Episode 261 – Vibhishana leaves Ravana forever!!!

rama-sita

In the previous episode we had witnessed a very important event that takes place at Ravana’s courtroom after Hanuman has burnt the city of Lanka into ashes! All the raakshasaas are terrified with Hanuman’s single-handed destruction! As Ravana convenes the court, each of his ministers voice out their opinions. Out of all of them, it is only Kumbakarna and Vibhishana who try and advise Ravana in the correct path. Kumbakarna tries to a certain extent, however, after a particular level he is unable to convince his brother and thus he gives up!

Now Vibhishana puts his best foot forward in advising Ravana to give Sita back to Rama. But now, Ravana is in a state of immense fury. Without analysing the words of Vibhishana, Ravana kicks him and insults him for his words! Wounded extremely by Ravana’s action, Vibhishana finally gives up and decides that he should not stay in Lanka any more! It is time for him to move on.

“Shurivishtam hidham vaakyam ukthavantham vibhishanam!

Abhraveeth parusham vaakyam raavanah kaala chodithaha!!”

Thus from the above sloka, Vaalmiki Maharishi clearly explains that Ravana is now not in a position to listen to Vibhishana’s good advice. Unable to bear up with Vibhishana any longer, Ravana kicks him and sends him on exile from Lanka!

Now Vibhishana makes up his mind and thinks, “Okay! Whatever happened has happened! So far I have been living in a place where I should not have been living! Now let me move on! From today, my place is where Lord Rama is! From this minute I shall live only with Rama! All these people are no more my friends or relatives. Rama is my only relative, friend, philosopher and guide!”

Thus, Vibhishana takes a vow and starts from Lanka. Before he commences his journey he turns for once in Ravana’s courtroom and asks, “Oh people who have assembled here! Is there anybody who is interested to accompany and support me?” Out of so many people sitting there, only four of them agreed to accompany Vibhishana out of Ravana’s Lanka!

Hence with these four people, Vibhishana leaves Lanka! He leaves Ravana once and for all! He knows that Ravana’s destruction is coming closer by the minute! He wanted to support his brother and pull him out of the destruction that was coming towards him! But unfortunately, as fate would have it, Ravana has abandoned him!

Hence, Vibhishana starts his journey from Lanka now.

“Aajagaama muhurthena yathra raamah sa lakshmanaha!!”

Thus, Vibhishana commences his journey from Lanka, crosses the ocean and reaches the place where Rama, Lakshmana and all the Vaanaras are sitting (on the other shore of the ocean). As Vibhishana nears the place where Rama is sitting, he doesn’t wait for someone to be sent as a messenger to announce the arrival of Vibhishana. Instead, Vibhishana himself directly goes to see Rama.

Why is Vibhishana doing this? What if Rama doesn’t accept Vibhishana? Here comes an important lesson of “Sharanaagathi Dharma” (The righteous path of complete surrender towards God): The first and foremost important requirement before following the “Sharanaagathi Dharma” is to have trust and faith on the Lord. Only if we have the unending and unshakable faith on Bhagawan, will we be able to surrender completely to his divine feet! This is exactly what Vibhishana is going to do to Rama now.

Now we are at a stage where Vibhishana is nearing Lord Rama’s place. From now, we are going to witness extremely important points regarding “Sharanaagathi Dharma” and how Vibhishana is considered an epitome of this important “Dharma”! The action continues in detail in the next episode! 🙂

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Episode 260 – Ravana “kicks” Vibhishana away!!!

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In the previous episode we had witnessed the important geographical significance of the “Ram-Sethu” Bridge that we see at the present day Rameshwaram in the Indian state of Tamil Nadu. We witnessed the description of an important place called “Velaavanam” that extends from the present day town of “Tiruchendur” till Rameshwaram in Tamil Nadu. In due course we also witnessed Rama’s route from Kishkinta to Rameshwaram and the important places through which the Vanara army traverses.

When we talk about this “Velaavanam” in a deeper detail, if you look at today’s India map, we would never be able to find such a place! There are different books for this – In these books we can see the names of places from ancient India, the different rivers that were flowing through the country, locations of different forest areas, names of different kingdoms that were forming parts of India in those days – like “Paataliputhra” (Modern day state of Uttar Pradesh in north India), “Kalinga Desam” (Modern day state of Orissa in east-central India), etc. Thus with proper research into the context, we can find a rich history of the Indian subcontinent along with its geographical significance, locations of different rivers, how they have changed their course over a period of 1-2 million years, etc. One such notation in one of these books talks about this particular place called “Velaavanam”. If we look deeper into the text as to where is this “Velaavanam” located, we can trace this place between Tiruchendur and Rameshwaram in the modern day India map.

“Sarvaassenaa niveshyanthaam velaayaam haripungava!

Velaavanam upaagamya tathasthe hari pungavaaha!

Na me dukham priyaa dhoore na me duhkham hridethi cha!!”

Thus moving on, all the monkeys are sitting at Velaavanam now, but all of them are clueless as to how to proceed from here on! As time moves on, Lord Rama starts protecting the entire Vaanara camp with his divine power!

Now let us leave the Vaanara camp here at this point and look into what happened at Ravana’s courtroom in the meanwhile. After Hanuman burns Lanka and comes back, Ravana and his people are terrified! What was being conceived as an ordinary monkey, ended up burning the entire city into ashes within minutes! Now Ravana has shivers running down his spine and he calls for a meeting of all his ministers in his courtroom to strategise the counter-action from here on!

