Text of the song: Shri Ramachandra kripalu bhaja mana

Shri Rama chandra kripalu bhaja mana harana bhava bhaya daarunam
Nava kanja lochana kanja mukha kara kanja pada kanjaarunam (Shri)

Kandarpa aganita amita chabi nava neela neeraja sundaram
Pata peet manahu tadita ruchi shuchi navmi janaka sutaavaram (Shri)

Bhaja deena bandhu dinesha danava daitya vansha nikhandanam
Raghu nanda aananda kanda kaushala chanda Dasharatha nandanam (Shri)

Shir mukut kundala tilak chaaru udaara anga vibhooshanam
Aajanu bhuja shar chaapa dhara sangraam jit khar dooshanam (Shri)

Iti vadata Tulasidas Shankar shesha muni mana ranjanam
Mama hruday kanja nivaas karu kamaadi khal dal ganjanam (Shri)

The philosophy of the Ramayana 

By Swami Vivekananda

Sri Rama was the Parmatman (Supreme Reality) and Sita was the Jivatman (embodied individual soul). Each man�s or woman�s body was the Lanka. The Jivatman which was enclosed in the body, or captured in the island of Lanka, always desired to be in affinity with the Parmatman, or Sri Rama. But the Rakshasas would not allow it, and the Rakshasas represented certain traits of character.

For instance, Vibhishana represented Sattwa Guna, Ravana represented Rajas Guna and Kumbhakarana represented Tamas Guna. Sattwa Guna means goodness, Rajas means lust and passion and Tamas means darkness, stupor, avarice, malice, and its concomitants.

These Gunas keep back Sita, or Jivatman, which is in the body (Lanka) from joining Paramatman (Rama). Sita, thus imprisoned and trying to unite with her Lord, receives a visit from Hanuman, the Guru or divine teacher, who shows her the Lord�s ring, which is Brahma-Jnana, the supreme wisdom that destroys all illusions.

Thus Sita finds the way to be at one with Sri Rama or in other words, the Jivatman finds itself one with the Paramatman

Sri Rama, the King of kings

From an article in the Bhakti-List by Shriman Sadagopan Iyengar 
http://groups.yahoo.com/group/bhakti-list/message/16951 27Dec.2002

The Azhwars speak of a King, whose writ runs over the entire Cosmos.

While the reign of other kings is limited by time, this King rules forever. While other kings can and do err (like the Pandian king who, without due inquiry, put Kovalan to death) this King never errs and is the fairest Arbiter one can ever find. While other RajAs demand tribute from their subjects, this King only seeks love and affection as offerings, and is quite flexible in His requirements -- all that you need to offer is a leaf of Tulasi, any flower of the common garden variety, or just plain water.

The King the Azhwars speak of is the King of all Kings, the Supreme Emperor, who has none equal to or superior to Him - "rAjAdhi rAja: sarvEshAm". He is the Emperor to whom the Shruti bows its proud head-�mahArAjAya nama:". The term "eka chhatrAdhipati" has been coined to describe only this Emperor of All. His protective umbrella extends over all universes and all beings, animate and otherwise.

Sri Thirumangai Mannan, while describing the various relationships we have with the Lord, says "empirAn endhai ennudai chuttram, enakkarasu, ennudai vANAL".

It is clear from this that the multi-faceted bonds which bind us to Emperuman include those relating to an all-powerful Emperor and His lowly subjects. However, lest the word "arasu" be mistaken to mean any old king, Azhwar hastens to identify the monarch under reference - "ambinAl arakkar verukkoLa nerukki avar uyir seguttha em aNNal". This is none other than the Prince of Ayodhya, who put paid to the vast army of rAkshasAs with His deadly arrows.

The King of Ayodhya draws praise from another Azhwar-

"ilangayar kulatthai vAttiya varisilai vAnavar ErE" says Sri Tondaradippodi in tiruppalliezucchi, extolling Sri Rama's bravery in annihilating the inhabitants of Lanka through His prowess with the famed bow Kodhandam. The Monarch who performed this rare and remarkable feat is the Emperor not only of Ayodhya and the whole Cosmos, but of the Celestials too, ("VAnavar ErE").

Though several Azhwars have touched on the glory of this King, it is to Sri Kulasekhara Perumal we must turn, if we need a perfect portrait of this Magnificent Monarch.

The King is expected to set standards for his subjects through exemplary personal conduct.

"YathA RAjA tathA prajA"
"Yat yat Acharati shrEshtta: tat tat Eva itarO jana:
sa yat pramANam kurutE lOka: tat anuvartatE"
are pramANAs which emphasize the need for the King's conduct being above board. By this yardstick, we may confidently assert that Sri Raghava was the only complete King, whose life was an object lesson on righteous living. His speech, His action and His thoughts were model ones, unassailable in any forum and by any right-thinking person at any time.

So much so, even His sworn enemies had only compliments to offer and no words of reproach-"rAmO vigrahavAn dharmah" was not the statement of any admiring acolyte, but that of MArIchA, who was tormented by the Rama bANa and ultimately met his end at his Hero's hands.

What was so special about the reign of Sri Rama?

