pachai maamalai pol mene

Saturday, July 25, 2015

Why is Sundarakandam so important?

Why is Sundarakandam so important?

The scholars of Sanskrit, both oriental and western, place the Sundarakandam of the Aadikavaya (Ramyanam), of Maharshi Valmeeki as an aesthetically sublime piece of literature..
Just as the fourth Act of Shakuntalam is the best in Kalidasa's literature in drama, Sundarakandam has similar place in the realm of Kavyams..
The story content of the piece of literature is simply beautiful..
It describes the discovery of something which was supposes to be lost..
नष्टार्थस्य पुनर्लाभः सुन्दरःपरिकीर्तितः..
Sundaram is acclaimed as the recapture or regaining of what has been lost..
Here Mother Sita is gained back
A messenger in olden days is often denoted as Sundara..
Here Anjaneya is the glorious messenger of Rama.. Similar is the case where, when there was a love quarrel between Lord Nataraja and Sivakama Sundari, Sundaramoothi Nayanar shuttled between them .. holding aloft olive branches..
Sun Dhara.. सुं दरति इति one who removes pain and unhappiness.. is called Sundara.. and the hero of Sundarakandam.
Anjaneya swamy has definitely done that..
In all realms of literary merit, like chandas, vrittam, phonetics, alankaram.. etc this part of Valmikiramayanam is outstandingly beautiful..
In many standard texts on the techniques of literary creation, the couplets from Ramayanam are cited as standard models or reference points..
In description of beauty of terrain, flora, fauna, and natural beauty, the contents of Sundarakandam are of great beauty in the field of literary creations..
In fact, the theory and the standards of treatment of subjects in a Kavyam either in Sanskrit, or even in the classical literatures of Asia and the West, have been set with our Adikavyam as the yardstick..
and genius of creativity is at its peak in Sundarakandam..
So sublime..
The description of the Hilly terrain of South India, the beauty of the Golden city of Lanka, the attractiveness of Pushpaka Vimanam, are all great pieces of literary creation where evocative imagination and acute and sensitive observation can be seen and felt at their peak..
Even the natural hilarity and love for fun which are natural for monkeys is described with elan where the monkeys ransack the forest of honey maintained on behalf of Sugriva, after hearing the glad tidings about Seetha, and the successful mission of Hanuman to Lanka..
Sundarakandam is a self sustaining treatise.. The entire story of Ramayanam upto the adventurous trip of Hanuman to Lanka is covered in this Kandam, though in an abridged manner.
.If Rama is the hero for the other parts of Ramayanam. in Sundarakandam, there is only one hero, Lord Anjaneya..
All the facets of an ideal living being, valour, resourcefulness, strength, oratory, to cite a few such qualities are revealed in its excellent manifestation in Anjaneyaswamy, the hero of Sundarakandam. It is the story of Hanuman the Sundara..
And for the devotees, reading of Sundarakandam bestow on them all that is beautiful and beneficial.
So, Sundarakandam is really Sundaram, beautiful with hardly any parallel in the annals of literature created by man...

