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Kurmavatara

 

Essence Of
Kurma Purana

 

10    Incarnation of Shri Rama, execution of Ravana and Installation of Rameshwara Linga

Devi Aditi and Kashypa Muni gave birth to Aditya and the latter had four wives viz. Sangjna, Raagjni, Prabha and Chaaya Devi; Sangjna’s sons were Manu and Yama and their daughter was Yamuna; Ragjni’s son was Raivata and Chhaya’s sons were Saavarna and Shani and daughters were Tapati and Vishta. Manu’s eldest son was Ikshwaku and in that illustrious lineage was born Harischandra who was famed for his Truthfulness as he sacrificed his Kingdom, wife and son. It was also in that lineage in which Bhagiratha was born, known for his persistence and fortitude and succeeded to bring down Ganges from Heavens to wash off the impact of Kapila Maharshi’s curse to his great-grand fathers. Raghu and Dasaratha too belonged to that Vamsha in which Shri Rama was born as an Incarnation of Vishnu with his brothers named Bharata, Lakshmana and Shatrughna. Devi Sita was the daughter of King Janaka to whom Maha Deva gifted a Shiva Dhanush and the King announced that whosoever could lift and set the Dhanush would be given Devi Sita in wedding. None of the powerful and valiant Kings or others could even lift the Dhanush, let alone set it. But Shri Rama was not only able to set it but even broke it. King Dasaratha planned to make Rama the Yuva Raja or the heir apparent, but the youngest of the three Queens called Kaikeyi thwarted the plan and instead demanded Rama to be banished to spend fourteen years in Vana Vaasa or Forest Life even as her own son Bharat should be the Yuva Raja. The weak King could neither stop Rama to go to forests nor refuse Kaikeyi’s wish and in this dilemma succumbed to death; Rama accompanied by Devi Sita and brother Lakshmana proceeded to the forests while a faithful Bharata discarded Kingship and only acted as the Administrator on behalf of Shri Rama during his absence. During the VanaVaasa, Rama destroyed several Rakshasaas with the able assistance of Lakshmana, facilitated Maharshis to perform Yagnas and  promoted virtuous deeds by shielding Dharma against Adharma (Virtue versus Vice) and Nyaya against Anyaya (Justice against Injustice). Almost at the end of the stipulated time of Forest Life moving from place to place and protecting Maharshis, Munis and the Virtuous and punishing the Evil, Rama lived in a ‘Parnashala’ or thatched abode in peace when a Rakshasi called Surpanakha spotted Rama and made amorous proposals to him but being of ‘Eka Patni Vrata’ or of a Single wife Practice refused her proposals of marriage; since she made desperate and insistent efforts, he instructed Lakshmana to cut off  her nose as he was against the Dharma of killing a woman. The Raakshasi approached her brother Ravana the most obnoxious and vicious Demon King of Lanka across the high Sea away from the mainland of Bharata Desha. Ravana decided to score against Shri Rama, more so as Sita Devi was beautiful and charming. He despatched another Demon called Maricha to reach Sita-Rama’s Parnashala by assuming the Form of a Golden Deer to tempt Sita while Rama chased the animal and while being killed by him it shouted ‘Rama’ as though Rama was in trouble; Lakshmana left the Parnashala and Ravana in disguise as a Muni requested Sita for alms to cross the Lakshmana Rekha – a Protective and Circular Line laced with Mantras- which was drawn by Lashmana and as soon as she crossed it,  Ravana appeared in his original form with ten heads and twenty hands and kidnapped her and whisked her away to Lanka. On return to the Parna shaala, Rama was distraught and on learning from Jatayu the friend of Dasaratha that Sita was kidnapped by Ravana and took her away to Lanka, befriended Sugreeva and Hanuman, crossed the Sea and killed Ravana and the entire clan of Ravanasura. Apart from Sugreeva and the huge monkey brigade, Hanuman, a matchless Bhakta or devotee of Shri Rama played a momentous role in the Epic of Ramayana: he crossed the High Sea to Lanka; spotted Devi Sita in a Garden of Lanka under imprisonment suffering Ravana’s heavy pressure of marrying her and threats of killing her husband Rama; convinced Sita that he was a genuine messenger of Rama;  assuaged Sita’s misery and boosted her morale by assuring that Rama was arriving; cautioned Ravana with dire consequences since Rama was of Vishnu’s Incarnation and would annihilate him and his entire clan; assisted Rama to construct a Rama Setu or a massive bridge across the Sea; saved Lakshmana’s life on the battle field as he was hit by Indrajit’s arrows by reaching the Himalaya Mountain Range and bringing overnight a  huge Mountain with ‘Sanjeevani’or life saving herb; took a lead role in killing countless Rakshasaas;  carried Rama and Lakshmana on his broad shoulders as their personal chariot; facilitated the destruction of Indrajit, Kumbhakarna and Ravana and finally enabled the coronation of Vibheeshana, the only virtuous brother of Ravanaasura, as the King of Lanka.

             In the midst of Setu, Rama and Sita decided to install a Shiva Linga, not only to celebrate the victory of Virtue against Evil, but also to atone the killing of Ravana a Brahmana though a Demon. Hanuman was comissioned to fetch a genuine Shiva Linga from Varanasi Kshetra but as he could not reach the appointed spot at the auspicious ‘Muhurta’, Devi Sita prepared a Linga with Seashore sand and the Sand Linga so installed had thus come to stay till date-apart from the Shiva Linga brought by Hanuman though belatedly. Maha Deva appeared in his full Form along  with Devi Parvati before Rama and Sita in the presence of the ‘Rama Sena’, blessed them and assured them all as follows:

Yat tavyaa sthapitam Lingam drakshyanteeha Dwijaatayah,

Mahaapaataka samyuktaaseshaam Paapam vinashyatu/

Anyaani chaiva Paapaani snaatasyatra Mahaadadhou,

Darshanaadeva Lingasya naasham yaanti na samshayaha/

Yaavat sthaasyanti girayo yaavadeshaa cha Medini,

Yaavat Setuscha taavaccha sthaasyaamyatra tirohitah/

Snaanam daanam japah shraaddham bhavishyatya-kshayam krutam,

Smarana Deva Lingasya dinapaapam pranashyati/

(‘Darshana’ or viewing of this Rameshwara Linga that was installed formally by Brahmanas on behalf of Shri Rama an Devi Sita should surely have their great sins destroyed. Taking bath in the Sea and worshipping the Linga would uproot the remaining blemishes and imperfections of a devotee. Maha Deva assured that as long as Mountains were existent and P rithvi was present, Setu would be in position and would be Maha Deva in the Rameshwara Linga. Whatever holy deeds like Snaana-Daana-Japa-Shraddhaas are performed at the Place would have multiplying and lasting effects. Even the ‘Smarana’ or the very thought of Rameshwara Linga from a distance would abolish the sins of the day!) After the Linga Pratishtha thus, Shri Rama administered Bharata Desha with Ayodhya as his capital for centuries and his Administration was acclaimed as ‘Rama Rajya’when his Subjects were happy, contented and without ‘Tapatrayaas’or the three kinds of Adhi Bhoutika like physical problems, Adhytaatmika or internal / psychological difficulties and Adhi Daivika or God-made complications like famines, earthquakes or  f loods. During his Sovereignty, Shri Rama’s governance excelled in Brahmana Puja, Ashwamedha Yagna and ‘Dharma Paalana’.



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