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Lectures on Rama and  Ramayana
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About the Author

Mr. S. Sundararajan has distinguished himself not merely as an IAS officer and administration, but also QI a Sanskrit Scholar, writer and poet.

He was an IAS officer (Orissa cadre) for 35 years from 1958 to 1993. In New Delhi, he served as Joint Secretary in the Planning Commision; as Plan Adviser for four north Indian, status; and as Deputy Secretary, Petroleum and Chemicals.

In Orissa, he was variously Secretary for Forests, Fishries and Animal Husbandary; Secretary for Industries; Secretary for planning Development Commissioner. He was Member; Board of Revenue, before retirement. He was chairman or member of a number of development committees and working groups.

After retirement, he served for six years (1993-99) as Chairman, Banking Service Recruitment Board, Bhubaneswar. He was in charge of recruiting clerical staff for all public sector banks in Orissa; he recruited officers and clerical staff for regional rural banks in Orissa.

Born In Devanarvilagam village, Thanjavur Kumbokonam, and graduated in chemistry from presidency he did his early education in College, in 1956.

Taught Sanskrit by his father, he became proficient in Sanskrit even while in school, and started composing verses in Sanskrit at the age of 12. He was called a "Balakavi" by Sri Chandrashekarendra Saraswati Swamigal, the then Sankaracharya of Kanchi Kamakoti Peetham. He is a reputed Sanskrit poet. His poems have been published in several journals. He has translated a number of Sanskrit works. His publications include Badarisha Tarangini, Surashmikashmiram and Abhaga Bharatham. An anthology of his poems. "Sri Sundaraja Rachanavali" was published in February 2005. He has taken part in several Sanskrit Kavi Sammelans at state and national levels.

He delivered the Rt Hon 'ble Srinivasa Sastry Memorial Lecture in march 1984 for the Sanskrit Academy, Mylapore. His one-act play in Sanskrit. "Koruna." won the first prize at on all-India competition organized by Delhi Sanskrit Academy in the year 2000. He has also won prize awarded by the Rajasthan Sanskrit Academy and the Delhi Sanskrit Academy.

He has won numerous honours as Sanskrit scholar. Example: Award of the Valmiki Samman for 2002 (by the Orissa Sanskrit Academy, Bhubaneswar), the title "Samskruta Mitram" (by the Government of India) in 2003, the Presidential Award of Certificate of Honour for his contribution to the Sanskrit language (by the Government of India) in 2005.

Foreword

Rashtriya Sanskrit University, Tirupati feels honoured and privileged to bring out two lectures delivered by Dr. S. Sundararajan, I.A.S. (Retd.) on various aspects and dimensions of the Valmiki Ramayana in the form of a book-let. The first discourse was delivered on 31st March, 1985 at Kuppuswamy Sastri Research Institute, Sanskrit College Building, Mylapore, Chennai on "Valmiki's portrait of the Divine and Human Aspects of Ram a", whereas the second one was delivered in a National Seminar on "Valmiki Ramayana" organized by Orissa Sanskrit Akademy, Bhubaneswar in November- 2003. Both the lectures are highly useful because they deal with the key-issues of critical importance pertaining to various episodes of Ramayana in general and the character of Lord Rama in particular. The lecture on "Valmiki's Portrait of the Divine and Human Aspects of Rama" gives a profound analysis of both divine and human aspects of Rama. Rama, an incarnation of Parambrahma, has been projected by Valmiki as an eternal substratum of divine propensities and extra- ordinary power. At the same time, He has been narrated as a Super Human Being (purusottama) having the qualities to play the role of an ideal son, ideal father, ideal husband, ideal brother, ideal friend and ideal ruler. On the whole, the discourse highlights Rama as "Vigrahwan Dharma or embodiment of Dharma to define Dharma, the author has quoted extensively both from Ramayana and other scriptures to present the salient features of the Dharma, a code of conduct responsible for the sustenance and maintenance of the entire Universe.

The second lecture is an example of the assimilation of the subject-matter of Ramayana by the author and a reflection of the balanced view on the Ramayana. It is observed that as long as mountains are there and rivers flow on the surface of the earth, so long the Ramayana will continue to be propagated in the world. Hence, the message of the Ramayana is eternal and Universal in nature. Sri Sundararajan, while underlining the eternity of the message of Ramayana in his second lecture, has presented a micro-analysis of the epic from various angles. The message of the Ramayana to mankind is loud and clear. It is intended to generate an atmosphere of peace, prosperity, harmony, mutual understanding and universal fraternity. The war between Rama and Ravana is nothing but a fight between Dharma and Adharma and victory of Rama is an indicator of victory of truth or divine qualities over untruth or demonical complexities. Goddess Sita has appeared as a strong symbol of woman empowerment representing the power of conscience. Hence, Ramadivatpravartitwayam Na Ravanadivat is the message, Maharshi Valmiki likes to promote through his monumental Mahakavya. It is told "Madhumay Bhaditeenam Margdarshi Maharshi :" We are grateful to the author of the discourses for making a profound study on all the aspects of Ramayana and presenting the cream before the audience of researchers, learners as well as common people interested in cultural values of this country.

