Bhakti is eternal. paritraaNaaya saadhuunaam vinaaSaayata dushkrutaam, dharma samsthaapanaarthaaya sambhaavaami yugEgE.

Lord Sreemannarayana had taken many avatars to destroy the evil and establish Dharma. Out of all Sri Rama Avatar is considered the supreme, not only in establishing dharma but also giving guidelines, as to how a human should live. The Ramayana is of Rama and about Him only. From this great epic, I am now bringing an abridged version of parayana of Sundarakanda in English format and referring more mythological facts. While doing so, I had to bring out different Tatwa and some of which may not corroborate with the principles of the Society in general. It is my earnest appeal to every one in this group to ignore those and to pray Lord Sreemannarayana with Taraka Nama. vruttam raamasya vaalmiikE kruthih, tou kinnarasvarou ? kimtat yEna manOhartum-alam syaataam na srunvataam ?? The above is from Raghuvamsa of the Indian Shakespeare, Sri Kalidasa. It reads as: - The history is of Rama! Writer is Maharshi Vaalmiki! Singers are Kusha and Lava, whose voice is so melodious (kinnera kanta)! Then what is there that will not relish the minds of hearers? This is how the famous poet Kalidasa had praised Maharshi Valmiki the writer of Ramayana. Ramayana is divided into 6 kandas with an additional one named Uttarakanda. They are 1. Balakanda, 2. Ayodhyakanda, 3. Aranyakanda, 4. Kishkinda kanda, 5. Sundarakanda, 6.Yuddhakanda. The names of all kandas, except No.5, is defined by that chapter's main subject, based on the situation and theme of the episodes and make one to understand the topic behind it. The name of No.5 is peculiar and has no relevance to the subject. This is Sundarkanda, which is something extra ordinary and do have possible inner meanings in naming the chapter as SUNDARA (beautiful) KANDA (Chapter). Mahrshi Valmiki has delivered this in such a way that those habituate for the parayana of Sundarakanda original in Sanskrit, the slokas of which are composed with aesthetic terms, will tide over all the hurdles in the life and attain peace in the earth-planet and "moksha," the liberation from the cycle of birth and death in the end. In Sundarakanda, the main character is Anjaneya, whose growing despair in the early chapters, after his colossal leap over the mighty ocean in his gargantuan form has reached its nadir and turning point with the discovery of beleaguered Seetha in the Ashoka grove but spread fast the momentum of the narrative is suddenly reversed. The reader or the hearer of this Kanda, too, cannot but be moved by the general exuberance of the episode. Anjaneya is the destroyer of enemies. The enemy to Jnana (wisdom) is Ajnana

(ignorance). Anjaneya who is also called as Hanuman is the one who makes us to conquer Ajnana and therefore he is in the place of Guru. Rama's role does not appear directly in this kanda; his name, his noble character is described throughout the episode. Seetha is nothing but Lakshmi Devi. Goddess Lakshmi is considered to be most beautiful and worshiped by the entire Universe. This Goddess, in disguise of Seetha was sitting under an Asoka tree with a worn-out dress, sad face and getting prepared even for self-destruction having disgusted on the life, due to continuous harassment of Ravana. At that time, Hanuman appeared in front of her and without touching her, cleaned the water emanating from her eyes on account of her sorrow, by narrating Rama's story and handing over Rama's ring and made her to regain her eternal charming face. Hence, the act of regaining the "Sundara darahasa bimbam" (beautiful smiling face) by goddess is called Sundarakanda. This is considered as "Upasana kanda" (worship chapter). Inside the story, there are more dhyana slokas, by reading of which, one is getting out of all kinds of troubles. It invigorates the reader. When Goddess Parvathi asked, Lord Siva told her the value of reading sundarakanda for 68 times. From ages it is believed that reading of Sundara kanda gives immense benefits. That is the reason; we are all doing "Sundarakanda Parayana". It is said to be the ultimate, to overcome all hurdles in the life and attain moksha (liberation). This contains 68 sargas (parts) consisting 2885 slokas (verses) and the tradition says that the dhyana slokas should be read prefix and suffix to every part. As such reading the same with full tradition is time consuming in the present days, where the life has become mechanical. Keeping in view of the above, I requested my beloved Guru Paramacharya some years back, to suggest something to the present generation. He smiled and gave an alternative. If one reads a brief of the same with dhyana slokas, it will give the same result. Then I heard and kept quiet. Some how after two decades, there raised an intuition in my mind about the orders of my Guru in the night and the very next day I happened to see a small version of Sundarakanda in English and decided to write. Then a question arises. What type of brief? Is it of the entire chapter which also runs into pages? Then also I prayed Guru and immediately got a whisper that "the one you read and the brief should be of the main topic of Seetha's coziness with the conversation of Anjaneya and seeing Rama's ring". I also got an extrasensory perception that I will be receiving some details also in this regard. To my surprise, within a short spell and without any demand from my side, I received Bhagavata grandham in Telugu written by Sri Bammera Pothana and Ramayana prvachana in Telugu (by the Great devotional scholar Sri Changanti Koteeswara Rao Garu of Kakinada, Andhra Pradesh) from my beloved friend Sri K.V.Raghava Rao Garu of Hyderabad. Then I concluded that my friend acted on behalf of H. Holiness Paramacharya. By reading Ramayana, Maharshi Valmiki makes us to walk through out the episode with all the characters. Where as the Pravachana (Discourse) of Sri Chaganti Koteewara Rao Garu takes us not only with the personas of the episode but also into the fundamentals of Vedic Philosophy, Puranas, basic principles of Hindu Mythology with illustrations and the idiosyncratic rudiments of Divinity.

Even though I am not a Vedic scholar, praying Guru, I made some attempts and collected the details and I am sending the abridged English version of the topic under the heading: SANKSHIPTA PARAYANA (Sundarakanda) While giving the pr�cised one for meditation (Sankshiptha Parayana), I felt it is obligatory on my part to give some details of the Kavya (Great epic) in general and the Kanda (chapter) in specific. As such, I am giving a short summary, with some illustrations of both in different facets, which of course is known to almost all parts of the world and India in specific, as introduction, under the following heading: Ramayana. 1. The reminiscences of the creator of Ramayana. 2. The synopsis of Ramayana. 3. The compendious of Ramayana. 4. The historical evidence of Ramayana. 5. Ramayana - Ramanama is Tharakanama. Sundarakanda. 6. Synopsis of Sundarakanda. 7. The symbolism of Sundarakanda. 8. The resplendence of Sundarakanda. 9. The beauty of Sundarakanda. 10. The accomplishment of Tatwa in Sundarakanda. 11. The ambition of Maharshi valmiki in delivering this metaphorically. 12. The power of Sundarakanda. 13. Prarthana Slokas. 14. Dhyana Slokas. 15. Sankshipta parayana. I am also reproducing the Dhyana slokas (Self contemplated verses) in original with meanings, in the beginning of the pr�cised version together with some prarthana (prayer) slokas. The accuracy of pronunciation is a must for these slokas. In case if there is any difficulty to read my transcription in English, it is requested to get a correct Sanskrit version. While considering the prefix and suffixing the prayer slokas, the Dhyana slokas are to be read at first every time (meanings can be omitted), followed by the version "Sankshiptaparayana of Sundarakanda" As such this can be carried out by those, who are not in a position to spare time to study the original full version of Maharshi Valmiki, keeping in view that we should not renounce our tradition of studying Sundarakanda in Sanskrit as far as it is feasible. All the details are collected from Telugu, Sanskrit, Tamil and English versions and also more from the discourse (Pravachana) in Telugu by the great devotional scholar Sri Changanti Koteeswara Rao garu of Kakinada, Andhra Pradesh. As such there might be some slips in transcribing and translating and redacting the same into English format. Since I am from Andhra Pradesh, there are more Telugu words, which I could not correctly put into proper English. I beg you all not to take into mind.

