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Translation of Valmiki Ramayanam verse by verse in simple english prose.

- Saturday, July 05, 2014

By: P.R.Ramachander

“Ramayana” means the story of Rama and according to Hindu beliefs it was the first epic written in Sanskrit by a great sage called Valmiki , who was a contemporary of Rama.

Valmiki was a hunter who was transformed in to a sage by sage Narada. The restless Valmiki wanted to write an epic and sage Narada requests him to write about Rama. He agrees and Lord Brahma blesses him saying that he would be by his intuition able to see every incident that took place in the life of Rama. He was confused as to which metere he should adopt for writing this great book. One day he sees a hunter killing the male bird of a bird couple and the female bird cries for its mate .Valmiki is moved and tells a poem

Maa Nishada Pratistham Tvam agamah sāsvati Samaa
Yat Krauncha mithunaad ekam Avadhi Kaamamohitam
Oh hunter, you killed one of the pair of Krouncha birds in love,
And so for years to come you would never be alive.

In the Anushtup metere.. And this poem (curse) born out of intense sorrow becomes the model for the entire epic of Ramayana. Naturally the first chapter of Ramayana , is the story of Rama in a nutshell as told by Narada called Samkshepa Ramayanam . The entire story of Rama is divided in to six books (kanda) and each Kanda is further divided in to Sargas.

  • Bala Kanda ( Book of Youth) [77 chapters]
  • Ayodhya Kanda (Book of Ayodhya) [119 chapters]
  • Aranya Kanda (Book of Forest ) [75 chapters]
  • Kishkindha Kanda (The Empire of Holy Monkeys) [67 chapters]
  • Sundara Kanda ( Book of Beauty ) [68 chapters]
  • Yuddha Kanda ( Book of War ) [128 chapter)

The chapters in these books have many slokas(verses) all written in Anushtup meter. The chapters are of differing length and so too are the books. There are 24,000 slokas in the Ramayana. The shortest book with about 2000 slokas is the Bala Kanda and the biggest book is Yudha Kanda with nearly 6000 slokas . Sage Valmiki is an expert in use of Simile and metaphor and almost throughout the narrative , these are used .Valmiki also tells every incident in great detail as he loves to describe. The description of the four seasons in the forest, the great description that Sugreeva gives his monkeys about the path that they have to follow in search of Sita, the descriptions of the fauna and flora throughout the path of Rama are examples of these. Sage Valmiki prefers to concentrate on the story that he is telling about and rarely relates us stories within stories. The exceptions to this is the story of Ganges and birth of Lord Subramanya in the Bala Kanda, stories of the lineage of certain sages like Viswamithra , Rama himself , Ravana etc. It is interesting also note that for valour , Valmiki most of the times quotes Indra or the Trivikrama or Narasimha as the model. He never mentions the great wars which sage Parasurama another incarnation of Vishnu fought. The poet rarely tells in any part of the book about Rama being an incarnation of Vishnu or Lakshmana as an incarnation of Adhisesha etc or refer to for one chapter except in the BalaKanda and another chapter in the Yudha Kanda. Both these chapters do not properly merge with the narrative and are contradicted immediately . Valmiki prefers to cut off reference to a character which he thinks as not important. For example , not a single word in the entire epic is spoken by the wives of Lakshmana, Bharatha or Sathurugna and Sumithra, the mother of Lakshmana rarely speaks. Not much is spoken by Kaikeyi after Dasaratha dies and so on. He also uses different styles of expression for the characters of his narrative. For example even Rama and Lakshmana do not talk in the same style. The Talk of Sita is always sharp and impetuous and so on. Valmiki is supposed to have composed this epic in the Treta Yuga ie 869113 years ago . It is clearly mentioned in the Ramayana that the sage taught it to Lava and Kusha, who were the sons of Rama who were living with him and these two lads sing it in the assembly hall in front of Rama. But modern scholars think that Valmiki Ramayana was written only in the 3rd or 4th century BC. In the book itself the author claims that it is the first epic ever written.

He has also written in Yudha Kanda

Whichever person of this world reads or listens to this first book which is endowed with Dharma Would be blessed with fame and longevity and it would fetch victory to the kings and this first book was written by sage Valmiki. 128.107-128.108

Any person hearing about the crowning of Rama, if he needs son he will get son, if he needs wealth he will get wealth, the king would win over earth and would become a master over his enemies.128.109

Like Kausalya having Rama, Sumithra having Lakshmana, Kaikeyi having Bharata , women would become mothers to long living sons and they would be always happy and live with sons and grandsons. 128.110-128.111

Any one hearing Ramayana would get very long life and one who reads about victory of Rama will never fail in any of his actions. 128.112

