Tag Archives: Lord Rama

Lord Rama answers a Britisher’s Prayer!

Madurantakam is a small town in Tamilnadu which has one of the oldest temples dedicated to Lord Sri Rama constructed by the Chola kings. There is also a huge lake or tank measuring 13 square miles and 21 feet deep also built by the Chola kings. From 1795-1799, a British officer by name Colonel Lionel Blaze was the collector who was in charge of Madurantakam. During this time he saw the tank breach twice and create havoc. He therefore decided to camp at Madurantakam and construct a strong bund to the lake to save the people and the agricultural land. 

Lionel Blaze saw a large number of granite stones near the temple and decided to use them for the tank bund. But the priests of the temple told him that they were for the extension of the temple complex. He ridiculed them saying that it was much better to use the stones for the bund rather than for the temple. He asked them, “Will your Rama come and protect the tank from breaching?” He had made up his mind that the granite stones would be used for protecting the tank.

One night it rained very heavily. The waters in the tank were continuously rising. When Lionel Blaze was apprised of the grave situation, he immediately went and camped near the tank praying and hoping that the tank would not breach. But the waters were continuously rising. At that moment, in utter desperation, he surrendered to the Lord and prayed that if the Lord saved the tank from breaching, he himself would build a temple for the Lord. He looked up to the skies helplessly. There in the lightning-flash he saw two handsome and charming youngsters with bow and arrows standing on the tank bund guarding the tank! The rains mysteriously subsided. The tank was full and almost overflowing, but it did not breach! The people and the fields were saved. Lionel was sure that the two youngsters who were on guard were none other than Lord Rama and Lakshmana.

As a mark of his gratitude and as he had promised, Collector Lionel Blaze constructed the temple. The Collector’s name is inscribed as a benefactor in the temple and the Lord is known as ERI KATHA RAMA – “Rama who saved the tank!”

Madurantakam is also the sacred place where Sri Ramanujacharya was initiated by his Guru Periya Nambi. It also houses one of the most well known Sri Ahobila Math Sanskrita Patasala.

“Sri Ramaya Tubhyam Namaha!”

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Squirrel’s Seva in building Rama Setu!

Lord Rama, Lakshmana and the Vanara army reached the shores of the ocean. They had to cross the ocean to reach Lanka and vanquish Ravana. Rama prayed to the lord of the ocean who in turn suggested that they build a bridge across the ocean, and he would help hold the rocks together.

Building a bridge with rocks! The rocks will sink in water! Jambavan, the chief of the bears suggested that if Hanuman can cross the ocean with the strength of the name of the Lord – RAMA, surely rocks with Rama Nama written on them would float!

All the mighty and strong vanaras engaged themselves in building the long bridge with the help of rocks and trees. They would bring huge rocks and Hanuman would write RAMA on them, and then they would toss it into the waters. Sure the rocks floated!

A little squirrel was observing all this. Everyone was engaged in the service of Lord Rama. It also wanted to serve the Lord. But how could a tiny little creature like the squirrel help in carrying huge rocks. It did not know what to do. The bushy-tailed squirrel sat down thinking very seriously in what way it can help. 

Suddenly its little eyes were filled with tears. It stood up on its hind legs and held its fore limbs across its chest and exclaimed, “the hard rocks with pointed edges will sure hurt my beloved Lord’s delicate and soft feet. And inbetween the rocks, there are gaping holes which are not at all comfortable to walk on. And the rough bark of the trees will surely hurt the Lord’s feet”.

After a few minutes of thought, the squirrel suddenly knew what to do! It scurried along quickly across the shore, dipped itself in water, came back and rolled itself over in the sand. Then it ran quickly on to the bridge and shook its body so vigorously that all the sand fell on the rocks. Again and again it repeated this process.

