Every one knows that RAMAYANAM the well-known epic , was authored by VALMIKI , the great sage who lived in the same age (Yuga) of RAMA, i.e Treta Yuga. Valmiki was born into a Brahmin family. His name given by his parents was Ratnakara. But, a gang of bandits abducted him from his family when he was a small boy and was brought up by the robbers because of which he acquired all the evil qualities. He used to waylay the wayfarers at knife point and did not hesitate even to kill them if they resisted or did not surrender voluntarily. All these atrocities he perpetrated every day with the sole purpose of looking after his wife and children. One day, sage Narada and his band of disciples were passing by that way and Ratnakara stopped them and frisked them thoroughly for looting their belongings. He didn’t get anything and the whole search proved futile. Narada told him that they were sages who had renounced everything and further, asked him as to what for he was doing such a heinous crime everyday ? He replied that he was doing all these to look after his family and never brooded over the gravity of his action. He convinced him of the seriousness of his crime that he alone had to carry the bundle of all his sins. As Narada advised , he even checked up with his wife as to whether they would share the sins as they partook his booty. But, they shrugged their shoulders and expressed their helplessness. So Ratnakara enquired if there was any expiation( prayaschitam) to be rid of the committed sins. He advised him then to go on reciting the sacred name RAMA indefinitely. He ,therefore, started reciting the name and Narada too went about his way. Instead of the sacred word RAMA , he was uttering MARA, MARA continuously which cleansed him of all his accumulated sins and changed him to be a sage afterwards.
Many decades and centuries elapsed and Ratnakara was fully covered by an envelopment of VALMIKAM (ant-hill ) and was totally invisible. One day Narada and his group of disciples once again passed by the way and noticed the ant-hill. He recollected the whole incident and so just instantly wiped away the ant -hill to find a bearded man sitting in the penancing posture. He could instantly recognize it was none other than Ratnakara and woke him up. He woke up as if from a siesta ( a brief nap) and prostrated Narada who named him VALMIKI as he was retrieved from the Valmikam. Narada blessed him and left the place.
One day, Valmiki was proceeding to the Tamasa river to perform his morning ablutions. A strange sight put him to deep sorrow and agony. A hunter had shot an arrow and killed one of the crouncha couple, ( crouncha means annil pakshi or Indian love birds) the male bird that was sitting on a branch sharing love and warbling so melodiously. His resentment thundered out in the form of a hymn- sloka- as denoted under :
MAA NISHAADA PRATHISHTAAM
TWAGAMA : SASWATHISSAMAHA :
YAT CROUNCHA MITHUNAA DEKA-
MAVATHI KAAMA MOHITHAM !
” Hey hunter , you shall wander about homeless all your life as you have separated the love sharing crouncha couple with an arrow”. But, though the poem was very beautiful, Valmiki felt so sad as it came out in the form of a curse aimed at the hunter. Narada consoled him that the same poem could be converted into an auspicious one on an appropriate occasion. Brahma also advised him that the story of Rama should be written in the same style and gave him the intuitive power to visualize the whole story of Rama and compose the epic in the form of a biography. Accordingly, the entire meaning was interpreted as : Ma means Mahalakshmi. Ramayana will be remembered always through ages and even though Sita is separated by Ravana, he will be eliminated and Sita reunited with Rama and thus eternal prosperity will be restored to Ayodhya.
One day, sage Narada visited Valmiki at his hermitage and he was welcomed and extended all formal hospitalities. While exchanging pleasantries, Valmiki inquired :
“O Narada the great seer of the three worlds, is there any ideal person on earth living at present with all the virtues and noble qualities rolled together in him ? I long to hear about him out of great curiosity. You are capable of knowing such a person.”
Narada at this sudden question pondered for a moment and then said :
” O Hermit ! it is normally very difficult to find such a person with all virtues and noble qualities, but, I know of such an exemplary person with all the requisite virtues and noble qualities living contemporarily in this country. His name is Rama. He is the eldest son of king Dasaratha(Dasaratha means one who can ride his chariot to all the ten zones as well as one who has achieved absolute control over all his ten senses) who belongs to the IKSHWAKU dynasty and the present ruler of Ayodhya. Now, I will give you a detailed account of his qualities and virtues so that you can visualize and start writing his biography as he lives on” !. Narada then started describing his sterling qualities and Valmiki listened to him with great keenness and rapt attention.
“The protagonist of our contemporary time is a person with a graceful personality. He has a dark complexion. He is very tall and has a broad chest and attractive physical features. He has very broad muscular shoulders. He has symmetrical physical features. He has a conch shaped neck and strong and sturdy arms with well-muscled elbows.