Friday, July 24, 2015

sree Ramachandraashtakam

सुग्रीवमित्रम् परमम् पवित्रम् सीताकळत्रम् नवमेघगात्रम्।
कारुण्यपात्रम् शतपत्रनेत्रम् श्रीरामचन्द्रम् सततम् नमामि॥१
संसारसारम् निगमप्रचारम् धर्म्मावतारम् हृतभूमिभारम्।
सदानिर्व्विकारम् सुखसिन्धुसारम् श्रीरामचन्द्रम् सततम् नमामि॥२
लक्ष्मीविलासम् जगताम् निवासम् भूदेववासम् शरदिन्दुहासम्।
लङ्काविनाशम् भुवनप्रकाशम् श्रीरामचन्द्रम् सततम् नमामि॥३
मन्दारमालम् वचने रसालम् गुणैर्विशालम् हृतसप्ततालम्।
क्रव्यादकालम् सुरलोकपालम् श्रीरामचन्द्रम् सततम् नमामि॥४
श्यामाभिरामम् नयनाभिरामम् गुणाभिरामम् वचनाभिरामम्।
विश्वप्रणामम् कृतभक्तकामम् श्रीरामचन्द्रम् सततम् नमामि॥५
वेदान्तवेद्यम् सकलैश्च मान्यम् हृतारिमानम् क्रतुषु प्रधानम्।
गजेन्द्रपालम् विगताभिमानम् श्रीरामचन्द्रम् सततम् नमामि॥६
लीलाशरीरम् रणरङ्गधीरम् विश्वैकवीरम् रघुवंशधीरम्।
गंभीरनादम् जितसर्व्ववादम् श्रीरामचन्द्रम् सततम् नमामि॥७
अघेऽतिभीतम् सुजने विनीतम् तमोविहीनम् मनुवंशदीपम्।
ताराप्रगीतम् व्यसने च मित्रम् श्रीरामचन्द्रम् सततम् नमामि॥८
रामचन्द्राष्टकम् पुण्यम् प्रातरुत्थाय यः पठेत्।
कोटिजन्मकृतम् तस्य पापम् सद्यो विनश्यति॥९
sugrīvamitram paramam pavitram sītākaḻatram navameghagātram|
kāruṇyapātram śatapatranetram śrīrāmacandram satatam namāmi||1
saṁsārasāram nigamapracāram dharmmāvatāram hṛtabhūmibhāram|
sadānirvvikāram sukhasindhusāram śrīrāmacandram satatam namāmi||2
lakṣmīvilāsam jagatām nivāsam bhūdevavāsam śaradinduhāsam|
laṅkāvināśam bhuvanaprakāśam śrīrāmacandram satatam namāmi||3
mandāramālam vacane rasālam guṇairviśālam hṛtasaptatālam|
kravyādakālam suralokapālam śrīrāmacandram satatam namāmi||4
śyāmābhirāmam nayanābhirāmam guṇābhirāmam vacanābhirāmam|
viśvapraṇāmam kṛtabhaktakāmam śrīrāmacandram satatam namāmi||5
vedāntavedyam sakalaiśca mānyam hṛtārimānam kratuṣu pradhānam|
gajendrapālam vigatābhimānam śrīrāmacandram satatam namāmi||6
līlāśarīram raṇaraṅgadhīram viśvaikavīram raghuvaṁśadhīram|
gaṁbhīranādam jitasarvvavādam śrīrāmacandram satatam namāmi||7
aghe'tibhītam sujane vinītam tamovihīnam manuvaṁśadīpam|
tārāpragītam vyasane ca mitram śrīrāmacandram satatam namāmi||8
rāmacandrāṣṭakam puṇyam prātarutthāya yaḥ paṭhet|
koṭijanmakṛtam tasya pāpam sadyo vinaśyati||9
Free Translation of Ramachandraashtakam
1. I offer my pranams with uninterrupted devotion to Lord Ramachandra
Who is the friend of Sugriva,
Who is the Supreme being,
Who is immaculately pure,
Who is having Mata Sita as his consort,
Whose body shines with the hue of a fresh black cloud,
Who is the receptacle of boundless compassion,
Who is having beautiful eyes resembling the petals of a lotus
2. I offer my pranams with uninterrupted devotion to Lord Ramachandra
Who is the quintessential substance of all that exists in this world,
Who is praised in Vedas,
Who is the embodiment of virtue or Dharma ,
Who has taken awy the weighty bulk of evil from the earth,
Who is not subjected to any debilitating emotions,
Who is the essence of our well being in the ocean of worldly existence.
3. I offer my pranams with uninterrupted devotion to Lord Ramachandra
Who is having the Goddess of Wealth Lakshmi present along with Him wherever He is,
Who is the ultimate refuge and resting place for the whole Universe,
Who is residing on this earth as a God,
Who smiles like the full moon of autumn,
Who annihilated Lanka,
Who is the beaconlight for the whole world,
4. I offer my pranams with uninterrupted devotion to Lord Ramachandra
Who is wearing a garland made of Mandaara flowers,
Whose words are as sweet and juices of sugarcane or fruits,
Who is very generous by nature, Who uprooted the Seven Sala trees,
Who appeared as god of death himself to demons,
Who is the protector of the world of celestials..
5. I offer my pranams with uninterrupted devotion to Lord Ramachandra
Who shines forth in his attractive dark form,
Whose form is a feast to the eyes that see Him,
Who is attracts everyone to Him through His sterling qualities,
Whose words are ever so attractive,
Who is the one before whom the whole worlds surrenders in prostraction, Who fulfills the desires of all His devotees,
6. I offer my pranams with uninterrupted devotion to Lord Ramachandra
Who is understood through study of Vedanta Philosophy,
Who is respected by all,
Who shatters the boastfulness and arrogance of His enemies,
Who is invoked as the primal deity in Yajnas,
Who is the protector of the elephant king Gajendra,
Who is bereft of pride and is ever so humble
7. I offer my pranams with uninterrupted devotion to Lord Ramachandra
Who is manifest in human body as if by sport,
Who is fearless in the battlefield,
Who the foremost among the valiant people in the whole world,
Who is the brave progeny of the clan of Raghus,
Whose voice is very commanding,
Who is capable of emerging as victor in all debates and discussions.
8. I offer my pranams with uninterrupted devotion to Lord Ramachandra
Who is very much afraid and careful about committing any sins,
Who is very humble and solicitous to good people,
Who is bereft of any darkness of mind and thought,
Who is the beaconlight of the clan of Manu,
Who is praised by songs by Thaara,
Who is a faithful friend for those in agony.
9. Whosoever recites of reads this octet on Ramachanra, keeping awake early in the morning, will have all his sins incurred over crores of lives removed instantly..