Since the subject is lengthy, I am sending the same one part after the other commencing with part 1 as detailed above. This is what I have been dreaming for a long time. If my attempt is proved to give good results, I will be blessed. To be continued from Part - 1. Bhakti is eternal. (Part -1) The reminiscences of the creator of Ramayana It is a conventional obligation of our tradition to offer a prayer and recollect the autobiography of the author of any book, prior to its commencement. So let us pray Maharshi Valmiki. Kaivthaapranathi. (Prayer to Maharshi Valmiki) kuujantam raama raamEti, madhuram madhuraaksharam, aruhya kavitaaSaakhaam vandE vaalmiiki kOkilam. vaalmiikE rmunisimhasya kavitaavanacaariNaha' SruNvan raamakathaanaadam kO na yaati parangatim. yah piban satatam raamacaritaamrutasaagaram, atruptastam munim vandE praacEtasa makalmasham. &nbs &nbs &nbs Many p; p; p; believe that Valmiki was a hunter. It is not so.

In Skandapurana, on the query of Vyasa Mahrshi about the details of Valmiki, Sage Sanathkumara had given the details: Valmiki in his purvashram was named Agni Sarma, the son of a Brahmin couple named Sumati and Koushika of Bharadwajasa gothra. Agni Sarma's father was teaching Vedas to his students and some how, Agni Sarma could not learn the Vedic education properly. Those days the Brahmin community was living only on Vedic schools and charity. After Agni Sarma's marriage, there was huge drought and the demand for education had come to a still. Since there were no earnings, the setback of their livelihood had increased. Agni Sarma with his parents and family left the place and entered into a forest. There he had constructed a small Kutir (Hut) and used to live by collecting the roots, fruits and honey from the forest. Since he was not well- versed with Vedas and could not cultivate satvic (moral) life, made friendship with the dacoits of the forest to earn bread to his family. He began to rob the things from the persons travelling through the forest and lead his life. One day a group of saints, who were passing through the forest were caught by Agnisarma. They were having only Brahmadanda (Resting stick for japamala), Kamandala (Water kettle) and Krishnajina (Deer's leather) etc. Agni Sarma demanded those articles or else threatening to kill them. Among those sages, Atri Maharshi questioned him for the reason for robbing the material even by taking the lives. Agni Sarma replied that he has to feed his family, children and parents, who were depending on him.

After finding him, who he was, Atri Maharshi by his inner thought, enquired from him, whether his family members who shared the food that he took home, were willing to share his sin of robbing the travelers and killing them. Agni Sarma thought they would share, but none of them were willing to do so. This upset Agni Sarma who repented and wanted to give up his sinful ways and search for a better life. He had also prayed the saints for a solution to pass over the sins already committed. Then all the saints turned towards Atri Maharshi and requested "O Atri Maharshi you are the one above Adhyatmika (Spiritual) and Adiloukika (worldly affairs) and embodiment of sugunatatva (impeccable qualities). On your noble advice only, he who was a notorious dacoit had changed. You should only suggest him the way". According to Skandapurana, Atri Maharshi did not tell him any Nama japa or Mantra etc. Instead he asked him to do Dhyana (Meditation) as Antarmukha (Keeping all indriyas inside without having any outer vision), endlessly and ceaselessly. So saying, Atri Maharshi along with other sages went away. After some time, in his absorption of meditation, Agni Sarma did not notice that an anthill was built around him. antarmukha samaaraadhya, bahirmukha sudurlabha. The saints who were returning after thirteen years, found the anthill which was illuminating with a bright full light. They immediately found that there was Agni Sarma, who was under constant meditation, loosing the worldly knowledge. They demanded him to come out of the anthill. Since he came out of Valmika (Anthill), purified after washing away his sins with constant meditation, they renamed him as VALMIKI. vaalmiiki likhitE naama, bhuvikhyatam bhavishyatE. They said "Herein after people will call you as Valmiki". He then prayed them to guide him for his future life. Atri Maharshi said: kuSasthalE mahaagamya, samaaraadhya mahESwaram. "O Valmiki! Go to a place named Kusasthali and there pray Lord Maheswara". He carried out the instructions of Maharshi and on his extensive prayer of Maheswara, he attained the darshan of Para Brahma. Who is Para Brahma? HE is the Trinity, the administrator for, 1. Srushti (Creation), 2. Stithi (existence), 3. Laya (tranquility), of the universe. The three faces of Parabhrahma are nothing but Brahma, Vishnu and Maheswara. He first attained the blessings of "Maheswara". Then "Brahma" appeared and ordered him to write Mahakavya. The Mahakavya (Ramayana) written by him is of "Vishnu's" incarnation. The Devine power not only enabled Valmiki to get Brahmopadesa (Advice of Lord Brahma) but also to get a Guru. In spite of his acquiring the benediction of the Almighty, a Guru should be there to guide. gurubrahma gururvshNO, gurudEvO mahESwaraha, gurusaakshaat parabrahma,

tasmai Srii guravEnamaha. Who is called Guru? He who makes tapas (the penances and austerities) and helps the disciples to travel on spiritual path is called Guru. Valmiki was blessed to get a full fledged Guru and he was Sage Narada, the Thriloka Sanchari (Used to visit all three lokas) Through him Valmiki became a sage and a poet. He was searching for a suitable hero whose story he wanted to write in a poetic form. In his pursuits, one day he saw a hunter killing one among the bird couple, which resulted in the heartrending cry of the other. This touched his heart and soon he met Sage Narada again. Narada requested him to write the story of Rama which revolves round the marital separation. This suited the poignant mood of Valmiki, whose mind was crying ever since he witnessed the death of the bird. An epic poem was born. tapasvaadhyaaya niratam tapasvii vaagvidaam varam, naaradam paripapraccha vaalmiikE rmunipungavam. Anvaya / parsing: - tapasvii Valmikih tapah svaadhyaaya niratam vaagvidaam varam muni pungavam naaradam pari papracCha tapasvii= sagacious thinker; vaalmiki = Sage (Poet) Valmiki; tapaha= in thoughtful-meditation; and; sva adhyaaya= in self, study (of scriptures); niratam= always - who is eternally studious in scriptures; and; vaak= in speaking (in enunciation); vidaam= among expert enunciators; varam= sublime one - with Narada; muni pungavam= with sage, paragon, with such a paragon sage Naarada; naaradam= with (such a sage) Naarada; pari papracCha = verily (inquisitively,) inquired about; (ellipt: sarva guNa samishTi ruupam purusham= all, merited endowments, composite, in form - about such a man.) A thoughtful-meditator, an eternally studious sage in scriptures about the Truth and Untruth, a sagacious thinker, and a sublime enunciator among all expert enunciators is Narada, and with such a Divine Sage Narada, the Sage-Poet Valmiki is inquisitively enquiring about a man who is a composite for all merited endowments in his form and caliber. Thus Valmiki with the blessings of Trinity, and with the pursuance of sage Narada, delivered a great Ramayana Mahakavya. He is considered as Adi- kavi. Bhakti is eternal. (Part � 2) SYNOPSIS OF RAMAYANA. The Ramayana (The Journey of Rama) belongs among the world's oldest literature. Cherished throughout India and Asia for millennia, it has been faithfully preserved and passed on in varied forms of popular expression of epic poems, folk tales, music, dance, drama, puppet shows, sculpture, painting and even films and comic books. Its story and characters have captured the hearts and minds of countless generations. Despite its huge popularity in Eastern

