by Musiri -audio
Allegorical meaning of the story in
Sundarakandam is part of the great Ramayana Epic. There is hidden in it considerable allegorical
- It can be viewed as the story of
the awakened spiritual seeker, in search of the divinity within hidden by
- Hanuman is the awakened soul or intelligence
endowed with Sattva Guna. Jambhavan who kindled this awakening in Hanuman
reminding him of his great strength is the enlightened spiritual teacher.
- The crossing of the ocean is the
crossing of the ocean of Samsara -- the eternal cycle of birth and death;
- The obstacles that Hanuman faced
on the way are the obstacles that any endeavouring spiritual seeker has to
- The various mansions and
sense-attractions seen by Hanuman in Lanka in the course of his search, and
his passing through them
with complete control over his senses represent the
various koshas or the various layers of the human mind
we have to penetrate;
- Hanuman searched in the night, illustrating the
Sloka from the Bhagavad Gita which says:
"That which is night for all
people is when the self-controlled sage is awake"
- Hanuman's finding Sita Devi is
the seeker’s ultimate success in finding the eternal spark of divinity
that is within all of us.
Sundara Kaandam is a mine of spiritual power, reading which
devotees can gain mental strength and spiritual support in complex worldly
Its recital with faith will help one to get over difficulties and
gain success and welfare. The faithful devotee will become a spiritually
his/her spiritual journey will take him/her closer to
the Supreme Personality of Godhead.
is the hero of Sundara Kandam; he represents our spiritually evolved mind
which is in communion with divine Rama; this theme is gloriously expressed with great devotion by the artist
(unknown) in this picture:.
The sanskrit slokam quoted
below (source not known) expresses
what Hanuman thought of his relationship with Shri Ramachandra:
Rama asked Hanuman: kastvam (who are you), he replied:
dEhabuddhyA tvadAsOsmi jIvabuddhyA tvadamshakaH |
AtmabuddhyA tvamEvAhamiti mE nishcitA matiH ||
The padArtha (word-by-word meaning):
dEhabuddhyA = by my physical (corporeal) self
tvadAsOsmi = tva dAsaH asmi = I am your servant
jIvabuddhyA = by my living (holistic) self
tvadamshakaH = tvat amshakaH = I am a part of you; I am a spark of your divine
AtmabuddhyA = by my spiritual (innate/True) self
tvamEvAham = tvam Eva aham = I am thou
iti mE nishcitA matiH = such is my firm belief.
Chapter 21 of Sundara
Kandam describes the manner in which Sita Devi dealt with Ravana's advances in
the Ashoka-vana. Ravana attempts to
convince her of his superiority over Rama and offers inducements to tempt her;
he threatens her with dire consequences if she refused. Seetha replies to
Ravana advising that He should seek friendship with Rama and return Her back to
Rama. In the first two slokas of this chapter, Valmiki describes her mental
state and how she responds to him firmly. She first places a blade of grass
between her and Ravana and speaks to him rebutting his advances:
tasya tadvachanam shrutvaa siitaa raudrasya rakSasaH |
aartaa diinasvaraa diinam pratyuvaacha tataH shanaiH ||
1. siitaa= Seetha; shrutvaa= listening; tasya raudrasya
rakshasaH= to that horrible ogre's; tat= that; vachanam= word; aartaa= being
tormented; pratyuvacha= spoke in reply; diina svaraa= with a pitiable voice;
diinam= pitifully; shanaiH= slowly.
Seetha listening to that horrible Rakshasa's words, being
tormented, spoke in reply with a pitiable voice, pitifully and slowly.
duHkhaartaa rudatii siitaa vepamaanaa tapasvinii |
chintayantii varaaroha patimeva pativrataa ||
tR^iNamantarataH kR^itvaa pratyuvaacha shuchismitaa |
2. duhkhaartaa= Being tormented by grief; tapasvinii= in a
pitiful state; varaarohaa= with excellent limbs; pativrataa= devoted to husband;
chintayantii= thinking; patimeva= about husband alone; shuchi smitaa= with
pleasant smiles; siitaa= Seetha; rudati=was sobbing; vepamaanaa= shivering; kR^itvaa=
making; tR^iNam= a grass; antarataH= in between (herself and Ravana);
pratyuvaacha= spoke in reply.
Being tormented by grief, in a pitiful state, with excellent
limbs, devoted to husband, thinking about husband alone, with pleasant smile,
Seetha was sobbing, shivering; placing a blade of grass between herself
and Ravana, she spoke thus in reply.