As all the ministers gather at Ravana’s court, each of the ministers start to voice out their concerns and opinions as to how to tackle this emergency situation. Some of the ministers who blindly support Ravana’s cause give their assurance thus, “Oh Ravana! Why should you worry? All of us are with you to tackle any catastrophic situation! What had happened is just nothing and please be brave and courageous!”

It is an irony even in the present day that only such sugar-coated words would be accepted by leaders who are in a problem! Ravana is no exception here – These words from his blindly following ministers motivated Ravana to stand by his wicked decision of having Sita in Lanka still.

However, if someone talks the truth and criticises the leader of his/her path, the leader immediately gets angry! We can see innumerable stories of “Leadership failure” because of this factor! Ravana again is a perfect example of this – As Vibhishana gets up and talks something that Ravana cannot stand, Ravana becomes furious. Now what was Vibhishana’s point? Vibhishana, being a scholarly and a spiritually learned person, advices Ravana one more time that having Sita in Lanka is the root cause of all the problems that had surfaced so far!

Vibhishana says thus, “Oh my dear brother Ravana! Please realize that Sita is the root cause for all the problems in Lanka of late. Therefore I request you to hand over Sita back to Rama safely! You don’t know what is the power of Rama! There is literally nobody in this world who can defeat Rama in a war. Please realize this and please do not destroy the entire Lanka just because of your small and a silly desire!”

As Vibhishana advises Ravana, what does Ravana do? How does he react?

“Dooshayathyaathmano deham tathaa naaryeshu souhrutham!

Ithyukthah parusham vaakyam raavano raavanaanujaha!!

Surivishtam idham vaakyam uddhavantham vibhishanam!!”

Whatever good and kind words Vibhishana used to advise Ravana did not enter into his head! Instead, these words only provoked his anger! As Vibhishana keeps talking further, it is now time for Ravana to fume! He has had enough! Ravana now replies Vibhishana in anger, “Oh Vibhishana! Till now I never knew that I had an enemy, not outside Lanka – But within Lanka itself – within my own courtroom! I was under the impression that you would support me in my mission to destroy Rama and his brother – But it seems that you are a supporter of Rama! I do not have place in my Lanka for those who support Rama! Hence, from this minute, you are unfit to be in Lanka and most importantly in my courtroom! Hence, get out immediately! You have betrayed me and the entire country of Lanka!”

Saying thus, Ravana is fuming in anger! Even then, Vibhishana has the patience to console his brother and calm him down. He comes near Ravana and seeks refuge at his feet, pledging complete support to his brother. However, Ravana is no longer in mood to listen to Vibhishana! With all his anger he kicks Vibhishana with his feet, in front of all the ministers in the courtroom! Ravana adds on: “From now, you are no more my brother! I’m ordering your exile from Lanka permanently and hence do not dare yourself to come in front of this Ravana again!”

With this kind of a treatment metted out to him, Vibhishana is in tears! He is completely shattered and frustrated! What does poor Vibhishana do next? Where does he go to? What happens next? The action continues in the next episode!

Episode 259 – The famous “Ram-Sethu” Bridge – Important geographical facts!!!

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Today we are to discuss a very important event in the entire Ramayana story, wherein the Vaanara army is contemplating their further advancement towards Lanka city. Till now we have witnessed that the huge army under the leadership of Rama and Sugriva have started their journey from Kishkinta, travelled westwards to some distance and then turn towards the southern direction, parallel to the present day Arabian Sea coast and to the Western Ghats. They cross different mountain ranges all along their way such as “Sahyaadri”, “Kodagu”, Thiruvidaangur” and through “Mahendragiri” Mountain ranges to reach “Kolachal” near Kanniyakumari – the southern tip of India. Now Rama and Sugriva contemplate the route further, and they now take a turn towards the eastern direction, cross over the “Mahendragiri” mountain ranges to reach the eastern coast of the present day “Bay of Bengal”.

Now the discussion on the bridge construction commences:

As they are at almost the tip of the western coast, (from the description given in the Vaalmiki Ramayana, this place should come close to the present day town of “Kolachal”, which is south of the present day capital city of Kerala – Trivandrum), Lord Rama asks Sugriva to check if this would be a good place from where a bridge can be constructed to cross over to Lanka. However, given the loose soil conditions and other factors, it is not feasible to build a bridge from this particular location. It is for this reason that the Vaanara army turns towards the eastern side.

We would be having a doubt in our mind as to why did the army turn towards the east, given that so far they had been advancing only along the western coast. It is only because of the non-feasibility to construct the bridge from Kolachal, they had to turn towards the eastern side, cross over the Mountain range of “Mahendragiri” of the Western Ghats, to reach the eastern coast.

As the army moves towards the eastern coast along the Bay of Bengal, they come very close to the present day town of “Tutucorin” in Tamil Nadu. If we look at the map of south India closely, this Tutucorin and Kolachal would come on the same horizontal line with each other – Kolachal in the west coast and Tutucorin in the east coast.

In the Vaalmiki Ramayana, we can often note the usage of a name called “Velaavanam” to denote the place on the east coast, wherein the army is currently standing. If we look closely at the map, we can trace this “Velaavanam” area to be between the towns of “Tiruchendur” till the famous “Raameshwaram”, both on the east coast, in the state of Tamil Nadu. So if we say that the Vaanara army has reached this place called “Velaavanam”, it is evident that the army has deviated from the west coast and reached the east coast. As they move towards the east coast, they further proceed a little northwards from Tutucorin, to reach this “Velaavanam”.