cultures and even though it is recognized by many Western scholars as a literary masterpiece, most people in the West have never heard of Ramayana. The story of Lord Rama is both a spellbinding adventure and a work of profound philosophy, offering answers to life's deepest questions. It tells of another time when Gods and heroes walked among us, facing supernatural forces of evil and guided by powerful mystics and sages. Revered throughout the ages for its moral and spiritual wisdom, it is a beautiful and uplifting tale of romance and high adventure, recounting the odyssey of Rama, a great king of ancient India. Rama, along with his beautiful wife, Seetha, and faithful brother Laksmana, is exiled to the forest for fourteen years, where Seetha is kidnapped by the powerful demon Ravana. Along with his brother Laksmana and a fantastic army of supernatural creatures, Rama embarks on a perilous quest to find his beloved Seetha. This contains seven kandas the brief of which is given below. The details of seven kandas. In Bala-Kanda, the Incarnation of Sri Rama and his childhood life are described. Rama helps Visvamitra by guarding his sacrifice. He slays ogress Tataka and her son Subahu. He frees Ahalya from her curse. He breaks the bow of Siva and marries Janaki and annihilates the pride of Parasurama. In Ayodhya-Kanda, preparations are made for installing Rama as heir-apparent. His step-mother Kaikeyi stands in the way and sends him in exile for fourteen years. Rama's brother Lakshmana and wife Seetha follow him. Raja Dasaratha (father) becomes very much afflicted at heart on account of his separation from Rama and dies due to grief. Rama, Lakshmana, and Seetha are entertained by Guha, a hunter-chief. They cross the Ganga and meet Rishi Bharadvaja. They go to Chitrakuta on the advice of the Rishi. They build a cottage made up of grass and leaves (Parna Kutir) there. Then Bharata (another devoted brother) goes to the forest and insists Rama to return to the country and finally takes Rama's sandals alone. He places the sandals on the throne and rules the kingdom in the name of Sri Rama. Bharata himself lives at Nandigrama. In Aranya-Kanda, Viradha, a giant, attacks Rama and Lakshmana in the Dandaka forest. Rama kills him. Thereafter, they pay a visit to the Rishis Sarabhanga, Sutikshna, and Atri. Anasuya, wife of Atri, gives an inspiring discourse on the duties of a wife to Seetha. Then they meet Rishi Agastya. Rama receives celestial weapons from him. They encounter the giantess Surpanakha in the Panchavati forest. She is disfigured by Lakshmana. Lakshmana cuts her nose and ears. Khara and Trisiras (along with fourteen thousand giants), brothers of Surpanakha, are very much enraged. They fight against Rama. They are slain in the battle. Surpanakha goes to Lanka and complains to her brother Ravana. Under Ravana's plan, Maricha, uncle of Ravana, assumes the form of a golden deer and appears before Seetha, Rama, and Lakshmana. Seetha requests Rama to get the deer for her. Rama proceeds to catch the deer and kills it. In the mean time, Ravana carries away Seetha, in the absence of Rama and Lakshmana. Jatayu, the king of vultures, challenges Ravana, but he is mortally wounded. Rama obtains all information about Seetha from the dying Jatayu. He is very much afflicted at heart. Subsequently, Rama and Lakshmana kill Kabandha near the lake Pampa. Then they meet the pious Sabari. She offers them, roots and fruits with great devotion.

In Kishkindha-Kanda, Rama meets Anjaneya on the banks of Pampa. They proceed to Mount Rishyamuka and make an alliance with Sugriva. Sugriva kills Vali with the help of Rama. Sugriva is crowned as the king of Kishkindha. Rama consoles Tara, wife of Vali. Thereupon, Anjaneya with a party of Vanaras proceeds in search of Seetha. He takes with him the ring of Rama as token. He makes a vigorous search and is not able to find out Seetha. Jambavan (chief of bears) finds out Sampati, brother of Jatayu, in a cave, who gives out facts. Anjaneya climbs up the top of a hill by his direction and from there he leaps across the ocean to Lanka. In Sundara-Kanda, Anjaneya�s exploits are described. During his aerial journey, Mainaka, an island peak, invites Anjaneya to rest on its top at the request of the ocean. Afterwards, Simhika, a monstress living in the ocean, drags him down by catching his shadow. Anjaneya kills her. Then he gets a distant view of Lanka and enters the city at night. He finds out Seetha in the Asoka grove. He gives her Rama's token and message. Anjaneya destroys the part of Lanka. The Rakshasas imprison Anjaneya. Anjaneya frees himself and sets fire to Lanka. He returns back to the place where Rama is staying and gives Seetha's gem (chudamani) to Rama. Rama is highly delighted when he receives Seetha�s token and her message. In Yuddha-Kanda, Nala (one of the monkey-chiefs) builds a bridge across the ocean by the advice of Sagara (the God of sea). Rama and Lakshmana with the large army of vanaras crossing the ocean reach Lanka. Vibhishana (brother of Ravana) joins them and tells them how to destroy Ravana and his army. Kumbhakarna, Indrajit, and Ravana are killed in battle. During the battle, both side of Rama and Ravana exchange Astras (weapons) charged with Mantras. Rama sends an Astra on Ravana's party. All Rakshasas appear as Rama. They kill one another. Ravana discharges on Rama, Nagasthra (arrow that becomes serpents full of poison). The arrows have their mouths like serpents and vomit forth fire all around and the entire army including Rama and Lakshmana fall unconscious. Since Rama is the incarnation of Lord Vishnu, Vishnu�s vahana Garuda came and all the serpents disappeared. Garuda is the enemies of serpents. Rama uses Brahmasthra to kill Ravana. Seetha is rescued. Seetha's pureness is tested in the fire. She comes out more glorious and effulgent than ever. Vibhishana is then crowned as king in Lanka. Sri Rama with his party returns to Ayodhya in the flying car called Pushpaka. Rama is crowned as Emperor. The people of his kingdom feel extremely happy. In Uttara-Kanda, Sri Rama's reign is described as Rama-Rajya. There is righteousness everywhere. Everywhere there are plenty and prosperity. There is neither disease nor sorrow. There are neither dacoits nor thieves. Life and prosperity are quite safe. The four Varnas duly observe their Dharmas. Sri Rama goes back to His Supreme Abode (Saketa-Puri or Dhama) after a long and prosperous rule. Divine in Daily Life Ramayana is the epic of life. It holds within it, the keys, not only to transcending this worldly existence, but also to living in the world. It teaches us how to bring the divine into our daily lives. Yet, the epic also shows that it is not easy to live the path of perfection; the way of dharma is sometimes full of obstacles and challenges. The message of the Ramayana is: Sacrifice for dharma. If Sri Rama had been hungry for power, fame or fortune, he would have held on to the crown. He would have refused to go into exile. Yet, he chose piety over power, purity over prosperity. If Bharata, his righteous brother, were attached

to the title of King, if he craved glory or glamour, he would have held tenaciously to the Kingdom. Yet, he refused to sit in the throne, placing his divine brother�s paduka there instead. Thus, Ramayana teaches us that power and prosperity come and go, but purity and piety come and grow. Money, mansions and Mercedes come and go, but morality comes and grows. Also, the Ramayana teaches us the difference between demon and divine, between rich and righteous, between greed and generosity, between lust and love. The Lord Himself says in Ramayana, " If one surrenders unto Me sincerely, saying, � My Lord, from this day I am fully surrendered unto You, ' I always give him protection. That is My vow. " Since the ultimate benefit of hearing the Ramayana is increased faith in Lord Rama, everyone wants to read this significant book. Srunvan raamakathaanaadam kOnayaati paraam gatim. No one fails in the progress of transcendence by hearing the sound of RAMAKATHA

