The Beauty of Beauty: An Aesthetic Journey Into The Ramayana

Article of the Month - Mar 2007

This article by Nitin Kumar.

(Viewed 112685 times since Mar 2007)

Table of Content

  •  Introduction

  • What is Beauty?

  • Mahatma Gandhi and Beauty

  • Beauty: Going Beyond the Physical

  • The Power of Suggestion: The Pinnacle of Poetic Beauty

  • Bhakti and Jiva: Mother and Son

  • Beauty in Ugliness

  • Conclusion : Rama is Beautiful Because of Sita

The Indian epic Ramayana is divided into seven chapters, each of which is given a descriptive title appropriate to the matter therein. Thus the first is called the ‘childhood section’ (bala-kanda), containing the exploits of Rama during his younger years. Similarly, another is entitled the ‘chapter of war’ (yuddha-kanda) describing the battle between the forces of good and evil.

One chapter however, stands out for its intriguing name, being entitled ‘the chapter of beauty,’ (sundara-kanda). Its subject matter is brief, and the narrative covers a maximum of two to three days. It describes the venerable monkey Hanuman’s search for the heroine of the epic Sita, who, kidnapped by the vicious demon Ravana, is confined to a small garden inside the villain’s palace. Since time immemorial, this chapter has retained a special position amongst the faithful, and the mere chanting of it is supposed to bring about a fulfillment of all wishes.

Sundara Kandam of Srimad Valmiki Ramayanam

What is Beauty?

To call anything beautiful is always the highest form of aesthetic praise. Indeed, if ethics is an investigation into what constitutes goodness, then aesthetics is an enquiry into the nature of the beautiful. The most comprehensive lexicon of the Sanskrit Language, the ‘Shabda Kalpadrum,’ defines the word ‘sundara’ (beauty), as a perception which makes the heart melt (ardra). In this context, consider the portrait of Sita painted by the poet in the middle of the sundar-kanda, a poignant and moving picture of a helpless creature in trying and painful circumstances.

She sits desolate on the bare ground, pale, emaciated, her body soiled and her spirit worn down by grief, the very image of an inner beauty dimmed by outward circumstance. The poet is so moved at her monumental suffering that he lets forth a shower of similes and metaphors describing her condition, representing one of the finest aesthetic moments in the entire epic:

‘Sita seemed to scorch the nearby vegetation with her deep sighs. Her beauty, now only faintly discernible, resembled a fire clouded by smoke. She was clad in a single yellow garment, resembling a pond without lotuses. Abashed and disconsolate, she was like the doe cut off from her herd and surrounded by a pack of hounds. Her hair was formed into a single braid (ek-veni), falling like a black serpent on her back. Seated on the ground like a branch fallen from a tree, she resembled a blurred memory or a fortune lost, a faith betrayed or a hope dashed, like a reputation lost due to false rumor.’

Sita (The Image of Chastity)

‘Looking here and there like a delicate fawn, Sita was barely discernible, like a Vedic text once learned by heart but now nearly lost through the lack of recitation. It was only with great difficulty that Hanuman was able to recognize her, because she was like a word whose meaning has changed due to inapt usage. Even then, keeping her faith, the firm lady looked no more agitated than the river Ganga, which however heavy the rainfall, never floods.’

‘Weighed down by grief, Sita was like a ship at sea burdened by heavy cargo. She resembled a star, whose positive karma now exhausted, had fallen down from heaven to the earth. Lacking in all ornaments, she was adorned only by the love for her husband. In the absence of her lord, she was rendered mute like an untouched vina.’

‘Her body was covered with dirt, however, she was adorned with her own physical beauty, thus, like a tender lotus stalk covered with mud she both lacked beauty and possessed it. She seemed to be a wave risen from the ocean of grief. Like a command disobeyed, or the skies aflame at the time of a catastrophe, she was like a river run dry. She resembled a pond ruined by elephants, its lotus blossoms and leaves torn up and the birds frightened away. This was the condition of Sita, like a little girl abandoned in the midst of desolate wilderness.’

Thus we observe that the poet has poured out his heart’s content in describing Sita’s condition in her confinement. This is not surprising. In an earlier chapter, he dedicates the whole of Ramayana to her, naming it ‘The Great Saga of Sita’ (sitayas charitam mahat). (Ramayana, 1.4.7) 

Mahatma Gandhi and Beauty

Many scholars feel the sundara-kanda to be an epic in its own right, and go even as far as to suggest that it was only to highlight it that Valmiki composed the remaining portions of the Ramayana. The central theme of sundara-kanda is the noble character of Sita, brightened all the more in adversity, even as gold when heated shines in even greater splendor.

Indeed, whose heart would not melt and flow in a stream of devotion towards this sensitive portrayal of one of the most venerated figures in Indian thought? It was Mahatma Gandhi who said "true beauty is that which consists of a purity of heart." In this respect perhaps, the character of Sita, as developed in the sundara-kanda, is unparalleled in the annals of world literature, portraying her as a woman chaste in both thought and deed, ever graceful in her sorrow.

