Wednesday, February 17, 2016

Prayers to Vedic and post Vedic Gods in Valmiki Ramayana.

Prayers  to Vedic and post Vedic Gods  in Valmiki  Ramayana.


   All  Hindu devotees believe that  the first  book which was  written    after  the Vedas   was Valmiki Ramayana. That is why  it is called  Adhi Grantha.. According to legends  Vedas   were  only codified   and written down by Veda Vyasa  who was the great grand son of Vasishta  (who lived  in the Ramayana period). That would mean the book   written by Valmiki  might have been written   down earlier to Vedas   and that is why  Valmiki’s book is called   Adhi Grantha  .
        Vedas   worshipped Gods such as  Purusha , Rudra, Shakthi,Brahma ,Yama,   Indra , Agni  , Surya, Chandra, Vayu , Bhaga , Nakshtras. Purusha(Masculine  being)  was possibly   later  identified as  Lord Vishnu  , Rudra (the angry one)  was  identified as Lord Shiva(peace) , Shakthi (the power)  was latter identified   as  the feminine  principle  of Gods  , Brahma   remained as Brahma  the creator  , Yama identified   as  God of death  , Indra identified as  king of Devas  , Surya(sun)  , Chandra (moon)  , Vayu (wind) , Agni (fire)  Bhaga(The god of luck)   and Nakshatras   as  stars. The Vedas   were compiled by   great sages   who taught  them to their disciples as spoken word (possibly they did not have  alphabets or they thought  Since for proper import of  Vedic Suthras   correct pronunciation  was important  ) and later passed  on  them to their disciples to be similarly passed on to their disciples        . Possibly  because   they  were transferred as spoken word  , they were called as Sruthi (what was  heard) . In Vedas   some Puranic  kings like  Janaka  , Kaushika etc are   also mentioned.  Vedas   worshipped Gods   and made offerings  to them  through fire.  AS an addendum to Vedas   were the philosophical  works called Upanishads. To the best of my knowledge (limited) there are no temples  mentioned in the Vedas .  Also added to  the Vedas  were  the  Grihya suthras  , which defined  the  rituals that  should  be performed by an Individual. If you properly analyze    the  daily rituals prescribed , there also   the worship is restricted to various Vedic Gods , except possibly in few places where  some  names of Lord  Vishnu are mentioned .(Eg in Aachamana  and  in  prayers  in  the last concluding part) .Most of the prayers are addressed   to  Sun  God, Yama, Gayathri   etc. Normally these rituals are nowadays   restricted to men but in Valmiki Ramayana , Hanuman searches   for Sita in  river banks  in the hope that she would come there to worship in the dusk.
   When such is being the case  the Fist book of Hinduism (possibly written  even earlier  to Vyasa   giving a written   compilation of Vedas ) does not mention    about any temples, but some Gods do find mention . Lord Brahma was worshipped   by the Asuras  by doing penance  and not by going to temple  . (No stotra there? )  .The Devas   are supposed to have approached Lord Vishnu   who took incarnation as Rama.  Even prayers are  very few in Ramayana. Sita while crossing Ganga  prays to the river for her   safe return.Lord Hanuman when he is not able  to  find Sita does prays Gods   which includes Rama .
“My salutations to Sri Rama along with his brother Lakshmana, My salutations to Sita who is the daughter of Janaka, My salutations to Rudra, Indra, Yama the god of death, Vayu the god of wind, moon, sun and The people of Maruth”, he saluted  ( Sundara Kanda/Valmiki Ramayana                    13. 63)
Sita prays to the fire God not to hurt  Hanuman :-
That broad eyed lady started praying for the welfare of the monkey chief and at that time with great devotion saluted the God of fire and prayed.                                            53.26
“Supposed I had looked after my husband properly, suppose I had observed the rules of penance properly and if I had thought in my mind of husband only, then be cool to Hanuman.”                                                                                                                   
“If that great one has little pity on me and not only that if I have at least a bit of luck, then be cool to Hanuman.”                                                                                          53.28
“Suppose you know me as one as virtuous and only praying always to reach the company of whom who is the soul of justice, then be cool to Hanuman.”                                  53.29
“If the long armed, truthful and gentleman Sugreeva will help me to cross this danger, then be cool to Hanuman.”                                                                                            53.30

Later    Rama himself was taught  Adhithya Hrudayam  by sage Agasthya  to pray Sun God  to get ability  to  kill Ravana.  You do not find Dasaratha  praying for a son  , nor do we find Rama praying to any God to help locate his wife or when Lakshmana  lay  killed  by  Indrajit. This to my mind   indicates   that praying the  post Vedic  Gods   were still not popular at that time. Prayer, temples , sacred rivers  , sacred places all  become very common   in all books that   followed Ramayana.In Bharatha , Bhagawatha   and all translations and adaptations of Ramayana   all these things became very popular .There are umpteen number of prayers  addressed to Rama as God in  Adyathma Ramayana.Kamba Ramayana  mentions that  Lord Ranganatha   was the Kula Deivam(clan God)  of the solar dynasty   and gives a description   of  several temples  visited by Hanuman when he came   searching for  Sita in the southern direction.

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