Sri Valmiki narrates the truly golden era of RAma RAjya in the following immortal slokas  I-1-90 to 94:

"prahrushta mudhitO lOka: tushta: pushta: sudhArmika:
nirAmayO hi arOgascha dhurbhiksha bhaya varjitha:
na putra maraNam kEchit drakshyanti purushA: kvachit
nAryascha avidhavA nityam bhavishyanti pativratA:
na cha agnijam bhayam kinchit nApsu majjanti jantava:
na vAtajam bhayam kinchit nApi jvarakritam tathA
na chApi kshutbhayam tatra na taskarabhayam tathA
nagarANi cha rAshtrANi dhana dhAnya ayutAni cha
nityam pramuditA: sarvE yathA KritayugE tathA

All the citizens of Ayodhya were happy, contented and adequately endowed with all they could need. They enjoyed robust health and were free from flood or famine. There was no occasion for an elderly person to suffer bereavement of his children nor for women to lament the loss of their husbands. No one was snatched away by untimely death. The ladies in Ramarajya were blessed with permanent auspiciousness. Sri Rama's subjects had no reason to fear calamities or even minor accidents due to fire, floods, felons, furious winds, or fever. The whole state and its inhabitants had all they could want of wealth and health. In short, a more peaceful and prosperous lot would have been hard to find.

Even before King Dasarata could think of anointing Sri RAghava as the Crown Prince, a delegation of his subjects called on him to demand the same, telling the old sovereign clearly that he should make way for his illustrious son who was endowed with all auspicious and regal qualities--"bahavO nripa! kalyANa guNA: putrasya santi tE".

And what were the sterling qualities that His subjects found in Sri Rama, that made Him an ideal King? Sri Valmiki recounts these with relish. The Prince of Ayodhya was handsomeness personified, with perfectly proportioned limbs, a broad chest, arms stretching to His knees, a pleasing complexion, merciful eyes that were red-lined, long and broad, resembling a just-bloomed lotus, a broad forehead, a strong and shapely neck, chubby cheeks, a broad, smiling mouth and an overwhelming beauty that could floor even the most hard-hearted of men, to say nothing of women. In short, He had all the "sAmudrikA" lakshana features that characterise a great King.

He was unshakeable in courage, and had an infinite fund of patience and tolerance. His bravery was equal to that of Mahavishnu and His looks as pleasing as the full moon. He had complete command over Himself and others, was always pure in body and mind. For all His softness and endearing courtesy, He could be terrifying as the Cosmic Fire to His enemies and unmatched in war craft. He was righteousness personified and strict in enforcing right conduct among His subjects.

He would never wait for the other person to speak first, and, despite His stature, was always the first to initiate conversation, irrespective of the other person's station in life. When He spoke, His voice was mellifluous and His words pleasing, courteous and sincere. His demeanour was majestic and His gait akin to that of a virile ox in its prime. The depth of His learning would put the Goddess of Learning herself to shame, for He was well-versed in all the scriptures and was always surrounded by erudite scholars and the good of heart, who hung on to His every word.

Tempting though it is to wax eloquent on Chakkravartthi Tirumagan's qualities, coming back to the point, He made an ideal King. Not only did the citizens of Ayodhya weep and go off food when He was exiled, but even the trees of Ayodhya, which were in full bloom, suddenly withered and perished, unable to bear even the thought of separation from the Perfect Prince.

We are used to hearing about Kings who had a large harem. In fact, it was considered to be beneath a King's dignity to have less than a dozen wives. We read of Sri Krishna's jumbo harem consisting of 16000 or more wives. In comparison, Sri Rama stands out as a monarch who would never even look at a woman other than His lawfully-wedded wife, for whose sake He underwent untold trials and tribulations. Impeccable marital fidelity and absolute devotion to the better half are lessons that the world should learn from Sri Sitapati.

A good ruler never deserts his subjects. He shares whatever good fortune he has with them and stands as one with them through thick and thin. This admirable quality in Sri Rama comes to the fore when He insists on all His subjects, including lowly blades of grass, being emancipated, when He relinquished His mortal coils and left for His celestial abode.

We now begin to get a faint glimmer of why Sri Nammazhwar exhorted people to extol the greatness of only Chakravartthi Tirumagan ("karpAr irAma pirAnai allAl mattrum karparO"), why Sri Tirumangai Mannan claimed Him with envious possessiveness as his (Azhwar's) own King ("enakkarasu"), why Sri Andal reserved for Him the most endearing epithet ("manatthukkiniyAn"), why Sri Cheralar KOn considered this Model Monarch indelible from memory ("thillai nagar Tiru Chittirakoodam thannuL uraivAnai maravAdha uLlam tanai udayOm") and why he considered the uplifting tale of this Perfect Prince tastier than nectar ("emperumAn tan charithai seviyAl kaNNAl paruguvOm innamudham madhiyOm") and why Swami Desikan eulogised Him as "thani Veeran", "Sarva jana sammAnitha!" and "rAghava simha!".

 Srimate Sri LakshmINrsimha divya paduka sevaka SrivanSatakopa Sri Narayana Yatindra Mahadesikaya nama:
dasan, sadagopan.                                                                                                                                                TOP

Sri Rama Mantram  
click HERE for Rama Bhajan - from http://www.vittaldas.com/Version1.1/Bhajans.html ) 

Sloka from Sri Vishnu Sahasranamam:

When Parvati Devi requested Lord Shiva to suggest an effective and easy alternative to chanting the thousand names of Vishnu contained in the Sahasranama, Lord Shiva replied:
"Repeat the Rama Mantram; chant Shri Rama, Rama, Rama ..... the beautiful mantra that pleases the mind and captivates it. It is superior even to the thousand names of the Lord in Sri Vishnu Sahasranamam."

