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Acharyan Swami Desikan

 ||    Raghu Veera Gadhyam    ||


 

 SrI Ramaa Pattabhishekam

 

As a part of this year's celebration of Swami Sri Nigamantha Maha Desikan's birthday (729th),I would like to translate his illustrious Gadhyamand reflect upon similar tributes from great Rama Bhakthas that preceded him (Azhwaars, Kambar) and those who followed him (Saint Thyagaraja ,Bhadrachala Rama Das , et al) .
 

Raghu Veera Gadhyam is one of the many brilliant and moving stotrams composed by Sri Vedantha Desikan , while he was residing in Thiruvahindrapuram.At this divya desam, there are the most beautiful Archa murthys of Sri Ramachandra, Sita Devi, and Lakshmana. Swami Desikan was thrilled one day by the incomparable beauty of Sri Ramachandra giving darsanam as Kodhanda Rama at this kshetram and recollections about the extraordinary valour of our Lord and his deeds on the battle field as the Maha Veera at Lanka.Inspired by those thoughts, he summarized in his splendid Gadhyam (work in prose style ) the Vaibhavam of this Maha Veera and named it appropriately Maha Veera Vaibhavam . Later this work came to be known by its popular name of Raghu Veera Gadhyam.

Swami Desikan as a Sarva Tantra Svatantra might also have followed the foot steps of his Paramacharya , Sri Ramanuja, who composed his three master pieces in the Gadhyam form (Sri Vaikunta Gadhyam, Saranagathi Gadhyam and Sriranga Gadhyam) . Swami Desikan was so fascinated by the Gadhya Trayas of Sri Ramanuja that he created a commentary on them known as Gadhya Traya Bhashya . This work fits inside another work of Swami Desikan known as Rahasya Raksha with four chapters.

The first chapter of Rahasya Raksha is the commentary on Saranagathi Gadhyam also known as Prthugadhyam . The second chapter is known as Mitagadhya Bhashyam consisting of commentaries on both Sriranga and Vaikunta Gadhyams. The subject matter of Sri Ramanuja's Gadhyams were the important doctrine of Prapatthi and his supreme devotion to the Archa murthy at Srirangam worshipped by Sri Ramachandra himself (Sriranga Gadhyam ) and the raptourous description of Sri Vaikuntam (Sri Vaikunta Gadhyam), the supreme abode of Sriman Narayana and His consort , the object of our Prapatthi .

It is not an exaggeration to state that Swami Desikan's Raghu Veera Gadhyam is his OWN Prapatthi to the Lord ,who declared at Sethu : " It is my solemn covenant that I stand by anyone who surrenders his all to my keeping . According to this Vibhishana comes under my protecting hand , which even Ravana is free to accept. I now charge Sugreeva to hail Vibhishana and lead him to me". It is no wonder that the entire Ramayana is revered as Saranagathi Sastra by Sri Vaishnavas .Infact, Sri Ramunuja himself learned the special meanings of Srimad Ramayanam (Sarangathi ) from Srisailapurna or Thirumalai Nambi , a native of Thiruppathi .Swami Desikan went on to describe the mystry and sacredness of Prapatthi in Sanskrit and Manipravala texts such as Sarangathi Deepikai ,Abhayapradanasara , Rahasyatayasara et al .

We are therefore fully justified in considering the delectable Raghu Veera Gadhyam of Swami Desikan as the celebration of the Lord's covenant to Prapannas housed as the central message of the seven cantos of Srimad Ramayanam .Swami Desikan celebrarted the veeram or Parakramam aspect of Veeraraghavan in this Gadhyam. He went on to celebrate in yet another stotram the valor of this RaNa Pungavan presiding as Archa Murthy at Thriuputkuzhi with the divya namam of Vijaya Ragjhavan. Elsewhere, Thirumangai Azhwar has performed Mangalasaasanam for Veeraraghavan, the Archa Murthy at Thiruvellore Divya Desam.Kulasekhara celebrated the valor of the Lord at Tillai Thiruchitrakootam. Saint Thyagaraja saluted his valor at battle by describing Him as "Dhanda Chathuran" in his Kapi-Naarayani song "Sarasa Saama Dhana Dhanda Chathura Saati Davamevareh?" .The bard asked "O Rama! You are adept in statesmanship and in wielding the four expedients, conciliation (sama), winning over with gifts (Dhana) ,separating the enemies(Bheda) and punishing by war (DHANDA ). Who is there equal to You?". The saint invited that Raghuveera affectionately again in his Huseni krithi: "Raghuveera RaNadheera! Raa Raa, Rajakumara!"

 

In this section , we will cover the following items :

1. When to read Srimad Ramayanam& Raghuveera Gadhyam?
2. Where to read Srimad Ramayanam& Raghuveera Gadhyam ?
3. What are the procedures to follow before Reading either ?
4. What are the fruits/benefits of reading either ?
5. How do they compare in size and structure ?

RAAMAAYA RAMABHADRAAYA
RAMACHANDRAAYA VEDHASEH I
RAGHUNAATHAAYA NAATHAYA
SEETHAAYA: PATAYEH NAMA: II

( My salutations to Veda Purusha Sri Rama, who is celebrated as Ramachandra, Ramabhadra, Raghunatha and the Lord of Sita Devi )

AAPADHAAM APAHARTHAARAM
DHAATHAARAM SARVA SAMPADHAAM I
LOKAABHIRAMAM SRI RAAMAM
BHUYOH BHUYOH NAMAAMYAHAM II

(I salute again and again Sri Rama, the delight of the whole world, the reliever/ banisher of every suffering and the bestower of all riches)

 

1. WHEN TO READ BOTH ?

The Aadhi Kaavyam (epic poem ) composed by sage Valmiki (Srimad Ramayanam) consisting of seven books (Khaandas) and 645 Cantos (Sargas) is recommended for reading in a nine day stretch (Navaaham ) or in a 27 day stretch . The nine day reading with starts and stops at particular chapters is recommended for the months of Chaitra, Maagha and Kartika during Sukla Paksham (5th day to the the thirteenth day). The 27 day reading is to be carried out starting from the day, when the constellation of Punarvasu is in ascendance to the day, when Aardhraa constellation is in ascendance. There are elaborate procedures for reading Srimad Ramayanam (Sankalpam, Acharya Vandanam, Dhyaanam, Nyaasam (Anganyaasam and Karanyaasam) and Viniyogam for each of the Khaandams.

The procedures for reciting Swami Desikan's Raghuveera Gadhyam are few and simple.One can recite it every day.
One recites at the beginning and ending of the stotram "NEELA KOMALA RUCHIM RAAMAM BHAJEH SYAAMALAM "(I meditate on Sri Rama of cerulean hue possessing the soft lustre of the blue lotus). Next one recites Acharya Dhyanam:

SRIMATHE NIGAMAANTHA MAHA DESIKAAYA NAMA:

SRIMAAN VENKATANAATHAARYA: KAVITHAARKIKA KESARI I
VEDHANTHAACHAARYAVARYOH MEH SANNIDHATTAAM SADHAA HRUDHI II

This is followed by the recitation of the entire Raghuveera Gadhyam.

As the conclusion, one salutes again the composer of this stotram:

KAVITHAARKIKA SIMHAAYA KALYAANA GUNASAALINEH I
SRIMATHEH VENKATESAAYA VEDAANTHAGURAVEH NAMA: II

Finally, the Mangala slokam for Sri Rama is recited:

MANGALAM KOWSALENDRAAYA MAHANEEYA GUNAATHMANEH I
CHAKRAVARTHI TANUJAAYA SAARVABHOWMAAYA MANGALAM II

 

2. WHERE TO READ ?

One can recite both in front of a Salagrama murthy, Tulasi plant or in a temple or at the puja graham of one's own home. If the recitation is done in front of SaLagramam, One should bathe the Murtham in milk, dry it and then start the recitation. (Sri M.S. Krishnamachar's monograph released by Visishtaadvaita PrachariNi sabhaa contains enormous details on the types of SaaLagrAmAs. Lakshmi Narasimha, Lakshmi Narayana, Seetha Rama and Lakshmi Hayagreeva SaaLigrAmams are particularly welcome to be used in the PaarayaNam).

 

3. PURPOSES OF READING

Those wishing progeny read BalaKhandam; those who seek wealth read Ayodhyaa Khaandam; those wanting to secure a friend or wishing to secure back lost wealth read Kishkindhaa Khaandam; those wishing fulfilment of their desires (Kaamyaarthi) read Sundara Khaandam; Yuddha Khandam is read by those wishing the destruction of their enemies/obstacles; Uttara Khaandam is read by those, who wish liberation from the cycles of births and deaths (Moksham). This is for reading of the individual Khaandams of Valmiki Ramayanam.

The reading of Raghuveera Gadhyam confers all of the above blessings on the reciter. Both Srimad Ramayanam and Sri Raghuveera Gadhyam are considered as the unsurpassed form of Gayatri Mantram.

 

4. A COMPARISON OF SIZES
 

Simad Ramayanam has 7 Khaandams; Sri Raghuveera Gadhyam has the summary of 6 Khaandams. Latter does not include Aaranya Khaandam. You might also note that the previous section on "purpose of Reading" omitted Aaranya Khaandam.

Valmiki Ramayanam(VR ) has 645 Cantos (Sargams) housed in its six books (Khaandams ); Sri Raghuveera Gadhyam has 92 salutatations in 6 sections . The Book by Book comparison is as follows with Raghuveera Gadhyam related information in paranthesis:

Bala Khaandam ---: VR 77 (18)
Ayodhyaa Khaandam ---: VR 119 (21)
Aaranya Khaandam ---: VR 75 (0)
Kishkindaa Khaandam ---: VR 67 (5)
Sundara Khaandam ---: VR 68 (1)
Yuddha Khaandam ---: VR 128 (29)
Uttara Khaandham ---: VR 111 (18)

TOTAL CANTOS : VR 645 / (92 WITH THE EXCEPTION OF PRELIMINARY SALUTATON AND CONCLUDING PORTIONS OF RAGHUVEERA GADHYAM) .

The Mahavira Vaibhavam or Raghuvira Gadyam summaraizes succinctly the Adi Kavyam of Sage Valmiki revered as Srimad Ramayanam . In 94 Gadya (prose ) passages , Sri Vedantha Desikan addresses Sri Ramachandra and salutes His Anantha Kalyana Gunas . If Gopalavimsathi is the home of mellifluous songs in verse form on Lord Krishna , Raguvira Gadhyam is the treasure trove of the "songs" on Sri Rama in prose form . We meet passages from Raghuvira Gadhyam in the eighth act of Swami Desikan's allegorical play known as Sankalpa Suryodhaya housing the cardinal tenets of Sri Vaishnavism .

The slautations of the Vaibhavam(Glory) of the greatest of the scion of Raghu begins with an evocative verse :

JAYATHYAASRITHA SANTHRAASA DHWAANTHA VIDHVAMSANODHAYA :I
PRABHAAVAAN SEETHAYAA DEVYAA PARAMVYOMA BHASKARA :II

Our Lord, who is the Sun of the Parmaakasam (Sri Vaikuntam) shines with supreme effulgence. He took the incarnation as the son of the Emperor Dasaratha to destroy the darkness (fear) of those, who sought refuge at His feet. He is inseparable from Sita Devi, just as the disc of Sun is inseparable from its lustre. Sri Ramachandra of these attributes towers over every one through his anantha kalyana gunas (limitless auspicious attributes).

 

GENERAL SALUTATIONS
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Gadhya Paasage (GP) 1: MAHAVEERA !

This Gadhyam derives its name of Maha Veera Vaibhavam from this FIRST salutation. Swami endearingly addresses Sri Rama , the destroyer of Ravana as the valorous one , who has no match regarding His heroic deeds in the battle field.

GP 2: MAHA DHEERA DHOWREYA ! JAYA JAYA !

Hail to thee! Hail to thee, who is in the front row of all known for their courage! In the last salutation, Sri Rama was hailed as a supreme hero. Here his courage and steadfastness in the battle field is saluted. One who overcomes setbacks and fights on in the face of adversities is said to have the quality of Dhairyam, the key attribute of a Dheera .Rama is recognized as the supreme Dheera (Maha Deera ) here .

 

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BALA KHAANDAM
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GP 3: DEVAASURA SAMARA SAMAYA SAMUDHITHA NIKILA
NIRJARA NIRDHAARITA NIRAVADHIKA MAHAATHMYA !

O Lord, who was accepted and praised by all the Devas as the one of unsurpassed valour as a result of your help to the suffering Devas in the time of their battle with the Asuraas! Hail to Thee! Hail to Thee!

(Many aeons ago, there was a mighty battle between the Devas and the Asuras. The Devas were routed and prayed for the Lord's help in their hour of distress. He responded to their call with alacrity and defeated the Asuras soundly. The elated Devas hailed Him as the Devathidevan and eulogised Him as the one with matchless glory).

GP 4: DASAVADHANA DHAMITA DAIVATHA PARISHADHABHYARTHITHA DAASARATHI BHAAVA !

O Mighty hero , who took the incarnation as the celebrated son of emperor Dasaratha at the pleading of the assembly of Devas tormented by the ten-headed Ravana ! Hail to thee! Hail to Thee!

(Sarga 15 and 16 of Bala Khaandam is summarized here. Sage Rysyasringa performs an Atharva Veda Ishti (sacrifice) to bless Emperor Dasaratha with male progeny. The Devas approach Brahma at that very sacrifice and pray to him to destroy the evil Ravana. Brahma inturn pleads with Vishnu present at the same sacrifice to take the incarnation of the son of Emperor Dasaratha with the mission of destroying Ravana. Lord Vishnu agrees to become the son of the Emperor and appears as Prajapati from the sacrificial pit and hands over to the Emperor a vessel containing Payasam and commands the Emperor to distribute the contents of the vessel to his wives to beget progeny. Dasaratha gave half of the Payasam to his eldest wife, Kausalya. She was blessed then to become the mother of Sri Ramachandra; the other two wives partook the other portions of the payasam and were blessed with Lakshmana, Bharata and Satruguna. The content of 66 slokas of these two sargas are summarized in six words here).

GP 5: DINAKARA KULA KAMALA DIWAKARA!

Hail to thee, who is the Sun for the lotus of Surya Vamsam!

The Sun makes all the lotuses of the world blossom, as it rises on the eastern horizon. Sri Rama was born in the solar race (Surya Vamsam). That Vamsam is proud to have had Sri Rama as its illustrious scion and shines with beauty just like a blossoming lotus in the morning at the sight of the rising Sun (birth of the Lord).Swami Desikan equates here the Surya Vamsam to that of a joyous lotus blossoming over the warm thought of having Sri Rama as one of its most famous descendant. Sri Rama is recognized as the Divine Sun that makes the lotus of Surya Kulam blossom.

Saint Thyagaraja revered as the incarnation of Adi Kavi Valmiki chose Suryakantam as a Ragam to set his Krithi " Muddu Momu ", where he has a reference to the lustre of Sri Ramachandra's face.
He says respectfully:" The Lord's face shone forth with the Tejas of the Sun and was yet, as it always was, captivating like the moon in its Kanthi, a rare combination indeed ". He continues on and points out that the all-comprehensive beauty of Sri Rama confounds the devotees, since they are not able to concentrate on any aspect of the Lord's beauty by the fact that every aspect is equally fascinating.

Saint Thyagaraja and other Rama Bhakthas following the tradition of Swami Desikan has saluted the Surya Vamsam in their salutations. Two additional examples that come to one's mind from Saint Thyagaraja's euology of Sri Rama as the scion of Surya Vamsam are:

DINAMANI VAMSA TILAKA LAAVANYA! DHEENA SARANYA!
(Raga Hari Kambhoji)

And

KAMALAABHDHA KULA KALASAABHDHI CHANDRA
Raga Brindavana Saarangaa)

In the last krithi, the poetic fancy of the Saint goes one step further. He says: O Lord, who is the scion of the race of SUN, who is the friend of Lotus! You (in your captivating nature) is the moon to the milky ocean, which rises with joy at the sight of your moon-like countenance.

One hears the echo of Saint Thyagaraja's above slautation in Sri Dikshithar's Manirangu krithi, Maamava Pattabhi Rama in the Charana Vakhyam:

PANKAJA MITRA VAMSA SUDHAAMBHUDHI CHANDRA
MEDHINI PAALA RAMACHANDRA ".

Here , Sri Dikshithar salutes Sri Pattabhi Rama as the scion of the race that is the friend of the lotus ; he equates that captivating ruler of the world , Rama to the moon that lifts up the milky ocean .

The central tribute in all these salutations is to Sri Rama's birth in the Surya Vamsam as its crest jewel (Siroratnam or Tilakam).

GP 6: DIVISHADHIPATHI RANA SAHACHARANA CHATURA
DASARATHA CHARAMA RUNA VIMOCHANA!

Hail to thee O Lord, who through your birth liquidated the third debt of your father Dasaratha, who was famous for his help to Indra in his battles with Asuraas!

Here the reference is to the name of our Lord's father, Dasaratha. His valour in driving his chariot in all the ten directions to chase the enemies of Indra and to come to the rescue of Indra earned him the name Dasaratha (Dasasu Dikshu Aprathihata Ratha :).

Like all mortals, he had the three debts to discharge. Emperor Dasaratha liquidated two of the three debts (viz), debt to Munis through Veda Adhyayanam and debt to the Devas through performance of Yajnaas. One debt however stood out without being liquidated (viz), debt to the Pitrus.
When our Lord incarnated as the son of Dasaratha, the last debt was destroyed. Hence, our Lord Ramachandra is saluted here as "Dasaratha Charama Runa Vimochana".

GP 7: KOSALASUTHAA KUMARA BHAVA
KANCHUKITA KAARANAAKAARA!

Hail to thee who hid his avathara rahasyam through your birth as the child of queen Kousalai!

O Lord! The entire Universe emanates from You and therefore you are the root cause for every thing on this universe created, sustained and destroyed by You out of your mere Sankalpa (ideation) could have destroyed Rabvana and removed the worries of the Devas. You the Supreme Being hid all of Your glories and did garbha Vaasam in queen Kousali's womb as a mere mortal child. As a continuation of that play, you were born on this earth, breast fed at Your mother's breast, cried when you were hungry and played on the sands of Sarayu like an ordinary child.The people of Ayodhya and the world were unable to understand your divinty and supreme status as Sriman Narayana as a result of the deeds that you performed as a mere human child .You thus hid your avathara KaaraNam and Rahasyam. .

The Great Rama Bhaktha Kulasekhara saluted this "human child" and hastened in the same breath to salute the Sarvesvaratvam of the Lord of ThirukkaNNapuram in his lullabies addressed to Him. Some representative passages are:

MANNU PUKAZH KOUSALAI TAN MANI VAIYRU VAAITTHAVANEH
TENNILANGAIKKOHN MUDIGAL CHINTHUVITTHAAI
(O Lord who chose to honor the blessed womb of queen Kousalai WITH UNDIMINISHING FAME, lullaby to you! -- O Lord who shed the ten heads of the king of southern kingdom of Lanka on the earth in the battle field! lullaby to you )

KONGUMALI KARUM KUZHALAAl kOUSALAI TAN KULA MADALAAI
--- DASARATHAN TAN MAAMADALAAI --DEVARAIYUM
ASURARAIYUM DISAIKALAIYUM PADAITTHAVANEH--
YEVAR VANCHILAI VALAVAA RAGHAVANEH TALELOH

(O Lord who redeemed the kulam of Kousalya known for her perfumed dark tresses by your incarnation as her child! -- O Daasarathi, the eldest son of emperor Dasaratha!--O Lord who created the Davas, Asuras and the directions for them to roam around! O Lord with the Bow adorned with the powerful arrows set to destroy the enemies of your devotees who sought refuge at Your lotus feet-- lullaby to YOU!

Thus the Kousalyaa Suprajaa Raman becomes the object of adoration for Swami Desikan in this seventh Gadhya salutation.

Our Scriptures in Tamil reveal to us the Avathara Rahasyam of the Lord. Avatharam is based on the root Avatharathi to descend .He descends from Sri Vaikuntam out of concern for us ,to transform us , the Nitya Samsaaris to Nitya Suris through the act of Prapatthi thru a proper Acharya . He demonstrates his Sowlabhyam or ease of access , while he takes the Vibhava Avatharams like Sri Ramachandra . Nammazhwaar reveals that the Lord took the Avatharam not for killling Ravana and other evil doers, but to overwhelm US with HIS charm and Kalyana Gunas .The Lord could have easily destroyed Ravana by his Sankalpam alone. He had however other motives to descend down as Rama .Nammazhwaar states that he became Bhagavat PravaNan as a result of that Daya and Grace of the Lord. Chandogya Upanishad and Bhattar's Commentary on the Sahasra Namam "Vamanan" refer to this aspect of the Avathara Rahasyam. Vamam means Kalyana Gunas . Since the Lord makes us through His Grace to have most of those Kalyana Gunas, He is called Vamanan and that Avatharam is Vamanaavatharam. Although Rama says that he is only a mere mortal to hide His Avathara Rahasyam. The Lord, who is Sarvasmaath Paran and Sarva Rakshakan becomes accessible to us thru Vibhava avatharams and Archa State.

GP 8: KOWMAARA KELI GOPAAYITHA KOUSIKAADHWARA!

Hail to Thee who protected the yagam of Sage Viswamitra as if it were a child's play !

Here Swami Desikan pays tribute to the extraordinary valor of Sri Raghavan even as a small boy. He destroyed the mighty foes of Sage Viswamitra (the Rakshasas and their leaders , Maricha and Subahu ) with effortless ease , when they interfered with the performance of the sage's Yagam at his hermitage.He sent Maricha spinning in the sky over enormous distance and dumped him inot the ocean and yet spared his life this time .He killed the other demon Subahu. Sri Rama constructed a canopy of arrows over the site of the Yagam . Kamban the Illustrious Tamil poet describes the valor of Sri Rama this way :

MAnniNAI KAAKINRA MANNAN MAINDHARGAL
KAnnINAI KAAKINRA IMAYIN KAATTHANAR

(The sons of the emperor Dasaratha, who protects the citizens of the earth protected the Yagam of Sage Viswamitra like the eye lids protect the eyes).

This act of valor led Sage Viswamitra to praise Sri Rama this way: " I stand accomplished of my purpose (Kruthaarthosmi), O mighty -armed (Maha Baaho) and highly illustrious hero, in that the bidding of your Guru (me) has been carried out by you (Valmiki Ramayanam Sargam 30.26). Kamban salutes Sri Rama as Sundara Villi (the beautiful one, who handled his bow Kothandam to protect the sacred six day Yajnam of the inhabitants of Siddhasramam and Viswamitra).

Saint Thyagaraja who offered his Satva Sangeetham as his Naivedyam to this Raghuveeran all his breathing moments sang the praise of the lord in one of his Bowli Divya nama krithis:

DEENA JANAAVANA SRI RAMA
DAANVA HARAnA SRI RAMA
NIRMALA HRUDHAYA SRI RAMA
KAARMUKHA BAAnA SRI RAMA
RAGHU KULA TILAKA SRI RAMA
BRIGHU SUTHA RUPA SRI RAMA
DASAMUKA MARDHANA SRI RAMA
SIDDHAJANA PRIYA SRI RAMA
PRASIDDHA CHARITRA SRI RAMA

In the last two lines of the salutation , the saint pays tribute to Sri Rama of clebrated fame as the one dear to the residents of Siddhaasramam (Tapovanam where Vishnu once did penance )

In another song, Saint Thyagaraja sitting at he banks of the river Cauveri at Thiruvayyaru saw with his inner eye (JyanakkaN) the beauty of the heroic Rama hurling Maricha into the ocean with his arrow (Maanavaasthram).Our Sadguru enjoys this scene in his Madhyamaavathi krithi:

ALAGALALLA LAATAKAGANIYAARANMINI YETU PONGENOH
CHELUVUMEERAGANU MAARICHUNI MADHAMANATHSU VELA

Sage Viswamitra's joy is shared and experienced by Saint of Thiruvayyaru here. He says: Oh , How must have the heart of Sage Viswamira leaped with joy at the sight of the effortless heroism of Sri Rama when he destroyed the haughtiness of Maaricha .At that time this Sundara Villis' face had no strain or pressure or marks of strain(Vikaaram ).He looked so beautiful during this effort of a mighty heroic nature .

Swami Desikan celebrated with this Gadhya portion ,the heroism of the young boy Rama , who completed the assigned task as if it was a child's game and received the gratitude of Sage Viswamitra and the residents of
Siddhaasramam.

GS 9: RANNADWARA DHURYA BHAVYA
DIVYAASTHRA BRUNDHA VANDITHA!

Hail to Thee! O Raghuveera saluted by the assembly of sacred and mighty arrows waiting humbly for your command to invoke them in the yaga known as the battle.

Here the allusion is to the gift of sacred and powerful arrows/missiles by sage Viswamitra to Sri Ramachandra at the conclusion of the destruction of ogress Tataka by him. Impressed by the valour of Rama and pleased with the destruction of the evil Tatakaa, the gratified Sage imparted to Sri Rama the secret knowledge about the use of never failing celestial missiles to destroy one's enemies in the battle fields. The sage also taught Sri Rama about the recall of these missles once invoked and set in motion against a target (Bala KhAndam --sargas 27&28).

As the Sage recited the mantras for the missiles, all of them appeared before Sri Rama in their shining ethereal forms and saluted him humbly and offered their services. Sri Rama thanked them and commanded them to appear in his mind at the time of emergency to render assistance. SWami Desikan refers to this incident here.

GS 10: PRANATHA JANA VIMATHA VIMATHANA
DHURLALITHA DHORLALITHA! JAYA JAYA!

Hail to Theee, O Raghuveera shining with the fearsome shoulders that engage in the destruction of the enemies of those, who seek refuge at your feet!

Swami pays tribute to the powerful and mighty shoulders of the Lord engaged in the battle with the enemies of those, who sought his protection. Swami points out that those shoulders of the Raghuveeran are unsurpassable in their beauty and majesty.