Conversation Between Sita and Ravana

Beauty: Going Beyond the Physical

This description however, puts focus only on the physical, and rightly so, for the physical sphere is the locus of the manifestation of internal qualities. Nevertheless, true beauty does not merely stimulate the aesthetic senses; it also kindles the imagination, presenting first to the view only the broad outline of a picture, which has to be then completed in all necessary details by the imaginative power of the aesthete. According to the Indian philosopher Abhinavagupta, aesthetic experience is not static, but dynamic. It has inexhaustible potentialities, which appear to be new at every moment to the onlooker.

This is one area where the Ramayana abounds in plenty. Thus even the small fact of Sita keeping a single serpentine braid is pregnant with meaning. Keeping her hair open makes a woman look all the more attractive and thus tying it up in a single strand was the only practical thing to do. The author himself has observed in his home, that women, when hard pressed for time, unable to do any makeup, just quickly tie up their tresses in a single strand, retaining both modesty and utility. Additionally, Sita’s braid is like a serpent, making it clear that it would be fatal for a man (except her husband) to touch her.

The imaginative streak of the reader runs further riot when Ravana comes to confront Sita in the garden, the whole episode being watched over by Hanuman. As the villain asks the virtuous lady to accept his indecent proposal, she answers him befittingly, but not before she has placed a blade of grass between herself and the demon. Ancient commentators have waxed eloquent on why Sita placed this straw:

a). The straw, acting as a symbolic purdah, highlighted the ideal of purity which deterred a woman from holding face-to-face conversation with a man other than her husband.

b). She pointed out to Ravana that she considered him to be of no more consequence than a blade of grass.

c). Sita said symbolically: "Since you are like a beast, here is some fodder for you."

d). Once during their exile in the forest, a crow had pestered Sita, targeting her with his beak. Angered at its arrogance, Rama had picked up a blade of grass and thrown it like a missile at the crow, blinding the bird. Sita is thus pointing out to Ravana that just as the lord punished the crow with a mere twig so will you be destroyed.

e). Ravana’s cowardly behavior in kidnapping Sita saturated his sins, and his destruction was but now inevitable, making it the last straw to break the camel’s back.

Sita Haran - Abduction of Sita by Ravana

The Power of Suggestion: The Pinnacle of Poetic Beauty

In the mansion of beauty, there are several layers, and what is outwardly apparent is the least important. The palpably beautiful exterior becomes worthy of notice only to the extent it serves as an appropriate medium for the inner beauty core, which constitutes the soul or essence of poetry. We have seen above that at the center of the chapter of beauty is situated Sita, however, Hanuman’s quest is suggestive of a much deeper symbolism than a mere search for the ‘physical’ Sita.

The ancient poet Valmiki, who first composed the Ramayana, is glorified as the archetypal poet (Adi-Kavi). It is believed that wanting to enrich his text further, Valmiki took birth again in the medieval ages, and then presented before the world a version of the Ramayana soaked in bhakti (devotion). In this second incarnation he was known as Tulsidas, who, in suggestive undertones, made explicit the deep-rooted symbolism inherent in the Ramayana, displaying in the process an almost divine poetic talent.

 In an early chapter Tulsidas says on Sita:

Beauty beautiful does she make,
A lamp shining in charm’s wake.

(Ramacharitmanas of Tulsidas, 1.230.4)

Sita is thus the concentrated essence of all beauty in this world, and in his search, Hanuman is in fact looking for the essential spiritual core of all that is beautiful in the universe. In Tulsidas’ version, the chapter of beauty begins with Hanuman climbing up a high mountain, using it as a prop to leap across the mighty ocean to the city of Lanka where Sita is imprisoned:

A beautiful mountain on the seashore,

On to its peak did he playfully soar.
(Ramacharitmanas, 5.1.5)

Here it must be stressed that this crass attempt at rendering Tulsidas’ sublime verses in English is nowhere near the original since ‘poetry is what gets lost in translation.’

In the symbolic world of Tulsidas, Sita is but the embodied form of bhakti, the essential characteristics of which are complete faith and total surrender, all of which find their culmination in her. Bhakti is not the mere waving of ornamental lamps in front of the image of a deity; rather, it is a way of life. The Narada Bhakti Sutras, an ancient text laying down the philosophical foundations of bhakti, says:

Bhakti is of the nature of a result (to be achieved). (Sutra 26).

Bhakti thus is not a path, but the goal of life, and the "beautiful" mountain represents the spiritual heights which have to be gained before making this mighty leap across the massive sea of ego before we find it.

