Devatas question Sri Rama

According to the lords and protectors of the Universe, Sri Rama appeared to neglect the dangerous and tragic step that Sita took in falling into fire. They felt such neglect and indifference were common traits of ordinary human beings. Naturally, they questioned him about the propriety of remaining silent to act of self-immolation by Sita taking even the devatas by storm!

 

Rama responds

“Devatas!” said Sri Rama, “I know I am a human being and a son of Dasharata. But who really am I? For what benefit have I been ushered into existence? If you know anything, kindly enlighten me :

Aatmaanam maanusham manye Raamam Dasharataatmajam,

Yo-aham yasya yataashchaham Bhagavaamstad-braveetu me.” (Sar. 117; Sl:11)

 

Brahma uvaacha:

In response to Rama’s query, the foremost among the knowers of Brahman, namely, creator Brahma, started giving a detailed account of Rama’s antecedents and realities:

“Champion of Truth!” said Brahma. “Listen to my truthful words:

Bhavannaaraayano devaha

Sreemaamschakraayudho vibhuhu,

Eka-shringo Varaahastwam

Bhootabhavyasapatnajith. (Sar. 117; Sl: 13)

Raghava! You are the affluent, all pervading, all-powerful Narayana wielding the chakra, You are also the Varaaha with the singular horn. You are the one who had in the past conquered the enemies of devatas and who will continue to conquer their future enemies too.

 

Brahma explained further:

“Aksharam Brahma Sathyam cha

Madhye cha-ante cha Raaghava

Lokaanaam twam paro dharmo

Vishwaksenaschaturbhujaha:- (Sar. 117; Sl:14)

Raghava! You are verily the indestructible Parabrahman. You are the reality at the beginning, middle and end of creation. You are par excellence the personification of dharma for all the worlds. You are the Vishwaksena and also the four-armed Sri Hari.

 

Shaarngadhanvaa Hrisheekeshaha

Purushah Purushottamaha,

Ajitaha khadga-dhrig-Vishnuhu

Krishnachaiva brihabdalaha (Sar. 117; Sl: 15)

You are also Hrishikeesha, the one adorned by a bow called ‘Shaarnga’, the in-dwelling Purusha, superior to all purushas, the unconquerable and Maha Vishnu adorned by the sword ‘Nandaka’, besides the super-powerful Krishna.

 

Senaaneergraamaneeshcha twam

Buddhihi satvamkshama damaha,

Prabhavashchaapyayashcha twam-

Upendro Madhusudanaha (Sar. 117; Sl: 16)

You are Skanda, Commander-in-chief of Devatas, army, leader of the rural folk-lore and folks, the innate instrumentality in the functions of the five elements, the one in whom there is harmonious conglomeration of wisdom, truth, mercy and conquest of sensory perceptions; you are indeed the cause of creation and destruction, you are Vaamana (The Upendra) and you are also the one who killed the rakshasa called Madhu.

 

Indrakarmaa Mahendrastwam

Padmanaabho ranaantakrit,

Sharannyam sharanam cha

Twaamaahurdivyaa maharshayaa:- (Sar.117; Sl: 17)

Like Indra, you are the protector of all the worlds. You are the one endowed with the superlative kind of wealth. You have the lotus in your navel and as such my parents too. You are in fact the killer of enemies in all battles. You are according to the great Maharshis, the one fittest to surrender oneself to and the source of ultimate refuge.

 

Sahasrashringo Vedaatmaa

Shatasheersho maharshabhaha,

Twam thrayaanaam hi lokaanaam

Aadikartaa swayam prabhuhu (Sar. 117; Sl: 18)

You are the form of Sama Veda with a thousand branches. You have a hundred heads for divine dispensation. You are unique among the purushaas. You are the first creator of three worlds. You have lordship over all of them. You have no lords.

 

Siddhaanaamapi saadhyaanam

Aashrayaschaasi poorvajaha,

Twam yajnastwam vashatkaarastwam

Onkaraha paramthapa (Sar. 117; Sl: 19)

Thapasvi great! For both the liberated and those on the path of liberation, you are the anterior phenomenon and the sole refuge. You are the yajna! You are the symbol of Vashat in sacrificial offerings. You are also the embodiment of ‘Aum’.

(The Vedic hymn “Yajnovai Vishnuhu’ proclaims that yajna himself is Vishnu)

 

Prabhavam nidhanam vaa

the na viduhu ko bhavaaniti

Drishyase sarvabhooteshu

Braahmaneshu cha goshu cha (Sar. 117; Sl: 20)

Nobody knows your origin or culmination for that matter who you are. You are the one manifesting in cows, brahmins and verify in all living beings.

 

Dikshu sarvaasu gagane

parvateshu vanesha cha

Sahasracharanaha Sreeman

shatasheershaha sahasradik (Sar. 117; Sl: 21)

You are the one pervading in all directions. In the sky, in the hills and the forests. Affluent as you are, you are endowed with hundreds of heads, legs and eyes.

