STRANGE STORIES ABOUT RAMA’S SONS -THAI RAMAYANA-3 (Post No.5023)

STRANGE STORIES ABOUT RAMA’S SONS KUSA AND LAVA-THAI  RAMAYANA-3 (Post No.5023)

 

WRITTEN by London Swaminathan 

 

Date: 18 May 2018

 

Time uploaded in London – 11-54 am (British Summer Time)

 

Post No. 5023

 

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Thai Ramayana ‘Ramakien’ differs with Valmiki Ramayana in the birth story of Kusa and Lava. They were the twin sons of Rama and Sita according to Valamiki. But ‘Ramakien’ of Thailand and Ananda Ramayana of India differ very much. It is an interesting animal story.

 

A son was born to Sita and he was named Mongkut. But her second son was created by a miracle by sage Vajmrga (Valmiki). One day Sita went into the forest to gather fruits after leaving her son Mongkut with the sage. She was enjoying nature and saw a family of monkeys. She told the monkey mothers to be careful with their babies otherwise they may fall from the trees. Monkey mothers laughed at her and said to her that they were better than Sita who left her child with the sage who closed his eyes for meditation. Sita was shocked to hear this and rushed back to the sage’s ashram and brought back her child.

 

In the meantime, sage opened his eyes after meditation and found the child was missing. Thinking that Sita would feel sad, he created another child by miracle. When Sita came back he explained what happened and advised her that the second son will be the playmate of her first son. He gave it the name Lava.

This Thai versions is somewhat similar to Ananda Ramayana:

It is in the Janmakanda section (Canto 4, verses 21-86).

Sita had only one son and he was named Kusa because sage Valmii sprinkled holy water on the baby with Kusa grass.  Rama came by Pushpaka Vimana (aeroplane) and did the birth rites with some brahmins and went back to Ayodhya by the Vimana. He told them not to reveal the news to anyone. Sita’s father Janaka also came but he stayed even after Rama left.

 

One day she went to the river to take bath and saw a monkey mother with five baby monkeys. She left her baby with the sage Valmiki. When she saw the mother monkey carrying five of its litter, she felt very guilty for not taking her baby. Sita rushed back to the hermitage of Valmiki and took her baby. At that time, Valmiki with his disciples went to the riverside. When Valmiki came back to his hermitage, he was surprised to see Sita’s son missing. So he created a double of her first son. He gave the second son to Sita and named him Lava, because he was created with Lava/wool. Both the children grew up together at the hermitage and their parents showered love and affection on them.

 

Kathasarit sagara, slightly differed from this version and said Lava was her first son and Kusa was the second son who was created by Valmiki’s miraculous power.

 

One can understand the deep impact of Ramayana  on a vast geographical area and long span of  time. Valmiki’s original version was distorted here and there in course of 2000 or 3000 years. Ramayana is in Buddhist and Jain literature as well.

 

Sita’s ‘infidelity’!

Hindus never like one woman staying with another man who is not her brother or father. So there are lot of stories about the infidelity of Sita.

 

In Thai Ramayana Adul, a demoness daughter of Surpanakha wanted to take revenge upon Rama, because his brother Lakshmana cut off Surpankaha’s nose. Adul was working as a servant maid in the palace of Rama under a different disguise. She asked  Sita to draw the figure of Ravana and when she drew the picture out of fun, Rama saw that. The demoness used that opportunity to betray Sita and Rama wanted to kill his wife Sita. He assigned the task of killing Sita deep inside the forest to Lakshmana. And Lakshmana took her to the jungle, but his mind didn’t allow him to commit the ghostly act. So he showed her the hermitage of Valmiki and took back the heart of a deer and showed it to Rama as a proof of killing Sita. Rama came to know that Sita was alive after a very long time. In the original Ramayana of Valmiki she was simply banished from the country because a washer man suspected her chastity.

 

Tribal Folk song!

Ramayana is the only epic in the world which has penetrated the deepest parts on earth in the oldest time. Even tribal communities have different versions of Ramayana episodes in their folk songs. That shows Ramayana might have happened several thousand years ago.  The folk song in the tribal Bundelghund region says when Sita visited the forest she drew a portrait of Ravana at the behest of her friends. They insisted her to draw the figure to see How Ravana looked like. This happened long after the death of Ravana and Sita’s joining her husband. Sita did it with the cowdung.  As she was making the figure up to waist, there appeared Rama and suspected Sita’s fidelity. Then he ordered her expulsion.

 

There are over 3000 versions or more of Ramayana. Every time I go to British Library in London, I see a new Ramayana episode or many episodes in very old Tamil Books. In 2000 year old Sangam Tamil literature there are two episodes which are not found anywhere else in the world. In the Alvar/ Tamil Vaishnavite saints’ poems we see new episodes about squirrels helping in the bridge work. In the Pali and Prakirit language literature we see newer versions.

 

The most attractive story of Rama and Sita stand for the purest qualities and virtues on earth. No other literature of the ancient world has made such an impact anywhere on earth. After the founding of ISKCON and other organisations, story of Rama and Krishna and the Mantra ‘Hare Rama’ have been echoing in the nook and corner of the world.

Please read also my articles on Vivekananda’s lecture on Sita and Sangam literature poems on Rama and Sita.

Long Live Rama’s Name!