We might immediately ask a doubt – How does the place called “Velaavanam” cover such a huge distance? As mentioned above, If we look at the current day geography of this area, this “Velaavanam” in the present day encompasses through Tiruchendur and ends at Rameshwaram. If we calculate the distance between Tutucorin and Rameshwaram, it would be more than 100 kilometres! Thus we would have a doubt as to how big can this “Velaavanam” be! Here, we should remember one thing – The Vaanara army is way too huge and if we try and calculate the number of monkeys with the present day counting system, it comes to around 52 crore monkeys (or 520 million) monkeys. So, if these many monkeys have to stand in one place, doesn’t it require such a huge distance to accommodate all of them? Perhaps, this is one reason why Vaalmiki Maharishi mentions about “Velaavanam” encompassing hundreds of kilometres from Tutucorin, northwards towards Rameshwaram. This might also be one of the reasons why the bridge that was constructed, was 100 yojanas in length and 10 yojanas in width, to accommodate all these 520 million monkeys! It should be remembered that 1 yojana equals 10 to 15 kilometres. So, if the bridge has to be 10 yojanas in width, it should span for a width of around 100 kilometres (approximately)! This is why the place called “Velaavanam” is spread across an approximate distance of around 100 kilometres.

With regards to the length of the bridge, the Vaalmiki Ramayana says that the distance between India and Sri Lanka at that time was around 100 yojanas, which transforms to approximately 1000 kilometres! Perhaps, Sri Lanka and India were 1000 kilometres away from each other at that time! (Today however we see that India and Sri Lanka are separated by a mere 100 kilometres along the Palk Strait).

Thus, going by the above calculations, the width of the “Ram-Sethu” bridge when it was constructed at that time should be around 100-150 kilometres. However, what we see today (Adam’s bridge) is perhaps just one small portion of that huge bridge.

Thus according to the Vaalmiki Ramayana, the bridge was so huge that all the 520 million monkeys could cross over at the same time!

Hence we can see from all the above descriptions that the “Ram-Sethu” Bridge has indeed existed and we can justify this with all the above-explained facts. It is really saddening in the present day to note that some people have the audacity to question the very existence of this bridge, inspite of so many evidences available in our spiritual literature. The irony today is that, such people come with cheap comments with their shortsighted approach towards available literature and there are many others who blindly support them just to score some political brownie points!

Thus the entire army is getting ready to build the “Ram-Sethu” bridge across the ocean. From today, let us also join the Vaanara army in building the bridge brick by brick! We shall wait till the next episode for the action to continue!! 🙂

Episode 258 – The Vaanara Army commences journey towards the southern direction!!!

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In the previous episode we saw the commencement of the “Yuddha-Kaanda” and witnessed the significance of the same. As we moved on further, we witnessed that Hanuman has finished his entire accord on Sita’s whereabouts, the message from Sita to Rama (along with handing over Sita’s “Choodaamani” to Rama), detailed description of who is Ravana and his strengths, who is Indrajith and his talent of waging illusionary wars, etc. Also, Hanuman talks about the route from Kishkinta to Lanka, wherein he explains the shortest possible route to the shore of the ocean. However there is a doubt amongst all of them that Hanuman was capable of crossing the ocean all by himself – But how will the others, including Rama and Lakshmana cross over to reach Lanka? For the moment, Sugriva puts this doubt to rest and the entire army gets ready to start journey.

Now moving on further, Rama chooses an auspicious date for the commencement of the journey. The day is chosen to be “Panguni-Utthiram”.

“Agreyaarthu balasyaasya neelo maargamavekshithum!”

As Sugriva unites all the Vaanaras into one single huge army, Lord Rama now starts to give them important instructions before commencing the journeyNeela to lead the army from the front. He will show the way and lead from the front. Secondly, the army should not enter into any city or urban areas where people are living. Since the army is too huge and if this huge army enters inside areas where people are residing, it might be of nuisance to them. Instead, the army should go through areas wherein the human population is scanty.

Moreover, the instruction is that the army should proceed through the foothills of mountain ranges all along the path. This is why, if we look into the geographical description given by Vaalmiki Maharishi, we can find that the Vaanara army moves southwards along the western slopes of the Western Ghats. This can be equated to the area of present day Indian state of Goa, proceeding southeards towards coastal Karnataka, crossing the present day city of Mangalore, proceeding further southwards towards Kerala, the cities of Calicut, Cochin and Trivandrum and enter into the southernmost district of Kannyakumari in Tamil Nadu. Thus the Vaanara army moves from Kishkinta through the “Sahyaadri” Mountain range and moves down southwards and reaches the southern tip of India, which is today’s Kannyakumari.

Thirdly Lord Rama instructs that nobody should eat or consume anything that is given by any stranger on the way. This is to avoid any unforeseen circumstances that Ravana could create, if he comes to know that the army is marching forward. The Raakshasaas would know that even if one or two members of the Vaanara army dies on the way due to some food poisoning, the entire army will find it difficult to move forward from that place. Hence, Rama instructs them to be very careful on this. The aim here is to reach Lanka as early as possible and the army should move ahead very quickly without wasting any time anywhere in the middle.

“Ninneshu varadurgeshu vaneshucha vanaukasaha!

Abhipluthyaabhi pashyethuhu pureshaam nihitham balam!!”