Be the master of yourself first....
भूयो विनयमास्थाय भव नित्यम् जितेन्द्रियः।
कामक्रोधसमुत्थानि त्यजेथा व्यसनानि च॥ ३-४२
श्रीमद्वाल्मीकीये रामायणे अयोध्याकाण्डे
bhūyo vinayamāsthāya bhava nityam jitendriyaḥ|
kāmakrodhasamutthāni tyajethā vyasanāni ca|| 3-42
śrīmadvālmīkīye rāmāyaṇe ayodhyākāṇḍe
This is from Ayodhyaakandam, of Ramamyanam.
We hardly find any words of wisdom when there is gala celebrations around.. That is true even in epics.
I tried to cull out couplets from Valmikiramayanam for my posts,, couplets conveying wisdom and conveying messages to be followed for us as beacon lights in our daily lives..
But such advises usually occur on occasions which are somewhat sad and tense..
We hardly find philosophical messages when Rama's birthday, marriage or coronation is celebrated..
But a lost of nuggets do appear when Rama grieves, plans a fight or Hanuman is desperately running around in search of missing Sita.
Perhaps this is true with our lives also.
We tend to be lighthearted to the extent of frivolity when we are happy and celebrating and serious thoughts flood into our mind when the chips are down.
Of course the context of the quote is supposed to be the planning for a very happy occasion..
But as luck would have it the even got disrupted, proving once again the contrasts that do occur in life.
Rama and the other princes are now grown up, and married too. Dasaratha started to think in terms of paving way for his next generation to succeed him in the throne..
In time, he expresses in open court, his desire to bring in Rama to the realm of administration.. The people, citizen and members of the court, are all overjoyed,,
Rama is summoned to the Royal court, and Dasaratha is formally conveying his decision to coronate Rama as the Yuvaraja..
Even here, while addressing Rama, Dasaratha tends to be very philosophic for once..
God knows whether it is a foreboding..
But his advice to Rama on the occasion is worth its weight in gold.
" Rama, my child, you be humble ever and have complete control over your mind and physical organs.
You must abandon and drive away all your sorrows and also your earthly yearnings caused by lust and control your reactions arising out of rage.."
The advice is really sound..
But for a divine soul like Rama, it would appear superfluous..
Rama is always an embodiment of impeccable character and self control..
And of course, plans to appoint Rama as the second in command of the state was derailed through the interference of Kaikeyi the queen,,
Rama had to live in forest for fourteen years, undergo a lot of challenging situations in life.. like the demise of his father, the loss and recapture of Sita and so on..
In fact Rama, when He became the Emperor had seen all that a human being could see in life before he took up the reigns of the State..
And that maybe one reason why he succeeded so well in his administration..
There is nothing in this world to substitute first hand experience..

