Faith

Resumption of good deeds

Sage Vashishtha praises Aditi, the presiding deity of the star Punarvasu. Aditi is Goddess Mahalakshmi, and Vashishtha says She is Savitri and Gayatri.

She is also Jagati, that is, the entire Universe is a personification of Lakshmi. Vashishtha then describes Aditi as katamaa . In Sanskrit kam means pleasure or joy. Commentator Sayanacharya explains that katamaa means She who gives superlative happiness. It is not a cheap joy, but it is a lofty joy, said V.S. Karunakarachariar, in a discourse.

The star Punarvasu is the one on which we must resume any auspicious activity that has been disrupted. When dharma was not being adhered to, and had to be re-established, Lord Narayana took the Rama avatara. Since He was going to re-establish something that was no longer being observed, the Lord chose to be born on Punarvasu, the star prescribed for the resumption of good deeds. Valmiki, while describing Rama’s birth, does not say He was born in Punarvasu. He says Rama was born in the star for which Aditi is the deity.

When yagas are performed, the twenty-seven stars are honoured. For each star a brick is laid, and a mantra is recited as the brick is laid. The mantra for Punarvasu says since Lakshmi is the deity for Punarvasu, this star glitters. The performer of the yaga prays that he too should glitter like Punarvasu, and that his fame must spread in all directions.

Rama, who came to establish dharma, listened to His own story sung by Lava and Kusa. It is not right for a person to want to hear praise of himself. How was Rama’s enjoyment of His own story dharmic? The answer to that is that the Ramayana is not the story of Rama, but the story of Seetha. Valmiki describes his Ramayana as “Seethaayaah Charitam Mahat” — the great story of Seetha, an avatara of Lakshmi.


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Printable version | May 27, 2022 10:05:55 pm | https://www.thehindu.com/society/faith/resumption-of-good-deeds/article38278138.ece