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From: V. Sadagopan (75041.3037_at_compuserve.com)
Date: Fri Sep 13 1996 - 07:04:32 PDT
Dear Members of the Prapatthi Group : 1 .Sri Vijay -Srinivasan's observation is most welcome. I had an oversight and lumped by mistake the sections of Ayodhya Khandam and Aaranya Khaandam. Aaranya Khaandam is particularly abundant with the Vaibhavam of Sri Rama (Salutations 28 to 41 ) to recognize Him as the Maha Veera . Ayodhya Khandam has 7 salutations and Aranya Khaandam has fourteen . Thanks Vijay for catching this . One side observation is the feedback I get from fellow members of this special group that they are reading these postings !!!!! Some times I am not sure , since the feedback is few and far between . More seriously, the interactive dialog helps to bring out the treasures of information such as the slokam recommended by Navalpaakkam swamigal, which would not be known to many of us . That connects well to the Srivaishnavite link to Srimad Ramayanam in Guru Parampara . 2 .Regarding Mohan"s thought-provoking obserrvation on the use and place of Uttara Khaandam , I have some observations. Uttara Khaandam and the Rama Rajyam described there has mixed treatement in different sampradhayaas . The scholars at Berkeley working on the Srimad Ramayanam might have some clues on whether it was entirely composed by Sage Valmiki. The verse appearing at the last sargam ( 111) of Uttara Khaandam intrigues me : YETHAAVADETAAKYAANAM SOTTHARAM BRAHMA PUJITHAM I RAAMAYANAMITHI KHYAATHAM mukyam VAALMIKINAA KRUTHAM II (MEANING ) :" This much is th eaccount together with the Uttara Khaanda ,worshipped by the BRahmanaas , Rishis , known as the Ramayana and CHIEFLY composed by the Sage Valmiki ." The word MUKYAM here is very intriguing. The question arises as to whether this Khaandam was entirely composed by the sage . This may be one reason why traditionalists did not give equal importance to this Canto , although Srimad Ramayanam is celebrated as Saptha Khanda epic. The opposite argument is that the incidents of Sita's banishment to the Asrama of Valmiki and the tragedy of Her separation from Her Lord during Her pregnancy has been subject of great debates about the duties of Sri Rama by commentators. We have discussed this subject last year amongst us . Another observation on the Uttara Khaandham is the subject matter assembled here.It appears redundant or patchy from a story teller's point of view . After the brisk and dramatic events of Yuddha Khaandam , Uttara Khaandam sounds anticlimatic too ! Pattabhishekam is over, Avataara Karyam has been accomplished . Rama Rajyam has begun. The Khaandam begins with Sri Rama's discourse with great seers in the audience hall . From Sarga 2 to 36 , Sage Agasthya describes in great detail about the ancestors of Ravana , his birth , his tormenting of the worlds due to the strength of his boons , the curses that he recieves and the birth of " Hanuman " and his flight towards the Sun as a child and being hit by Indra on the Jaw and getting the name of Hanuman. Much of this appears out of place , since one wonders why Valmiki chose Agasthya to " update" Rama on his chief enemy at this juncture and decided to describe Hanuman's childhood here .. Then comes the farewell to the attendees of Pattabhishekam, Bharata's decription of the unique glory of Sri Rama's rule. The sad section of the decision of Sri Rama to banish his Consort due to ugly rumors of Citizens. Sri Rama's defense citing the story of king Nrga , who was cursed for not attending to his subjects and obligatory duties as a king. After number of stories on kings an dtheir duties, descriptions on his reaction to royal duties, Rjasuya Yagam starts. The sons of Rama arrive at the court of Sri Rama and sing Srimad Ramayanam in the way in which they were taught by the author. Soonafter , Sita Devi arrives at the request of Sri Rama and takes the oath of purification and Sage Valmiki vouches for her purity. Sita Takes the oath and enters in the nether world . Rama now grieves over the loss of His consort. He performs the Aswamedha sacrifice with the golden statue of Sita. The message of Brahma thru Yama Deva for Sri Rama to return to Sri Vaikuntam, now that the Avathara Karyam is over. Tragic parting of Rama with Lakshmana , who goes to heaven with his body.Sri Rama now decides to ascend to Sri Vaikuntam with the citizens of Kosala , his remaining brothers and retinue of monkeys and bears ,who helped him in the battles at Lanka .This is the story line . >From the above detailed description of the content , one can make some speculations on why the final Khaandam of Srimad Ramayanam may not have the same appeal to the devotees of Sri Rama and why it may not be included in their Paarayanams. It is tough to take a definitive position. Sri Seetha Lakshmana Hanumath Sametha Sri Ramachandra Parabrahmaneh Nama : Oppiliappan Koil Varadachari Sadagopan .