Episode 39 – A deeper meaning of the “Payasam Split” – Significance of the “Bhaagawatha Bhaktha”

rama-sita

In the previous episode we witnessed the arrival of the “Payasam” and how did king Dasharata split the payasam and gave it to his three wives. We also saw that interestingly he did not make a split of the payasam into three equal parts, but categorically made four splits. But why did he do this way? There is an in-depth meaning to this particular happening. Let’s see it in today’s episode.

As we go further, let’s recall the last sloka we saw in yesterday’s episode:

“Prappadhou prapadouscha avashishtaardham paayasasya amrithopamam!

Anuchintya sumithraayai punareva maheepathihi!!”

Here, Valmiki Maharishi portrays the outward meaning that the last portion of the payasam was given to his third wife, Sumithra Devi, after repeated thinking (Anuchintya sumithraayai punareva maheepathihi).

Here comes the in-depth meaning to this entire episode of the payasam distribution. Sumithra Devi now has two portions of the payasam. Hence she has to deliver two children. Since Sumithra Devi is a highly spiritual soul, she wishes to be blessed with one son who would be a “Bhagawad-Bhaktha” (Devotee of the Lord) and the other son to be a “Bhaagawatha Bhaktha” (Devotee of the devotee). This is how she was blessed with the twin children of Lakshmana and Shathrugna. Lakshmana was immersed into “Rama-Bhakthi” (Devotee of the Lord) and Shathrugna was immersed into “Bharata-Bhakthi” (Devotee to Bharata, who was in-turn Lord Rama’s ardent devotee).

At this juncture there’s an interesting and an important point to be noted by the viewers: The “Bhaagawata Bhaktha” is more significant than the “Bhagawat Bhaktha”, as Bhagawan himself says that He likes the “Bhaagawata Bhaktha” more than the “Bhagawat Bhaktha”. In other words, Bhagawan likes his devotee’s devotee more than he likes His direct devotees. Nammaazhwar in Tamil has beautifully brought this out:

“Arul peruvaar adiyaar tham adiyanerkku aazhiyaan!

Arul tharuvaan avaithinnaan adhu namadhu vidhi vagaye!!

Irul tharuvaan gnyaanathuyil in ippiravi yaan venden!

Marulozhi nee vada nenje vaataatraan adi vanangen!!”

In the above “Paasuram” (Paasuram means verse, in Tamil), Nammazhwaar says to Lord Vishnu, “Till now I’ve been saying that I’m your devotee, but you never looked back at me. Now, when I changed my view that I’m no longer your devotee, but I’m your devotee’s devotee, you came immediately in search of me!!” Hence from this verse, we can clearly see that the “Bhaagawatha Bhaktha” has that special significance to Bhagawan.

In this case also, we can see here that Shathrugna (The fourth son of Dasharata) is the only person who had that special status of the “Bhaagawatha Bhaktha”, because he was the ardent “Bhaktha” (Devotee) of Bharatha, who was the direct devotee of Bhagawan Shri Rama. We can see this significance in the sloka of Valmiki Ramayana itself. Valmiki Maharishi says that king Dasharata handed over the last portion of the payasam to Sumithra Devi, which is the essence of the entire payasam (Paayasasya Amrithopamam), out of which, Shathrughna was born. Hence, we can see here that the portion that Dasharata gave to Kaushalya and Kaikeyi were not the essence of the payasam. It was Sumithra Devi who was given the essence of the payasam, which gave Shathrugna (Bhaagawatha Bhaktha) to this world! Thus we can say that Valmiki Maharishi has indirectly mentioned the significance of the “Bhaagawatha Bhaktha” in this context.

Thus, after Dasharata handed over the payasam to his three wives, they became pregnant and the entire city of Ayodhya heard this good news and celebrations began. Days and months rolled by and the entire world was awaiting the birth of Bhagawan in this world! We shall also await Bhagawan’s birth till the next episode!

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