Published:08 Jul 2013 8 PMUpdated:08 Jul 2013 8 PM  Sakthi Vikatan
Vikatan Correspondent
Naradar tells the story of Ramayana to Valmiki.
Author: Worsdsmith Balakumaran. Images: Padmavasan
1. The ruler of Ayodhya, King Dasaratha, had three wives and did not have children. Therefore, he invited famous Munis who performed Ashvamedha and Putra Kāmēṣti Yagam (an oblation made by one desirous of offspring). A spirit rose from the Yagam and gave powerful Pāyasam, which he offered for consuming by the king's three wives in four parts. ŚṛīRāmar, Bharatan, Lakṣmanan, and Satrughnan were the four sons: Rāma to Kausalyā, Bharata to Kaikeyī, and Lakṣmaṇa and Śatrughna to Sumitrā. They grew up as wonderful royal children.
Pāyasam = A semi-liquid food prepared of milk, rice, sago, etc., mixed with sugar or jaggery.

2. Muni Visvāmitrar went to King Dasaratha's court and pleaded with him to send Rāma and Lakṣmana to kill the Arakkars (demons) who ruined his Tapas or austerity. Dasaratha was fearful and hesitant. The other Munis extolled Visvāmitrar and persuaded Dasaratha to send his two sons for the purpose stated earlier. Rāma and Lakṣmana killed the ogress Thātaka who ruined the Yāgam or fire sacrifice and also one of her two sons. The other son fell into the ocean and escaped to Lanka. Later, Visvāmitrar took them to Mithila. Rāmar broke the bow, thus gaining the hand of Sīta in marriage. The wedding took place in Mithila.

3. Dasaratha's wife Kaikeyi demanded the king Dasaratha that her son Bharata should ascend the throne in the place of Rāmar in compliance with a nonspecific promise the king made to Kaikeyi and Ramar should go to a forest exile for 14 years. Dasaratha agreed to the demand reluctantly. Hearing secondhand from Kaikeyi and accepting her word as his father's, Ramar was ready for exile wearing tree barks as clothes. Sita and Lakshmana expressed their desire to go with Ramar. Hearing of Ramar's exile along with Sita and Lakshmana, Dasaratha died. Bearing that news, Bharatha ran after Ramar, asking him to return. Ramar gave his footwear and guaranteed Bharata he would return after a 14-year exile. Bharata established a hermitage at the border of the kingdom, regarded Ramar's footwear as the king, and lived in a hermitage. Ramar, meanwhile, killed many marauding Arrakars in Dandakaranyam (Dandaka forest). Ogress Surpanakai, attracted by the beauty of Ramar, sustained mutilation by Lakshmana. Surpanakai cried before her brother Ravana and extolled the beauty of Sita. Ravana, fatefully deciding to have Sita for himself, went to the hermitage of Ramar, plucked the ground Sita stood, took her to Lanka, and confined her. Ramar searched for Sita, met Hanuman, heard his narrative about Sugriva, and killed the latter's brother and opponent Vāli. Helped by Sugriva and Angatha and the advice of Hanuman, Ramar went south. Hanuman discovered Sita was in Lanka. Ramar went to Lanka and defeated Ravana and his followers. Ravana stood helpless with no weapons on the battlefield, and Rama advised him to go home and come back the next day. The next day, Rama killed Ravana, rescued Sita, took her to Ayodhya, installed himself as the king, and lived well in his kingdom. The preceding summary was the story Nāradar narrated to Valmiki.

4. Nāradar to Valmiki: "You may compose poems of the story I told you. Valmiki Muni! You and I took birth not just for swapping stories. Our intention should be lofty. You must compose poems on Rama's story."

5. Nāradar opposed his palms in humility and supplicated so Narayana would help Valmiki see the events of Rama's story as if they happen before his eyes at all times, at all places, and by all episodes. He further said to Valmiki to think through and write the poem around the central theme.