Wednesday, July 22, 2015

force of arms v force of penance...

force of arms v force of penance...

धिग्बलम् क्षत्रियबलम् ब्रह्मतेजोबलम् बलम्।
एकेन ब्रह्मदण्डेन सर्वास्त्राणि हतानि मे॥५६-२२
॥श्रीमद्वाल्मीकिरामायणे बालकाण्डे॥
dhigbalam kṣatriyabalam brahmatejobalam balam|
ekena brahmadaṇḍena sarvāstrāṇi hatāni me||56-22
||śrīmadvālmīkirāmāyaṇe bālakāṇḍe||

Rama and Lakshmana are led through a forest by Sage Visvamitra on their way to the place where Visvamitra is conducting a yajana and it is the duty of the princes to protect the sacrifice and to ensure its proper conduct.

They were covering huge distances by foot, and the sage, with a view to keep the boys cheerful was telling them many stories and anecdotes..

This way balakandam in Valmikiramayanam covers many stories including Vishamitras own metamorphosis into a very staunch ascetic from a very ambtious and valorous king.. Visvamitra also recounts many stories,like the birth of the river Ganga, the glory of Uma, the birth of Skanda, and so on..Thus Ramayanam assumes encyclopaedic dimensions at places.

Coming to the sloka quoted above, it comes in the autobiographic narrative of Vishvamitra Himself 
Kaushika, Gadheya or Vishvamtira was, in his formative years, a very ambitious and powerful king..

Once in the course of a royal hunt, getting tired and hungry in the recesses of forests, the king and his retinue entered the hermitage of the first among sages, Bhagavan Vasishta.

The hermitage and environs bore a very frugal and poverty ridden look..

But the sage received the king heartily and with all royal honour and entertained him and his soldiers and attendants with all comforts for say and also fed them with food items befitting the royal status of the guest..

The king was puzzled at first, but on subtle observation, came to know that the divine wish yielding cow (Kamadhenu.. called Surabhi and later her daughter Nandini), reared in the precincts of the hermitage was providing all the materials for such heavenly life on earth..
The king was impressed, but then avariciousness took hold of him..
He asked the sage Vasishta to hand over the Divine Cow to him because as the king he alone was entitled such precious treasures.. 
When Vasishta declined to comply and hand over the cow, the king decided to use force to abduct the cow.. 
He started attacking the hermitage will all weapons and missiles possessed by him and his huge army,
Sage Vasishta simply continued with his daily rituals and meditations but placed the Brahmadanda.. the bamboo staff carried by the ascetic as a sign of his exalted state of life.. in front of him, and as the king attacked, all the weapons and the strength of the soldiers were all devoured by the extreme power of penance present in that single bamboo stick

Standing disarmed and humbled in front of the Sage, Visvamitra admits the futility of his armed strength in the presence of the power of mind accumulated through penance and austerities.

" Fie upon the strength of the arms and ammunition possessed by me as a warrior, the real strength is the strength arising out of the divine power gained through penance.. With a single stick called brahmadanda, the whole array of my arms and ammunition are annihilated.."

Shallow thinking on our part may tempt us to imply that this was a fight between a brahmin and a kshatriya.. We have to remember that a brahmana could wield weapons and kshatriya could gain spiritual power through mental conditioning.. and caste or creed has nothing to do with the supreme knowledge.

The legend goes on to describe further that Visvamitra gave up his royal office and took to pencance, austerities and deep studies and became a very great stage, perhaps one of the most important sages of India, who had the fortune to be the discoverer of the one and the only one Gayatri Mantram..

Monday, July 20, 2015

Duty first.....

