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SundarakAndam is sundaram Page. 2

After mentioning that he was Rama’s messenger and that Rama was eager to secure her from her imprisonment and was fully capable of it, the great Hanuman talks about Lakshmana.

लक्ष्मणः च महातेजा भर्तुः ते अनुचरः प्रियः |

कृतवान् शोक सम्तप्तः शिरसा ते अभिवादनम् || ५-३४-४

‘The follower and favorite brother of your husband, the splendorous Lakshmana, himself tormented with grief, saluted you with his head’

mahaatejaaH, anucharaH, shoka santaptaH are the words Hanuman selected to qualify Lakshmana..  And ‘he did abhivaadanam to you,  shirasaa’.

It is natural that Sita’s thoughts, next to her husband, would have been around Lakshmana, who, like her, opted willingly to follow Rama and Sita to the forest and served most unselfishly the couple, throughout their living together. When Maricha screamed imitating Rama’s voice and Lakshmana assured Sita that it could be nothing but deceptive, she disbelieved him , abused and chased him to go for Rama’s help. Despite that, he took the precaution of drawing a protective line and asked her never to cross it, which she did for her ruin. The feeling of misunderstanding a noble and unselfish brother-like was bound to pinch her mind and she could have even gone to the extend of assuming that Lakshmanan would have never excused her for her ill treatment. It is to assuage that feeling Hanuman tells her that Lakshmanan still continues to nourish the same respect he had earlier and salutes you with all humility.

There was a concealed message. Lakshmanan is still with your husband! He still continues to be AnucharaH- walks with Rama! Don’t worry about your husband’s safety and daily needs- the best medicine for a wife, separated since months.

Spirituality is subtle in Valmiki’s RAmAyanam. The Adikavi recognizes Sri Rama as an incarnation of Mahavishnu but his treatment of Rama in his epic is, as an ideal son, ideal brother, ideal husband, ideal King, super archer and above all a Dharma purusha or superman of righteousness.  It is humanness more than divinity highlighted in the great work, which is a faithful narration of the life of the great Rama, his wife, siblings, father, mothers and others with whom he had to come into contact by design or by accident. We read the book as a Royal history or biography and there are other studies like geography, civics etc. too. Every character, every incident is more or less what happens even today in our country and outside. It can happen even in our homes. There are a few lines where the head queen Kousalia complains that the junior queens are not giving her due respect. Lakshmana threatens to chop of his father’s head for succumbing to the greedy dictation of his favorite queen. Mandara, an ordinary servant woman could play such a havoc in the royal kingdom which caused the loss of a mighty King and irreparable damage to millions, near and far! And the hunchback was neither Dhuryodhana, Sakuni or Dhrutarashtra- just a servant, invalid, old woman! Remember, this is a 5000 year- old story ! But, the difference is that the hero of the epic and many others sacrificed their lives, comforts, fortunes to uphold Dharma, come what may!  That is how Vamiki RAmAyanam became a spiritual book.

Sita could have said, ‘sorry Ram. You obey the orders of your cranky dad, but why should I? Buy a ticket for my natal home by the next available flight’.

So too, Lakshmana. ‘Annayya, nu poi ra- you carry on’ .

And will there be another fool like Bharatha, who threw away the golden crown offered in a golden platter? If the characters had behaved as many of us would be doing, we would have lost an invaluable life guide, an indestructible lighthouse like RAmAyanam.

Adyadmaramayanams in vernaculars, as the name suggests are deep in Adyadmeekam, spiritual, Devine thinking. Tunjathu Ezuthatchan, for example never allowed to slip an opportunity to sing the glory of Sri Rama. The book commences with

RamanAmam, recitation and repetition of Rama’s name.

‘Sri Rama Rama Rama Sri Ramachandra jaya,

Sri Rama Rama Rama Sri Ramabadra jaya—–

There are many hymns, songs on the glory of Sri Rama, all of them melt the heart of devotees. Ahalya, Kabandhan, Shabhari and many other characters, forget themselves by singing Rama’s greatness. 

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