RamabhadrA rArA shri ramachandrA rArA
Dear Friends ,
It gives me immense pleasure to write up this post after a long long time due to the grace of SitaRama bhakthas by first offering my salutations to the lotus feet of two of the great raama bhakthas/ vakh-geyakaras in this kali yuga, the nadhOpAsana rathnAkarA Tyaga brahmam and Kancharla Bhakta RamadasulaVAru. We are indeed very fortunate enough to know about their lives and their works. These two saints/vakh-Geyakaras are like two brilliant eyes that radiate the glory of Sita Ramachandra swamy to the people suffering from material pangs in this Kali Yuga.
These are the great souls that melted the Naadhapriyan with their beautiful kirtanAs soaked in nectarine love for him. How can the Lord remain unmoved by the devout cryings of his dear ones? Didn't he IMMEDIATELY rush to the help of the mighty Gajendra, the King of Elephants, when he cried for help? Saulabhyam (easy access) and Souseelyam(easy access to all) is one of the anantha kalyana gunas of our sundara raamachandran. One just has to call out his name "Raaamaa" and we have his katAksham already. Just like the mighty gajendra, all we have to do is call out his divya naama to escape from the jaws of the crocodile (material life ) instead of trying hard to do it by ourselves. This is the central idea behind naama sankeerthanam and lots of credit goes to Bhadrachala RamadasulaVaru. If not for him , there will be no prAchina naama sankeerthanam today.
Note: Let me slightly interrupt u. The blog can also be downloaded in rtf format. See Link section below.
BhadraAchalam , literally means "on top of Bhadra". Also,Bhadram means anything that is auspicious. Seetha Raama is "atIVa Bhadram". He is the most auspicious of everything.
Who is this Bhadra? and Why should Raama be seated on top of Bhadra? There is a short story behind this.
Once there lived a great sage called Bhadra. He did intense tapas to see SitaRama . Rama was in Dandakaranya forest during the same time. He implored Rama to be seated on his head but Rama was on the look out for his consort SitA Devi. He promised him that he will fulfill his desire after finding SitA and establishing dharma by killing the wicked RAvanA. As RAmA was unable to fulfill his desire during his avatarA , bhadrA was performing intense tapas since then(until end of Thretha Yuga). Without any delay, Lord Vishnu rushed to his devotee by blowing his conch(panchajanya) , accompanying Sita Devi and Lakshmana and manifested as Vaikuntha RAma. Immediately , the sage Bhadra asked his holy feet to be placed on top of his head. What is the significance of this?
On top of our body is our mind. Our mind is fickle. Hence, it is very important to control our mind. This is the task undertaken by the greatest of the sages and seers ultimately to realize the bliss of Aatman. By doing intense tapas, sage Bhadra got a chance to seek the most auspicious feet of SitaRama and have it placed on his head. Let we all yearn for such a thing in this kaliyuga.
Such dazzling self manifested vigrahAs (swayambhu) were revealed to a pious woman belonging to the 'Sabari' kula in a dream. Her name is POkala Dhammaka.
One interesting feature to note is the absence of hanuman. How come? The maruthi anjali sloka goes as follows
"yathra yathra raghunaatha kirthanam, thathra thathra krutham hasthakaanjalim
How can such a maaruthi be absent ???? There is another interesting story behind this. It is believed that raama sent his great bhaktha hanumaan to bring KAlaKAlan, who was suffering from pangs of hunger to his own place. KAlAkalan had become a great sinner by desiring his Guru's wife. He was cursed by his Guru to suffer from the dreaded disease of leprosy. With no place to live and no one to support , kAlaKAlan wandered aimlessly. He learnt that even the worst sinner was offered food in Bhadraachalam, he decided to take refuge in the Lords place. [total sharanaagathi]. He somehow manged to reach bhadraachalam but dropped down soon after seeing the temple towers from a distance. Kaarunyaasaagara ,sri raama, immediately said "He who has come into the precincts of Bhadrachalam that is my territory becomes mine and is cleansed of all his sins, however grievous they be. He belongs to none else but me and has no right to be taken elsewhere but to my Kingdom. Let him be brought to me!” and sent hanuman to bring kAlAlkalan to him.