(Part � 3) THE COMPENDIOUS OF RAMAYANA aapadaam apahartaaram daataaram sarvasampadaam, lOkaabhiraamam shriiraamam bhuuyo bhuuyo namaamyaham. �I bow again and again to Sreerama who removes (all) obstacles and grants all wealth and pleases all.� About the Kavya: The Ramayana is not history or biography. It is a part of Hindu mythology. One cannot understand Hindu dharma unless one knows Rama and Seetha, Bharata, Lakshmana, Ravana, Vibheeshana and Anjaneya . It contains 24,000 verses which have been grouped into 600 Chapters and that again into seven Kandas or sections, viz., Bala, Ayodhya, Aranya, Kishkindha, Sundara, Yuddha and the Uttara Kandas. It contains genuine classical Sanskrit poetry. Rama's young sons, Kusa and Lava, were the first reciters to the world, who sang to music this reputed work. They came in the garb of ascetics from the hermitage of their teacher Valmiki, and sang the wonderful poem in the presence of their father Rama and other heroes of the story.

kaavyam raamaayaNam KR^itsnam siitaayaaScaritam mahat, paulastya vadhamityEva, cakaara caritavrataha. That sage with observed sacred vows has rendered the entire epic in the name of 'Ramayana', 'Sublime Legend of Seetha' and 'elimination of Ravana'. Though it appears outside as above, if it is speculated profoundly �Brahma�s Story� will appear. Ramasya aayanam = RamaayaNam = Means Ramayana of Rama. Ramaha + ayyatE anEna = iti ramaayaNam = Means those who read will learn dharma and attain Brahmaloka. More details: Mythology cannot be dispensed with. Philosophy alone or rituals alone or mythology alone cannot be sufficient. These are the three strands of all ancient religions. The attitude towards things spiritual which belongs to a particular people cannot be grasped or preserved or conveyed unless we have all these three. To millions of men, women and children in India, the Ramayana is not a mere tale. It has more truth and meaning than the events in one�s own life. Just as plants grow under the influence of sunlight, the people of India grow in mental strength and culture by absorbing the glowing inspiration of the Ramayana. Vedas and Puranas dominated the ancient religious scenario of Hinduism. Vedas are great storehouses of knowledge and deal in a very sacred holy form as to how to lead a normal life, giving stress to the ideal method of living. Side by side the history of the religion and the spiritual quest to methods to attain God, also form a part of Vedas. But Puranas (ancient stories) are epic stories rivaling in greatness to any ancient literature produced any where in the world. As the only fore runner of the eighteen great Puranas compiled by Veda Vyasa (literally an essay writer), there is one great Purana (ancient Hindu mythology) which has not been compiled by him and this is Ramayana, which deals with the story of Rama. Ramayana is written by Valmiki the sage who lived inside an anthill. Unlike Vyasa, who is a great reporter, Valmiki was a very great poet. He had written

the story of Ramayana with utmost poetic frenzy and eloquence. There is not a single stanza in Ramayana, where he has not used a figure of speech. His descriptions touch the chord deep in the mind. Hindus believed that it was the first epic ever written and they called it the Adi Kavya (The first epic) and called Valmiki the Adi Kavi (The first poet). Unlike the other great Puranas, Ramayana deals with the story of Rama, who is possibly the most ideal human being who ever lived in India. In spite of several thousand years old, his story provides a guide to every individual human being as to how to live an ideal life. The entire story of Ramayana is about him and him only. aadikavii caturaasyau kamalajavalmiikajau vandE, lOka slOkavidhaatroh yayOrbhidaa lESamaatrENa. The Vedas are from the face of Brahma (Kamalodbhava), while Srimadramayana flew from the Ghanta (metal pen) of Maharshi Valmiki. Brahma is the creator of Lokas and Valmiki is the creator of slokas. The difference in between both is so identical. That is the reason that Ramayana the essence of Veda came from Maharshi Valmiki. Valmiki once asked Narada, "O Venerable Rishi! Please tell me whether there is a perfect man in this world who is at once virtuous, brave, dutiful, truthful, noble, and steadfast in duty and kind to all beings". Narada replied, "There is such a one, a prince of Ikshvaku's line named Rama. He is virtuous, brave, gentle, and wise. He is a great hero. He loves his subjects immensely. He is a protector of Dharma. He is firm and steadfast. He is just and liberal. He is well-versed in the Vedas and in the science of arms. He is unique in the possession of virtues and matchless in beauty. He is an obedient son, a kind brother, loving husband, a faithful friend, an ideal king, a merciful enemy, and a lover of all living beings. All people adore him". Valmiki, reflecting over this flowing description, was walking along the banks of the river �Tamasa�. He happened to see a pair of Kraunchas (birds) sporting with each other in love. Suddenly the male bird was shot dead by a cruel fowler and the female, seeing her mate rolling on

the ground in the agony of pain, screamed out most pitifully her lamentations. The sage felt great pity at the sight of the fallen bird and his grieving spouse and burst forth in the exclamation: maanishaada prtishTaam twamagamaha SaaSvatiissamaaha, yat krouncamithunaadEka mavadhiih kaamamOhitam. "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..." This is a celebrated stanza of Sanskrit literature, and controversial too, in deciphering its meaning. The separation of compound tvamagama = tu, ama, gamaha. This is said to be the first verse of human origin with metrical rules and grammar. Earlier to this, only Vedic stanzas were available with their complicated compositional rules. This is the verse where this epic, Ramayana is said to have triggered off. (The above given meaning is just a dictionary meaning. This verse has many more comports which could not be discussed here for want of space and time.) Maharshi could not come out of the pathetic scene even after reaching his ashram. On understanding his mental disturbance, Lord Brahma himself, the Creator of the world, appeared before the poet and said: yaavat sthaasyanti girayaha saritaSca mahiitalE taavat raamaayaNaakathaa lOkEshu pracarishyati. "Sing Rama's charming story in the same melodious cadence. As long as this world endures, as long as the stars shine in heaven, so long shall thy song spread among men". So saying Brahma vanished The instigation and blessings of Lord Brahma made Maharshi Valmiki to come out of the anguished mind and stimulated him to deliver the great epic. He had also inspired the poet with the knowledge of Sri Rama's whole story; whereupon Valmiki sat down in meditation and saw every event in Sri Rama's story in detail in his Yogic vision. Then he began to write the Ramayana. The melody of Ramayana was born from a heart of love and pity for the wounded bird. When applied to Ramayana, the verse of Valmiki sung out of pity for the Krauncha,

can be interpreted thus: Sri Rama and Seetha represent the two Kraunchas. Ravana represents the cruel hunter. Seetha was cruelly separated from Rama by the cruel hunter Ravana. There is a slight similarity in these cases. The hunter's cruel act was a forerunner to Valmiki's inspiration to narrate the Ramayana. Ramayana is the great glorious purana (legend) to the entire humanity. It shows the path to Dharma. Through this Purana, an ordinary person can understand the essence of Vedas and Upanishads. This teaches the dharma to the readers and makes them to live in the fullfledged way in the world. Dharma is in the form of Rama, who is the personification of this Hindu concept of duty and harmony. an ideal son, an ideal king and ideal husband through Rama. an ideal wife through Seetha. an ideal brother through Lakshmana and Bharata (another half-brother of Rama). an ideal unassuming and loving devotee through Anjaneya. an ideal lesson as to how the dangers of lust and ego seen in Ravana will result. Thus Ramayana has established a code of conduct which is widely considered by Hindus to be the benchmark for posterity. Further Ramayana is the concept of Purushartha. The esoteric meaning of Ramayana is this: Ravana represents Ahankara or egoism. His ten heads represent the ten senses. The city of Lanka is the nine-gated city of the physical body. Vibhishana corresponds to the intellect. Seetha is peace. Rama is Jnana (wisdom). To kill the ten-headed Ravana is to kill the egoism and curb the senses. To recover Seetha is to attain the peace which the Jiva (individual) has lost on account of desires. To attain Jnana is to have Darsana of Rama or the Supreme Self. He who crosses this ocean of Moha (Delusion) and destroys the Rakshasas,�Raga and Dvesha (likes and dislikes),�is a Yogi (mystical person) who is united with Santhi or Peace, ever rests in Atma, and enjoys the eternal bliss. Sri Rama stands for the Sattva (Good). Ravana for the 'Evil'. Sri Rama and Ravana fought with each other. Eventually Sri Rama became victorious. The positive always overcomes the negative. Good always overcomes evil.

