Episode 30: Commencing the Ramayana story – A beautiful description of the city of Ayodhya

rama-sita

In the previous episode we saw the beautiful and a touching description of how Lord Rama himself listens to the Ramayana story from his two little sons, Lava and Kusha. With that, we shall now move into what Lava and Kusha sang in front of Lord Rama. Today, we shall see a beautiful description of the city of Ayodhya – The capital city of the “Ikshvaaku Dynasty”. Valmiki Maharishi starts with the following slokas:

“Eshaam cha sagaro naama saagaro yena khaanithaha!

Sashti puthra sahasraani yam yaantham parya vaarayan!!

Koshalo naama udithaha spheethaha janapadho mahaan!

Nimishtaha sarayu dheere prabhutha dhana dhaanyavaan!!

Ayodhyaa naama nagaree tathraaseen lokha vishruthaa!

Manu naa maanavendrena maakuree nirmithaasvayam!!”

Valmiki Maharishi thus describes the beauty and the significance of the city of Ayodhya. He says, on the banks of the river Sarayu, there was a city by name Ayodhya, which is also called as “Aparaajitha” or “Abhedhya”. The word “Aparaajitha” here means, “This city is literally unconquerable”, or “This city cannot be destroyed”! Valmiki Maharishi also adds that high walls all around guarded the city. We can worship the city of Ayodhya even today, in the present day Indian state of Uttar Pradesh, and it’s surprising that even to this day, due to lot of controversies, Ayodhya is carefully guarded by loads of security guards from the Indian army. Perhaps, since Lord Rama is a great king, even to this day, he has got the due respect from the security forces of His own country!

Valmiki Maharishi now gives a brief account on the various great kings who ruled Ayodhya before the advent of Lord Rama – It all started from Lord Surya (The Sun), and subsequently Manu, Ikshvaaku, Khatvaanga, Aja, Dileepa, Maandhaata, Amshumaan, Bhageeratha, Kakutsa, Dasaratha, etc. It is to be noted here that Lord Rama was born as the 35’th king of Ayodhya to the great king Dasaratha. Each and every king had ruled the kingdom of Ayodhya for innumerable number of years with such austerity and sincerity that, the entire clan can be proud of. It is in this dynasty, that King Aja’s successor Dasharata was ruling the kingdom for more than 60,000 years (Valmiki Maharishi mentions 60,000 years – There are of course a lot of debate going on with this number, but this is not of importance here).

Before describing much about Rama, Valmiki Maharishi has devoted almost 8 to 9 slokas in praise of Dasharatha. He says in that, “Why is Rama considered to be great? It’s only because he’s the son of a great father!” This is the reason why Lord Rama is often referred to as “Dasharataatmaja”. One may wonder, why does Lord Rama need to derive his fame from his father, who was afterall a normal human being on the earth. The answer is very simple: This is the main purpose of Bhagawan’s birth in the world as Lord Rama – To be an exemplary son to a father! We as children should behave in such a way that our parents should feel that if at all they have another birth in this world, they should have us as their children again! On a lighter note, if at all such chances of praying to God exists with our parents today, majority of them would say “No” to have us as their children again in their next birth!!! 🙂 If we get a chance, we may ask our father: “Oh father, do you wish to have me as your son/daughter in your next birth also?” and I’m sure the reply from our father would be “I’m regretting to have you as my son/daughter in this birth itself, and now you’re talking about the next birth!!” 🙂 But Dasharata did not say this way! This can be seen from a beautiful verse of Kulashekara Aalwar, as part of the “Dhivya Prabhandam” in Tamil, as follows:

“Unnayum un arumayayum un noyin varutthamum onnaagakkollaadhu

ennayum en sollum ketterumin vanam pukka endhaai

Ninnaye maganaagappirapperuven ezhu prappum nedunthol vendhe!!”

Here we can see that Dasharata is in tears while Rama is departing for the fourteen-year exile. He says, “Oh Vende!! (Vende in Tamil means “Son”) You neither saw your father, nor your mother grieving! All you saw was one promise that your father had made! If at all I want to ask God for something, I would want you to be my son for all the seven births that I would be taking in this world from now!” (Ninnaye maganaagappirapperuven ezhu prappum) Thus from this accord, we can clearly see that our parents should be proud to have us as their children!

What does Valmiki Maharishi say more about the city of Ayodhya? What are the other significances of this great city? Let’s wait till the next episode to find out!

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