The great Rama-bhakta, Saint Tyagaraja in his Kriti: "Saarame gaani yanyamaarga vichaara metike" in Pantuvarali raaga sings the greatness of Rama Nama and makes a reference to the above sloka in Vishnu Sahasranamam thus:

"Oh Mind! Rama Namam alone is the precious thing worthy of being coveted. Why bother with the thought of other paths, listening to the words of all and sundry? Did not Sage Narada, who constantly drinks the nectar of Rama's Nama and traverses the whole Universe with the name of Narayana on his lips, lovingly initiate Valmiki with this mantram? ...............Did not Lord Shiva, the Lord of Kailasa, delighting in Samagana, drink the nectar of Rama Nama and, himself unceasingly uttering the holy name, also initiate his beautiful consort Parvati with the Sri Rama Mantram, explaining its great efficacy and significance?"

In the song Evarani Nirnayimchirira, Tyagaraja refers to the interpretation of Rama Nama given by the Rama Rahasyopanishad that it is an essence extracted out of both the Narayana Ashtaakshari Mantra (Om Namo N˜r˜yan˜ya) and Shiva Panchaakshari Mantra (Om Nams Shiv˜ya) thus:

"What do people determine you to be and how do they worship you? As Shiva, Madhava,as Brahma, or as Para Brahma,the Supreme Absolute? I prostrate before those wise ones who found the solution by extracting and combining the soul of each of the two mantras: Ra from the Narayana Mantra (Ashtaakshari)Om Namo Narayanaya and Ma from the Shiva Mantra "Om Namas Shivaya" -- the Jiva or life of the two mantras. For, if Ra is taken out of Narayana(meaning, helps as the path of the aspirants), the word becomes Na-ayanawhen it would mean the opposite: 'it helps not as the path of the aspirant'; and, similarly, if Ma is taken out of 'Namas shivaya' (Hail to the auspicious) the expression becomes Na Shivya meaning the opposite 'not for auspicious'.

The Upanishad Brahmam, after stating the etymology of Rama Nama in this manner, asks:
"Is it any wonder that this Rama Nama Mantram which combines in itself the two powerful syllables from two powerful Mantrams is considered as giving Moksha to the devotee of the Rama Mantram?"

The story is told of Sri Rama presenting Hanuman with a pearl necklace, which was given to Sita by her father, King Janaka, at the time of her marriage. Hanuman held this very valuable necklace in his hand, began to remove all the pearls one by one from the necklace, and kept it near his ear for some time, and then, after biting each one of them, threw them away. Sita was surprised to see Hanuman behaving thus. She thought that Hanuman had not given up his monkey traits. Rama knew the intention behind this act of Hanuman. However, in order to make Sita understand this, He asked, "Hanuman, why are you biting and throwing away such precious pearls?" Hanuman replied, "O Lord, I am examining whether I could listen to Your name in the pearls. Since I could not hear it, I am throwing away. The pearl is no better than a stone if there is no Rama Nama in it."

The Squirrel's service

There is the story of the little squirrel helping Rama, not found in Valmiki�s Ramayana;
Tirumazhisai alvar says, with a tinge of regret, that he is not as devoted as the squirrel: 

I am not like the little squirrel, which
as the monkeys shoved and heaved the mountains,
so spontaneously dipped in the water; 
(With its wet fur) it rolled on the sand,
and ran back into the waves of the sea,
concentrating only on building the bridge.
But my heart 
is hard as the trees.
I grieve that
even my heart did not desire
to serve the lord of Rangam
				Tirumalai 27

When the monkeys were helping Rama to build the bridge a little squirrel climbed all over, rolled on the sand and dipped in the sea, trying to deposit the sand from his back into the water, and help in the construction of a bridge. The verse does not further say, but we know from oral tradition that Rama, delighted, picked up the squirrel and stroked it; and as every child who knows the story from its grand-mother can tell you, one can still see the imprint of Rama's three fingers in the three lines that are obvious on the back of every self-respecting Indian squirrel!


Extract from: "The Ramayana in the Sri Vaishnava Experience" by Smt. Vasudha Narayanan, Dept. of Religion, Univ. of Florida; 

Gandhiji's Rama Nama

Nothing could take Gandhiji away from the rock of his faith in Truth, and Rama Nama was the line anchoring him unto it. Up early in the still very dark, early hours of the 25th, Bapu wrote to a friend in Gujarai: "no one can harm a person who is sustained by Ramanama. I believe firmly in this principle. It is by the grace of that God that I am able to remain calm even though there is conflagration all around. Had it not been for Rama Nama, I would have broken down by now. That is why I proclaim at the top of my voice that I dance as Rama wills. We are all in this world to do our duty. I believe that not a leaf moves without his command. Look at the pride of man: he thinks he does everything! But God is magnanimous and only laughs at man's ignorance. Now you will understand where I stand. What I write in the Harijan shows me as I am. I am very clear about the language and in the same way, I am clear about political questions. Let us see what God wills me to do."

Gandhiji himself has traced the origin of his faith in Ramanama to early childhood instruction from his family nurse:

"From my sixth or seventh year up to my sixteenth I was at school, being taught all sorts of things except religion. I may say that I failed to get from my teachers what they could have given me without any effort on their part. ......

