Raghuveera Gadhyam – 29

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RAAMAAYANA MAHATHMYAM

SRI RAAMAAYANAM ADHI KAAVYAM RISHINAA VALMIKINAA NIRMITHAM
VEDHAANTHA VISAARADHAI: ANUDINAM STHUTHYAM SURAIRARCHITHAM |
SROTHRUNAAM AGHA NAASANAM SURA TARO’S TULYAM THU MUKTHI PRADHAM
YEH SRUNVANTHI PATANTHY RAAMACHARITHAM TEH YAANTHI VISHNO: PADHAM ||

— Sri Rama KarNAmrutham 1. 106 ( Composer : Kanchi Kamakoti Peeta Matathipathi)

(MEANING): The ancient epic RamAyaNam was constructed by Sage Valmiki . This sacred epic is studied and saluted by the scholars well-versed in VedanthA . This epic is worshipped as sacred by the DevAs . It destroys the sins of listeners and is equivalent to the divine Kalpaka tree . The sacred text of Sage Valmiki confers Mukthi to those , who recite it and listen to it. Those who perform PaarAyaNam of Srimadh RaamAyaNam attain the privilege of reaching Parama Padham and are blessed to have the boon of Nitya Kaimkaryam to Paramapadha Naathan.

GS 59 kumbhakarNa kula giri vidhaLana dhambhOLi bhootha nissanka: kankapathra! Jaya! Jaya!

(Meaning): O Raghuveera with the arrow of unquestioned power to break apart the family mountain of RavaNA known as KumbhakarNA! Hail to Thee! Hail ot Thee!

(Background): After his humiliating encounter with Rama in the battle field, RavaNA retired to his palace. He thinks of his slumbering brother KumbhakarNa as the one, who can destroy Rama and his retinue. With great effort, RavaNA succeeds in waking his brother from his deep sleep and sends him to battle. The nine cantos of Yuddha Khaandham of Srimadh RAmAyanam (Cantos 60 to 68) cover the incidents realted to KumbhakarNA and his loss of life at the hands of Rama. Swami Desikan’s fifty ninth salutaton of Raghuveera Gadhyam covers the heroic deeds of Rama in dispatching KumbhakarNA to his permanent rest. Swami Desikan states that the unmatched power of Rama’s arrows broke into two the mighty and proud chest of KumbhakarNaand finally severed his royal head. The salutation here is to the heroism of Rama and the unassailable power of his arrows. They tore open the chest of the ogre like the Vajra weapon of Indra broke the mountains into two. Swami states that there was no doubt whatsoever on the capabilities of Rama’s arrows.

KumbhakarNA was the younger brother of RavaNA. Due to Brahma’s curse, he slept for six months at a stretch and was awake only for a day. Then he went right back to sleep for another six months. He was asleep at the time of RavaNA’s battle with Rama. The humilated and brooding RavaNA thought over all the curses of the gods and celestials that he had offended ealier such as Brahma, Vedavathi, Nandikeswara, Rambha and PunjikasthalA. Brahma’s boon to RavaNA gave him immunity from death from every class of beings except by “a human being”. Nandikeswara’s curse made sure that RavaNA’s kingdom will be destroyed by the monkeys. The curses of Vedava, Parvathi, Rambha and PunjikasthalA made RavaNA vulnerable to death from his offensive behavior to women. Reflecting over all of these incidents from his past, RavaNA came to the conclusion that his mighty younger brother would be the right agent to engage the army of monkeys and Rama in battle and save him.

RavaNA woke up his slumbering brother with great effort andwarned KumbhakarNa about the danger posed by Rama and urged him to destroy the princes of AyodhyA along with the simian army. The just and brave KumbhakarNA criticized RavaNA for his past misdeeds as a ruler and gives a piece of his mind:

“Spedily enough has the fruit of your sinful deed (the abduction of Sita) has come upon you, even as the damnation would viist a person of sinful deeds. Initially,of course, was this course of action (returning Sita and asking for Rama’s apology) not weighed by you. Nor was the consequence taken into account in the sheer pride of your prowess”. RavaNa did not like the beratings of his brother and yet needed his help. He said: “A kinsman is he, who is able to render help to those, who have deviated from the right course.” recognizing thea gitated state of his elder brother, KumbhakarNA calms him down and agrees to engage Rama and his retinue in battle. He entered the battlefield and terrorized the army of monkeys and its chieftains. Hanuman, AngadA, NilA fought valiantly with KumbhakarNA and could not stop him. LakshmaNA took on the ogre, who praised the valour of the younger brother of Rama and yet bypassed him seeking his battle with Rama. The intrepid Rama rushed towards KumbhakarNA with a quiver full of powerful arrows and listened to latter’s braggadocio. Rama’s arrow severed the mace-wielding arm of the boasting ogre. Now KumbhakarNa lifted a palmyra tree with his other hand and rushed towards Rama. Rama cut that arm too with a missile presided over by Indra. With two more crescent shaped arrows, Rama severed the legs of the rushing KumbhakarNA. With Yet another arrow shining with its effulgence in all directions, Rama severed the head of kumbhakarNA. Thus the mightyKumbhakarNA was reduced to a headless, limbless mass by Rama’s unquestionable arrows.

Saint Thyagaraja in his Saveri Krithi “Rama BhANa thrANa sowryamEmani telupathurA O manasA ” pays his tribute to the power ofthe arrows of Rama. He says: “O my mind! How can I describe the saving valour of Rama’s arrow, the arrow that killed the army of RavaNA, who desired Sita Devi. When LakshmaNA lay senseless on the battle field and RavaNA rejoiced and Indrajith exhorted and his hosts rose up to attack at that opportune moment, Rama aimed that arrow with the thundering noise of the bowstring, and saw his brother LakshmNA getting up woth his senses restored. “The Saint salutes the thundering noise (dankAra Dwani) of Rama’s Kodhandamthis way: “KodhandapujyAghoshamu lasanulu jesi”.

Swami Desiakn’s next salutation (GS 60) focuses on the episode of Indrajith and his fateful encounter with LakshmaNA witnessed bythe proud elder, Rama.

DakshiNE LkashmaNO dhanvee
vamathO Jaanaki SubhA |
purathO mAruthiryasya
tam namAmi Ragootthamam ||

Sri VaishaNava Daasan,

Oppiliappan Koil VaradAchAri Sadagopan

To be continued…

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