Hanuman Presents Rama's Ring to Sita Surrounded by Rakshasis

Bhakti and Jiva: Mother and Son

In order to win over Sita’s faith, Hanuman has to first present his credentials as an authorized emissary of god. Before starting off, he had been given a ring by Rama, encrusted with the latter’s name, to be presented to Sita. Seeing an opportune moment, Hanuman drops it into her hands:

Then when she looked at the ring pleasing
Name of Rama, most beautiful engraving.

(Ramacharitmanas, 5.12.1)

Here we find another instance of the word beautiful. The poet is pointing out to us that it is the divine name of god (and its chanting), which introduces us to bhakti, helping us to establish a fruitful relationship; and what indeed is the nature of this relationship? Tulsidas says:

Janaki, mother of world, Janak’s offspring.
Dearest to Rama of compassionate bearing.

Her two lotus feet i do propitiate,
A spotless intellect is her grace.

(Ramacharitmanas, 1.18.4)

Here Sita, by virtue of being king Janak’s daughter, is referred to as Janaki.

When we identify ourselves merely with our "body," our kinship is limited only to our own immediate family. However, if we wish to identify ourselves with a universal family, and reach out to the one Maha Shakti who is the mother of all, we will need to cross over the restraining ocean of ego.

As a matter of fact, it is in the sundara-kanda that Sita first addresses Hanuman as her son; and what is the first thing he asks for from his mother? Food.

Hanuman knows very well that this is a sure shot way of kindling motherly affection. Truly, the supreme feminine emotion is to nourish her children, superseding all other feelings. It is mentioned in the Bhagavata Purana that the very thought of her adorable Krishna coming back home in the evening makes milk ooze out of mother Yashoda’s breasts. In the modern world, this is exemplified in the venerable institution called the ‘Jewish mother,’ much celebrated in humor. Indian women perhaps go even a step further. A gentleman had a measure of his mother’s affection when his doctor recommended physical exercise to contain his bulging midriff. The caring mother, when she came to know of the physician’s advise, immediately seconded the prescription saying: "To exercise you need energy, and therefore you must have a rich diet," producing before him, a bowl full of gulab jamun (a snack soaked in butter and sugar).

Rama’s mother Kaushalya too is equally "Jewish." She has just been informed that her son will be crowned as king tomorrow, and this is what she says to him:

Go fast my dear son a bath do take,
A sweet of your choice then partake.

(Ramacharitmanas, 2.53.1)

A father is happy to see his son crowned. A mother gets all the happiness in the world when his belly is (over) full.

Sita, while giving permission to Hanuman to eat, is more philosophical about it:

"Go dear, and enjoy the soft and sweet fruits, dedicating your heart to the feet of Lord Rama." (Ramacharitmanas, 5.17)

Indeed, this but echoes the vision of the Bhagavad Gita where all fruits are rendered sweet when first offered to god.

The Fragile Yet Unrelenting Devi Sita

Beauty in Ugliness

In this metaphorical universe, no aspect is what it seems at the first sight. All that is presented to the view is suggestive of a deeper essence. Thus Sita imprisoned in the golden city of Lanka is our own essential core, always in connection with the supreme reality. The Isha Upanishad says:

‘The face of truth is covered with a golden vessel. Uncover it, O god, that I who am truth itself may see it.’ (Mantra 15)

The name Sita is derived from the root ‘sit,’ whose primary meaning is whiteness - an immaculate and stainless purity. Our Sita lies imprisoned in each of us, tormented by vicious ogresses representing our negative tendencies, much as the heroine of Ramayana is surrounded by wardresses.

The monkey Hanuman is none other our own restless mind, hopping from one desire (branch) to another. Further, a monkey is often the butt of ridicule, and calling someone as having a "monkey face," is perhaps an ultimate expression of ugliness. Yet, it is such a creature who discovers the truest manifestation of beauty, and in the process, becomes beautiful himself. This is subtle message of the sundara-kanda, that we have to find beauty amongst all the negativity of life, whether it be the rich golden city of Lanka standing on a foundation of deceit and lust, surrounded by ugly ogresses, and confined by our excessive attachment to physical beauty (Ravana).

Rama Durbar

Conclusion: Rama is Beautiful Because of Sita

The sundara-kanda is beautiful because it belongs to sundari Sita. Not only is she the essence of all that is truly beautiful in the world, she is the powerful medium to which even Rama has to take recourse to in order to express his own divine beauty.

In the Valmiki Ramayana Sita says:

"I am as inseparable from Rama as radiance is from the sun." (5.21.15)

The implication being that Rama is as dependent on Sita as she on him. He is but the formless supreme reality unable to make itself available to human perception. It is only the devoted shakti of bhakti which grants Nirguna both the motivation and the capability to express itself as Saguna.

Key Takeaways

  • Sundarakanda is the fifth book of the Hindu epic, Ramayana, and is considered to be one of its most significant parts.

  • Sundarakanda focuses on the story of Hanuman's journey to Lanka to find Sita, the wife of Lord Rama, who has been abducted by the demon king Ravana.