But what I failed to get there I obtained from my nurse, an old servant of the family, whose affection for me I still recall. I have said before that there was in me a fear of ghosts and spirits. Rambha, for that was her name, suggested, as a remedy for this fear, the repetition of 'Ramanama'. I had more faith in her than in her remedy, and so at a tender age I began repeating Ramanama to cure my fear of ghosts and spirits. This was of course short lived, but the good seed sown in childhood was not sown in vain. I think it is due to the good seed sown by that good woman Rambha that today Ramanama is an infallible remedy for me."                                                                                                                             TOP

On Hanuman 

Hanuman was Rama-Bhakta par excellent. At the end of Ramaavataram, Sri Rama invited Hanuman to join Him in Sri Vaikuntam.
Hanuman declared his firm love for his Lord and declined the invitation, preferring to stay back in this world for ever, being present 
at gatherings of Rama-bhaktas and listening to the singing of the glories of Sri Rama. 
Kuresar, in his AtimAnusha Stavah, narrates this:

Kuresar's AtimAnusha Stavah : SlOkam 32 :

(Meaning): Oh RaaghavA ! You are shining with such auspicious guNams that defy adequate description . It is the spell of these matchless guNams and the sukham arising from the delectable reflection on them that made HanumAn prefer stay in this world to sing Your glories instead of accepting Your invitation to accompany You to Parama Padam at the end of Your avatAram .

Commentary: An incident at the time of the Lord's ascent to Srivaikuntam at the end of His avatAram as Raamachandra :
HanumAn was engaged in deep GuNAnubhavam of His Lord at a distant place known as Gandha Madhana mountain .
Sri Rama invited HanumAn to join Him to Sri Vaikuntam . HanumAn responded to that personal invitation
with a moving statement declaring his firm love for the Lord and politely declining the invitation thus : 
snEham mE paramO raajan! tvayi nityam Ptatishtitha: , Bhaktischa niyataa veera! bhAvO nAnyatra gacchati
Lord ! adiyEn is overcome with the three states of Bhakti Yogam : Parabhakti (snEha: ) , Para Jn~Anam ( Parama: pratishtitha:) 
and Parama Bhakti ( niyataa bhakti: ) . Please forgive adiyEn . I have no compelling desire to come to Parama Padam with You
I prefer to be here on (Earth) engaged in the enjoyment of Your guNAnubhavam . adiyEn will sing about Your atimAnusha , 
Ashcharya guNams while staying here as Chiramjeevi .

The Ramayana Dhyana slokam describes Hanuman's presence at all gatherings of Rama-bhaktas in glowing terms:

I  bow to Maruti, Sri Hanuman, the terminator of Rakshasas, who is always present at all gatherings where the story of Sri Rama is narrated, 
with devotion, with folded hands and eyes brimming with tears streaming down. Devotees of Sri Hanuman are certain to be blessed with Intelligence, 
Strength, Fame, Courage, Fearlessness, Life without ailments, Life without infirmities of old age and Ability to speak well and appropriately.    

Hanuman�s name has been immortalised because his infinite strength was accompanied by immeasurable humility�humility as vast and deep as the ocean, 
and the perfect spirit of obedience and service. Hanuman is ever the servant of Rama, with folded hands and utter surrender, ever waiting for an opportunity 
to do some service to Lord Rama. He was a perfect devotee, a perfect servant and Sevaka, and he was a perfect spiritual aspirant for he kept his ego always in subjugation. 
Never do you find him raise his head, he always keeps it bent low. And therefore, Rama gave him the foremost place. When the Pattabhisheka time came, 
Rama placed Hanuman in front of Him. It was the reward of that perfect devotion, humility, spirit of service, absolute self-effacement and self-absorption.                                                                                         TOP

The true friend:

Mareecha advising Ravana -
Valmiki Ramayanam 3-37-2

sulabhaaH purushaa raajan satatam priya vaadinaH |
apriyasya ca pathyasya vaktaa shrotaa ca durlabhaH
|| 3-37-2

My King!
It is easy to have around you persons who speak sweet words always. 
But rare indeed are those who can speak or listen to words that may sound unpleasant - yet, are in your best interest.                                                                     

Rama, the embodiment of Dharma

Maaricha, while speaking to Ravana- (Aranya Kandam 37-13):

Ramo'vigrahavaan dharmah saadhuh satya paraakramah;
Rajaa sarvasya lokasya devaanaam maghavaaniva.

Rama is the embodiment of Dharma, 
saintly, yet valiant defender of Truth,
King of all the worlds -- 
as Indra is the king of the Devas.

It is worthy of note that MArIchA was Ravana's trusted friend who was tormented by Rama's weapons and ultimately met his end at Rama's hands. Even such an adversary had only the highest praise to offer and no words of reproach.       TOP

What traits distinguish the Saint from the Wicked  

This passage appears in Goswami Tulasidas�s Ramacharitamanas (Uttar Kanda �37-40):

When requested to state the distinguishing traits between the wicked and the saint, .
Sri Rama replied to Bharata:

�The conduct of saints and the wicked is analogous to that of sandalwood and the axe.
Mark, brother, the axe cuts down a sandal-tree, while the latter in its turn
perfumes the axe by imparting its virtue (fragrance) to it.

Some commentators have elaborated upon this analogy further and stated:

"For this reason, sandal-wood (in the form of paste) has found its way to the face of the Gods, and is loved by all; while the axe has its metal edge heated in the fire and beaten with a hammer."


