Introduction to Uttara Khandham
Swami Desikan concluded Yuddaha Khandham with the powerful salutatons of SWAMIN! RAGHAVA SIMHA! JAYA! JAYA! He set the tone there for the beginning of the celebration of RAMA RAAJYAM. He used 18 namaskaraams to celebrate the Pattabhiraman sitting withHis Devi on the SimhAsanam with 18 steps in the DarbAr at AyodhyA during this Rama Raajyam.
When we enjoy the Vaibhavam of Sri RamachandrA in Uttara KhAndham,We are reminded of the third Paasuram of ThiruppAvai (Ongi UlagaLandha),where AndAL, the avathAram of Bhumi Devi just as Sita Devi sings about the land blessed with timely and copious rains, fertile fields yielding abundant harvests, ecological harmony and other “Neengaatha Selvam”. All of this are associated with the singing of the name of TrivikramA, whoreached out and measured the worlds with his ascending step. May we receiveAnna Vayal Pudhuvai AndAL’s blessings before we proceed with our salutation to Swami Desikan’s Uttara Khaandham of Sri Raghu Veera Gadhyam.
We are also reminded of the salutations of the other incarnation of Valmiki, who as Saint Thyagaraja participated in the Rama DharbAr at his Puja Graham at ThiruvaiyAru on the banks of SRI RANGANATHA’S CAUVERI and considered himself as a subject of Rama Rajyam in this Kali Yugam.
I will digress here to explain, why I term Cauveri as Sri RanganathA’s Cauveri. River Cauveri is equated to GangA in its sacredness. GangA rose from the holy feet of TrivikramA. That Daughter of SahyA mountain descends as Mother Cauveri and washes the Holy feet of Sri RanganathA before She Joins her father’s house in Tamil Naadu. All along her course, She adores the sacred feet of Sri Ranganatha at five different Divya Desams.
The first one is Adhi Rangan’s temple at Sri Ranga PattiNam in KarnAtakA.EVEN Tippu SultAn revered this Adhi Rangan.
The second Rangam is at ThirppEr Nagar near Lalgudi. Here Cauveri offers Her salutation to Madhya Rangan, who rests on his bed of Adhi Seshan as AppakkudatthAn. Next to his right hand is the vessel full of nectar-like Appam for us (Naaliyira Divya Prabhandham).
Third Rangam: As Cauveri continues her majestic flow, She forms an island todo Prathkshinam for the third Rangan, Sri KalyANa Rangan of Srirangam,who received 247 pasurams from eleven AzhwArs including the ten from AndAL herself. Saint Thyagaraja celebrated this KalyaNa Rangan worshipped by Sri Ramachandra at AyodhyA as Vaibhoga Rangan, Kaavedi Rangan in one of his Sriranga Pancha Ratnam krithis.Natha Muni, Yaamuna Muni, RamAnuja Muni and all the AcharyAs of his lineage lived here and offered their Kaimkaryams at this Bhuloka VaikunTam.
Fourth Rangam: Cauveri MaathA continues Her journey and washes the Lotus feet of Hema Rangan at Thirukkudanthai (AarAvamudhan). Here she blessed Thirumazhisai AzhwAr, a great devotee of Hema Rangan and KomaLavalliThAyAr.
The fifth and the final Rangan our mother Cauveri salutes is the ParimaLaRangan of IndaLoor, where he is resting in Veera Sayanam. This ParimaLaRangapathi receives with warmth the salutations of Cauveri and makes His Kshetram ideal for TulA snAnam. Cauveri reluctantly flows on(PiriyA vidai) and enters her father’s house (Samudhra Rajan’s) soon after.
Saint Thyagaraja sat in his small house on Thirumanjana Veedhi of ThiruvaiyAru and used Cauveri Theertham to perform Thirumanjanam for Sri RamachandrA and celebrated His Rama Rajyam. Living as a blessed citizen in the Rama Bhakthi SAmrajyam, he celebrated the blessings of living in that Rama Bhakthi SamrAjyam in Raga SuddhaBangalA. He celebrated the fellow Bhagavathas living in that Rama Bhakthi empire and declared: “The sight of those great souls, who have been blessed with Rama Bhakthi itself confers supreme BrahmAnandham. This bliss does not admit of any description in words ; it can only be realized by self-experience.”
Saint Thyagaraja summed up the glory of Rama Rajyam in his MukhAri song, “Kaaru Baaru SeyuvAru galarE ?”. He addressedSri Rama and stated: “O Rama! Has there been anybody,who has reigned over AyodhyA like You protecting the subjects, exercising supreme authority and securing the happiness and prosperity of townsmen, countrymen, and the Rishis alike ?During Your reign did not Your subjects have the benefit of three monthly rains (Madham MummAri Peythida of AndAL’s Third Thiruppavai Paasuram), training and education in all arts and crafts, longevity and freedom from intrigue and haughtiness ?”. The divine bard concludes his Mukhaari Krithi with the salutation, “Saadhu ThyagarAja Vinutha Rama! Kaaru Bhaaru SeyuvAAruGalare ?”.
The central message of Rama Raajyam, the theme of Uttara Khandham of Sage Vaalmiki is thus celebrated by AndAL (Bhumi Devi out of whose ear-valmeekam-purru, Sage Vaalmiki arose to sing Rama Keerthanams) and Saint ThyagaraajA, an incarnation of Sage Valmiki himself.
Sri SitA Ramachandra ParabrahmaNE Nama:
Oppiliappan Koil VaradAchAri Sadagopan
To be continued…