The Rig Vedic Ramayana - 1
anandhudli at HOTMAIL.COM
Thu Apr 6 10:16:16 CDT 2000
|| shrI gaNeshAya namaH ||
|| shrI sAMbaparameshvaramUrtaye namaH ||
|| shrI-rAmachandra-parabrahmaNe namaH ||
rAmAyaNadrumaM naumi rAmaraxAnavAN^kuram.h |
gAyatrIbIjamAmnAyamUlaM moxamahAphalam.h ||
(nIlakaNTha's commentary on the
I bow to the tree of rAmAyaNa that has a new bud
called the rAma-raxA-stotra, that which has the
the gAyatrI (mantra) as its seed (bIja), that which has its
roots in the Vedas, and that yields the great fruit of mokshha!
kushiilavau tu dharmaGYau raajaputrau yashasvinau |
bhraatarau svarasampannau dadarsha aashramavaasinau ||
sa tu medhaavinau dR^ishhTvaa vedeShu pariniShThitau |
vedopabR^ihmaNaarthaaya taavagraahayata prabhuh ||
kaavyaM raamaayaNaM kR^itsnaM siitaayaashcharitaM mahat.h|
paulastya vadhamityeva chakaara charitavrataH||
The princes, the brothers, Kusha and Lava, were knowledgeable about
Dharma and were glorious. Their voices were melodious and they lived
in the hermitage of (vAlmIki). He (vAlmIki), established in good deeds,
observed those two extremely intelligent (princes), skilled in the Vedas,
and for the sake of expounding the Vedas, he composed and made them study
the poem sampUrNa-rAmAyaNa (the entire rAmAyaNa) (containing) the great
story of sItA and the slaying of rAvaNa.
These verses from the vAlmIki-rAmAyaNa clearly show that the sage
vAlmIki composed the rAmAyaNa to expound the meaning of the Vedas.
Since rAmAyaNa is based on the Vedas, there must be mantras in the
Vedas that correspond to the immortal story of rAma. It is with this
objective that nIlakaNTha, the great commentator on the mahAbhArata,
has presented, with his own wonderful commentary, the mantra-rAmAyaNa.
The mantra-rAmAyaNa is a compilation of Riks from the R^ig Veda that
narrate the story of rAma or the rAmAyaNa.
Now, why is it said that the supremely sacred gAyatrI mantra is the
seed (bIja) of the rAmayaNa tree? nIlakaNTha says:
ata eva rAmAyaNe chaturvimshatisAhasrAyaM chaturvimshatigAyatryaxarANi
For this reason, vAlmIki bases the twenty-four thousand verses of the
rAmAyaNa on the twenty-four akshhara's (syllables) of the gAyatrI mantra
(of the Vedas).
nIlakaNTha quotes from the agastya-saMhitA to further support the fact
that the rAmAyaNa story is drawn from the Vedas:
vedavedaye pare puMsi jAte dasharathAtmaje |
vedaH prAchetasAdAsIt.h sAxAdrAmAyaNAtmanA |
tasmAdrAmAyaNaM devi veda eva na saMshayaH ||
When the Supreme Being, known through the Vedas, was born as the son
of dasharatha (rAma), the Veda (manifested itself) through the (mouth)
of the sage prAchetasa directly as the rAmAyaNa. Therefore, O devi,
the rAmAyaNa is the Veda itself, without a doubt.
nIlakaNTha is well known as the commentator par excellence of the
mahAbhArata. He hailed from what is modern day Kopargaon in the state
of Maharashtra but he is said to have settled down in Varanasi, where
he wrote his commentary on the 'bhArata called the "bhAratabhAvapradIpa."
This commentary is also known as the "nIlakaNThI." This famous
commentary on the bhArata is said to have been written towards the
end of the 17th century C.E.
nIlakaNTha compiled a collection of mantras from the R^ig Veda that
correspond to the story of rAma. This collection is called the "mantra-
rAmAyaNa." I will present a few of these mantras from the R^ig Veda,
with notes from nIlakaNTha's commentary, "mantra-rahasya-prakAshikA."
The rAmAyaNa can be told in as many as 24,000 verses as in the vAlmIki
rAmAyaNa or in just one verse as in the eka-shlokI-rAmAyaNa which
captures all the main events of the epic such as rAma's exile to the
forest, killing of the golden deer, the kidnapping of sItA, the death
of jaTAyu, the meeting with sugrIva and the punishment of vAlI, the
crossing of the oceana and burning of laN^kA by HanumAn, and finally
the slaying of rAvaNa and kuMbhakarNa:
Adau rAmatapovanAdigamanaM hatvA mR^iga-kAJNchanam.h
vaidehIharaNaM jaTAyumaraNaM sugrIva-saMbhAshhaNam.h |
vAli-dushhTa-nigrahaNam samudrataraNaM laN^kAdAhanam.h
pashchAt.h rAvaNa-kuMbhakarNa-hananaM etaddhi rAmAyaNam.h ||
The mantra-rAmAyaNa itself has more than 150 Riks. But I will present
a few of them summarizing the immortal story of rAma.
First, there arises the question: does the name "rAma" occur in the
veda and in what context?
R^ig Veda 10.93.14 (maNDala 10, sUkta 93, Rik 14) says:
pra tadduHshIme pR^ithavAne vene pra rAme vochamasure maghavatsu |
ye yuktvAya pa.ncha shatAsmayu pathA vishrAvyeshhAm.h ||
In yajnas of wealthy kings such as duHshIma, pR^ithavAna, vena, and
the powerful rAma, I utter hymns to the gods who travel by 500 chariots
drawn by horses in the world of the gods, and who are fond of us (humans).
Here, the qualifier asura applied to rAma should be taken to mean
balavAn or powerful (not demon) as sAyaNAchArya says.
hara namaH pArvatIpataye hara hara mahAdeva!
bhava shankara deshikame sharaNam
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