Spirit of renunciation:

Sumitra, to her son Lakshmana, when he set out for the forest with Rama and Sita:( II -40-9 )

Ramam Dasaratham viddhi maam viddhi janakaathmajam;
Ayodhyaamatavii viddhi gachcha thaatha yatha sukham.

"Consider Rama as Dasaratha (your father),
Sita as me-- your mother;
the forest as Ayodhya city
and, my dear son,
go now and be happy."   

In an  article in Nrisimhapriya ( http://launch.groups.yahoo.com/group/RaamaBhakthi/message/393)  (late) Sriman A.Krishnan, author of Srimad Valmiki Ramayanam, has referred to Sumitra's awareness of the divinity of Rama in glowing terms. After quoting the above slokam, he observes: 
"In this passage, Sumitra reveals her extraordinary qualities of magnanimity, forbearance, detachment, and rendering wise counsel to the right person at the right time. She also strongly establishes that she had Brahmagnyanam - awareness that Rama was Lord Narayana."
The article in full may be seen by clicking on "Sumitra sees Rama as Paramatma" in the Topics column.            


When Rama asked Lakshmana to identify the upper garments and ornaments 
that Sita had thrown down when she was being carried away by Ravana 
and which had been retrieved by Sugreeva, 
Lakshma replied: (IV -- 6 - 22):


I do not recognize these armlets, 
nor do I recognize the ear-rings;

I can recognize only the nupur (anklets),  
for, always, I looked only at her feet worshipfully.                                                                                            

On Kaikeyi

Sage Vasishta sent a messenger to Bharata requesting him to return at once to Ayodhya (without mentioning news about Dasaratha's death). Bharata at first enquired of the messenger about the welfare of his father Dasaratha, mother Kausalya, step-mother Sumitra and his brothers  in respectful terms. Finally, enquiring about his own mother, even without knowledge of her action in sending Rama to the forest, he referred to her in these uncomplimentary terms 
(Valmiki Ramayana, Ayodhya Kanda, Canto 70, Sloka 10):


Aatma-kaamaa sadaa chaNDii krodhanaa praagnya-maaninii;
Arogaa chaapi may maathaa kaikeyii kimuvaacha ha

"The one who always seeks to gain her own ends,
who is violent and given to wrath
and who considers herself as very wise -- my mother Kaikeyi, 
how is her health and what did she say?"                   

That thou art

After Pattabishekam, 
Sri Rama posed this question to Hanuman:

"How do you perceive me?" 

Hanuman's famous reply:.

Bhagawan Satya Sai Baba in a discourse:

Once, Lord Rama asked Hanuman, 
"How do you contemplate on Me?"

Hanuman replied

At the physical level,    You are my Master and I am Your servant. 
At the mental level,       I am a spark of thy Divine Self. 
At the
Aathmic level,    You and I are one".

Pleased with Hanuman's reply, Lord Rama presented him with a pearl necklace, which was given to Mother Sita by her father, King Janaka, at the time of her marriage. Hanuman held this very valuable necklace in his hand, began to remove all the pearls one by one from the necklace, and kept it near his ear for some time, and then, after biting each one of them, threw them away. Sita was surprised to see Hanuman behaving thus. She thought that Hanuman had not given up his monkey traits. Rama knew the intention behind this act of Hanuman. However, in order to make Sita understand this, He asked, "Hanuman, why are you biting and throwing away such precious pearls?"

Hanuman replied, "O Lord, I am examining whether I could listen to Your name in the pearls. Since I could not hear it, I am throwing away. The pearl is no better than a stone if there is no Rama Nama in it. I want only You." Listening to this statement of Hanuman, Rama offered Himself by embracing Hanuman.

The inner meaning of this is: Rama is where Hanuman is, and vice-versa. Hanuman is one who realized the unity of the individual and God. Consequently, Hanuman was always in a state of bliss. Hanuman is given various appellations, such as Santhudu, Gunavanthudu, Balavantadu (one of peace, virtues, and strength). He derived his strength from the divine name of Lord Rama. Many people confine the Divine Name only to the lips, but Hanuman chanted the name of Rama from the depth of his heart.                                                                                     

See also the account of Rama sharing a meal with Hanuman: please click HERE.

On Ramayana 

(Extracts from Ramayana by C. Rajagopalachari)

"The traditional orthodox view is that Vaalmeeki wrote the Ramayana during the life-time of Ramachandra.    Judging from normal experience, however, it would appear that the story of Rama had been in existence, though not as a written work, long before Valmeeki wrote his epic. It looks as though Valmeeki gave form to a story that had been handed down from generation to generation. That probably explains some of the difficult features in the story�e.g., the slaying of Vaali and Sita's exile under Rama's orders (in Uttara Ramayanam).

In Valmeeki's work Rama is portrayed as a great and unique man, not as an incarnation of God. True, in some chapters there are references to him as an avataar of God, but in the body of the narrative the Rama pictured by Sage Valmeeki is not God himself but a great prince endowed with divine qualities.

Even during Valmeeki's days, the idea was prevalent, to some extent, that Rama was an avataar. Centuries later, Kamban and Tulsidaas sang the Ramaayana, and by that time it had come to be accepted that Sri Rama was an avataar of Vishnu. Rama and Krishna were synonyms for Vishnu: and Vishnu, in turn, meant Rama or Krishna. Temples had come into existence with ritual worship of Rama as God. In a situation like that, how could the later poets portray Rama as a mere hero? Any such attempt would have failed. Kamban and Tulsidaas were devotees of the highest order. They were very different from historians and novelists. ............................................................ 
Thus was the holy  Valmeeki-Ramayana born. The tale of the Lord and his consort born as mortals, experiencing human sorrow and establishing dharma on earth, was sung by the Rishi in words of matchless beauty. And Brahma's words have come true: "As long as the mountains stand and the rivers flow so long shall the Ramaayana be cherished among men and save them from sin."         