Another additional salient feature of the book is the Introduction written by Prof. V. Kannan, a reputed scholar of Mathematics, Sanskrit and Indian culture. Prof. Kannan is presently working as Pro- Vice-Chancellor in the University of Hyderabad.

His exhaustive Introduction to the booklet is a reflection of his clarity of thoughts and analytical approach to the issues and episodes of the Ramayana. I am sure, the readers and lovers of the Ramayana will find sufficient food for thought from the said comprehensive Introduction written by Prof. Kannan.

On the whole, the book is, no doubt, a useful dissertation on Valmiki's Ramayana and will certainly cater to the needs of many who are interested to know the real purport of the Ramayana.

While congratulating the author, Sri S. Sundararajan, for his commendable and successful exercise in preparing the research document, I wish the publication a grand success.

Introduction

This book contains the notes of two lectures delivered by Sri. S. Sundararajan, I.A.S. (Retd.) This author is well known in the circles of Sanskrit literature through his highly rated poems and through the various recognitions that these poems have fetched him. This book reveals another kind of eminence of this author. His originality of ideas, analysing skills and lucid presentation, as exhibited in these two lectures, are praiseworthy. The two topics are: 1. Valmiki's portrait of the divine and human aspects of Ram a (Rt .Hon'ble v. S. Srinivasa Sastri Endowment Lecture delivered in 1985 at the Kuppuswamy Sastri Research Institute, Chennai) 2.The message of Ramayana (Lecture delivered in the Seminar on Valmiki Ramayana at Orissa Sanskrit Academy in 2003.) Rashtriya Sanskrit Vidyapeetha, Tirupati, deserves all our appreciation for publishing this book for the benefit of Sanskrit lovers.

The admiration for the world's first epic, Valmiki Ramayanam, has been pouring from several comers of the world, without geographical boundaries. Several foreign scholars have been enamoured by Valmiki Ramayanam. They have showered praises on various aspects of this epic. It may be worthwhile to go through some of them now.

Ramayana "is the noblest of epics", writes Schlegal (1772- 1829), a German writer, critic and philosopher.

It is "undoubtedly one of the greatest treasures in Sanskrit literature", opines Sir Monier Williams (1819- 1899), Boden Professor of Sanskrit at Oxford University. He adds: "Rama is the type of a perfect husband, son and brother ... It may be affirmed generally that the whole tone of Ramayana is certainly above ...".

It is a "divine poem, ocean of milk", writes Jules Michelet (1798-1874), a French historian. He further adds: "It was the first time I had the opportunity to read the great sacred poem of India, the divine Ramayana. If anyone has lost the freshness of emotion, let him drink a long draught of life, and youth from that deep chalice".

According to Louis Revel, a renowned French thinker, author of "The Fragrance of India", "Ramayana is one of the greatest epic poems of the world, and that correctly understood, it leads us, scholars tell us, to an understanding of the evolution of humanity"

Joan Mascaro (1897-1987) is touched by "the tenderness and heroism found in Ramayana".

Eminent literary historian A. A. MacDonnell states, "Probably no other work of world literature has produced so profound an influence in the life and thought of a people as the Ramayana".

Lin Yutang, a Chinese scholar in his book "The wisdom of China and India" writes: "My love and true respect for India was born when I first read the Indian epics, the Ramayana and the Mahabharata".

"These two great works (Ramayana and Mahabharata) form together the outstanding educational agencies of Indian life", according to Sister Nivedita (Margaret Noble).

Stephen H. Ruppenthal writes: "I am captivated by ... Ramayana".

Prof. Goldman of California University (with whom I had a personal conversation at the University of Hyderabad and who has devoted a good part of his life in the critical study of Ramayana) remarks that "Ramayana is unique in continuing unbroken over almost 3000 years as the living document of Indian civilisation".

Michael Gemo (1948) of Germany argues: "The Ramayana speaks of Vanaras, a species of apelike men that existed millions of years ago".

Samuel Johnson (1822-1882) praises: "Mahabharata and Ramayana glow with luxuriance of imagery".

The British scholar Walter Raymond Drake (1915-1989) writes: "The Ramayana telling in magic imagery has thrilled the people of India for thousands of years ... brilliant panorama of the fantastic past ... This wonderful epic of the Ramayana, the inspiration of the world's great classic literature, intrigues us most today by its frequent allusions to aerial vehicles and annihilating bombs".

