In the previous episode, we had witnessed that king Dasharata had replied to Sage Vishwaamithra and conveyed his decision that he is not prepared to send Rama along with Sage Vishwaamithra to his ashram in the forest. He replies in a very interesting and a through-provoking manner and it is worth re-visiting his reply with a deeper sense of meaning. Let us do this in today’s episode.
Before going into the in-depth meaning, let’s cast a re-visit on the sloka once:
“Uuna shodasa varshaha mey raamaha raajeeva lochanaha!
Na uddha yogyathaamasya pashyaami saha raakshasaihi!!”
We saw the outward meaning of the sloka yesterday wherein king Dasharata says that his son Rama, who has eyes as beautiful as a blossomed lotus flower is less than sixteen years old and is unfit to fight a war and that too with the “Raakshasaas”. Why is he using the phrase “Mey Raamaha”? Of course we saw Periyavaachaanpillai’s commentary yesterday for this, however there is an even more significant deeper meaning to this particular phrase and it goes like this: Normally when we give a “Dhaanam” (Offering) to somebody, especially to a “Rishi” (Saint), we should never give something to them by saying that this particular thing is mine! In other words, if we say that the thing that we are offering is ours, and then give it to saints, normally they would not accept it! This is why we say the following phrase while giving a “Dhaanam”:
“Braahmanaaya thubhramaham sampradathe – Idan namama!!”
This line simply means that whatever I am offering to the Brahmins or the saints is not mine (Idan namama). King Dasharata is a scholar himself and he knows all these shaastras, and hence he purposefully says “Mey Raamaha”, which simply means “My Raama”. He expects that Sage Vishwaamithra upon hearing this particular phrase, would cease to show interest in requesting for Rama anymore and leave the palace but unfortunately for him, Sage Vishwaamithra is adamant and seems to convey the message to king Dasharata that, “Just because you said Rama is yours, I want him!” 🙂 🙂
King Dasharata continues and says “Raajeeva Lochanaha”. One might think here that why is king Dasharata blabbering something like this in the given context. Here, Sage Vishwaamithra is asking Rama to come along and fight, and here what if Rama has eyes of a lotus or a sunflower or any other flower in the world? How does it going to make any sense at all here? There is a meaning attached and let us witness it.
All of us know that “Raajeeva Lochana” means “Eyes like that of a blossomed lotus flower”. Let me ask a question here: When does the lotus flower blossom? Normally in the daytime isn’t it? Normally, the flower blossoms during the day and closes itself as the sun sets in the evening around 6 PM. Now, king Dasharata says that Rama has eyes like that of a blossomed lotus. What does that mean here? It means that Rama is a small child and is awake only during the daytime. He goes off to sleep very early in the night! “Raakshasaas” are also described as “Raja-neecharaas”. It means that the “Raakshasaas” are awake and fully active only during the nighttime! Thus, king Dasharata tends to convey the message to Sage Vishwaamithra indirectly that “Rama is a child who sleeps very early and you are asking this child to go and fight the demons who are mostly awake and active only at night! This is contradictory and is never going to happen!”
Hence from the above accord, we can see the inner meaning of king Dasharata’s reply. It is thus the specialty and uniqueness of the entire Valmiki Ramayana that every sloka has some kind of an in-depth meaning in it, apart from its outward contextual meaning pertaining to the story. From the above explanation, there is also a message for all of us for this modern day! What is that message? Let us wait till the next episode to find out!