Other poets on Ramayana

by Sriman Sadagopan Iyengar (http://www.ramanuja.org/sv/bhakti/archives/dec2001/0018.html

Sri Rama Katha Sudha

Srimad Valmiki Ramayana is, for us, the sole authentic source of information for everything connected with Sri Rama�s life and times. This is not only because Sri Valmiki is the Aadi kavi (the first among all poets, chronologically and otherwise) but also because he was blessed by Sage narada with yogic powers to witness Sri Ramayana as it really happened (�tat sarvam dharma veeryENa yatavat samprapasyati�). Thus Srimad Valmiki Ramayana is, so to say, an eyewitness account of the actions of Sri Rama and others, in public and private. This is the reason for the high pedestal, which the work occupies in our Sampradaya and elsewhere. However, there has been any number of other poets who have recorded for posterity their own anubhavams, in their different styles. While these works may not boast of either the authenticity or the majesty of Sri Valmiki�s original work, some of them do provide enjoyable fare to the connoisseur of literature and for the Sri Rama Bhaktas thirsty for more rasAnubhavam. Adiyen would like to reproduce below a few slokas from such works, purely for their beauty and to share with you the pleasure adiyen derived from their perusal.

The following sloka , from �Raghava Pandaveeyam�,is in praise of Sri Valmiki-
�anyO vidhAta valmiki:aadi kAvyam kamandalu: 
RaghunAtha kathA GangA tayA poota jagat trayee�.

During TrivikramAvatAram, when the Lord�s tiruvadi reached SatyalOkam, Brahma performed tirumanjanam with his kamandalu teerttham, from which originated the Ganga, the holiest of waters. In this couplet, the kavi likens Sri Valmiki to Brahma and his magnum opus, the aadi kavyam, to his kamandalu. The Ramakatha, which flowed from the kamandalu, is likened to the Ganga, which is the purifier of the three worlds. Kavana chAturyam comes to the fore in the following sloka of Sri Ramabhadra DeekshitA, in his VarnamAlA stOtram- 

�aamnAya saila sikaraika nikEtanAya 
Valmiki vAg jalanidhi prati bimbitAya 
kAlAmbudAya karunArasa mEturAya 
kasmaichit astu mama kArmukiNE praANmah

Sri Rama, as the para brahmam, resides at the top of the vedic mountain (that is, the VedantA). At the foothills is a great lake with deep waters, ( Srimad Valmiki Ramayana), which reflects the mountain top. The purport here is that Srimad Ramayanam gives us a true picture of the parabrahma swaroopam. But then, it has to,being an incarnation of the Vedas (veda; PrAchEtasAt Aseet sAkshAt RamayanAtmanA�) Bhavabhooti, in his Uttara Rama Charitam, pays the following tribute to Sri Valmiki- 

�loukikAnAm hi sAdhoonAm arttham vak anuvartatE 
risheeNAm punarAdyAnAm vacham arttha: anu dhavati�

While in the compositions of great men, the word follows the meaning, in the divine works of Rishis like sri Valmiki, the meaning pursues the sacred text closely. In other words, ordinary kavis (poets) have to fix the matter in their minds and search for suitable expression. However, the spontaneous outpourings of sages like Sri Valmiki and the Azhwars, are inherently pregnant with meaning- there is no laborious search for rhyme or metre, which fall into place by themselves. Sri Valmiki and his work come in for further adulation by Bhavabhooti in the following sloka, which is self-explanatory-

�pApabhyascha punAti
vardhayati cha shrEyAmsi seyam katha
mAngalyA cha manOharA cha jagatO
mAtEva GangEva cha
tAmEnam paribhAvayantu abhinayai
:vinyasta roopam budhA :
sabda brahma vida :kavE :parinatAm
prAgyasya vAneem imAm 

Leave alone Sri Rama-He has been the object of enough epics, poems and text. A famous poet, Sri Ramabhadra DeekshitA, has made Sri Rama�s bow, the KothandA, the subject of lavish praise, as the following extract from his �Sri Rama ChApa stavam� would indicate- 

�Yen moole Raghunandanasya jagatAm trAteti keertyankura:
dEvi cha archati JanAki sa vinayam yet gandha pushpa akshatai :
yet kOtyA krita lanchanamcha jaladhou sEtu :jagat
bhadrAyAstu jagat traya stuti padam tat Raghaveeyam dhanu:�

Sri Rama�s renown as the protector of the worlds flows indeed from the exploits of his famous Bow, the KothandA. Sri Sita pirAtti performs daily pooja to this Bow, which united Her with the Lord. And the Rama Sethu, which is a purifier of people the world over, is but a creation of the Bow-end. (Even today, pilgrims to the Sethu draw a picture of the Kothanda in the sands and propitiate it before taking a dip in the holy waters). Thus the RamaChApA (bow) is indeed the object of adoration of the three worlds. The very same kavi is the author of �Sri Rama Bana stavam�,( in praise of Sri Rama�s arrow.) from which the following sloka is taken- 