Thus the army moves fast and proceeds towards the southern direction. As mentioned above, the army crosses through innumerable mountain ranges starting from the “Sahyaadhri”, to “Kodagu” (Birthplace of river Cauvery), then pass through the “Nilgiri” mountain range (Current-day Ooty), further southwards towards the “Thiruvidhaangur” mountain range near the present-day city of “Paalakkad” in Kerala and finally reach the “Mahendra-Giri” mountain range near the current day town of Nagercoil in Tamil Nadu.

Thus the Vaanara army quickly moves towards this “Mahendragiri” mountain range – It should be remembered by the readers that this is the mountain from where Hanuman had crossed the ocean when he had gone to Lanka for the first time.

It is a very interesting geography at this point here – The plains that lie west of this “Mahendragiri” is today’s Indian state of Kerala, and the plains that lie to the east of this “Mahendragiri” is today’s Indian state of Tamil Nadu. From this point, if we traverse around 40 miles southwards, we would reach Kannyakumari. It is at this point where the entire army comes now – We can even see a small port town by name “Kolachal” on the west coast bordering Kerala and Tamil Nadu states. It is from this Kolachal that the army climbs up the mountains and cross over to the eastern side into Tamil Nadu. It is only at this point, the army goes into an urban section. It is to be remembered that today’s Kerala was a complete forest area at those times and the urban areas are towards the present-day Tamil Nadu.

Thus the army crosses over and reaches the east coast, which is not very far from that place. At this point, Rama asks Sugriva to check out if a bridge can be constructed from this location to reach Lanka. Now here is where the topic of the “Ram-Sethu” bridge starts. It’s a very important and an interesting discussion given by Vaalmiki Maharishi. So for today, let the Vaanara army rest themselves at this point before going further. Let’s wait till the next episode to commence the discussion on the bridge construction in detail! 🙂

Episode 257 – Commencing the “Yuddha-Kaanda” – Victory of “Dharma” over “Adharma”!!!

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So far in this blog series, we have witnessed five important “Kaandas” (Parts) of the Vaalmiki Ramayana and innumerable lessons for life, management and leadership were discussed. The last episode saw the culmination of the all-important “Sundara-Kaanda”.

If we look at the Ramayana closely, we can witness that each Kaanda is dedicated to explain each of the important paths of “Dharma” (Righteousness) – The “Baala Kaanda” emphasized on the “Dharma” that a son should always be obedient to his parents at all times. It also emphasized the “Dharma” of being an obedient student to a “Guru” (Master). The second “Kaanda”, the “Ayodhya Kaanda” laid major emphasis on the duties of a son towards his parents and keeping up their words to live up to their expectation.

Moving on, in the “Aaranya Kaanda” the emphasis was on how to be a loving husband towards his wife and the significance of leading a united and an enjoyable married life. Moreover, the foundation was laid to explain how “Adharma” leads to destruction. In the “Kishkinta Kaanda” we witnessed the significance of a friend. In the present day we have heard this famous proverb – “A friend in need is a friend indeed”. We saw the importance of how Rama and Sugriva were great friends in times of each other’s needs and how they helped each other at the apt time. Finally in the “Sundara Kaanda” we had witnessed how a messenger and a wife should conduct themselves during testing times. We had witnessed the significance of a messenger in different contexts and how Hanuman stood as an epitome of an ideal messenger. Moreover, we have witnessed how Sita is an epitome of the “Pathi-Vratha Dharma”, which signifies the devotion towards her husband at all times.

As we move into the “Yuddha-Kaanda”, Vaalmiki Maharishi describes in great detail, the significance of “Unconditional Surrender” by an ardent devotee of Bhagawan. He signifies and emphasizes this point through a person called “Vibhishana”, who is none other than Ravana’s brother. The surrendering of Vibhishana to the feet of Lord Rama and in turn, Rama accepting Vibhishana as one of his greatest devotees is the highlight of the Yuddha Kaanda. Of course, Vaalmiki Maharishi describes the war between the “Raakshasaas” headed by Ravana and the Vaanaras headed by Sugriva, Hanuman and Lord Rama himself. This “Yuddha-Kaanda” is extremely significant because it explains the victory of “Dharma” over “Adharma”. Moving further, we shall see the important excerpts from the “Yuddha-Kaanda” and I shall try my best to bring out the important lessons that we can learn for our modern-day life from the “Yuddha-Kaanda”.

Now moving further from where we left in the previous episode, we had witnessed that Lord Rama is completely overwhelmed and happy that finally after a long effort, Sita’s whereabouts have been traced and this treacherous job was accomplished by none other than Hanuman himself – who is an epitome of shrewdness and sharpness in whatever mission he undertakes. It is now time for the strategy to be framed by Rama and Co. to proceed towards Lanka, invade Lanka and to fight Ravana. As the strategy is being set, Hanuman gives a detail accord on the strengths of the mighty Ravana, his powers, his invincibility and also about Indrajith and his capability to wage a war using unique “illusionary tactics”. Rama and Lakshmana listen to Hanuman’s words very carefully and plan the strategy accordingly.

“Kim tvayaa tapyathe veera yathaannah praakruthastathaa!

Samudram lankayithvaathu mahaarakrama samaakulaam!

Lankaam aarohayisshyaamaha harisshyaamascha te lupum!!”