  • Sundarakanda is known for its beautiful language, vivid descriptions, and powerful symbolism, and is considered to be a masterpiece of Hindu literature.

  • Sundarakanda is often recited during religious ceremonies and festivals, and is believed to bring blessings and good fortune to those who read or listen to it.

  • Sundarakanda is also known for its moral and spiritual teachings, which emphasize the importance of devotion, courage, and perseverance in the face of adversity.

  • Sundarakanda has inspired countless works of art, literature, and music, and its enduring popularity is a testament to its enduring significance in Hindu culture.

(Wishing all our readers on the auspicious occasion of Rama Navami, the birthday of Lord Rama, falling this year on the 30th of March.)

References and Further Reading:

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  • Ramayana, a replica of Vedas S. VARADARAJAN There are several versions of the Sri Ramayana, one of the two greatest epics. Following Sri Valmiki Ramayana several editions have been published in various languages, besides scores of commentaries written across centuries. Late. Gunturu Seshendra Sharma, scholar poet of 20th Century unearthed secrets of the Ramayana through his popular Telugu book “Shodasi”. The novelty of nomenclature Shodasi , called Sri Vidya is reflected , in the 16th Chapter . Sharma’s intellectual depth comes forth in analyzing Sundara Kanda specially through Kundalini Yoga . The author highlights hidden truth in Valmiki’s thought that is similar to Vedas and says that Trijata’s dream in Sundara Kanda reflects Gayatri Mantra of 32 Syllabi in 4 lines. Sharma pays rich encomiums in the description of Lanka surrounded by three impregnable borders. He compares these three borders with Trikuta viz... Shakti , Kaamaraaja , Vagbhava Kutas with those of Sri Vidya in Kundalini . A staunch believer of Vedas, the author feels that Ramayana is a replica of Vedas and oriented towards the character of Indra . He concludes that in Ramayana the mentioning of the supreme God is Indra and not Vishnu, as the presiding deity of valour in Vedas. Utterances of the word Vishnu were considered to be imaginary overstatements in the author’s view. This book lends a new perspective to the Ramayana by adding the dimension of Kundalini Yoga . The foreword by Vishwanatha Satyanarayana adds credibility to the book. The current work is an English translation of the original by Gurujada Suryanarayana Murthy , a scientist by profession . His proficiency in the subject is evident in the translation throughout that doesn’t swerve from the original’s purport. The Hindu India’s National Newspaper (Friday Review: 2nd October 2015) Shodasi Astounding scholarship of Sanskrit classics A product of deep research, intense intellectual labour And amazing scholarship The book under review which is an English translation by Dr. Gurajada Suryanarayana Murthy of the original Telugu Text represents a scholarly attempt by the erudite author to justify and prove the validity of certain radical propositions which he makes about the world – renowned Kavya – Valmiki Ramayana. The propositions that he makes are – 1. Sundara Kanda is an allegory of Kundalini Yoga 2. Sita is Kundalini Shakti 3. Hanuman’s search – mission of Sita symbolises Tantric Exercise of identifying the Kundalini Shakti and raising it from the Moola Dhara Chakra (denoted by Lanka) to Sahasrara Chakra 4. The descriptive terms employed about Sita hint at Sita being essentially a Kundalini Shakti 5. Trijata’s dream is nothing but Gayathri Mantra 6. Valmiki’s language has pronounced Vedic flavour 7. The phraseology employed by Valmiki corresponds largely to the terms employed in Lalitha Sahasra Nama , Durga Saptasati , Devi Bhagawatam etc.. 8. The aptness of the name Sundara Kanda is provable on Strong Grounds 9. Ramayana is anterior to Bharatha on various grounds such as the Vedic language employed in the former the reference of Valmiki and Ramayana in Mahabharata and absence of reference to Vyasa and Mahabharata episodes in Ramayana , Mention of Rama in Mahabharata and Rama’s greater antiquity than Pandavas and a host of other plausible evidences 10. Indra , the chief Vedic god more prominently featured and praised in Ramayana than Vishnu of the Puranic origin. 11. Megha Sandesham of Kalidasa originated out of the seed of Valmiki Ramayana and 12. The benedictory verse of Sakuntalam is eulogy of Devi. The brain – tickling propositions are not just of the cuff remarks made without basis but credible theories buttressed with profuse quotations of relevant Sanskrit Texts , wide and deep study of the relevant treatises unassailable arguments based on internal and external evidences and astounding scholarship of Sanskrit classics. On the flip side, there are a few errors in the transliteration of the Sanskrit texts. Had the Sanskrit passages from the treatises been provided in Devanagari Script also in addition to transliterated form in Roman Script value and appeal of this essentially Sanskrit oriented book would be much higher to the large and growing Sanskrit readership. The book is doubtless, a product of deep research, Intense intellectual labour and amazing scholarship. The Vedanta kesari : August 2016 The Lion of Vedanta A Cultural and Spirtual Monthly of the of the Ramakrishna Order since 1944 AN INTELLECTUAL FEAST Along With utmost devotion The author has clear understanding of not only of the Ramayana but also Mantra Sastra , Vedas and Kundalini Yoga His method is going deep into the subject and at the same time comparing the same with ideas of other branches of literature Shodasi , authored by Seshendra Sharma is a book of a special type . Though its purpose is to unfold secrets of the Ramayana many other aspects from different branches of knowledge also find a place there. The Ramayana is read in every household with devotion. It narrates not only story of Rama but it also spotlights very intricate and subtler points in other branches of knowledge, a point not even noticed by many. The author has clear understanding of not only of the Ramayana but also Mantra Sastra , Vedas and Kundalini Yoga . There are two approaches to understand the Sastras. One is vertical which is closely followed in Sanskrit Literature. It is reading a book with the help of commentary on it. In this method not only each word of the original analysed; its correct meaning and contextual purpose are also examined. The second is a horizontal method where in various ideas in the text are read not with one commentary but with many commentaries by different people. This gives total meaning of the text. Seshendra Sharma follows both methods. His method is going deep into the subject and at the same time comparing the same with ideas of other branches of literature. This needs a thorough understanding of various branches and ability to compare texts and spot new ideas and enjoy the same. For example , when Hanuman asks Sita who she is ,she replies ,“sama dvadasa tatraham raghavasya nivesane bhunjhana manushan bhogan sarva kama samrudhinee “ . Meaning “I enjoyed 12 years of mundane pleasure in the home of Rama” Though she is not an ordinary human being, she enjoyed mundane pleasures. “ you may mistake that I am a mortal woman , but understand I am Sri Maha Lakshmi” . That was the message. The most important clue is the statement “ Aham Sarva Kama Samridhinee “ . In Devi Bhagawatham we find “ Matah Sankaree Kamade “ In Sri Sukta “ Sarva Kamartha Siddhaye “ and in Lalitha Sahasra Nama “ too it is stated “ Om Kamyayai Namah” . If Sita were to be just an ordinary being all these statements would have been irrelevant. At another place she says “ Maya Ramasya Rajarshe Bharyayaya Paramatmanah” which means that she is wife of Paramatma. Hanuman , the devotee , recognized Sita to be none other than Jaganmata. Hence he could identify her easily as the divine mother and says “ tat sreemadyate tarat”. The word sreemat is used to mean brilliance Hanuman identifies Sita as Devi by the holy seed letter ( Sreem ) . The book is full of comparisons between different branches of learning and surely a feast for one who could enjoy the existence of similar ideas at various places. It only proves that ways may be different but the goal is one. Seshendra Sharma physically lifts the minds of the readers and offers an intellectual feast along with utmost devotion. Surely everyone should read this book and keep a copy of the same at home. Goda Venkateswara Sastry Tatvaloka : June 2016 The Splendour of Truth ( Monthly Magazine) ------------ Ramayan Through Kundalini Yoga Shodasi is an ideal read for Sanskrit-literate readers who are open to eclectic yogarthas and connotative meanings -------- So you thought Vyasa was before Valmiki, Mahabharat was before Ramayan, Rama a Vishnu avatar, and tantrism distinct from vedism? Think again. In Shodasi: Secrets of the Ramayana, Telugu poet Seshendra Sharma re-reads the Ramayan to come up with a number of new conclusions. Much of the book sets out to prove that Ramayan was written before the Mahabharat. Sharma discusses how Indra is cited more often than Vishnu, thus placing the context of the Ramayan closer to Vedic than Puranic thought. He quotes from the Mahabharat to show how it follows descriptions of hills, rivers from the Ramayan. The Mahabharat has some prose, and therefore, it must have been composed after Ramayan, which is entirely in poetry. These are only some of the numerous reasons that Sharma offers to suggest a new sequence of our itihasas. Sharma’s book is also an experimental reading of the Ramayan through the interpretive lens of what he calls Kundalini yoga. Hanuman’s flight to Sri Lanka gets a new interpretation. “Charana Charite Pathi” is interpreted as the path of Kundalini, and the first verse of the Sundara Kanda “Tatho Ravana Nithayah” is interpreted by Sharma to refer to Hanuman traversing the sushumna nadi of the Kundalini. Trijata’s dream becomes the Gayatri mantra through an imaginative recasting of words as numbers. Gaja (elephant) means eight, danta (teeth) means thirty-two, and maha-gaja-chaturdantam somehow also adds up to 32 syllables, which is the number of syllables in the Gayatri mantra. That Trijata’s dream is halfway through the Ramayan also becomes significant for Sharma, he calls it the ‘central bead’ in the Ramayan garland of 24,000 beads. Identifying 32-syllables as the Gayatri follows a convention, for mantras are referenced by the number of