As it was darting to and fro, running here and there, it almost got crushed when it came under feet of a Vanara. Angrily, the Vanara shouted at the squirrel to stay away from them all, otherwise it would lose its life. The squirrel looked up and told them that it also wanted to serve Lord Rama in building the bridge. “Please do not deprive me of this sacred seva to the Lord, brother vanara,” implored the squirrel. Hearing this, the Vanaras laughed. How could a little squirrel help in building the huge bridge across the ocean? One of the Vanaras picked it up and tossed it a few yards away so that it would again not cross their path. The squirrel cried, “Rama!” The Lord heard its cry, got up and stretched His hand out. The squirrel came and softly landed on the Lord’s palm. It was safe in His hands! 

The Lord realized what had happened. He advised the Vanaras never to underestimate the service of anyone – big or small. It is the attitude or bhava which ultimately decides the nobility and beauty of the work executed. It was infact the grains of sand that cemented the rocks and held them together, and rendered the surface more comfortable to walk on.

In recognition of its seva, and acknowledging the same, the Lord held the squirrel in His palm and softly ran His three fingers on the furry back of the squirrel. Lo! there were three white stripes on the back of the squirrel! To this day the three white stripes seen on the back of squirrels is attributed to Lord Sri Rama as a reminder that no seva is insignificant!

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Sri Rama Anjaneya Yuddha!

Once there was a debate in Kailasa : whether Rama’s incomparable strength and might is greater OR the power and glory of Rama Nama is greater. Nobody could arrive at any conclusion. Sage Narada who also happened to be there decided on a plan to solve the problem. 

Narada took the help of Maya – the Lord’s power of illusion. She created rakshasic creatures and sent them to create havoc in the kingdom of Kashi, whose king was a great devotee of Lord Rama. Seeing his people in trouble, the king set out to destroy the demonic forces. The terrible creatures started to flee and he pursued them. One of them assumed the form of an ashramite and entered Sage Vishwamitra’s ashram. The king discharged an arrow which hit this illusory form. Sage Vishwamitra became very angry on seeing an innocent ashramite being targeted. However much the king tried to convince the sage that this was a rakshasic form, he would not listen. He walked off warning the king that he will have to indeed pay for his wrong doings. 

Viswamitra reached Ayodhya. He narrated what had happened in his ashram and asked Sri Rama to punish the wrong-doer with death. Rama agreed. When He heard that it was the king of Kashi, His devotee, Rama was taken aback, but He had given His word to the Sage.
On the other side, the worried king was going back when he met Sage Narada. On being questioned, he narrated everything to Narada. Narada asked him not to worry and sent him to Anjanadevi, the mother of Lord Hanuman for protection. Anjanadevi immediately granted the King protection. When Hanuman came, Anjanadevi told him all that had happened and to keep up his mother’s words, he too readily granted his protection to the king. The king happily stayed with Hanuman. Neither the king, nor Hanuman or his mother knew that Rama had given his word to Viswamitra to punish the king.

Narada came along and told Hanuman and his mother that it was Rama who had promised Sage Vishwamitra to punish the king. Hanuman was shocked and sad. It meant that he had to encounter none other than Lord Rama, His dear Lord and Master. In the meantime, Rama also came to know under whose protection the king was. He too was not happy. Rama and Hanuman, both of them had given their words and both of them were very firm on keeping up their words! It meant a conflict between the two of them!

Lord Rama came equipped with His bow, Kodanda to where Hanuman was and asked him to surrender the king to Him. Hanuman refused to do so, saying that he had learnt to keep up his words from Rama Himself! Words were exchanged – in the beginning soft and gentle, but slowly they became hard and firm.

Finally, Rama decided to use His strength and might against Hanuman. Hanuman on the other side was very clear. He was not going to fight the Lord; how could he? He asked the king to hide behind him, sat down facing Rama; closed his eyes and started chanting RAMA…RAMA…..RAMA. Rama very reluctantly released arrow after arrow towards Hanuman. Those arrows which never turned back, but always sure hit the target, could not even touch Hanuman! In front of the power of Rama Nama, they simply lost their power and paled into insignificance! All the devatas assembled in the sky to watch this unique battle between RAMA-SHAKTI and RAMA-BHAKTI!
Finally, Rama decided to use His Brahmastra to shake Hanuman out of his samadhi. By then everyone had understood the POWER and GLORY of RAMA NAMA. Narada immediately brought Sage Vishwamitra, and Lord Brahma and Lord Shiva also came there. Viswamitra then told Rama about the play of maya to prove to the whole world the power, glory and supremacy of the Lord’s name: SRI RAMA. Nothing can…..NOTHING CAN equal or stand in comparison to RAMA NAMA!

