CommentariesPrabhandam & Slokas

Raghuveera Gadhyam – 32

GS 65: akhila jagadhadhika bhuja bala dasa lapana dasaka lavana janitha kadhana paravasa rajanichara yuvathi vilapana vachana samavishaya nigama sikhara nikara mukhara mukha muni vara paripaNitha! Jaya! jaya!


In this beautiful passage resonanat with sound effects and TaaLam synchronized with the heaving heart beats of lamenting MandOdhari, the principal queen of RavaNa, Swami Desikan’s poetic skills reaches once again a high water mark.

In the section, ” Bhuja Bala, vara Bala, dasa lapana, lapana dasaka, lavana janitha “, the playful as well as the skillful use of the same words (Bala, Lapana, dasa lapana, lavana dasaka) to denote a different context-based meanings, is an illustration of the skills of our immortal poet.

Swami Desikan starts this gadhyam section by describing RavaNA’s mighty shoulders known for their power to destroy his enemies: “akhila jagadhadhika bhuja bala”. Swami says that RavaNA (until he met RamA in battle) had the bhuja parAkramam that was superior to all the denizens of this earth and heaven. Bhuja balam is related to his “Vara Balam ” referred to in the next section. RavaNA had earned many boons from BrahmA and Maheswaran through the performance of severe penances. His bhuja balam came from this vara Balam.

Swami alludes next to the ten heads of RavaNA as dasa Lapana and rhymes it with “lapana dasaka lavana”, which means” as a result of cutting off of the ten heads.” First we see those diadem decked heads of DasagreevA on his neck and next we see them rolling on the floor of the battle field at the feet of Sri RamachandrA.

When MandOdhari saw this sad sight, she was overcome by grief and lost herself in an avalanche of sorrow. She lamented loudly in her inconsolable grief. This state of hers is described by Swami Desikan as ” Dasa lapana lapana dasaka lavana JANITHA KADHANA PARAVASA RAJANICHARA YUVATHI VILAPANA VACHANA”

The sufferings of MandOdhari arose from the (death) severance of the ten heads of her husband (Lapana dasaka lavana janitham). She was beyond herself (paravasam) due to that grief. She was RavaNA’s young wife (Rajanichara Yuvathi). Her words of Lamentation (Vilapana vachanaas) rang out in the battle field and melted the hearts of the onlookers. Those words however contained Vedanthic truths and were tributes to the PARATHVAM of Sri Rama in addition to serving as lamentations over her widowhood. Swami calls those lamentations mingled with vedanthic wisdom as “NIGAMA SIKHARA NIKARA SAMA VISHAYAM “. Their sAmyam (equivalence) to the Vedanthic truths describing the nature of Brahman (supreme being) is the purport of our Acharya’s words. The great sages always praise ParamAthma using words and thoughts with Vedic origin.

Swami Desikan concludes this salutation by stating that the victorious Rama was eulogised by great sages with stotrAs, which had Vedic connotations similar to the ones used by the wise and chaste MandOdhari, while she lamented over her personal misfortune. “NIGAMA SIKHARA NIKARA MUKARA MUKA MUNIVARA PARIPANITHA” are Swami’s words. Nigma sikhara Nikara stands for the assembly of Vedanthic truths. Mukara Nikara Muka munivara reminds us of the great sages euologising their Lord Rama with praises steeped in the Vedic
tradition. Paripanitha stands for the saluting by the Muni gaNaas.

The lamentation of Mandodhari is housed in the 111th canto of of the Yuddha khAndam of Srimadh RaamAyaNam.

Sri VaishNava Daasan,

Oppiliappan Koil VaradAchAri Sadagopan

To be continued…

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