GS 11: THANUTARA VISIKHA VITHAATANA VIGATITHA
VISARAARU SARAARU TATAKAA TAATAKEYA! JAYA JAYA!

Hail to Thee, O Valorous one who used tiny arrows to destroy Tatakaa and humiliate her sons not tormented until then by anyone.

Here, Swami refers to the killing of Tataka at the command of Sage Viswamitra and the controlling of the arrogant sons of hers (Maaricha and Subaahu) and making them powerless to interfere with the Yajna of Sage Viswamitra at Siddhaasramam.

GS 12: JATAKIRANA SAKALADHARA JATILA NATAPATHI
MAKUTA THATA NATANAPATU VIBHUDASARITH ATHIBHAULA
MADHUKALANA LALILATHAPADHA NALINARAJA UPAMRUDHITHA
NIJAVRUJINA JAHADHUPAALA TANURUCHIRA PARAMAMUNI
VARA YUVATHI NUTHA! JAYA! JAYA!

This Gadhya salutation is one of the two long passages in Bala Khandam providing an excellent example of the figure of speech known as onomotopoeia, where the rhetorical effect resulting from reciting merges with the meaning intended. Words flow from the tongue and mind of Swami Desikan as a result of the blessings of Lord Hayagriva, his Upasana Murthy. The other passage of Bala Khandam resonant with musical sounds is the twentieth Gadhya salutation dealing withParasurama Garva Bhangam.

In the twelfth salutation, Swami Desikan visualizes the Lord of Dance, Siva and the dancing waves of fast flowing Ganga on His matted Jatai, which is also the home of the crescent moon. That small piece of moon is known for its cool rays (JATA KIRANA).and Siva is the SAKALA DHARAN (wearer of the crescent moon) on His JATILA (Matted tresses -Jataa Mudi). He is indeed the Lord of Dance (NATA PATHI -Nataraajaa). What do we see inside the Jataa (MAKUTA THATA) of this NATAPATHI? Swami Desikan visualizes the VIBHUTHA SARITH (the celestial Deva Ganga) there. What is Her name for Fame? She carries the sacred dust of the Makarantha (pollens) of the lotus feet (Charanaaravindham) of Sriman Narayana and she becomes thus holiest of holy rivers as a result of that blessing. The reference here is to her origin as a result of Brahma's washing the feet of Trivikrama with his Kamandalu water at the time of those lotus feet reaching Satya Lokam. She removes all the sins of mortals and Devas, who bathe in her waters. The Lord's Paadha ThuLi is the root cause of her sacredness.

Now, Swami connects the holiness and redeeming quality of the Makarandha dust particle originating from the Lord's Paadhaambhujam. That speck of dust fell on the stone by the side of the road, which was Ahalya, the wife of Sage Gowthamaa .She had been cursed by her husband for her infidelity and was condemned to stay as a stone until the dust from Sri Rama's feet came in contact with her stone form. That holy association with the sacred dust associated with Sri Rama's feet transformed her back (JAHAT UPALA TANU) to her beautiful form (RUCHIRA TANU) as the beloved wife of the celebrated sage ( PARAMA MUNI VARA YUVATHI ). Ahalya offered her salutations (YUVATHI NUTA) to Sarveswaran standing infront of her as a young prince for restoring her form to that of a beautiful woman. Ahalya Saapa Vimochanam is thus the subject of this salutation. Srimad Valmiki Ramayanam describes that Ahalya was cursed to be invisible due to her misconduct. Other sources refer to her form as a stone due to the curse.

GS 13: KUSIKASUTHA KATHITA VIDHITA
NAVA VIVIDHA KATHA! JAYA! JAYA!

O Raghuveera who heard many a novel story told by Sage Viswamitra as you walked with him to protect his Yajna and also on your way to Mithilai! Hail to Thee!

Here Swami refers to the many stories that the Sage told to the brothers so that they did not feel the strain of the journey through the forest. You heard those novel stories with great intensity and desire. Sage told stories on the origin of Manmathan , history of Tatakaa, Sriman Narayana's incarnation as Vamana to curb the pride and arrogance of Maha Bali and the history of Siddhaasrama ,Siva Dhanus (Bow) in King Janaka's possession ,his( sage Viswamitra's ) own lineage, the birth of Subramanya and the story of the sons of Sakara and the birth of Ganga .

GS 14: MYTHILA NAGARA SULOCHANAA LOCHANA
CHAKORA CHANDRA! JAYA! JAYA!

O Lord who is the life-giving moon to the beautiful eyes of the women of Mythila known for the beauty of their eyes! Hail to Thee! Hail to Thee!

As Lord Ramachandra entered the city of Mithilai, the beautiful women feasted on your beauty just as the legendary chakora birds feast on the rays of moon, their only food. These women felt that the fruits of possessing eyes were realized that day.

Valmiki Ramayanam does not dwell on how the women of Mithilai feasted on the beauty of Sri Rama with their comely eyes. Poet Kamban however dwells on the scene that Rama and lakshmana saw on the streets of the city of Janaka.He describes the beautiful women and the youth of the city as seen by the brothers. Kamban describes at length the way in which the eyes of Sita and Rama met and how each were affected deeply by each other's beauty.

AruNachala Kavirayar describes the wonder and bafflement of Sita seeing the divine beauty of Rama from the balcony of her palace ("YarO Ivar YarO "Yenna perO ariyneh ") in his Rama Naatakam. This is the famous piece tuned in Raga Bhairavi by Sangeetha Ratnaakaram Ariyakudi Ramanuja Iyengar.

GS 15: KANTA PARASU KOTHANDA PRAKAANTA
KANTANA SOWNTA BHUJA DHANDA! JAYA! JAYA!

Here, Swami Desikan pays tribute to the mighty shoulders of Rama and their valor in breaking the powerful bow of Siva. Hail to Thee O Raghuveera, who effortlessly broke into two the mighty bow of Siva through your matchless strength and heroism!

It took five thousand men to draw the bow resting in its case to the court of King Janaka for the competition to string the bow. The winner in that competition was promised beautiful Sita's hand in marriage by king Janaka. All the kings assembled for that Svayamvaram failed miserably in the contest. Sri Rama at the behest of Sage Viswamitra lifted the bow effortlessly and broke it into two, when he tried to string it. Such was the power of his mighty shoulders (SOWNDA BHUJADHANDA)!

GS 16: CHANDAKARA KIRANA MANDALA BODHITHA
PUNDARIKA VANA RUCHI LUNDAAKA LOCHANA!
JAYA! JAYA!

The poetic skills of Swami Desikan are revealed here. He suggests that the Lord's eyes stole the beauty of the fully blossomed lotuses that responded to the welcoming rays of their friend, the Sun. This DINAAKARA KAMALA KULA DIVAAKARAN had a special relatonship to the lotuses.

The Siva Dhanus was broken by now. Sri Rama was assured thus of recieving Sita Devi's hands in marriage. Sri Rama's joy knew no bounds. His eyes shone with a special beauty over the thought of being united with His Devi. On that occasion, the beauty of His eyes mirrored the joy of His "soul " as it were and defeated the beauty of the just blossomed forest of lotus flowers (PUNDARIKA VANA RUCHI ) .

GS 17: MOCHITA JANAKA HRUDHAYA SANKAATANKA!
JAYA! JAYA!

O Raghuveera who banished the worries that resided in the heart of King Janaka about your power to string the Siva Dhanus and win in the Svayamvaram and fulfill your avathara kaaryam ! Hail to Thee! Hail to Thee!

GS 18: PARIHRUTHA NIKILA NARAPATHI VARANA
JANAKDHUHITRU KUCHATATA VIHARANA SAMUCHITA
KARATALA! JAYA! JAYA!

Here Swami Desikan salutes the unique valor that Sri Ramachandra displayed at the Svayamvaram to win the hand and heart of Sita Piratti. Since none of the assembled kings other than Sri Ramachandra were able to string the Siva Dhanus, Sita Devi had to reject (happily) their wishes to marry her. O, Sri Rama! You bent and broke that mighty bow and qualified yourself to engage in amorous and conjugal sports with your bride.

GS 19: SATHA KOTI SATHA GUNA KATINA PARASUDHARA
MUNIVARA KARA DHRUTHA DHURAVANAMATHAMA NIJA
DHANURAAKARSHANA PRAKAASITHA PAARAMESHTYA!
JAYA! JAYA!

Parasurama was the possessor of a mighty axe that was stronger than the Vajra weapon of Indra by a hundred fold. He used that to settle his dispute with the Kshatriyas for the injustice done by the sons of one Kshatriya king by the name of Kaarthaveeryan. Parasurama used his axe as the battle weapon to cut asunder twent one generations of Kshatriyas and made the earth devoid of Kshatriyas ( AKSHATRAAMIHA SAMTATAKSHA YA IMAAM TRI: SAPTHA KRUTHVA : KSHITHIM ) .

Parasurama was a proud and angry sage. He had in his possession a bow which had Vishnu Amsam. It was very powerful bow. No one could string it except Parasurama.

When Parasurama heard about the feat of Sri Ramachandra in breaking the Siva Dhanus at King Janaka's court, he shrugged it off as a simple act compared to stringing the Vishnu Dhanus he had. When Sri Rama was returning to Ayodhya with His family after wedding Sita Devi, Parasurama confronted Sri Rama and challenged Him to prove His valor by stringing the Vishnu Dhanus and fitting it with an arrow. King Dasaratha pleaded for the safety of his "juvenile" son from the anger of Parasurama. Turning a deaf ear to the entreaty of the worried father, Parasurama reminded Sri Rama that it is the noble duty of a Kshatriya to accept the challenge of a warrior (himself here) to a duel in a righteous cause. Parasurama pointed out that Sri Rama can qualify himself for such a duel only after stringing the bow of Vishnu and fitting it with an arrow. Sri Rama was indignant over the arrogance of the Brahmin and took the bow from the hands of Parasurama and quickly strung it and fitted it with an arrow. Then, He asked the Brahmin as to where the arrow should be aimed since it was unfailing once it was made ready to discharge. Parasurama was humbled and recognized then that Sri Rama is none other than Lord Vishnu. He appealed to Sri Rama to put an end to his title as one who can move in an unhampered manner over all the worlds that he won through his severe asceticism. Sri Rama discharged the arrow to remove the title of Parasurama and let him retire to Mount Mahendra to resume his penance. Parasurama walked clockwise around Sri Rama and went on his way (Valmiki Ramayanam Sargams 25 and 26 of Bala Khaandam).

Swami Desikan salutes here the Paarameshtyam (the supreme glory of Sri Rama showing his Lordship over all including the strutting Parasurama as Paramaathmaa. Swami says that the prince of Ayodhya on the occasion of subduing the arrogance of Parasurama revealed his svarupam as the Paramaathmaa to the entire world. Sri Rama as Sriman Narayana pulled away the divine power that He had invested earlier in Parasurama and reminded him that latter was not a sampoorna Avathara of Him.

In the next Gadhya salutation, Swami Desikan's mind is still occupied with Parasurama and the Extraordinary Valor of Sri Ramachandra in subduing the arrogance of Parasurama. Swami provides a frame of reference to understand the valor of Parasurama first and then goes on describe the mighty arrow of Sri Ramachandra put Parasurama in place.

GS 20: KRATHUHARA SIKARI KANTHUKA VIHRUTHYUNMUKHA
JITAHARI DHANTHI DHANTHA DHANDHURA DASAVADHANA DHAMANA
KUSALA DASA SATHA BHUJA MUKHA NRUPATHIKULA RUDHIRA
JARA BHARITHA PRUTHUTARA TATAAKA TARPITHA PITHRUKA
BRGHUPATHI SUGADHI VIHATHIKARA NATHA PARIDHISHU PARIDHA!
JAYA! JAYA!

Swami Deikan's mind is still admiring the valor and kaarunyam of Sri Rama in dealing with the arrogant outburst of Parasurama. Hence, he devotes one more (this) gadhya salutation to Parasurama Garva Bhangam. In this salutation which its musical echos (Dahnthi Dantha Danthura Dasavadana Dhaman---), Swami gives an introdction to Parasurma's valor first. Parasurama destroyed the vamsam of the mighty king Kaarthaveeryan, who at one time defeated the powerful Ravana in battle. Ravana's valor in the battle was well known. Once he lifted Kailasa Mountain and shook it. Another time, he humiliated Indra in the battle field and as a souvenir of that battle carried the wounds inflicted by the tusks of Indra's elephant, Iraavadham. The king of Lanka, Ravana of such valor was defeated soundly by Karhtaveeryarjunan. When the thousand handed Karthaveeryarjunan killed the father of Parasurama, latter killed not only the offending king, but he destroyed twenty one levels of descendants of Karthaveeryarjunan in revenge. Parasurams performed Tarpanam for his father from the vast pond of blood of those Kshatriyas and settled the account. Such was the valor of Parasurama. Sri Ramachandra accepted the challenge of Parasurama and humbled him with his arrow from fitted to the Vishnu Dhanus. As a result of this extraordinary and matchless valor displayed by Ramachndra, Parasurama lost acces to the Punya Lokas that he had earned earlier through his severe asceticism. Ramachndra's broad arrow resembling the lock for a door put an end to the Sugathi or auspicious future of Parasurama. Thus Sri Ramachandra's valor surpassed that of Ravana, his foe Karthaveerya nd his tormentor Parasurama unambigously.

 

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AYODHYAA KHAANDAM
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There are 119 chapters in Ayodhyaa Khaandam of Sri Vaalmiki RaamayaNam.
Swami Desikan uses 7 salutaions in his illustrious Raghu Veera Gadhyam to cover the highlights of this Khaandam spanning 119 chapters in length.

The first Salutation of Raghu Veera Gadhyam covers the events described by the first 49 of the 119 chapters of Ayodhya Khandam of Sage Valimiki.

Sri Ramachandra has now come home to Ayodhya with his bride. Happy emperor Dasaratha wants to install Sri Rama as prince regent and transfer the power of rulership to him.

A hunch-backed maid servant of Queen Kaikeyi (Manthara) hears about the news of the crowing of Sri Rama and is enraged. She instigates her mistress Queen Kaikeyi to stop the installation of Rama as the crown prince. Queen Kaikeyi is fond of Rama and refuses first to interfere. Manthara labors on and succeds in poisoning the mind of her mistress. She advises her mistress to ask for two boons that her husband had promised, but not executed. Manthara eggs on Kaikeyi to ask the emperor Dasaratha through one boon to banish Rama to the forest and with the other boon to install Bharatha, her own son, as the crown prince in place of Rama. Kaikeyi is persuaded and agrees to press the king for the two boons suggested by Manthara.

Now Kaikeyi enters the sulking chamber and waits for her husband rushing to share with her the happy news of the plans for Rama's installation as crown prince. She asks her husband to grant her the
two boons that he promised earlier for her support in a difficult battle . She explains then the nature of those two boons .

The emperor is devastated by the request of his queen. Kaikeyi invokes the presence of Gods as witnesses and presses the heart broken emperor for the twin boons of banishment of Rama to the forest for 14 years and the crowning of her son Bharatha as the prince regent in Rama's place. The tormented emperor is shocked by the adamant queen's wish for these cruel boons. He is caught in the horns of a dharma Sankatam. He can not go back on his word about granting two boons and yet he can not envisage the granting of the specific boons requested by his queen.

He falls unconscious at the very thought of separation form Sri Rama as a result of the boon requested by Kaikeyi. The heartless Kaikeyi sends for Rama and announces to him that the boons that she just received from emperor Dasaratha requires him to be banished to the forest for 14 years. Rama accepts the command of his mother Kaikeyi and states that his father's words will not become false and that he will obey his father's wish.

The emperor begs his son Rama to take him captive and ascend the throne. Rama consoles his father and states that he has no great desire to ascend the throne and that obeying his father's command is of the utmost importance to him. The first salutation of Swami Desikan in the Ayodhya Khandam section of Raghu Veera Gadhyam refers to that assertion by Rama that he will not make his father's word false by staying in Ayodhya and becoming a crown prince. That salutation is as follows:

GS 21: ANRUTA BHAYA MUSHITHA HRUDHAYA PITRU
VACHANA PAALANA PRATHIGYAAVAGYAATHA YOUVA RAAJYA!
JAYA! JAYA!

Hail to Thee, O Raghuveera, who abandoned the position of crown prince of Ayodhya to fulfill the promise implicit in the boon of your father, who was fear-stricken over the thought that his word to Kaikeyi would become a lie!

Emperor Dasaratha had no choice. He had to grant his queen the boons that she demanded. With a broken heart, he had to order Rama's banishment to the forest to prepare the way for Bharatha's crowning. He was being tormented by the thought that his son might refuse to obey that command and make his words untrue. He was afraid of being called a liar, who made false promises to his queen. Rama however welcomed his father's command and immediately promised to honor the boon given to Kaikeyi. As a result of that promise to his father, Rama abandoned willingly his legitimate title to the throne of Ishvaakus.

GS 22: NISHADA RAJA SOWHRUDHA SOOCHITA
SOWSEELYA SAGARA! JAYA! JAYA!

Swami Desikan salutes the Sowseelyam of Sri Ramachandra here. Sowseelyam is the attribute of a great soul, who mixes with people lower than him in status with ease. Here, Swami refers to the friendship that Rama showed to the Guha, the unlettered king of hunters residing on the frontier of the nation of Kosala.

Guha was a simple chieftain, who roamed in the forest in search of animlas to hunt. Rama was the lord of the Univrse and Paramaathmaa. Inspite of it, Rama displayed his kalyana Gunam known as Sowseelyam and became the guest of the hunter of a much lower status and exchanged oath of friendship. Swami recalls this meeting between Guha and Rama on the banks of Ganges and hails Rama as the ocean of Sowseelyam (Valmiki Ramayanam Sargas 50 to 52).

Hail to Thee! O Raghuveera who through your expression of friendship to the chieftain of the hunters revealed your vast ocean-like sowseelya quality and easy accessibilty by one and all!

 

GS 23: BHARADWAAJA SAASANA PARIGRUHITA
VICHITRA CHITRAKOOTA GIRI KATAKA TATA
RAMYAA VASATHA! JAYA! JAYA!

Meaning: O Raghu Veera who obeyed the instructions of Sage Bharadwaaja and resided in the foot hills of Chitrakoota mountain in a beautiful residence built by LakshmaNaa! Hail to Thee! Hail to Thee!

Remeniscences: Sri Rama befriended the king of forest hunters, Guha and enjoyed his hospitality and displayed His Sowlabhya GuNam through recognizing Guhan as the fourth brother of His besides Lakshmana, Bharatha and Satrugnaa. With Guha's help, He crossed the river Ganga and took leave of him and reached Sage Bharadwaja's aasramam on the other side of the river Yamuna. The sage was surprised to see the royal travellers in hermit's dresses and inquired about what happened. Learning the circumstances that led to the royal party's journey through the forest, Sage Bharadhwaajaa instructed Rama to establish His residence few kilometers from his own Asramam at a site located on the foot hills of the beautiful chitrakoota mountain. Rama obeyed the sage's command and accepted the kaimkaryam of His brother LakshmaNaa, who constructed a delightful residence according to the codes of building construction.

Sage Bharadwaja in poet Kamban's words describes the beauty of Chitrkootam as being more than the loveliness of Indra's svarga Logam ( ViNNInum Inithaal , Devar kai thozhum Chitthirakootam ) . He points out that Chitrakootam is so sacred that even the Devas raise their hands in salutation .

In an entire section named "Chittirakoota Patalam" , poet Kamban describes the extraordinary beauty of the mountain, its flora and fauna in a manner similar to the descriptions found in the 94th sargam of Ayodhyaa Khaandam. Here, Sage Valmiki presents Rama as the describer of the divine beauty of the Chitrakoota mountain to his beloved wife. Sri Rama describes the auspicious peak of Chitrakoota mountain as

"CHITRAKOOTASYA KOOTOAYAM DRUSYATEH SARVATA: SUBHA:"

Thereafter, he states: " If for my part, O Darling Sita, I shall be able to spend this period of exile extending over 14 years (as though in sport) , with You . O Sita and Lakshmanaa! adhering to the path trodden by the virtuous and conforming to the highest discipline imposed by myself , I shall derive joy enhancing the piety of my race".

IMAM THU KAALAM VANITEH VIJAHRIVAAMSTVAYAA
CHA SEETEH SAHA LAKSHMANENA I
RATHIM PRAPATSYEH KULADHARMA VARDHINEEM
SATAAM PATHI SVANIYAMAI: PARAI : STHITHA : II
-- Ayodhyaa Khandam , Srimad RamAyaNam : verse 27

Kulasekhara Azhwaar saw the Tillai Thiruchitrakootam Divya Desam at Chidambaram as the southern Chitrakotam and offered his mangalaasAsanam of Tillai EmperumAn and composed ten verses serving as SampurNa RaamayaNam.

Sri Mutthuswami Dikshitar worshipped Tillai Thiruchittira Kootatthu Govindarajan and offered his Naada Naivedyam to the Archaa murthy there through four brilliant krithis set in RaagAs Rathipriyaa (same as the 62nd Mela ragam Rishabha Priyaa) , Mesa Bhowli , Surutti and Mukaari.Summary of the meanings of these Krithis along with the commentary on the Kulasekhara Azhwaar's pasurams are contained in a book ( AravaNai Tuyinrohn ) that I had the good fortune to publish in 1993 at Tillai Thiruchitrakootam.

Azhwaar describes his daasyaa state to the Bhagavathaas of the Emperumaan of Tillai Thiruchitrakootam this way:

O Ramachandra! I take refuge at the holy feet of the Bhagavathaas, who have performed SaraNaagathi at your lotus feet. (Pasuram 3)

This earth is indeed sanctified by the movement of those Bhagavathas, who raise their hands in salutation to Sri Rama of Chitrakootam with their Anjali mudra (Pasuram 5).

I do not consider any kingdom superior to the one of having the lotus feet of the Lord of Tillai Thiruchitrakootam on my head (Pasuram 7)

My mind does not ever forget the Lord of Thillai Thiruchitrakootam. Hence no inauspiciousness will befall me (Pasuram 9)

O Servants of the Lord! Please recognize the archa murthy staying forever to bless you as Vaikunta Naathan at Tillai Thiruchitrakootam and eulogize him and perform Nitya Kaimkaryam to Him and receive His full blessings (Pasuram 10).

Such is the glory of Chitrakootam celebrated by Sage Valmiki, Kulasekhara Azhwaar, Kamban and Dikshitar.

GS 24: ANANYA SAASANEEYA! JAYA! JAYA!

Meaning: O Lord who can not to be commanded by any one! Hail to Thee! Hail to Thee!

Musings: The subject matter covered in sargas 79 to 112 of AyodhyA KhAndam of Srimad Valmiki RamAyaNam is what Swami Desikan briefly mentions here.

The grief stricken Bharata reaches chitrakootam intent on bringing his elder brother to AyodhyA and crown him as the emperor. He is accompanied by his threemothers, Acharya VasishtA, Sage Jabaali , the members of his army and camp followers. Bharata leaves his entourage behind and walks with his mothers and Acharya to the ParNasAla (hut) made up of leafy twigs, where Sri Rama, Sita and LakshmaNa were living. Bharatha falls at the feet of his elder brother and begs him to return to AyodhyA and ascend the throne of IshvAkus, now that Dasartha has ascended to heaven. Rama faints at the news of his father's passing away and goes to MandAkini river bank and performs TarpaNam for his deceased father.

Bharatha implores Rama now fervently to oblige him by ascending the throne of IshvAkus with the concurrence of his own mother Kaikeyi, who retracts the boon given to her by her late husband. Bharatha threatens to stay in the forest, if Rama does not return to AyodhyA. Rama silences his brother with cogent reasons as to why he could not disavow the pledge he made to his father to relinquish the throne in favor of Bharata. Now, Sage JabAli takes another approach and uses the thory of Naastikaas to convince Rama that he should accept the throne . Rama dismisses the arguments of Sage JabAli as hollow and points out that his line of thinking was against Dhaarmic principles. Acharya VasishtA now pacifies the angry Rama and commands him to accept the throne as the eldest son of Emperor Dasaratha. Acharya Vasishta points out that the Guru is superior to one's parents in rank and that Rama should obey him.Rama politely , but firmly points out that the parents are indeed superior to one's own Acharya and insists that he could not break the pledge that he gave to his father .

Bharatha in desperation vows to fast unto death to pressure his resolute brother. Rama points out that it would be a repugnant step for a KshatriyA to committ suicide in this fashion. The hopeles Bharata now offers to stay in the forest as a proxy to Rama so that Rama can return to AyodhyA. The firm Rama dismisses that offer of Bharatha and points out that the question of proxy comes into the picture only when one is incapacitated and there is no reason for taking that route. Rama states that he will return to AyodhyA only after the 14 years of exile as per his promise to his father. The frustrated Bahratha now places a new PadhukA (sandals) at the feet of Rama and requests Rama to step on it. Rama accedes to Bharata's request. Bharata swears in front of all the assembled that he will rule the kingdom as the representative of Rama Padhuka and will step into fire at the end of the 14 yers , if Rama does not return from exile to accept his kingdom. Rama pledges to return and take over the kingdom at the end of the period of exile.

This incident at Chitrakootam, where Rama refused to be commanded by any one including his mothers, Acharya Vasishta, Sage JAbAli and Bharatha is what Swami Desikan had in mind, when he salutes Rama as
"ANANYA SAASANEEYA! JAYA! JAYA! " .

THE STATE OF HELPLESNESS OF BHARATHA IS VERY MUCH LIKE ALL THE RAMA BHAKTHAS , WHO CAN NOT BEAR TO BE SEPARATED FROM SRI RAMACHANDRA. The great Rama Bhaktha ,the guru of Chatrapathi Sivaji, Samartha Raamdaas ( AD 1608-1680 ) described his feelings over separation from Rama this way in his work known as Daasabodh :

" I WANT NOT WEALTH , NOR WIFE OR REBIRTHS I WANT NOT IN ME THE PRIDE OF KNOWLEDGE.

