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AaraNya Khandam in Ragu Veera Gadhyam

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 
.