Noted litterateurs associated with the Tirumala Tirupati Devasthanams (TTD) performed a play Srimad Ramayana Goshti last week at Sri Kodandaramaswami temple in Tirupati, as part of the annual Brahmotsavams.

The event was all about the dialogue between sage Valmiki on one side and the ‘Saptarishis’ (seven celestial sages) on the other. When hunter-turned-writer Valmiki gets the divine enlightenment and was bestowed upon the task of penning the Ramayana, he was utterly confused about the content. The preparatory talk with the sages, as presented in the play, was considered to have sown the seeds and set the mood for writing the epic.

Perplexed over which emperor of the Ikshwaku dynasty to start the epic from, whether Ikshwaku, Dileepa or Raghu, Valmiki first narrates the sloka ‘Ikshwaku Vamsapradhamo Ramo Nama Janaisruthaha’.

He gets a semblance of clarity, with the Saptarishis advising him to keep the epic condensed and focused. However, when he again gets into a predicament called ‘Kruthyadhavastha’ or ‘How to start the work and from where?’, the sages instil total clarity in him.

The sages Kashyapa, Atri, Bharadwaja, Viswamitra, Gautama, Jamadagni and Vasishta clear his doubts in the form of slokas on ‘Bala Kanda’, ‘Ayodhya Kanda’, ‘Aranya Kanda’, ‘Kishkinda Kanda’, ‘Sundara Kanda’, ‘Yuddha Kanda’ and ‘Uttara Kanda’ respectively. An enthused Valmiki himself gives the concluding note ‘Phalasruti’ in the form of another sloka.

Renowned litterateur Medasani Mohan, who portrayed the role of Valmiki, noted that reading the eight slokas is equivalent to reading all the 24000 slokas comprising the Ramayana.

The other roles were played by Hemanth Kumar (Kashyapa), Prasanth Sharma (Atri), B.R. Santosh (Bharadwaja), Amudala Murali (Viswamitra), E.S. Kiran (Vasishta) S.Dasaratha (Jamadagni) and K.Venu (Gautama), all of them Sanskrit and Telugu scholars. The background music by Lokanatha Reddy pepped up the show.