Iraamapiraanai Karpom 6.1-Yuddha Kaandam (Vibheeshana Saranagati)
Sri Paravakottai Andavan Sri Gopaladesika Mahadesikan
There has been a series of articles contributed by Sri Paravakottai Andavan, appreciating Rama's story. While so narrating the story of the Yuddha Kaanda, the first part titled as ‘Vibheeshana Saranagati,' holds significance, for readers. It is an elaboration of the ‘Philosophy of Surrender,' though the Ramayana, as a whole has a legitimate claim to be christened ‘Saranagati Sastra.'
The numerous titles of events listed, numbering around 80, would constitute a thorough chronicle of the story. Incidentally, Ramayana is a classic, revered by all scholars, even those from other religions. For example, the author of the Tamil classic, ‘Manimekhalai,' refers to Lord Rama as ‘Vedamuthalvan' who was engaged in the construction of Sethu Bridge. While on this subject, mention must be made of the assertion by Bhishma to Yudhishtra (in Mahabaratha) that out of the gifts that one might bestow on another, the most valuable one is the gift of Abhaya (no fear) granted to one who is in dire danger of death. That kind of ‘Abhaya' was given to an alien from the opposite camp, by Rama, the Great.
The central theme of the volume under review is the arrival of Vibheeshana, Ravana's younger brother, who had been driven out because he advised Ravana to send Sita to her legitimate place. Could Rama accept a Rakshasa? Would it be safe and wise? This became an issue. Rama duly consulted friends such as Sugriva, Angada, Hanuman, Jambavan, etc. who, at that time constituted his council of advisors, so to say. There was strong opposition from them in accepting the refugee. But Rama acted as a God! He decided to accept the refugee, though the latter's background was naturally not reliable. He took a calculated risk. On what considerations?
Rama quotes various instances from history how a refugee must be protected, as a duty, at all costs. He also cites that even birds evince keen regard for this dharma. His dictum, touchingly announced on that occasion, was: ‘Refuse, one should not, under any circumstance, a person who comes in the tenor of a friend. That is how Vibheeshana had come. That man might be even tainted. Abandoning him, under any circumstances would be condemned as unbefitting a good man' (This is the theme of Desika's Rahasya work namely, ‘Abhayapradaanasaara).
A verse of solemn declaration, uttered by Sri Rama on that occasion, designated as Rama Charama Slokam, is upheld as a mantra for chanting and commenting in Vaishnavite tradition. It is revered along with two other Charama slokas, namely of Krishna and Varaha.
Comparative citations from various texts from the Ramayana, especially Kamban, would prove to be interesting. Extracts from the Mahabharata, Azhwars' works, hymns of Koorathazhwar, Parasara Bhattar and Desika, Ramayana Champu, Hanuman Nataka, Adhyatma Ramayanam, Sanskrit dramas, the Pancharatra text called Lakshmitantram, Manusmriti, etc. abound on page after page. When Sanskrit quotations are given, they find transliterated in Tamil too. The lucid explanation, the simple Tamil style of the great saintly author, as also the devoted service of disciples who have achieved the publication in print must all be complimented.
One looks forward to the next in the series, ‘Rama Pattabhishekam.' Tamil readers will find the book as a great intellectual treat.