GS 24 : ANANYA SAASANEEYA! JAYA! JAYA!
(musings) : The subject matter covered in sargas 79 to 112 of AyodhyA KhAndam of Srimad Valmiki RamAyaNam is what Swami Desikan briefly mentions here.
The grief stricken Bharata reaches chitrakootam intent on bringing his elder brother to AyodhyA and crown him as the emperor. He is accompanied by his three mothers, Acharya VasishtA, Sage Jabaali, the members of his army and camp followers. Bharata leaves his entourage behind and walks with his mothers and Acharya to the ParNasAla (hut) made up of leafy twigs, where Sri Rama, Sita and LakshmaNa were living. Bharathafalls at the feet of his elder brother and begs him to return to AyodhyA and ascend the throne of Ikshvakus, now that Dasartha has ascended to heaven. Rama faints at the news of his father’s passing away and goes to MandAkini river bank and performs TarpaNam for his deceased father.
Bharatha implores Rama now fervently to oblige him by ascending the throne of Ikshvakus with the concurrence of his own mother Kaikeyi, who retracts the boon given to her by her late husband. Bharatha threatens to stay in the forest, if Rama does not return to AyodhyA. Rama silences his brother with cogent reasons as to why he could not disavow the pledge he made to his father to relinquish the throne in favor of Bharata. Now, Sage JabAli takes another approach and uses the thoery of Naastikaas to convince Rama that he should accept the throne. Rama dismisses the arguments of Sage JabAli as hollow and points out that his line of thinking was against Dhaarmic principles. Acharya VasishtA now pacifies the angry Rama and commands him to accept the throne as the eldest son of Emperor Dasaratha. Acharya Vasishta points out that the Guru is superior to one’s parents in rank and that Rama should obey him. Rama politely, but firmly points out that the parents are indeed superior to one’s own Acharya and insists that he could not break the pledge that he gave to his father.
Bharatha in desperation vows to fast unto death to pressure his resolute brother. Rama points out that it would be a repugnant stepfor a KshatriyA to committ suicide in this fashion. The hopeless Bharata now offers to stay in the forest as a proxy to Rama so that Rama can return to AyodhyA. The firm Rama dismisses that offer of Bharatha and points out that the question of proxy comes into the picture only when one is incapacitated and there is no reason for taking that route. Rama states that he will return to AyodhyA only after the 14 years of exile as per his promise to his father. The frustrated Bharatha now places a new PadhukA (sandals) at the feet of Rama and requests Rama to step on it. Rama accedes to Bharata’s request. Bharata swears in front of all the assembled that he will rule the kingdom as the representative of Rama Padhuka and will step into fire at the end of the 14 yers, if Rama does not return from exile to accept his kingdom. Rama pledges to return and take over the kingdom at the end of the period of exile.
This incident at Chitrakootam, where Rama refused to be commanded by any one including his mothers, Acharya Vasishta, Sage JAbAli and Bharatha is what Swami Desikan had in mind, when he salutes Rama as ” ANANYA SAASANEEYA! JAYA! JAYA! “.
THE STATE OF HELPLESSNESS OF BHARATHA IS VERY MUCH LIKE ALL THE RAMA BHAKTHAS, WHO CAN NOT BEAR TO BE SEPARATED FROM SRI RAMACHANDRA. The great Rama Bhaktha, the guru of Chatrapathi Sivaji, Samartha Raamdaas (AD 1608-1680) described his feelings over separation from Rama this way in his work known as Daasabodh :
“I WANT NOT WEALTH, NOR WIFE OR REBIRTHS I WANT NOT IN ME THE PRIDE OF KNOWLEDGE. BY THE PATH OF WORSHIP (BHAKTI) LEAD ME TO A LIFE OF GOODNESS. I HAVE NO SKILL OF MIND, NO POWER OF THOUGHT, NO WISDOM OR STREGTH OF REASON. I AM THY IGNORANT BAHKTHA, GIVE ME AN UNDERSTANDING HEART, O RAM, I KNOW NOT HOW TO TALK OR ACT. I DO NOT UNDERRSTAND MY DUTIES. I AM GREATLY TROUBLED BY MY RELATIONS WITH MEN.GIVE ME AN UNDERSTANDING HEART, O RAM. AS I LISTEN TO THE EXPLANATION OF THE SCRIPTURES, A GOOD THOUGHT ENTERS MY MIND; BUT IT SOON PASSES AWAY AS THE TIME OF GIVING UP THE FRUIT ARRIVES. BUT WHAT SHALL I DO, O RAM, I AM UNABLE TO DO WHAT I OUGHT. O RAM! I CAN NOT ENDURE LIFE WITHOUT THEE.”
