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Sri Kamakoti Pradeepam

Malar: 21

(Volume)

Raudra Varsham – Aypasi, Kartikai

October, November 1980

Idazh: 9, 10

(Issue)


 
Sri Venkatesa Ramayanam

R. Venkataratnam

The Brahmanda Purana is among the ancient texts extolled as Puranas in India. The Venkatesa Sahasranama Stotra, which is a part of this work, is among the gems found in this work. This Sahasranama Archana performed at Tirumala as part of the daily rituals is very significant. A description of Vishnu’s ten incarnations is to be found within the 183 slokas which make up the Sahasranama. The story of Rama depicted in this work has here been deemed Sri Venkatesa Ramayanam.
Ravivamshasamudbhuto raaghavo bharataagrajah|
Kausalyaatanayo raamo vishvaamitrapriyankarah||

The most illustrious of the Surya lineage, a descendent of Raghu, and therefore called Raghava, Bharata’s elder brother, Kausalya’s son Rama! One who granted Viswamitra’s wishes.
These details are found in the 41st verse given above.
Taatakaarih subaahughno balaatibalamantravaan|
Ahalyaashapavicchedee pravishtajanakaalayah||
Rama was Tataka’s adversary. He annihilated Subahu. He mastered the potent mantras, Balaa and Atibalaa. Using these mantras he received from Vishwamitra he destroyed the Rakhasas who disturbed the sage’s Yajna. Subsequently he followed the sage and redeemed Ahalya from the curse of her stony existence. Then he entered King Janaka’s palace.

Svayamvarasabhaasamstha eeshacchaapaprabhanjanah|
Jaanaki parinetaa ca janakaadeesha samsthutah||