BY THE PATH OF WORSHIP (BHAKTI ) LEAD ME TO A LIFE OF GOODNESS .

I HAVE NO SKILL OF MIND, NO POWER OF THOUGHT, NO WISDOM OR STREGTH OF REASON.

I AM THY IGNORANT BAHKTHA , GIVE ME AN UNDERSTANDING HEART, O RAM.

I KNOW NOT HOW TO TALK OR ACT. I DO NOT UNDERRSTAND MY DUTIES.

I AM GREATLY TROUBLED BY MY RELATIONS WITH MEN.GIVE ME AN UNDERSTANDING HEART, O RAM.

AS I LISTEN TO THE EXPLANATION OF THE SCRIPTURES, A GOOD THOUGHT ENTERS MY MIND; BUT IT SOON PASSES AWAY AS THE TIME OF GIVING UP THE FRUIT ARRIVES.

BUT WHAT SHALL I DO, O RAM , I AM UNABLE TO DO WHAT I OUGHT.

O RAM! I CAN NOT ENDURE LIFE WITHOUT THEE. "

Saint Thyagaraja , another in the front line of great Rama Bahkthas plaintively pleads to Sri Rama in his PurnachandrikA krithi, " Sri Rama Rama Jagadhaatma Rama , Sri Rama Raghurama" that Sri Rama , the soul of the Universe should not go away from him . He says "TVAAM VINA NAANYATRA JAANEH RAMA, TVAAM VINAA KO GATHI? ". I KNOW NOTHING BEYOND YOU. WITHOUT YOU WHaT REFUGE IS THERE? Elsewhere, the Saint points out to Sri Rama in his Naayaki krithi "Nee Bhajana gaana " that he has in
vain explored fully the Saguna margam , the NirguNa margam , the truth and falsehood , the six schools and the eight siddhis . He has not found the answers that he was looking for. He concludes by stating that there is naught but Youas the redeemer .

Such is the greatness of Rama Bhakthas , who can not bear even for a moment to part company with Sri Ramachandra like the blessed brother Bharatha .

GS 25: PRANATHA BHARATA MAKUTATATA
SUGATITHA PAADHUKAAGRYAABHISHEKA
NIRVARTHITHA SARVA LOKA YOGA KSHEMA!
JAYA! JAYA!

Meaning: O Lord who looked after the Yoga Kshemam of the entire world by placing your Padhukas snugly on the head of your brother Bharata , who ruled as a representative of those sacred Padhukas after performing the coronation ceremony( Padhuka pattAbhishekam ) for them . Hail to Thee! Hail to Thee!

Musings on GS 25: The sorrowing Bharata journeyed to Chitrakutam with his mothers and Acharyas. He begged his brother to accept the kingdom and return to Ayodhya to be coronated as the king of Kosala desam. Rama refused to accede to the request of his dear brother since he could not break the pledge that he gave to his father. The heart-broken Bharata fell at Rama's feet and the compassionate Rama placed his padhukAs on his brother's head. Bharata carried those PadhukAs on his head back to Nandigramam and performed the coronation ceremony for them and ruled the land as the representative as those PadhukAs until Rama returned from his exile after fulfilling his avathara mission. Swami Desikan states that Rama took care of the welfare and protection (Yoga Kshemam) of the world through his gracious act of blessing Bharata with his sacred padhukAs.

The source of sanctity for all holy things is hteir contact with the Lord. The Padhukas that bear the weight of the Lord and accompany Him in his journeys are the most sacred due to their Bahgavad Sambhandam. Swami Desikan composed more than 1000 verses to celebrate the holiness of the Padhukas worshipped by Bharata. In the very first slokam of PadhukA Sahasram, Swami focuses on their unique ability to protect the worlds :

SANTHA: SRIRANGA PRUTHVEESA CHARANA THRAANA SEKARAA: I
JAYANTHI BHUVANA THRAANA PADHA PANKAJA RENAVA: II

MEANING: The blessed ones wearing joyously the Lord's PadhukAs on their head protect the universe through the power of those sacred PadhukAs. Even the dust particle from the feet of those blessed souls has the power to protect the people of the universe. Bharata was the first blessed soul to reveal the power of those Padhukas of the Lord. SwamiDesikan refers to Bharata's role in the second verse of the Padhuka Sahasram:

BHARAHTAAYA PARAM NAMOASTHU TASMAI
PRATHAMODHAAHARANAAYA BHAKTHI BHAAJAAM I
YADHUPAJNAMASESHATHA: PRUTHIVYAAM
PRATHITHO RAGHAVA PADHUKAA PRABHAAVA:

MEANING: The illustrious one, who first wore Sri Ramachandra's PadhukAs on his head was his brother Bharata. He conducted the affairs of the state as the representative of those holy PadhukAs during his brother's exile. This verse salutes Bharatha as the blessed soul, who illustrated the significance, power and the holiness of the Lord's sandals through his worship of them .The PadhukA prabhavam (the gloryof the Sandals of the Lord) was established first (PrathamodhaaharaNam) by Bharatha.

The concept of those Padhukaas enquiring about the Yoga Kshemam of the people of the universe brings one's thoughts to the Sahasra Namam pala sruthi verse:

ANAYAA: CHINTAYANTHO MAAM YEH JANAA: PARYUPAASATEH I
TESHAAM NITYAABHIYUKTHANAAM YOGA KSHEMAM VAHAAMYAHAM II

Meaning: Bhagavan Sri Krishna says: "With reference to those who find it impossible to live (like Bharatha) without thinking of Me, I undertake the responsibility of bringing about their union with Me and keeping that union for ever"

DhyAnam:

RAMAM PURAANA PURUSHAM RAMANEEYA VESHAM
RAJAATHIRAAJA MAKUTAARCHITA PAADHA PEETAM I
SITAAPATHIM SUNAYANAM JAGADEKA VEERAM
SRI RAMACHANDRAM ANISAM KALAYAAMI CHITTEH II

-----SRI RAMA KARNAAMRUTHA SLOKAM

 

GS: 26 --Pisitha ruchi vihita dhuritha valamathana
tanaya balibhuganugathi sarabhasa sayana truNa
sakala paripathana bhaya chakitha Sakala Sura
munivara bahumatha mahaastra Saamarthya !
Jaya ! Jaya !

Meaning: O Lord of incomparable valor whose skills in endowing a mere blade of grass with the power of Brahmaasthram! You sent that blade of grass from your darbha mattress, when You were horrified to see the apachaaram done by KAkAsura to your Devi out of his desire for eating flesh. All the Devas and sages were afraid that the Darbham consecrated by you to have the power of the mighty BrahmAsthram would land on them, when KaaakAsuran sought them as refuge. O Lord of such valor! Hail to Thee! Hail to Thee!

Musings: KaakAsuran (Crow) was the son of Indran, the king of Devaas. Kaakasuran saw Sita Devi in Chitrakutam. She was holding the head of Sri Rama on her thigh as he was taking rest. The crow slowly approached the Jaganmaathaa and took a second peck at her breast because of his desire for eating flesh. Blood poured out and fell on the sleeping Rama's head. Sita Devi would not move since she did not want to wake up Rama by her movement. The contact of the warm blood however woke up Rama and he sized up the situation immediately.

Rama was outraged by the aparaadham of the crow and he consecrated a blade of Dharbhaa graas from his bed and directed it at the Crow, which was rushing away out of fear of Sri Rama. That blade of grass possessing the power of the mighty Brahmaastram chased the Crow in all the three worlds. The crow sought refuge at his father's feet. Indra was afraid to give protection to his own son for fear of the damage that will come to him from Rama's arrow (empowered Blade of grass). The Crow flew off to the abodes of Brahma, Rudraa and sages. None of them wanted to get in the way of the Brahmaasthram for fear of their own lives. They saluted the power of the Lord's blade of grass and were awe struck at the event of that blade of grass chasing the guilty crow acros the entire span of the Universes. The arrow chased the Crow with vigor, when it flew in a direction away from Rama and slowed down , when the Crow flew in the direction of Rama.

GS 27: DRUHINA HARA VALATHANA DHURAARAKSHA SARALAKSHA !
JAYA ! JAYA !

Meaning: O Lord whose arrow's aim can not be interfered with even by Brahmaa, Rudraa and Indraa. They could not protect the object of your arrow's target with their power. Hail to Thee! Hail to Thee!

Musings: The incident of the Apacharam of KaakAsuran took place in Chitrakutam . There is however no mention of this incident by Sage Valmiki in the Ayodhyaa Khaandam verses dealing with the life of the divine couple at Chitrakootam. This incident s mentioned by Sita Devi in Ashoka Vanam in Sundara Khaandam in her conversations with Hanuman in the 38 th sargam. She was recalling the anger of Rama at the ApachAram of the Crow towards her and was telling Hanuman that she could not understand how Rama is now indifferent to the heinous act of RavaNaa , who kidnapped her and held her as a prisoner away from Rama .

She recites at length the incident of the Crow hurting her and Rama's rage at the crow. Swami Desikan in his Chillarai Rahasyam known as " Abhaya Pradhaana Saaram "dwells at length on Kakasuran's Aparaadham and Rama's Kaarunyam as SaranAgatha Rakshakan even in the case of the most undeserving KaakAsuran. Swami Desikan cites this incident as one of the many ( VibhishaNa SaraNaagathi ,Samudra Raja saraNaagathi et al ) to justify his insightful description of Srimad RaamaaYaNam as the SaraNaagathi Saastram .

Kaakasuran ran everywhere in the three worlds and could not escape from the Brahmaastram of Rama and could not gain the protection of any one to save him from the wrath of the blade of grass. He fell at the feet of Rama finally and sought his pardon. Sage Valmiki describes the plight of KaakAsuran and his SaraNaagathi in Sundara Khandam through Sita's words:

THREEN LOKAAN SAMPARIKRAMYA TAMEVA SARANAM GATHA:

The SaranAgatha RakshaNam of the Lord is beautifully described by the Adi Kavi this way:

SA THAM NIPATHITHAM BHUMOU SARANYA: SARANAAGATHAM I
VADHAARHAMAPI KAAKUTSTHA: KRUPAYAA PARYAPAALAYATH II
Sundara Khaandam Sargam 38 verse 34.

The crow had fallen at the feet of the Lord. That crow was fit to be killed (Vadaarhan). He was begging for his life (PraaNarthi). The Lord gave him the boon of life (PraaNa Dhaanam). One of the reason for Rama's saving Kakasuran's life was due to the presence of the Parama KaaruNikatvaam of the Piraatti, who was standing next to Rama. This is the Rahasyam behind the fulfilment of the SaraNaagathi of Kakaasura by Rama according to Swami Desikan.

VARAM NA YAACHEH RAGHUNAATHA YUSHMATH
PAADAABHJA BHAKTHI: SATATHAM MAMAASTHU I
IDHAM PRIYAM NAATHA! VARAM PRAYACCHA
PUNA: PUNA: TVAAM IDHAMEVA YAACHEH II

MEANING: O Saranagatha Vatsala Rama! O Bhaktha Vatsala Raghu Naathaa!
I am not asking You for any boon except one . May I be blessed with devotion for your lotus feet always ! This is dear to me my Lord . please giveme this boon. I will be asking you for this boon again and again.

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 .

 

GS 32 :dhushaNa jalanidhi soshaNa toshitha rishigaNa
goshitha vijaya goshaNa ! Jaya! Jaya !

O Raghuveeraa who dried the ocean of the night-stalker by the name of DhushaNa by the firey arrows leaving form Your Kodhandam! The assembly of sages thrilled by witnessing Your power as a supreme archer raised to sky level their eulogies to celebrate Your victory.

DhusaNa was the general of Khara , the brother of SurpaNakA. DhushaNa marched his army of 14,000 ogres from Janasthanam to Panchavati to attack and kill Rama as per his Master's orders. Rama killed first the entire army of 14,000 ogres and confronted DhusaNa in battle. Rama broke the bow of DhushaNa , killed his charioter as well as his horses and then lopped off the mace-wielding hand of the ogre and killed him too. All the sages witnessing this fierce battle were thrilled at the sight of Rama's extraordinary valour and hailed him as a supreme hero. They filled the sky with thankful salutations to recognize Rama's victory. Adi Kavi says in this context:" Saadhu Saadhu ithi Kaakuthstham sarva bhoothAnyapoojayan "(all beings present at the battle field acclaimed Sri Rama saying "well done ! Bravo !). Swami Desikan follows this line of Srimad RaamAyaNam to state that the assembled rishis made the Vijaya GoshaNam.

GS 33: kharatara Khara taru kantana chanta pavana !

O Lord who was like a fierce cyclone (chanta maarutham) in breaking in to two the fierce tree named Khara. The ferocious Khara upset over the destruction of Trisiras, DhushaNan and his huge army by Rama attacked latter. Rama broke him in the battle like a swift wind would break a tall tree into two pieces. Thus in the course of one and half hours Rama destroyed Khara ,his two genarals and the army of 14,000 ogres. Swami Desikan's mind is still absorbed with that mighty prowess of Raguveeran. Hence, he goes on to add two more salutations to celebrate Rama's victory at Panchavati.

GS 34: Dvisaptha raksha: sahasra naLavana vilolana mahAkalabha !
Jaya! Jaya !

O Hero who destroyed the tall grass of 14,000 RakshasAs just as a powerful elephant destroys a forest of swamp grass. Hail to Thee! Hail to Thee!

GS 35: asahAya Sura ! Jaya! Jaya!

Hail to Thee O great hero who does not need the support of anyone else in Your battles! You destroyed single handedly Kahara, DhushaNa, Trisaras and their retinue of fourteen thousand warriors in the battle at Panchavati right in front of Your ParNasAla. There is no one to mavh
Your heroism in battles.

GS 36: anapAya SAhasa ! Jaya ! Jaya !

It is daring act indeed to take on all these fierce rakshsAs in battle and to crown that act by emerging victorious at the end of this terrific battle . Your daring and courage is indeed unmatched. Hail to Thee! Hail to Thee !

GS 37: mahita mahAmrutha darsana mudhita mythilee
dhrutatara parirambhaNa vibhava viropitha vikata viravraNa !
Jaya! Jaya!

O Raghuveeraa! You stood firm in your battle with the thousands of RakshasAs headed by the dangerous Khara and became victorious. All the sages and the DevAs acclaimed You as supreme hero. Your consort also witnessed this fierce battle and was joyous over your victory. She was thrilled to see your extraordinary skills in the battle field. She was overwhelmed by her feelings of pride about you and embraced You tightly to congratulate You on Your victory. At that time Your proud chest was covered with the wounds resulting from the just-ended battle. Your consort 's embrace representing her present to you acted as though it was a fomentation for Your wounds to heal them . Hail to Thee O Raghu Veera ! Hail to Thee!

Adi Kavi describes this scene of the expression of Joy and affection by Sita to her victorious husband . He says : "Seeing her husband, who had made short work of His enemies and brought happiness to the sages, Sita (a princess of Videha desam) felt rejoiced and embraced Him. Nay, transported with supreme facility to see the hordes of ogres killed , the daughter of Janaka felt gratified to find Sri Rama whole. Then closely embracing once more that destroyer of the ogre hordes -- the daughter of Janaka felt rejoiced, her countenance lit with joy."

DhyAnam:

dandakAranyavAsAya kandithaamarasatrave I
Janakee prANanAthaya sadhaa RamAya mangaLam II

In the remaining four salutations relating to AaraNya KhAndam, Swami Desikan covers mAricha vadham , JatAyu samskaram (final rites) , Kabhandha vadham and Sabhari Moksham. Thereafter, he moves on to salute the incidents of KishkindhA khAndam .

GS 38: mAricha mAyA mruga charma parikarmitha
nirbhara dharbhAstharaNa ! Jaya! Jaya !

O Lord whose darbhAsanam is decorated by the skin of the deceitful mArichA , who appeared before You as a beautiful deer ! Hail to Thee! Hail to Thee!

RavanA ws intent on kidnapping Sita by deceit and hence commanded mAricha to take the form of a beautiful deer and to prance in front of Sita's parNasAlaa at Panchavati . Sita dEvi was charmed by the golden deer and begged her husband to catch it and present it to her for use as a pet . Rama followed the " deer " and killed it and brought back its skin. He returned to the parNasAla and put that deer skin (KrishNAjinam ) under the darbhaasanam for His daily anushtAnam. That Aasanam got beautified by that deer skin.

GS 39: vikrama yasO lAbha vikreetha jeevitha grudhrarAja
deha didhakshaa lakshita bhakthajana daakshiNya !
Jaya! Jaya !

O DayALu who demonstrated your special attachment to Your devotees through Your act of performing the final rites for the mortally wounded eagle king JatAyu , who put his life on line to fight the evil RavaNA and to foil RavaNA's attempt to get away with the kidnapping of SitA dEvi.

(Background) :Maricha gets killed by the arrow of Sri Rama. While Rama was away on pursuit of Maricha , the golden deer , RavaNa arrives at the parNasala of Rama in the guise of an ascetic. Sita invites him to accept her hospitality. She tells the visitor about Her husband and the reason for their visit to the forest . RavaNa now takes his real form and expresses his desire to make Sita his chief queen in Lankhaa. Sita is shocked by the audacity of the insolent and deceitful Visitor. She reproaches RavaNa for his unrighteous thought.

RavaNa gets angry at her harsh words and forcibly kidnaps her and places her in his celestial car and begins his travel to his kingdom. The heart broken Sita wails and calls all the animals and plants of the forest to tell her consort that she is being borne away by the evil RavaNa and for him to come to her rescue. As she was being carried away, Sita catches sight of the eagle king Jataayu perched on a tree. She addresses JatAyu and begs him to report her abduction by RavaNa and to ask her husband to hurry and rescue her. Jataayu , the friend of Dasaratha engages RavaNa in a fierce battle to deter him form taking Sita away. JatAyu is mortally wounded in that ferocious battle and lies half dead on ground. Soon, Rama searching for his missing consort arrives on the scene and learns from JatAyu about the events that transpired . JatAyu had hung to his life until he could see Rama and brief him on the terrible events that happened. At the end of his narration, JatAyu dies. Rama was overcome with inconsolable sorrow over the heroic fight of JatAyu. He performed the final rites to the dead eagle king , which even his own father Dasaratha was not priveleged to receive. Swami Desikan salutes the Bhaktha Daakshinyam (Partiality for the Bhakthaas) by Rama.

The first slokam of Swami Desikan's Parmaartha sthuthi salutes Vijayaraaghava PeruMaaL of Thirupputkuzhi divya desam as " Srimadh grudhra sarastheera PaarijAtham ". The sthala puraaNam states that Rama and LakshmaNaa conducted the anthima Kriyaas for Jataayu at Thirupputkuzhi (Thiru=sacred ; Putkuzhi= hole in the ground dug for the bird , Jataayu) . The site of cremation is recognized today as Jataayu PushkaraNi (Grudhra saras). Swami Desikan salutes the valor of Vijaya Raaghavan of Thiruputtkuzhi by addressing Him affectionately as Aahava Pungan, RaNa Punghan (the supreme hero in the battles). That RaNa pungavan recognizes the valour shown by jatAyu and responds to it by performing the final rites and giving Moksham to JatAyu asa token of his gratitude.

"saraNaagatha rakshaNa vrathi maam
na vihaathum RaNapungavaarhasi tvam "
-- ParamArtha Sthuthi : slokam 8

( O Lord of unmatched valor in Your battles! O Lord who has taken the vow of protecting Your SaraNaagathaas ! it is not appropriate for you to forsake me ).

This morning I had the good fortune to listen to the entire RamAshtaka Krithis of Dikshitar rendered by the NadhopasanA group. This tape was presented to me by a dear member of the Bhakthi group . After I heard the Jyothi SwarupiNi raga Krithi on Sri Rama , It was clear that I had to return to DandakAranyam to enjoy the anubhavam of Swami Desikan today about the mighty valorous deeds of the Kodhanda PaaNi there .

DhyAnam
*******

RaamEthi varNa dvayamaadharENa
sadhaa smaran mukthim upaithi janthu : I
kalou yugE kalmasha MaanushaaNaam
anyathra dharmE kalu naadhikaara : II

(By uttering and meditating on the two lettered name Raamaa (Taaraka Namam), all creatures attain mukthi. In this kali yugam, when the righteousness is fast vanishing, there is no other dahrmam (practice suitable to us).

I will conclude the observations of the remaining two salutations of Swami Desikan on Aaranya Khaandham in this and the next posting.

GS 40: klapitha vibhudha bhaava kabhandhaaabhinanditha !
Jaya ! Jaya !

(meaning): Hail to Thee, O Lord who was eulogised by the asura Kabhandhaa , who regained his erstwhile celestial form as as a result of your severing his arms .

(Background): Kabhandhanwas an erstwhile Deva, who incurred the displeasure of his master, Indra. Latter hit him with his Vajra weapon on the head and that led to his head and neck being sunk inside his torso. Later a sage by the name of sthula Siras cursed Kabhandhaa for an apachAram and latter became an Asura roaming the forest of Dandakam with no head, neck, thighs or legs, but just a trunk with mouth and eye in his chest.

Rama was travelling in that AaraNyam in a south westerly direction in search of His consort. Kabhandhaa confronted Rama and LakshmaNaa and snatched them with his eight mile long hands. Kabhandhaas prowess rested in his hands. Therefore Rama and LakshmaNaa severed the ogre's hands at the shoulder level. Rama cut off the asura's right hand and LakshmaNa took care of the left. The ogre writhed in pian and fell on the ground under the feet of Rama. Then he inquired Rama as to who he is and where he came from. LakshmaNaa briefed the fallen Kabhandhaa. Hearing that the one who maimed him was none other than Sri Rama , Kabhandhaa was ecstatic , since the curse could only be lifted by Rama's hand. The asura begged Rama to creamte him so that he can regain his body as a Deva and then help the brothers with his supersensous knowledge as a Deva about the whereabouts of kidnapped Sita .The brothers threw the body of Kbhandhaa in a pit and creamted him with due ceremony. At the end of the creamation, Kabhandhaa transformed into his original celestial form and counselled the brothers that They should cultivate friendship with the monkey king Sugreeva to succeed in their efforts to reunite with Sita Devi. Kabhandhaa consoled the grief stricken Rama and asked him to hasten to Sugriva's hiding place on the banks of Pampaa lake near Rishyamukha hill . Prior to his departure from this world as a celestial being , Kabhandhaa showed the brothers the way to Sugrivaa's abode and gave them information about the hermitage of Sage Matangaa and took leave of the brothers.

Dhyaanam
********

Jayathu Jayathu RamO Jaanaki VallabhOyam I
Jayathu Jayathu RamO Chandrachootaarchithangri :II

Jayathu Jayathu vaaNinaathanaatha : paramaathmaa I
Jayathu Jayathu RamO nathanaatha: krupALu : II

Swami Desikan covers the glorious incident of Sabari Moksham in his last salutation related to aaranya khaandham.

GS 41: avandhya mahima muni jana bhajana mushitha hrudhaya kalusha sabhari moksha saakshi bhuta ! Jaya ! Jaya !

(Meaning) : O Lord who was the witness to the Moksha attainment of Sabari , who through her devoted service to the assembly of sages of unblemished reputation had all of her blemishes removed ! Hail to Thee! Hail to Thee!

Sabari was an old lady, who lived on the banks of Pampaa river. She spent her life serving the sages doing penance in that region. This service earned her a vast amount of PuNyams which in turn destroyed any blemishes that she might have had. She had started her Bhakthi Yogam in a previous birth and completed that yogam in her next birth as a resident of Pampaa theeram. When Rama stopped at Pampaa Vanam on his way to meet Sugreeva, she met Rama and was blessed to have his darsana bhagyam to her heart's content. She offered the Lord fruits that she had collected from the forest with great affection. Then she ascended Sri Vaikuntam right infront of Rama's eyes. Hence Swami Desikan describes Rama as the witness to Sabari's Bhagyam.

Srimad RamaayaNam devotes the entire 74th sargam of AaraNya Khaandham to describe Rama's visit to the asramam of Sabari in Matanga Vanam on the banks of Pampaa river. Valmiki describes Pampaa as a lake. Today's Pampaa is a river where Aiyappa bhakthaas take a plunge before ascending the Sabari Malai to continue with their pilgrimage to have the darsanam of Dharma Saasthaa.

Sabari meets Rama and Lakshmana at her aasramam. She had already attained perfection through Yoga saadhanaa. Rama asks about her welfare and state of spiritual progress. Sabari replied ;" O Rama! the flower of humanity ! My asceticsm has become fruitful today and the highest heaven will defenitely fall to my lot, now that you have been worshipped by me (adhya praapthaa tapa: siddhi: tava samdarsanAn maya, adhya mE sapalam janma guravasccha sapujithaa: II adhya mE spalam taptham svargascchaiva bhavishyathi). She entered the agni kuntam after clasping Rama's lotus feet and ascended to heaven with DivyaabharaNam , celestial garlands and heavenly raiment. Rama was a witness to this glorious event on the banks of Pampaa.

Saint Thyagaraja celebrates Sabri's bhagyam in two of his krithis. In the MukhAri krithi "entani nE varNinthunu Sabari Bhagyamu", he wonders as to how he can adequately describe the special blessings that Bhaktha Sabari received from Sri Rama . Sadguru states that there were many rishi patnis of high stature at Matanga Vanam as a result of their penance and yet Sri Rama selected Sabari as his hostess and accepted her hospitality with great affection. Sadguru wonders loud: " That grest blessed soul saluted your lotus feet, got rid of her cycles of births and deaths and attained moksham infront of You. What way can I describe Sabari's unique bhagyam ?".