syllables; however, it is the “secret” yogartha—or mystical, anagogical translations—derived by Sharma that becomes problematic, unless he is considered an authority in his own right. conclude that the name Sundarakand is unrelated to any descriptions of beauty of any of the main characters in the Ramayan. However, Soundarya and Tripura-Sundari are well-known conventions in the tantric tradition and hence, Sharma concludes that Sundarakand derives its name from Shakti’s beauty, and “Sundara-Hanuman” means “Hanuman who is a devotee of Devi” (117). A coda in this book is about the benedictory verse in Kalidasa’s Sakuntalam which has traditionally been understood to refer to Ishwara. Sharma re-interprets this verse highlighting the “eight forms” of the last line as the eight forms of Devi that please Ishwara. This book is suitable for a reader who is Sanskrit-literate and open to eclectic yogarthas and connotative meanings. Sharma cites substantially from the Ramayan in roman but without diacritics, this is difficult to follow; and he does not always include translation. Sharma often cites commentators without citing names and sources. It is not clear why the book is called Shodasi—readers may note, this book is not about the Srividya tradition. Even if the reader is unconvinced by Sharma’s reasoning or methodology, the free flow of references may prove absorbing for a reader interested in the subject. This could also be an eclectic reference for a scholar researching tantric elements in the Ramayan. - Mani Rao The Sunday Standard Magazine The New Indian Express 29th November 2015 --------------------------- Scholarly and deeply researched monograph Pearls of insightful ideas and truths Most of the ancient treatises like the Valmiki Ramayana and Bhagavatha lend themselves to allegorical interpretations. The book under review is scholarly and deeply researched monograph that formulates the startling theory that the immortal epic Valmiki Ramayana, particularly, Sundara Kanda, is nothing but the enunciation of the doctrine of Kundalini Shakthi Yoga. The very title of the book is bound to make the scholarly fraternity and even the common readership sit up and take notice. The radical propositions that the erudite author advances are on the basis of relentless logic and a mass of internal and external evidences are: Ramayana is rooted in Vedas, both in terms of ideas it disseminates and its verbal garb in those it is clothed. Many of the similes that Valmiki employs are inspired by vedic poetry and literature. Many of the expressions employed in the Valmiki Ramayana bear close resemblance to phraseology found in texts like Devi Bhagavatham, and Soundarya Lahari. Sita is none other than Divine Mother and Gayathri. As borne out by an analysis of similarity of names and words used in Valmiki Ramayana and Sri Vidya Literature. Sundara Kanda is nothing but delineation Kundalini Yoga. Hanuman’s aerial voyage in search of Sita represents allegorically the devi worshipper’s exercise in Kundalini Yoga. Sita is Kundalini Shakti. The episodes of mainaka, surasa and Simhika – representing satwa, rajas, tamas respectively –represent piercing of the triple knots by the spiritual aspirant. The Sanskrit phrase “Charana Charithe pathi” that occurs at the opening Canto of Sundara Kanda clearly implies Hanuman’s movement through the path of Sushumna. Lanka is the Mula Dhara Chakra, the seat of Kundalini implied in Valmiki’s graphic description of Lanka, the place of incarceration of Sita. Lanka is Muladhara also from the point of view of Yoga and it is Sri Chakra from the point of view of Spiritual practice. The burning of Lanka symbolises awakening of Swadhishthana. The aptness of name Sundara Kanda is explicable in the light of various evidences embedded in the epic. Trijata’s dream is nothing but the Gayathri Mantra as can be inferred from certain Sanskrit terms representing their numerical equivalents employed to describe dream – scenes of Trijata and also from Dramatis Personae appearing in her dream. Mahabharata is an image of Ramayana and many striking similarities may be found between Valmiki and Vyasa in their style of narrative. Valmiki’s Ramayana is the seed of Meghadootha and Valmiki reincarnates, as it were, as Kalidasa. The vedic god Indra , as the supreme deity dominates epic as a benchmark for all comparisons with Rama and dwarfs Vishnu, the Puranik God, in importance. Ramayana is anterior to Mahabharata. There are 2 annexures at the end of the book “benedictory verse of Sakunthalam is nothing but eulogy of Devi “and “All Humans have same destination” . Coming from the pen of the Telugu poet proficient in several languages, who was active in various disciplines ranging from Sanskrit studies to Cultural activism and who was given the Sahitya Akademi Award, this book is definitely of exceptional merit as the ingenious interpretations of various verses of the epic and also of allied hymnal literature to establish the novel but plausible propositions, come as a refreshing revelations. The book unmistakably bears imprints of an amazingly analytical, deeply erudite and marvellously nimble mind that effortlessly plumbs the oceanic epic and picks up and presents to the community of discerning readers pearls of insightful