Ayodhya Kand Begins | Valmiki Ramayana-20
King Dasharath conducted the marriage of his son Sri Rama along with his huge family at the palace of King Janaka, Shrimati Sita Devi’s father. Twelve years passed by in peace while Sri Rama and Sita Devi spent their time in Sri Ayodhyaji as a married couple. Then begins the Ajodhya Kanda of the Ramayana.
Bharatha and Shatrughna leave for Kaikeya
This was the time when Sri Bharath and Shatrughna left for the kingdom of Kaikeya, to their maternal uncle’s palace. Shatrughna is the living shadow of Bharathji. Wherever Bharathji goes Shatrughna follows. This is the norm. The Gods in the heavens were worried by this time. They discussed the matter with their grandsire, Sri Brahma. They wanted the destruction of Ravana on Earth and it was for this reason that the Lord took the quadruple incarnations of Sri Rama, Laxmana, Bharath and Shatrughna.
However, everything seemed to be going on peaceful in the life of the Lord Sri Rama and there was no trace of proceedings against Ravana. This was worrying for the gods. They thought, “We wanted the Lord to kill Ravana, but here He is, having sweet pastimes on the earthly plane. He is living peacefully with his eternal consort and his expansions who appeared as His brothers. What about Ravana?” They wondered.
Difference between Bhaktas and Devatas
The Gods or Devatas only worry about themselves and this was their self-centered approach towards existence. The Azhvars and the Acharyas (World teachers of the Vedic Dharma), only worry about the peace and welfare of the Lord. Only in the Lord’s peace, they feel completely happy and satisfied. They never worry about their own welfare because they have linked their welfare completely to the Lord’s welfare.
Periya Azhvar once beheld the Lord mounted on his eternal vehicle, the eagle King Garuda, seated beside Him were His eternal consorts Sri Devi and Bhudevi. He shed tears of joy and composed a number of hymns praying for the welfare of the Supreme Lord. This was his attitude. Periya Azhvar loved the Lord just as a son loves his mother and is always worried about the welfare of his mother.
The Devatas on the other hand are worried about their immortality, about their position in the heavens. They are worried about their well-being at the cost of others. A true Bhakta is the one who is worried about the welfare of the Lord and is never worried about his own position.
King Dasharatha decides to take Vanaprastha
This was the time when King Dasharath decided to enter Vanaprastha. He was already 60,000 years old and had spent 24 years with his son Sri Rama and had already got his daughters-in-law into household.
He consulted his advisors and ministers on the matter of coronating Sri Rama as the next king. King Dasharath expressed his tiredness and inability to continue as the emperor and sought the advice of Vashishtha, Vamadeva and other seers. Everyone unanimously agreed to the views of King Dasharath. The whole kingdom expressed the desire to see the Lotus eyed Lord Sri Rama with broad shoulders as their king and succor.
Sri Lakshmana’s love for Sri Rama
Sri Rama is always protected by His eternal associate and brother Sri Laxmana who waves the Camara (whiskers). He does not want anybody to get near Sri Rama as He is overly protective of the Lord.
He is deeply attached to the Lord and stands by Him as his body-guard and protector. Common man desired to see Lord Rama as their king. The one who rides the elephant, with Laxmana seated just behind Him waving the Camara and offering other services to the Him as He oversees the affairs of His state. The people regarded Sri Laxmana as their own representative for they too are concerned about the Lord.
Such was the love of the common man for the divine brothers. King Dasharath was overwhelmed with the love that the common man had for his son Sri Rama. This showered him with happiness and his heart swell up with pride. Sri Rama had only love for Truth and nothing else. Other than straight-forwardness and purity of character, Sri Rama knew nothing else.
For Ramkinkar ji Maharaj’s English translated works, click here
Sri Rama the desired King of Ayodhya
It is believed in the kingdom of Ayodhyaji that before Dasharath became happy, it was Sri Rama who first became happy and before any sadness could reach his mother, Sri Rama would be saddened. Before any festival was celebrated in any house of Sri Ayodhyaji, it was Sri Rama who celebrated it on behalf of the household. Also, before sorrow could strike any house on Ayodhyaji, Sri Rama would suffer the pain first. Such was his connectivity and love for the common folks of the kingdom.
For anyone who was motherless, Sri Rama became one’s mother. For a person who did not have a father, Sri Rama assumed the role of a father. Other than Sri Rama, there was no conception of a king or benefactor. Sage Vashishtha agreed to coronate Sri Rama as the king, in the month of Chaitra (March-April of the English calendar).
People rejoiced all over Ayodhyaji. Sri Rama is like the very embodiment of the God of Cupid. The news of His coronation added to His splendor and beauty.
On receiving the news of His coronation, people flocked in millions to have one glance of his moon-like splendorous face.
Sri Rama worships His family deity- Ranganatha of Sri Rangam
Sri Rama was summoned by his preceptor, sage Vashishtha. He and was asked to take the blessings of the Lord. The palace of the Lord had housed the “Aradhya Daiwam” (ஆராத்யா டைவம்), the family deity of the Solar dynasty.
The original deity of Sri Ranganatha was first served by Sri Brahma in his abode. In the ancient times, the chief of the Solar Dynasty, King Ikshavaku used to regularly travel to Brahma Loka (the planet of Sri Brahma), by the dint of his Yoga Shakti. Such was his prowess.
It was during one such visits that he requested for the deity of Sri Ranganatha from Sri Brahma, so that it could be worshipped personally by him in His kingdom, Sri Ayodhyaji. Sri Brahma agreed to grant the deity.
Thus, Ranganatha was brought down from Brahma Loka to Sri Ayodhyaji on the earthly plane by King Ikshavaku. This was the same deity, which Vashistha asked Lord Rama to worship. It is the same deity that became the principle deity of the sanctum of Sri Ranganatha in current day, Sri Rangam.
Why was Sri Rama born in the Ikshavaku dynasty?
Sri Ranganatha was served by 35 kings in linear succession of the Ikshavaku dynasty. However, Sri Ranganatha was not satisfied with the services of the kings, because they did not serve to His liking. So, He personally descended as Sri Rama in the Ikshavaku dynasty to relish services. Sri Rama would offer services and Ranganatha would accept them to His heart’s content. So goes the story of the services to the deity of Ranganatha.
There is another question as to why Sri Rama was born only to king Dasharath and no other ruler of prestigious dynasties? The answer to this lies in the desire of Lord Ranganatha who was established in Ayodhya by the predecessors of the Solar Dyanasty. Sri Ranganatha desire perfect services and nobody accept Him could satisfy Him. Therefore, He Himself had to incarnate within the Ikshavaku dynasty to carry on the services to the family deity.
This was one of the major reasons of why Sri Rama was born to King Dasharath. This was the view of the great Sri Vaishnava sage of Sri Rangam, Sri Parashara Bhatta.