In the previous couple of episodes we were witnessing that Rama and Lakshmana were passing through the “Thaatakaa Vanam” along with Sage Vishwaamithra, wherein the demoness Thaataka confronted with Rama. He kills her with just a single arrow and in the course of that discussion we also saw the very important “Dharma” of “Pithur-Vachanam” (Being obedient to a father). Now, moving on further let us see where did the three of them proceed to and what happened next.
Sage Vishwaamithra is very pleased with the two children after the killing of Thaataka and they decided to halt at that place itself for that night. Even today, we can worship this particular place of “Thaatakaa Vanam”. This place is located some 40 kilometers to the west of the city of Buxar in the Indian state of Bihar. At this place, we can see a huge statue of Thaatakaa, as a token of highlighting the importance of this particular place. Thus, from this place the three of them proceed eastwards towards “Siddhaashramam” (The present day Buxar, in the Indian state of Bihar). It is only in the middle of this journey did Sage Vishwaamithra offer the important manthras for the various “Asthraas” (We can compare the ancient day “Asthra” to the modern day missiles. Of course, today’s missiles don’t work on manthras, but we can see that many of them work on software programming. Perhaps we might equate these software codes to the “manthras”) Valmiki Maharishi beautifully describes it as follows:
“Thaani dhivyaani bhadram te dadaam asthraani sarvashaha!
Dhanda chakram mahatdhivyam tapadaashyaami raaghava!!
Dharma chakram tatho veera kaala chakram tathai va cha!!”
In the above verses, Valmiki Maharishi says that Sage Vishwaamithra offers very important “Dhivya Asthraas” that are extremely powerful. Some of them were the “Dhanda Chakram”, “Dharma Chakram”, “Kaala Chakram” and so on. Thus, Rama obtained all the powerful Asthras from Sage Vishwaamithra and thus the three of them proceed towards the “Sidhaashramam” and reach there.
“Yesha poorvaashramo raama vaamanasya mahaathmanaha!
Iha raama mahaabaaho vishnur deva namaskruthaha”
Sage Vishwaamithra points out to the “Siddhaashramam” to Rama and Lakshmana and explains its history behind it. He says, “Oh Rama! Look at this beautiful place. This was once the ashram of ‘Vaamana Murthi’ who was an incarnation of Lord Vishnu!”
It would be very interesting for us to note the structure of the first line of the above sloka. What does the line say? “Yesha poorvaashramo raama vaamanasya mahaathmanaha!” We can read it as “Vaamanasya poorvaashramaha”! The actual meaning of this line as I had mentioned before is that, this ashram once belonged to “Vaamana Murthi” a long time back. However, the scholars who descended after Valmiki Maharishi in their commentaries, portray this sentence in a more beautiful way as follows: “Rama.. Yesha poorvaashramaha!” which means “Oh Rama! This place is your previous ashram!” It is said this way because, Rama is the incarnation of Lord Vishnu and Vamana Murthi was the incarnation of the same Lord Vishnu as well! Thus, this ashram is not only the ashram of Vamana Murthi, but also for Rama as well!
“Varshaanisu bahuneeha tathaa yuga shataani cha!
Varam varadha supreethaha daathumarhasi suvratha!!
Adithyaa devathaanaancha mama chaiva anuyaachitham!
Puthrathvam gaccha bhagawan avidhya mama chaamaka!!”
Thus, they settle down at the Siddhaashramam wherein Sage Vishwaamithra’s ashram is also located. The three of them prepare themselves for the “Yaaga” (The divine offering). Sage Vishwaamithra readies himself to commence the proceedings of the “Yaaga”, while Rama and Lakshmana stand by him to protect the “Yaaga” from the vicious demons who are constantly trying to disturb it. Thus the offering commences, and it continues on and on for the next six days and nights without a break! Rama and Lakshmana stay awake for all the six days and nights and protect the offering from any kind of disturbance!
It was only at the end of the sixth day that the two sons of Thaataka – Maareecha and Shubhaahu arrive at the venue to disturb the “Yaaga”. What did they do? Were they successful in disturbing the “Yaaga” this time as well? Let’s wait to find out in the next episode!