He who hears this epic which was composed long ago by sage Valmiki with attention and with control over anger would be able to cross over all difficulties with ease.128.113

He who hears this epic which was composed long ago by sage Valmiki would meet all his relatives after a long journey and would become happy with their relatives.128.114

By the grace of Raghava, all the boons that they pray for would be realized and all gods would be pleased with those who listened to it. 128.115

To those living in their home, all obstacles would be removed, a king would win over earth and a man who lives outside his home would become comfortable.128.116

“Menstruating women hearing this would get matchless and excellent sons and one who worships it and reads it gets relieved of all sins and would live long. 128.117

The Kshatriyas with bent head should salute and listen to it and the Brahmins should read it every day regularly and there is no doubt that the listener and reader of the entire Ramayana will get immeasurable wealth and birth of a son. 128.118-128.119

Rama is indeed Lord Vishnu who is eternal. Rama, the chief of Raghu clan is the primeval God, the very strong Hari, the lord Narayana and Lakshmana is Adhisesha. Rama would always love you on reading this. 128.120

Please narrate this great story which occurred long- long ago without any fear. You would be safe. Let the power of Lord Vishnu increase. 128.121

By analyzing and listening to this epic all Devas would become happy with you and by listening to Ramayana, your manes would get pleased. 128.122

To those persons who write this collection on Rama written by great sages with devotion, residence in heaven is assured. 128.123

By listening to this auspicious work of literary merit one gets increase in family prosperity, increase in wealth, grains, superior women, great happiness and acquisition of wealth in this earth. 128.124

This great work should be listened to by good people seeking wisdom, long life, heath, fame, love from brothers, intelligence, welfare and splendour. 128.125

Read more: Introduction to my translation

Why to visit Temples?

- Saturday, October 19, 2013

Scientific Reason

There are thousands of temples all over India in different size, shape and locations but not all of them are considered to be built the Vedic way. Generally, a temple should be located at a place where earth's magnetic wave path passes through densely. It can be in the outskirts of a town/village or city, or in middle of the dwelling place,... or on a hilltop. The essence of visiting a temple is discussed here.

Now, these temples are located strategically at a place where the positive energy is abundantly available from the magnetic and electric wave distributions of north/south pole thrust. The main idol is placed in the core center of the temple, known as "*Garbhagriha*" or *Moolasthanam*. In fact, the temple structure is built after the idol has been placed. This *Moolasthanam* is where earth’s magnetic waves are found to be maximum. We know that there are some copper plates, inscribed with Vedic scripts, buried beneath the Main Idol. What are they really? No, they are not God’s / priests’ flash cards when they forget the *shlokas*. The copper plate absorbs earth’s magnetic waves and radiates it to the surroundings. Thus a person regularly visiting a temple and walking clockwise around the Main Idol receives the beamed magnetic waves and his body absorbs it. This is a very slow process and a regular visit will let him absorb more of this positive energy. Scientifically, it is the positive energy that we all require to have a healthy life.

Further, the Sanctum is closed on three sides. This increases the effect of all energies. The lamp that is lit radiates heat energy and also provides light inside the sanctum to the priests or *poojaris* performing the pooja. The ringing of the bells and the chanting of prayers takes a worshipper into trance, thus not letting his mind waver. When done in groups, this helps people forget personal problems for a while and relieve their stress. The fragrance from the flowers, the burning of camphor give out the chemical energy further aiding in a different good aura. The effect of all these energies is supplemented by the positive energy from the idol, the copper plates and utensils in the *Moolasthan*am / *Garbagraham*. *Theertham*, the “holy” water used during the pooja to wash the idol is not plain water cleaning the dust off an idol. It is a concoction of Cardamom,*Karpura* (Benzoin), zaffron / saffron, *Tulsi* (Holy Basil), Clove, etc...Washing the idol is to charge the water with the magnetic radiations thus increasing its medicinal values. Three spoons of this holy water is distributed to devotees. Again, this water is mainly a source of magneto-therapy. Besides, the clove essence protects one from tooth decay, the saffron & *Tulsi* leafs protects one from common cold and cough, cardamom and *Pachha Karpuram* (benzoin), act as mouth fresheners. It is proved that *Theertham* is a very good blood purifier, as it is highly energized. Hence it is given as *prasadam* to the devotees. This way, one can claim to remain healthy by regularly visiting the Temples. This is why our elders used to suggest us to offer prayers at the temple so that you will be cured of many ailments. They were not always superstitious. Yes, in a few cases they did go overboard when due to ignorance they hoped many serious diseases could be cured at temples by deities. When people go to a temple for the *Deepaaraadhana*, and when the doors open up, the positive energy gushes out onto the persons who are there. The water that is sprinkled onto the assemblages passes on the energy to all. This also explains why men are not allowed to wear shirts at a few temples and women are requested to wear more ornaments during temple visits. It is through these jewels (metal) that positive energy is absorbed by the women. Also, it is a practice to leave newly purchased jewels at an idol’s feet and then wear them with the idol’s blessings. This act is now justified after reading this article. This act of “seeking divine blessings” before using any new article, like books or pens or automobiles may have stemmed from this through mere observation.

