Tuesday, July 17, 2007

The Month Of Ramayana!

Today, is July 16th and the month of Ramayana begins!....In Kerala it is the month of heavy down pour ! Nature pours down its purging waters , and people of Kerala wash down their impurities with Ayurvedic Sukha chikilsas( full body treatments), coupled with intake of food apt for the purgatory process(karkidaka kangi).They squat before the lighted lamp and read or listen to Ramayana(aayana or journey through Rama's life).


Ramayana, the literary masterpiece of Valmiki is an epic poem, which reflects Indian ethos and values. This allegory not only quenches the spiritual thirst of the inquisitive listener but also the imaginative elevations of a curious child. Ramayana, portrays the divine birth, extraordinary childhood, exciting adolescence , and spiritual maturity of Rama the hero. It represents a story line where good triumphs evil, love triumphs lust, where virtue triumphs vice! Ramayana is not only the story of Treta yuga, it is also the story of Kali yuga. In Rramayana, there is war, battlefield, defeat and victory! the same strife, the same war, the same struggle is manifested in our inner world.... the Ravana in us alive.....we need to call upon the Rama in us to rescue us from this battlefield and mark victory ...: lead our path towards better evolution!


Valmiki , who authored Ramayana was said to be a great enlightened sage. He was not a born saint , nor was he born into a family of saints. He was an arrogant, ignorant hunter, who lived with his family in a forest and hunted and robbed for his livelihood. Once he aimed his arrow at a pair of birds... A great sage witnessed this and asked him , the reason for committing this sacrilege.... and warned him of the consequences! The hunter was confident that what ever he has to bear in his life for his sins, he will always have his family by his side! Back home, he realized that he will always have to suffer alone, when his family backed up from sharing the fate of his deeds! Realization dawned on him ... he badly needed to come out of this life's maze. He ran back to the sage and surrendered at his feet. The sage asked the hunter to sit in between two trees and just chant...aa maram(that tree) ee maram(this tree)....He sat as per the sage's directions and chanted aa maram eemaram .... for a very long time .. which eventually became rama rama rama rama....He was enlightened.....this was the power of rama mantra!(chants which take you beyond your "man" or mind).


I was first introduced to the rama mantra by my Appa(father).When I was fascinated by my own hand writing, when I began to hold my pencil right and drew alphabets on paper.....Appa introduced a routine for my brother and me. After our regular chores in the morning we were supposed to write down one page of rama mantra. I still remember chanting Sree ram Jai Ram JAI JAI RAM and writing it down in a book.The enthusiasm of writing actually sprung from the innate competitive spirit to outdo your sibling! My Appa still keeps our books. This helped us in improving our hand writing and also introducing us into mantra japa without our own realization.

I also remember waiting for Sunday mornings during my school days, so that I could watch the Ramayana story telecast on Television.

Later RAMAYANA came alive to me through the dance sequences taught by my mother.The literary magnum opus found expressions in dance and music , creating Rasa! I was awe struck by the dance potrayal of Ramayana by my Guru Dr. Padma Subramaniam.She lived Ramayana in her Ramayatubyam namaha!, where audience were enthralled and glued to their seats,and elevated to ecstatic states!

For the past few years I have been regularly reading Ramayana , during this month . This year I left my copy of Ramayana back in India. But I have started a story session with my kids , every morning, much to their excitement.
Sri ram Jai Ram Jai Jai Ram !.....as this mantra echoes in me ... it also enlivens sweet childhood memories!


Sindhya Govind said...

Very nice and informative post. I remember the Ramayana maasa of unrelenting rains when the nearby pond overflowed , Amma's karkadaka kanji, and evening visit to the nearby temple where there is Ramayana paarayanam.

Cynthia said...

Thank you for sharing this - I appreciate learning.

I wish I was there to listen along with your kids.

krystyna said...

Thanks for this post. After one year blogging I know and understand little more about Ramayana from blogger friends. Your post brings me closer to Ramayana.
Peace and Love be with you and your family!

Ardra said...

am new here, and am enjoying reading your posts...
Your Guru is Dr. Padma Subramaniam!

J said...

Dr. Padma Subramaniam is your guru !!!!! What more can you ask for, Nandu? I'd love to watch you dance!!
I'm only now learning to appreciate the true essence of the Ramayanam. Your posts are definitely teaching me something and I'm enjoying the learning experience!

J said...

Nandu, I was revisiting here when I saw your web page! I'm totally captivated! You are so talented and graceful! And you are fortunate to learn from some great exponents :) I'm curious, how many dance forms do you know?

Anonymous said...

Hi Nanditha,

Loevely post.. I too have many memories of this month .. can totally relate to you. I miss Kerala..


Nanditha Prabhu said...

Rmayana month makes me a bit nostalgic too!

I would have loved to share the story with you.... I appreciate your thirst for learning!

Thank you for your warm wishes!

and thank you! yes I did a nrityashali course under Dr padma subramaniam.

Jyothsna, THanks ! so u visited my webpage?I wonder how you chanced upon it?Yes, I was fortunate , to have wonderful tutors.

i suppose al of us miss Kerala when we are away!Welcome! and keep visiting!

Maddy said...

Sukha chikilsa- I think I need one, but well, it never rains here in South California.

Was it not just Mara mara? My valiamma taught me all that during my childhood...

I have still to figure out the history behind the places and facts relating to our historic texts, I will some day!!!

Nanditha Prabhu said...

Maddy Sir,
I too need a sukha chikilsa...but that is a far away dream!
may be its mara mara.. but i just wrote what i could remember from my gradmas stories, back in my childhood!

Li'l Lite said...

I almost forget myself when i watch Dr.Padma Subramaniam's dance and you are her disciple!!Would love to watch your dance some day :) :) :)

Pradeep Nair said...

Good one.. rarely get to see such posts!

Kalyan Panja said...

A very nice post. It was lovely reading about this occasion and you have described it so well!

Asha Kamath said...

nandu, very nice narration about ramayanamaasam. i like reading your posts. keep writing.

diyadear said...

hey lovely post.. n im blogroling u :)

Anonymous said...

i really appreciatate ur subjet taken Ramayana.....i have become ur regular reader.....am sumarajesh .....keep sending

dharmabum said...

siyavara ramachandra ji JAI!

the sage, if i am correct, was narada.

i would tend to think it has history, than mere allegory. this is probably the reason it also has multiple versions - ramcharitmanas by tulsidasji, one by the tamil poet kamban, adhyatma ramayana. why, even 'ramakien' which is the national epic of thailand. it is also popular in indonesia, cambodia and malaysia, if i am correct :)

Nanditha Prabhu said...

Little light ,
who is not mesmerized by Padukka's dance. I am indeed blessed to be her disciple.

Pradeep, Kalyan,Ashamayi,
Thank you! all!

Thanks for blogrolling!

Thank you for being my regular reader!

Yes I think the sage is Narada!I too feel its history ....yes it has its influences in east asian countries! But I think the style adapted is allegorical with more hidden meanings!

Susan said...

The hero's journey is such an ancient, common theme in many cultures. I prefer to define a hero as one who has endured hardships, made mistakes, and comes to slow understanding and wisdom. I don't believe heros are sports figures or captains of industry. Thanks, Nanditha, for introducing me to Ramayana. I enjoy epic poems a great deal.

Nanditha Prabhu said...

epic poems can be valued both for their lyrical quality and for its latent wisdom. Nice to know that you too enjoy epic poems!