नृशंसमनृशंसम् वा प्रजारक्षणकारणात्।
पातकम् वा सदोषम् वा कर्तव्यम् रक्षताम् सदा॥
राज्यभारनियुक्तानामेष धर्मः सनातनः। २५--१८
श्रीमद्वाल्मीकिरामायणे बालकाण्डे

nṛśaṁsamanṛśaṁsam vā prajārakṣaṇakāraṇāt|
pātakam vā sadoṣam vā kartavyam rakṣatām sadā||
rājyabhāraniyuktānāmeṣa dharmaḥ sanātanaḥ| 25--18
śrīmadvālmīkirāmāyaṇe bālakāṇḍe

Ostensibly to protect a Yajna or fire sacrifice being conducted by him, sage Visvaamitra takes the boys Rama and Lakshmana with him to the forest..
Various stories and anecdotes are explained to the boys during their sojourn with the sage..
In the first lap of their journey into the forest by foot, they enter the forest called Taatakaavanam, where the fierce demoness Tataka was residing.. She was a nightmare to all living beings in the forest as also the inhabitants of the human settlements around the forest..
She was extremely cruel and killed and destroyed others without any scruples, but she had terrible strength which could not be matched by others around in any sort of combat..
The sage, in the company of Princes Rama and Lakshmana comes face to face with the demoness, and, as usual the massive lady starts her threats and abuses, now directed at the sage and the princes..
Vishvamitra without any hesitation instructs Rama to send an arrow at her and finish her off..
Rama knows that the task is very easy for him.. But He is in a dilemma because He was facing a woman in combat, and killing a woman was abhorrent for a warrior..
Then Visvamitra reminds Rama of His duties as an enforcer of law, a representative of the King who is duty bound to protect his own subject..
The above sloka in Valmikiramayanam, Balakandam, comes as an advise and strict instruction by sage Visvamitra to Rama
" When a duty is cast on a King or his representative in the interest of protection of the Subjects of the Kingdom, such person is bound to act irrespective of the fact whether that act is virtuous or contemptible, whether it is a grave sin in public eye, or whether it is likely to attract a lot of criticism.
This is the eternal Dharma or rule of conduct for a king who is interested and dutybound to protect the subjects dependent on him'
Rama followed the instruction and slayed Tatakaa.. and the rest in legend.
Vishvamitra's advice would sound Machiavellian, but when the defence and protection of the State and the citizens are concerned, all other scruples should be relegated to the background..
I think this happens in realpolitik ..irrespective of political systems, and time-frames in history..

Sunday, July 19, 2015

dignity while serving others...

dignity while serving others.....

अवज्ञया न दातव्यो कस्यचिल्लीलयापि वा।अवज्ञया कृतम् हन्न्याद्दातारम् नात्र सम्शयः॥१३-३३ श्रीमद् वाल्मीकि रामायणे बालकाण्डे

avajñayā na dātavyo kasyacillīlayāpi vā|
avajñayā kṛtam hannyāddātāram nātra samśayaḥ||13-33
śrīmad vālmīki rāmāyaṇe bālakāṇḍe

In the first Kandam of Ramayanam.. the balakaandam, Dasharatha the king of Ayodhya is planning to conduct a Yajna for begetting childres.. The preparations are on.. The main minister and aide of the king, Sumantra, is running around meeting the sages, while personally monitoring the effective conduct of the yajna..
As the news of the gala function spreads, people of all classes and status are thronging the capital city.. Arrangement for the stay and the creature comforts of all guest are being arranged under Royal patronage.. As is quite common in the activities of government servant, Sumantra is shrewd in anticipating brash, authoritative and patronizing attitude on the part of the government servants..

He is issuing strict instruction to his own men:

" The services rendered and gifts given to the honoured guests should not be with disrespectful and derisive attitude.. Nor should there be any lightheartedness or jocular attitude on the part of the employees of the king.

Service rendered and gifts given with derision and lack of respect would kill or annihilate the person who makes the gift.. There is absolutely no doubt about it. "
(the Sanskrit verse quoted above says this)

Here the services are rendered on behalf of the King and the slip on the part of the servants of the state would cause damage to the king himself

A Prime Minister to a king in India, maybe more that five millenniums ago was so dedicated and so conscious of his duties to the State..

