visAla nethram paripurNa gAthram
SitA kaLathram suravairi jaithram |
kAruNya pAthram jagadha: pavithram
Sri Rama Ratnam praNathOsmi nityam ||
GS: 48 ahita sahodara raksha: parigraha visamvAdhi vividha sachiva visrambhaNa samaya samrambha samujjrimbhitha Sarveswara bhaava! Jaya! Jaya!
O Lord, who revealed your svarupam as the Lord of all Gods during the occasion when you countered the different arguments of the ministers of Sugreevaa and energetically motivated them to drop their objections to accept VibhishaNA as a SaraNAgatha at Your lotus feet! Hail to Thee! Hail to Thee!
(Background): Sri RAmaa had learned about the place of incarceration of Sita through HanumAn and thereafter arrived at the Adhi Jagannatha Kshethram on the sea side with the army of monkeys and bears to launch his invasion of Lankhaa. At that time, the younger brother of RaavaNA (known by the name of VibhishaNa) arrived at that site to seek the refuge of RAmaa after failing in his efforts to persuade his brother RaavaNaa to return Sitaa DEvi to her husband and to seek latter’s apology.
VibhishaNA cried out from his position in the sky and described his plight to SugreevA this way:
“There is an ogre of evil conduct by the name of RavaNA, who is the Lord of ogres. I am his younger brother known by the name of VibhishaNA. My brother kidnapped Sita from Jansthaanam, killed Jatayu and has incarcerated the helpless Sita. I have vehemently opposed his despicable deed and asked him to restore Sita to Rama with apologies. My brother would not listen to me and has discarded my good advise. I have abandoned my sons and wife and have left his court and flown over here to seek refuge at the feet of Rama. Hence, Please let Raghu RAmA, who has the prowess to protect any one in all the three worlds, know quickly that I am here seeking his refuge. VibishaNA’s exact words are:
tyakthvaa putraamsccha dhaaraamsccha Raaghavam saraNam gatha:||
nivedhayatha maam kshipram raaghavaaya mahaathmanE |
sarvaloka saraNyaaya vibhishaNam upasthitham ||
Hearing these words of appeal from VibhishaNa, SugreevA was alarmed. He thought that the brother of RavaNaa might kill all of them including Rama and LakshmaNaa just as an owl would destroy crows. He advised Rama to turn VibhishaNaa away on the basis of his reasoning that VibhishaNaa was a Rakshasaa by birth and a brother of an enemy to boot. The other members of Sugreevaa’s retinue with the exception of Hanumaan doubted VibhishaNaa’s sincerity in seeking Raamaa’s refuge. Some of them felt that he intended harm and therefore should be killed immediately.The ministers of Sugreeva such as Sarabhaa, JaambhavAn, Maindhaa suggested intensive interrogation of VibhishaNaa before taking a decision to accept his plea for protection. They were really not in favor of listening to VibhishaNaa’s soulful cry for help.
Hanuman was the last of the ministers to speak. Valmiki describes Hanuman at this point as the foremost of counsellorsand also as “Samskaara Sampanna:” (One who is learned from his study of scriptures and Dharma Saastrams). Hanumaan pointed out brilliantly the falacies in the arguments of his fellow counsellors and took the position that Vibhishana should be accepted as a SaraNaagatha. Hanumaan ended his analysis by stating that Rama is the best judge to decide on the next step and act on whatever that needed to be done.
Rama was very pleased with the counsel of Hanumaan since he felt the same way about VibhishaNaa and his plight. Rama was very much moved by the counsel of monkeys,who had his welfare very much on their minds. He thanked them and then revealed his Sarveswarathvam by stating that he can not refuse to receive under ANY circumstances one, who has sought his protection and approached him in a friendly manner.
“mitra bhaavEna sampraaptham na thyajEyam kathamchana |
DhOshO yadhyapi tasya syaath sathaamethadhagarhitham ||”
(Meaning):I cannot abandon him, who has sought my protection.Even if there is any concealed wickedness on the part of the one, who sought my refuge, he has to be accepted and that acceptance will not be considered as a reprehensible act by good people.
Swami Desikan salutes here the prowess of Sri Rama as the unfailing SaraNaagatha Rakshaka and his poweras the supreme Lord of all Gods to fulfill his pledge to provide the protection to all, who sincerely wished for his protection.
Raghukula Vara Rathnam Paathu maam Rama Rathnam.
Sri VaishNava Daasan,
Oppiliappan Koil VaradAchAri Sadagopan
To be continued…