Hanuman woke up from his samadhi, prostrated to the Lord and asked for forgiveness for having stood against Him to keep up his mother’s words. The king of Kashi was overjoyed to have a glorious darshan of the Lord-of-his-heart and he offered his prayerful prostrations unto the Lord. Everyone went back to their divine destination. Sage Narada also went on his way supremely happy, singing the Lord’s glories.

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Rameswaram – Dakshina Kashi

Sri Rama, Seeta and Lakshmana were almost nearing the end of the fourteen years of exile in the forest. There was just one more year remaining. At that juncture, Ravana came and abducted Seeta and took her away with him to Lanka, his kingdom. Rama and Lakshmana came down South searching for her and met the Vanaras in Kishkindha. Hanuman, the son of the wind-God crossed the ocean, found Seeta in Asokavana and consoled and assured her of coming back with Rama and the Vanara army. He came back, reported everything to Lord Rama, and then they all proceeded to the tip of Bharat. A bridge had to be built across the ocean for them to move ahead.

At this point of time, Sage Agasthya came and suggested that Rama should worship and invoke the blessings of Lord Sankara before the construction of the bridge across the ocean. Agasthya Muni remembered that Lord Sankara had promised that He would come to the South when Sri Rama invokes Him. The auspicious muhurtha (time) was fixed for the pooja. Rama summoned Hanuman to his side and asked him to go to the Himalayas and bring the Shiva linga from none other than Lord Sankara Himself. Hanuman immediately started off. However he got delayed enroute. The auspicious time was almost approaching. To prevent further delay, Rama made a Shivalinga with his own hands from the sand available near the ocean. The Shivalinga was duly consecrated there.

Sage Agasthya officiated as the priest and the pooja was conducted precisely in the time chosen. By then Hanuman came back with the Shivalinga from Kailash. The pooja was already over. Hanuman was very disappointed that the Linga he had brought was not consecrated and wanted the same to be installed instead of the one made of sand. Rama agreed to this provided Hanuman can remove the Shivalinga which he had made. Hanuman immediately came forward, coiled his tail around the sand Shivalinga and tried to remove it, but it would not move. He tried again and again and finally fell down on the ground.

Hanuman then realized that it was His Lord, Sri Rama Himself who had with His own hands very lovingly made the sand Shivalinga. How can any might and strength disrupt it? Completely and totally humbled, Hanuman prostrated at the Lord’s feet and begged for His forgiveness for trying to move the Shivalinga which had been worshipped by the Lord Himself. 

Lord Rama consoled Hanuman and told him that his efforts would be rewarded. He said that alongside the sand Shivalinga that He had made, the Linga that Hanuman had brought would also be consecrated. The Linga that Rama had made would be called as Ramanatha, and the Linga that Hanuman had brought would be known as Vishwa Linga or Vishwanatha. This holy place would be known as Ramanathapuram – the Kashi of South – “Dakshina Kashi”. And for the full benefit of the worship and pilgrimage undertaken, the devotees and pilgrims must FIRST have darshan of Vishwa Linga brought by Hanuman and only then offer worship at the altar of Ramanatha. And also a pilgrimage to Kashi is incomplete without Ramanathaswamy darshan!

Lord Rama says: “No one else is so dear to Me as Shiva. They who behold Lord Rameswara will, on quitting the body go directly to My abode. And anyone who performs abhishekam to Lord Ramanatha with the sacred waters of Ganga will attain liberation and merge totally with Me. Whoever adores Lord Ramanatha with intense faith and total devotion will be blessed by Sankara Himself with Rama-bhakti. And he who has a glimpse of the bridge (Setu) built by Me across the ocean will surely cross the ocean of worldly existence without any difficulty” ~ Sri Ramacharitmanas by Goswami Tulasidasji

[PS: I request all to please forward and share these value based stories rich in our culture and tradition to elders, youth and children]

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