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Lectures on Rama and Ramayana

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About the Author

Mr. S. Sundararajan has distinguished himself not merely as an IAS officer and administration, but also QI a Sanskrit Scholar, writer and poet.

He was an IAS officer (Orissa cadre) for 35 years from 1958 to 1993. In New Delhi, he served as Joint Secretary in the Planning Commision; as Plan Adviser for four north Indian, status; and as Deputy Secretary, Petroleum and Chemicals.

In Orissa, he was variously Secretary for Forests, Fishries and Animal Husbandary; Secretary for Industries; Secretary for planning Development Commissioner. He was Member; Board of Revenue, before retirement. He was chairman or member of a number of development committees and working groups.

After retirement, he served for six years (1993-99) as Chairman, Banking Service Recruitment Board, Bhubaneswar. He was in charge of recruiting clerical staff for all public sector banks in Orissa; he recruited officers and clerical staff for regional rural banks in Orissa.

Born In Devanarvilagam village, Thanjavur Kumbokonam, and graduated in chemistry from presidency he did his early education in College, in 1956.

Taught Sanskrit by his father, he became proficient in Sanskrit even while in school, and started composing verses in Sanskrit at the age of 12. He was called a "Balakavi" by Sri Chandrashekarendra Saraswati Swamigal, the then Sankaracharya of Kanchi Kamakoti Peetham. He is a reputed Sanskrit poet. His poems have been published in several journals. He has translated a number of Sanskrit works. His publications include Badarisha Tarangini, Surashmikashmiram and Abhaga Bharatham. An anthology of his poems. "Sri Sundaraja Rachanavali" was published in February 2005. He has taken part in several Sanskrit Kavi Sammelans at state and national levels.

He delivered the Rt Hon 'ble Srinivasa Sastry Memorial Lecture in march 1984 for the Sanskrit Academy, Mylapore. His one-act play in Sanskrit. "Koruna." won the first prize at on all-India competition organized by Delhi Sanskrit Academy in the year 2000. He has also won prize awarded by the Rajasthan Sanskrit Academy and the Delhi Sanskrit Academy.

He has won numerous honours as Sanskrit scholar. Example: Award of the Valmiki Samman for 2002 (by the Orissa Sanskrit Academy, Bhubaneswar), the title "Samskruta Mitram" (by the Government of India) in 2003, the Presidential Award of Certificate of Honour for his contribution to the Sanskrit language (by the Government of India) in 2005.

Foreword

Rashtriya Sanskrit University, Tirupati feels honoured and privileged to bring out two lectures delivered by Dr. S. Sundararajan, I.A.S. (Retd.) on various aspects and dimensions of the Valmiki Ramayana in the form of a book-let. The first discourse was delivered on 31st March, 1985 at Kuppuswamy Sastri Research Institute, Sanskrit College Building, Mylapore, Chennai on "Valmiki's portrait of the Divine and Human Aspects of Ram a", whereas the second one was delivered in a National Seminar on "Valmiki Ramayana" organized by Orissa Sanskrit Akademy, Bhubaneswar in November- 2003. Both the lectures are highly useful because they deal with the key-issues of critical importance pertaining to various episodes of Ramayana in general and the character of Lord Rama in particular. The lecture on "Valmiki's Portrait of the Divine and Human Aspects of Rama" gives a profound analysis of both divine and human aspects of Rama. Rama, an incarnation of Parambrahma, has been projected by Valmiki as an eternal substratum of divine propensities and extra- ordinary power. At the same time, He has been narrated as a Super Human Being (purusottama) having the qualities to play the role of an ideal son, ideal father, ideal husband, ideal brother, ideal friend and ideal ruler. On the whole, the discourse highlights Rama as "Vigrahwan Dharma or embodiment of Dharma to define Dharma, the author has quoted extensively both from Ramayana and other scriptures to present the salient features of the Dharma, a code of conduct responsible for the sustenance and maintenance of the entire Universe.

The second lecture is an example of the assimilation of the subject-matter of Ramayana by the author and a reflection of the balanced view on the Ramayana. It is observed that as long as mountains are there and rivers flow on the surface of the earth, so long the Ramayana will continue to be propagated in the world. Hence, the message of the Ramayana is eternal and Universal in nature. Sri Sundararajan, while underlining the eternity of the message of Ramayana in his second lecture, has presented a micro-analysis of the epic from various angles. The message of the Ramayana to mankind is loud and clear. It is intended to generate an atmosphere of peace, prosperity, harmony, mutual understanding and universal fraternity. The war between Rama and Ravana is nothing but a fight between Dharma and Adharma and victory of Rama is an indicator of victory of truth or divine qualities over untruth or demonical complexities. Goddess Sita has appeared as a strong symbol of woman empowerment representing the power of conscience. Hence, Ramadivatpravartitwayam Na Ravanadivat is the message, Maharshi Valmiki likes to promote through his monumental Mahakavya. It is told "Madhumay Bhaditeenam Margdarshi Maharshi :" We are grateful to the author of the discourses for making a profound study on all the aspects of Ramayana and presenting the cream before the audience of researchers, learners as well as common people interested in cultural values of this country.