In a second krithi set in ragam KiraNaavaLi (Paraaku nee kelaraa Ramaa), Sadguru Thygaraja swamigaL is angry at Rama for His indifference to him. Our Sadhguru is in a mood of Amarsha Rosha Roshokthi. He asks: " Why should You, who are immanent in the movable and the immovable , be indifferent where I am concerned ? Have I treated You with scant courtesy like Sabari who gave You the leavings of fruits after she had tasted them or have I, like Guha, given You a bed of leaves without realising Your status ? ". Here Saint Thayagaraja refers to one version of Sabari's hospitality. According to this version , Sabari checked the ripeness of the fruits that she collected for Sri Rama. She tasted them and gave only those fruits that she thought was ripe enough for Sri Rama's use. She gave the Yecchil (left overs) out of her great desire to give nothing but the best among her collection of fruits. Our Sadguru taunts Rama and asks Him how Rama ignored him, when he behaved much better than Sabari. With great DaakshiNyam, Sadguryu asks these questions. Saint Thyagaraja's regards for the exceptional Bhagyam of Sabari is very clear in his Mukhari Krithi. Srimad RaamaayaNam has no support for the reference of Sabari tasting the fruits first and offering only those that were fit for Sri Rama's consumption. One another version of RamAyaNam is the source of Saint Thyagaraja's reference in his KiraNAvaLi krithi.

 

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KISHKINDAA KHAANDAM

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tridasa kumudha chandhrO dAnAvAmbhoja chandhrO
duritha timira chandhrO yoginAm jnana chandhra: I
praNatha nayana chandhrO mythili netra chandhrO
dasamukha ripu chandhra: paathu maam Ramachandra :

DhyAnam:

prAthar bhajAmi RaghunAtha KarAravindham
rakshogaNAya bhayadham varadhanm nijebhya: I
yadh rAjasamsadhi vibhidhya mahesachaapam
SitA karagrahaNa mangaLamApa sadhya : II

Sri Ramachandra and his brother LakshmaNA left Sabari's asramam and continued their journey in the direction suggested by KabhandhA along the banks of PampA lake. The monkey king SugrivA was living on the summit of a nearby peak named Rishyamukha parvatham with his ministers. He was hiding from his brother VAli. SugrivA caught sight of the two princes in the dresses of hermits and got suspicious. He got alarmed over the thought that they might have been agents of his brother Vali sent to catch him. His minister HanumAn reasoned with SugrivA and assured latter that the princes could not be the agents of VAli. SugrivA then asked HanumAn to meet the two travellers to find out the purpose of their visit.

HanumAn took the disguise of a mendicant and approached the brothers. He bowed before them and inquired about them and the purpose of their journey to that forest area. HanumAn appraised them of SugrivA's plight and advised them that his master sought the good will of the two princes. Sri Rama was very pleased with the diplomatic skills and the speech of HanumAn proficient in Vedic diction and spotless Grammar (VyAkaraNam). This is where the first salutation of KishkindhA Khaandham of Swami Desikan's Raghu Veera gets its inspiration.

GS 42 : prabhanjana tanaya bhAvuka bhAshitha ranjitha hrudhya !
Jaya ! Jaya !

O Lord whose heart was filled with joy over the auspicious and adroit conversation of HanumAn , the son of Vaayu (prabhanjana) ! Hail to Thee! Hail to Thee!

The conversation of HanumAn was rich in Vedic vocabulary and correct in grammar. Sri Rama was very much taken up by the scholarship and conversational skills of HanumAn that soothed and charmed his heart. He praised HanumAn's skills as a diplomat and scholar this way:

" O LakshmaNA! It is only those who have studied Rg Veda with an understanding of the meaning of its Rks as well as Yajur and Sama Veda can speak like this. HnaumAn has surely studied further the entire range of Sanskrit grammar in many ways as indicated by his faultless speech. His facial expressions and body movements during his conversation are exemplary in that there is nothing dissonant or out of place. He utters a remarkably meningful, fluent and delightful speech that is pleasing to the mind. He is indeed a worthy emissary of his king ".

Rama's words of praise are :

noonam vyAkaraNam kruthsnam anena bahudhA sruthamI
urastham kantakam vAkyam varthatE madhyama svaram I
ucchArayathi kalyANeem vaacham hrudhaya harshiNIm I

Swami Desikan has these passages of praise by Rama in mind, when he saluted Raghuveeran through his first namaskaraNam in the KishkindA khAnda section.

Hanuman is revered as Nava Vyakarana Pandithan. He had learned the different versions of grammar from the sun god as a boy. His musical skills as a VeeNa player arose from his adhyayanam of Sama Vedam.

Saint Thyagaraja in his vasanthavArALi krithi on HanumAn named " pAhi Rama dhutha jagath prANa kumAra Maam ", refers to Hanumaan"s Veda Saastra naipuNyam this way in one of the charaNams :

veda sAstra nipuNa varya ! vimala chittha sathatham
karuNA rasa paripurNa ! kanchanAdhri sama deha!
parama bhagavatha VarENya ! varadha ! ThyagarAja Nutha !

(O HanumAn ! You are well versed in Vedas and SaastrAs ! You are the best of beings ! Your mind is always pure. Your heart is full of compassion. Your body resembles the golden mount meru. You are the foremost of Rama BhakthAs. You are a giver of boons. Please bless me).

Sri Mutthuswami Dikshithar's kruthi inviting HanumAn to appear in his DhyAnam is full of reference to the vaibhavam of HanumAn.This kruthi isset in ragam NAttA and starts majestically: " PavanAthmaja aagaccha, paripurNa svaccha". In anupallavi, Dikshithar salutes HanumAn as " Nava VyAkaraNa nipuNa, nava vidhAntha: karaNa ". In one of the charaNams, Dikshithar pays tribute to HanumAn's skills in Kaavyam and NAtakam and Vedas this way: " kAvya nAtaka Tosha, Upanishad pada ghosha, PavanAthmaja aagaccha ".

Purandara Dasa has praised HanumAn's multifaceted talents and heroic deeds in krithis set in ragAs nAgasvarALi , Riti GowlA, sArangA, KalyANi and mohanam. For Purandara Dasa , HanumAn was a very important deity , since he is considered as the Mukhya prANan in MAdhva sampradhAyam. Dasar salutes HanumAn iin his riti gowlA krithi this way:

" mukhya prANa yenna moola guruvE
rakkasAmdhaka Sri Raamana nija daasa "

" mAyAvAdhigaLE ghetthithu koosu
madhva madavanu uttarisuthu koosu
summene Udipili nimthithu koosu
purandara vitalana puNyatha koosu
(Koosina kaNtirA , mukhya prANaana kanNtirA )
-- SarangA krithi.

GS 43: taraNi sutha saraNaagathi parathantrikruta
SwAtantrya ! Jaya ! Jaya !

(Meaning): Hail to Thee O Lord who who sought refuge in SugreevA , the son of Sun God ! You sought the friendship and help of SugreevA to find and rescue Sita dEvi . Through your act of SaraNaagathi (seeking refuge and help in a state of utter dependence) to SugreevA , You gave up your independence as the supreme Lord of the Universe and stood meekly obeying as it were the command of SugreevA .

(Background):

Hanuman carried Rama and LakshmaNaa on his shoulders and brought them before his king, SugreevA . The visitors and the monkey king solemnized their friendship in front of a sacred fire lit by Hanumaan.

Now SugrivA tells Rama that he will have Sita dEvi traced out, wherever she may be and unite her to Rama. Sugreeva fetches a wrapper containing a piece of jewelery dropped by Sita from the air as she was being abducted by RavanaA. Rama is overcome with grief at the sight of the AbharaNams and shows the jewellery (Armlets, ear rings and anklets) to his brother,LakshmaNA. The response of LakshmaNA is a moving one. He says: " Dear brother ! Neither do I recognize the armlets nor do I know
the ear-rings, I only recognize the anklets due to my bowing at her feet every day ". Such is the mahAtmyam of Sowmithri.

The grief-stricken Rama asks for the help of the monkey king to locate the place where his beloved consort is being held in captivity by the evil RavaNA. SugreevA consoles Rama and assures Rama that he will locate RavaNa and the place where he is holding Sita in captivity.

SugreevA continues and says that he would like to offer Rama a salutary advise in a spirit of friendship and not in the spirit of moralizing. (HITAM VAYASYA BHAVENA BRAMI NOPADISAAMI TEH). SugreevA advises Rama that he should not grieve and accept his friendship. Rama is consoled by the sweet words of SugreevA , wipes is tears and says meekly : "PLease help me. Please command me and point out to me unreservedly what should be done by me in this effort (MAYAA CHA YADH ANUSHTEYAM VISRABHDENA TADH UCHYATHAAM). This statement of Rama (KiskindA KhAndham /canto 7/ verse 20) is the source of Swami Desikan's salutation about the PARATANTREE KRUTHA SWAATANTRYAM ASPECT OF THE SARVESWARAN TO SUGREEVA.

It is amazing how Swmi Desikan zeroes in on one half a sloka in a long chapter, where Adi Kavi Valmiki dwells at length on the meeting between SugreevA and Rama. The Lord of the universe conversing with Sugreevaa as a supplicant of his help goes on and says: " O SugreevA ! Such a friend like you is difficult to get indeed , particularly at this time of my adversity. Please help me and tell me what I should do. All your desire will be accomplished by me even as all seeds sown in a fertile field druing the rains will bear fruit never before has a falsehood been uttered by me nor shall I ever utter it. I solemnly affirm this to you and swear by truth alone (ANRUTHAM NOKTHAPURVAM MEH NA VAKSHYEH KADHAACHANA , YETHATH TEH PRATHIJAANAAMI SATYENAIVA SAPAAMYAHAM) .

This is the reference to the Bhaktha Paaratantryam or the Yathokthakaari aspect of Sri Ramachandra as revealed to us by Swami Desikan.

GS: 44 dhruta gatitha kailaasa koti vikata dundhubhi
kankALa kuta dhoora vikshepa daksha dakshiNetara
paadhAngushta dhara chalana viswastha suhrudhaasaya !
Jaya ! Jaya !

In this long salutation, Swami Desikan seems to suggest the long distance over which an object was sent flying with a miniscule exercise of the power of Sri Rama's left toe.

(Meaning) : O Lord who with the slight movement of the toe of your left foot sent the massive assembly of the bones of the gigantic Asura by the name of Dhundhubhi flying over a vast distance and thereby lifted the hope of Sugriva and enhanced his faith in your prowess to destroy Vaali. Hail to Thee ! Hail to Thee !

(Background): During the conversations with Rama, the monkey king SugreevA had some doubts about the prowess of Rama to match his brother Vaali"s strength in battle. SugriveeA narrated the incident of Vaali making short work of the ogre Dhundhubhi, who challenged him in battle. After killing the ogre , Vaali lifted and hurled the body of Dhundhubhi. That corpse fell inside the precincts of the hermitage of sage MatangA (Matanga Vanam) and polluted the sacred site with the blood and body remains. Some drops of blood fell on the body of the sage himself.

The angry sage cursed the perpetrator of that offense, Vaali, to lose his life , if he ever entered the precincts of his aasramam . Sugreevaa
explained to Rama that Vaali stayed away from Sage Matanga's hermitage because of that curse and that he(SugreevA) took refuge there to escape from the torments of his powerful brother .

On hearing that story and sensing Sugriveeaa's doubt about his ability to handle VAli in battle , Rama playfully kicked the colossal heap of bones of Dhundhubhi with his left toe. That assembly of Bones flew a distance of eighty miles as a result of that kick . Sugrivaa had only wanted Rama to show his power and strength by kicking the bones over a distance of 800 arms length. SugreevA was impressed and yet he had some lingering doubts. He addressed Rama and pointed out that Dhundhubhi's massive body with flesh and blood was hurled over a great distance by an exhausted Vaali, when it was full of flesh and body weight. Sugreevaa was implying that the shrunken bones of the demon was no match to the weight of the corpse at the time of Vaali's hurling it away. Thus SugreevA was questioning whether Rama's strength was a true match to that of his brother Vaali.

SugreevA then pointed out a set of seven gigantic Saal trees that Vaali used to shake to denude them of their leaves to demonstrate his strength.

Sugreevaa asked Rama : " O prince of Ayodhyaa ! How will you be able to kill my mighty brother in combat ? " LakshmaNaa got angry at the continuing doubt of Sugreevaa and asked him as to what more Rama should do to convince him of Rama's superior strength. SugreevA replied that Vaali used to pierce the seven Saal trees with a single arrow of his and that he will be convinced of Rama's role as a killer of his brother, if Rama could pierce even one Saal tree with his arrow. The incident that followed the request of SugreevA is the subject of Swami Desikan's next salutation to Raghuveeraa .

 

GS: 45

athi pruthula bahu vitapi giri dharaNi yugapadhudhaya
vivrutha chitrapunkha vaichitrya ! Jaya ! Jaya !

(Meaning): O Hero whose fast-moving , powerful arrow with marvelous decorations that appeared at the same time in the seven Saal trees , mountains , earth and the nether world ! Hail to Thee! Hail to Thee !

(Background) : When doubting SugreevA requested Rama to demonstrate once again his prowess , Rama obliged him by sending few arrows at the seven Saal trees. Those arrows moved like a band of lightning. They pierced the the seven Saal trees in a trice and continued on their way to neighboring mountains in their path and broke the crests of those mountains, changed their direction and travelled through the nether world (PaathALam/seventh of the lower worlds) and then returned quickly to their home in the quiver of Rama. The awe-inspired and terror -stricken SugreevA could not believe his own eyes about what had transpired. He fell flat infront of the Raghuveeran of unquestionable veeram and declared that his grief over the illtreatment of Vaali and doubts about the adequacy of Rama's power to protect him from the wrath of his brother were completely banished. In the words of Adi Kavi Valmiki , SugreevA said:

tamadhyaiva priyArtham mE vairiNam braathru rupiNam I
Vaalinam jahi Kaakuthstha mayA bhaddhoyam anjali : II

(Meaning): O the illustrious descendant of Kaakuthstha ! Please make short work of my tormentor (enemy) in the form of my brother this day to make me happy (and to release me form my terror). My palms have been joined together in Anjali mudra (Prayer with folded palms) for that purpose.

Swami Desikan in one of his Sillarai Rahasyam named Anjali Vaibhavam describes the power of Anjali as "Praarthanaa poorvaka bharanyaasam of the Akinchanan" (the saraNaagathi done with the folded hands as a first step for the helpless to seek the Lord's succor and protection). Swami Desikan goes on to describe Anjali mudrai as "Pala visesha vyanjaka mudrai" (the gesture that symbolizes special fruits to be obtained from the Lord). Swami quotes the slokam of VishNu DharmOtthamam which states unambiguously that the anjali made in front of the Lord quickly helps one to receive the Lord's immediate attention and lets one become the object of his Dayaa :

ANJALI: PARAMAA MUDRAA KSHIPRAM DEVA PRASAADHINI

On a future occasion, I will dwell further on Anjali Vaibhavam of Swami Desikan.

GS 47:

apAra pArAvAra parighaa parivrutha dhava dahana
javana pavana bhava kapivara parishvanga bahvitha
Sarvasva DhAna ! Jaya ! Jaya !

Rama's power to bless one with every kind of Iswaryam including Moksham is covered by Swami Desikan here.

(Meaning) : O Lord , who embraced HanumAn with joy over the good tidings of locating Sita's place of incarceration by the evil RavaNA and for bringing back the KaNaiAzhi as Sita"s token of her love for Rama ! Hail to Thee! Hail to Thee! You expressed your special affection to the successful HanumAn , who jumped over the ocean with great velocity. That ocean served as a formidable moat for the kingdom of RavaNA to prevent anyone from entering the kingdom with ease. You held Hanuman tightly in your arm for returning safely with good news after setting the city of Lankha on fire with audacity and giving RavaNA a taste of things to come. The fire set by HanumAn spread like wild fire and destroyed a significant section of the capital of RavaNA. You were so proud of HanumAn for his heroic deeds that you embraced him affectionately and through that embrace conferred on him every type of wealth and blessings (Sarvasva DhAna).

indheevara dhaLa syAmam indhukotinibhaananam I
kandharpa koti lAvaNyam vandEham Raghunandanam II

 

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YUDDHA KHANDHAM

____________________________________________________

 

We now come to the Sixth and penultimate canto of Adi Kavi Valmiki"s Srimadh RAmAyaNam , which is known as the Yuddha KhAndham(YK). Here, Sri Rama's avathAra kAryam is executed and his heroism is fully demonstrated . Hence , the Gadhyam of Swami Desikan on the Raghu Veeran comes into full focus. The salutations of Swami Desikan echo here with the battle sounds majestically.

There are a total of 29 salutaions related to YK of Swami Desikan's Raghuveera Gadhyam. Six of them consist of one or two words. I will reflect on their meanings later. These six salutations for the sake of listing are: Veera (50 ) < Satya Vratha (51 ) < SwAmin (75 ) <Raaghava Simha (76 ) , Nishpanna Kruthya (71 )< and Aparathidhwandwa Pourusha (61 ).

Some of the salutaions are very long and are full of alliterations or Onomotopheia. These resonate with the sound and fury of the battle in a majestic fashion and accompany the DankhAra dwani associated with Sri Ramaa's Kodhandam.

The first half of Yuddha KAndham covers the VibhishaNa SaraNAgathi, Darbha Sayanam , Sethu Bandhanam and the arrival of Sri Rama, LakshmaNA, SugreevA , HanumAn with the army of monkeys and bears at the capital cit yof RaavaNA. Swami Desikan covers these incidents through 8 salutations starting from salutation 48. The first 39 chapters of Srimadh RaamAyaNam covers these incidents.

The second half of YK consists of 89 sargas in Srimadh Vaalmiki RaamayaNam . Swami Desikan uses 21 salutations to illustrate RaamA's heroism saluted earlier by Vaalmiki in his YK. These salutations cover the various battles in which Sri Rama participated, Indrajith's binding of the Lord and LakshmaNA with Naga Paasam , the service of Garuda to chase away the serpents , RavaNaa's first battle with Rama and former's retreat from the battle field , death of RavaNaa at the hands of the victorious Rama, Mandodhari's lamentation over the loss of her husband, her praise of Rama , the eulogies of the Devaas and Brahmaa in recognition of the unparalleled heroism of Rama in the Rama-RaavaNa Yuddham , the resucitation of the monkeys from their death , reunion with Sita , return to Nandigraam in Pushpaka Vimaanam to meet the waiting Bharatha and the glorious pattabhishekam of Sri Rama as Chakravarthi .

VaidehI sahitam suradhrumatalE haimE mahAmantapE
madhyE pushpakamaasanE maNimayE veerAsanE susthitham I
agrE vAchayathi prabhanjanasuthE tatvam munibhya: param
vyAkyAntham Bharathadhibi: parivrutham Ramam bhajE syAmaLam II

vAme BhumisuthA purasccha HanumAn pascchaath Sumitraa sutha:
SatrugnO Bharathasccha paarsva dhaLayOrvaayvaadhi kONeshu cha I
Sugreevasccha VibhishaNasccha Yuvaraat Taaraa suthO JaambhavAn
MadhyE NEELA SAROJA KOMALA RUCHIM RAAMAM bhajE syAmaLam II
visAla nethram paripurNa gAthram
SitA kaLathram suravairi jaithram I
kAruNya pAthram jagadha: pavithram
Sri Rama Ratnam praNathOsmi nityam II

GS: 48 ahita sahodara raksha: parigraha
visamvAdhi vividha sachiva visrambhaNa
samaya samrambha samujjrimbhitha
Sarveswara bhaava ! Jaya! Jaya !

O Lord , who revealed your svarupam as the Lord of all Gods during the occasion when you countered the different arguments of the ministers of Sugreevaa and energetically motivated them to drop their objections to accept VibhishaNA as a SaraNAgatha at Your lotus feet ! Hail to Thee! Hail to Thee !

(Background) : Sri RAmaa had learned about the place of incarceration of Sita through HanumAn and thereafter arrived at the Adhi Jagannatha Kshethram on the sea side with the army of monkeys and bears to launch his invasion f Lankhaa . At that time, the younger brother of RaavaNA known by the name of (VibhishaNa) arrived at that site to seek the refuge of RAmaa after failing in his efforts to persuade his brother RaavaNaa to return Sitaa DEvi to her husband and to seek latter's apology .

VibhishaNA cried out from his position in the sky and described his plight to SugreevA this way:

" There is an ogre of evil conduct by the name of RavaNA, who is the Lord of ogres. I am his younger brother known by the name of VibhishaNA. My brother kidnapped Sita from Jansthaanam, killed Jatayu and has incarcerated the helpless Sita. I have vehemently opposed his despicable deed and asked him to restore Sita to Rama with apologies. My brother would not listen to me and has discarded my good advise. I have abandoned my sons and wife and have left his court and flown over here to seek refuge at the feet of Rama.Hence, Please let RaghuRAmA, who has the prowess to protect any one in all the three worlds, know quickly that I am here seeking his refuge. VibishaNA's exact words are:

tyakthvaa putraamsccha dhaaraamsccha Raaghavam saraNam gatha :II
nivedhayatha maam kshipram raaghavaaya mahaathmanE I
sarvaloka saraNyaaya vibhishaNam upasthitham II

Hearing these words of appeal from VibhishaNa, SugreevAwas alarmed. He thought that the brother of RavaNaa might kill all of them including Rama and LakshmaNaa just as an owl would destroy crows. He advised Rama to turn VibhishaNaa away on the basis of his reasoning that VibhishaNaa was a Rakshasaa by birth and a brother of an enemy to boot. The other members of Sugreevaa's retinue with the exception of Hanumaan doubted VibhishaNaa's sincerity in seeking Raamaa's refuge. Some of them felt that he intended harm and therefore should be killed immediately. The ministers of Sugreeva such as Sarabhaa, JaambhavAn, Maindhaa suggested intensive interrogation of VibhishaNaa before taking a decision to accept his plea for protection. They were really not in favor of listening to VibhishaNaa's soulful cry for help.

Hanuman was the last of the ministers to speak. Valmiki describes Hanuman at this point as the foremost of counsellors and also as " Samskaara Sampanna: " (One who is learned from his study of scriptures and Dharma Saastrams). Hanumaan pointed out brilliantly the falacies in the arguments of his fellow counsellors and took the position that Vibhishana should be accepted as a SaraNaagatha. Hanumaan ended his analysis by stating that Rama is the best judge to decide on the next step and act on whatever that needed to be done.

Rama was very pleased with the counsel of Hanumaan since he felt the same way about VibhishaNaa and his plight. Rama was very much moved by the counsel of monkeys, who had his welfare very much on their minds. He thanked them and then revealed his Sarveswarathvam by stating that he can not refuse to receive under ANY circumstances one , who has sought his protection and approached him in a friendly manner.

"mitra bhaavEna sampraaptham na thyajEyam kathamchana I
DhOshO yadhyapi tasya syaath sathaamethadhagarhitham II "

(Meaning ) :I can not abandon him , who has sought my protection. Even if there is any concealed wickedness on the part of the one, who sought my refuge, he has to be accepted and that acceptance will not be considered as a reprehensible act by good people.

Swami Desikan salutes here the prowess of Sri Rama as the unfailing SaraNaagatha Rakshaka and his power as the supreme Lord of all Gods to fulfill his pledge to provide the protection to all , who sincerely wished for his protection.

After revealing his Sarveswarathvam through the decalaration of his position that he can not refuse anyone , who sought his refuge, Rama commands Sugreeva to bring VibhishaNaa before him. The words of Ramaa to Sugreevaa before commanding him are great ones to reflect upon. Swami Desikan was so moved by them that he saluted Raghuveeran three times for his courage and firmness in his sworn duty to protect SaraNaagathas without fail. He saluted Rama as " Sakruth Prapanna jana SamrakshaNa Deekshitha! Jaya Jaya (GS 49) , Veera ! Jaya , Jaya ! (GS 50) , and Sathya Vratha ! Jaya ! Jaya ! (GS 51).

These great words of Rama spoken for the benefit of Sugreevaa that elated Swami Desikan deserve serious study by all of us:

" Be he malevolent or otherwise, this VibhishaNaa is incapable of doing even the subtles tof mischief to me in any manner. I can , if I wish , destroy with my finger tip all the ogres , dhanavaasnad Yakshaas on earth .... In the name of humanity, one should not strike even an enemy arrived at one's door and seeks piteously protection with joined palms... An enemy seeking protection against his enemies, be he distressed or (even) proud , should be protected (even) at the cost of one's life by one , who has controlled his mind. .. If rom fear or folly, or even from desire (of some gain ) , a man does not protect a refugee according to his capacity, the sin incurred by him is despised in the world. .. (nay ) if a refugee (who sought protection ) persihes before the eyes of the man ,who is capable to protect him , the former (refugee) takes away all his (the would-be protector's ) merrit (puNyam) ... Such a failure shuts out heaven, brings infamy and puts an end to one's strength and virility.... I therefore vouchsafe security all living beings to him who comes to me only once and seeks protection from me, declaring "I am Yours, Please protect me". That is my vow. "

The key passage in Raamaa's discussion with SugreevA is as follows:

" SakruthEva prapannaaya tavaasmeethi cha YachatE I
abhayam sarvabhoothEbhyO dadhaamyEthadh vratham mama"

These words of SaraNaagatha Rakshaka , Sri Ramaa spoken at the sea side to Sugreevaa and VibhishaNaa and HanumAn and the other monkey counsellors should serve as a beacon for us in our deha Yaatraa on this earth.

Swami Desikan was rightfully moved therefore by these uplifting declaration of Sri Ramaa and saluted him as Veera , Satya Vratha and Sakruth Prapanna SamrakshaNa Deekshitha !

Ramaa has such prowess that he will not let any Prapanna have fear after performing SaraNaagathi to him. There is no one who matches the Lord in that display of power and quickness to rush to the rescue of the Prapanna in distress. That unique vow to protect the prapannaas moved Swami Desikan to salute Ramaa as Veeraa. Actually, Swami chose the name of Mahaa Veera Vaibhavam for this Gadhyam with this fact in mind.