Thus, Hanuman explains in detail to Rama and Lakshmana, his views and understandings of Ravana’s powers and the significance of Lanka. Moreover he also talks about the ways and means to get to Lanka. Now the biggest obstacle that everybody is having in their mind is that, “Oh! This Hanuman was able to cross the ocean and reach Lanka! Now how would this entire Vaanara army consisting of more than 70,000 monkeys cross the ocean and reach Lanka? How do we all manage to go now?” As this point of discussion comes to the table, Sugriva says, “First let us start from this place and go near the shore of the ocean. We shall think and decide on the strategy to cross over at that point of time!”

As the decision is being made to start from Kishkinta, Rama and Sugriva decide on which day to start – After a bit of pondering over, they finally decide that the entire army would commence the journey towards Lanka on the auspicious “Panguni-Utthram” day.

“Tathvam buddhi mathaam sreshtaha sarva shaastraartha kovithaha!

Madhvidaihi sachivaissaardham harircherthum cha arhasi!!”

Thus it is decided that the entire army would commence journey on the day of “Pankuni” month when the “Utthiram” star falls. The entire army prepares to commence journey. For now, we shall also prepare ourself to start our journey with Rama, Lakshmana and the Vaanara army! Let’s wait till the next episode to commence our journey with all of them! 🙂

Episode 256 – Rama’s hug – Hanuman’s biggest prize!!! End of “Sundara Kaanda”!!

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In the previous episode we had witnessed that Hanuman is narrating to Rama, all the instances and incidences that had happened during his visit to Lanka. He emotionally narrates to Rama, what all Sita said to him that are to be conveyed to Rama and Lakshmana. Upon hearing this, Rama is unable to control his tears as well as his anger towards Ravana, who has inflicted this much of tribulations to his beloved wife. He thus takes a pledge in front of all the Vaanaras saying that he would be the ultimate person who would reduce Ravana to ashes and liberate Sita from Lanka. He requests Hanuman to take him immediately to the place where he has found Sita.

At this moment we also witnessed the very important event wherein Hanuman hands over the ring (Choodaamani) that Sita had given to Hanuman (to be offered to Lord Rama as a token of her love for him). As Hanuman hands it over, Rama’s heart melts, melts and melts further in such a way that he is initially unable to look at the “Choodaamani” for a few moments. He recalls his day of marriage with his beloved Sita and recalls the history of this “Choodaamani”.

It is at this point that Rama wants to gift Hanuman with something for all the selfless service that he has rendered to him and Mother Sita – But unfortunately he couldn’t find any. It is at this moment that Rama gives Hanuman a big hug and says, “Oh Hanuman! For all the selfless service that you had done to me, this hug is what I’m capable of giving you! I am virtually powerless to give you a better gift than this! Hence, oh Hanuman! Please treat this hug itself as my greatest gift for all what you’ve done selflessly for me!”

What is Hanuman’s feeling when he receives Rama’s hug? He is equally overwhelmed! Hanuman is in tears of joy! He is so happy that his hero (or his Lord) is hugging him directly! What more can Hanuman ask for?

Here is a very important life lesson for all of usReceiving Bhagawan’s grace directly is the best gift we can ever receive from Him, rather than wealth or money and all other physical gift items! If Lord Rama himself has to feel helpless to compensate Hanuman for his selfless service and if Lord Rama himself his calling Hanuman and hugging him wholeheartedly with him, what better gift can Hanuman ask for? Since Hanuman is an “Aachaarya” or the “Supreme spiritual Master”, he understands the significance of Lord Rama’s gesture – A hug from Bhagawan speaks volumes than those of materialistic gifts!

Hence, the important lesson that we can learn from this Lord Rama-Hanuman episode is that, if we devote our actions towards Bhagawan in a selfless way, Bhagawan would recognize and acknowledge our selfless efforts through the best way possible! Moreover, we should not be doing service by “expecting” something in return from someone (including from Bhagawan). This is because Bhagawan knows what is best for us and at what time! Thus if we are sincere and selfless in our approach in every sphere of our daily life, Bhagwan knows when, where and how to shower His divine grace upon us! This is exactly happening in this context too – For Hanuman’s selfless service towards Bhagawan, he gets the highest reward from the Lord himself at the right moment! If Bhagawan himself has to come and say to a Jeevaathma (Hanuman in this case) that he stands helpless for what Hanuman has did to him, this is the biggest achievement of Hanuman’s selfless devotion and service to Mother Sita and Lord Rama!

Thus moving on, after Hanuman finishes all the explanations, it is now time for the strategy for further action to be planned. With this section, the all-important “Sundara Kaanda” comes to an end! We have taken almost 60 Episodes to witness the “Sundara Kaanda” in minute detail. With the divine grace of Lord Rama and Mother Sita, we have now successfully covered five “Kaandas” of the Ramayana – right from the “Baala Kaanda” till the “Sundara Kaanda” and we have been witnessing important lessons for life and modern-day Management from each of the “Kaandas”.

From the next episode we shall move into the last Kaanda, which is the “Yuddha Kaanda” wherein Vaalmiki Maharishi is going to explain to all of us, the significance of “Unconditional Surrender” and the victory of “Dharma” over the “Adharma”. Let’s stay tuned to commence the “Yuddha Kaanda” from the next episode! 🙂

Episode 255 – Lord Rama melts into tears on seeing Sita’s ring!!!

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In the previous episode we had witnessed that all the Vaanaras make their way into Kishkinta and to the place of Sugriva, Lord Rama and Lakshmana. Eventually, Hanuman briefs Lord Rama that he has found Mother Sita, saw her and spoke with her. He also conveys that she is safe and secure and is an epitome of “Pathivratha” Dharma!

