38 krishnaarchana april 2023 By the grace of Sri Guruvayoorappan and the blessings of my Gurus, I was privileged to read the Srimad Valmiki Ramayanam in Sanskrit and write a series of blogs about each Sarga on a daily basis over a oneyear period from Sri Ramanavami 2021 to Sri Ramanavami 2022. I am happy to share some blog excerpts here with the Brampton devotees. Stories from the Uttara Kanda The seventh and last Kanda of Valmiki Ramayanam, called Uttara Kanda, has been opined by some to be a later addition. But the consensus among Ramayana scholars is that it forms a crucial part of Sri Rama’s story as it describes the great glory of Sri Rama’s rule as the emperor of Ayodhya, i.e. the glory of Raja Ram’s Darbar. After all, Sri Rama was principally known as the epitome of Dharma as a royal. In Uttara Kanda, we read how Sage Valmiki took care of Sita Maa, ensured that she would safely deliver Kusha and Lava, and finally taught them the scriptures as well as his own magnum opus Ramayanam including how it was to be sung. In Uttara Kanda, Sri Rama brought the curtain down on his avatara and handed over the reins of the kingdom to Kusha and Lava. In Raja Ram’s Darbar, many interesting dialogues and narratives occurred, the most important being the premiere presentation of the Valmiki Ramayanam by Kusha and Lava. But for our purpose, let us sample just three portions that bring to light what Sri Rama thought of Hanuman, how he administered justice, and what final advice he gave to Sugriva, Vibhishana and Hanuman. Excerpt 1: The Glory of Hanuman The greatest of sages came to Raja Ram’s Darbar to offer him congratulations and to express their gratitude for saving the world from the terrors of Ravana and his ilk. दिष्ट्या त्वया हतो राम रावणो राक्षसेश्वरः । दिष्ट्या विजयिनं त्वाद्य पश्यामः सह सीतया ॥ लक्ष्मणेन च धर्मात्मन् भ्रात्रा त्वद्धितकारिणा । मातृभिर्भ्रातृसहितं पश्यामोऽद्य वयं नृप॥ (Sarga 1, Uttara Kanda). “Dear Sri Rama, it was indeed fortunate that Ravana, the rakshasa emperor, was killed by you. We are most glad to see your good fortune now, ruling Ayodhya with Devi Sita, being with Lakshmana who is devoted to you, and enjoying the company of your mothers, and your brothers.” They continued, “Dear Sri Rama, it is no surprise that you defeated Ravana. But what we should congratulate you more upon is the killing of Indrajit. He could not be destroyed by anyone in creation. He had great powers of magic and illusionism in battle. So we were astonished to learn that Indrajit was killed.” “You are a great warrior and the epitome of grace, Sri Rama, and you have given us all the greatest gift of all - freedom from the constant fear and distress in our lives because of these rakshasas.” It was now Sri Rama’s turn to express surprise that the rishis pointedly highlighted how the killing of Indrajit was the mightiest accomplishment and the biggest surprise for them. Why? Also, in the first place, how did Ravana become so powerful? What was his genesis? What was the secret of Indrajit? In reply, Sage Agastya explained over many sargas the genesis and growth of Ravana into a universal terror as he was fortified by both Brahma and Shiva’s boons. The consequence was his relentless, unscrupulous pursuit of conquering the three worlds. Ravana indeed believed that he was invincible and deathless. He stopped at nothing. Ravana even killed his own brotherin-law, Vidyujjivha, the husband of Shurpanakha! When Shurpanakha was uncontrollably sad, Ravana told her to go and live in Janasthana and do whatever she pleased, and he would see that no one would stop her. Indrajit, called Meghanada, was born to Ravana through Mandodari, and he proved a chip off the old By Sachi R. Sachidananda FEATURE In Raja Ram’s Darbar