Swami also saluted Ramaa as "Sathya Vratha" in this series of salutations. For many years, Swami lived at Thiruvahindrapuram. The name of the archaa murthy there is Achyuthan , Natha Satyan. Achyuthan refers to the Lord's vow not to abandon anyone , who has sought his refuge. Achyutha is the 101st Sahasra Naamam of VishNu. Paraasara Bhattar comments on this name Achyuthaa this way: " tEbhya: PrapannEbhya: na apagatha: Achyutha: ". (He is never away from those, who sought refuge in him ". That is his Deekshaa (Sworn vow) as Satya Vrathaa. The sruthis declare his Svarupam as Brahman this way : " Satyam Jnaanam anantham Brahmaa" . In Dasaavathara sthotram , Swami follows this line of thought and describes Ramaa as the embodiment of Dharmam (DharmO VigrahavAn) and goes on to focus on His central kalyANa guNam as " Sarvaavastha sakruth Prapanna Jana SamrakshaNaika vrathee ". These are the thoughts that echo in his 49th Gadhya salutation : " Sakruth prapanna jana SamrakshaNa Deekshitha ! Jaya ! Jaya ! " He just does not provide RakshaNam, but he offers SamrakshaNam . He protects the Prapannas very well indeed ! He placed VibhishaNaa not only on the throne of Lankhaa , but he gave him also Sri Ranganatha , the Ishvaaku Kula Daivam to worship. Even today during every Amaavaasyaa day , he offers his darsanam and shows his beautiful /majestic gait to VibhishaNaa at the Divya Desam (Ashtaakshari Ksethram) revered as ThirukkaNNapuram .

Such is his Dayaa for the PrapannAs and His Deekshaa to protect them .

 

Musings on the VibhishaNa SaraNaagathi
* * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * **********

As a Paramaachaarya, Swami Desikan dwelled extensivey on the doctrines of Prapatthi in many of his sacred works. What Sri Rama said at the sea side to VibhishaNaa rivetted his attention. He elaborated on the SaraNAgathi concepts in his work known as Abhaya Pradhaana Saaram, where he followed the tradition of Sri Ramaanujaa , Thirumalai Nambhi , who studied intensively and taught the rahasyaarthaas of SaraNAgathi embedded in the different KhAndAs of VAlmiki RamaayaNam.

It is generally conceded by our AchaaryAs that Srimadh RAmAyaNam is THE SaraNAgathi Saastram. Swami Desikan played a key role in reminding us of this truth. Adi Kavi Valmiki saw what happened during Raamaavatharam through his Dharma Veeryam and Divya Chakshus (POwer of penance and divine insight) and described the exquisite incidents associated with SaraNAgathi in every KhAndham of his Adhi Kaavyam. That is why Srimadh RAmAyaNam is described as " PuNyam Vedaisccha Sammitham " (One that enhances one's PuNyam and is equivalent to the Vedaas in its sacredness). It is no wonder that VAlmiki's work is considered as Veda UpabruhmaNam (A work that elaborates on the principles covered by the VedAs).

The Para Tattva NirNayam (the establishment of the unparalleled superiority) of Sri Rama is made in Srimadh RAmAyaNam through the Abhaya PrAdhAnam given by Him on many occasions as saluted by Sage Vaalmiki . He establishes Ramaa as Sarva VialkshaNa Para Brahmam (One with glories that are distinctly superior to other Gods) and praises Ramaa as " Aksharam Brahma Satyam ". This satya Vrathi and SaraNAgatha rakshaNa deekshitha is hailed as a Veera of an extraordinary caliber. The distinct and distinguishing principle of Sri Raamaa is the practise of hte Abhaya PradhAna vara dhaanam principle for those, who approached him even once for protection independent of their Avasthaa (state of mind or mood). That is His Vratham as we heard from Swami Desikan through the previous three Gadhyam salutations.

Sri Raamaa's SaraNyathvam is abundantly covered in the Yuddha KhAndham. All other Gods are described as "Vibhuthi Ekadesam" (one speck of HIS ruling power) , where as Sri Raamaa is considered the total embodiment of the power principle that offers SaraNAgathi unfailingly. Brahmaa praises the victorious Raamaa in the battle field of Lankhaa as "saraNyam SaraNam cha tvaam aahu ; Divyaa Maharshaya:" (Great sages like Sanaka consider therefore YOU as the means and the fruit of their endeavours through performance of their SaraNAgathis ) . They recognize that they are " Tadhadheena Padha laabhans " (Those who Acheived their superior positions as a result of His Dayaa). He is the SaraNyan (Rakshakan , RakshaNa vrathi). That is His VaseekaraNa Saamarthyam (winning ways to attract us to Him). That SaraNaagathi is parama hitam (the superior and eminently satisfying means and fruit).

Tondaradipodhi describes the parama hitam aspect of SaraNAgathi done in a trice (KshaNa Karthavyam) by PrapannAs this way in one of the Paasurams of ThirumAlai: " kadaitthalai irundhu vaazhum Sombarai uhatthi pOlum " (O Ranganaatha! You take great interest even in those lazy ones living around your ramparts at Srirangam. They were lazy in that they did not make the effort to practise difficult Bhakthi and Jnaana Yogams. They too the easy route appropriate to their limited strength and performed Prapatthi at Your lotus feet. You accepted those Prapannaas and treated them as though they were superior to all the others). Swami Desikan points this out and salutes the Lord as "Priya-Hita Kaari" (the one , who treats us with affection and benovolence through the practise of his SaraNAgatha rakshaNa vratham). We, who are ananya SaraNaas (with no other recourse for protection) become the object of His Abhimaana gocharam (the object of his special affection).

Sita Piraati is the SaraNya Sahadharma ChaariNi of the sarva loka saraNyan. In this role She counsels the evil-minded RavaNA in Sundara Khaandham this way :

vidhitha: sa hi Dharmajna: saraNaagatha vatsala: I
thena maitree bhavathu teh yadhi jeevithumicchasi II

prasAdhayasva tvam chainam saraNAgatha Vatsalam I
maam chaasmai prayathO bhoothvA niryaathayithumarhasi II

(O RavaNA! If you want to live in this world, befriend Ramaa, who is well versed in the doctrines of SaraNAgathi dharmam. He discards the offenses made earlier by those, who seek his protection and perform SaraNAgathi unto Him. With a pure mind, beseech His friendship and unite me with Him and make Him happy and as a result continue to live on this earth).

Piratti's Vaatsalya Paravasam (indebtedness to those who seek Her saraNAgathi as the consort of the Lord) has been identified by Parasara Bhattar as being superior ot that of the Lord Himself. Bhattar describes that attribute of Her in one of the slokams of GuNa Ratna Kosam this way:

maatharmythili raakshaseestvayi tadhaivaardhraaparAdhAstvayA
rakshanthyApavanAthmajAth laghutaraa Ramasya Goshtee kruthA I
kaakam tam cha VibhishaNam saraNamithyukti kshamou rakshatha :
saa na: saandhra mahaagasa: sukhayathu kshaanthistavaakasmikeeII

(Meaning) : O Mother Ranganaayaki ! Sahadharma chaariNI of Kaakustha Rangesa ! You saved(protected ) the Rakshasis od Ashoka Vanam from the wrath of Hanumaan , even when they were committing offenses to You . Through this act of Yours , You made the SaraNAgathi (Abhaya PradhAnam) offered by Your lord somewhat inferior to Your own gesture. Your Lord offered SaraNAgathi to the offending crow and the supplicnt VibhishaNA only AFTER they performed their saraNAgathi. You out of Your infinite mercy and affection for the sinners (offenders/ApachAris) protected the rakshasis of asokha Vanam even as they were threatening You. Therefore Your power of SaraNAgatha rakshaNam is superior to that of Your consort. May Your natural, causeless --nirhethukam, Avyaaja KaruNaa -- compassion protect us !)

The whole seven Khaandhaas of Srimadh RaamayaNam is full of incidents illustrating the SaraNAgathi Taatparyam (the inner meanings of SaraNAgathi). Swami Desikan's Abhaya PradhAna Saaram salutes the SaraNAgathi episodes in Baala Khaandham (Devaas offering their SaraNAgathi and seeking the Sesha Saayee's protecton to save them from the cruelty of RaavaNA), in Ayodhyaa Khaandham (LakshmaNA's prapatthi to Sri Rama and Sita together and seeking their protection to serve them in the forest. Here SaraNAgathi according to the spirit of Dvaya manthram is performed by the anujaa of Ramaaa. The first portion of Dvaya manthram deals with Prapatthi and the second portion deals with the fruits of such prapatthi.)

In Ayodhyaa Khandham, we encounter once again SaraNAgathi by the other brother Bharathaa and his obtainment of the fruit of his prapatthi throught he acquisition of Sri Rama Paadhukaas or Sri Satakopam.

In Aranya Khaandham, the SaraNAgathi of the sages afflicted by Kara, DhooshaNaa are accepted by Sri Ramaa and he protects them form the terror of the ogres. Kaakasura SaraNAgathi also takes place in this Khaandham.

In Kishkindhaa Khaandham, we enjoy learning about Sugreeva SaraNAgathi and Sri Raamaa's protection of Sugreevaa from Vaali .

In Sundara Khaandham, we come across the Abhaya PradhAnam of Sarva Loka SaraNyai to the ogresses that supervised Her incarceration in asokha Vanam.

Yudha Khaandham houses the famous VibhishaNa saraNAgathi. In Uttara Khaandham , Sri Ramaa answers the Rakshasaa Maalyavaan and reveals the rahasyaartham of his SaraNAgatha vratham once again.

It is with all these in mind, Swami Desikan saluted Srimadh RaamayaNam as SaraNAgathi Vedam. He also identified his work (Abahya PradhAna Saaram) as the Upanishad that elaborates on the rahasyaarthams of the Illustrious SaraNAgathi Vedam, Srimadh RaamayaNam.

kujantham Rama Ramethi madhuram madhuraaksharam I
aaruhya kavithaa saakaam vandE Valmiki kokilam II

GS: 52 : prathisayana bhumikA bhooshitha payOdhi
puLina ! Jaya ! Jaya !

Hail to Thee O Raghuveera , who beautified the assembly of sands of the beach (at ThirupullANi) through your lying down on them in a bed of sacred grass in observance of Your PraayOpvesam ! Hail to Thee !

(Background) : Facing the ocean that separated him from the kingdom of RavaNA , Sri Ramachandra contemplated on the method to cross the Ocean and reach LankhA . VibhishaNa, who had been blessed with SaraNAgathi at the Lord's feet suggested that Sri Rama can achieve his objective, if he sought refuge in Samudra Raajan (Samudram RaagavO RaajA saraNam ganthumarhathi). LakshmaNA and Sugreeva concurred with VibhishaNA's counsel. Rama accepted their counsels.

He spread blades of sacred grass on the sands of the beach and joined his palms as a mark of respect to the Sea-God and laid down on that bed of Dharbham (Dharbha Sayanam) facing eastward. He used his mighty arm as a pillow for his head. The description of the beauty of that powerful arm of Raghuveeran supporting his head is enjoyed by Valmiki in many verses of the 21st sargam of Srimadh RAmAyaNam.

Swami Desikan refers to these slokAs of Valmiki (slokas 3-8, Sargam 21), when he salutes Dharbha sayana Raman's beautiful arms and the heroic poisture adopted by him during his praayOpavesam (To lie on a grass bed with control over one's body, speech and mind until one achieves the kaarya siddhi). Swami calls this act of the Lord as Prathisayana BhoomikA or the play acting of PraayOpavesam that was making the whole sea shore beautiful. As the Lord of the Universe, Rama
did not need to ask for the help or shelter of the Sea-God. Yet he acted as though he was asking in the proper way, since he wanted to be consistent with his avathAram as a human being, the son of Dasaratha.

Thirumangai AzhwAr is overcome with the beauty of the Raghuveeran in his Darbha Sayanam pose and assumes the role of ParakAla Nayaki and in moving paasurams pours forth his sorrow over separation from her Nayakan. These ThirupullANi paasurams are drenched with the mood of Vipralambha SringAram.

The name ThirupullANi is derived from Thiru+ Pul+aNai/ThirupullANi (Dharbha Sayanam). Thiruppul and Thoopul are one and the same name for Dharbham. Swami Desikan hailing from the village of Thuppul has a natural affection for the beauty of the Lord resting on Dharbhasayanam at the beach of Aadhi Jagannatha Kshethram and salutes that beauty of the Lord adorning the sea shore..

I will conclude this posting with the Periya Thirumozhi 9.4.9 verse of Thirumangai saluting the Dharbha sayana Raaman at ThiruppullANi :

vedamum veLviyum viNNumirusudarum ,
aadhiyumAnAnaruL tanthavaa namakku ,
podhalarum punnai soozh pullANi kai thozhutEn ,
Odhamum naanum urangaathirunthEnE

The play act performed by the Lord as though he was a powerless human being--veda vedhyE parE pumsi jaathE DasarathAthmajE-- was saluted by Swami Desikan as Prathisayana BhoomikA. Swami had Thirumangai's reminder in mind about that person (Rama) who declared himself as a mere Maanusha ," the helpless human being", pretending as the one needing the help of the Sea-God. Parakaala Nayaki let out the secret about the true identity of that play actor resting on the beach.
.
The above Paasuram of Parakaala Nayaki decribes and salutes that aadhi purushan as the aadhAra Purushan, who created the Vedaas, who performs the YaagAs, who generated the pleasure-giving bhulokam, who caused the birth of the Sun and the Moon and stays as the primordial God of all Gods saluted by Purusha Sooktham. Nayaki goes on to say that she stood before Him with anjali mudra seeking His dayaa and He did not respond. She describes her condition as a state of sleeplessness as a result of the sorrow over the separation form her Lord. She compares her sleeplessnes to that of the eteranlly vigilant waves, which also can not take any rest. They heave and break without rest like her sorrowful heart. Both do not sleep. Such is the sowndharyam of Darbha Sayana Raaman that Parakaala Nayaki and Swami Desikan saluted.

Jaya jaya Raghuraama Sri mukAmbhoja BHaanO
jaya Jaya Raghuveera SrimadhambhOja netra I

Jaya Jaya RaghunAtha Sri KarAbhyarchitAngrE
Jaya Jaya Raghuvarya Sreesa KaaruNya SindhO II

Jaya Jaya Vara sankha Srigadhaa chakra dhArin
Jaya Jaya nija daasa prArthithArtha PradhAyin I

Tribhuvanamaya Sarva PrANi bhavajna VishNO
SaraNam upagathOham tvAm saraNyam VarENyam II

Sri Dharbha Sayana Ramachandra ParabrahmaNE nama:

GS 53: praLaya sikhi parusha visika sikhA
soshitAkupAra vAripura ! Jaya ! Jaya !

(Meaning): Hail to You , O Raghuveera , who evaporated the waters of the ocean with the power of your arrows that resembled the fire which destroys the world at the time of deluge !

(Background): The Sea-God did not understand the significance of your SaraNAgathi to him and ignored you. You were enraged by his indifference. He would not open a passage for the You and your army to cross the ocean. Then, You aimed frightening arrows at the Sea-God and his territory. Those arrows were more powerful than the assembly of flames that accompany the fire that consume the world and its contents during the time of MahA PraLayam. They spewed forth fire and started their work of evaporating the waters of the ocean. Even then, the Sea-God did not appear before You. Angered further by this affront, You aimed the most destructive BrahmAsthram at him to destroy him and the denizens of his watery kingdom. Now, the Sea-God was seized with fear about his folly and the impending calamity. He rose out of the ocean and with joined palms appealed to You, the RaghuveerA to spare him and apologized. The Sea-God agreed to Your request for a bridge to be built to cross over to LankhA.

Rama still had the powerful arrow in position to fly. He asked the Sea-God as to where he should direct that arrow. The Sea-God suggested that it should be aimed at a group of sinful marauders living to the north of where they were standing. Sri Rama let his arrow fly to where the Sea-God suggested, which is close to today's MarwAr and Bikaneer in RajasthAn. Water gushed forth from the nether world. The power of the arrow dried up the sea there and replaced it with water from the nether world, which resembled sea water in brackishness. Rama blessed that land to become acharming region, now rthat the sinful marauders were destroyed.

The Sea-God (VaruNA) suggested that the glorious son of Viswakarma (the celestial architect) by the name of NaLA, a commander in the monkey army of SugreevA build the bridge over him and that he will sustain and support it. NaLA agreed to the command of Sri Rama to build the Rama Sethu over the abode of the Sea-God.

GS 54 : prabhala ripu kalaha kuthuka chatula kapikula karatala
toolitha Hrutha giri nikara sAdhita sethupatha seemA semanthitha
samudhra ! Jaya ! Jaya !

(meaning) : O mighty hero of the scion of Raghus , who created the demarcation of the ocean with your bridge built by the mighty monkeys , who out of their eagerness to reach LankhA to fight their enemies splintered huge mountains and threw them into the ocean as though they were feathery bales of cotton ! Hail to Thee! Hail to Thee !

(Background): After the Sea-God gave the permission for the bridge to be built by NaLA , latter requested the powerful monkeys to collect the material for the building of the bridge. Directed by Rama , the monkeys went into the forests nearby and tore up rocks and trees and dragged them to the beach. They threw the assembled material as suggested by NaLA at the right places to construct the bridge. A well-constructed, magnificient , extensive , smooth and solidly -cemented sethu arose from these efforts and the vast bridge across the ocean looked like the parting of a woman's hair. Sri Valmiki's description is as follows:

visAla: sukrutha: srimAn subhumi: susamAhita:
Asobhatha mahAn sethu: seemantha iva sAgarE

VibishaNa guarded the front of the bridge from the land and SugreevA requested Rama and LakshmaNa to mount HanumAn's and Angadha"s shoulders to travel across the newly built bridge. The rest of the army headed by SughreevA followed Rama and LakshmaNa reached the other shore and arrived at LankhA. The Devaas who witnessed that miraculous building of a bridge across the ocean hailed the Lord and wished him victory in the forthcoming battle with RavaNA this way:

" jayasva sathroon naradeva medhineem sasaagaram
paalaya saasvathi samaa: "

(meaning): " O King ! Conquer your enemies and rule over the earth including the oceans for numberless years ! " Thus ends the twenty second canto of Srimad RamAyaNam of sage Vaalmiki .

Kodhanda dheekshA gurum aadhimoolam
guNAsrayam chandhana kumkumAnkam I
salakshmaNam sarva janaantharastham
parAthparam Ramam aham namAmi II
 

GS 55 : Dhrutha gathi taru mruga varoothinee
niruddha lankhAvarodha veapthu lAsya leelOpadesa
desika dhanurjyAgOsha ! Jaya ! Jaya !

(Meaning): O Acharyaa (Desikaa), who appeared as though you were the dance instructor for the ladies of the harem of RavaNA , when their bodies were shaking from intense fear over the seige laid on their beloved city by the swift-moving army of monkeys. Your instruction came in the form of the mighty roar emanating from the pulling of the chord of your bow on top ofthe SuvelA mountain..

(Background): Rama and his simian army with VibhishaNA and LakshmaNA traveled across the marvelous bridge built by NalA and reached Lankha. The powerful monkeys briskly moved around to commence their seige of the capitol of RavaNA. The impending calamity was clearly understood by the residents of RavaNA's harem. Their bodies began to shake out of fear over what was yet to come. During that occasion , the uncontrollable tremor of their bodies appeared to have its own rhythm as though they were dancing to the tune of a master dance instructor , who had his own unique tune and thALam . The mighty sound arising from the twanging of the Chord of Kodhandam of Rama served as the tune and kept the TaaLam for their " dance ". Rama in Swami Desikan's kalpanai appeared like the erudite NatyAchaarya behind the "dance performance" of the ladies of the harem of RavaNA .

One can sense the rapid movements (Dhrutha Gathi) of the excited monkeys (Taru Mruga/ animals of the tree) during their efforts to lay siege on LankhA . The shakes that took over the ladies of the harem is equated to a playful dance performance ( Laasya Leela ) by Swami Desikan. He chose the word Laasya for the dance of the Ladies to contrast it with TaandavA , the dance associated with males . One can hear the Upadesa Gosham of the Desikaa (Sri Rama ), who taught them as it were the steps for that dance rooted in terror.

Sannaddha: kavachee kadhghee chapabhANa dharO YuvA I
gacchan mamaagrathO nityam Rama: paathu slakshmaNa: II

 

GS 56 : Gagana chara Kanaka giri garima dhara nigamamaya
nija Garuda garudhanila lava gaLitha visha vadhana sara kadhana !
Jaya ! Jaya !

(Meaning) : Hail to thee ! O Raghuveera , whose sufferings from the tips of the poisonous NagAsthrams were chased away by the slight breeze associated with the wings of your friend Garudan, who has the reputation both as the embodiment of the Vedas as well as the mighty Meru mountain flying in the skies! Hail to Thee!

(Background): The last salutation (55th) was associated with the twenty second canto of Srimadh RaamayaNam, where the reference was to the building of the Sethu and travelling across it by Rama and his retinue to arrive in LankhA .

Swami Desikan jumped now over twenty second Cantos and focused on an incident described by Sage Valmiki in the 45th canto of his epic work. The battle at the four gates of the city of LankhA had begun. Night set in. Monkeys had a disadvantage in fighting the ogres at night since the ogres doubled their strength at night. Rama came to their rescue and used six flaming arrows to kill six of the chieftains of the army of RavaNA: Yajnasathru, MahaaparsvA, Mahodhara, the gigantic VajradamshtrA, and the two spies, Suka and SaaraNA. Their death is described by Valmiki as that of the moths coming in contact with a flame (PrathangA: iva Paavakam). Rama"s golden-feathered arrows raining on all sides of the battle field made the autumnal night look as though it was illumined with resplendent fire flies (Bhabhuva rajanee chitrA gadhyOtairiva saaradhee).

Elsewhere in the battle field, the mighty Angadha, the son of Vaali wounded Indrajith, the powerful warrior and the son of RaavaNA. The valor of Indrajith was legendary. He had defeated Indra in a previous battle and derived his name from that exploit. Now, AngadhA overpowered the powerful Indrajith. Rama, LakshmaNa, VibhishaNA and SugreevA applauded the bravery and heroism of young AngadhA.

The humilated and enraged Indrajith used his magical powers and became invisible. He used a boon conferred by Brahma and hit Rama and LakshmaNa with powerful arrows, whose shafts consisted of formidably poisonous snakes (naagAsthram). The scion of Raghu could not locate the cowardly Indrajith, who was fighting in an unethical and treacherous manner defying the accepted practises of face to face combat. Protected by his supernatural power, Indrajith remained invisible, while showering NagAsthrams on the princes of AyodhyA. Rama and LakshmaNA were bound tightly by the darts in the form of venemous snakes through an act of conjury by Indrajith. Rama and LakshmaNA were immobilized by the network of poisonous snakes biting into them. Indrajith continued to torment the heroic bothers, even when they were unable to fight him. With all of their limbs pierced by the son of RavaNA practicing witchcraft, the two princes of AyodhyA swooned. Indrajith concluded htat the brothers were dead and returned to his father's side in a triumphant mood.

RavaNa congratulated his valiant son and then commanded his servants to transport Sita in the Pudhpaka Vimanam and to show her the sad and helpless plight of her husband and her brother-in-law. Sita burst into a wail on seeing her husband lying helpless tied by the net of hissing serpents. Trijata, one of the prison guards of Sita consoled her and assured her that no evil would befall the scions of Raghu and took Sita back to asokhA grove.

Rama regained consciousness and wailed over the lot of LakshmaNA. Hearing Rama's wail, the monkeys got despondent. Rama thanked Sugriva for his display of extraordinary friendship and support and all around there was a thick curtain of melancholy. The father-in-law of SugreevA, SuseshaNaa, suggested that HanumAn should rush over to the milky Ocean and bring back the medicinal herbs of SanjivakaraNi (Life restorer) and Visalyaa (healer of wounds inflicted by the NagAsthram invoked by Indrajith ). As these discussions were taking place, something totally unexpected happened.

There arose a mighty wind and the sky was filled with lightning. Waters of the ocean rose whipped up by the furious winds. The son of VinathA, Garuda became visible in the sky flying at a terrifying speed. The serpents covering the bodies of the brothers ran for their life at the sight of their feared enemy. Garuda descended and lifted the brothers and then wiped their faces with his hand. The touch of Garuda cicatrized the wounds on the limbs of the brothers inflicted by Indrajith and their skins turned bright and smooth. The strength, majesty, splendour, perspicacity and the intelligence of the brothers redoubled as a result of the touch of Garuda, the embodiment of Vedas. Garuda joyfully embrced both the brothers. Rama asked the life-saver Garuda as to who he was and what he can do for his extraordinary service. Garuda replied: " aham sakhA tE kaakuthstha priya: prANO bahiscchara {I am GarudA, your dear friend (nay) your (very) breath moving outside, arrived here for your help}. Hearing that you have been fettered by the snakes, I rushed at once to your side out of my affection and friendship for you. I shall now depart. You should not be curious about our friendship any more. At the conclusion of your battle with RavaNA and your victory over him, you will come to recognize the mystery behind our friendship. You will destroy all the demons of LankhA including the evil RavaNA and rejoin with Sita."

After the above response to the queries of Rama, GarudA walked clockwise around Rama to show his respect, embraced Rama, spread his golden wings and soared into the sky with the speed of the winds of deluge. The simian army was thrilled to see Rama and LakshmaNA restored to their original selves and raised a tumultous noise in happiness.

Garuda BhagavAn is the Lord of Pakshiraja Manthram , which was recited by Swami Desikan on OushadhAdhri at Thiruvahindrapuram. Garuda was pleased and appeared before Swami and initiated him into Sri Hayagreeva Manthram and Lord Hayagreeva sat on the tip of Swami's tongue and rest of what happened led to us being blessed with the Sri Sookthis of Sri Nigamaantha MahA Desikan. Thus, Swami Desikan was indebted to Garuda Bhagavaan immensely. His tribute to Garudha BhagavAn tok the form of Garuda PanchAsath and Garuda daNdakam. He describes the embrace of Garudaa on the battle field in LankhA in the 48th slokam of Garudha PanchAsath. He calls that kaimkaryam as " Labdha SevA visesha: " (one who obtained that bhagyam of distinguished service to Rama). Swami goes on to describe that GarudA was fortunate to receive the embrace of the shoulders of Rama, which were renowned for their fragrance arising from the association with the flowers decorating the ears of SitA dEvi ( VaidEhi karNapoora surabhiNA ya: samAsleshi DhOshNA Sa Garuda : ).