ideas and truths. One glaring drawback of this essentially Sanskrit-oriented book is the absence of Sanskrit quotations in Devanagari script as transliterations in roman script that are given are poor substitute sonorous Sanskrit words clothed in Devanagari script. The merits mentioned in a short review of this book packed with quaint and profound ideas constitute merely the proverbial tip of an iceberg. A fund of fruitful and lofty ideas awaits those who venture dive deep into this great book. In short this book is a riveting read for scholars and a strong stimulant for the general readers. – N. Hariharan Madurai Prabuddha Bharata March 2016 A monthly journal of the Ramakrishna Order started by Swami Vivekananda in 1893 Unearthing secrets of Ramayana Ramayana A sea-bed of secrets A great boon to Devi Upasakas and Practioners of Sri Vidya The Ramayana popular as the Adi Kavya (first work of poetry) the world over is not just beautiful poetry . It is a sea bed of secrets – containing the methods of Kundalini yoga and mantra sastra . This is the heart of Shodasi : Secrets of the Ramayana authored by Seshendra Sharma , one of the towering personalities of Telugu Poetry . This book, a collection 16 articles with one article added on from this edition appeared in Telugu Original in 1967. Mr. N.Ramesan IAS , the then Principal Secretary to Education Dept , the then AP Govt observed feelingly in his preface , that this work is a boon for Devi Upasakas and merits to be translated into English and other Indian Languages. This advice has fructified after 48 Years. Dr. Suryanarayana Murthy , a physicist (retired : Baba Atomic Research Centre ) has translated Shodasi into English with commendable clarity of grasp over the subject and felicity of thought process and flow of reading. The story of Rama narrated in enchanting poetry, according to Seshendra is a honey supplement to the bitter medicine called Kundalini Yoga. Valmiki Maharshi chose the Story of Rama to propagate Kundalini Yoga and systems of meditation in the society, among the masses of his era. This is the fulcrum of this Research work. What is of significance is that the author , in order to buttress his analysis and arguments cites extensively and conclusively from the Original Text of Ramayana itself. This Translation introduces this seminal work to wider sections of readers in other parts of our multilingual nation and to scholars engaged in research in Indian scriptures in the west. As the reader goes through the pages of Shodasi it gradually becomes clear that , the story that Valmiki was a Hunter , after viewing the pair of birds dying for each other renounced hunting and became a Rishi is an episode woven around him to make him and his epic the Ramayana popular and that Valmiki belongs to the pantheon of Vedic Rishis . Seshendra at every point of analysis cites from the Vedas and sruthis. His own introduction to this work “one word to begin with “ he discusses elaborately on the significance of Valmiki’s Style of expression of phrases . This chapter is the gateway to the entire work. While analysing one stanza of he touches upon a simile Which compares moon in the night sky wit vrishabham in Goshtam (cowshed). Seshendra goes deeper into shruthi and Vedas and concludes that go means in Sanskrit speech and “goshte vrishabham mattamiva bhramantam “ implies that like Omkara moves at the throat the divine personality of moon is moving in the sky. That intricate and deep is the analysis of the author. Seshendra , then discusses why sundara kanda was chosen as the name of a chapter . He observes incisively and proves conclusively that Sita is the main character of this Kanda and Sita is none other than Adi Shakti ( The Divine Mother ) Sri Maha Tripura Sundari.This is the reason why Maharshi named it Sundara Kanda. Sundara Kanda is the heart of the Ramayana and Trijata Swapna (Demoness Trijata’s Dream) is its heart. Sundara Kanda is nothing but Kundalini Yoga . Right from the 1st stanza of the chapter Maharshi starts unfolding the path of Kundalini Yoga in a suggestive manner garbed in enchanting poetry teaming with breath taking similes. Hanuman is SriVidyopasaka. The author discusses the 1st stanza “Chaaranaa Charithe pathi “ with intrinsic evidence from the Ramayana itself. Charanas are Divine Singers and their path is the sky . In other words in Kundalini Yoga “Sushumna “. The entire chapter elaborates each stanza in a captivating tone and concludes with Lanka Dahana ( Burning of Lanka ) as piercing of the Sahasrara seated in the head. First hand reading alone will give the unnerving feel of this chapter. Another important chapter is “ Trijata’s dream is nothing but Gayathri mantra “. In this , Seshendra views Trijata’s Dream, one of the demonesses guarding Sita in Ashoka Vana as Gayathri mantra. He dwelves deep into each Sloka of this episode and proves convincingly that Valmiki created this episode in order to embed the mantra in Ramayana. Till this point this book is a cluster of revelations. “The later part is both revelation and research. Seshendra in the chapter “ Indra is the Supreme Deity of Ramayana “ discusses each stanza of the Ramayana and goes on to reveal that at the time when Valmiki was writing the Ramayana the concepts