Faith

Waking up Rama

Viswamitra watches the sleeping princes — Rama and Lakshmana. He wants to teach them many mantras. The purpose of the Rama avatara has to be fulfilled. So Viswamitra is going to teach Him and Lakshmana some mantras that will be useful when they confront Ravana. If they learn these mantras, they will not feel the pangs of hunger, or the need to sleep. Whatever form the demons take, they will be unable to harm the princes. So Viswamitra wakes the princes up so that they can have their bath and then ready themselves for learning the mantras.

Usually, at the palace, Rama would be woken up with music. But that is not possible in the forest. Here, Viswamitra wakes Him up with His verses, beginning with the words, ‘Kausalya Supraja Rama.' But why does the sage compose verses to wake up only Rama and not Lakshmana? Rama is lying down on the grass, with Lakshmana beside Him. Lakshmana is an avatara of Adi Sesha, the serpent on which the Lord reclines. Could it be that Lakshmana has assumed the form of Adi Sesha, so that Rama can sleep on Him? Therefore, when Viswamitra comes to wake up Rama, he perhaps does not see Lakshmana, and so composes his verse to wake up Rama and not Lakshmana. This is one possible explanation.

Another is that Rama is so handsome that Viswamitra does not notice Lakshmana, or indeed anything else beside Rama's effulgence. But Viswamitra has seen Rama before. It is not as if he is seeing His good looks for the first time, to lose himself in it. But the answer is that hitherto, Viswamitra has seen Rama standing, sitting, walking, but never asleep. And Rama asleep is even more beautiful than He is at other times, said Adur Asuri Madhavachari. So Viswamitra does not notice Lakshmana while waking up Rama.

But why did he refer to Rama as Kausalya's son, and not as Dasaratha's son? Kausalya, as His mother, would have rocked Him to sleep. She would have sat by her child, as He slept, watching His beauty. Just one look at the sleeping Rama is enough to mesmerise Viswamitra. How lucky then must Kausalya have been to witness this every night. Hence, Viswamitra sings of Rama as Kausalya's son.


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Printable version | Sep 19, 2021 12:05:02 AM | https://www.thehindu.com/features/friday-review/religion/waking-up-rama/article2293503.ece

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