On that fragrant note , I will conclude this posting .

SadhAnandadevE sahasrAra padhmE
galacchandra peeyusha dhArAmruthAnthE I
sthitham Ramamurthim nishEvE nishEvE
anya dhaivam na sevE na sevE na sevE II
---Sri Rama KarNaamrutham 2. 88

GS 57: akruthachara vanachara raNakaraNa vailakshya
kooNithaksha bahuvidha rakshO balAdhyaksha vaksha:
kavAta pAtana patima sAtopa kopAvalEpa ! Jaya! jaya !

(Meaning ) : Hail to Thee, O RaghuveerA with the right mixture of anger and valour , who with majesty had the power to split into two the broad , door-like chests of the multitudes of ogres that closed their eyes out of a sense of shame over the thought of fighting the "lowly "monkeys for the first time in their careers as warriors ! Hail to Thee!

(Background ) : After Rama was released from Naaga Paasam , a mighty war broke out between the jubilant monkey chieftains and the army of ogres defending the capitol city of RavaNA. The ferocious ogres used to mighty battles had never experienced anything like battling the forest dwelling monkeys. The ogres had to take their engagement with the monkeys very seriously. The ogres were uncomfortable over their unfamiliar role of fighting the monkeys, which fought with uprooted trees and splinters of mountains. The ogres were ashamed about their inadequacies to fight in this new type of war with the strange enemies. The ogres closed their eyes as if in contempt. Rama was angry at their unsoldierly conduct. Rama got furious over the insult of the ogres and his strength increased.
The ogres turned to him for fight. The mighty Rama used his powerful arrows to break open the door-like, broad chests of the ogres and dispatched them to the world of Yama devan.

AyodhyAnAtha ! Rajendra! SitAkantha! JagathpathE !
Sri Rama PundareekAksha ! Ramachandra ! NamOsthu thE
--- Sri Rama KarNamrutham 4.19

 

 

SALUTATION TO RAHUVEERAN

********************************

VisAla netram paripurNa gAthram
SitA kaLathram sura vairi jaithram I
Jagath pavithram paramathma tanthram
Sri Ramachandram praNamAmi chitthE II
--- Sri Rama KarNAmrutham 4. 27

GS: 58 -- katuratath atani dankruthi chatula katOra
kArmukha visikha vithAtana vigaditha makuta vihvala
visravastanaya visrama samaya visrANana vikhyAtha
vikrama! Jaya ! Jaya !

(Meaning): Hail to Thee , O Raghuveera , who through your compassionate act of letting RavaNa leave the battle field and rest overnight to restore his strength , when the agitated RavaNA could not match your prowess in the battle field ! The ferocious sounding arrows leaving your bow did their powerful work and split into pieces the crowns of the ten-headed RavNA and made him fear for his life. Seeing his weak state , You as a noble warrior did not want to take advantage of him, when he was weak and unable to defend himself. You permitted him to retire from the battle field and then return the next day after a well-needed rest in his palace.

(Background): RavaNA sent his commander-in-chief, PrahasthA to the battle field as the simian army led by NilA destroyed many divisions of his army . Prahastha caused a lot of damage to the army of monkeys, who fought only with uprooted trees and pieces of rocks. In a fierce battle , NilA threw a big rock over the head of Prahastha and shattered his head and killed him . RavaNA was disconsolate over the death of his commander-in-chief and decided to take control of the battle in his own hands. He appeared on the battle field and immediately began to make short work of the monkey chieftains. He stupefied Sugriva with a swift arrow. He struck Hanuman in the chest and sent him reeling. Then he began to torment NilA, who had earlier killed PrahasthA, his commander-in-chief. With great agility, NilA evaded RavaNA and perched himself on the banner of the chariot of RavaNA. The angry RavaNA dispatched an arrow empowered by Agni at NilA, the son of Agni. NilA's life was spared by his father, but he was knocked unconscious.

The triumphant RavaNA gloated with pride now dashed towards LakshmaNA and sent a flurry of arrows at him. LakshmaNA sent his own arrows flying at the speed of lightning and tore the arrows of RavaNA in flight. LakshmaNA cut the bow of RavaNA in to three pieces with his arrows and bathed RavaNA in a shower of sharp arrows. The enraged RavaNA struck LakshmanA with a javelin given to him by Brahma and grievously hurt LakshmanA with it and knocked him off his feet. The ten-headed king of Ogres came down from his chariot and tried to lift and carry away LakshmaNA as a trophy. The great RavaNA, who had once lifted Kailasa mountain could not however succeed in lifting LakshmaNA. meanwhile ,Hanuman had recovered from his earlier battle with RavaNA and rushed to the side of the fallen LakshmaNa. He gave a mighty blow to RavaNA and sent him reeling. Hanuman used that moment to lift and carry off the unconscious LakshmaNA to the side of the worried Rama. Hanuman had no problem lifting LakshmaNA, while RavaNA could not succeed in his efforts.

HanumAn now appealed to Rama and requested Rama to subdue the king of ogres and to fight him, while being mounted on his shoulders. RavaNA was standing in his chariot and Rama confronted him from his perch on the shoulders of Hanumaan. In a fierce battle, Rama tore up into pieces RavaNA's chariot with its wheels, horses, standard, canopy, the charioteer and the weapons stored on the sides of that mighty chariot. Next, Rama hit RavaNA in the chest with a fiery arrow and RavaNA reeled and began to swoon. With another cresent-shaped arrow shining like fire, Rama tore the diadem of the king of ogres. Now, RavaNA looked like a poisonous snake divested of its poison. Rama sized the situation quickly and recognized that RavaNA was in no shape to continue the fight and could easily be killed then and there. Out of his sense of fairness and compassion, Rama praised RavaNa for the earlier display of his great skills in the battle field and told him that he (Rama) will not elect to kill him then, when he (RavaNA) was in no shape to continue the fight. Rama"s words were:

krutham tvayA karma mahath subheemam
hatapraveerasccha kruthastvayaaham I
tasmaath parisrAntha ithi vyavasya
na tvaam sarai: MRUTHYU VASAM NAYAAMI II

prayAhi jAnAmi raNArdhitastvam
pravisya raathrim chararAja lankhAm I
aasvasya niryAhi rathee cha dhanvee
tadhA balam prekshyasi mE rathastha: II

(Meaning): A great and exceedingly difficult task has been accomplished by you in killing many of my heroic simian chieftains and overpowering Sugreeva, Hanumaan, NilA and LakshamNA. I recognize that you are battle-fatigued. Hence, I would not kill you now and dispatch you to the world of Yama. You are not in any shape to stand up and continue your fight with me. Hence, I give you permission to leave the battle field. Reenter LankhA, rest a while and return with a new chariot and weapons. Then, you can witness my strength.

Consoled by the words of the compassionate Rama, the mighty RavaNA shorn of his vanity, pride and joy hastily left the battle field in disgrace and returned to his palace. After RavaNA left, Rama and the recovered LakshmaNA toured the battle field and removed the arrows from the limbs of the brave monkey chieftains, who had been wounded in their battle with RavaNA before Rama came to their rescue. The oudhAryam and the heroism of Rama is celebrated in this famous, fifty ninth canto of Yuddha Khaandham by sage Vaalmiki .

The Concluding salutation to Raghuveeran:

jAnAthi Rama! tava tatttvagathim HanUmAn
jAnAthi Rama! tava sakhyagathim kapeesa: I
jAnAthi Rama! tava Yuddhagathim dasAsyO
jAnAthi Rama! dhanadhAnuja yeva sathyam II

---- Sri Rama KarNaamrutham 4. 17

Sri HanUmath Sametha Raghuveera ParabrahmaNE nama:
RAAMAAYANA MAHATHMYAM

SRI RAAMAAYANAM ADHI KAAVYAM RISHINAA VALMIKINAA NIRMITHAM
VEDHAANTHA VISAARADHAI : ANUDINAM STHUTHYAM SURAIRARCHITHAM I
SROTHRUNAAM AGHA NAASANAM SURA TARO'S TULYAM THU MUKTHI PRADHAM
YEH SRUNVANTHI PATANTHY RAAMACHARITHAM TEH YAANTHI VISHNO: PADHAM II

--- Sri Rama KarNAmrutham 1. 106 (Composer: Kanchi Kamakoti Peeta Matathipathi )

(MEANING): The ancient epic RamAyaNam was constructed by Sage Valmiki. This sacred epic is stufdied and saluted by the scholars well-versed in VedanthA. This epic is worshipped as sacred by the DevAs. It destroys the sins of listeners and is equivalent to the divine Kalpaka tree. The sacred text of Sage Valmiki confers Mukthi to those, who recite it and listen to it. Those who perform PaarAyaNam of Srimadh RaamAyaNam attain the privelege of reaching Parama Padham and are blessed to have the boon of Nitya Kaimkaryam to Paramapadha Naathan.

Today is Karthikai SravaNam day. It is a blessed day, when SravaNa deepam is taken around the prakArams of Sri Oppiliappan. Let that light illumine our living moments and guide us.

 

GS 59 kumbhakarNa kula giri vidhaLana dhambhOLi
bhootha nissanka: kankapathra ! Jaya ! Jaya !

(Meaning) : O Raghuveera with the arrow of unquestioned power to break apart the family mountain of RavaNA known as KumbhakarNA ! Hail to The! Hail to Thee!

(Background) : After his humiliating encounter with Rama in the battle field , RavaNA retired to his palace. He thinks of hisslumbering brother KumbhakarNa as the one , who can destroy Rama and his retinue. With great effort , RavaNA succeeds in waking his brother from his deep sleep and sends him to battle. The nine cantos of Yuddha Khaandham of Srimadh RamAyanam 9Cantos 60 to 68) cover the incidents realted to KumbhakarNA and his loss of life a tthe hands of Rama. Swami Desikan's fifty ninth salutaton of Raghuveera Gadhyam covers the heroic deeds of Rama in dispatching KumbhakarNA to his permanent rest. Swami Desikan states that the unmatched power of Rama's arrows broke into two the mighty and proud chest of KumbhakarNa and finally severed his royal head. The salutation here is to the heroism of Rama and the unassailable power of his arrows. They tore open the chest of the ogre like the Vajra weapon of Indra broke the mountains into two. Swami states that there was no doubt whatsoever on the capabilities of Rama's arrows.

KumbhakarNA was the younger brother of RavaNA. Due to Brahma's curse, he slept for six months at a stretch and was awake only for aday. Then he went right back to sleep for another six months. He was asleepa till the time of RavaNA's battle with Rama. The humilated and brooding RavaNA thought over all the curses of the gods and celestials that he had offended ealier such as Brahma, Vedavathi, Nandileswara, Rambha and PunjikasthalA. Brahma's boon to RavaNA gave him immunity from death from every class of beings except by " a human being ". Nandikeswara"s curse made sure that RavaNA's kingdom will be destroyed by the monkeys. The curses of Vedava, Parvathi, Rambha and PunjikasthalA made RavaNA vulnerable to death from his offensive behavior to women. Reflecting over all of these incidents from his past, RavaNA came to the conclusion that his mighty younger brother would be the right agent to engage the army of monkeys and Rama in battle and save him.

RavaNA woke up his slumbering brother with great effort and warned KumbhakarNa about the danger posed by Rama and urged him to destroy the princes of AyodhyA along with the simian army. The just and brave KumbhakarNA criticized RavaNA for his past misdeeds as a ruler and gives a piece of his mind:

"Speedily enough has the fruit of your sinful deed (the abduction of Sita) has come upon you,even a sthe damnation would viist a person of sinful deeds. Initially, of course, was this course of action (returning Sita and askin gfor Rama's apology) not weighed by you. Nor was the consequence taken into account in the sheer pride of your prowess. " RavaNa did not like the beratings of his brother and yet needed his help. He said: " A kinsman is he , who is able to render help to those , who have deviated from the right course." recognizing the agitated state of his elder brother, KumbhakarNA calms him down and agrees to engage Rama and his retinue in battle. He entered the battle field and terrorized the army of monkeys and its chieftains. Hanuman, AngadA, NilA fought valiantly with KumbhakarNA and could not stop him. LaksjhmaNA tok on the ogre, who praised the valour of the younger brother of Rama and yet bypassed him seeking his battle with Rama. The intrepid Rama rushed towards KumbhakarNA with a quiver full of powerful arrows and listened to latter's braggadocio. Rama's arrow severed the mace-wielding arm of the boasting ogre. Now KumbhakarNa lifted a palmyra tree with his other hand and rushed towards Rama. Rama cut that arm too with a missile presided over by Indra. With two more crescent shaped arrows , Rama severed the legs of the rushing KumbhakarNA . With Yet another arrow shining with its effulgence in all directions, Rama severed the head of kumbhakarNA. Thus the mighty KumbhakarNA was reduced to a headless, limbless mass by Rama"s unquestionable arrows.

Saint Thyagaraja in his Saveri Krithi " Rama BhANa thrANa sowrya mEmani telupathurA O manasA " pays his tribute to the power of the arrows of Rama. He says: " O my mind! How can I describe the saving valour of Rama's arrow, the arrow that killed the army of RavaNA, who desired Sita Devi.; when LakshmaNA lay senseless on the battle field and RavaNA rejoiced and Indrajith exhorted and his hosts rose up to attack at that opportune moment , Rama aimed that arrow with the thundering noise of the bowstring , and saw his brother LakshmNA getting up woth his senses restored. " The Saint salutes the thundering noise (dankAra Dwani) of Rama"s Kodhandam this way: " KodhandapujyAghoshamu lasanulu jesi ".

Swami Desiakn's next salutation (GS 60) focuses on the episode of Indrajith and his fateful encounter with LakshmaNA witnessed by the proud elder, Rama.

DakshiNE LkashmaNO dhanvee
vamathO Jaanaki SubhA I
purathO mAruthiryasya
tam namAmi Ragootthamam II

Salutation:

kAkuthstam dasakanta bahuvidhaLthkodhaNda bANAnvitham
papagnam visadhAyatAkshi YugaLam sowmithri samsevitham
bhakthAnAm paramoushadham munivarai: samsthuyamAnam bhajE

GS 60 : abhicharaNa huthavaha paricharaNa vigatana
sarabhasa paripatadh aparimitha kapibhala jaladhi lahari
kalakalarava kupitha maghavajith abhihanana kruth anuja
sakshika rakshasa dwandhwa Yuddha ! Jaya! Jaya !

(Meaning): O Raghuveera! Hail to Thee, who used the GaandarvAsthram on the troops of RavaNA's choice fighting unit known as mula Bhalam and caused them as a result to be deluded to fight with each other instead of fighting with the members of your army. Your brother LakshmaNA was the witness to that scene of utter confusion in the ranks of RavaNA's soldiers after he himself had dispatched Indrajith in a fierce battle. Earlier Indrajith's eforts to acquire invincible powers through the performance of necromancy was interrupted by the huge army of monkeys which noisily invaded the site of that abhichAra homam and interrupted the completion of that homam. The angry Indrajith stopped the homam halfway through and came to fight your brother and lost his life in that battle. Hail to thee O Lord , who dispatched the GandharvAsthram !

(Background): After the defeat of RavaNA in the battle field and the death of KumbhakarNA at the hands of Rama and loss of many generals of the army of his father, Indrajith returned once again to the scene of combat and aimed the powerful BrahmAsthram at Rama, LakshmaNA and the simian army. That missile rendered the princes of AyodhyA and the monkey army of Sugreeva totally unconscious. Rama and LakshmaNA decided to honor the power of the missile presided over by Brahma and stayed motionless and helpless. Sugrreva and a host of other high-ranking generals of his army were also knocked out.

VibhishaNa and Hanumaan were the ones, who were not affected. They found the old bear JAmbhavAn lying semiconscious on the battle ground. JaambhavAn advised the approaching VibhishaNA that Hanuman alone can save the day. He suggested that HanumAn known for his speed in the air should rush to a specific site in HimaalayAs and fetch the four powerful medicinal herbs to restore Rama, LakshmaNA and all the monkeys that were rendered unconscious by Indrajith. The bear king described the four medicines and their power this way:

(1) Mruthasanjeevini, which had the power to bring the dead back to life

(2) Visalyakarani, which had the power of extracting the weapons and healing the wounds caused by those weapons

(3) SuvarNakaraNi, which had the power to restore the body to its original complexion

(4) SandhAni, which had the power to join back torn limbs and broken bones

Earlier, Sugreeva"s father -in-law had suggested bringing of these medicinal herbs by HanumAn. That occasion was when Rama and LakshmaNA were bound by the Naga Paasam of Inderjith. Garuda appeared and chased off the snakes and embraced the brothers back to their original state. HanumAn did not have to go then in search of these four herbs.

HanumAn set forth on this mission and jumped off from the top of the Trikuta mountain of Lankha in search of the four divine herbs. As he approached the site of the herbs, they hid from HanumAn's sight. AnjaneyA got angry at their lack of compassion to help even Rama , Hnauman tore of the whole mountain housing the herbs and sped away with frightening speed back to the battle field and put the mountain down in the midst of the simian ranks. This expedition gave Hanuman the name of Sanjeevi Raayan.

Rama, LakshmaNA and every one of the members of the simian army recovered from their state of torpor or state of death after inhaling the wind-blown fragrance of these herbs. Even monkeys, whose dead bodies were cast into the oceans by the ogres were restored back to life. The joyous monkeys ran through the gates of LankhA and set fire to the city. More ogres were killed by the monkeys and Rama. The surprised Indrajith returned to the battle field and engaged in a formidable fight. He used black magic and became invisible and began to torment the princes of AyodhyA once again. He then retreated to the city and returned with an illusory image of Sita and killed her in front of Hanumaan. Sri Rama fainted on hearing the death of Sita. LakshmaNA and VibhishaNA consoled Rama. LakshmaNA vowed then to kill Inderjith. VibhishaNA told Rama that Sita was alive and that his nephew was only creating an illusory act so that he can return to a secret place (Nikumbhila) to gain more magical powers through performance of a homam based on necromancy.

VibhishaNA guided the simian army and LakshmaNA to the site of the abhichara homam. The monkeys fell on the site in huge numbers and disrupted the completion of that homam. There was a mighty battle between LakshmaNA and Indrajith. LakshmaNa used a missile presided by IndrA and addressed the following prayer to IndrAsthrA: " If Sri Rama, son of Dasaratha has set his mind on virtue and is true to his promise and is unrivalled in prowess, make short work, the, of this son of RavaNA."

Sage Valmiki's sloakm housing this prayer of lakshmaNA is as follows:

dharmAthmA satyasandhasccha ramO dAsarathiryathA I
powrushE chAprathidhwandhvasthadhainam jahi ravaNim II

After this prayer, LakshmaNA released the Missile presided over by IndrA. Flying at lightning speed, that missile severed the head of Indrajith.

RamA was delighted with the news of Indrajith's death at LakshmaNA's hands at Nikumbhilai. RavaNA was grief stricken over the loss of his son. He sent his diverse battalion known as mula Balam to avenge the death of his beloved son. Rama dispatched the mystic GandharvAsthram resided over by the GandharvAs. That asthram created the illusion of many Ramas in the middle of the ranks of the Mula balam. The rank and file of RavaNA's powerful army mistook each other for Rama and killed each other. There was utter confusion in the battle field. Two lakhs of ogres fighting on foot were eliminated by Rama single-handedly through the use of GandharvAsthram. LakshmaNa was the thrilled witness to the prowess of his brother, which he ahd invoked in his prayer to the IndrAsthram to decapitate Indrajith. That is what Swami Desikan refers to in the sixtieth salutation of Raghuveera Gadhyam, when he addresses Rama as "Maghavajith abhihanana kruth anuja SAAKSHIKA rakshasa dwandhva Yuddha ."

Thus ends the ninety third canto of the Yuddha KhAndam of Sage Valmiki's Srimadh RaamAyaNam from which Swami Desikan drew his inspiration.

GS 61: aprathidhwandhva pourusha ! Jaya! Jaya!

(meaning) : O Raghuveera of unmatched Valour ! Hail to Thee ! Hail to Thee !

(Background): the extraordinary heroism of Rama in dispatching two lakhs of foot soldiers of Mula Balam is still very much on the mind of Swami Desikan. He is also thinking about the other heroic deeds such as the destruction of mighty KumbhakarNa. Overpowered by these thoughts, Swami Desikan eulogizes Rama as the warrior whose performance in the battle field can not be matched by anyone.

GS 62: Trayambhaka samadhikha ghorAsthrAdambara ! Jaya! Jaya !

(Meaning): O Lord , who has the assembly of arrows that are fiercer than that of Parameswaran himself !

(Background): At the end of the destruction of the Mula Balam , Rama said : " Yethadh asthra balam divyam mama vA trayambhakasya vA ." -- Yuddha Khaandham 93. 38

Rama was conversing with the assembled SugrivA, VibhishaNa, HanumAn, JaambhavAn, MaindA and DwividhA, who were standing near him witnessing the frenzied fight between the foot soldiers of Mula balam. It is here he said: " Such wonderful power of using divine missiles exists either in me or in Lord Siva (TryambhakA). "

Rama's power in using the mystic weapons was greater than that of Lord Siva and yet he compared himself as equal to Lord Siva out of his generous nature to give credit to others. Further, as a "human being", he did not want to set an example of just praising himself as being far superior to a God known for his skills in handling virulent asthrams such as Paasupatham.

GS 62 : saarathi hrutha ratha sathrapa sAthrava satyApitha
prathApa ! Jaya ! Jaya!

(meaning) : O Raghuveera , whose prowess was certified to be true by your enemy RavaNA , when he was led away from the battle field in shame by his charioteer ! Hail to Thee !

(Background ) : RavaNA lost more generals and mighty warriors following the death of his beloved son , Indrajith . He came hence to the battle field once again and there was a mighty battle between Rama and RavaNA .

Displaying unmatchable martial ardour , Rama sent many weapons to put an end to the evil ogre . RavaNA could not cope with the onslaught and became bewildered . RavaNA's charioteer sensed the danger to which his master was exposed to . He quickly turned the royal chariot of his master away from the battle field to a safe destination. RavaNA was enraged by the well-meant act of his charioteer and chided him . RavaNA acknowledged Rama's undisputed valour to his charioteer , while berating him for his initative to take him away from the battle field . RavaNa 's words captured by Sage Valmiki in the one hundred and fourth canto of Yuddha Khaandham in this context are :

" While my adversary (Rama) , whose prowess is widely known , and who deserved to be gratified through feats of valour , stood looking on , myself , who was covetous of fighting was made a coward of by you ."

The key words of this verse of Valmiki are : sathrO: PRAKHYAATHA VEERYASYA ranjaneeyasya vikramai : " RavaNa then ordered his charioteer to take him back to the battle field .

GS 64 : sitha sara krutha lavana dasamukha mukha dasaka
nipathana punarudhaya dhara gaLitha janitha dhara taraLa harihaya
nayana naLinavana ruchi kachitha kathala nipathita surataru kusuma
vitathi surabhitha ratha patha ! Jaya ! Jaya !

(Meaning and comments): O Raghuveera ! You had the path of your chariot made fragrant with the showering blossoms of the celestial Kalpaka tree! That fragrance of the blossoms joined with the beauty of the agitated eyes of Indra, which resembled the assembly of red lotuses in a lotus forest. Indra's eyes were agitated first with fear over the sight of the falling of the ten heads of RavaNA as they were being severed by your arrows and their immediate reappearance as though nothing had happened. You removed the fear of IndrA by using BrahmAsthram and cut off the evil RavaNA's head once and for all. That heroic act of yours was appreciated by the celestials and they showered Kalpaka flowers on You, which collected under the path of your chariot and made that path fragrant. Indra, the king of celestials was joyous over the destruction of RavaNA and his eyes lit up with happiness. At that time , his multitude of eyes looked like the assembly of blossomed red lotuses in a lotus forest. Indra has 1,000 eyes according to the PurANAs. When all of them lit up, it was like the multitude of simultaneously blossoming lotus flowers. Swami Desikan salutes here the MahA Veeran, who dispatched RavaNA to the abode of death and made the Devas and their king joyous through his victory over the evil ogre.

GS 66 : abhigatha sathamukha huthavaha pithrupathi nirruthi
varuNa pavana dhanadha girisa mukha surapathi nuthi mudhitha !
Jaya ! Jaya !

(meaning): O MahA VeerA who was made happy by the eulogies of IndrA , Agni , YamA , Nirruthi , VaruNA , Vaayu , KubherA and Siva ,who approached you at the end of your succesful battle with RavaNA ! Hail to Thee! Hail ot Thee !

(Background): VibhishaNA rushed to the side of Sita Devi at AsOka vanam and brought the tidings of RavaNA's destruction at the hands of her consort. VibhishaNA brought SitA dEvi to the side of Rama in the battle field. RamA harshly asked Sita to prove her innocence by stepping into fire , since he wanted to counter any doubt on the part of citizens over her staying in the stranger's (RavaNA's) house for many months. At that time , Indra, Agni , Vaayu, YamA , SivA , KubherA and other celestials approached You , eulogized You and begged You not to abandon the MahA pathivrathai SitA and to accept her without any doubt. Swami Desikan says here : " O Maha VeerA ! you were pleased wiht the eulogies and appeals of the celestials ."

GS 67 : amitha mathi vidhi vidhitha kathitha nija vibhava
jaladhi prushatha lava! Jaya ! Jaya !