Smt. Vishaka Hari, in her HariKatha
Kaalakshepam, explains the significance of Sita's action in placing a blade of grass:
(click for audio of lecture)
kR^itvaa pratyuvaacha shuchismitaa |
As a chaste and devoted wife, she would not speak directly to
Ravana; the grass represented a barrier, a curtain separating them.
In valour, courage, noble qualities, Ravana was nothing
(like grass) compared to
The offer of wealth, status to Sita was of no value to her who was
herself the goddess of wealth (Lakshmi)
His offer of compensating her father Janaka was meaningless since
he was himself a raja-rishi.
His act of abducting her surreptitiously, by sending Rama and
Lakshmana away and appearing as a mendicant, was not according to Rakshasa
dharma even, which required that he win a willing virgin in combat.
His behaviour towards her was like that of an animal – a cow
which eats grass!
Rama sent a blade of grass as Brahmastra to protect Sita from
Kakaasura in the forest; this blade of grass should remind Ravana of Rama’s
Sita herself can, if she chose, destroy Ravana with a blade of
grass but desisted because his destruction was the purpose of Rama's avataram.
As man-lion, Narasimha-avataram took place in a pillar. God can
manifest Himself in anything, even in a blade of grass.
Ravana lacked the sweetness, grace, compassion and strength of
Rama (Tyagaraja’s kriti enta muddo). In that sense also, Ravana
was like a blade of grass when compared with Rama. How dare he talk to her
belittling Sri Rama!
Sri Rama Pattabhishekam
condensed (samkshepa) version of Sundarakandam is available which may be accessed by clicking the links below:
Sankshepa Sundara Kandam:
(from: Shri Sundar Kidambi's http://www.prapatti.com/slokas/author/e-vaalmiiki.html
24 mts chanting in the Audio follows the traditional practice: commencing with
introductory prayer verses for about 8 minutes followed by
Sundarakandam and ending with Mangala Slokams.
Chanting this daily is considered
auspicious and Mangala Daayakam.
Below is the hyperlink (URL) to an excellent site giving
all the 24,000 verses of Shri Valmiki Ramayanam.
Each chapter commences with a brief introductory note and each verse has been
rendered into Sanskrit, Romanized sanskrit and ITrans.
Each verse has Word by
Word meaning followed by its gist and explanation based on theism, culture,
literature as appropriate.
A great site, monumental labor of love and bhakti for Lord Sri Rama, Sita Devi and the devoted bhakta -
You may access all this by clicking on the link: http://www.valmikiramayan.net .
An interesting interpretation of a famous slokam about the
origin of Valmiki's Ramayanam from the above site:
maa nishhaada pratiSThaamtva | magamaH shaashvatiiH samaaH |
yat krau~Ncha mithunaat eka | mavadhiiH kaama mohitam || 1-2-15
15. ama= oh, ill-fate one; niSaada= oh, hunter; tvam= you;
yat= by which reason; krau~Ncha+ mithunaat = of krouncha, couple; ekam= one;
kaama+mohitam= in lustful, indulged in; avadhiiH= killed; [tat= by that reason];
shaashvatiiH= ever lasting; samaaH= ages to come; pratiSThaam+tu= reputation,
but; maa+gamaH= don't, get.
"Oh! Ill-fated Hunter, by which reason you have killed one
male bird of the couple, when it is in its lustful passion, thereby you will get
an ever-lasting reputation for ages to come..." [1-2-15]
Goddess Lakshmi; niÿ˜da=
Oh! Vishnu [ for Goddess Lakshmi resides in the heart of Vishnu -
niÿadIti asmin iti niÿ˜da]; yat
= by which act; krounca
midhun˜t = the couple of demons, namely Ravana and Mandodari; k˜ma
mohitam= that impassioned one and stole Seetha; ekam=
that one, Ravana; avadhI=
you killed; by that act of yours þaþvatIsam˜=
everlasting for ages; pratiÿ÷˜m=
tvam agama= you, get.
"Goddess Lakshmi's abode... Oh! Vishnu, by which
act of your killing one male demon named Ravana, who in his passion abducted
Seetha, and thus you eradicated the vice from the earth, for that you get an
everlasting divine sanctity, as Rama, for ages to come."
Valmiki Ramayana in the Devanagari script is also available at:
Another site from which the points for the note on allegorical
signifiance were taken is: MaruthiPramanam.htm