much havoc
to the sages of Dandaka Vanam .
The next three salutations are to the Raghuveeran , who killed 
Kharaa and his retinue of  fourteen thousand soldiers . 

Sri Ramachndra Para BrahmaNeh Nama : 

Oppiliappan Koil Varadachari Sadagopan