(Meaning and comments): O Raghu Veera ! After the eulogies of the celestials, Brahma Devan began to praise your glories. Brahma had limitless intellect and comprehension. Even he could only fathom a very small portion of your vast glories and his eulogy resembled the small drop of a mighty ocean. If this was the fate of BrahmA , there is no need to describe the pitiable plight of other celestials as they attempted to eulogize your kalyANa guNAs. Hail to Thee! Hail to Thee !

GS 68 : vigatha bhaya vibhutha paribhruta vibhothitha veerasayana
saayitha vaanara pruthanowka ! Jya ! Jaya !

(Meaning and comments): Indra's long -held fear vanished , once RavaNA was killed by RamA in battle. Indra wanted to express his gratitude to You and asked you about what kind of service he could render. You requested him to bring back to life the monkeys, which lost their life in the battle. Indra made that wish come true. The dead monkeys rose up and moved with alacrity like rapidly flowing floods. O Maha VeerA! Is there any limit to Your compassion?

Sri Raghavam Ramachandram RAvaNArim RamApathim I
Raajiva lochanam Raamam tam vandE RaghunAyakam II

 

GS 65 : akhila jagadhadhika bhuja bala dasa lapana dasaka
lavana janitha kadhana paravasa rajanichara yuvathi vilapana
vachana samavishaya nigama sikhara nikara mukhara mukha
muni vara paripaNitha ! Jaya ! jaya !

In this beautiful passage resonanat with sound effects and TaaLam synchronized with the heaving heart beats of lamenting MandOdhari, the principal queen of RavaNa , Swami Desikan's poetic skills reaches once again a high water mark .

In the section "Bhuja Bala, vara Bala, dasa lapana, lapana dasaka, lavana janitha", the playful as well as the skillful use of the same words (Bala , Lapana , dasa lapana , lavana dasaka ) to denote a different context-based meanings, is an illustration of the skills of our immortal poet.

Swami Desikan starts this gadhyam section by describing RavaNA's mighty shoulders known for their power to destroy his enemies:
" akhila jagadhadhika bhuja bala ." Swami says that RavaNA (until he met RamA in battle) had the bhuja parAkramam that was superior to all the denizens of this earth and heaven. Bhuja balam is related to his "Vara Balam " referred to in the next section. RavaNA had earned many boons from BrahmA and Maheswaran through the performance of severe penances. His bhuja balam came from this vara Balam.

Swami alludes next to the ten heads of RavaNA as dasa Lapana and rhymes it with " lapana dasaka lavana ", which means" as a result of cutting off of the ten heads." First we see those diadem decked heads of DasagreevA on his neck and next we see them rolling on the floor of the battle field at the feet of Sri RamachandrA.

When MandOdhari saw this sad sight, she was overcome by grief and lost herself in an avalanche of sorrow . She lamented loudly in her inconsolable grief. This state of hers is described by Swami Desikan as "Dasa lapana lapana dasaka lavana JANITHA KADHANA PARAVASA RAJANICHARA YUVATHI VILAPANA VACHANA"

The sufferings of MandOdhari arose from the (death) severance of the ten heads of her husband (Lapana dasaka lavana janitham). She was beyond herself (paravasam) due to that grief. She was RavaNA's young wife (Rajanichara Yuvathi). Her words of Lamentation (Vilapana vachanaas) rang out in the battle field and melted the hearts of the onlookers. Those words however contained Vedanthic truths and were tributes to the PARATHVAM of Sri Rama in addition to serving as lamentations over her widowhood. Swami calls those lamentations mingled with vedanthic wisdom as "NIGAMA SIKHARA NIKARA SAMA VISHAYAM " . Their sAmyam ( equivalence ) to the Vedanthic truths describing the nature of Brahman (supreme being ) is the purport of our Acharya's words. The great sages always praise ParamAthma using words and thoughts with Vedic origin . .

Swami Desikan concludes this salutation by stating that the victorious Rama was eulogised by great sages with stotrAs , which had Vedic connotations similar to the ones used by the wise and chaste MandOdhari , while she lamented over her personal misfortune. " NIGAMA SIKHARA NIKARA MUKARA MUKA MUNIVARA PARIPANITHA " are Swami's words. Nigma sikhara Nikara stands for the assembly of Vedanthic truths. Mukara Nikara Muka munivara reminds us of the great sages euologising their Lord Rama with praises steeped in the Vedic tradition. Paripanitha stands for the saluting by the Muni gaNaas.

The lamentation of Mandodhari is housed in the 111th canto of of the Yuddha khAndam of Srimadh RaamAyaNam.

GS 69 : sva samaya vigatitha sugaditha sahrudhaya
sahadharma chaariNeeka ! Jaya ! Jaya !

(Meaning): O Lord who out of your own volition (sankalpam ) separated and then uinted with your consort ! Hail to Thee! Hail to Thee !

(Background) : Your consort was united with you by VibhishaNA , when RavaNA was killed . You wanted to demonstrate to the world her purity and asked her to enter the fire before the assembled gods and monkey chieftains . Agni Bhagavan lifted your Devi in his hands and united her with you to demonstrate her unimpeachable chastity as a Pathivratha of the highest order. Both of you, as husband and wife, had agreed on this course of action to be separated first and then united to fulfill the mission of your incarnation as the son of DasarathA. It is no surprise that your dharmapathnee went along with your sankalpam.

GS 70 : VibhishaNa vasamvadheekrutha Lankaisvarya ! Jaya ! Jaya !

(Meaning): O Lord , who put at VibhishaNA's disposal the entire wealth of the kingdom of LankhA and crowned him as the king ! Hail to Thee! Hail to Thee!

(Comments): Rama had won the kingdom of LankhA by his valour and therefore could easily have appointed VibhishaNA as the care-taker of Lankha on behalf of him as the conquering hero. Being of a generous disposition and being an unfailing keeper of promises made, Rama would not think of anything else except to crown VibhishaNA as the successor to RavaNA to rule LankhA. Earlier on the beach at ThirupullANi, Rama asked LakshmaNA to bathe VibhishaNA in the waters of the ocean to symbolize his future coronation as the king of LankhA. Therefore this satyavrathA (Rama) crowned VibhishaNA as per his original pledge.

GS 71 : nishpanna Kruthya ! Jaya! Jaya !

(Menaing) : Hail to Thee ! O Lord , who fulfilled Your duties !

(Comments): Sriman NarAyaNA was approached by the Devas at the milky ocean as he was resting on Adhiseshan to save them from the cruelties of the evil RavaNA. Sriman NarAyaNA heard their pleas and agreed to incarnate as a human being on this earth and remove the fears of the Devas by killing RavaNA. During his wanderings in the forest as the son of king DasarathA, the sages sought his protection from the marauding rakshasAs. Rama came to the rescue of the DevAs, VibhishaNA and the sages and demonstrated his auspicious attributes as the saraNAgatha rakshakan. He performed his duites and freed them all from their fears. The excellent manner in which Rama completed his duties is saluted by Swami Desikan as " NISHPANNA KRITHYA ".

GS 72: ka pushpitha ripu paksha! Jaya ! Jaya !

O Raghuveera who made those who opposed you in battle reach the status of the blossomed lotuses of the sky ! Hail to Thee! Hail to Thee!

(Comments): Here Swami Desikan suggests that Rama made his enemies nonexistent just like lotuses blossoming in the sky. Lotuses do not bloom in the sky and therefore they have no existence. The same situation existed for the enemies of Rama according to Sami Desikan .

GS 73: pushpaka rabhasa gathi goshpadheekrutha gaganArNava !
Jaya ! Jaya !

(Meaning) : O Lord who made the vast ocean resemble the size of a hoof of a cow because of the speed with which you travelled over that ocean to reach your kingdom ! Hail to Thee! Hail to Thee!

(Background): At the end of the coronation of VibhishaNA and completing
his duties , Rama wanted to return to AyodhyA for reunion with the waiting Bahratha and his mothers. He stepped into Pushpaka VimAnam with his Devi, LakshmaNA, VibhishaNA, SugreevA, Hanumaan and the vast simian army. That airship accomodated all of them and sped over the vast ocean with the speed of the ligtining. That vast area of the ocean looked a that time like the little space covered by one hoof of a cow becuase of the speed with which the VimAnam travelled to its destination.

vimohitha jagath trayam vikacha padma patrEkshaNam I
VibhishaNa surakshakam Vijayaramam eeLE Harim II

GS 74 : pratijnArNava taraNa krutha kshaNa Bharatha
manOratha samhita simhAsanAdhiroota ! Jaya ! Jaya !

(Meaning) : O Lord who ascended the throne of AyodhyA and celebrated your coronation ceremonies and thus fulfilled the deep wish of Bharatha , who had made a vow earlier to enter the fire to immolate himself , had you not returned from your exile to sit on the throne of the Raghus ! Hail to Thee ! Hail to Thee !

(Comments): Bharatha returned to Nandigramam with Rama PaadhukhAs, when he failed to persuade Rama to abandon his exile and return to Ayodhya to succeed King Dasaratha as the rightful heir to the throne of Raghus. At that time, BharathA made a vow that he will immolate himself in fire, if Rama did not return to Ayodhya at the end of his exile of 14 years in the forest. On the last day of the fourteenth year, he was all set to enter the fire , when Rama 's messenger (Hanumaan) rushed to his side to tell Bharatha that his brother was speeding in Pushpaka vimAnam to reunite with him . Bharatha was thus saved from his vow of self-immolation.

The brothers were united and the coronnation (PattAbhshekam) was celebrated to the utter delight of Bharatha and others. BharathA's heart overflowed with joy at the sight of Janaki RAman on the ancient throne of the Raghus.

Vaidehee sahitam suradhruma talE haimE mahamantapE
madhyE pushpakamAsanE maNimayE veerAsanE susthitham I
agrE vAchayathi prabanjana suthE tatvam munibhya: param
vyakyAntham Bharathadhibhi : parivrutham Ramam bhajE syAmalam II

vAmE BhumisuthA purasccha HanumAn pascchAth SumithrAsutha:
satrugnO Bharathasccha pArsvadhalayO : vAyvAdhi kONEshu cha I
Sugreevasccha Vibhishansccha yuvarAt tArAsuthO JambhavAn
madhyE neela saroja komaLaruchim Ramam BHajE syAmaLam II

 

GS 75 : SWAMIN ! JAYA ! JAYA !

(Meaning): O Lord of all the universe ! Hail to Thee ! Hail to Thee! O BhoothAthmA , the inner soul of ALL beings! Hail to Thee! O Bhuthakrith , the creator of ALL beings and such their YajamAnA ! Hail to Thee! O Bhootha Bhavya Bhavath prabhu , the swami (master) of all things of the past , future and the present ! Hail to Thee ! O VashatkArAha swami , the one who controls and directs and thereby lords over the universe ! Hail to Thee ! O Bhootha bhavana bhootesa swami , the sustainer and the Lord of this universe ! Hail to Thee! O Lord saluted by svetasvatAra Upanishad as:


" Superior to Him, there is no one whatsoever (yasmAth param nAparam asthi kimchith ) ! Hail to Thee ! O PradhAna Purushevara , the Lord of primordial matter and PurushAs ! Hail to Thee !

 

GS 76 : Raghava Simha ! Jaya ! jaya !

(Meaning) :O the exalted one among the scion of Raghu ! Hail to Thee! Hail to Thee !

(Commnets) : The kings of Raghu Vamsam are famous for protecting those, who sought refuge in them. There is however no one in your vamsam, who excells you in the matter of Abhaya PradhAnam and SaraNAgatha Rakshakathvam. In the divine story of yours told by Sage Vaalmiki, every khAndam of that epic is full with stories of your protection of saraNAgathAs. IN bala KhAndham ,DevAs sought your refuge at the milky ocean to protect them from the terrors of RavaNA. You protected them. In AyodhyA khaandham , your brother LakshmaNA fell at your feet and performed Prapatthi and gained the fruits of that Prapatthi by being blessed to join you in Your exile .

In AaraNya KhAndham, the sages of DandakAraNyam sought your protection and performed SaraNAgathi. You destroyed Kharan, DhushaNan and others and came to their rescue. You accepted the SaraNAgathi of the aparAdhi, the KaakAsuran and did not kill him for his unforgivable offense. In KishkindhA KhAndham, you responded the SaraNAgathi of Sugreva and saved him from the terrors of his brother Vaali. In Yuddha KhAndham, You gave Abhaya PradhAnam to VibhishaNA and accepted his SaraNAgathi. What Vibhishana relly wanted was Kaimkaryam to You. He received the total response to his paripurNa saraNagathi and even today, he serves you at Srirangam. Your prakAsam (effulgence) as SaraNYa seelan (Rakshakan) and your Vaibhavam as the unfailing observer of SaraNya vratham entitles you to the title of RAGHAVA SIMHAM. Hail to Thee ! Hail To Thee !

with this 76 th salutation , the Yuddha KhAndham section of Swami Desikan's Raghuveera Gadhyam comes to an auspicious conclusion .

Rama: PitA Raghava yeva MaathA
Ramassubhandhusccha sakhA hitasccha I
RaamO gururmE paramam cha dhaivam
Ramam VinA nAnyaham smarAmi II

 

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UTTARA KHAANDAM

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Swami Desikan concluded Yuddaha Khandham with the powerful salutatons of SWAMIN! RAGHAVA SIMHA! JAYA! JAYA! He set the tone there for the beginning of the celebration of RAMA RAAJYAM. He used 18 namaskaraams to celebrate the Pattabhiraman sitting with His Devi on the SimhAsanam with 18 steps in the DarbAr at AyodhyA during this Rama Raajyam.

When we enjoy the Vaibhavam of Sri RamachandrA in Uttara KhAndham, We are reminded of the third Paasuram of ThiruppAvai (Ongi UlagaLandha), where AndAL, the avathAram of Bhumi Devi just as Sita Devi sings about the land blessed with timely and copious rains, fertile fields yielding abundant harvests, ecological harmony and other "Neengaatha Selvam". All of this is associated with the singing of the name of TrivikramA, who reached out and measured the worlds with his ascending step. May we receive Anna Vayal Pudhuvai AndAL's blessings before we proceed with our salutation to Swami Desikan's Uttara Khaandham of Sri Raghu Veera Gadhyam.

We are also reminded of the salutations of the other incarnation of Valmiki, who as Saint Thyagaraja participated in the Rama DharbAr at his Puja Graham at ThiruvaiyAru on the banks of SRI RANGANATHA'S CAUVERI and considered himself as a subject of Rama Rajyam in this Kali Yugam.

I will digress here to explain, why I term Cauveri as Sri RanganathA 's Cauveri. River Cauveri is equated to GangA in its sacredness. GangA rose from the holy feet of TrivikramA. That Daughter of SahyA mountain descends as Mother Cauveri and washes the Holy feet of Sri RanganathA before She Joins her father's house in Tamil Naadu. All along her course, She adores the sacred feet of Sri Ranganatha at five different Divya Desams.

The first one is Adhi Rangan"s temple at Sri Ranga PattiNam in KarnAtakA. EVEN Tippu SultAn revered this Adhi Rangan.

The second Rangam is at ThirppEr Nagar near Lalgudi. Here Cauveri offers Her salutation to Madhya Rangan, who rests on his bed of Adhi Seshan as AppakkudatthAn. Next to his right hand is the vessel full of nectar-like Appam for us( Naaliyira Divya Prabhandham ).

Third Rangam: As Cauveri continues her majestic flow, She froms an island to do Prathkshinam for the third Rangan, Sri KalyANa Rangan of Srirangam, who received 247 pasurams from eleven AzhwArs including the ten from AndAL herself. Saint Thyagaraja celebrated this KalyaNa Rangan worshipped by Sri Ramachandra at AyodhyA as Vaibhoga Rangan, Kaavedi Rangan in one of his Sriranga Pancha Ratnam krithis. Natha Muni, Yaamuna Muni, RamAnuja Muni and all the AcharyAs of his lineage lived here and offered their Kaimkaryams at this Bhuloka VaikunTam.

Fourth Rangam: Cauveri MaathA continues Her journey and washes the Lotus feet of Hema Rangan at Thirukkudanthai (AarAvamudhan). Here she blessed Thirumazhisai AzhwAr, a great devotee of Hema Rangan and KomaLavalli ThAyAr .

The fifth and the final Rangan our mother Cauveri salutes is the ParimaLa Rangan of IndaLoor, where he is resting in Veera Sayanam. This ParimaLa Rangapathi receives with warmth the salutations of Cauveri and makes His Kshetram ideal for TulA snAnam. Cauveri reluctantly flows on ( PiriyA vidai ) and enters her father's house ( Samudhra Rajan's ) soon after .

Saint Thyagaraja sat in his small house on Thirumanjana Veedhi of ThiruvaiyAru and used Cauveri Theertham to perform Thirumanjanam for Sri RamachandrA and celebrated His Rama Rajyam. Living as a blessed citizen in the Rama Bhakthi SAmrajyam, he celebrated the blessings of living in that Rama Bhakthi SamrAjyam in Raga Suddha BangalA. He celebrated the fellow Bhagavathas living in that Rama Bhakthi empire and declared: "The sight of those great souls, who have been blessed with Rama Bhakthi itself confers supreme BrahmAnandham. This bliss does not admit of any description in words; it can only be realized by self-experience. "The Rama Bhakthas of Buffalo, New York made us experience a small part of that BrahmAnandham through the Dhanur Maasa Aaraadhanam and Sath Sangam there last weekend.

Saint Thyagaraja summed up the glory of Rama Rajyam in his MukhAri song, "Kaaru Baaru SeyuvAru galarE?". He addressed Sri Rama and stated: "O Rama! Has there been anybody, who has reigned over AyodhyA like You protecting the subjects, exercising supreme authority and securing the happiness and prosperity of townsmen, countrymen, and the Rishis alike ? During Your reign did not Your subjects have the benefit of three monthly rains ( Madham MummAri Peythida of AndAL's Third Thiruppavai Paasuram ), training and education in all arts and crafts, longevity and freedom from intrigue and haughtiness?. "The divine bard concludes his Mukhaari Krithi with the salutation, "Saadhu ThyagarAja Vinutha Rama! Kaaru Bhaaru SeyuvAAru Galare?".

The central message of Rama Raajyam , the theme of Uttara Khandham of Sage Vaalmiki is thus celebrated by AndAL (Bhumi Devi out of whose ear /valmeekam/purru , Sage Vaalmiki arose to sing Rama Keerthanams )and Saint ThyagaraajA , an incarnation of Sage Valmiki himself.

Let us commence these postings with the two tributes of Sage Valmiki to the supreme ruler (Chakravarthi) Ramachandra. They are:

Tamevam guNasampannam apradhrushya parAkramam I
lokapaalOpamam nAtham akAmayatha medhinee II

(Meaning ) : Earth seeks to have as its master, the aforesaid Rama of Unfailing might , and vying with the guardians of the quarters , endowed as he is with the above-mentioned virtues.

aanrusamsyamanukrosa: srutham seelam damassama: I
Raghavam sobhayatyEtE shaDguNA: purushotthamam II

(Meaning ) : Six GuNAs adorn Sri RamachandrA: Protection of those ,who seek refuge at His holy feet , Compassion , Knowledge of the inner meanings of the VedAs ,The uninterrupted and ease of union even with those who are no match to Him (Sowlabhyam ) , Control of mind and the control of the Karma and JnAna IndriyAs .

Such a celebrated emperor was RamA , who ruled the Earth after His return to AyodhyA following his victory over the evil RavaNA .

GP 77 : Haataka giri kataka laDaha paada
peeta nikata Thata parilutitha nikhila nrupathi kireeta kOti vividha
maNi gaNa kiraNa nikara neerajitha charaNa rajeeva ! Jaya ! jaya !

(meaning ) : Hail to Thee , O Raghuveera with the Lotus feet ,which have been illuminated by the Neerajanm (Aaratthi ) of the beams of resplendent rays emanting out of the gems adorning the edges of the crowns of all the kings prostrating themselves at the foot of your throne(SimhAsanam ) , which is as broad as the foot hills of mount Meru ! Hail to Thee !

Sri Rama is sitting on His imperial throne with His dEvi in the darbhAr at the time of His coronation. The vassals of the empire have assembled in front of Sri Pattabhi RaamA's throne and are offering their ShAshtAnga namaskArams . The foot of the throne is broad like the foot hills of the lofty Meru-mountain like simhAsanam. The kings are wearing gem-studded crowns during this time of their prostrations before their supreme Lord. The rays of light emanating from the mangaLa deepams illuminating the DarbhAr reflect the lustre of the gems adorning their crowned heads as they lower their limbs on ground and lift themselves up. Those reflections arising from the interaction of the light beams and the gems of the crowns appear like a mangaLa aarathi raised in front of their newly crowned emperor, Sri RamachandrA .

The occasion of performance of NeerAjanam (Aaratthi ) is an auspicious one to celebrate the supernacy of the Lord during His aarAdhanam . Saint Thyagaraja saw this splendid sight of the darbhAr of SitAraman during the pattabhishekam at AyodhyA with his mental eyes at his pujA graham and joined with the assembled kings to conduct Aaratthi to the AkhilAdakoti NAyakan in one of his Surutti Krithis :

Pallavi : Pathiki haarateerE SitA (pathiki )

Anupallavi : Athi mrudhutara satva bhashaNanuki
akhilAndha Naathuniki SitA (Pathiki haarateerE)

CharaNam 1 : bhangaruranghuku bhujanguni pyni
chelanguchunu maragathAngudu merupu
theraDguna merayu tana yanganathO palukanga
jUji yupponguju SitA ( Pathiki haarateerE)

CharaNam 3 : raja vibhAkara raja dharAmara
raja suAja virAjulu chooDaka
rajamAnamagu gAjulu gallana
raajitha Thyagaraaja nuthuniki Sri (SitA Pathiki hArateerE )

Saint ThyagarajA sitting at his pujA graham on the banks of Cauveri enjoys the splendor of this sight and is worried whether any drishti dhosham will arise and hence he invites all the sumangalis assembled in front of Sri SitApathi to offer Neerajanam to the Rajaathiraajan. He himself joins them in this sacred rite. He says : " Let us offer NeerAjanam (Haaratthi) to our Lord , the Lord of the Universe , of sweet and mellowed speech , when He is seated on the golden-hued Sesha ( Sesha SimhAsanam ), conversing with His consort SitA Devi of radiant beauty . Standing on either side (of the throne), let the (assembled ) ladies with charming faces and shining ornaments offer the haratthi to the delight of DevAs and Rishis ." Sri RamachandrA's position as the supreme ruler of the Universe is celebrated here with great bhAvam by the bard of ThiruvaiyAru in this Surutti Raaga krithi .

GP 78 : divya BhowmAyOdhyAdhi Daivatha ! Jaya ! Jaya !

(Meaning ) : Hail to Thee , O Ubhaya Vibhuthi NaathA ! You rule both the AyOdhyAs -- one invincible ( AyOdhya ) known as Sri VaikunTam and the other one in Kosala Desam on this earth -- with equal ease and display Your suzerainty .

Here Swami Desikan celebrates the Mukundha aspect of Sri RamachandrA in the spirit of Mukunda MAla sthotram . King KulasekharA chose the word Mukundha for Sri Kaakuthsa --RanganAthA for the combinatuion of the three Aksharams , Mu , Ku and dha . Mu stands for Mukthi and Sri VaikunTanaathan in invincible Ayodhya (Sri VaikunTam ) known as Parampadham . That is Nitya Vibhoothi . The aksharA "ku" stands for the invincible capital of Sri Rama known as AyOdhyA onnthis Bhumi , which stands for the LeelA Vibhoothi. The literal meaning of AyOdhyA is that which is invincible to enemies .Thus both the AyOdhyAs --the Nitya and LeelA vibhoothis - are under the Lordship of the emperor of emperors , Sri RamachandrA . Thus He is celebrated and eulogized as Ubhaya Vibhoothi nAthan by Swami Desikan through this salutation.

Lokavatthu leelA kaivalyam.... Brahma Sutram 2.1.33

GP 79 : pithru vadha kupitha dhara muni vihitha nrupa hanana
kadhana poorva kaala prabhava satha gaNa prathishtApitha
dhArmika rajavamsa ! Jaya ! jaya !

(Meaning ) : Hail to Thee ! O Raghu Veera who reestablished the righteous royal lineages and grew them hundred fold after they were decimated by the enraged Parasurama when a king committed the despicable crime of killing his father, the sage Jamadagni ! Hail to Thee !

During the beginning of the TretA yugam , king KaarthaveeryA offended Jamadagni , the father of ParasurAmA . The furious sage destroyeed the king through a powerful curse. The sons of the king came to the Aasramam of sage Jamadagni , when ParasurAmA was not at home and killed his father.When ParasurAmA learnt about this heinous act of the sons of Karthaveerya , he vowed to rid the earth of the KshatriyAs for 21 generations ( Trissaptha akshathra imaam kshithim kruthva : Muni : ) ParasurAmA used his axe (Parasu ) to cut off the heads of the twenty generations of kings. The predecessors of King DasarathA were unafected .

In the next yugam , RamA was born in the Kshatriya race as the son of King DasarathA . ParasurAmA confronted the young bridegroom RamA and was taught a lesson by RamA , who removed the divine sakthi of ParasurAmA and absorbed it in himself. ParasurAmAvatharam is not a PurNa avathAram of Sriman NaarayaNA as Rama , KrishNa and other avathArams.

In this salutation , Swami Desikan pays tribute for Sri Rama for protecting the KshtriyA kulam from the rage of the angry ParasurAmA and blessing that kulam to develop hundred fold during His long dhArmic reign as the emperor of AyodhyA
.

GP 80: subha charitha ratha Bharatha garvitha garva ghAndharva
yootha geetha vijaya ghAthaa satha! Jaya ! jaya !

(Meaning ) : Hail to Thee O Lord whose glory has been eulogised through hundreds of songs by the groups of GandharvAs after their arrogance was destroyed in the battle field at your request by your brother BharathA of most auspicious deeds ! Hail to Thee !