Saint Thyagaraja, another in the front line of great Rama Bahkthas plaintively pleads to Sri Rama in his PurnachandrikA krithi, “Sri Rama Rama Jagadhaatma Rama, Sri Rama Raghurama” that Sri Rama, the soul of the Universe should not go away from him. He says “TVAAM VINA NAANYATRA JAANEH RAMA, TVAAM VINAA KO GATHI ?”. I KNOW NOTHING BEYOND YOU. WITHOUT YOU WHAT REFUGE IS THERE ? Elsewhere, the Saint points out to Sri Rama in his Naayaki krithi ” Nee Bhajana gaana ” that he has in vain explored fully the Saguna margam, the NirguNa margam, the truth and falsehood, the six schools and the eight siddhis. He has not found the answers that he was looking for. He concludes by stating that there is naught but You as the redeemer. Such is the greatness of Rama Bhakthas, who cannot bear even for a moment to part company with Sri Ramachandra like the blessed brother Bharatha.
GS 25: PRANATHA BHARATA MAKUTATATA SUGATITHA PAADHUKAAGRYAABHISHEKA NIRVARTHITHA SARVA LOKA YOGA KSHEMA!JAYA! JAYA!
(meaning): O Lord who looked after the Yoga Kshemam of the entire world by placing your Padhukas snugly on the head of your brother Bharata, who ruled as a representative of those sacred Padhukas after performing the coronation ceremony (Padhuka pattAbhishekam) for them. Hail to Thee! Hail to Thee!
(Musings on GS 25): The sorrowing Bharata journeyed to Chitrakutam with his mothers and Acharyas. He begged his brother to accept the kingdom and return to Ayodhya to be coronated as the king of Kosala desam. Rama refused to accede to the request of his dearbrother since he could not break the pledge that he gave to his father.The heart-broken Bharata fell at Rama’s feet and the compassionate Rama placed his padhukAs on his brother’s head. Bharata carried those PadhukAs on his head back to Nandigramam and performed the coronation ceremony for them and ruled the land as the representative as those PadhukAs until Rama returned from his exile after fulfilling his avathara mission. Swami Desikan states that Rama took care of the welfare and protection (Yoga Kshemam) of the world through his gracious act of blessing Bharata with his sacred padhukAs.
The source of sanctity for all holy things is hteir contact with the Lord. The Padhukas that bear the weight of the Lord and accompany Him in his journeys are the most sacred due to their Bahgavad Sambhandam. Swami Desikan composed more than 1000 verses to celebrate the holiness of the Padhukas worshipped by Bharata. In the very first slokam of PadhukA Sahasram,Swami focuses on their unique ability to protect the worlds:
SANTHA: SRIRANGA PRUTHVEESA CHARANA THRAANA SEKARAA: |
JAYANTHI BHUVANA THRAANA PADHA PANKAJA RENAVA: ||
(MEANING): The blessed ones wearing joyously the Lord’s PadhukAs on their head protect the universe through the power of those sacred PadhukAs. Even the dust particle from the feet of those blessed soulshas the power to protect the people of the universe. Bharata was the first blessed soul to reveal the power of those Padhukas of the Lord. Swami Desikan refers to Bharata’s role in the second verse of the PadhukaSahasram:
BHARAHTAAYA PARAM NAMOASTHU TASMAI
PRATHAMODHAAHARANAAYA BHAKTHI BHAAJAAM |
PRATHITHO RAGHAVA PADHUKAA PRABHAAVA: ||
(MEANING ): The illustrious one, who first wore Sri Ramachandra’s PadhukAs on his head was his brother Bharata. He conducted the affairs of the state as the representative of those holy PadhukAs during his brother’s exile. This verse salutes Bharatha as the blessed soul, who illustrated the significance, power and the holiness of the Lord’s sandals through his worship of them.The PadhukA prabhavam (the gloryof the Sandals of the Lord) was established first (PrathamodhaaharaNam) by Bharatha.
The concept of those Padhukaas enquiring about the Yoga Kshemam of the people of the universe brings one’s thoughts to the Sahasra Namam pala sruthi verse:
ANAYAA: CHINTAYANTHO MAAM YEH JANAA: PARYUPAASATEH |
TESHAAM NITYAABHIYUKTHANAAM YOGA KSHEMAM VAHAAMYAHAM ||
(meaning ): Bhagavan Sri Krishna says: “With reference to those who find it impossible to live (like Bharatha ) without thinking of Me, I undertake the responsibility of bringing about their union with Me and keeping that union for ever.”
Sri Ramachandra Para Brahmaneh Nama:
Oppiliappan Koil Varadachari Sadagopan
(To be continued…)