raamam daSaratham vidhi, maam vidhi Janakaatmajam, ayOdhyaa maTaviim vidhi, gaccha taata yathaa sukham. Consider Rama as your father Dasaratha, Janaki (Seetha) as your mother and the forest as Ayodhya; May the journey be a blessed one. RAAMA RAAMA JAYA RAAJAARAAM, RAAMA RAAMA JAYA SIITARAAM. Contd . . . 4.

Sankshiptaparayana (Sundarakanda) Part - 4.

Bhakti is eternal. (Part � 4) The Historical evidence Ramayana. In India, Lord Vishnu is worshiped primarily as Avatar, or incarnations, particularly as Rama and Krishna, the principal characters of the epics Ramayana and Mahabharata. In both of these wonderful long stories the God takes on human form in order to heal a breach in the order of society, and thus the world in general. In doing so, there is an attempt to reestablish the moral code of social conduct and proper relation of mankind to divinity. In addition, certain collections of tales come to be widely known in popular life, especially from these two great epics. Ramayana tells the story of Rama of Surya vamsa (Dynasty), the ideal Hindu man and king, whose wife Seetha is abducted by Ravana, the king of Lanka. There is subsequent hilarious journey of Rama to Lanka to conquer the demon king and recapture Seetha. Mahabharatha tells the story of Chandra vamsa kings and their allies with the main role of Lord Krishna in establishing Dharma. The history of Rama was in Treta Yuga and Mahabharata was in end of Dwapara Yuga with a gap of thousands of years. Both the epics are filled with educative tales, edifying poems, and fables. It is probably through their constant retelling in the villages over centuries that Hinduism is most efficiently disseminated from generation to generation.

However, India's beautiful spiritual mythology can constitute a serious obstacle to the Westerner who is developing an interest in Vedanta if he takes this mythology too literally (as many people do). He draws back in amazed disbelief when he discovers that there is no good historical evidence for India's favorite divine incarnations, Rama and Krishna. He is further taken aback when he encounters India's many gods; some beautiful, some strange, and some grotesque! He can be so shocked that he may lose interest in India's great spiritual tradition before he has investigated it. Therefore, people with superficial knowledge of Indian mythology may conclude that these epics contain mere fictitious folklore (and superstitions) rather than true religious or spiritual truths. The only suggestion to those, to rectify such misconceptions at this have been the one �Sethu� in the under waters of Indian Ocean which is found in the geographical survey, through the Satellite as for as Ramayana is concerned, had it disputed. Yet Ayodhya, Mithila and other evidences are there. So far Mahabharata, many more as Mathura, Dwaraka, Hastinapura, and Kurkshetra etc are the evidences. stage would recent not been places such

Most of the Senior citizens of our Country and abroad, know about one place called Dhanushkodi (which I have seen during 1962 and walked more than two kilometers into knee-dip water of the sea). Dhanushkodi is situated in the South-East of Pamban, about 18 kilometers to the city. Hindu myth says that at the request of Vibheeshana, brother of Ravana and ally of Rama, Rama broke the Sethu with one end of his bow and hence the name Dhanushkodi. In Sanskrit Dhanu means Bow and in Tamil, Kodi means end. It is also said that Rama marked this spot for Sethu with one end of his famous bow. Bath in holy Sethu at the junction of the two seas normally precedes the pilgrimage to Rameswaram. The customary tradition says that Pilgrimage to Kashi will be completed only after the worship at Rameswaram besides a holy bath in Dhanushkodi at the Confluence of Mahodadhi (Bay of Bengal) and Ratnakara (Indian Ocean). Setu is a Sanskrit word to denote bridge or causeway. It has now acquired a special significance to mean the bridge across the ocean constructed

by Rama to reach Lanka. The Dhanushkodi railway line was destroyed in the 1964 cyclone from Pamban Station and a trainload of passengers was washed into the sea. Even though the railway line was laid between Rameswaram and Dhanushkodi, it was in course of time covered by six sand dunes and it was abandoned. The only surviving relic of the past is the Kothandaramaswamy temple, which still contains the icons of Rama, Seetha, Lakshmana, Hanuman and Vibhishana. It can now be reached either by road from Rameswaram or by boat in the sea. It is advisable to go during day to the village and return to Rameshwaram before Sun set as the entire 15 km stretch is very lonely and there is no safety. Why all these chronicles now? It is only to analyse the fact of the narrative. When the fate of the place on the Indian continent, in between India and Ceylon, is such, in a period of 40 years, what evidence will be available for the history after the passage of countless ages? For example, in the history books of South India, those studied earlier to 80s, can remember a big Moore market of 200 years old constructed during the English period, near to Chennai Railway Station and was subsequently conflagrated overnight and there are no traces to prove its existence. As such can we take the recent history as bogus? There are many like those, prior to and after independence. As such, devotees who trust God should have faith in the Hindu mythology. Only the belief of every Hindu is the unobjectionable EVIDENCE. Further the second chapter of Sundarakanda of Ramayana introduces us to the glorious city of Lanka and Anjaneya�s first encounter with it. The geography around the island where Lanka is located is described herein. The chapter also depicts the initial reaction of Hanuman on seeing the city and his initial thoughts about the feasibility of the task of overcoming the Rakshasas and Ravana to reunite Sri Rama with mother Seetha. The third Sloka of the second Sarga of the fifth chapter is reproduced below: yOjanaanaam Satam shriimaan stiirtvaap vyuttamavikramah, aniSSvasan kapi statra na glaani madhigachhati.

The glorious Hanuman with the best courage, even though crossing a hundred yojanas, was without a sigh and did not obtain any tiredness. This Sloka and others clearly mention that Hanuman crossed an ocean of hundred yojanas. At the present time, the shore to shore distance between southern tip of India and Northern tip of Sri Lanka is around sixty miles. Even with a measure of 2.5 miles per yojana, hundred yojanas converts to 250 miles (this is only my tentative calculation). To explain this anomaly, we need to consider that around the time of Ramayana, the distance was lot more than the current sixty miles. This is in sync with the current theories by geologists, that the ocean between India and the current Sri Lanka had been replaced by land mass over a period of time. Most of the land to the south of current Raghunatha Pura had been covered by landmass in antiquity. Also according to Ramayana, the mountains Trikuta, Lamba and Suvela were to the north of Lanka, but currently the mountains are found in the southern part of Lanka. This suggests that the northern parts of current Lanka were submerged in water during the Ramayana period. A Land mark of Ramayana. Amongst the ruins of the Vijayanagara empire near Hampi, is a cave known as Sugriva's Cave. The cave is marked by coloured markings. The place holds its similarity to the descriptions of 'kishkinda' in Sundarakanda. Rama is said to have met Hanuman here. The place is also home to the famous Hazararama temple (Temple of a thousand Ramas). There are plenty of historical and geographical evidences to show the great Ramayana is the factual narrative, for a believer, but not to those with negative approach. Note: All the above details are distinctly meant to establish the historical evidence for India's favorite divine incarnations, Rama and Krishna and not motivated for any political cause and not warranting any criticism please. Bhakti is eternal. (Part � 5) Ramayana is Taraka Nama. Vanamaalii gadii saarnghii sankhii cakrii ca nandakii, Sriimaa nnaaraayaNO vishNur vaasudEvO bhi rakshatu.

