Tuesday, 27 November 2012

30. Seetha's marriage with Rama.

       Dasharatha, after arriving at the visitorial palace made an impressive cow donations and initiatory rites.  He had a surprise visitor on that day.  Yudhaajit turned up.   Yudhaajit was the son of Kekaya king and the brother of Kaikeyi, thus was the direct maternal uncle of Bharata.    
      He told Dasharatha "My dad i.e. the King of kekaya sent me to Ayodhya to enquire about the well-being of all there.  All at kekaya are hale and healthy.  Actually my dad wants to see his grandson i.e. Bharatha and that is the real reason he sent me to Ayodhya.
      "On reaching Ayodhya I learned that you you had gone to Mithila along with your sons for their marriages.  It is but natural that I, the maternal uncle of Bharatha should attend the marriage of Bharatha.  And here I am."     
      King Dasharatha did not dislike Yudhaajit; he rather liked him.  Then on getting up in the next morning after the night rest, and on performing morning-observances, Dasharatha arrived at the hall of Vedic-ritual, keeping the sages in his forefront.
      Of course Rama accompanied his father together with his brothers, keeping sage Vashishta and other eminent-saints ahead of them.  After the usual ceremonies, all the bridegrooms were adorned with jewellery appropriate for the wedding time, and all had performed the auspicious ceremony for marriage-thread, conducted prior to the marriage and, all had thread-bands tied around their wrists, as they all have performed all  auspicious ceremonies antecedent to the marriage ceremony. 
      Then  sage Vashishta went to the marriage hall and told Janaka "Oh,  Janaka, having performed the auspicious marriage-thread ceremony, Dasharatha,  along with his sons is looking forward for the donor.
      "You know very well that in marriages all the puruSaartha-s, the component values of life, namely rightness, riches, revelries, and results of final release will be occurring only if the benefactor and beneficiary meet.  Hence let king Dasharatha come, and then on actualising this best marriage you too will be doing your duty as royal priest."
      Comment: Hindu marriage is not a contractual obligation because it protracts over seven life cycles of that couple. Therefore, it is calculated correctly and celebrated sacredly.
End Comment. 
       Janaka was not just a decidedly valiant king but was a profound knower of probity, too.  As he was also an unreservedly generous king, he had already made all arrangements, and when he was spoken in this way by Vashishta he replied "Sir, who is that doorman who dares to prevent your entry?  Or, for whose orders you all await with a bated breath?   Do you hesitate in your own house?  This kingdom is as good as yours.     
      "Oh, eminent-saint Vashishta, on absolutely performing the auspicious ceremony for the marriage-thread, and thereby tying thread-band at wrists my daughters have already arrived, and they are at the base of the Altar of Fire, like the irradiant jets of flames of radiant fire.  I am already ready and awaiting for you remaining at this Altar of Fire.  Let everything be done indeed without any deterrents.  What for the king Dasharatha is dawdling?"
       On learning the benevolent attitude of Janaka, King Dasharatha started towards marriage hall  along with all his sons, the assemblages of sages and his relatives.  King Janaka then requested Sage Vasishta to start the marriage ceremony.
      Sage Vasishta nodded and embarked on arranging Altar of Fire keeping sages Vishwamitra and  Shataananda afore of him.  He arranged an Altar of Fire in the midpoint of the cool-thatched manorial-marriage-shed, decorating it with sandal paste and flowers.  Then he promptly sanctified variously coloured handy vessels, and lid-like concave earthen vessels, which were full with just sprouted sprigs, and he sanctified other golden vessels, censers with fumes of incenses, conch-shell like vessels, and short handled wooden scoops for scooping oblatory items from vessels for putting it in long-handled scoops, and long-handled wooden scoops to drop those oblatory items into Ritual-fire, and vessels filled with oblatory items like ghee, water, milk etc., and vessels filled with toasted rice-flakes and vessels filled with holy yellow-rice duly treated with turmeric, and he sanctified all articles of wedding ceremony by sprinkling holy-yellow-rice, as a kind of dry-ablution (உலர்-சடங்கோடுகூடிய சுத்தி).
      Sage Vasishta along with the other assembled sages continued the marriage rituals accompanied by vedic Hymns.  King Janaka had the four brides brought to the marriage hall and they were duly married to the four brothers.  Rama married Seetha, Lakshmana married Urmila, Bharata married Maandavi and Shatrughna married  Shrutakiirti.
      There occurred rich and highly dazzling flower showers from firmament, and that ambience was filled with the drumbeats of divine drums and with vocal and instrumental music, and promenades of apsara-s danced, and even the gandharva-s sang tunefully, and because it was the marriage of celebrated bridegrooms from Raghu's dynasty.  In this kind of ongoingness of harmonious music of vocal, instrumental and that of dancers, those great resplendent brothers married their wives on circumambulating the Ritual-fire thrice.
      Then those legatees of Raghu went to their visitatorial-palace with their wives, followed by king Dasharatha along with the assemblages of sages, kinfolks, queens and wives included, and Dasharatha feasted his eyes on his sons and daughter-in-laws.