–Subham–

Why did Valmiki name Rama’s Children Lava and Kusha? (Post No.3875)

Written by London swaminathan

Date: 3 May 2017

Time uploaded in London: 19-34

Post No. 3875

Pictures are taken from various sources; thanks.

contact; swami_48@yahoo.com

 

 

Kalidasa, the greatest poet, describes the naming ceremony of Lava and Kusha in the hermitage of the Sage Valmiki. Lava and Kusha, sons of Rama and Sita were born in the hermitage when Sita was separated from Rama.

 

They were named Lava  and Kusha after the ceremonial materials used by Valmiki, i.e. Cow’s tail and Sacred Kusha grass. But Valmiki differs from Kalidasa in one matter.

 

Kalidasa, in his classic Raghuvamsa, says,

सखा दशरथस्यापि जनकस्य च मन्त्रकृत्।
संचस्कारोभयप्रीत्या मैथिलेयौ यथाविधि॥ १५-३१

sakhā daśarathasyāpi janakasya ca mantrakṛt |
saṁcaskārobhayaprītyā maithileyau yathāvidhi|| 15-31

That expounder of the hymns, namely Valmiki, being the friend of Dasharatha as well as of Janaka, out of regard for both, procedurally performed purificatory ceremonies with regard to both the sons of Maithili. [15-31]

 

स तौ कुशलवोन्मृष्टगर्भक्लेदौ तदाख्यया।
कविः कुशलवावेव चकार किल नामतः॥ १५-३२

sa tau kuśalavonmṛṣṭagarbhakledau tadākhyayā |
kaviḥ kuśalavāveva cakāra kila nāmataḥ|| 15-32

Verily the poet gave the names Kusha and Lava to the two sons of Seetha from the names of the wiping materials, namely kusha grass and the hair of the tuft of the cow’s tail (lava), since the infants had been wiped of the post delivery uterine moisture by means of those two materials. [15-32]

–o)0(o–

साङ्गम् च वेदमध्याप्य किंचिदुत्क्रान्तशैशवौ।
स्वकृतिम् गापयामास कविप्रथमपद्धतिम्॥ १५-३३

sāṅgam ca vedamadhyāpya kiṁcidutkrāntaśaiśavau |
svakṛtim gāpayāmāsa kaviprathamapaddhatim|| 15-33

 

No sooner had the boys come out of the stage of infancy than Valmiki taught them the Vedas with their ancillaries, and then made them chant his own composition RAMAYANA which was the first guiding principle for all later time poets. [15-33]

–o)0(o–

रामस्य मधुरम् वृत्तम् गायन्तो मातुरग्रतः।
तद्वियोगव्यथाम् किंचिच्छिथिलीचक्रतुः सुतौ॥ १५-३४

rāmasya madhuram vṛttam gāyanto māturagrataḥ |
tadviyogavyathām kiṁcicchithilīcakratuḥ sutau|| 15-34

Singing the pleasant legend of Rama before their mother the two sons slightly lessened her grief of separation from Rama. [15-34]

–o)0(o—

 

VALMIKI’S  VERSION

 

Valmiki’s version in the Uttara Kanada  (Chapter 66 )

of Valmiki Ramayana is slightly different from Kalidasa’s.

“During the night Shatrughna passed in the leaf thatched hut, Sita gave birth to two children, and at midnight the youthful ascetics brought the pleasant and auspicious tidings to Valmiki. Immediately he went to see the newly born children. On beholding those two infants, his heart was filled with delight and he performed the Rakshasa Rite ( to avert evil).

Taking a handful of Kusha grass with its roots, Valmiki pronounced the formula of protection for the destruction of evil forces, saying:-

‘Since they will rub the first born of the children with the Kusha grass blessed by the aid of Mantras, his name shall be Kusha and, as the last born will be carefully dried by the female ascetics with the roots of the grass, he shall be called Lava, and by these names that I have given them, they will become renowned.

 

Thereafter the female ascetics purified themselves and reverently received the grass from the hands of the Muni (Vamiki), applying it to the two children

xxx

 

Four Brothers had Eight Sons!(4 X 2=8)

Another interesting coincidence is that all the four brothers had two sons each. Not many people know the names of the wives of Rama’s brothers and their sons!

Rama and Sita were the parents of Lava and Kusha

Bharata and Mandavi were the parents of Dakshan and Pushkalan

Lakshmana and Urmila were the parents of Angathan and Chandraketu

Shatrughna and Sruthakeerthi were the parents of Shatrugathi and Subahu

 

इतरेऽपि रघोर्वंश्यास्त्रयस्त्रेताग्नितेजसः।
तद्योगात्पतिवत्नीषु पत्नीष्वासन्द्विसूनवः॥ १५-३५

itare’pi raghorvaṁśyāstrayastretāgnitejasaḥ |
tadyogātpativatnīṣu patnīṣvāsandvisūnavaḥ || 15-35

 

The other three scions of the race of Raghu, namely Lakshmana, Bharata, Shatrughna, who were as resplendent as the triple sacred fires, became the fathers, each begetting two sons on their wives who were pre-eminent ‘as wives’ by being married to them. [15-35]

 

Then Kalidasa describes their achievements.

 

(Sanskrit slokas are taken from sanskritdocuments.com; thanks)

 

–Subham–