Dear Rama Bhakthaas:
With Padhukaa Dhaanam to Bharathaa, Ayodhyaa khaandam was concluded. Rama at this time was haunted by the memory of the visit by his brother and his mothers. Hence, he wanted to leave Chitrakutam. He paid a brief visit to the hermitage of Sage Atri and his dear wife Anusuyaa. After enjoying their hospitality and staying one night there, Rama, Sita and Lakshmana moved on and entered the Dandakaa forest. The events that happened there are the subject of Aaranya Khaandam. Swami Desikan sumamrizesthose happenings in 14 brilliant salutations.
GS 28: dhandakaa tapovana jangama paarijaatha! Jaya! Jaya!
Here Swami Desikan salutes Sri Ramachandra as the abundant boon -giving, celestial paarijaathaa tree that moved around the Dandakaa forest which was ideal for performing penance.
Sri Rama entered the Dandakaa forest. The sages performing severe penance there advised Sri Rama about the atrocities committed bythe Rakshasaas that interfered with their Tapas. Sri Rama came to their rescue and moved from hither to thither in the forest and protected them from the harm’s way. These good deeds done by Rama are described as the equivalent of the boons conferred by the celestial Parijaathaa tree in Indra’s garden.
O Lord who was like a tiger to the deer of Viraadha! Hail to Thee! Hail to Thee!
There was a Gandharvaa by the name of Thumbhuru, who committed Apachaaram to Kubheraa and was cursed in turn by latter to become a Rakshasa. Viradhaa was causing a lot of mischief in Dandaka forest and was making the lives of sages unbearable.
Viradhaa saw Sita with Rama and lifted Sita and began to run deep in to the forest. The brothers followed and engaged Virradhaa in a fierce battle. He could not however be killed with weapons due to a boon that he had obtained earlier. Rama then asked LakshamaNaa to dig a big pit and bury him there alive. As he was about to die, Viradhaa saluted Rama for helping him to get rid of Kubera’s curse and restoring him his former body. He also advised Rama that the hermitage of a great Rishi by the name of Sarabhangaa was near by and that Rama should go there. Sarabhanga was waiting for seeing Rama before ascending to Brahma lokam. Rama was greeted by the sage and obtained Moksham thereafter. The valour of Rama in Dandaka Vanam is displayed first in the battle with Viradhaa.
GS 30: viluLitha bahupala maka kalama rajanichara mruga mrugayaarambha sambrutha cheerabrudhanurodha! Jaya! Jaya!
The Raghu Veeran’s many battles with the Rakshasaas of the fearful Dandakaa Vanam are equated here to the hunting down of beasts that destroy the crops. Penance of the sagesare compared to the crops here and the hunter is the Lord himself.Sri Rama’s welcome help to the sages wearing the processed bark of trees as their dress ( Cheera Bruth ). Sri Rama’s blesssed and heroic deeds are saluted here.
GS 31: Trisira siras trithaya timira niraasa vaasara kara! Jaya! Jaya!
O Lord who resembled a sun in banishing the deep darkness caused by the three heads of the Rakshasa by the name of Trisiras.
After Viraadha vadham, Rama moves with his brother and wife to the interior of the deep forest. They visit the hermitages of many sages including that of Agasthyaa. Later advises Rama to stay at Panchavati.
During this journey Sita requests Rama not to kill innocent animals of the forest and to observe Ahimsaa. Rama commends his wife for the counsel and vows to kill only the ogres. They arrive at Panchavati and LakshmaNaa builds a cottage for Rama and Sita there.
SurpaNakaa arrives at the hermitage and invites Rama to marry her and she insults Sita. LakshmaNa could not bare that insult and lops the nose and ears of SurpaNakaa for that offense. She runs in great pain and humiliation and approached her notorious brother by the name of Kharaa, who lived in Janasthaanam surrounded by an army of ogres.Kharaa sends first fourteen ogres with his sister to kill Rama and they are all swiftly dispatched to Yama lokam by Rama. Surpanaka rushes back to her brother and now Kharaa himself comes for a battle to Panchavati with DhusaNaa and an army of fourteen thousand ogres. Rama kills off the fourteen thousand night-stalkers first. Dhushanaa is killed next. Trisiras, one of the major commanders of Kharaa is killed next. Swami Desikan salutes the valour of Rama here in killing the fearsome Trisiras, who caused so much havocto the sages of Dandaka Vanam.
The next three salutations are to the Raghuveeran, who killed Kharaa and his retinue of fourteen thousand soldiers.
Sri Ramachandra Para BrahmaNeh Nama:
Oppiliappan Koil Varadachari Sadagopan
After the break…