Meaning: May Sri Narayana protect us � He who wears a garland of wild flowers, sports a mace, bow, conch, discus and sword, is famous as Vishnu and Vasudeva and is ever with Sri Lakshmi Devi. By uttering Vishnu's thousand names, one can succeed in transcending all sorrows. He is the highest Energy. He is the highest Penance. He is the highest Brahma. He is the highest Refuge. He is the most holy of all holies, the most auspicious of all auspicious objects. He is the God of all the Gods and He is the immutable father of all creatures. On the advent of the primal Yuga, all creatures spring from Him. On the expiration, again of a Yuga, all things disappear in Him. Holy Ramayana is of Rama the incarnation of Vishnu. kousalyaa suprajaa raamaa puurvaa sandhyaa pravartatE, uttishTa naraSaarduulaa kartavyam daivamaahnikam. (Twice) Sri Rama! Kausalya's endearing son! Wake up, dear; you have to do your day-to-day duties; do wake up please. uttishTOttishTa gOvinda uttishTa garudadhwaja, uttishTa kamalaakaantaa trailOkyam mangaLam kuru. (Twice) Sri Govinda! All the three worlds are under Your rule; they have to prosper. Wake up, my child. Holy Ramayana is one of the most widely read epics in India. His HolinessParamacharya in his characteristic simple language has said "There are two powerful 'Taraka Namas'. One is Aum and another is Rama. All mantras have to be prefixed with Aum (Primordial sound) for obtaining the benefits of those mantras, whereas there is no need to prefix Aum when the name 'Rama' is recited because the name itself is 'Taraka Namam ". What more description is required other this authenticated message given by our Holy Guru? We do not seek a preceptor when we are not in trouble or when we feel that there is nothing lacking in us. The more we are besieged by troubles the more often we go to worship in temples or seek the darshan and advice of great men. "Just as the Veda Purusha (Virat Purusha) was born as Dasaratha's earthly son, the Vedas are born from Prachetasa (Valmiki) in the form of Ramayana." The Ramayana is the very form of the Vedas that have come down to us from the heavens to the earth. The Vedas are divided into four parts, viz., Rig Veda, Yajur Veda, Sama Veda and Adharvana Veda. Lord Rama is the embodiment of Rig Veda, Lakshmana the Yajur Veda, Bharata the Sama Veda and Satrughna the Adharvana Veda. The four Vedas became the four sons of Dasaratha and played at his palace. The Rig Veda and the Yajur Veda consist of Mantras which are related to Yajnas and Yagas. That is the reason why Sage Viswamitra took Rama and Lakshmana along with him to safeguard his Yajna. While Rama was in exile, Bharata left Ayodhya and stayed in a village called Nandigrama, all the time singing the Divine Name of Rama for 14 long years. It is for this reason that Bharata is described as the personification of Sama Veda. It was Satrughna who safeguarded the places of sacred rituals like Yajnas and Yagas from the invasion of evil spirits and demons and therefore called as Adharvana Veda. We should not think that the Ramayana is different from Vedas. In fact, it is the very essence of the Vedas. Rama exemplified three kinds of Dharma (righteous

behaviour), namely, the Dharmas relating to, 1) the individual 2) the family and 3) the society. To uphold these three-fold Dharma, Divinity manifested in a triangular flow, in the form of the Trimurtis (the Triune form). The Ramayana manifested to elaborate the human values. The period of the Mahabharata was well over 5000 years ago and the Ramayana was enacted eons earlier. Even after the passage of countless ages, if it is still occupying the hearts of the people at large, one can well imagine its importance. There are two kinds of messages dominating Ramayana: One pertains to Rama and the other to Ravana. It is said "aakarah vishnu vasaha� that is to say in aakara (shape) resides Vishnu. In Aum, aakara leads and in Ram� he resides. Lord Parameshwara says that by chanting Rama Nama thrice, one can obtain the benefit of having chanted the thousand names of Lord Vishnu i.e., Vishnu Sahasranamam. Such is the greatness of this Rama Nama. Rama�s name is sweeter than sugar, tastier than butter, sweeter indeed than the essence of a beehive, constant repetition of this nectarine sweet name makes every one to taste the very divine Amruta (nectar) itself. Therefore, one should contemplate on this sweet name incessantly. It is even possible to count the waves in the ocean, but there are no words to describe the manifold powers of Rama. In Rama, there are transcendental powers which transcend the Trigunas. Every one should chant the name of Rama for obtaining the "moksha" or salvation. It is believed that breathing one's last in the banks of holy Ganges in Kasipuri (Varanasi) the mokshapuri, one gets mukthi (salvation), moksha (emancipation of the soul from rebirth), for Lord Parameshwara is ever chanting the Rama Nama here as Kathyayini Kamuka in the ears of all people in Kasipuri. Listening to or uttering the name Rama at the time of death relieves everyone from sins and the jivathma obtains the mukthi. Hence the Kasipuri has come to be known as mokshapuri. Since the jiva (human) transcends samsara (cycle of birth and death) to moksha (liberation) and mukthi (salvation) by chanting the name of Rama, the Rama Nama is Tharaka Nama and the Tharaka mantra. Sriiraama raama raamEti ramE raama manOramE, Sahasra naama tattulyam raama naama varaananE. SARVAM SRIIRAMARPANAMASTU.

Bhakti is eternal. (Part � 6) 1. SYNOPSIS OF SUNDARAKANDA. 1. Simple: Among the many chiefs sent by Sugriva in different directions in search of Seetha, Hanuman succeeded in the quest and discovered Seetha in Ceylon. Ceylon is separated from India by a broad channel of the sea, and Hanuman leaped, or rather flew through the air, across the channel, and alighted on the island. Seetha, scorning the proposals of Ravana, was kept in confinement in a garden of Asoka trees, surrounded by a terrible guard of Rakshasa females; and in this hard confinement she remained true and faithful to her lord. Hanuman gave her a token from Rama, and carried back to Rama a token which she sent of her undying affection and truth.

