In the last couple of episodes we were discussing the important points regarding the structure of the Valmiki Ramayana text, which has seven “Kaandams” (Parts), more than 500 “Sargams” (Chapters) and more than 24,000 slokas (verses) embedded into them. Before we actually move into the Ramayana story, we still have a few more aspects to be discussed, with regards to the sweetness of this great text, how the Ramayana was propagated, how did Lord Rama himself enjoy listening to the text, etc. Let’s see one by one.
When the context comes to the “sweetness”, Valmiki Maharishi begins describing the following way:
“Veda vedhye pare pungsi jaathe dasharataatmaje!
Veda praachedasaa daasith saakshaad raamaayanaathmanaa!!”
Here, it’s said that the Ramayana text is equivalent to that of the sacred “Vedas”, in the Hindu literature. Lord Narayana was born as Rama in this world, and at that time, the Vedas thought to themselves, “Is this incarnation only for my Lord? Isn’t it necessary that I also be born on this earth?” – And thus, the Vedas incarnated themselves in the world in the form of the Ramayana. Here we can see the amount of significance given to this Ramayana text. Hence, whatever the “Shaastras” and the “Vedas” try to convey, Valmiki Maharishi (referred to as “Veda praachedas”, in the above sloka) also conveys the same messages, but in a much more lucid form so as to be easily understood by people like all of us.
To add more to it, Valmiki Maharishi further explains that all these slokas in the text are so beautiful when they are sung. Lava and Kusha (Rama’s two sons) were equipped with very high levels of knowledge in music. Hence, it was very beautiful to hear from then when they were singing the Ramayana text.
“Paathye geyecha mathuram pramaanaihi sthribhiranvitham!
Jaathibhihi sapthabhir yuktham tanthreelaya samanvitham!!”
The above sloka explains, just like how in the Veena (A traditional Indian musical instrument), when we make sounds with it’s chords (Tanthee), all the seven swaras (notes) of music would be beautifully displayed, the Ramayana slokas, when they are sung with full devotion and focus, would reveal the beautiful musical notes imbibed in it. This is what Valmiki Maharishi describes as “Tanthreelaya samanvitham” in the above sloka. Perhaps we can experience this beauty when we sing!! This is to be done who has the knowledge about music and who are musicians!
Hence in this way, Lava and Kusha start singing all the slokas one by one by employing the instruments of Veena and the Tanpura (An instrument that can be equated to the modern day “Drone”, which is like a scale for singing) on their own. They go one place after the other while singing the Ramayana, and wherever they go, people are so moved and attracted to their singing. Paathye geyecha mathuram” means, it feels so good to hear even if we just chant these slokas and it feels even better if one can sing these slokas.
“Rasaihi shringaara karuna haasya raudhra bhayaanakaihi!
Veeraadhi bheerasair yuktham kaavya medha dadhaagathaam!!”
Valmiki Maharishi further adds that, apart from the musical beauty of the Ramayana slokas, we can also witness the “Nava-Rasas” (The nine feelings) – Shringaara, Karuna, Haasya, Raudhra, Bhayanaka, etc. in the entire Ramayana text at different occasions.
“Vaachovitheyam tat sarvam krithvaa kaavyam anindhithau!”
The above verse says that, Valmiki Maharishi made the children Lava and Kusha to by-heart all the slokas, before they started to propagate it to the rest of the world. (Vaachovitheyam means one needn’t look into the book and read something). If one can chant all the 24,000 slokas of the Ramayana text without seeing the book, the pleasure and bliss obtained from it is unique! We all just know around a few thousand slokas to explain some details from the Ramayana, and this excites us so much. But for those people who have that lifetime opportunity to recite all the 24,000 slokas by-heart, it’s a unique opportunity, undoubtedly!
Now these two children, having by-hearted the text upside down, start to propagate it to the world. They go to every Rishi (Saint)’s place and recite the text to all of them. How did they do that? How did they receive their blessings? Let’s witness in the next episode!