Sumantra had to ride the chariot which took away Rama Sita and Lakshmana to the forest later on..the saddest duty he would have perfromed in his life..
He was also present as the Prime Minister on the occasion of the Coronation of Rama as the Emperor of Ayodhya years later..

Saturday, July 11, 2015

the sixteen names of Ganapati

श्री गणपति षोडशनामस्तोत्रम्
सुमुखश्चैकदन्तश्च कपिलो गजकर्ण्णकः।
लम्बोदरस्च विकटो विघ्नराजो विनायकः॥
धूमकेतुर्ग्गणाध्यक्षो फालचन्द्रो गजाननः।
वक्रतुण्डः शूर्प्पकर्णो हेरम्बः स्कन्दपूर्वजः॥
षोडशैतानि नामानि यः पठेत् शृणुयादपि।
विद्यारंभे विवाहे च प्रवेशे निर्ग्गमे तथा।
संग्रामे सर्व्वकार्येषु विघ्नस्तस्य न जायते॥
śrī gaṇapati ṣoḍaśanāmastotram
sumukhaścaikadantaśca kapilo gajakarṇṇakaḥ|
lambodarasca vikaṭo vighnarājo vināyakaḥ||
dhūmaketurggaṇādhyakṣo phālacandro gajānanaḥ|
vakratuṇḍaḥ śūrppakarṇo herambaḥ skandapūrvajaḥ||
ṣoḍaśaitāni nāmāni yaḥ paṭhet śṛṇuyādapi|

shrii gaNapati SoDashanaamastotram
sumukhashchaikadantashcha kapilo gajakarNNakaH.
lambodarascha vikaTo vighnaraajo vinaayakaH..
dhuumaketurggaNaadhyakSo phaalachandro gajaananaH.
vakratuNDaH shuurppakarNo herambaH skandapuurvajaH..
SoDashaitaani naamaani yaH paThet shR^iNuyaadapi.
vidyaaraMbhe vivaahe cha praveshe nirggame tathaa.
saMgraame sarvvakaaryeSu vighnastasya na jaayate..

the sixteen names of Ganapati

Sumukha.. the lord having a very attractive face

Ekadanta…. One having one tusk (usuallly the elephants have two tusks, but the lord just broke off one of his tusks to be used as a weapon in the battle, or alternately to be used as a pen to write Mahabharatham)
Kapila.. of yellowish brown colour

Gajakarnnaka.. the lord having ears of an elephant

Lambodara… the lord having a huge belly

Vikata… The lord who is by nature mirthful and mischievous

Vighnaraaja.. the lord of obstacles.. or the God capable of shattering any obstacle

Vinaayaka.. the lord who has no leaders above Him to dictate His action

Dhoomaketu… One who has smoke as his flag.. usually fire has smoke at its top.. so the lord is as resplendent as fire, or alternately, dhoomakethu is a very bright comet.. He is as shining as bright as a comet..

GanaadhyakshaH… the leader of groups of gods and demigods, especially connected with Lord Shiva..The leader of the groups of demi gods subservient to Vishnu is Lord Vishwaksena.. who is also having the head of an elephant, and maybe it is the Vaishnavaite version of Ganesha.

Vakrathunda.. the lord having a curved trunk

Shoorpakarnna.. having wide ears as big as Shoorpa or the winnow 
Herambha.. This is one form of Ganapathi, with five faces, and having the mount Lion, and ofter with consorts,, the Herambha Vinayaka is popular in Nepal.. Heramba has a lot of significance in Tantric worship.

Skandapoorvaja… The elder brother of Skanda or Subrahamanya.. ( In many places especially in the North, Ganapati is believed to be the younger brother of Karthikeya..)

After stating the stotram, the phalashruti ( or declaration of the good things that can originate from reciting it ) is given as under

One who reads or chants theses sixteen names, or hears these read or chanted, on the occasions of start of learning, beginning of ceremonies of marriage, while entering a new place or abode, while leaving a place, while starting a battle, or in general, at the start of any projects of which he expects a positive result, for him, there cannot be any impdiments or roadblocks.. and success is ensured for him..