Sunday, 27 October 2013

94. Rama released Viradha from his curse.

                The reader may be wondering why Rama allowed the rakshasha to carry him and his brother away from Seetha. The episode of Viradha assumes some importance in Hindu mythology. It may be noted that Viradha put down Seetha, lifted and carried Rama and Lakshmana far away from Seetha.  In Aadhyaatma Raamaayana Rama confronted and killed Viradha straight. But in Valmiki Ramayana, Viradha took away Seetha first and then Rama and Lakshmana. The reasons are said to be that i) Rama does not kill or execute anyone in the presence of Seetha, ii) Seetha is the incarnation of Goddess Lakshmi who is said to be very benevolent and kind-hearted and as such would not like any killing in her presence, and iii) she would pardon anyone if surrendered in faith at her feet. In Skaanda Purana Viradha's episode is explained as
       On seeing Seetha, Viradha thought, 'She is the Supreme goddess through whom heavens can be obtained by salvation and also release from the bondage [of rakshasha body]. On just seeing Her, relieved is this body cage, so with all my devotion, I steal Her ....etc. Hence vi raadha meant to be verily, devout, like Radha of Krishna. When chased and hurt by Rama and Lakshmana, the rakshasha released Seetha, and carried both the brothers away (for getting killed and get a release from this body).             
                 Seetha was completely stunned seeing Rama and Lakshmana  being carried away like kids by that rakshasha. She shouted at Viradha to carry her instead of them.
               The pitiable cry of agony of Seetha made Rama and Lakshmana  to quickly finish off the Rakshasha. With a mighty blow with his sword Lakshmana severed the left arm of that Rakshasha, while Rama did that for his right arm. This made the Rakshasha dizzy. And he fell onto the ground like a mountain demolished by the Thunderbolt of Indra. The brothers were relentless. They battered him with their fists, hands and feet, and heaving and hurling him again and again and pounded him. Viradha was very much alive despite the fact that he was battered with many arrows, lost both his hands, and was being pounded on the ground. Rama was puzzled. In a few moments he decided the course of action to be taken. Accordingly he placed his right foot firmly on the chest of Viradha to prevent him to make even a very slight move and told Lakshmana "Bro, this creature clings to his life like a very powerful glue. The best course is to bury him deep so that he will stay there, alive or dead, permanently.  Please dig a very deep pit to hold this huge body while I keep him stay put."  
             Suddenly the Rakshasha  spoke. He said "Sir! Sorry I didn't recognize you earlier. I knew you to be Rama, your brother Lakshmana, your mom Kausalya and even Seetha, your goddess like wife.
            "Actually I am a gandharva named Tumburu. Kubera cursed me to become a Rakshasha for the trivial reason that I did not attend to the service he wanted me to. I could not because I was just philandering with the exquisite Ramba (one of the many Apsaras).
            "When I begged his pardon, Kubera relented and said 'You know that a curse is a curse; I cannot take it back. You will get back to your normal body when Dasharatha's eldest son Rama kills you in a fight. 
             ”Oh, Sir, at some distance from here Sage Sharabhanga, a great saint of virtue, and an efficacious sage with sun-like resplendence dwells. I suggest you approach him for advise.  Rama, please go ahead burying me in a pit. This is the age old custom for those rakshashas who lost vitality." 
             When Lakshmana finished digging the pit big enough to hold the body of Viradha, Rama lifted the inert body of the Rakshasha and flung into the pit. And within the pit they have also concealed him with boulders in order to make it a burial chamber to the departed soul. Then both the brothers covered the pit with earth very firmly.
             Then collecting the relieved Seetha they started towards the hermitage of the sage Sharabhanga.

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