Appreciating Kamban --- A few select stanzas from Ayodhya Kandaam


We can say that Kamba Ramayanam actually begins from Ayodhya Kandam as many inspiring characters are inducted into the story from this chapter.This part also contains some valuable guidelines for humanity, as we will be seeing in the few stanzas that are cited here. In the earlier article, we read about the benign rule of Dasaratha, his craving and prayers for children to succeed him , the birth of his 4 sons, the appearance of Viswamitra on the scene, the slaying of Thadaga by Sri Rama, the wedding of Sri Rama and his three brothers at Mithila, 'sapa vimochanm of Ahalya', garva bangam of Parasurama and the return of Rama to Ayodhya.

Ayodhya Kandam describes how Dasaratha plans for the coronation of Rama and as to how his moves are frustrated by his wife Kaikeyi, ultimately resulting in the death of Dasaratha. Hereafter, the story moves on the expected lines when we get some gems of advice. When Rama was proposed to succeed as king, their Raja Guru, Vasishta calls Rama to his side with this advice

கரிய மாலினும், கண்ணுத லானினும்,
உரிய தாமரை மேல் உறைவானினும்,
விரியும் பூதம் ஒர் ஐந்தினும், மெய்யினும்,
பெரியர் அந்தணர்; பேணுதி உள்ளத்தால்.

Vasishta tells Rama that he should protect Brahmins from the bottom of his heart. Kambar describes brahmins as greater than Vishnu, Siva Brahma, the five 'boothas, viz earth, water, fire, air and space and the truth itself. Vasishta was not speaking of the brahmin caste as such but he was respectig their superior knowledge. We must therefore infer that it is the duty of rulers to protect knowledge and the people who possess knowldge.

We all know of the two boons that Kaikeyyi asked of Dasaratha. As per the first one she wants her son Bharatha to succeed his father as King and as per the second one she wants Rama to go to forest. While mentioning about the boons asked by her, Kamban describes Kaikeyi as the evil of all evils!

ஏய வரங்கள் இரண்டின், ஒன்றினால், என்
சேய் அரசு ஆள்வது; சீதை கேள்வன் ஒன்றால்
போய் வனம் ஆள்வது' எனப் புகன்று, நின்றாள் -
தீயவை யாவையினும் சிறந்த தீயாள்

Having received.the two boons from Dasaratha, Kaikeyi takes upon her self to tell Rama its contents.There cannot be a greater shock to a prince than being told that he will not get the throne but instead is asked to go to the forest for 14 years! But what was Rama's reaction to this command? Kamban says Rama's face looked like a lotus that blossomed just then! This describes Rama's equanimity and his respect for elders.

இப்பொழுது, எம்மனோரால் இயம்புதற்கு எளிதே? - யாரும்
செப்ப அருங் குணத்து இராமன் திருமுகச் செவ்வி நோக்கின்;
ஒப்பதே முன்பு பின்பு; அவ் வாசகம் உணரக் கேட்ட
அப் பொழுது அலர்ந்த செந்தாமரையினை வென்றது அம்மா!

Kausalya ,the mother of Rama, comes to know of this strange turn of events. Kausalya doesn't think ill of Bharatha or his mother Kaikeyi. She tells Rama,' There is something called propriety. But Bharatha is a good-natured person and he is a better person than you. He is an unblemished individual" This describes how Kausalya loved all the four sons of Dasaratha equally.Thus we find in Kambaramayanam each character excelling the other in magnanimity!

'முறைமை அன்று என்பது ஒன்று உண்டு; மும்மையின்
நிறை குணத்தவன்; நின்னினும் நல்லனால்;
குறைவு இலன்' எனக் கூறினாள் - நால்வர்க்கும்
மறு இல் அன்பினில், வேற்றுமை மாற்றினாள்.

Ultimately Rama had to leave Ayodhya and go to the forest. What was the reaction of the people of Ayodhya to this turn of events? Kamban describes the mood very nicely. Not to speak of the people, the cows, calves flowers, birds, waters in the rivers, forests, elephants, horses - everything in Ayodhya cried!

ஆவும் அழுத அதன் கன்று அழுத அன்று அலர்ந்த
பூவும் அழுத் புனல் புள் அழுத் கள் ஒழுகும்
காவும் அழுத களிறு அழுத் கால் வயப் போர்
மாவும் அழுத -அம் மன்னவனை மானவே.

Lakshmanan, who voluteered to go with Rama to the forest was teribly angry with the injustice meted out to his brother.Rama however consoled hlm in these words -'It is not the fault of the river if there is no water in it!The mother who bears and gives birth to a child. Whatever happens, it is the fault of destiny! Why do you get perturbed over things for which you have no control? These words of wisdom are meant not only for Lakshmanan but for every one of us!

நதியின் பிழையன்று நறும்புனல் இன்மை; அற்றே
பதியின் பிழையன்று; பயந்து நமைப் புரந்தாள்
மதியின் பிழை அன்று; மகன் பிழை அன்று; மைந்த!
விதியின் பிழை; நீ இதற்கு என்னை வெகுண்டது?' என்றான்.

(To be continued)

August 2009