As it is normal for any one to ask questions about the utility of anything, one might raise a query on the use of listening to a discourse on the Ramayana.

The Ramayana has 24,000 verses, with each one having special significance, said Kidambi Narayanan.

It is said that listening to Bala Kandam will result in one being blessed with progeny. If one listens to Sita Kalyanam, a long postponed marriage may materialise. Listening to Paduka Pattabhishekam will make one get boons from the Lord. If one listens to the story of Guha's friendship with Rama, that person will gain the friendship of good people.

That is why many people have written the story of Rama. Besides Valmiki's Ramayana, there is the Kamba Ramayanam in Tamil. There is Tulsidas' Ram Charita Manas in Hindi and there is a Sanskrit work called Mahavira Vaibhavam about the Rama avatara. Vaishnavite Acharya Vedanta Desika composed the Raghuveeragadhyam, recording the life of Rama in verse. Kalidasa wrote the Raghuvamsa. Acharya Mudaliandan gave the essence of the Ramayana in just 10 words. Kooratazhvar wrote the Athimanushyasthavam, marvelling at Rama's greatness and Supremacy. Kulasekhara Azhvar has also composed verses about the Rama avatara.

It is said it would be good if we recite all the 24,000 verses in Valmiki Ramayana every day. If we cannot do this, we should at least recite the Sundara Kandam every day. If this is not possible, we should try to recite five or 10 verses from the Ramayana every day. If this is not possible, one must attend discourses on the Ramayana. When the Rama avatara came to an end, Hanuman said all he ever wanted was to stay back on the earth and listen to the praises of Rama. So wherever the Ramayana is being spoken of, one can be sure that Hanuman will be there.. That is why people are urged to attend Ramayana discourses and reap the benefits thereof. If Hanuman, who was present during the Rama avatara and served the Lord, is so anxious to listen to His praises, we who did not have such good fortune have more reason to listen to a Ramayana discourse.

More In: Faith | Friday Review