2. A little elaborate: Sundara Kanda not only deals with the Hanuman finding Seetha (and subsequently informing Rama), but it has a lot to say about the behaviour of a man in difficult situations. Here, every step of Hanuman teaches us how to overcome our difficulties. Sugriva dispatched his army to the south with his nephew Angada at the head. Hanuman went with Angada as his general. When they reached Deep South, they found a great ocean stretching between them and land of Lanka. They could find no means by which to cross the ocean. The only person who has the ability to cross is Hanuman. However, due to a curse by rishis (Vedic saints); Hanuman cannot remember his own strength unless he is reminded of it. Everyone encourages Hanuman, who finally remembers his strength. Commanding his soldiers to remain where they were, Hanuman expanded his body to enormous proportions, leaped the vast expanse of water, and alighted upon a mountain �Trikuta� from which he could look down upon Lanka. Perceiving the city to be closely guarded, he assumed the form of a cat, and thus, unsuspected, crept through the barriers and examined the city. He found Ravana in his apartments, surrounded by beautiful women, but Seetha was not among them. Continuing his search, he at last discovered her, her beauty dimmed by grief, seated under a tree in a beautiful Asoka copse guarded by hideous rakshasas with the faces of buffaloes, dogs, and swine. After witnessing Seetha�s stern rejection of Ravana's blandishments, Hanuman reveals himself to Seetha, convinces her by narrating the details of Rama�s friendship with Sugriva and making him the king of vanaras after killing vali etc and handing over Rama�s signet ring to her. Seetha consoles. Hanuma assures her that help is on the way. He then proceeds to destroy Ravana's garden. Ravana's demon soldiers rush in to capture him, and he then kills many rakshasa warriors including Akshaya the younger son of Ravana. Then Indrajit, Ravana�s elder son uses Brahmasthra for which Hanuma surrenders and let�s himself be captured by the Rakshasas. Viewed as a spy, Hanuman is delivered to Ravana for retribution. Impressed with Ravana's charm, nobility, heroism, and splendor, Hanuman notes the fact that Ravana is, however, "devoted to unrighteousness". Similarly struck by Hanuman's "majesty of appearance and strength", Ravana attempts to ascertain the purpose of Hanuman's visit and his reason for devastating gardens to waste. Proclaiming that he is a messenger for Sugreeva, Hanuman states that he acted in self defense and pleads with Ravana to restore Seetha to Rama or to fall victim to Rama's wrath. Furious at hearing Hanuman's words, Ravana orders Hanuman's death. Vibhishana, Ravana's righteous brother, intervenes at this point and counsels Ravana to follow the scriptures. He reminds him that it is improper to execute a messenger, and instead tells him to exact the appropriate punishment for Hanuman's crime. Ravana appreciates the counsel and accepts it. He chooses, instead, to order his demons to set fire to Hanuman's tail in an effort to show that such mischief is intolerable. Enduring the punishment, Hanuman seizes the opportunity to observe Lanka during the day in an effort to gather military information for the future. Hanuman is intrigued that the fire does not burn or hurt him and concludes that it is Seetha's grace and Rama's glory that prevent injury to him. As soon as this was done, Hanuman made himself very small, slipped from his bonds, and, jumping upon the roofs, spread a conflagration through the city of Lanka. Taking leave of Seetha, Hanuman once more leaps the ocean to rejoin his companions. He then returns to Rama, narrates his finding Seetha and the experiences in Lanka and hand over Seetha�s �Choodamani� (the priceless jewel

adorned on her head) to Rama. On seeing Hanuman after his completing the mission of searching Seetha and finding her in Lanka, Sreerama praised him as an idealistic person. Rama also said �Who is able to capture that citadel, by assault, that is exceedingly dangerous to be attacked and which is powerfully guarded by ogres, but one whose courage and valor are equal to Hanuman�s? A great act of service has been done by Hanuman to Sugriva thus by exhibiting his strength, corresponding to his pace. That servant to whom his master entrusts a difficult task and who performs it with zeal is said to be a superior person.� (This is in first sarga of Yuddhakanda) ityuktvaa priitihR^ishhTaaN^gO raamastam parishasvajE, hanumantam kR^itaatmaanam kR^itavaakyamupaagatam. Thus saying, Rama vibrating with joy, clasped Hanuman in his arms who, master of himself, his mission fulfilled, had returned. Hanuman rejoiced the embracement of Rama. This chapter, the critical edition of the "Valmiki Ramayana" contains an extensive introduction, exhaustive notes, and a comprehensive bibliography.

Sankshiptaparayana (Sundarakanda) Part - 7. Bhakti is eternal. (Part � 7) The symbolism of Sundarakanda. girhiitva prEkshamaana sa bhartuhu karavibhuushanam, bhartiram iva sampraapta jaanaki duditabhaavaEt Taking her husband�s ring and examining it, Janaki was as joyous as if she had rejoined her husband. If Sundarakanda can be said to lie at the heart of Ramayana, then the heart of Sundara itself must be the meeting of Seetha and Hanuman. For not only does this meeting mark the precise turning point of the narrative, the fulfillment of the first essential stage of the quest set in motion by the abduction of Seetha; it also � most significantly�serves, through the reassurance, it inspires in both parities and through the symbolic exchange of Rama�s signet ring and Seetha�s hair ornament, as a powerful precursor of the longed-for reunion of the griefstricken couple, the theme of whose bitter separation has haunted the poem from the moment in its prologue when Maharshi Valmiki cried out in sorrow and compassion for the grieving krouncha hen, Thus, it is that for many lovers of the poem, it�s most central and thrilling

moment occurs when Seetha, taking Rama�s ring from the hand of his dedicated messenger, experiences a great access of joy as if she had been reunited with her beloved husband himself. From this moment on, whatever the further vicissitudes of the epic�s hero and heroine, it is clear that the momentum of the story has changed and that in the face of all adversity and against all odds, Rama will defeat the evil Ravana and recover his lost love. Thus, the Sundarakanda lies at the textual, narrative, and emotional centers of the Ramayana while its central episode, Hanuman�s discovery and reassurance of the lost queen, has, as we shall see below, lent the book a significance and a popularity greater than that of the other books, even those like Ayodhya, Aranya and Yuddha kandas, some of which may be much longer and filled with incidents of equal or greater pathos, drama, and gravity. For, although Rama appears as a character in the Sundarakanda only in the closing five sargas of the chapter and even then mainly as a largely passive audience for Hanuman�s report, the text leaves little doubt to whom is the principal focus of the epic. The Ramayana is, above all else, a celebration of the deeds, virtues, and power of Rama, and even when the stage is occupied by such compelling figures as Seetha and Hanuman, Rama remains powerfully felt presence around whom the thoughts, emotions, and actions of these figures constantly revolve. From the very beginning of the kanda, the poet is concerned to indicate that virtually all the powerful and virtuous beings that Hanuman encounters are aware that he is on a mission for Rama and is eager, for that reason, to assist him. Throughout the opening chapter, we are reminded some ten or twelve times that Hanuman is in action on Rama�s behalf, and we are shown such powerful supernatural figures as the vidyadharas (possessors of magical knowledge being in astral habitat), Surya the sun god, Sagara the god of the sea, and Indra the king of the Devaloka intervening in some way to help him, because of their reverence to Rama. Later on, when the flames engulfing Hanuman�s tail cause him no harm and the conflagration Lanka spares Seetha, he attributes these miracles in part to Rama�s great power and to the fact that the God of fire is withholding his energy on Rama�s behalf. But even such evidence of Rama�s divinity as is afforded by the solicitude of the Gods and other celestial beings must pale before the profound and pervasive devotion to him that is at the heart of the characterizations of Seetha and Hanuman in the Sundarakanda.

The reader should imagine for himself/herself, the joy of Rama's messenger, as Seetha's eyes fell on him/her. The reader who experiences this joy will find God in his/her heart. Lord Narayana, who is waiting eagerly to enter and take possession of our hearts, would leave the great and boundless ocean of milk and come to dwell within us, when we cleanse ourselves of sinful thoughts. Contd . . . 8.