Energy lost in a day’s work is regained through a temple visit and one is refreshed slightly. The positive energy that is spread out in the entire temple and especially around where the main idol is placed, are simply absorbed by one's body and mind. Did you know, every Vaishnava(Vishnu devotees), “must” visit a Vishnu temple twice every day in their location. Our practices are NOT some hard and fast rules framed by 1 man and his followers or God’s words in somebody’s dreams. All the rituals, all the practices are, in reality, well researched, studied and scientifically backed thesis which form the ways of nature to lead a good healthy life.

The scientific and research part of the practices are well camouflaged as “elder’s instructions” or “granny’s teaching’s” which should be obeyed as a mark of respect so as to once again, avoid stress to the mediocre brains. 

KHNA and Swamy Sathyananda Saraswathy

- Saturday, October 19, 2013

കെ എച്ച് എന്‍ എയും
സ്വാമി സത്യാനന്ദ സരസ്വതിയും

ഹ്യൂസ്റ്റണില്‍ 2003 ല്‍ നടന്ന കെ എച്ച് എന്‍ എ കണ്‍വന്‍ഷനില്‍ പങ്കെടുക്കാന്‍ മാധ്യമപ്രവര്‍ത്തകന്‍ എന്ന നിലയില്‍ എത്തിയപ്പോള്‍, സംഘടനയുടെ തുടക്കം സ്വാമി സത്യാനന്ദ സരസ്വതിയില്‍ നിന്നായിരുന്നു എന്ന അറിവ് എനിക്കുണ്ടായിരുന്നില്ല. അന്നവിടെ കേട്ട പ്രസംഗത്തില്‍ നിന്നാണ് രണ്ടുവര്‍ഷം മുന്‍പ് ഡാളസില്‍ കെ എച്ച് എന്‍ എ യ്ക്ക് ബീജാവാപം ചെയ്തത് സ്വാമിയാണെന്നറിഞ്ഞത്. കേരളത്തിലെ ഹൈന്ദവ സംഘടനാപ്രവര്‍ത്തകര്‍ക്ക് എന്നും ആവേശമായിരുന്ന സ്വാമി, അമേരിക്കയില്‍ അത്തരമൊരു പ്രവര്‍ത്തനം നടത്തിയതില്‍ അത്ഭുതമൊന്നുമില്ലായിരുന്നു. പതിവുപോലെ സുദീര്‍ഘങ്ങളായ പ്രസംഗങ്ങളായിരുന്നു സ്വാമി ഹ്യൂസ്റ്റണില്‍ നടത്തിയത്. പ്രസംഗം നീളുന്നത്, ശ്രോതാക്കളില്‍ ചിലര്‍ക്ക് അസ്വസ്ഥതയുണ്ടാക്കിയതൊന്നും സ്വാമി ഗൗനിച്ചതേയില്ല. ഹിന്ദുപാര്‍ലമെന്റ് എന്ന ആശയത്തിലൂന്നിയായിരുന്നു സ്വാമിയുടെ അന്നത്തെ പ്രസംഗങ്ങള്‍.