In the Swayamvara hall Rama takes his place; breaks the Siva Dhanus; and marries Janaka’s daughter. Emperor Janaka was also an enlightened soul. He recognises Ram’s divinity.     
Parasurama, who was born before the start of this sweet story of Rama’s incarnation, appears once again at this juncture. Parasurama challenges Rama and Rama meets the challenge successfully.
Jamadagnitanujaatayoddhaa ayodhyaadipaagraneeh|
Pitruvaakyaprateepaalastyaktaraajya salakshmanah||
Rama, the foremost of the kings who ruled Ayodhya, heeding his father’s words, relinquished the throne and left Ayodhya accompanied by his brother, Lakshmana. Indeed, the son went to the forest to keep his father’s words. The vanavasa (sojourn in the forest) follows.
Saseethaschitrakootastho bharataahitarajyakah|
Kaakadarpaprahartaa ca dandakaaranyavaasakah||
Rama, who entered into exile with Seetha, handed over the kingdom to Bharata. He vanquished the pride of Kakasura. Thus continued their stay at Dandakaranya.
Panchavatyaam vihaaree ca svadharma pariposhakah|
Viraadhahaa agasthyamukhyamunih sammaanitah||
Rama was steadfast in the observance of his duties while he dwelt in Panchavati. He killed the cruel Viradha, thus upholding the Kshatriya Dharma, and was praised by Sage Agastya for this deed.
Indrachapadharah khadgadharascaakshyasaayakah|
Kharaantako dushanaaristrishiraskaripurvrushah||
Rama wields Indra’s bow, bears a sword and has infinite stockpile of arrows. He vanquished Khara, Dushana and Trishiras. He was the best among the Kshatriyas. This shloka extols his Kshatriya valour.
Tatah shurpanakhaanaasaacchetaa valkaladhaarakah|
Jataavaan parnashaalaastho maareechabalamardakah||
Then he chopped off Surpanakha’s nose. While Rama dwelt in a hermitage in the forest, dressed in bark cloth and with his hair matted, Mareecha crossed his path. He pursued the magical deer and overpowered him.
In this work, the disappearance of Seetha has not been mentioned anywhere. Instead, Rama’s conversation with Jatayu is described next.
Pakshiraat krutasamvaado ravitejaa mahaabalah|
Shabaryaaneetaphalabhuk hanoomatparitoshitah||
Rama is a warrior of the solar race. He equals the sun in his splendour. He proceeds on his way after his conversation with Jatayu. On his way, he partakes of the fruits offered by Shabari. Hanuman’s appearance follows. He enthrals Hanuman.
Sugreevaabhayado daityakaaya kshepanabhaasurah|
Saptataala samucchetaa vaalihrut kapisamvrutah||
He offers Sugriva his protection. Rama kicks the demon’s body and tosses it away. Rama, the beauteous one, pierces the seven trees through with his arrow. He slays Vali and appears victorious surrounded by the Monkey clan.
Vaayusoonukrtaasevah tyaktapampa kushasanah|
Udanvatteeragah shuro vibheeshanavarapradah||
He accepts the services of the son of the Wind God. He leaves the banks of River Pampa, crosses the ocean (after having confronted the God of Oceans) seated on Darbha grass. The valorous Rama, who crosses the ocean, offers refuge to Vibhishana.
Setukrta daityahaa praaptalanko alankaaravaan svayam|
Atikarashiracchetaa kumbhakarna vibhedanah||
Rama builds a bridge across the ocean and annihilates the Asuras. Rama, who is effortlessly beautiful, beheads Atikaya. He rips apart Kumbhakarna. The word “chetta” occurs for the third time in twelve slokas. The word is used with reference to the chopping off of Surpanakha’s nose, the piercing of the seven trees and the beheading of Atikaya. The first effort was to punish Surpanakha’s interference in Rama’s upholding of the virtue of fidelity. The second one was a warning and a show of strength to his enemy. The last instance proved that an opposition to Dharma will result in destruction.
Dashakantha shirodhvamsee jaambavatpramukhaavrutah|
Jaanakeesha suraadhyakshah saaketeshah puraatanah||
The ten-headed Ravana was slain. Rama, the consort of Janaki, returns to Ayodhya accompanied by Jambavan and others. The purpose of the incarnation having been fulfilled, Rama is skilfully extolled as the lord of the Devas.  Yet another beautiful aspect of the work is that, though Seetha had not been mentioned for a long time, it reunites the divine couple in a trice. It does not mention unsavoury incidents such as Seetha’s disappearance or her abduction by the demon. The divine mother, whom we had met last in the 45th shloka, in the word“Saseethah”, had disappeared in between from the text for the consequent seven shlokas and reappears before us with the word, “Jaanakeesha.” After having brought the divine couple together, the next shloka places them in the realms that resemble Vaikuntha.
Punyashloko vedavedhyah svamiteerthanivaasakah|
Lakshmeesarah kekilolo lakshmeesho lokarakshakah||
What follows is his birth as Devaki’s son. Therefore, these two lines conclude the Ramayana. He can be comprehended only through the Vedas and the sacred shlokas. He resides in the Swami Pushkaraini, the sacred tank at Tirumalai. He is Lakshmi Kanta, who immerses himself in the holy pond Lakshmi. He is the protector of the universe. These Ramayana shlokas, which bestow good fortune on those who read it, are indeed holy verses, aren’t they?
Here we get the entire Rama story in just fourteen slokas. The glory of the clan and the family is brought out through the words “raghuvamsam” and “raghava”. No major character – Bharata, Kausalya, Vishvamitra, King Janaka, Agasthya, Parasurama, Mother Sita, Lakshmana, Sugriva, Shabari, Hanuman and Jambhavan – has been left out in these shlokas. (It is true that Guha is missing.) Among those who attained communion through confrontation are Tataka, Kakasura, Viradha, Khara, Dushana, Trishiras, Vali, Mareecha, Atikaya and Ravana – here too, no one is forgotten. Minor characters such as Ahalya, Jatayu, Surpanaka also find a place. Locales of narrative importance such as Chitrakuta, Dandakaranya, Panchavati, Pampa Saras, Lanka, Sethu, the great city of Ayodhya all appear appropriately.
What more does one need from a telling of the Ramayana? These fourteen shlokas narrate the entire story in chronological sequence without omitting any important happening. In the Sahasranama stotra, of which these shlokas are a part, the names that expound the glory of Rama appear frequently though not in any particular order. For e.g. anasuyaanandano trinetraananda (Shloka 109), Anjaneyakaraarchita (Shloka 158), Ikshvaakukulanandanah (Shloka 151) and Bharadvaajaprathisthavaan (Shloka 152). In the Vishnu Sahsranama too, Rama’s names appear in many places.
The fourteen shlokas retell the story of Rama beautifully without altering the sequence of events. We also get seventy-six divine names to be recited as naamaavali. These serve as a crystallised rendering of the Ramayana. These fourteen shlokas, which occur as a conversation between Sadhista and Narada, in the context of Sri Venkatesa Sahasranama within the Brahmanda Purana, can be termed Venkatesa Ramayana. These can become a part of our everyday chants, bestowing contentment.

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