�Mareechopagya vEgam bala vijayi suta prEkshita amOgha bhAvam
parAvArAvarodha vraja vidita mahA dussahArchi prabhAvam
leela lOlooyamAna tridasa ripu sirO tOraNee drishta taikshnyam
bhakta trANa praveenam saranam asaranO Rama BAnam pranoumi�

 The author performs saranAgati to the Rama BAna, (rather than to Sri Rama himself) which, he says, is the only refuge of the unprotected. Sri VenkatAdvari kavi, in his well-known �Visva GunAdarsa Champu�,inimitably describes Sri Chakravarthi Tirumagan�s felicity �He is capable of turning even a blade of grass into BrahmAstram (as He did in the KAkAsura vrittantam); and He could turn into a blade of grass (as light as it is) even the hard-to-lift, extremely heavy Siva Dhanus. A stone was turned into the beautiful AhalyA and His own footwear assumed the role of the Emperor of AyOdhyA (vide the PadukA PattabhishEkam). The deep and wide ocean was turned into a shallow lake across which a bridge could be built easily. Ordinary monkeys were transformed into great warriors and the dreaded ten-headed Ravana was killed as easily as a mosquito. All this was achieved by Sri Rama, who posed as a mere mortal. Following is the beautiful poem- 

�astrAmAsa trinam priyAdruhi, triNAmAsa purArer dhanu:
dArAmAsa mune :silApi, nrivarAmAsa svayam PadukA
kulyAmAsa mahArnavOpi, kapayO yOdhAm babhoovu : tadA
poulastyO masakAm babhoova bhagavan tvam mAnushAmAsita�.

Sri Rama KarNAmrutam is another beautiful work, from which is reproduced the following sloka-

Though Sri Rama�s swaroopam was there for all to enjoy, only certain people knew full well the rasA of each angA of Raghunandana. For instance, the true prowess of the Lord�s shoulders is known only to the Siva Dhanus, which was hoisted by the Prince almost playfully, while other Rajas struggled even to lift it.

The true power of the Lord�s feet are known only to Ahalya, who, by the mere touch of the purifying tiruvadi, was transformed from barren stone into a beautiful woman. Only the intransigent Samudra Raja, whom the arrow bulldozed into submission, knows the true powers of the Rama BanA. And likewise, the true sweetness of the Rama NamA is known only to Siva, who not only recites it constantly, but is also supposed to whisper it in the ears of the dying, at Varanasi. 

JAnAti Ramah tava Nama ruchim MahEsa:
JAnAti Goutama sati tava charana prabhAvam
JanAtidorbala parAkramam Eesa chapa:
JanAti amogha patu bAna gatim payOdhi :�

There is an almost endless repertoire of stotras, composed by well-known and not so famous poets, which provide a varied and uplifting fare to the palate of the Rama Bhakta, ever thirsty for more rasAnubhavam. If Sri Rama so wills, adiyen would like to continue on this some other time.

Srimate Sri Lakshminrsimha divya paduka sevaka SrivanSatakopa 
Sri Narayana Yatindra Mahadesikaya Nama:


There is a reference in Periya Tirumozhi 5-8-2 
to the intimacy that existed between Rama and Hanuman 
and the high esteem that Rama had for Hanuman.
Below is the account of Sri Rama sharing a meal with Sri Hanuman: 

        He did not dismiss the great son of Wind
                as a monkey, as a beast,
                as a being from a different class.
        He held him in great esteem
        And with his love flowing greater than the sea,
        He said: The good that you have done for me
                is beyond recompense!
        (O Hanuman), my friend of soothing words
        I shall eat with you--immediately!                                	TOP

Slaying of Vaali - Rajaji's comment: 

"All who are born must die. This is the law. I do not therefore grieve for my death. Still, your sin is great in killing me in this treacherous way."  Vaali, son of Indra, reproached Raama thus with his dying breath. And all this is fully set out by Vaalmeeki, the divine poet, as well as by Kamban.  Against this accusation what defence could Raama offer?

Vaalmeeki has it that Raama gave some explanation with which Vaali was satisfied. But I am omitting all this as pointless and pray that the learned may forgive me. What I think is that an avataar is an avataar and that among the sorrows that the Lord and His consort had to endure in their earthly incarnation, this liability to have their actions weighed on the earthly scale is a part. .............................................................. 
Raama erred in running after the magic deer to please his wife. Consequent to this, difficulties and sorrows and conflicts of duty pursued him. If we keep in mind that when God takes a lower and limited form by His own ordinance, limitations follow and we should not be confused thereby. This is my humble view as against other explanations propounded by the pious." 

(Note: in the passage at the end of this page, Narayana Bhaattathiri opines that the Lord acts in this manner in his avatars only for the purpose of instructing mankind through what may be considered as negative role-modelling.)

Earlier, while narrating the Soorpanakha episode (where Lakshmana disfigures her face), Rajaji observes:

"Let those who find faults in Rama see faults.  
If these critics faultlessly pursue dharma and avoid in their own lives the flaws they discover in Rama, the bhaktas of Sri Rama will indeed welcome it with joy. 
If they exhibit the virtues of Rama and add to these more virtues and greater flawlessness, who can complain?" 

In Narayaneeyam (Canto 35, Verse 10 - see below), Narayana Bhattathiri has observed: 

"This human embodiment of Thine is for instructing mankind how too much attachment (Kama) will lead to pangs of separation and how addiction to Dharma (the letter of the Law) will push one to such Adharma as abandonment of innocent ones. Otherwise, it is unimaginable how Thou, who art ever established in the Atman-consciousness, canst ever have any weakness of the mind."                                                                                                                                                                 TOP

Sita's sufferings:

Comments by C. Rajagopalachari in his "Ramayana":

Rama's face showed a strange transformation of mind. None of those around him, not even Lakshmana, could understand. 