2005 ലെ ചിക്കാഗോ കണ്‍വന്‍ഷനില്‍ പങ്കെടുക്കാന്‍ സ്വാമിക്കോപ്പമായിരുന്നു ഞാനും പോയത്. വിമാനത്തിലും അടുത്തടുത്ത സീറ്റില്‍.അകന്നു നിന്ന് ആരാധനയോടെമാത്രം കണ്ടിരുന്ന സ്വാമിക്കടുത്തിരുന്ന് ദീര്‍ഘയാത്ര. മനസ്സില്‍ മാറാതെ കിടക്കുന്നു അത്. യാത്രയിലുടെനീളെ സ്വാമി സംസാരിച്ചുകൊണ്ടിരുന്നു. കേരളത്തിലെ ഹിന്ദുക്കളുടെ പ്രശ്‌നങ്ങളുലുള്ള ആകുലതയായിരുന്നു വാക്കുകളില്‍ മുളുവന്‍.. ഇടയ്ക്ക് മാധ്യമപ്രവര്‍ത്തകന്റെ സ്വാതന്ത്യം ഉപയോഗിച്ച് ചിലതൊക്കെ സ്വാമിയോടും ചോദിച്ചു.  ഹിന്ദു ബാങ്ക്, പുണ്യഭൂമി പത്രം, ചെങ്കോട്ടുകോണത്ത് മഹാ ക്ഷേത്രം......വലിയ പ്രതീക്ഷയോടെ തുടങ്ങിയിട്ട് മുഴിവിപ്പിക്കാനാകാഞ്ഞ സ്വാമിയുടെ പദ്ധതികളെക്കുറിച്ചായിരുന്നു പ്രധാനമായും ചോദിച്ചത്. പത്രപ്രവര്‍ത്തകന് നല്‍കേണ്ട ബഹുമാനമെല്ലാം നല്‍കികൊണ്ടുതന്നെ എല്ലാത്തിനും ഉത്തരം നല്‍കി. നിരാശയില്ലായിരുന്നെങ്കിലും കൂടെനിന്നവര്‍ വേണ്ടത്ര പിന്‍തുണ നല്‍കാഞ്ഞതില്‍ സ്വാമിക്ക് വിഷമമുണ്ടെന്ന് മനസ്സിലാക്കാന്‍ കഴിഞ്ഞു. യാത്രാമധ്യേ ഫ്രാങ്കര്‍ഫട്ട് വിമാനത്താവളത്തില്‍ കുറെ സമയം ചെലവഴിക്കേണ്ടി വന്നു. ഞാന്‍ എല്ലാവരുടെയും ഫോട്ടോ എടുത്തുകൊണ്ടിരുന്നപ്പോള്‍ നിന്റെ പടം ഞാനെടുക്കാമെന്ന് പറഞ്ഞ് സ്വാമി ക്യാമറ വാങ്ങിയത് മരക്കാനാകില്ല. ചിക്കാഗോ കണ്‍വന്‍ഷനിലും ഹിന്ദുപാര്‍ലമെന്റ് രൂപികരണമായിരുന്നു സ്വാമി മുന്നോട്ടുവെച്ചത്.
2007 ലെ ന്യൂയോര്‍ക്ക് കണ്‍വന്‍ഷനായപ്പോഴേക്കും സ്വാമി അസുഖബാധിതനായി കഴിഞ്ഞിരുന്നു.കണ്‍വന്‍ഷന് സ്വാമിക്ക് വരാനാകില്ലന്ന് ഉറപ്പായി. കണ്‍വഷനോടനുബന്ധിച്ച് പുറത്തിറക്കുന്ന രാമായണത്തിന് ആമുഖം സ്വാമിയുടേത് വേണമെന്ന ആഗ്രഹമുണ്ടായിരുന്നു. ആവശ്യപ്പെട്ടപ്പോള്‍, എഴുതാനൊന്നും വയ്യ, നീ വന്നാല്‍ പറഞ്ഞുതരാം എന്നായിരുന്നു സ്വാമിയുടെ മറുപടി. സ്വാമിയുടെ സുദീര്‍ഘമായ ആമുഖത്തോടെയാണ് രാമായണം ഇറക്കിയത്. ന്യൂയോര്‍ക്ക് കണ്‍വന്‍ഷനില്‍ ഇറക്കിയ കാസറ്റ് പ്രകാശനം ചെയതത് സ്വാമിയായയിരുന്നു. ചെങ്കോട്ടുകോണം ആശ്രമത്തില്‍ നടന്ന ചടങ്ങില്‍ ഡാളസില്‍നിന്നുള്ള ഡോ. ശ്രീകുമാറിന് നല്‍കികൊണ്ടുള്ള പ്രകാശനചടങ്ങായിരുന്നു സ്വാമിയുടെ അവസാനത്തെ പൊതുപരിപാടി. അതിനുശേഷം ഏതാനും ദിവസത്തിനുള്ളില്‍ സ്വാമി സമാധിയായി.
2009 ലെ ലോസ് ആഞ്ചലസ് കണ്‍വല്‍ഷനില്‍ പ്രദര്‍ശിപ്പിക്കാന്‍ സ്വാമിയെക്കുറിച്ച് ലഘു വീഡിയോ എനിക്ക് നിര്‍മ്മിക്കാനായത് ഗുരുദക്ഷിഷയായി കരുതുന്നു.

സ്വാമിയുടെ സാന്നിധ്യം, അത് അദൃശ്യമാണെങ്കിലും, ഇല്ലാത്ത ഒരു കെ എച്ച് എന്‍ എ കണ്‍വന്‍ഷനെകുറിച്ച് ചിന്തിക്കാനേ കഴിയില്ല.

P. Sreekumar
Janmabhumi Daily

It is better to perform one's own duties imperfectly than to master the duties of another. By fulfilling the obligations he is born with, a person never comes to grief.

The Bhagavad Gita | Krishna Quotes