Another additional salient feature of the book is the Introduction written by Prof. V. Kannan, a reputed scholar of Mathematics, Sanskrit and Indian culture. Prof. Kannan is presently working as Pro- Vice-Chancellor in the University of Hyderabad.

His exhaustive Introduction to the booklet is a reflection of his clarity of thoughts and analytical approach to the issues and episodes of the Ramayana. I am sure, the readers and lovers of the Ramayana will find sufficient food for thought from the said comprehensive Introduction written by Prof. Kannan.

On the whole, the book is, no doubt, a useful dissertation on Valmiki's Ramayana and will certainly cater to the needs of many who are interested to know the real purport of the Ramayana.

While congratulating the author, Sri S. Sundararajan, for his commendable and successful exercise in preparing the research document, I wish the publication a grand success.

Introduction

This book contains the notes of two lectures delivered by Sri. S. Sundararajan, I.A.S. (Retd.) This author is well known in the circles of Sanskrit literature through his highly rated poems and through the various recognitions that these poems have fetched him. This book reveals another kind of eminence of this author. His originality of ideas, analysing skills and lucid presentation, as exhibited in these two lectures, are praiseworthy. The two topics are: 1. Valmiki's portrait of the divine and human aspects of Ram a (Rt .Hon'ble v. S. Srinivasa Sastri Endowment Lecture delivered in 1985 at the Kuppuswamy Sastri Research Institute, Chennai) 2.The message of Ramayana (Lecture delivered in the Seminar on Valmiki Ramayana at Orissa Sanskrit Academy in 2003.) Rashtriya Sanskrit Vidyapeetha, Tirupati, deserves all our appreciation for publishing this book for the benefit of Sanskrit lovers.

The admiration for the world's first epic, Valmiki Ramayanam, has been pouring from several comers of the world, without geographical boundaries. Several foreign scholars have been enamoured by Valmiki Ramayanam. They have showered praises on various aspects of this epic. It may be worthwhile to go through some of them now.

Ramayana "is the noblest of epics", writes Schlegal (1772- 1829), a German writer, critic and philosopher.

It is "undoubtedly one of the greatest treasures in Sanskrit literature", opines Sir Monier Williams (1819- 1899), Boden Professor of Sanskrit at Oxford University. He adds: "Rama is the type of a perfect husband, son and brother ... It may be affirmed generally that the whole tone of Ramayana is certainly above ...".

It is a "divine poem, ocean of milk", writes Jules Michelet (1798-1874), a French historian. He further adds: "It was the first time I had the opportunity to read the great sacred poem of India, the divine Ramayana. If anyone has lost the freshness of emotion, let him drink a long draught of life, and youth from that deep chalice".

According to Louis Revel, a renowned French thinker, author of "The Fragrance of India", "Ramayana is one of the greatest epic poems of the world, and that correctly understood, it leads us, scholars tell us, to an understanding of the evolution of humanity"

Joan Mascaro (1897-1987) is touched by "the tenderness and heroism found in Ramayana".

Eminent literary historian A. A. MacDonnell states, "Probably no other work of world literature has produced so profound an influence in the life and thought of a people as the Ramayana".

Lin Yutang, a Chinese scholar in his book "The wisdom of China and India" writes: "My love and true respect for India was born when I first read the Indian epics, the Ramayana and the Mahabharata".

"These two great works (Ramayana and Mahabharata) form together the outstanding educational agencies of Indian life", according to Sister Nivedita (Margaret Noble).

Stephen H. Ruppenthal writes: "I am captivated by ... Ramayana".

Prof. Goldman of California University (with whom I had a personal conversation at the University of Hyderabad and who has devoted a good part of his life in the critical study of Ramayana) remarks that "Ramayana is unique in continuing unbroken over almost 3000 years as the living document of Indian civilisation".

Michael Gemo (1948) of Germany argues: "The Ramayana speaks of Vanaras, a species of apelike men that existed millions of years ago".

Samuel Johnson (1822-1882) praises: "Mahabharata and Ramayana glow with luxuriance of imagery".

The British scholar Walter Raymond Drake (1915-1989) writes: "The Ramayana telling in magic imagery has thrilled the people of India for thousands of years ... brilliant panorama of the fantastic past ... This wonderful epic of the Ramayana, the inspiration of the world's great classic literature, intrigues us most today by its frequent allusions to aerial vehicles and annihilating bombs".

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