Upon hearing this initial news from Hanuman, Lord Rama’s happiness knows no bounds! He is thrilled to bits! So is Lakshmana and Sugriva! Lakshmana finally breathes a sigh of huge relief upon hearing that Mother Sita is safe and secure. As Hanuman goes on to narrate in much more detail, he conveys the important point that Sita would be alive for maximum 30 more days! Already 4 days have passed by for reaching Kishkinta from Lanka. Now there are 26 more days and quick action needs to be taken.

As Rama gets to hear this emotional description from Hanuman, his anger on Ravana knows no bounds! He takes a pledge in front of the Vaanaras thus, “Oh Sugriva and friends! Now that Hanuman has found out the whereabouts of Sita! This Rama would reduce the person who has abducted my beloved wife to ashes! This is a pledge that I’m taking this minute! After hearing about Sita, I shall not stay here even for one more minute! Oh Hanuman! Please take me to the place where you found Sita! Please let me see my Sita’s beautiful face again. I cannot live for one more minute without my beloved Sita! Thus, Hanuman, I request you.. Please help me unite with my beloved Sita!”

As Rama laments with anger and frustration, Hanuman rushes towards him and tries to calm him down. He says thus, “Oh my Lord! Please calm down! If you get angry like this, then what is the meaning of the word ‘Patience’? Let us think together and plan out a strategy! Let us first decide on an auspicious day to start from here. I shall narrate more about Ravana and Lanka as far as I’ve seen!”

Saying thus, Hanuman gives a detailed accord of Ravana – His strengths, weaknesses, Lanka’s city plan, how to go from Kishkinta to Lanka, etc. He gives each and every minute detail and as Hanuman talks, Rama couldn’t hold back his tears again!

As Rama’s eyes fill with tears, Hanuman thinks that this is the best opportunity to show Rama, the ring that Sita had given him. As Hanuman talks, he hands over the ring into Rama’s hands and says, “Oh Rama! This is what Mother Sita had given to me as a token of her love and affection for you! Please take this in your hands and bless it. Please do not worry! All of us are with you and Mother Sita. Both of you would unite very soon and it is just a matter of time!”

Upon seeing Sita’s ring, Rama’s happiness breaches all limits! He is overwhelmed with what Hanuman has done to him and Mother Sita! Rama acknowledges Hanuman’s selfless service and is in tears of joy! His heart is melting! His eyes cannot hold back his tears!

At this point, he says to Hanuman, “Oh my dearest Hanuman! By giving this ring in my hands, you’ve melted my heart with love and compassion! Lord Indra (Leader of the Celestial Beings) had once gifted King Janaka (Sita’s father) for his immense penance. When we were getting married, King Janaka placed this in Sita’s head. As he placed it, she looked even more divine and beautiful! This is a priceless gift that you have given me now! Oh Hanuman! Let me tell you one thing for sure: Today Sita and myself have regained the lost happiness because of you! I do not know how am I going to compensate and acknowledge your selfless service!”

Saying thus, Lord Rama looks around him, but since he is currently in the forest, he doesn’t have anything to give to Hanuman as a token of acknowledgment for his efforts. He continues to reply Hanuman, “Oh Hanuman! As of now this Rama has nothing to offer you, but a heart-felt hug! Please forgive me for the fact that I’ve not been able to give you a prize for whatever help you’ve done to me!”

Saying thus, Lord Rama comes in front of Hanuman and hugs him with all his love and grace! This is a huge emotional moment for Hanuman as he is extremely happy that he is able to get the grace of his Lord! For today, let us also enjoy this emotional moment of Rama hugging Hanuman with all his love and grace! Let’s wait till the next episode to find out what happens next!

Episode 254 – Lord Rama in tears of joy as he hears about Mother Sita!!!

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In the previous episode we had witnessed that all the Vaanaras who had gone to search for Mother Sita towards the southern direction, come back victoriously to Kishkinta. As they enter into the place where Sugriva, Rama and Lakshmana are sitting, each of the monkeys is so eager to tell Rama that Sita has been located finally. Each monkey comes forward to say “I’ve seen Mother Sita!” As Lord Rama sees this, he becomes surprised and anxious. Lord Rama bends down with love and affection towards each of the monkeys that comes forward, “Have you really seen Sita?” As Rama asks them, they did not know how to reply him directly.

Now as Lord Rama doesn’t get a proper reply from the other monkeys, tears start enveloping Rama’s eyes! His anxiety knows no bounds. His face is full of worry and sadness written all over! It is at this apt time that Hanuman comes forward, bows before him and also towards the direction where Mother Sita resides and utters the important words,

“Drishtaa Sita!!” (or, in Tamil) “Kanden Seethaiyai!!!”

Thus Hanuman says, “Swami! I’ve seen Mother Sita!!!”

It would be very interesting to note that it is mentioned as “Drishtaa Sita” in Sanskrit and “Kanden Seethaiyai” in Tamil. It is not mentioned as “Sita Dristhaa!” or “Seethaiyai Kanden”! Why is it so? It is because, Hanuman judges the amount of anxiety Rama has in his face. If perhaps Hanuman would have told “Sita” before “Drishtaa”, it might take a second more – And in this split of a second, Rama would be extremely worried about what has happened to Sita! This is why Hanuman says, “Drishtaa Sita!!!”

