Swami Desikan uses 7 salutations in his illustrious Raghu Veera Gadhyam to cover the highlights of this Khaandam spanning 119 chapters in length..
The first Salutation of Raghu Veera Gadhyam covers the events described by the first 49 of the 119 chapters of Ayodhya Khandam of Sage Valimiki .
Sri Ramachandra has now come home to Ayodhya with his bride. Happy emperor Dasaratha wants to install Sri Rama as prince regent and transfer the power of rulership to him.
A hunch-backed maid servant of Queen Kaikeyi(Manthara ) hears about the news of the crowning of Sri Rama and is enraged . She instigates her mistress Queen Kaikeyi to stop the installation of Rama as the crown prince . Queen Kaikeyi is fond of Rama and refuses first to interfere. Manthara labors on and succeeds in poisoning the mind of her mistress. She advises her mistress to ask for two boons that her husband had promised, but not executed. Manthara eggs on Kaikeyi to ask the emperor Dasaratha through one boon to banish Rama to the forest and with the other boon to install Bharatha, her own son, as the crown prince in place of Rama. Kaikeyi is persuaded and agrees to press the king for the two boons suggested by Manthara.
Now Kaikeyi enters the sulking chamber and waits for her husband rushing to share with her the happy news of the plans for Rama’s installation as crown prince. She asks her husband to grant her the two boons that he promised earlier for her support in a difficult battle. She explains then the nature of those two boons.
The emperor is devastated by the request of his queen. Kaikeyi invokes the presence of Gods as witnesses and presses the heart broken emperor for the twin boons of banishment of Rama to the forest for 14 years and the crowning of her son Bharatha as the prince regent in Rama’s place. The tormented emperor is shocked by the adamant queen’s wish for these cruel boons. He is caught in the horns of a dharma Sankatam. He can not go back on his word about granting two boons and yet he cannot envisage the granting of the specific boons requested by his queen.
He falls unconscious at the very thought of separation form, Sri Rama as a result of the boon requested by Kaikeyi. The heartless Kaikeyi sends for Rama and announces to him, that the boons that she just received from emperor Dasaratha, requires him to be banished to the forest for 14 years. Rama accepts the command of his mother Kaikeyi, and states that his father’s words will not, become false and that he will obey his father’s wish.
The emperor begs his son Rama to take him captive and ascend, the throne. Rama consoles his father and states that he has no, great desire to ascend the throne and that obeying his father’s, command is of the utmost importance to him. The first salutation of, Swami Desikan in the Ayodhya Khandam section of, Raghu Veera Gadhyam refers to that assertion by Rama that, he will not make his father’s word false by staying in Ayodhya, and becoming a crown prince. That salutation is as follows :
GS 21 : ANRUTA BHAYA MUSHITHA HRUDHAYA PITRU VACHANA PAALANA PRATHIGYAAVAGYAATHA YOUVA RAAJYA! JAYA! JAYA!
Hail to Thee, O Raghuveera, who abandoned the position of, crown prince of Ayodhya to fulfill the promise implicit in the boon, of your father, who was fear-stricken over the thought that his, word to Kaikeyi would become a lie!
Emperor Dasaratha had no choice. He had to grant his queen, the boons that she demanded. With a broken heart, he had to, order Rama’s banishment to the forest to prepare the way for, Bharatha’s crowning. He was being tormented by the thought that, his son might refuse to obey that command and make his words, untrue. He was afraid of being called a liar, who made false, promises to his queen. Rama however welcomed his father’s, command and immediately promised to honor the boon given, to Kaikeyi. As a result of that promise to his father, Rama, abandoned willingly his legitimate title to the throne of Ishvaakus.
GS 22 : NISHADA RAJA SOWHRUDHA SOOCHITA SOWSEELYA SAGARA! jAYA! jAYA!
Swami Desikan salutes the Sowseelyam of Sri Ramachandra here. Sowseelyam is the attribute of a great soul, who mixes with people, lower than him in status with ease. Here, Swami refers to the friendship, that Rama showed to the Guha, the unlettered king of hunters, residing on the frontier of the nation of Kosala.
Guha was a simple chieftain, who roamed in the forest, in search of animlas to hunt. Rama was the Lord of the Univrse, and Paramaathmaa. Inspite of it, Rama displayed his kalyana Gunam known as Sowseelyam and became the guest of the hunter, of a much lower status and exchanged oath of friendship. Swami, recalls this meeting between Guha and Rama on the banks of Ganges, and hails Rama as the ocean of Sowseelyam( Valmiki Ramayanam, Sargas 50 to 52).
Hail to Thee! O Raghuveera who through your expression, of friendship to the chieftain of the hunters revealed your, vast ocean-like sowseelya quality and easy accessibilty, by one and all!
(To be continued…)