Raghuveera Gadhyam – 17

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GS: 44 dhruta gatitha kailaasa koti vikata dundhubhi kankALa kuta dhoora vikshepa daksha dakshiNetara paadhAngushta dhara chalana viswastha suhrudhaasaya! Jaya! Jaya!

In this long salutation, Swami Desikan seems to suggest the long distance over which an object was sent flying with a miniscule exercise of the power of Sri Rama’s left toe.

(Meaning) : O Lord who with the slight movement of the toe of your left foot sent the massive assembly of the bones of the gigantic Asura by the name of Dhundhubhi flying over a vast distance and thereby lifted the hope of Sugriva and enhanced his faith in your prowess to destroy Vaali. Hail to Thee! Hail to Thee!

(Background) : During the conversations with Rama, the monkeyking SugreevA had some doubts about the prowess of Rama to match his brother Vaali”s strength in battle. SugriveeA narrated theincident of Vaali making short work of the ogre Dhundhubhi, who challenged him in battle. After killing the ogre, Vaali lifted and hurled the body of Dhundhubhi. That corpse fell inside the precincts of the hermitage of sage MatangA (Matanga Vanam) and polluted the sacred site with the blood and body remains.Some drops of blood fell on the body of the sage himself.

The angry sage cursed the perpetrator of that offense, Vaali, to losehis life, if he ever entered the precincts of his aasramam. Sugreevaa explained to Rama that Vaali stayed away from Sage Matanga’s hermitage because of that curse and that he (SugreevA) took refuge there to escape from the torments of his powerful brother.

On hearing that story and sensing Sugriveeaa’s doubt about his ability to handle VAli in battle, Rama playfully kicked the colossal heap of bones of Dhundhubhi with his left toe. That assembly of Bones flew a distance of eighty miles as a result of that kick. Sugrivaa had only wanted Rama to show his power and strength by kicking the bonesover a distance of 800 arms length. SugreevA was impressed and yet he had some lingering doubts. He addressed Rama and pointed out thatDhundhubhi’s massive body with flesh and blood was hurled over a great distance by an exhausted Vaali, when it was full of flesh and body weight. Sugreevaa was implying that the shrunken bones of the demon was no match to the weight of the corpse at the timeof Vaali’s hurling it away. Thus SugreevA was questioning whether Rama’s strength was a true match to that of his brother Vaali.

SugreevA then pointed out a set of seven gigantic Saal trees that Vaali used to shake to denude them of their leaves to demonstrate his strength.Sugreevaa asked Rama : “O prince of Ayodhyaa! How will you be able to kill my mighty brother in combat ?” LakshmaNaa got angry at the continuing doubt of Sugreevaa asked him as to what more Rama should do to convince him of Rama’s superior strength. SugreevA replied that Vaali used to pierce the seven Saal trees with a single arrow of his and that he will be convinced of Rama’s role as a killer of his brother, if Rama could pierce even one Saal tree with his arrow. The incident that followed the request of SugreevA is the subject of Swami Desikan’snext salutation to Raghuveeraa.

GS:45 athi pruthula bahu vitapi giri dharaNi yugapadhudhaya vivrutha chitrapunkha vaichitrya! Jaya! Jaya!

(Meaning) : O Hero whose fast-moving, powerful arrow with marvellous decorations that appeared at the same time in the seven Saal trees, mountains, earth and the nether world!Hail to Thee! Hail to Thee!

(Background) : When doubting SugreevA requested Rama to demonstrate once again his prowess, Rama obliged him by sending few arrows at the seven Saal trees. Those arrows moved like a band of lightning. They pierced the the seven Saal trees in a trice and continued on their way to neighboring mountains in their pathand broke the crests of those mountains, changed their direction and travelled through the nether world (PaathALam/seventh of the lower worlds) and then returned quickly to their home in the quiver of Rama. The awe-inspired and terror-stricken SugreevA could not believe his own eyes about what had transpired.He fell flat infront of the Raghuveeran of unquestionable veeram and declared that his grief over the illtreatment of Vaali and doubts about the adequacy of Rama’s power to protect him from the wrath of his brother were completely banished. In the words of Adi Kavi Valmiki, SugreevA said:

tamadhyaiva priyArtham mE vairiNam braathru rupiNam |
Vaalinam jahi Kaakuthstha mayA bhaddhoyam anjali : ||

(Meaning) : O the illustrious descendant of Kaakuthstha! Please make short work of my tormentor(enemy) in the formof my brother this day to make me happy (and to release me form myterror). My palms have been joined together in Anjali mudra(Prayer with folded palms) for that purpose.

Swami Desikan in one of his Sillarai Rahasyam named Anjali Vaibhavam describes the power of Anjali as “Praarthanaa poorvaka bharanyaasam of the Akinchanan” (the saraNaagathi done with the folded hands as a first step for the helpless to seek the Lord’s succor and protection). Swami Desikan goes on to describe Anjali mudrai as”Pala visesha vyanjaka mudrai”(the gesture that symbolizes special fruits to be obtained from the Lord). Swami quotes the slokam of VishNu DharmOtthamam which states unambiguously that the anjali made in front of the Lord quickly helps one to receive the Lord’s immediate attention and lets one become the object of his Dayaa :

ANJALI: PARAMAA MUDRAA KSHIPRAM DEVA PRASAADHINI

On a future occasion, I will dwell further on Anjali Vaibhavam of Swami Desikan.

Sri VaishNava Daasan

Oppiliappan Koil Varadachari Sadagopan

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