Thus from here, we can learn another important role of a messenger – A true messenger or a “Daasa” is a person who is able to understand each and every minute feeling and emotion of his master and act accordingly to satisfy them. As “Bhagawat Daasaas” (Devotees of the Lord), what is our role today? Every action of ours and every word that we speak should create and instil happiness in Bhagawan’s heart! Only then we can call ourselves as true devotees of Bhagawan!

Upon hearing the important golden words of Hanuman, Rama asks him back, “Oh Hanuman! Please don’t stop by saying that you’ve seen Sita! Where is she? What is she undergoing? How is she managing the separation from me? What is the message that she has given to all of us? Please tell me everything in detail!”

“Vyavasaayascha souryancha sruthanchaapi prathishtitham!

Jaambhavaan yathra nethaa saa angadascha hareeshwaraha!!

Raavanaanthafpureh lodham raakshaseebhischa tharjanam!

Kva seethaa varthathe devi kathancha mayi varthathe!!

Yetham me sarva vaakhyantham vaideheem prathi vaanaraha!”

These are extremely beautiful and emotional slokas in the Vaalmiki Ramayana that explains the current situation. Rama asks Hanuman further, “Oh Hanuman! Did Sita enquire about me? How is she? Is she in sorrow? Is she suffering? Has she become lean and thin? Please narrate it to me immediately!”

As Rama asks question after question, Hanuman was taken aback for a minute! He immediately replies back, “Oh Lord! I did not look at Mother Sita!” This answer from Hanuman shocked Lord Rama! He asks again, “Oh Hanuman! Just now you told me that you had seen Sita! Why are you backing away?”

Upon which, Hanuman gives a very important answer: “Oh Rama! I did not see one Sita! I saw three divine characteristics together as one Sita – The highest status of birth, “Kshamaa” (Patience) and “Paathivrathyam” (Devotion towards husband)  – All these three divine characteristics are embodied inside one Mother Sita Devi! How on earth would I describe Her greatness?”

Thus, Hanuman continues to describe the entire story of his journey to Lanka, how he searched meticulously all throughout Lanka and how finally he found her at Ravana’s Ashoka Vana. Then he narrates how did he manage to strike a conversation with Mother Sita and all the messages she had conveyed to him. After all this, one final message that Hanuman conveys to Rama is,

“Jeevitham dhaarayishyaami maasam dasharaathmaja!

Oordhvam maasaanna jeeveyam rakshasaam vashamaangathaa!!”

From the above sloka, Hanuman conveys to Rama, “Oh Rama! Sita told one thing very firmly! She would be alive maximum for thirty more days! If we do not make our way to Lanka within thirty days from now, we cannot see Mother Sita alive! Hence, we need to start immediately! Already three days has gone, since we had to come back from Lanka all the way to Kishkinta! Now we’ve got just 26 more days with us! We do not have any more time to waste. Let us start now itself!”

As Rama and Lakshmana are listening to all this, Hanuman pauses for a moment. At this point, he wants to do something special that Rama would like! What is that? What is Rama’s reply and his next course of action? Let’s wait till the next episode to find out! 🙂

Episode 253 – Hanuman to Lord Rama – “Mother Sita is safe and secure”!!!

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In the previous episode we had witnessed that the Vaanaras are extremely happy and delighted and are celebrating their victory (of finding Mother Sita) at “Madhu-Vana”! When the security guards of the beautiful forest headed by Dadhimukha intercepted them, the Vaanaras along with Angadha and Hanuman thrashed Dadhimukha and Co. and chased them out! Hurt and wounded, Dadhimukha makes his way angrily to Sugriva to launch a big complaint against Angadha and Co. 🙂

As Dadhimukha explains his stance, he shows Sugriva all the bruises that he and his fellow mates have received from the thrashing and the drubbing given by Angadha and Co. to substantiate and validate his complaint. Upon seeing Dadhimukha’s pitiful situation, it was expected that Sugriva would get angry and summon all the Vaanaras along with Angadha. But what happened next? Let’s witness today.

As Dadhimukha launches his complaint, Lakshmana comes to the place where Sugriva is sitting and asks, “Oh Sugriva! Who is this person? What is he talking about? Why is he hurt so badly like this?” Upon which Sugriva replies, “Oh Lakshmana! It seems that the Vaanara group (headed by Angadha and Jaambhavan) that had gone towards the southern direction (to search for Mother Sita) are on their way back! It seems to me that they’re coming victorious!”

Upon hearing this, Lakshmana is surprised and asks Sugriva, “Oh Sugriva! How do you say with this much of confidence that Sita has been found? Nobody has even come and told us anything! Yet how do you assert this way?”

It is to be noted here that Sugriva had a peculiar way of investigating people who have done a mistake – He first chops the head of that person who has committed the crime and then start investigating the crime behind him! 🙂 All the Vaanaras know about this very well! Now Sugriva answers Lakshmana further: “Oh Lakshmana! All of them including Angadha, Hanuman, Jaambhavaan etc. know the way in which I investigate a wrongdoing or a crime! I had given them a deadline of a month to complete the search mission and return back. However, they have missed the deadline – This itself is a crime! Inspite of this, if they have had the audacity to go into the Madhu-Vana and destroy it, I’m 100% confident that the mission has been accomplished! It is for this reason that I’m extremely confident that Mother Sita has been found and located!!”

“Nahyannassaadhane hethuhu karmanosya hanumathaha!

Kaarya siddhir hanumathi mathischa hari pungave!

