Friday, January 25, 2013

Old Tales- Ramayanam in 7 Lines

DISCLAIMER: I am not taking lessons in moral science or decrying any religion or faith or beliefs, so please just ensure that you drink a a good quantity of sense of humor before starting to read

On the train from Pune to Hyderabad I noticed two children fighting for the window seat and that reminded me of a similar incident of mine. During that incident long back, my grandpa (mother's father) taught me a small shloka which remained etched in my mind. Don't know why it remained etched. Perhaps twas the melody with which he recited it, perhaps because he made me recite it time and again. The story around it was...

              We were coming back from Pandalam, Kerala after school's  summer vacation. Amma, my sister and me were being escorted by Thatha(grandpa). Back then train journeys were something we used to look forward to. Priya(Could not recollect calling her akka i.e. elder sister) and me would always fight for the windows seat. Like Aufbau's principle of electrons occupying energy levels in a first come first principle, whoever got into the train cubicle first would get the window seat. I was always second since amma would not let go of my hand and by corollary Priya would get the window seat. She would give me a smug smile which would make me go into tantrum mode. Thatha to console me would take hold of my hand and take me to the compartment door where we would stand a foot behind. It was not fun to watch "between two legs" the world go by. By legs I mean the chap who would be standing at the door smoking and spitting the cud from the betel leaf he would be chewing. So the pitch of my tantrum would raise a couple of notches and thatha would bring me back to the berth. To get a sleeping berth on the train back then was no mean achievement. Socialist regimes ensured that there were not enough rakes and trains to transport the 10 times greater number of people. But then again thatha was so respected that securing sleeping berths for all of us was child's play for him. The next fight was for the upper berth at sleeping time. Again Priya would win because I was toooooo small to sleep on a berth of my own. I would always be paired with somebody.  Back then Pandalam, Kerala to Hyderabad was a three day journey by train which included a 6 hour wait at a station called Guntakal (or was it Renigunta?). At this station another train would couple the Kerala compartments from our train. So the six hour wait for the second train would kill all enthusiasm in a small child. So my tantrums must have reached an octave by now. Thatha then took me on his lap and taught me the shloka. The shloka in essence summarizes the Ramayana. he wrote the shloka in Tamil which I still don't know to read. He then started reciting it to me asking me repeat every syllable. By the end of the six hour wait, I knew the shloka by heart.

 The shloka summarize or explains what you can find in The Ramayana
I have tried reproducing the shloka in Sanskrit (devanagiri script) in which I am pretty sure there are spelling mistakes. Tis has been a long time since I wrote Hindi.

पूर्वम रामा तापोवानाती गमनं 
हत्वा मृगं कांचनं 
वैदेही हरणं जटायू मरनम 
सुग्रीव संभाषणं वालिनिर्दालानम 
समुद्र तरनम लंकापुरी दहनं 
तत्पश्चात रावण खुम्बकरा हननं 
एदत्त रामायणं ||

For those of you who are devanagiri challenged, the shloka in English

Purvam Rama Thapovanati Gamanam
Hatwa Mrigam Kanchanam
Vaidehi Haranam, Jatayu Maranam
Sugriva Sambhashanam, Vali nirdalanam
Samudra Taranam, Lankapuri dahanama,
Tat pashchat Ravana Khumbhakaran Hananam
Eddath Ramayanam.

I will attempt a translation what with my poor Sanskrit skills.

Long ago, Rama went to the forest 
where he went hunting the goldent deer
in that time Seetha was kidnapped
Jatayu tried stopping and was killed
Rama in search of Sita, crowns Sugria king after slaying Vali,
The monkey army cross the ocean
Raze Lanka
And finally Rama slays Khumbakarana and Ravana. 
This is what is described in the Ramayana      

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