In the previous episode, we began to look into the Ramayana text written by Valmiki Maharishi and in that, we started looking into the significance and the beauty of the city of Ayodhya – The capital of the Ikshvaaku dynasty. Eventually we also saw the various kings who ruled the kingdom and subsequently a short description about Dasaratha (Rama’s father). We also saw that Lord Rama was the 35’th king of Ayodhya. Today, we shall continue witnessing the beauty of Ayodhya, as described by Valmiki Maharishi and also by Kambanaataazhwar, who authored the Ramayana story in Tamil. Starting from today, I shall also try to incorporate some excerpts from the Kamba Ramayana, along with those from the Valmiki Ramayana, and we shall appreciate the beauty of both the versions at the same time!
“Kaameevaa na kadaryovaa rushamshaha purushad kvachith!
Drashtum sakhyam ayodhyaayaam naa vidhwaan na cha naasthikaha!!”
Valmiki Maharishi says through this sloka that, if one searches the entire city of Ayodhya, he/she wouldn’t be able to find anybody who is an atheist (Naasthikaha) and who is uneducated (Avidhwaan). Here we can see that Valmiki Maharishi has written straight to the point in Sanskrit. However, if we take a glance into the Kamba Ramayana, Kambar has very beautifully portrayed the city of Ayodhya in a slightly different style. He says the following:
“Kalvaar ilaamai porul kaaval illai; Kalvi karkka vallaar ilaamai..”
Kambar is in the process of describing the city of Ayodhya. He says that “Everything is good in this city, but I do not like it”. Why? Because, he continues to say, there is no shop here that sells locks and keys (Porul Kaaval illai). What is the reason? It’s because, there are no thieves in this place (Kalvaar ilaamai). He continues further: There is no teacher in this city, why? There is nobody who is uneducated – Everybody are well-educated here in this city (Kalvi karkka vallaar ilaamai). In this manner, Kambar has indirectly praised the city of Ayodhya. From all these descriptions, we can infer the greatness of the city of Ayodhya to a large extent.
Now let us again trace back to Valmiki Maharishi’s description. He continues further:
“Sva karma nirathaa nithyam braahmanaa vijithendriyaha!
Dhyaanaaddhyaana sheelaascha samyathaascha paridhiggrahe!!”
Valmiki Maharishi further describes with the above sloka that, whoever were Brahmins, Kshatriyas and Vaishyas, all of them lived by strictly performing their respective duties and roles in the society. (It can be interesting to note here that Hinduism even in those days had these sects).
“Na anasuyakaha na cha ashakthaha na avidhwaan vidyatekvachith!
Naasthiko naanrutho vaapi na kaschit bahusshruthaha!!”
He further explains that there was nobody who was greedy and jealous (Anasuyakaha), there was nobody who was an illiterate (Avidhwaan), there was nobody who was without strength (Ashakthaha). there was nobody who was an atheist (Naasthikaha) and there was nobody who was a liar – Everybody were so truthful and honest!
Everything was so good in this way, however, Valmiki Maharishi says here, “BUT…” there was one drawback! What is that? The only issue was that, king Dasaratha was childless for so many years. This was the only reason why the entire city of Ayodhya, including Dasaratha were concerned about. Hence, one fine day, Dasharatha convenes his court and tries to ask his minister “Sumanthra”, as to how to go about this.
What did king Dasharata ask Sumanthra? What was the reply of Sumanthra on the king’s query? What did Dasharata do after that? Let’s wait to find out in the next episode!