The Mahavira Vaibhavam or Raghuvira Gadyam summaraizes succinctly the Adi Kavyam of Sage Valmiki revered as Srimad Ramayanam. In 94 Gadya (prose ) passages, Sri Vedantha Desikan addresses Sri Ramachandra and salutes His Anantha Kalyana Gunas. If Gopalavimsathi is the home of mellifluous songs in verse form on Lord Krishna, Raguvira Gadhyam is the treasure trove of the “songs” on Sri Rama in prose form. We meet passages from Raghuvira Gadhyam in the eighth act of Swami Desikan’s allegorical play known as Sankalpa Suryodhaya housing the cardinal tenets of Sri Vaishnavism.
The slautations of the Vaibhavam(Glory) of the greatest of the scion of Raghu begins with an evocative verse :
JAYATHYAASRITHA SANTHRAASA DHWAANTHA VIDHVAMSANODHAYA: |
PRABHAAVAAN SEETHAYAA DEVYAA PARAMVYOMA BHASKARA: ||
Our Lord, who is the Sun of the Parmaakasam ( Sri Vaikuntam),shines with supreme effulgence. He took the incarnation,as the son of the Emperor Dasaratha to destroy the darkness,( fear) of those, who sought refuge at His feet. He is,inseparable from Sita Devi, just as the disc of Sun is inseparable,from its lustre. Sri Ramachandra of these attributes towers,over every one through his anantha kalyana gunas (limitless, auspicious attributes).
Gadhya Paasage(GP) 1: MAHAVEERA !
This Gadhyam derives its name of Maha Veera Vaibhavam from this FIRST salutation. Swami endearingly addresses Sri Rama, the destroyer of Ravana as the valorous one, who has no match regarding His heroic deeds in the battle field.
GP 2 : MAHA DHEERA DHOWREYA ! JAYA JAYA !
Hail to thee ! Hail to thee, who is in the front row of all known for their courage ! In the last salutation, Sri Rama was hailed as a supreme hero. Here his courage and steadfastness in the battle field is saluted. One who overcomes setbacks and fights on in the face of adversities is said to have the quality of Dhairyam, the key attribute of a Dheera. Rama is recognized as the supreme Dheera(Maha Deera ) here.
GP 3 : DEVAASURA SAMARA SAMAYA SAMUDHITHA NIKILA
NIRJARA NIRDHAARITA NIRAVADHIKA MAHAATHMYA !
O Lord, who was accepted and praised by all the Devas as,the one of unsurpassed valour as a result of your help to the,suffering Devas in the time of their battle with the Asuraas ! Hail to Thee!, Hail to Thee !
( Many aeons ago, there was a mighty battle between the Devas and,the Asuras. The Devas were routed and prayed for the Lord’s help, in their hour of distress. He responded to their call with alacrity, and defeated the Asuras soundly. The elated Devas hailed Him, as the Devathidevan and eulogised Him as the one with matchless glory ).
GP 4 : DASAVADHANA DHAMITA DAIVATHA PARISHADHABHYARTHITHA
DAASARATHI BHAAVA !
O Mighty hero, who took the incarnation as the celebrated son of,emperor Dasaratha at the pleading of the assembly of Devas,tormented by the ten-headed Ravana ! Hail to thee! Hail to Thee!,
( Sarga 15 and 16 of Bala Khaandam is summarized here.,Sage Rysyasringa performs an Atharva Veda Ishti (sacrifice) to bless,Emperor Dasaratha with male progeny. The Devas approach,Brahma at that very sacrifice and pray to him to destroy the evil,Ravana. Brahma inturn pleads with Vishnu present at the same,sacrifice to take the incarnation of the son of Emperor Dasaratha,with the mission of destroying Ravana. Lord Vishnu agrees to,become the son of the Emperor and appears as Prajapati from,the sacrificial pit and hands over to the Emperor a vessel containing,Payasam and commands the Emperor to distribute the contents, of the vessel to his wives to beget progeny. Dasaratha gave half of, the Payasam to his eldest wife, Kausalya. She was blessed then, to become the mother of Sri Ramachandra ; the other two wives, partook the other portions of the payasam and were blessed, with Lakshmana, Bharata and Satruguna. The content of 66 slokas, of these two sargas are summarized in six words here ).