Thursday, 22 November 2012

29. Marriage alliance to Bharata and Shatrughna.

       On the conclusion of the speech of the king Janaka regarding his lineage, both the the sages Vishwamitra and Vashishta said "The Ikshvaku-s and Videha-s are unimaginably admirable and immeasurably distinguished dynasties.  There is no single king comparable to any one from these two dynasties.  We feel that the  marriage of Seetha with Rama and Urmila with Lakshmana would definitely enhance the  dynastic prestige and even it is befitting to the winsome charms of the brides and bridegrooms.
      "Oh, Your Majesty, we have some suggestion in this regard.  The pair of daughters of your younger brother, king Kushadhvaja are nonpareil in comeliness.   We, therefore, suggest that they may be paired off with Bharata and Shatrughna.  All these four sons of Dasharatha are dashingly handsome and unbelievably youthful looking, and they are equal to the four rulers of the world from four quarters, and their valour vies with the valour of God Vishnu.
       "Oh, Sir, what would be more befitting than the the impeccable dynasties of Ikshvaku-s and yours are  interlocked by these wedlock-s."
       Both King Janaka and his brother agreed to this suggestion.  It was agreed that the pair of Kushdhvaja's daughters, namely Maandavi and Shrutakiirti  were to be married to Bharata and Shatrughna, respectively.
       King Janaka then told the two sages "You two, oh, eminent-saints, have done an excellent and generous act in my respect, and I will ever remain in your debt.  I humbly beg of you to preside over these thrones, that of mine, my brother's, and that of Dasharatha.
      COMMENT: The kind deed done by the two sages, Vishwamitra and Vashishta, was fetching right husbands for his and his brother's daughters.  And this sitting on the three thrones is for assuming symbolic rulership on the three kingdoms, Ayodhya, Mithila and Saankaasya  in getting the marriages performed without a hitch.
End Comment   
       "As to how this city Mithila appertains to Dasharatha, in the same way the city of Ayodhya is mine, and there shall be no hesitancy for you two sages in governance on these three kingdoms, and it will be most appropriate of you to make the marriages happen as aptly as you can." 
      King Dasharatha totally endorsed King Janaka by saying  "Oh, Janaka, I could not have honoured the two sages better than you did.  I am absolutely in agreement with you.
      "Enjoy that blessedness!  Let safe betide you! We now depart to our visitorial palace, and we shall customarily carry out the tributary rituals." 

Sunday, 11 November 2012

28. Janaka's lineage detailed.

       On hearing the Sage Vashishta's naration about the lineage of the king Dasharatha, Janaka reverentially and unpretentiously replied with  folded palms  "oh, sage, I already have heard about the lineage of the great King Dasharatha; but it was quite more impressive when heard from your mouth.  Now let me tell you all about our lineage which, you will find, is not less distinguished than that of the King Dasharatha.
      "Sir, you know that it is the normal custom that he who is born in a particular noble lineage has to inform about his parentage in its entirety, especially when he offers a bride.  With your permission let me tell about our lineage.
      "Once there was an emperor called Nimi, who was renowned in all the three worlds by his own accomplishments.  And his son was named as Mithi, and Janaka (the first one to be named as Janaka) was Mithi's son who begot Udaavasu.  From Udaavasu it is Nandivardhana, and Nandivardhana's son is named as Suketu.  From Suketu, Devaraata was born, and from Devaraata, it is Brihadratha who took birth. 
      "From Brihadratha it is the highly brave, courageous and valiant Mahaaviira, and the bold and truth-valiant Sudhriti from Mahaaviira.  From Sudhriti, the right-minded and highly generous Dhristaketu took birth, and from Dhristaketu it is highly renowned Haryashva.   Haryashva's son is Maru, and Maru's son is Pratiindhaka, and the son of Pratiindhaka's is the noble-souled king Kiirtiratha. The son of Kiirtiratha is remembered as Devamiidha, and the son of Devamiidha is Vibudha, and Vibudha's son is Mahiidraka.  Mahiidraka's son is the great mighty king Kiirtiraata, and the son born to the king Kiirtiraata is Mahaaroma.  From Mahaaroma it is the virtue-souled Swarnaroma, and from Swarnaroma it is Hrasvaroma.
      "Two sons were born to Hrasvaroma.  I am the elder, and my younger brother is this brave Kushadhvaja.  My father Hrasvaroma anointed me in the kingdom as I am the elder, and vesting the duty of looking after Kushadhvaja in me, he departed to forests. 
      "On the departure of our aged father to heaven, I have been looking after my very dear brother Kushadhvaja with greater fondness.  Then, after sometime, a king named Sudhanva came from his city Saankaasya with his mighty army to Mithila demanding 'The unexcelled bow of Shiva' along with my most dearest daughter, Seetha.
       "I refused both and he started a war with me.  He lost the war and his life.  I have anointed my brother Kushadhvaja in the kingdom of Saankaasya   I offer my elder daughter  Seetha to Rama, and Urmila, my second daughter to Lakshmana in marriage.
      "My daughter Seetha is the bounty for bravery and in simile she is the daughter of the divine Providence, and thus the second one Urmila too. 
      "Oh, king Dasharatha, let the preceding ritual of marriage be started."     

