CSIS

Centre for South Indian Studies

Celebration of Maharshi Valmiki Jayanthi – Aswayuja Pournami ( 28th October 2023 )

28th October 2023

Dakshinapatha Studies ( an initiative of CSIS ) celebrated the Valmiki Jayanti in the Hyderabad Chapter office on the evening of 28th October 2023, on Aswayuja Pournami, the janma tidhi of Maharshi Valmiki, the Sanskrit epic poet of the adi-kavya Ramayana.  Dakshinapatha Studies celebrates a few national heroes and icons, as the integrators of the ancient nation of Bharat.

It is believed that Valmiki was a hunter in the forests and hailed from the backward community before he turned a Maharshi at the advice of Maharshi Narada. After a rigorous penance, he wrote the mellifluous Ramayana which tells the history of Sri Rama, the prince of Ayodhya and his travails and victory. The Valmiki community in the northern parts of the country,  regards Valmiki as the progenitor of the community. Valmiki has also a prominent presence in Uttara Kanda as Sita, Rama’s consort takes shelter at his ashram.  The epic work Ramayana has endured millennia and Hindus across the globe have an instant connect with Bhagwan Srirama. Sri Rama is regarded as a national hero representing the sanathana dharma ethos of Satya and Dharma. He is described as `Ramo vigrahavaan dhamah’.

 

Dakshinapatha Studies celebrated the event by offering flowers to the portrait of Maharshi Valmiki, conducted Pooja and Harathi amidst chanting of Srirama Bhajans, and Prasadam distributed to all present in the event. Several books of Ramayana were also kept in the puja.  Many Research associates of CSIS were present in the event.

Ramayana as an epic is perhaps the most translated work not only in Indian languages but in many languages across the world. Many works of Ramayana are inspired by Valmiki’s epic. Several royal dynasties like in Thailand, trace their lineage to Bhagwan Srirama.  Hence it was decided to commemorate Valmiki  by celebrating Ramayanas in a few languages.

Sri Madhavan spoke about the Tamil `Ramavataara’  written by the poet Kamban in the 12th century. He spoke about the beauty of the work and its great legacy among Tamil speaking people. Sri Satish Inani spoke about the great Ramacharita Manas, written by Goswami Tulasidas. He explained about how Tulasidas’s wife chided him to focus on things which endure and not on ephemeral issues. He explained how people who migrated away always carried Sri Ramacharitha manas with them as a legacy of Bharat and Hindu dharma. Sri Ayush Nadimpalli explained a few other aspects of Ramayana and also about the Valmiki community.  Ms Shailaja from CSIS spoke about two great Ramayana Kavyas in Telugu.

 Telugu Ramayana Kavyas

Telugu has a very rich literary tradition of Mahakavyas. Although there are more than forty adaptations of the Valmiki Ramayana which are partly or completely in Telugu, only four adaptions have covered the entire theme of the original epic. They are Ranganatha RamayanamBhaskara RamayanamMolla Ramayanam, and Ramayana Kalpavruksham. The Ramayanas have the following chapters, following the Sanskrit epic.

  • Bala Kanda (Chapter: Childhood; బాల కాండ)
  • Ayodhya Kanda (Chapter: Ayodhya; అయోధ్యకాండ)
  • Aranya Kanda (Chapter: Forest; అరణ్యకాండ)
  • Kishkindha Kanda (Chapter: Kishkindha; కిష్కిందకాండ )
  • Sundara Kanda (Chapter: Sundara సుందరకాండ )
  • Yudha Kanda (Chapter: War;యుద్ధకాండ)
  • Uttara Kanda (Chapter: Last; ఉత్తరకాండ

Ranganatha Ramayana

The earliest complete Telugu version of Rāmāyaṇa is the Śrī Raṇganātha Rāmāyaṇam, which was written by the 13th century poet Gona Budda Reddy between 1294 CE – 1310 CE. It was composed in 17,290 couplets (in Dwipada metre). This metre is lyrical and can either be recited like the Valmiki Ramayana (written in Anustupa metre) or sung like the Ramcharitmanas (written in DohaChaupai). Gona Buddha Reddy belonged to a royal family, a samantha rajya of Kakatiya dynasty, with Kanduru as the capital. It is believed that he has written upto the Yuddha Kanda, and his sons Kacha and Vitthalanatha completed the Ramayana adding the Uttara kanda.  (Though Tikkana Somayaji has written the Nirvachanottara Ramayana earlier, it was not the complete Ramayana).

Molla Ramayanam

As poetess Molla has written many kanda padyas ( meter), it is also called as kanda ramayanam. Her work of 6 kandas runs into 870 pages. Atukuri Molla ( 1440-1530 CE) belonged to Gopavaram village of Kadapa district of Andhra Pradesh. She introduces herself as the daughter of potter, her father was a great shiva-bhakta. Though she was not formally educated and trained, she was a natural poet – sahaja pandita- and has written the mahakavya in plain and mellifluous language, it is also known for its humor. As is the norm in her times, in which poets have dedicated their works to kings and were rewarded with many titles and gifts, Molla like the famous Telugu poet before her, Mahakavi Pothana, didn’t dedicate her work to any king, and has written the kavya with complete dedication to only Bhagwan Srirama.

While mentioning that many poets before her have written Ramayana, she expresses her devotion to Sri Rama thus:

రాజిత కీర్తియైన రఘురాము చరిత్రము మున్ గవీశ్వరుల్
తేజ మెలర్ప చెప్పిరని తెల్సియు గ్రమ్మర జెప్పనే లనన్
భూజన కల్పకం బనుచు, భుక్తికి ముక్తికి మూలమంచు, నా
రాజును దైవమైన రఘురాము నుతించిన దప్పు గల్గునే?

 

The other great poets who have written the Telugu Ramayana Kavyas.

  • Tikkana : Poet of Nirvachanottara Ramayanam.
  • Hulakki Bhaskara : Initiated Bhaskara Ramayana along with his son Mallikarjuna Bhattu, his student Rudradeva and it was completed by Ayyalarya.

The latest and extensive version of Rāmāyaṇa in Telugu is that of the 20th Century writer Sri Viswanadha Satyanarayana, called the ŚrīMadRāmāyaṇa Kalpavṛkśamu.


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