As regards his intellectual aspects and aesthetic values, he is very handsome with lotus shaped eyes filled with love and compassion, chubby cheeks, very thick and dark hair, attractive smile, a charming visage and he has an over all pleasing appearance.
He is very intelligent , an eloquent orator, able administrator and a man of justice and utmost jurisprudence and discipline. He is wielding a mighty bow and carrying a quiver( the case for keeping the arrows ) on his back. He is very valorous and well known archer and a fierce fighter in the battle field. He is dreaded by even celestials. He is very soft in conversation and gifted with the quality of patience like mother earth. He has great respect for his parents and love for his consort and siblings. He can subdue wrath within no time, promote human harmony and enchant anyone with his soft conversation. He is celebrated for his absolutely impeccable manners. He has absolute restraint over his senses. Every one praises his character, decency, honesty, integrity, probity and morality. He is an epitome of humility and above all an inimitable embodiment of DHARMA the most essential quality of a just king. His only concern day and night is the well-being as well as the symbiosis between the different sections of his subjects. He is very illustrious and more eruditely in all vedas, sastras and sciences. He is a great philosopher and endowed with enough intuitive abilities. He never nurtures ill- will towards anybody, but views everybody with equanimity , rectitude and fortitude. He can face the challenge of any exigency or adversity with courage. He is like the Himalayas in regard to stability and sternness. Hi face is always bland and ambrosial like the moon. But, his face is analogous to fire at the time of wrath. His face is like the fully blown lotus that unfolds at the dawn when He wakes up and curls up when He goes to sleep at the dusk.( Rama goes to sleep by sunset every day. )He is equal to Vishnu and parallel to Brahma. He is adored and respected by everyone in Ayodhya. He is the incarnation of Lord Mahavishnu.
An exceptional and much lauded quality of Rama was that women also had equal rights and opportunities as well as freedom of expression like men and both men and women enjoyed equality in very respect during his reign.
These qualities are called the exceptional STERLING QUALITES ( KALYANA GUNANGAL ) of Rama, which can’t be found in ordinary human beings. So there is no wonder if Lord Rama possessed all these divine qualities as He Himself was an incarnation of Lord Narayana !
Now, RAMAYANAM means Rama’s Ayanam (journey ) meaning, Rama’s chivalrous journey in quest of SITA through the path of DHARMA !
In any age, dharma is of paramount importance. All Vedas hail and emphasize it’s importance as it is closely related to KARMA . It teaches one what to do and what not to do. We should emulate the good and glorious examples of Dharmaputra, Rama or Krishna and not the bad examples of Dhuryodhana, Kansa or Ravana. Dharma means, the righteous path and Adharma is the path of violence which is unsavory for an ethical life. Dharma if followed with determination will always protect an individual like a lightning rod against evil thoughts and actions which help one to refine himself in every birth and attain the rare fruit of salvation, the final stage of renouncement of Karma according to vedas. The quintessence of all religions and their scriptures upholds the glory of Dharma and teaches us to tread the right path, though the man in this Kaliyug(this is believed to be the 5552 year or so after the Kaliyug started) seems to prefer to deviate from the path of Dharma and welter in the mire of sins and repeated sins ! ( the chatur yugas are-Kruta yuga(Satya yuga), Thretha yuga, Dwapara yuga and Kaliyuga. So this is believed to be the last yuga and afterwards the chaturyuga will repeat starting with kruta yuga, with varying periods ).
Ramayana brings forth a cluster of morals in various aspects not only for the people of India but also for the whole world from the family point as well as the national point of view irrespective of religions . Rama portrays the role of an exemplary protagonist though it is difficult to emulate his noble example as a role model. It has attracted even the corporate sector as regards governance and efficient management, team spirit and achievement of the desired results or goals envisaged. It also galvanizes the team managers to develop their leadership qualities and hone up their innovative, explorative as well as communicative skills as well as to redefine their operational strategies. It can be applied in any field as a taskmaster tool to bring about a new paradigm.
Rama and Ramayanam will always be remembered as good example for all generations . Ramayanam and Mahabharatham , the classic epics, will last as long as humanity exists or as long as there is water in the oceans or as long as the Himalayas exist with its unremitting splendor or glory and majesty ! And, Valmiki will continue to shine as the first and foremost celebrated and illustrious bard ( poet ) in the whole world ! These epics and mythologies, Vedas and Upanishads are the greatest heritages of India ! They carry the divine lanterns of noble thoughts and ethics indispensable for enforcing self discipline in every human being. As the proudest citizens of this country , it is our bounden duty to preserve these legacies and perpetuate and propagate their exceptional values !
J A I H I N D