Rama Siva Rama Siva
All puranas, in any case the eighteen main ones, are believed to have been written by Vedavyasa. Brahmanda purana is one of them and the highly revered version of Ramayana known as Adhyatma Ramayana is part of one of its khandas, known as Uttara khanda.
But Vyasa follows a reporter’s role in writing this sacred story. It is written in the form of a conversation between Sri Mahadeva (Siva) and his divine consort, Devi Parvati. In a sense therefore, Siva is the author of this story of Rama, whose very name he adores.
‘Sri Rama Rama Rameti rame Rame Manorame’ he is quoted as having said elsewhere in another Vyasa creation (The phalasruti of Sri Vishnu Sahasranama in the Mahabharata.)
In the first sarga of Balakanda in Adhyatma Ramayana, Siva tells Parvati, in Slokas 17 and 18,
‘Sri Ramachandra is the para principle. He is beyond prakriti. He has no beginning. He is full of bliss. He is the non-dual, the only paravastu. He is Purushottama.
He has created all these worlds by exercising his Maya. Like space itself he is both within and outside all of his creation. He also resides in the hearts of all created living beings as antaryami. He activates all living and non living creation entirely as his lila.’
In the first four slokas of the fourth sarga of Yuddhakanda, Sri Mahadeva reports his hero’s sincere homage paid to him as Isvara:
O Parvati, as soon as Nala and the Vanaras started to build the Setu across the sea, right there on the shore Rama installed an image of Kailasapati with the name Sri Ramesvara. Sri Rama paid homage to the image and spoke as follows for the welfare of the people of the world:
‘Those who have holy Darsana of Sri Paramesvara, who is known as Sri Ramesvara here, and then offer worship to this Setu, will, by my Grace, get rid of all their sins including even brahmahatti-dosha.
If they fulfil a vrata sankalpa consisting of 1) a holy bath at Setubandha, 2) Sri Paramesvaradarsana, 3) sankalpa of sacred yatra (Aa-Setu-Varanasi), 4) the trip to Varanasi, bringing holy Ganga water from there, 5) doing abhisheka of Sri Ramesvara (Ramanatha) and 6) then once again a holy bath in the sea at Setu, they will certainly reach parabrahma (at the end of their current janma).’ (The sequence is Rama’s, in Siva’s words, in turn in Vedavyasa’s words, but the numbering has been done by me.)
Sri Rama Charit Manas sung by Sant Tulsidas has its introductory sankalpa running like this:
‘Of this story of Sri Rama, known by the name, Manasa-Ramayana, Lord Siva, the sages Kakabhusundi and Yajnavalkya along with Gosvami Tulasidasa are the seers. Sri Rama, united with his consort Sita, is the deity. The name Rama is the seed. Devotion which cures the sickness called samsara is the sakti. The viniyoga or purpose of the parayana is to ward off all evils and accomplish all proper desires through the Grace of Sri Sitarama.’
A good part of Tulasi Ramayan is conveyed, by the Sant and his two rishi-narrators, in the form of Isvara’s conversation with Parvati, just as in Adhyatma Ramayana. The Sant follows the story thread also substantially from the Adhyatma text.
The whole text is considered a manasa lake in which each kanda is a descent for a sacred dip. The construct is in the form of clusters of verses which could consist of 8 to 16 lines each of which is followed by a two liner (doha). In the Lanka-kanda corresponding to Adhyatma Ramayana’s Yuddha-kanda, which is the sixth descent, the second and third clusters, right after the obligatory invocatory verses, include the following episode.
The Vanaras brought huge hills, which were received like play-balls by Nala and Nila and used skilfully. When the All-Merciful (Rama) finally saw the very beautiful construction of the bridge, he smiled and said, ‘This spot is most attractive and this Setu is truly great. Its glory can neither be measured nor described in words. I shall install an image of Lord Sambhu here. This act is my heart’s ultimate desire.’ Hearing this, the monkey chieftains dispatched a number of messengers to invite famous rishis and scholars for the occasion.
When they had all arrived, Rama installed a murti of Siva and offered worship to it as prescribed. He said, ‘I do not count a second person as dear to me as Siva. Anyone who does not like him cannot be my devotee. Such a person cannot aspire to reach me even in a dream. A person foolish enough to call himself my devotee while turning his face away from Siva will certainly go to hell.’
‘Hell indeed will be the residence of the unfortunates who can love only one of us while turning against the other.’
‘Persons who have Sri Ramesvara-darsan will realize my world, when they relinquish their bodies in their present janma. A person who gets to pour the Ganga’s water on Siva’s murti here is bound to get liberation through absorption into my being. Whoever adores Sankara without any material desire and with sincerity will be turned by him into a devotee of mine. Whoever is privileged to see this bridge erected by me will effortlessly cross the ocean of samsara.’
These words brought great joy to the hearts of all the rishis, who then returned to their hermitages.
Sankara who himself had been narrating the above to his consort, continued, ‘Such is the nobility of the Lord of the Raghus. He loves every one who loves him or who takes refuge in him. The intelligent and skilled builders, Nala and Nila constructed the bridge by his Grace. Their renown spread far and wide as a result. Most stone rocks normally sink in water, even carrying other objects that would otherwise float along with them. But these stones floated like so many rafts. This is not due to any miraculous power or property of this ocean, or the nature of these rocks themselves. This was not because of the skill of the Vanaras either.’
‘It was only the power of the great descendant of Raghu that even dense rocks floated at his behest to get the Setu built. A person is indeed dull-witted who worships a divinity other than Rama.’
Both Vyasa and Tulasidas were privileged to receive these powerful vibrations of the very special Rama-Siva relationship. Are we too not privileged to be able to share it with them?
More posts by this author:
- Rama, Rajendra, kesava, Kedili
- There is a Ramayana
- Rama meets Sharad in the Woods
- Of Fusion of Faith and History
- Kesava Sagara
After R & D and technical management experience of over three decades in petroleum and organic chemical industry, have been devoting the past fifteen years to the study of Tamil and Sanskrit classics, including dharmic works and doing some serious translation work. Have been a significant contributor to the medha journal almost since its inception upto 2013 and expect to continue my association with it.