Tuesday, 6 November 2012

27. Ikshvaaku's lineage detailed.

       On the next morning King Janaka told his royal priest(ராஜகுரு) sage Shataananda  "My younger brother  Kushadhvaja is ruling from the auspicious city  Saankaasya, which, you know is a  city surrounded by the River Ikshumati as a natural moat, where an army of able soldiers are stationed and guarding all around.  My brother presides over that city as if he is sitting in the Pushpaka Viman of the richly-rich god Kubera.  The waters of the River Ikshumati would taste like the sweet sugarcane juice. That apart, the city is surrounded by the plantations of citrus grapefruits that are famous for health keeping.
      "I wish to see him, as he is the nominated benefactor of this Vedic-ritual of mine, and he too shall become a rejoicer in partaking the joyousness of this marriage"
       Comment: Kushadhvaja supplied a whole lot of paraphernalia for this Vedic-ritual of Janaka from his auspicious city Saankaasya, and hence he was the benefactor of the ritual.
End Comment.
        On hearing that, Shataananda summoned some competent envoys whom Janaka briefed suitably and ordered to proceed to his brother's place.
      On arriving in the city Saankaasya those envoys went to the  king Kushadhvaja and informed him of  what happened at Mithila about Rama's breaking of Shiva's bow. Then they conveyed  the point of view of Janaka regarding marriages of four daughters.
     COMMENT: The viewpoint of Janaka was to offset the problem of marriages of both the daughters of his brother Kushadhvaja.  Dasharatha had four sons and Janaka conceived  a quadruple alliance with him, where Janaka had two daughters and his brother Kushadhvaja had two.
End Comment.
       King Kushadhvaja proceeded pronto to Mithila as desired by his brother Janaka.  Both the brothers with unlimited refulgence, after assuming their high seats at the court of the King Janaka, sent for Sudaamana, one of the distinguished ministers and told him "Oh, minister plenipotentiary, please proceed immediately to the king Dasharatha,  and invite him, his sons and his Vedic-celebrants to come over here."   Accordingly Sudaamana went to the King Dasharatha and told him "Your Majesty, His Majesty,  the sovereign of Mithila from the heritage of Videha kings is poised for seeking an audience with your Majesty with all your sons and with your Majesty's  royal-priest Vashishta and other mentors."
      King Dasharatha, along with his kinsmen and the assemblages of sages came to the place where Janaka was.  He then addressed the King Janaka  "Oh, exalted king Janaka, you already appreciated that this godly sage Vashishta is godlike to the bloodline of Ikshvaku-s, and in all our affairs he is our friend, philosopher and guide.  If the Sage Vishwamitra, along with all the other great sages present here give their assent, this equanimous Vashishta will narrate about my bloodline, lineally."  And, to the nod of Vishwamitra, Dasharatha fell silent and then the godly and sententious sage Vashishta started to chronicle the bloodline 
      "The timeless, changeless and imperishable God Brahma, begot  Mariichi, and Kaashyapa was the son of Mariichi, and the Sun was begotten from Kaashyapa, and Manu is said to be the son of the Sun.
      "Manu is the earliest Prajaapati and Ikshvaaku was the son of Manu, and that Ikshvaaku was the first king of Ayodhya.  The son of Ikshvaaku was the legendary Kukshi, and the famous Vikukshi  was the son of Kukshi.  From that most brilliant and courageous Vikukshi, Baana emerged as son, and the highly refulgent and valinat Anaranya was the son of Baana. Pruthu was the son of Anaranya, and Trishanku was Pruthu's son, and the highly renowned Dhundumaara happened to be the son of Trishanku.  Dhundumaara begot a highly glorious and a speediest charioteer Yuvanaashva as son, and Mandhaata emerged as the son of Yuvanaashva.
      Comment: Some read the name Yuvanaashva or Yavanaashva as a title of Dhundumaara.
End Comment.      
      "Maandhaata engendered the highly noble Susandhi as son, and Susandhi fathered two sons, namely Dhruvasandhi and Prasenajit.  From Dhruvasandhi, an illustrious one named as Bharata was begotten, and Bharata begot a highly effulgent son named as Asita.  Kings like Haihaya-s, Taalajanghaa-s, and the valiant Shashabindu-s have become adversaries  and kings in hostility to Asita, and  he had to wage a war with them.
