Dharmic gems from Sundara Kandam Part - I
Dharma Brings HappinessV.Prabhakar Rao Singapore, Aug 2009
Dharmic gems from Sundara KandamThe Sundara Kandam is that chapter in Ramayana which describes the heroism of Anjaneya, who valorously crossed the sea to enter Lanka, discover Sita Devi, defeated many rakshasas, set fire to Lanka and returned to the south Indian shore. The Kandam reaches its conclusion with Anjaneya reporting to Sri Rama about the discovery of Sita Devi. Hindus, for centuries, have been considering Ramayana as an epic scripture and Sundara Kandam as the most essential part of it. It is said that its study is considered equal to the study of the whole Ramayana.
I would like to share with the readers the dharmic gems, in this auspicious divinely Kandam, that never fail to inspire me every time I read this text or even think about it.
Shri Gurubyo NamahaMukunda bhakthyai gurubhakthi jayai satham prasathyai cha nirantharayai Gareeyaseem viswaguror visutthaam vakshyami vayor avathara leelam Sri SuMadhwa Vijayam
Dharmic gems from Sundara KandamFrom Sarga 1 Powerful BeginningSundara Kandam begins with Sri Hanuman taking off from the Mahendra parvatham in the southern shore of bharath, on his way to Lanka. Valmikis slokas in this sarga are a set of wonderful descriptions of this powerful beginning. Valmiki says the Mahendra Parvatham started shaking under the power of Hanuman. Sri Vadhiraja Swamy says in his Theertha Prabhandha while writing about Mahendra Parvatham, that when Hanuman took off from it the mountain sank inside the earth partly. And that the mountain was sent inside the earth as a messenger with a message to Boomadevi that she is not to worry about the welfare of her daughter (Sita Devi), since Hanuman has taken off on this very mission and success is assured. . The sloka Dharaniriva . (Theertha Prabhandha ch 4/ sl 31).
Thatho ravananeethayaha (ch.1 : sl.1)
Dharmic gems from Sundara KandamFrom Sarga 1 Gratitude
In sarga 1 of this Kandam slokas 86 to 128 highlight the dharma of not forgetting the help received at a critical time and to reciprocate it in ones own way at an appropriate time. Samudraraja demonstrates his gratitude to the Ishvaku vamsa for the help he had received from an Ishvaku ancestor (Sagara), by asking Mainaka parvatham to come out of the ocean and provide a brief resting place for Hanuman, who is on a mission for Sri Rama. Mainaka parvatham too has its own gratitude to show to Hanuman, for the help it had received from Vayudeva. And then Hanuman rightly declines (sloka 129) Mainakas invitation, since it is not appropriate to waste valuable time by taking rest while on an important mission. Kruthecha prathikarthavyamesha .. (ch.1 : sl.112) In this sloka Mainaka parvatham refers to veda which states that reciprocating a good deed with another good deed is an anadi dharma.
Dharmic gems from Sundara KandamFrom Sarga 12 Power of positive ThinkingSarga 12 slokas 1 to 9 describe how Hanuman starts to feel distressed at not finding Sita Devi in spite of his extensive search. He even starts doubting whether Sita Devi is no more. And begins to visualise the disastrous effect of his returning without success in his mission. Then in slokas 10 & 11 he re-motivates himself. He tells himself that it is positive thinking (and the resulting enthusiasm) which leads one to wealth, prosperity and it is that which drives every mission forward. Whatever one does becomes productive if it is backed by this enthusiasm. Thus, Hanuman, rededicates himself to his mission of searching for Sita Devi, with renewed enthusiasm and self belief.
Anirveda sriyo moolam .. (ch.12 : sl.10 & 11) In these two slokas Hanuman praises the power of enthusiasm (positive thinking).
Dharmic gems from Sundara KandamFrom Sarga 13 Need to pray God before commencing a projectAfter one more bout of unsuccessful search, sarga 13 finds Hanuman once again seized by the concern that perhaps Sita Devi is no longer alive. In slokas 1 to 54 his state of depression is described elaborately by Sage Valmiki. But in the very next sloka (55) Hanuman realises the existence of Asoka Vanam and the fact that he had not hitherto included it in his search. He steadies his mind and readies himself to search for Devi in this Asoka Vanam. Before doing so he thinks to himself as to why his search so far did not yield any result. The thought strikes him that he must have committed some mistake. He meditates upon this thought and realises that he had not prayed to Sri Rama before taking off from Mahendra Parvatham. So, he stands up and with folded hands and prays to Sri Rama, Sri Sita Devi, Sri Lakshmana and other devathas as well as to Sugreeva (slokas 59 & 60).