GP 5. DINAKARA KULA KAMALA DIWAKARA!
Hail to thee, who is the Sun for the lotus of Surya Vamsam!
The Sun makes all the lotuses of the world blossom, as it rises on the eastern horizon. Sri Rama was born in the solar race(Surya Vamsam). That Vamsam is proud to have had Sri Rama as its illustrious scion and shines with beauty just like a blossoming lotus in the morning at the sight of the rising Sun(birth of the Lord).
Swami Desikan equates here the Surya Vamsam to that of a joyous lotus blossoming over the warm thought of having Sri Rama as one of its most famous descendant. Sri Rama is recognized as the Divine Sun that makes the lotus of Surya Kulam blossom.
Saint Thyagaraja revered as the incarnation of Adi Kavi Valmiki chose Suryakantam as a Ragam to set his Krithi “Muddu Momu”, where he has a reference to the lustre of Sri Ramachandra’s face. He says respectfully: “The Lord’s face shone forth with the Tejas of the Sun and was yet, as it always was, captivating like the moon in its Kanthi, a rare combination indeed”. He continues on and points out that the all-comprehensive beauty of Sri Rama confounds the devotees, since they are not able to concentrate on any aspect of the Lord’s beauty by the fact that every aspect is equally fascinating.
Saint Thyagaraja and other Rama Bhakthas following the .tradition of Swami Desikan has saluted the Surya Vamsam in their salutations. Two additional examples that come to one’s mind from Saint Thyagaraja’s euology of Sri Rama as the scion of Surya Vamsam are :
DINAMANI VAMSA TILAKA LAAVANYA ! DHEENA SARANYA!
(Raga Hari Kambhoji ) and
KAMALAABHDHA KULA KALASAABHDHI CHANDRA
(Raga Brindavana Saarangaa) .
In the last krithi , the poetic fancy of the Saint goes one step further . He says : O Lord, who is the scion of the race of SUN, who is the friend of Lotus ! You (in your captivating nature ) is the moon to the milky ocean, which rises with joy at the sight of your moon-like countenance.
One hears the echo of Saint Thyagaraja’s above slautation in Sri Dikshithar’s Manirangu krithi, Maamava Pattabhi Rama in the Charana Vakhyam:
PANKAJA MITRA VAMSA SUDHAAMBHUDHI CHANDRA
MEDHINI PAALA RAMACHANDRA “.
Here , Sri Dikshithar salutes Sri Pattabhi Rama as the scion of the race that is the friend of the lotus ; he equates that captivating ruler of the world , Rama to the moon that lifts up the milky ocean .
The central tribute in all these salutations is to Sri Rama’s birth in the Surya Vamsam as its crest jewel (Siroratnam or Tilakam ).
GP 6 . DIVISHADHIPATHI RANA SAHACHARANA CHATURA DASARATHA CHARAMA RUNA VIMOCHANA!
Hail to thee O Lord , who through your birth liquidated the third debt of your father Dasaratha , who was famous for his help to Indra in his battles with Asuraas !
Here the reference is to the name of our Lord’s father , Dasaratha. His valour in driving his chariot in all the ten directions to chase the enemies of Indra and to come to the rescue of Indra earned him the name Dasaratha (Dasasu Dikshu Aprathihata Ratha: ).
Like all mortals , he had the three debts to discharge. Emperor Dasaratha liquidated two of the three debts (viz) , debt to Munis through Veda Adhyayanam and debt to the Devas through performance of Yajnaas. One debt however stood out without being liquidated (viz), debt to the Pitrus. When our Lord incarnated as the son of Dasaratha , the last debt was destroyed . Hence, our Lord Ramachandra is saluted here as
“Dasaratha Charama Runa Vimochana” .
(To Be continued)…