 

Twam dhaarayasi bhootaani

vasudhaam cha saparvataam

Ante prithivyaaha saleele

drishyase twam mahoragaha (Sar. 117; Sl: 22)

You are possessed of such strength as to sustain the earth with all its living beings and the mountains. At the time of the deluge when the earth goes beneath water, you become the Seshasaayee in oceanic waters.

 

Threen  lokaandhaaryan-Rama

devagandharva daanavaan,

Aham the hridayam Rama

iihawaa devee Saraswatee (Sar. 117; Sl: 23)

Rama! You are Sriman Narayana pervading the three worlds (lokas) and innate in devatas, gandharvas and daanavas. I am within you in the form of your heart and Saraswathi too in the form of your tongue.

 

Devaa gaatreshu romaani

Brahmanaha nirmitaa prabho,

Nimeshaste bhaved-raathri-

unmeshaste bhaved-divaa (Sar. 117; Sl: 24)

The devatas created by me as Brahma are comparable in stature to your hair. If you close your eyes, it is night and if you open them, it comes to be called day.

 

Samakaaraaste-bhavan-vedaa

na tadasti twayaa vinaa,

Jagatsarvam shareeram the

sthairyam the vasudhaathalam (Sar. 117; Sl: 25)

Vedas are the two facets of your breath. They preach the lessons of the material and spiritual paths. Bereft of you, these have no existence. This universe is your body. This earthly world is the strength of your mind.

 

Agnihi kapaha prasaadaste

Somaha Sreevatsalakshanaha,

Twaya lokaastrayaha kraantaa

puraane vikramaistribhihi

Mahendrasscha krito raajaa

Balim badhwaa sudaarunam (Sar. 117; Sl: 26)

The lord of fire Agni stays in you in the form of anger and moon manifests in the form of pleasant mood. You are none other than the Sriman Narayana in the form of the symbol of Srivatsa adorning the centre of your chest. In the past, at the time of your incarnation as Vaamana, you assumed the gigantic form of Trivikrama with your three legs covered all the three worlds crushing the great source of fear, Bali, only to reinstate Mahendra as the Lord of three worlds.

 

Seethaa Lakshmeer-Bhavaan-Vishnur

devaha Krishnaha Parjaapatihi,

Vadaartham Ravanasyeha pravishto

maanusham thanum

Tadinam nah kritam kaaryam

thwayaa dharmabhritaam vara (Sar. 117; Sl: 27,28)

Sita devi is verily the great Maha Lakshmi. You are indeed deva-deva Maha Vishnu. Veritably you are Krishna in Satchit-ananda form and Prajapati. You have incarnated yourself as a man in order to kill Ravana. Great among dharma-atmas! You have fulfilled our mission

 

Nihato Raavano Rama

Prahrishto divamaakrama,

Amogham balaveeryam the

amoghaste paraakramaha (Sar. 117; Sl: 29)

Rama! You have killed Ravana and completed our task. Now with a tranquil mind you may get into your abode of divinity. Deva! Your strength is invincible. Your courageous endeavours will never be in vain.

 

Amogham darshanam Raama

amogha-stava samstavaha

Amoghaste bhavishynti

bhaktimantashcha ye naraaha (Sar. 117; Sl: 30)

Your darshan is the most sacred one. Equally great is your stotra. Those who have faith in you will reap a harvest of excellent benefits in this world and quickly too.

 

Ye twaam devam dhruvam

bhaktaaha puraanam purushottamam,

Praapnuvanti sadaa kaamaniha

loke paratra cha (Sar. 117; Sl: 31)

Whoever worships you – as you are the top – most among men, the permanent one, the legendary hero and God of Gods with intense devotion – will release not only earthly ambitions but also fulfil their spiritual aspirations in the other world.

 

Idamaarsham stavam divyam

itihaasam puraatanam,

Ye naraaha keertayishyanti

naasti theshaam paraabhavaha (Sar. 117; Sl: 32)

Whoever sings everyday this stotra (Sar: 117; Sl: 13 to 32) which is authored by Rishis, historical, divine and ancient, will experience no defeat as such in life!

 

An Assessment

Brahma enlightened Sri Rama about his (the latter’s) true identity in order to make him realize the purpose of his life as an incarnation of Maha Vishnu. The undercurrent of thought in the Narayana Stava (Sl. 13 to 32) spelt out by Brahma was how Rama, as an incarnation of Vishnu could be oblivious to Sita falling into fire in a state of total depression and disillusionment; instead of preventing the extreme step taken by Sita, Rama’s suspicion and rejection drove her to commit the desperate act, beyond all shadow of doubt, that makes this episode of Sita entering the fire the most poignant one and what according to this author is the real climax of Ramayana. As in ancient legendary history, the killing of the villain of the piece by God such as Ravana by Maha Vishnu in the incarnation of Rama was a foregone conclusion. Poetic justice overlook Ravana. Although that was the purpose behind the avatar, the real climax that surfaced itself and one that made everyone unhappy was the cloud of suspicion hanging over Sita’s head for no fault of her own – like the sword of Damocles! Sita’s step took the whole world of men and Gods by storm. It made the heavenly beings descend to earth. In reality, it was the climax!

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