Namosthu Ramaya sa Lakshmanaya . (ch.13 : sl.59 & 60)
Dharmic gems from Sundara KandamFrom Sarga 16 Inevitability of FateFinally, in Asoka Vanam, Hanuman has the darshan of the very dignified lady surrounded by rakshasis. And he quickly guesses that it must be Sita Devi. Looking at the very unhappy state of Sita Devi, Sage Valmiki says that Hanuman actually wept (Ch 16 : sl 2). The sloka 3 highlights Anjaneyas realization that if this can happen to one who is worshipped by Lakshmana who himself is extremely respectful towards elders and teachers, and one who is the consort of Sri Rama Himself, then it should be clear that no one can escape fate. Again, in the same chapter, Hanuman contemplates on the divinity of her birth, the greatness of her father King Janaka, the exalted position of her being the first daughter in law of the heroic emperor Dasaratha and most importantly her being the wife of the Great Sri Rama, the powerful upholder of dharma. And even she cannot escape the impact of a bad time (sl 15-17). And in the very next sloka, Hanuman tells himself that Time which dishes out the karmaphala is itself an aspect of the Supreme Lord (sl 18)
Manya Guruvineethasya . (ch.16 : sl.3) Dharmagnyasya kruthagnyasya (Ch.16 : sl.18)
Dharmic gems from Sundara KandamFrom Sarga 21 ThrunamSarga 21 is an outstanding chapter with many dharmic lessons. Right in the second sloka Valmiki says that Sita Devi threw a piece of grass (thrunam) in front of her and looking at it, started addressing Ravana. Herein she has implied many messages. That she does not want to face Ravana and speak. That Ravana is worth only a piece of grass in her eyes. That she does not value her own life beyond that of a piece of grass meaning she does not care for the threat to her life from him.
Dhukkartha rudhathi sita . (ch.21 : sl.2)
Dharmic gems from Sundara KandamFrom Sarga 21 ManahaThe third sloka of this sarga is another gem. Here Sita Devi advises Ravana to turn his mind away from her and to involve his mind in his own family. Many elders and scholars have highlighted an unique hidden meaning in this sloka. Sage Valmiki uses the word manaha (mind) twice in this sloka. First time in the sense of turning it away from Sita. Now if you turn the word mana: it becomes namaha. So the hidden meaning is that Jagatmatha Sita Devi advises him to turn his mind towards doing namaskara to Her. Nivartthaya mano maththaha . (ch.21 : sl.3)
Dharmic gems from Sundara KandamFrom Sarga 21 Brahmana & Brahma VidyaIn the seventeenth sloka of this sarga, Sita Devi declares to Ravana that she is the consort of Vasudhapathi Sri Rama just as Brahmana and Brahmavidya are inseparable. Many messages are implied here. Vasudhapathi refers to both the King of the land Sri Rama and Sri Narayana who is the Lord of Sri Boodevi. And Sita Devi implies she is the consort of Sri Rama who is Sri Narayana Himself. Through this sloka Valmiki also declares that a Brahmin should be wedded to Brahma Vidya (Om Athatho Brahma Jignyasa).
Ahamoupayikee bharya thasyaiva . (ch.21 : sl.17)
Dharmic gems from Sundara KandamFrom Sarga 28 God leads you in the right directionThe highly distressed Sita Devi decides to give up her life. In the final sloka (51) of Ch 26 Valmiki says that Sita Devi reaches this decision due to her extreme sorrow in being away from the very affectionate Sri Rama and due to her being a captive of Ravana. In Sarga 28 Sloka 17 the Sage says that Sita Devi selects the excellent simsupa tree, the very tree where Hanuman was present, to hang herself. But in spite of the obviously unhappy circumstances, this sloka has many auspicious words and auspicious messages. Valmiki refers to the tree blooming with flowers. According to elderly scholars, the sage is implying that Hanuman on the tree is the flower and is a precursor to the arrival of the fruit that Sri Rama is. Sita choosing this tree, without knowing about Hanumans presence in it, is a proof that for good people when good times arrive God leads them to the right place.
Ithiva Devi bhahutha . (ch.28 : sl.17)
Dharmic gems from Sundara KandamFrom Sarga 29 Divine PoetryThe very first sloka (1) of Sarga 29 is sheer divinely poetry. What else can it be when the subject of the poem is Sita Devi and the author is Valmiki! When Sita Devi decides to hang herself to death, she starts experiencing auspicious signs and good omens. Here Valmiki goes into his inspired poetry thus: Her sorrow is indescribable. She never leaves Sri Rama (obviously he means in her thoughts since she is physically away from Him already). Her sorrow is new (meaning she is not used to sorrow). She has the worlds approval since her way of life at this stage is appropriate to one who is away from her husband. She has even forgotten whatever joy she has enjoyed in her life before this. Even if happiness comes her way she does not have any place to give to happiness (so dejected she is). And SARVA MANGALA RUPINI. This last statement apparently conflicts with all that is said so far. But that is Sita Devi. And then this final out