6. The story came into focus within Valmiki's grasp and mind and he remained with his eyes closed for hours. He awoke, walked along the Thamasa riverside, and wondered to see the Krouncha birds perched on the branch of a big tree, kissing, embracing, merging, fondling, rejoicing, flying, sitting, and sharing their joy.

7. Then, Valmiki saw a bird shooter on his knees was aiming for a bird with his arrow. He ran to him and blocked him. He said, 'This is my profession. The bird is my food.' He discharged the arrow, which ripped apart the male bird. The bird fell to the ground. The female bird cried and circled the dead male bird. The female bird dashed against the male bird, crying, 'My life, my life.'

8. Valmiki uttered one sentence that cast a curse on the bird catcher, whose killing of the bird was a transgression against his (Valmiki's) prohibition). That sentence carried two meanings: one a curse and the other, the headline news in his poetic composition.

9. Valmiki was in the clutch of surprise: Is this what I said? Soon Brahma appeared before him and said, "That sentence was my concept, inculcated in you. I made it possible and helpful for you to compose those poetic lines. I sowed the seed. My words will be the beginning of your poetic composition, and you will complete it. I want you to name it Ramayanam."                                                                                
10. Death is a departure: Life's most significant hardship. Without notice, life disappears suddenly. This extinction of life is fate and destiny in the world. What came together go apart: That shakes the stillness of the world. Valmiki wondered whether it was a boon, a curse, or both. He continued, displaying his lucidity in the poem. That is the birth of Mahakaviyam (a great poem).

11. Nāradar chronologically told the story of Ramayana to Valmiki. That Ramayana today, hundreds of poets retold in many different ways.

12. Nāradar told the wondrous story of Avatar of his God, the Vaikuntan, which Valmiki made the most beautiful poetic composition. Nāradar's Sakthi was the basis for this poem. His words reflected his Buddhi and were the germ seed. He is the Bharata Kandam's Maharishi and its life sustainer to this day.

13. Nāradar's unique and wonderful deeds succeed in completing good things and preventing evil things from happening.

14. Death. Death is the Sakthi that rules this world. Death is eternal, an unwelcome  wonder that will never leave the world.

15. Ramayanam is the gift from Nāradar to this world by way of Bharata Kandam. The stir in his soul and his little act are like the tiny seed of the Banyan tree that remained dormant, then sprouted as a thought, a sapling, and grew as a humongous tree from the watering by so many.

16. Nāradar's special Amsam (a fragment of Vishnu) has created extraordinary world events.

17. Vedas clearly stated how a man and a woman should live in this world, how they should consort, and how they should augment their progeny. There are some unwritten rules. Beyond the written and the unwritten injunctions, Nāradar knows that people will follow God's path easily, notes how life should be according to Puranic injunctions and desires that weddings should take place in celestial worlds. (Think of the expression"Marriage made in Heaven.)

18. An example of this is the parents-arranged marriage. What is better: Chastity or Love marriage? These two choices were prevalent in the world. Vedas state both are acceptable. Nāradar thought to set an example so people will have faith in it. He prayed to God and supplicated that he should show a virtuous path. Nāradar loved life.

19. Tirumal had two daughters: Sundaravalli and Amirthavalli. These two daughters desired spouses to be like the exemplary Lord Muruga. They observed ceremonial fasting near the Saravana pond, worshipping Muruga, who concluded to marry them.  Murugan thinks as follows. Tirumal is the brother of my mother: I am their maternal uncle, a rightful groom for the women. 'Since my (Murugan) uncle's daughters desire to marry me, I too desire to marry them,' said Murugan. For the world to know that the impending marital arrangement was proper, Murugan planned Amirthavalli to be the daughter of Indra in Devaloka and Sundaravalli to be the daughter of Sivamuni. In Devaloka, Amirthavalli took birth as the daughter of Indra, raised by Airavatham. Sundaravalli, leaving her physical body, wandered, waiting to take birth in a virtuous family.