With love and regards, Sastry

Sankshiptaparayana (Sundarakanda) Part - 8. Posted by: "Dr.B.G.Y Sastry" drbgysastry Date: Wed Mar 5, 2008 5:09 am ((PST)) Dear friends and devotees, Bhakti is eternal. (Part � 8) The resplendence of Sundarakanda namOstu ramaaya salakshmaNaaya, dEvyai ca thasyai janakaatmajaayai, namOstu rudrEndraya maanilEbhyO, namOstu candraarka marudgaNEbhyaha. Sri Ram who is with Lakshmana - Namaskaram To Mata Janakee Devi - Namaskaaram To Rudra, Indra, Yama, and Vayu - Namaskaaram Chandra and Surya and other Devata Gana I give my respectable Namaskaarams In Mahabharata which is considered as panchamaveda (Fifth veda), Bhagavad-Gita is considered as Upanishad and noted for daily parayana (recitation). Likewise out of all the kandas of Srimadramayana which is considered as vedasara, Sundarakanda is noted for its elegancy and daily parayana. Of all the other Kandas (chapters) in the epic Sri Ramayana, the Sundarakanda is one which has earned its special place and being treated as most beautifully narrated and unquestionably have proven discoveries by which the devotees can gain unlimited bliss as well as they will be taken and guided to the other side of the sea. As we are well aware each Chapter's name is defined by that chapter's main subject - like the birth and the days of the infant stage of Sri

Rama is called Baala Kaanda; Right from the idea of Sri Dasaratha and its planning on Sri Rama Pattaabhishekam, the immediate aftermath, consequently Sri Rama's exile to forests and then the Paaduka Pattabhishekam all these incidents are clubbed in the Ayodhya Kanda; The life in the forests, killing of cruel demons and then abducting of Sri Seetha and the death of Jatayu - brings the Aranyakanda. Then comes the friendship of Sugreeva, killing of Vaali, keeping Sugreeva as the head of kingdom Kishkinda - is called Kishkinda kaanda. Entire episode explaining the war between Ravana and Sri Rama, ultimate killing of Raavana and making Vibhishana as the King of Lanka - is called Yuddha Kanda. Though all these chapters were named based on the situation and theme of the episodes, the fifth one "Sundarakanda" name is something extraordinary and do have possible inner meanings in naming that chapter as SUNDARA (beautiful) Kaanda (Chapter). The axiom of naming it as Sundara from the beauty of every part of the episode by Maharshi Valmiki and his sweet writing is utmost beautiful. In this episode, the flow of language with its elegance and sound is really divine. Here, in accordance with the reference to the context, all rasas including Srungara (Vipralambha) are inundated and worshiped by every Hindu. Seetha�s face was like the full moon; her eyebrows were beautiful; her breasts were lovely and full. With her radiance that lady banished the darkness from all directions. Her hair was jet black; her lips like Bimba fruit. Her waist was lovely, and her posture was perfect. Her eyes were like lotus petals, and she looked like Rathi, wife of Manmatha, god of love. That lovely woman�as cherished all living things as the radiance of the full moon---was seated on the ground like an ascetic woman practicing austerity. Sighing constantly, that timorous woman resembled a daughter-in-law of a serpent lord. By virtue of the vast net of sorrow, spread over her, her radiance was dimmed, like that of a flame of tire obscured by a shroud of smoke. She was like a blurred memory or a fortune lost. She was like faith lost or hope dashed; like success undermined by catastrophe or intellect dulled. She was like a reputation lost through false rumors. She was distraught at being prevented from rejoining Rama and anguished by her abduction by the rakshasa. That delicate fawn eyed woman was looking about here and there. Her sorrowful face with its blacktipped eyelashes was covered with a flood of tears. She sighed again and again�

These passages and the others leading up to her sudden joy at the sight of Rama�s signet ring indeed the heart of the chapter and epic, and no doubt they account for the enormous esteem in which the former is held. Central though the karunarasa is to the epic and the chapter, it cannot, in keeping with the canons of the alamkarasastra, be unrelieved and it is in aesthetic terms, no doubt in order to provide such relief that the poet has placed his gem of the piteous in a larger setting crafted of an amalgam of the adbhuta, sringara, bhayanaka, vira, and hasya rasas�that is, the expressed in Hanuman�s leap, the description of Ravana�s harem, the threats of the grotesque rakshasa women, Hanuman�s martial exploits, and the comical drunkenness of the monkeys in the clumsy, jarring, or spurious additions to the Sundarakanda, but rather integral narrative, structural, and poetic elements essential to the architecture of this fascination epic within an epic.

(Part -9)

Bhakti is eternal.

THE BEAUTY OF SUNDARAKAANDA sushThu aadriyathE iti �sundaraha� As it is regarded well, it is beautiful. The beauty is two types. 1. 2. External beauty. Internal beauty.

The parents feel that their children are beautiful. The children feel that there parents are beautiful. The husband and wife feel that one to the other is beautiful. The loveliness, elegance and beauty which are considered as beauty by one and all, above the worldly appearance are only the BEAUTIFUL. sundarE sundarE sundarE sundarE sundarO ramaha, sundarE sundarii kathaa, sundarii siitha, sundarE sundaram vanam, sundaram kaavyam, sundarE sundarah kapihi, sundaram manthram, sundarE kim na sundaram.

Srirama is so beautiful with his mohanaswaroopa and good behavior. Seethamatha is nothing but �Balathripurasundari� who is so beautiful in all respects, in the entire universe. Hanuman is exemplary beautiful with his �Kanchanadri kamaneeya vigraha. Ashoka vana is so beautiful.

The divya mahamanthras of Srirama and Anjaneya are so beautiful. The story of these Mahatmas is always beautiful. This Sundarakanda describes different vybhavas and therefore the episode is very beautiful. As such which is NOT beautiful in this Sundarakanda? Entire episode is beautiful. Sri Anjaneya is most revered Guru and �Sakalasastra kovida� Through him the beauty of Srirama in his absence is narrated to Seethamatha and the beauty of Seetha in her absence is narrated to Srirama. There is no boundary to the happiness in hearing the elegant story of God and Goddess in the incarnation of human beings by the revered sadguru like Anjaneya. In the Sundarakanda, Rama is beautiful. In the Sundarakanda, Hanuman is beautiful. In the Sundarakanda, Seetha is beautiful. What is not beautiful in Sundarakanda? Many scholars are of the opinion that this chapter has proved beyond doubt about its power of benefiting the devotees in different ways. And that was the reason, why this chapter is named as Sundarakanda. As there are many beautiful incidents and those are beautifully narrated and so the name has been attached like that - is one school of thought. �NashTa dravyaasya laabhO ha, sundaraha parikiirthi taha!� As Seetha was actually located after searching many areas, it was named as Sundarakanada - is another analysis. �sundarO VaanarO kapihi� This sentence informs that the word Sundara is synonym for Vaanara word, and as the entire chapter is devoted to Sri Hanuman - the epic creator Sri Valmiki has not crossed or diluted his path of naming the each chapter with relevant episode incidents - is one analysis. In this Chapter, only Seetha and Rama were able to come out of the depression and mental agony which was erupted immediately after Seetha was abducted. And the entire population of Vaanara were in doldrums - as she was not found and time was running out. That was the reason - as this chapter has brought most beautiful memories and news to all - it was called as Sundara Kanda! Here is another analysis: The word Sundara is most auspicious word. Sri Seetha Devi is none another than most auspicious deity Sri Mahalakshmi it was here the writer has dwelled most about Seetha's righteous characters vividly and and

beautifully. And that was the reason the chapter was named like that. In 35th Sarga (Part) of this chapter, it is said. raamaha kamala patraakshaha sarvasatvamanOharaha, ruupa daakshinya sampanna ha prasuutO janakaatmajE. raamO bhaamini lOkasya caaturvarNyasya rakshitaa, maryaadanaam ca lOkasya kartaa kaarayitaa ca saha. Reference to context: These are the slokas No.8 and 11 of the part. When Anjaneya told Seetha that he had come in search of her on behalf of Rama, Seetha doubted that Ravana might have come in disguise and to clear her doubt, she asked Anjaneya to tell about Rama. Anjaneya�s description of Rama is detailed in these slokas. Meaning: 1. "O Seetha the daughter of Janaka! Rama has his eyes resembling the petals of a lotus. He has handsomeness, attracting the hearts of all living beings. He is endowed with grace and dexterity, by birth." 2. "O Seetha! Rama is the protector of the four castes of the world. He is the doer and also the agent for the people propriety of conduct." Other than this - there will be no other purified explanation on the Beauty.