      "Unfortunately Asita was defeated and dethroned and then he reached Himalayas along with his two wives.  Asita, with his meagre forces in Himalayas drew nigh of his Time there.  At the time of his demise both  his wives were pregnant, and one of the two wives administered toxic food to the other for abortion; it is however, not clear who poisoned whom.
      "There was a saint named Cyavana, the heir of Sage Bhrigu, who in fascination with the best and the beautiful mountains of the Himalayas, took shelter there.  One of the two wives of Asita came there desirous of a best son, and reverenced the sage who was godly in his glow.  Another queen Kaalindi had  also come to the sage, and she too reverenced him.  That sage spoke to her who received poison from her co-wife regarding the birth of her son.
      COMMENT: There are variations in reading these lines.  While some say that Kaalindi is one who 'gave' toxic food to her sister, while some others say that Kaalindi is the one who 'received' the poisoned food. Here taking the kaalindi ca 'Kaalindi also...' it is said that 'Kaalindi is one who administered poison...' Since she is also pregnant, coupled with the guilt of poisoning, hence the use of ca, she too came to the sage.
End Comment.
      " 'Oh, highly fortunate lady, a very good and a very mighty son is there in your womb.  Soon you will give birth to a highly vigorous and refulgent son and that illustrious one will take birth with toxicity, but there is no need to worry.'  On reverencing Sage Cyavana, that queen gave birth to a son who became Sagara, the emperor.
      Parable: When king Asita passed away, his queen and this Sagara's mother wanted to commit self-immolation, but this Sage Cyavana dissuaded her from it, and took her to his hermitage.  When she gave birth to Sagara, Sage Cyavana reared him up and taught him all of the archery (aagneya astra Fire-missile etc.), kingcraft and scriptures.  When Sagara asked for the details about his father, Cyavana told him all the legends of Asita and his conflicts with yavana-s, and shaka-s.  Sagara became furious at Haihaya-s, Taalajanghaa-s, and the valiant Shashabindu-s, warred  with them and drove them out of the country.  While doing so, Sagara made yavana-s tonsured, shaka-s or so-called Scythians, as half-tonsured, and paarada-s as shaggy haired ones, thus stripping of their Kshatriya-hood.  Taking the nearness of name paarada to Persia, it is said that the kings repulsed by Sagara taken domicile in the Middle East and a aaryan or a aa riaan is Airan or present day Iran, and age-old are Indo-Iranian links.  Further, the word Asia has its own nearness to the name of king Asita.
      "From Sagara it is Asamanja and from Asamanja it is Amshuman, and from Amshuman it is Diliipa, and the son of Diliipa is Bhageeratha.  From Bhageeratha it is Kakutstha, from Kakutstha it is Raghu, and Raghu's son is the great resplendent Pravriddha, who was reduced to a human flesh eater, and he is also known as Kalmashapaada;  and from him, i.e. Pravriddha, Shankana was born.
     COMMENT: This Pravriddha was really a great king in this lineage, but somewhat arrogant.  So, at one time he was subjected to the fury of Vashishta and became a man-eating demon.  But he too got his mystic powers.  When he was trying to issue a counter-curse to Vashishta, by taking water into his hand, his wife Madayanti dissuaded him to not to counter the all-powerful Vashishta.  He, on listening to his wife, dropped that water taken for cursing, onto his own feet.  Then his accursed water blemished him via his feet.  Hence, he is also termed as Kalmashapaada.
End Comment.
      "Shankana's son is Sudarshana, and from Sudarshana it is Agnivarsna.  And Shiigraga was the son of Agnivarsna, and Shiighraga's son was Maru and from Maru it was Prashushruka, and Ambariisha was the son of Prashushruka.  Ambariisha's son was Nahusha, the emperor and Yayaati is the son of Nahusha, and Naabhaaga was born to Yayaati.
     COMMENT: These names Nahusha and Yayaati also occur in other Puraana-s, indicating them in earlier eras to Ramayana period.
End Comment.
      "Aja was Naabhaaga's son and from Aja, this Dasharatha is manifest, and from this Dasharatha, these brothers, Rama and Lakshmana are born.
      "Oh, King Janaka, it is thus evident that from the beginning this bloodline of Ikshvaaku-s is spotlessly immaculate, immensely impeccable, indomitable, and irreproachable, and in respect of these kings born in this line of blood, oh, king Janaka, I espouse that it will be meetly of you to offer your seemly daughters to this seemly pair of Rama and Lakshmana."