"I have slain the enemy," said Rama (to Sita). "I have recovered you. I have done my duty as a Kshatriya. My vow is now fulfilled."  ......"It was not for mere attachment to you that I waged this grim battle; but it was in the discharge of duty as a Kshatriya. It gives me no joy now to get you back, for dubiety envelopes you like a dark cloud of smoke."

"What do you wish to do now?" he continued. "You must live alone, for we cannot live together. You can stay under the protection of any of our kinsmen or friends. How can a Kshatriya take back a wife who has lived for so long in a stranger's house?"

Sita looked at Rama. Her eyes flashed fire. "Unworthy words have you spoken!" she said. "My ears have heard them and my heart is broken. The uncultured may speak such words, but not one nobly born and brought up like you......................Is it my fault that the wicked Raakshasa seized me by force and imprisoned me? But since this is how you look at it, there is but one course open to me." 

Then, turning to Lakshmana, she said:
"Fetch the faggots, Lakshmana, and kindle a fire."

Obeying Sita, Lakshmana kindled a big fire and the princess, with eyes fixed on the ground, circumambulated her Lord and exclaimed: "Ye Gods, I bow before you. Oh Rishis, I bow to you. Oh Agni, you at least know my purity and will take me as your own!" 

With these words she jumped into the flames. And wonder of wonders! The lambent flames were crowded with celestial figures; for all the gods came and assembled there. 
Brahma spoke: "Narayana! Mighty God that took human form to slay Ravana! Is not this your own Lakshmi?"

Agni, God of fire rose in his own body out of the flames and lifting Seeta in his arms with all her clothes and jewels untouched and intact, presented her to Rama. 

Rama said to Brahma: 
"Who am I? All that I know and can tell is that I am Rama, son of Dasaratha. You must know who I am and whence I came and more; it is you who must inform me." 

Rama accepted Sita fire-proved saying to her: "Think you that I did not know your irreproachable purity? This ordeal was to satisfy the people................" So saying, he drew her to his side. 

Then Dasaratha descended from above and, placing the prince on his lap, blessed him. 
"My child!" he said to Sita. "Forgive my son. Forgive him for the wrong he did to you to preserve the dharma of the world. God bless you."

In conclusion, Rajagopalachari observes in his book:

I have followed the story of the Prince of Ayodhya as told by Valmeeki. There was a legend current among people, I think even before Valmeeki's time, that after recovering Sita, for fear of scandal, Rama sent her away to live in the forest. This pathetic episode must have sprung from the sorrow-laden imagination of our women. It has taken shape as Uttarakaanda of Ramayana. 

Although there is beauty in the Uttarakaanda I must say my heart rebels against it. Valmiki had disposed of this old legend through the fire ordeal in the battle field. Even that ordeal does not seem to me as consistent with Rama's character. It is painful to read it.

As the Prince returned from Mithila he met Parasurama. I have heard it said that with that meeting, Parasurama's Avataar came to an end. Likewise, it should be held, I think, that Rama's avataar  came to an end with the slaying of Ravana. After that battle, Rama remained only as a king of the Ikshvaku race. On this theory, Rama's treatment of Sita after the battle and in the Uttarakaanda can be explained simply as the behaviour of a king in accordance with the customs of the time.                                         TOP

Narayana Bhattatiri's comments in his Narayaneeyam:

In Canto35 Verse 10 of Narayaneeyam, Narayana Bhattatiri attempts to explain Rama's action after slaying Ravana, resulting in Sita Devi's ordeal by fire and again, later in Ayodhya, when he sent her away to the forest even though she was  pregnant.

The following translation is from
Narayaneeyam published by Sri Ramakrishna Math, Madras (March 1976):

"This human embodiment of Thine is for instructing mankind how too much attachment (Kama) will lead to pangs of separation and how addiction to Dharma (the letter of the Law) will push one to such Adharma as abandonment of innocent ones. Otherwise, it is unimaginable how Thou, who art ever established in the Atman-consciousness, canst ever have any weakness of the mind. O Thou Lord of Guruvayoor, the very embodiment of Sattwa, deign to remove my sufferings from this disease."

The following comment appears in Note #14 appended to the text:

"Bhattar's estimate of Rama Incarnation, that it is to show men how intense affection (Kama) will lead us to pangs of separation (as Rama suffered from his loss of Sita) and how extreme addiction to Dharma, (the letter of the Law), will push one to Adharma -- is an echo of the Bhagawata verse 5.19.5-6. Many a devotee of Rama will not agree with this, although it may be conveying a subtle point that would interest a critical student. 

Rama and Krishna are two major incarnations, the former being glorified in the Ramayana and the latter in the Bhagawata. Both have been equally important factors in the devotional life of India.  Rama Incarnation depicts a model of manhood and human conduct which people are asked to follow, whereas Krishna is a Divine manifestation whose words are to be followed but not deeds.  In some Vaishnava texts, Rama is therefore described as Maryada-Purushottama (Divinity who has restricted Himself by laws) and Krishna as Pushti-Purushottama (Divinity that bestows Grace in ways that are not bound by laws and social norms.)                                                                                                                                                             TOP

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