On the banks of river Sindhu , GandharvAs had their kingdom . The profession of gandharvAs is to sing the praise of the Gods. They forgot their customary duties and began to harass the people of the land. The uncle of BharathA by the name of YudhAjith journeyed to Sri Rama's court and appealed to Sri RamA to control the misbehaving GandharvAs. Sri Rama sent Bharatha to undertake this task . Bharatha was mostly involved in performing auspicious deeds in the service of his elder brother. At the command of his respected brother , he traveleld to the land of GandharvAs and soundly defeated them as the deputy of emperor Rama and restored peace. The GandharvAs were thankful and sang the praise of Sri Rama through hundreds of songs over the victory of RamA's army led by BahrathA .

GP 81 : saasitha madhusoodha satrugna sevitha ! Jaya ! jaya !

(Meaning ) : Hail to Thee ! O Sri RamachandrA worshipped by your heroic brother SatrugnA , who killed LavaNAsuran , the son of Madhu at your request ! hail to Thee !

Here Swami Desikan pays tribute to another brother of Sri RamA for his valour and salutes Sri RamA for Dharma SamrakshNam as a righteous king . In the kingdom of MathurA was an ogre by the name of Madhu. He had a son by the name of LavaNan , who harassed the sages doing penance in that kingdom . DevAs were affected too . The afflicted DevAs appealed to Sri Rama for help in getting rid of LavaNA and to reestablish peace and righteousness in the land. Sri RamA sent his youngest brother SatrugnA on the mission of destroying the evil LavaNA . SatrugNA with his brother's blessings killed LavaNA in battle and returned to the side of his beloved brother and continued with his dedicated service to Sri RamachandrA .

GP 82 : Kusa Lava parigruheetha kula gaathaa visesha ! Jaya ! jaya !

(Meaning ) : Hail to Thee O Lord who is affiliated with the Sri Sookthis of your illustrious vamsam learnt and sung by Your sons Kusa and Lava !

Swami Desikan salutes Sage Valmiki for composing Srimadh RamAyaNam and for instructing the twin sons of RamA to sing the 24,000 slokas contained in the 500 cantos of the seven KhAndams. The properly instructed sons of SitA and RamA sang in front of Sri RamA the divine story of their father to the accompaniment of lute . They sang the verses set in chandas and beats of time (TaaLam ) . Sri Rama was thrilled to hear that superhuman (Ghandharvaa) music with perfect layam and Taalam The asembled expertaudience in Sri RamA's court for the performance of Asvamedha Yaagam were also thrilled . Valmiki describes the sweet singing of Kusa and Lava this way in the 94th chapter of Uttara KhAndham :

" susrAva tath taaLa layOpapannam sargAnvitham
susvara sabdha yuktham "

Sri RamA honored the two bards with a gift of 18,000 gold coins each. They refused to accept stating that money is of no use to them in the asramam of Sage Valmiki and returned there. Rama learnt form the songs that Kusa and LavA were his own sons born in the Asramam of Valmiki. Sri Rama pined for his wife and wanted to reunite with Her . He sent sages to Valniki's asramam to bring her back to his side.

GP 83 : vidhivasa pariNamadhamara bhaNithi kavivara rachitha
nija charitha nibhandhana nisamana nirvrutha ! Jaya ! jaya !

(Meaning ) : Hail to Thee O Lord , who delighted in hearing the story of your glories eulogized in Srimadh RamAyaNam composed by Sage Valmiki , whose words due to the divine blessings of Brahma and Sarasvathi transformed themselves into appropriate sanskrit slokaas adorned with the right meter and meaning automatically ! Hail to Thee!

One day, Sage Valmiki went for his ritual bath to the river. There, he witnessed the cruel sight of a hunter killing one of the pair of the love-stricken birds with an arrow. He heard the heart-rending wailings of the female bird left behind. Sage Valmiki started to curse the hunter over this act of wanton cruelty and was amazed to find that his curse came out of his mouth as a Sanskrit slokam with an impeccable rhyme and metre. That incident led to the birth of Srimadh RamAyaNam as the Adhi Kaavyam and this was sung by Lava and KusA in the Asvamedha Mantapam of Sri RamachandrA.

GP 84 : Sarva jana sammaanitha ! Jaya ! Jaya !

(Meaning ) : Hail to Thee O Lord , who was eulogized by all those assembled in your Asvamedha Yaaga Mantapm after hearing your divine story sung by your own twin sons !

Sage valmiki describes in the 94th canto the assembly of people in Sri RamA's court. He says that there were specailists in the recital of PurANAs ( PourANikAs ) , experts in the field of the meaning of words (Sabdha VidhAAs ) , authorities in the appreciation of the intricacies of music , knowers of the relation between the syllables of the stanzas and those with proficiency in metres , experts in Jyothisha Saastram and the performance of sacred rites , logicians , vedic pandits , knowers of Dahrma sutrAs and skilled ones in Bharatha Naatyam. All of that august assembly heard with rapture the Sri Sookthi of Sage Valmiki sung brilliantly by the twin sons of SitA Raman in the Asvametha Mantapam. They saluted Rama afterwards for his glorious deeds celebrated by the divine slokAs of Srimadh RaamAyaNam.

Sri Ramachandra srithapaarijAtha : Samastha KalyANa guNAbhirAma : I
SitAmukhAmbhOruhachancharEkO nirantharam MangaLam aatanOthu II

GP 85 : punarupasthApitha vimAna vara visrANana
preeNitha vaisravaNa visrAvitha yasa: prapancha !
Jaya ! Jaya !

(meaning ) : Hail to Thee O Lord , whose glorious kalyANa guNAs were eulogized by the joyous and grateful KubErA ,when he received back the pushpaka vimAnam from You ! Hail to Thee !

(Background ) :RavaNan had forcibly removed pushpaka Vimanam , the aerial chariot , from KubErA's house and brought it over to LankhA . When RavaNa was killed by RamA in battle and VibhishaNA was coronated by RamA , VibhishaNA preented to RamA the Pushpaka vimAnam for travel to AyodhyA . When Rama arrived at Ayodhya , he immediately returned the VimAnam to KubErA , its rightful owner . The pleased KubErA sent it back to Rama so that it could be of servic eto RamA a little longer. RamA used it for a short time and then returned it to KubErA with thanks. KubErA was moved by the magnanimity of RamA and eulogized RamA's auspicious GuNAs all ove rthe world. Swami Desikan refers to this incident of Uttara Khaandham in this salutation .

GP 86 : PanchatApAnna munikumara sanjeevanAmrutha !
Jaya ! Jaya !

(meaning ) : Hail to Thee O Lord, who brought back to life the dead son of the rishi of your kingdom ! Hail to Thee !

(background ) : When RamA was ruling over AyodhyA , there was an untimely death in the family of a Rishi. The young son of the Rishi suddenly died. The sage went to the court of Rama and blamed him for his son's death and accused RamA of lapse in maintaining the dharmam and connected that lapse to his young son's untimely death. RamA was disturbed and suspected that something not permitted by SaastrAs was happening. He ascended the Pushpaka VimAnam and toured over his kingdom. He found a man doing severe penance of a kind that was not permitted by saasthrAs in his effort to reach heaven (Svargam) with his body. This man was hanging upside down from a tree and doing his unsanctioned penance and upsetting righteousness. Rama realized that this unrighteous deed led to the untimely death of the son of the sage. RamA cut off the head of the man, who broke the rules sanctioned by SaasthrAs. Immediately, the dead son of the sage came back to life as though he woke out of a deep sleep . Thus RamA was like a nectar in bringing the dead son of the sage back to life through his act of punishment of the one, who strayed from the allowed DharmA in his kingdom.

GP 87 : TrEthA yuga pravarthitha kaartha yuga vrutthAntha !
Jaya ! Jaya !

(Meaning ) : Hail to Thee O Lord who made the superior dharma of Krutha Yugam become active in the TrethA yugam in which you lived ! Hail to Thee !

(background ) : There are four Yugams in the cycle of time. DwApara, Krutha, trethA and Kali are the four Yugams. In each of the Yugams, righteousness (Dharma) decreases by a quarter. Alternatively, if DharmA is compared to a cow with four legs, in the first yuga, it is standing firm on its four legs. In the next yuga, it stands on three legs due to the dimunition of DharmA. In the third Yuga, DharmA stands on two legs and is wobbly. In the final yugA of Kali, the cow of Dharma stands on one leg and is in its worst state of health. When Rama reigned in TrethA yugA, his conductance of the affairs of the state was so exemplary that the health of DharmA resembled that of the Krutha Yugam (Previous Yugam ) . Adharmam never lifted its ugly head during the Rama Raajyam and it appeared as though the Krutha yuga dharmam was prevailing in Tretha yugam.

GP 88 : avikala bhausuvarNa hayamakha sahasra nirvahaNa
nirvarthitha nija varNAsrama dharma! Jaya ! Jaya !

(Meaning ) : Hail to Thee O Lord who upheld the sanctioned VarNAsrama dharmas of KshatriyAs through the successful completion of many Asvamedha sacrifices , where huge amounts of gold was given as dakshiNA to the participants .

(Background ) : The VarNAsrama DharmA of the KshatriyAs require them to conduct Asvamedha Yagam. During this Yagam, huge amounts of gold is given away as presents to officiating priests. RamA performed many such blemishless Asvamedha Yagas. Even if RamA was Sriman NarAyaNA himself, He performed the duties befitting his incarnation as a KshatriyA on this earth . His sarveswarathvam did not require Him to perform any YagAs or YajnAs and yet he behaved in an exemplary fashion to observe the appropriate dharmas sanctioned by SaastrAs . Thus He showed the world the requirement to follow one's sanctioned DharmAs and came to be known as the embodiment of DharmA .

GP 89 : Sarva Karma SamArAdhya ! Jaya ! jaya !

(Meaning ) : Hail to Thee O Lord who is the ultimate receiver of ALL the worships of DevAs and Humans ! Hail To Thee !

(Background ) : In this earth and heaven, whatever Yaga or Yajna or AarAdhanam is performed, the fruit of those efforts ultimately reach Sriman NarAyaNA alone. Whichever God is worshipped, the fruits of that worship reach Sriman NaaraYaNA in the end , since HE is the antharyAmi of ALL Gods . There is an episode in Bharatham, where ArjunA offers aarAdhanam to Parama Sivan and places flowers on the head of a Siva Lingam. Next morning, ArjunA to his amazement saw the same flowers decorating the lotus feet of KrishNa. AntharyAmi BrahmA tattvam of Lord KrishNaA was understood by ArjunA that day .

GP 90 : SanAthana Dharma ! Jaya ! Jaya !

(Meaning ) : Hail to Thee O Lord , who is the emboduiment of lasting Dharma ! Hail to Thee !

(Comments ) : RamA as the PurNAvathAram of Sriman NArAyaNA celebrated by the following passage of VishNu Sahasra Naamam :

YagnO yagna patir yajvA yagnAngO yagnavAhana:
yagna bhrt yagna krth yagnO yagna bhuk yagna sAdhana:
YagnAnta krth yagna guhyam annam annAdha eva cha

RamA is celebrated as the embodiment of ancient and timeless SanAtana Dharma in this salutation in the spirit of the above sahasra nAmams. Accordingly, He is the sacrifice for those , who do not have the wherewithal to acquire the DharmA to worship him through mantra JapA.

He is the Yagna Pathi in that he gives the fruits of the YagnA performed to please Him. He himself performs the YajnA as stated in Maha BharathA at dawn and dusk every day for the purification of those, who are unable to observe the daily rites. He completes YagnA done by the others, when they are defective and hence is known as Yagna Brth .He created the first sacrifice for the wel being of the universe and hence is saluted by the Naamam of Yagna Krth. He enjys the offering of the sacrifices and thus becomes the Yagna bhuk. Thus, he is the Yagna Guhyam or the secret of the sacrifice. He through all these atributes becomes the embodiment of Sanaathana dharmA and is saluted elsewhere by Swami Desikan as DharmO vigrahavAn.

GP 91 : sakEtha janapadha jani dhanika tadhitara
janhtujAtha divya gathi dhAna darsitha nitya nisseema
vaibhava ! Jaya ! Jaya !

(Meaning ) : Hail to Thee O lord of limitless and eternal glory who blessed the ENTIRE body of the chetanAs and achetanAs of your kingdom to attainn the higher world known as Saandhanikam .

(Background ) : After the tragedies of the deaprtures of Sita and LakshmaNA, Rama decided to go back to Sri VaikunTam to be united with them . His avathara kaaryam was completed. He crowned Kusa and LavA as the kings of the Southern and Northern Kosala desam.

He decided to take his remaining two brothers as well as the monkeys and bears that fought with Him in LankhA. He advised VibhishaNA, HanumAn, JambhavAn, DwividA and MaindA to remain on earth. He gave His family's aaradhana vigraham to VibishaNA and asked him to worship the presiding deity of IshvAku kulam (Aaraadhaya JagannAtham IshvAku Kula daivatham).

Next, RamA spoke to HanumAn and said: O Best among Monkeys! As long as the story of my deeds circulate on this earth, so long live happily on this earth keeping my words in your mind (MathkathA pracharishyanthi yavallokE hareesvara, thaavadh ramasva supreethO madh vaakyam anupAlayan ). HanumAn was very moved by the blessings of Sri Ramachandra and replied : " As long a sYour divine story will circulate on this earth , so long shall I stay on this earth carrying out Your orders ".

Rama hten ascended to Sri VaikunTam . Acharya VasishTA peformed all the rites connected weith the final departure as enjoined by the sAstrAs . All of Rama"s weapons went in human forms with Him. The VedAs in the form of BrahmaNAs ,Gayathi , the OmkArA and the VashatkArA followed RamA . All the subjects , birds , animals followed Rama to heaven by merely seeing Him durin gthis occasion . All sthavarA (Stationary forms ) who saw the scion of Raghu , wishing the best of Him followed Him into heaven known as Saanthaanikam ruled by BrahmA . Rama entered the divine lustre of Sriman NArAyaNA in Sri VaikunTam and was reunited with his Consort and AdiseshA (LakshmaNA ) there .

NammAzhwAr celebrates the glory of RamA's mercy in giving Sadhgathi to all of the sthavara and Jangama of AyodhyA in a moving verse of ThiruvAimozhi :

karpAriramapirAnai allAl maRRum kaRparO
puRpAmudalAppullerembhuhaadhiyonrinRiyE
naRpaalayOddhil vazhum charAcharam muRRavum
naRpaalukkyutthanan naanmuhanAr peRRa nAttuLE
--- Thiruvaimozhi 7.5.1

NammAzhwAr wonders about the DayA of RamA in blessing all the sentient and insentients of AyodhyA to reach the heaven known as Saanthaanikam at the time of His own departure from His kingdom. AzhwAr is moved by the compassion of the Lord and also the significanc eof Bhagavadh Sambandham. He asks in this mood a rhetorical question: Is there any thing else to study and to learn except the Rama Tatvam in this world ? He hints that there is nothing superior than the study and enjoyment of Sri Rama's deeds on this earth as the son of king DasarathA.

GP 92 : bhava tapana taapitha bhaktha jana bhadrArama !
Jaya ! Jaya !

(Meaning ) : Hail to Thee O Lord , who serves as an auspicious and shady grove of flowering trees to the devotees of Yours , who are scorched by the hot rays of the sun of SamsArA !

(Comments ) : The human beings exposed to the scorching rays of the sun in summer get relief from taking rest in the cool shade of the trees in a dense grove. Similarly , the devotees of the Lord afflicted by the hot rays of the htre afflictions associated with their SamsAric life think of the cool shade of the sacred feet of the Lord as a cool nandavanam and are freed from their sufferings. The comparison of the thought of the Lord for Samsaris to a shady grove or a cool pond in summer is frequently used by AzhwArs and AcharyAs .

indeevaradhaLa syAma: pundarikanibhEkshaNa : I
dhrutha kodhanDatooNeerO Rama yeva gathirmama II

GP 93 : SRI RAMABHADRA ! JAYA ! JAYA !

(Meaning ) : Hail to Thee O RamabhadrA! Hail to Thee !

(Comments ) : He makes every one blessed by darsanam of His sarvanga sowndharyam . His subhAsrayam confers limitless auspiciousness to those, whose eyes are blessed to have His sevA bhaagyam at his divya desams .

Saint ThyagaraajA experienced this bliss and celebrated it through his raptourous outpourings, which took the form of bhakthi-laden krithis. From early morning till ardha Jaamam, this Rama BhakthA was immersed in the ocean of bliss of the enjoyment of the Lord's Thirumeni .

I will refer to some of the krithis , where Saint ThyagarAjA enjoyed the beauty of Ramabhadran. In his KolAhala Raga Krithi ( Madhi lona Yochana bhuttu ledhA ? maharAja RajeswarA ! ) , he comes straight out and reveals to Sriman NarayanA that he has always regarded His RamAvathAram as the best of His ten avathArAs ( padhi vesamulalO Rama vesamu bahu bhAgunuchu goru nannu bhrova ) .

In his long and beautiful Bilahari Raga Krithi , DorakunA , he describes the beauty of Ramabhadran that he was blessed to see seated on a swing with His PrANa Nayaki , SitA devi . He describes the sight with ecstasy : " --a darsanA of the Lord as the repository of all beauty (Maragatha MaNi sannibha dehambhuna ) with His emerald-like body clad in shining golden garments , with the colour of His foot-nails outshining the rays of the moon , with brilliant anklets , with dazzling diamond rings on His fingers , with pearl garlands on His chest , with face radiant with glowing ear-ornaments and charming smile , curly forelocks , glossy cheeks , and with lovely tilakA on the forehead , a DarsanA as that of Sri RamabhadrA seated on the golden swing with SitA , the fulfiller of devotees' desires ---".

Overcome by the experience of Sri RamabhadrA's rupa MahimA, the Saint uses the raga GuntakriyA and cries out : " Is it possible even for BrahmA , Indra and others to describe your beauty (Inthanuchu varNimpa taramA ? BrahmendrAdhulakaina ? ) . O father of Manmatha! Is it possible to describe the beauty of Your benign look , your charming face that surpasses the moon in splendour , ---Your hand that blesseth and your natural GuNAs ? O KalyANa Ramachandra ! even the Gods and the VedAs and the SaastrAs can not have any conception of the glory of Your prowess ."

In the krithi Muddhu Momu set in the MeLa raagam , SuryakAntham , the saint describes the blessed state of the devotees who are enchanted by the athi lAvaNyam of the Lord . The saint himself was overcome by the beauty of each limb of Ramabhadra and he is at a loss to focus on the beauty of one limb over the other . He expresses his confusion this way in the Suddha Desi Raaga Krithi , Yenthu kogalinthurA? . He expresses his dismay with the statement : " Which portion of Your body am I to embrace and how much am I to describe ? O beautiful RamA whom SitA Devi has treasured in her heart ! Your speech alone is speech! Your smile alone is smile !Your brilliance alone is brilliance ! ( Needhu palukE palukurA ! needhu kulukE kulukurA ! needhu taLukE taLukurA ! ) .

In the krithi set in Rudra PriyA raagam (LaavaNya RaamA!) , he states unabashedly : " O Charming RamA ! Bless me with Your benign looks. Your mental disposition, Your charms and Your methods are unique. Why should one seek protection from Taamasic Gods? " .

In his Kannada GowLA krithi, Saint ThyagarAjA, "Sokasu jooDa taramA ? Nee ",
he asks RamA Himself the question : " Is it possible to see such a beauty as Your face shining with glossy cheeks , -- Your lips which resemble a ripe bimbA fruit , Your chest adorned with garlands of VakuLA flowers , Your smiles , Your forelocks and the brilliance of Your Eyes ? ". What can Sri RamabhadrA say? He blessed His parama Bhaktha to have continued darsana janitha aanandham.

In his DevaghAndhAri raga krithi, the saint stated that it is impossible for him to forget the bewitching beauty of Ramabhadra (MaravakarA nava manmatha Rupuni ) and concluded his krithi with the declaration that He will worship Ramabhadra with the lotus of his heart all his life ( ajanmamu hrudh raajeevamuthO pujinthura Thyagarajanuthuni manasA ).

Finally in the famous MayAmALava GowLA krithi," Meru SamAna dheera, RaghuveerA! juthAmu raaraa maha meru --" , this great Rama BhakthA reconciles the tatvam of Raghuveeran with that of the Ramabhadran. One is the awe inspiring heroic tatvam embodied by Raghuveeran; the other is the sowmyA (auspicious , benovolent ) tatvam represented by Ramabhadran . His prayer to the Lord of SitA Devi is most moving:

" O RamabhadrA , firm like the Majestic Meru mountain !
Pray come to me so that I may feast my eyes with the captivating
beauty of Your form , Your graceful gait , Your shining blue body ,
the lovely curls on Your forehead , the attractive shape of Your TilakA,
Your blooming cheeks , the brilliance of Your face , the golden
jewels that adorn Your neck . "

The other intrepretation for the 93rd salutation as RamabhadrA is rooted in the Vedic texts. The Bhadra aspect will take us to BhadrAchalam and another Rama BhakthA, who built the temple for Him on the banks of the river, where Rama and Sita sported during their sojourn in the forest. That Vedic intrepretation is associated with the famous Rg Veda manthram:

bhadram karNebhi: sruNyAma devA bhadram pasyEmAkshabhiryajathrA :I
sthirair angais tushtuvAmssas tanubhir vy asema devahitasm yadhAyu : II
-----Rg Vedam Canto : 1.90.8

(Meaning): O Learned people! May we wiht our ears listen to what is beneficial. O persons, worthy of sacred deeds, May we see with our eyes that is beneficial. May we, engaged in Your praises, enjoy with firm limbs and sound bodies, a full term of life dedicated to the supreme being."

That Bhadram hinted by this Rk of Vedam is "Ramabhadram" that Saint Thyagaraja, BhadrAchala Ramadas, Talapaakam Anamacharya, AcharyAs and AzhwArs celebrated all their lives on this earth.

GP 94: NamasthE punasthE nama:

(Meaning): O Lord Ramabhadra of such auspicious, limitless KalyANa guNAs ! O Sarveswara! I salute Your lotus feet again and again and prostrate before You.

Sri RamachandrEthi dayAparEthi
bhaktha priyEthi bhava bandhana mochanEthi I
naathEthi naaga sayanEthi sadhA sthuvantham
maam paahi bheetham anisam krupaNam krupALO II
----Sri Rama KarNAmrutham 3. 114

On this day of Hanumath Jayanthi, it is a privelege to conclude this Yajnam of posting a series of articles on Swami Desikan's magnificient tribute to Raghuveeran.

I am delighted to read the posting by Sri Anbil Ramaswami on the Vaibhavam of Anjaneya Swami. Thanks to Sriman Ramaswami for a well-researched and comprehensive article on Siriya Thiruvadi. I had the feeling that He was watching over my shoulder as the Rama Kathaa was being discussed in Cyber space.

With Yesterday's posting, all of the 94 salutations of Swami Desikan to Raghuveeran have been covered. Today, we will complete the remaining two slokams. I will also focus on the tributes of NadhOpaasakAs on HanumAn in acompanion posting .

Slokam 1: chathurmukEswaramukai: putrapowthraadhisaalinE I
nama: SitAsamEthAya RamAya gruhamEdhinE II

(Meaning): My salutations to Sri RamA, the GrahasthA accompanied by His dharma patnee , SitA piratti . My salutations to Him, who observed the GrahasthAsrama dharmam and had Brahma as His son, Sivan as His grandson and VinAyaka and SubrahmaNyA as His great grand children.

(Commnets): BrahmA is the son of Sriman NarayaNA , who took the avathAram as RamA . He followed the rules of Grahasthasrama dharmam with his consort, SitA pirAtti. They had progeny through chathur mukha BrahmA and the whole world is their family. All the jeevans --Bhaddha, Muktha and Nitya jeevans -- of this and the other world are the children of this Divya Dampathi.

Saint ThyagarajA celebrates this family of the Lord in his LalithA raga Krithi "Seethamma Mayammaa Sri Ramudu maatanDri" this way: "Sita is my mother and Rama is my father; HanumAn, LakshmaNA, GarudA, SatrughnA, BrahmA, BharatA and others are my brothers; Parameswara, VasishtA, Parasara, NaaradA, SaunakA, SukA, IndrA, GautamA, GanesA, GuhA, SanakA and all true BhagavathAs are all my close relations (Nija BhagavadhgrE saru lEvarO vArEllanu vara ThyagarAjuniki Parama Bhandavalu)".

Slokam 2 : kavikathaka simha kathitham kaTora
sukumAra gumbha gambheeram I
bhava bhaya bheshajam yethath
mahA veera vaibhavam sudhiya : II

(Meaning): O Learned people of the World! This gadhyam on the Raghu Veeran was composed by Vedantha Desika, who is the lion for the elephants of the poets and the logicians. This gadhyam has deep meanings and is constituted by the union of tender words with feminine charm and powerful words with masculine attributes. Please recite this gadhyam that serves as the most effective medicine for the removal of the fear of SamsArA.

(Comments): Swami Desikan was like a lion in the contest with the poets and logicians of his time, who were like elephants that got defeated in their uneven contest with the king of the jungle. He recommends to us to recite this gadhyam celebrating the heroic deeds of Raghuveeran and to meditate on the deep meanings of the individual salutations. He points out that those, who are afraid of the disease of SamsArA would use this Gadhyam as a powerful medicine to cure that disease. As ParamAcharyA, he recommends that the people with discriminating intellect recite this gadhyam with reverence and develop Bhakthi to Veera Raghavan, perform prapatthi at His lotus feet and attain Moksha Siddhi .

kAyEna vAchA manasEndriyaivA buddhyAthmanA vaa prakrutEsvabhAvAth I
karOmi yadhyath sakalam parasmai NaarAyaNAyehti samarpayAmi II

Sri Maha Veera Vaibhavam SampoorNam . Subhamasthu !

KavithArkika simhAya KalyANa guNasaalinE I
SrimathE venkatEsAya Vedaantha GuravE nama: II

 


daasan, V.Sadagopan

 


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