Adhyātma Rāmāyaṇa

From Hindupedia, the Hindu Encyclopedia
Revision as of 06:07, 15 December 2016 by 127.0.0.1 (Links to existing pages added by LinkTitles bot.)

(diff) ← Older revision | Latest revision (diff) | Newer revision → (diff)

By Swami Harshananda

Sometimes transliterated as: Adhyatma Ramayana, AdhyAtma RAmAyaNa, Adhyaatma Raamaayana


Life will lose all its meaning and charm without Rāma and Kṛṣṇa, the two colossus's that have strode the heart for the last few millennium. The Rāmāyana of Vālmikī has been the basis on which the Rāma personality has been conveyed. Numerous imitations and adoptions have been important in keeping Rāma and the Rāma community alive and in leading to the development of Rāmālogy. Perhaps, one of the most important Sanskrit works of this type is the Adhyātma Rāmāyana which is important among devotees of Rāma and the Vedāntins. This work also provided Tulasīdāsa with the inspiration to compose his immortal work, the Rāmacaritmānasa.


Nothing is known of the author, though the Rāma tradition believes it to be Vedavyāsa since it is said to be an integral part of the Brahmānda Purāna. It is also respected as a canonical work of the Vaiṣṇavas and begins in the Tantra style of conversation between Śiva (Mahādeva) and Pārvati.

Some of the details of Adhyātma Rāmāyana is as follows :

  1. Like its original source Brahmānda Purāna, the Adhyātma Rāmāyana also has seven kāṇḍas or books, named in the same manner, except for the sixth, the Yuddhakānda, which is sometimes designated as Lañkākānda.
  2. There are a total of 4,200 verses spread over 65 sargas or chapters.
  3. Written in mellifluous Sanskrit, the work admirably sums up the main events of the Rāmāyana of Vālmīki omitting only the minor details, or descriptions of war and nature.
  4. A new article pertaining to Vedānta philosophy, bhakti in general and Rāma-bhakti in particular and several hymns in praise of Rāma have been added (as compared to Valmiki Ramayana).

A few of the changes from the original include:

  • Shadow Sītā is introduced and present in lieu of Sita throughout the period of her abduction. The real Sītā disappears into the fire just before the golden deer episode. She re-emerges from the fire at the end of the war when the shadow Sītā enters into it. The whole drama is pre-planned and enacted at the bidding of Rāma himself.[1]
  • The earth accompanies the gods in the form of a cow.[2]
  • Sumitrā gets more of the sacred pudding than Kausalyā and Kaikeyī.[3]
  • Ahalyā after being cursed by her husband, the sage Gautama, becomes a stone.[4]
  • Rāvaṇa treats Sitā with the respect due to a mother.[5]
  • Rāma establishes a Śivaliṅga at the site of the bridge to Lañkā.[6]

Additions include five paurāṇic episodes:

  1. The story about Vālmīki himself.[7]
  2. The story about Śuka[8]
  3. The story about Kālanemi[9] who warn Rāvaṇa about Rāma’s divinity
  4. The need to propitiate Rāma, Vālī and Sugrīva by Rāvaṇa.[10]
  5. The dialogue between Rāvaṇa and Sanatkumāra.[11]

The major contribution of the Adhyātma Rāmāyana lies in its casting of Rāma in the role of a spiritual teacher and in the several exquisite hymns sung in praise of Rāma. There are four occasions when Rāma assumes the role of the teacher and gives philosophic disquisitions.

  1. In the response to Lakṣmaṇa’s questions on three different occasions he teaches knowledge, devotion, detachment,[12] methods of worship,[13] and the way of emancipation.[14]
  2. In reply to Kausalyā’s query, he teaches the three yogas of karma, jñāna and bhakti.[15]
  3. The Rāmagitā is a part of the Adhyātma Rāmāyana and is the teaching given to Lakṣmaṇa. [16]. It presents Advaita Vedānta couched in beautiful poetry. Some scholars feel that the Rāmagitā and Rāmahrdaya[17] were independent works incorporated later into the Adhyatma Rāmāyana.
  4. Many laudatory hymns by Brahmā,[18] Kausalyā,[19] Nārada,[20] Vālmiki,[21] Jatāyu,[22] Vibhīsaṇa,[23] and all the gods.[24]

This text presents Rāma as Brahman, the Absolute, and Sītā is Māyāśakti or Prakṛti, thereby raising the personality of Rāma to the highest level and providing a firm base to bhakti tradition of Rāma. Not only sages, gods and devotees, but even the enemies of Rāma, Rāvaṇa himself, recognize his divinity and divine mission. Their only duty is to co-operate in the cosmic play of the Divine and be blessed.

Among the strong followers of Rāma devotees, the Adhyatma Rāmāyana, is considered to be a mantraśāstra, a sacred book, each stanza of which is revered as a ‘mantra’ (mystic syllable) and devoutly repeated in a ceremonial way. It is a point to note that the well-known scripture Rāmcaritamānas of Tulsidas, is based almost entirely on the Adhyatma Rāmāyana.


References

  1. Adhyātma Rāmāyana 3.7
  2. Adhyātma Rāmāyana 1.2
  3. Adhyātma Rāmāyana 1.3
  4. Adhyātma Rāmāyana 1.5
  5. Adhyātma Rāmāyana 3.7.65
  6. Adhyātma Rāmāyana 6.4.1-2
  7. Adhyātma Rāmāyana 2.6
  8. Adhyātma Rāmāyana 6.5
  9. Adhyātma Rāmāyana 6.6
  10. Adhyātma Rāmāyana 7.3
  11. Adhyātma Rāmāyana 7.3
  12. Adhyātma Rāmāyana 3.4
  13. Adhyātma Rāmāyana 4.4
  14. Adhyātma Rāmāyana 7.5
  15. Adhyātma Rāmāyana 7.7
  16. Adhyātma Rāmāyana 7.5
  17. Adhyātma Rāmāyana 1.1
  18. Adhyātma Rāmāyana 1.2, 6.13
  19. Adhyātma Rāmāyana 1.3
  20. Adhyātma Rāmāyana 2.1
  21. Adhyātma Rāmāyana 2.6
  22. Adhyātma Rāmāyana 3.8
  23. Adhyātma Rāmāyana 6.6
  24. Adhyātma Rāmāyana 6.15
  • The Concise Encyclopedia of Hinduism, Swami Harshananda, Ram Krishna Math, Bangalore