Vyavasaayascha veeryancha sruthanchaabhi prathistitham!!”

Sugriva continues further, “Oh Lakshmana! Also note that, none other than Hanuman would have accomplished this mission singlehandedly! He is an embodiment of smartness, shrewdness, apt decision-making, hard work and persistence (“Kaarya siddhir hanumathi mathischa hari pungave!!”) Hence, let’s wait for them to come here!”

Upon hearing this, Lakshmana along with Rama are thrilled to bits! They slowly start getting the confidence that Sita is found atlast! 🙂 Sugriva meanwhile sends back Dadhimukha and orders him to convey to the Vaanaras that he (along with Rama & Lakshmana) are waiting eagerly for their arrival!

Meanwhile, all the Vaanaras who had gone towards the southern direction start making their way into Kishkinta one after the other. As they arrive, their sound of victory is deafening to the ears! As they land on the ground, all of them make their way to the place where Sugriva, Rama and Lakshmana are seated! One of the monkeys from the group quickly comes forward and says, “Oh Lord Rama! I’ve seen Sita!” Upon hearing this, Rama gets anxious. He bends down towards that small monkey and asks, “Oh my dear! Did you really see Sita?” Immediately the monkey says, “Oh! I’m not that person who has seen Sita!” 🙂 Similarly each monkey comes forward and tells the same thing! All the monkeys are so happy that they did not know how to convey the good news to Rama directly!

As Rama’s anxiety increases and his eyes become moist with tears, Hanuman immediately comes forward, bows his head towards Rama and also towards the direction of Lanka, folds his hands and says, Oh my Lord! I’ve seen Mother Sita! She is imprisoned at Ravana’s Lanka! She is safe and secure! She wished to convey her regards to you, Lakshmana and Sugriva! She is desperately waiting for your arrival, so as to release her from the imprisonment!”

Upon hearing this from Hanuman, Lakshmana and Sugriva are stunned! They are looking at Hanuman with respect and their eyes were full of happiness and relief! Atlast, Mother Sita is located, after so many months and tireless efforts! Rama’s joy and happiness knew no bounds! His eyes are filled with tears of joy!

For today, let us celebrate this immense happy moment along with Rama, Lakshmana, Sugriva and the others! Let us experience this divine feeling together with prayers at the feet of Mother Sita and Lord Rama! We shall wait till the next episode to witness Lord Rama’s reaction and Hanuman’s explanation in detail! 🙂

Episode 252 – Vaanaras rejoicing at “Madhu-Vana”!!!

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In the previous episode we had witnessed that the entire Vaanara camp is on their way from the shore towards Kishkinta. They are extremely happy that Hanuman had finally found the whereabouts of Sita. All of them are eager to convey theis good news to Rama and make him feel happy! In the meanwhile, we also witnessed a very important leadership lesson on decision-making – Is it the role of the leader or the messenger to take appropriate decision at the appropriate time. We saw a detailed explanation on this regard.

Now moving on, the Vaanaras pass through a very beautiful forest area enroute Kishkinta. This place is called the “Madhu-Vana” and the Vaanaras are intending to celebrate their victory at this particular place. Accordingly all of them approach their senior leaders seeking permission for the same. At this point, Hanuman is also overjoyed that he also wants to jump into the celebration mode! He says to all the Vaanaras, “Oh friends! Let’s begin the celebration! I shall deal with whomever comes and stops us!” As the Vaanaras hear these words from Hanuman himself, they were extremely happy! Thus the party begins! The entire camp of the monkeys spread inside the beautiful “Madhu-Vana”, pluck all the fruits from the trees and started eating them and drinking the honey in it.

As the security guards of the “Madhu-Vana” headed by Dadhimukha come to know about this, they prepare themselves to attack the Vaanaras and chase them out of the forest. As Dadhimukha and Co. come and attack the Vaanaras, Hanuman, Angadha and Jaambhavaan go forward and there is a huge fight going on outside the forest! Dadhimukha is now being thrashed and beaten up by the Vaanaras and for a moment, he lay on the floor breathless! After a while Dadhimukha gets up and says to his security guards – “Let us straightaway go to Sugriva and make a complaint that these Vaanaras are destroying the Madhu Vana without his permission! Let me make a big complaint about Angadha and Hanuman. It is only with their instruction that these Vaanaras are destroying this beautiful forest isn’t it? I shall put an end to all of these monkeys immediately!”

Saying thus, Dadhimukha walks angrily towards Kishkinta and knocks on Sugriva, Rama and Lakshmana. Upon seeing Sugriva, Dadhimukha pays his respects to him. Dadhimukha is elder to Sugriva. Upon seeing Dadhimukha falling on his feet, Sugriva becomes scared and immediately request him to get up and narrate what had happened! As Sugriva comforts him, Dadhimukha now replies, “Oh King Sugriva! All the Vaanaras who are under your command have entered into our “Madhu-Vana” and are eating all the fruits and drinking all the honey from the trees, thus destroying the entire forest! They are carrying out this destruction at the behest of Angadha’s approval. Even Angadha, Hanuman, etc. are involved in this heinous crime! When all of us went and stopped them, they attacked us by thrashing and beating all of us! Hence, oh King Sugriva! Please render the appropriate punishment for this crime committed by Angadha and Co.!”

Now Sugriva is to take a decision! What was Sugriva’s decision? Did he decide to punish Angadha and the other Vaanaras for this act? The action continues in the next episode! 🙂