If we have bhadraachalam today, it can only be because of the great raama bhaktha RamadAsulu GAru. He spent his life just to bring up the temple in bhadraachalam for his hero. He is that noble soul who always had sitaaraama occupying his mind and soul. EVen in his toughest times when he was imprisoned and whipped to death by the nizam for making use of the state funds to construct the temple, , he poured out his love for sita raama, Deenadayalo! Deenadayalo! Deenadayaapara Deva Dayãlo!” -- Oh! Compassionate one! Oh! compassionate One!. He carved out the icon of Sri raama in the prison walls just with his fingers and worshipped. In one of his krithis, he pleads raama to come and save him but with no response he asks teasingly " Rama , Why don't you give your consent to watever i have done ? Say that i havent done anything wrong. Is it because your mouth contains pearls which you fear will spill down if you open your mouth. PalukE BangAraMAyena Kodhandapaani ! PalukE BangAra mayE pilichina palakaVEmi.
Would Raama fail to come to the rescue of such a devotee? Rama and lakshamana took disguise as the assitants of Ramadasa and paid the nizam sacks of gold coins. The pleased nizam immediately set ramadasa free and offered the gold given by rama and lakshmana but ramadasa refused to take. The coins are known today as 'Ram tanka' coins. They have the pattabhishkam scene on one side and the picture of the great raama bhaktha anjaneya on the other side.
One should develop taste for Rama Japa (Rama japa ruchi). One who enquires into the ‘hetu’/ ‘phala’ (fruit) of Rama Nãma japa is not eligible to chant it. When we are offered ‘laddu’ (a kind of sweetmeat) do we try to find what it is made of or what good would eating it bring? We just grab and put it in our mouth and enjoy it! Don’t we? So should the chanting of the Mantra be. Unless you have a taste for the chanting of the Mantra, unless one is deeply attracted to it he cannot be called a Bhakta. He is only aateria ‘kamyan’ - one who seeks ml benefits.
Perhaps one of the superd and well-known kirtana of Bhadrachala ramadas is the kirtana "charanamule nammithi, nee divya charanmuley nammithi. Vaaridhigatina vara bhadrachala varaDA varadA VaradA nee divya " ( It is only in your Divine feet that i Trust , the one who constructed the bridge, bestower of boons of bhadrachala, Bestower of boons, It is your divine feet (I trust). This kirtana has the sharaNagathi (prapathi) trademark written all over it.
TyAgayyA on RamadAsulavAru
The great naadOpAsakA born in the pushya bagula panchami (today) day took bhakta ramadas as his role model. As a baby , he was fed with the nectarine songs of ramAdas by his mother. It seems like tyAgayyA was born to extend ,elevate and decorate the raama bhakthi of ramadas by adding the element of naadham.
In the famous devaGAndhAri krithi, ksheerasagara sayana, he asks rAma,
Dhirudau RamadAsuni bhandhamu dhirchinadhi vinnAnurA, rAmA
In prahlAda Bhakthi Vijayam, we can find another tribute
Kaliyugamuna vara bhadrachalamuna nelakonnaAs a concluding note, let me share with u a great musical treasure of tyAgayya as he pours forth in kaarunya rasa. The krithi is pAhi rAmachandra rAghava in the yadukula kAmbhodhi rAgA. In the krithi, tyAgayya pleads rAma how he can live this janmA without his kaTAksham. Musiri Subramania Iyer really popularized this krithi with his peerless rendition. Another krithi, Ksheerasaagara sayana in devagAndhAri raaga has also been rendered by musiri so wonderfully. Usually, people recognize musir only by the nagumOmu ganaleni krithi, but he has rendered so many other wonderful krithis like the above mentioned ones. I encourage you guys to check them out in the following link section.
May the great bhakthas like ramadasa and tyAgayya grace upon all of us to get the kaTaksham of SitARAma.
sarvathra raama bhakthulaku vandanam.
jAnakI kAntha smaranam , jai jai rAma rAmA.
gOpikA jeevana Smaranam , Govinda Govinda
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