of Vishnu and incarnation (Avatar ) were non– existent . Indra is the supreme deity of the Ramayana. In other 2 chapters the author‘s exhaustive study and Incisive analysis are all pervasive. Seshendra explodes the myth sought to be propagated by some of the Western Scholars that the Bharatha precedes the Ramayana . Shodasi , as rightly pointed out in one preface, is a great boon to Devi Upasakas and Practioners of Sri Vidya. All these ages this Adi Kavya is seen only as the Story of Rama. Here is a path breaking work which reveals the hidden treasure of spiritual secrets which Valmiki Maharshi embedded them in his epic. Insight ( Sunday Magazine ) The Hitavada ( English Daily ) 1st November 2015 ----------- SHODASI : SECRETS OF THE RAMAYANA ENGLISH HINDI AND TELUGU ORIGINAL AUTHOR : SESHENDRA SHARMA Seshendra : Visionary Poet of the Millennium REVIEWS : Books : Valmiki , The Sage of 5th century B.C wrote The Ramayana not to narrate the story of Rama in an absorbing style. Though the epic poem presents Rama’s Journey of life in enchanting poetry , the story and the enchanting poetry are sugar coating or honey to the organic medicine called Kundalini Yoga. Maharshi Valmiki wrote the Ramayana to spread / propagate Kundalini Yoga among the masses. Thus the soul of The Ramayana is Kundalini Yoga / Sri Vidya. Valmiki embedded Kundalini Yoga in the Chapter titled “ Sundara Kanda” . Hanuman and Ravana are Kundalini Yogis of Samaya and Kaula Paths. And in Sundara Kanda , he inserted “ Trijata Swapna “ , dream sequence of a demon and in it embedded the Gayathri Mantra. The concepts of Vishnu and Avatar (reincarnation) were nonexistent during the Ramayana Period. Seshendra Sharma , Scholar - Poet in his Magnum Opus of Research “ Shodasi : Secrets of The Ramayana “ reveals these secrets lying hidden for thousands of years . * * * * * How old is Valmiki Ramayana? One Calculation says 8 lacks 70 thousand Years. Going by the Christian calendar dating to approximately the 5th to 4th century BC. According to Indian classification of time Ramayana belongs to the Treta Yuga and today we are in the Kali Yuga. All these millions of years the human civilisation the world over, recognised it as the first poetry and in this part of the world i.e. the Indian Subcontinent the central character of the epic is present as an idol of worship in thousands of temples and in every household of believers. But here is a research work which says Ramayana is merely poetry to the naked eye whereas it is an ensemble of invisible secrets which have been lying unnoticed all these ages. What could have been the Valmiki Maharshi’s vision which made him chisel an epic poem which is pregnant with startling secrets? Shodasi : Secrets of the Ramayana , a Magnum Opus comprising both revelations and research findings written in Telugu 47 Years ago is translated into English by Dr. G.S.Murthy , a 86 year old physicist (Retrd) from BARC. Dr. Murthy observes about Shodasi that “the approach adopted by Seshendra Sharma is unprecedented. .. His conclusion that Ramayana is closer to Sruthi than any other scripture is very significant and is based on the intrinsic evidence in the Ramayana itself.... it is a revolt against the customary methods followed to understand the status of Ramayana in the Sanskrit Literature.” The fulcrum of Shodasi is that poetry in Ramayana is a supplement to the bitter medicine called “Kundalini Yoga” and Ramayana is divine Ambrosia for all mundane afflictions and problems that beset the human kind. Seshendra reveals that Sundara Kanda is the heart of Ramayana and it is nothing but Kundalini Yoga . And the heart of Sundara Kanda is Trijata ‘s Dream , which is nothing but Gayatri Mantra. Kundalini Yoga which is also known as Sri Vidya is awakening of inner powers dormant in humans through meditation. The very 1st Shloka of Sundara Kanda is analysed and explained exhaustively by the author from several angles. “Chaarana Charithe pathi..(Sky-Path) “is , according to the author the Sushumna in Humans. Lanka Dahana ( Reducing Ravana’s Empire Lanka to ashes ) is the climax of the Kundalini Yoga which is Sahasrara Bhedana. The author analyses citing evidence from the Ramayana original text , that both Paths of Kundalini Yoga , Samaya and Kaula ways are shown in the epic. What is of paramount importance in this work is that each exposition refers to a cluster of references germane to the main discussion. Hence it is obvious that this work is a scholastic paradise to people who are conversant with Sanskrit literature and other ancient scriptures. A pedestrian reader cannot even peep into Shodasi . Seshendra’s introduction “One word to begin with “sets the tone and tenor of the work. He dilates at length how Sanskrit language is moulded by Valmiki on the lines of Sruthi and Veda to envelop his central theme in suggestive and oblique style. It is said Valmiki wrote Ramayana in 24 thousand Shlokas taking each syllable of Gayatri Mantra, which has 24 syllables. Seshendra Shows convincingly, where the Gayathri Mantra itself is located in Ramayana. He says “ Sundara Kanda “ is the heart of Ramayana and Trijata ‘s Dream is Sundara Kanda’s heart. “ Maharshi created an apparent episode of “Trijata Swapna “ and through this he embedded Gayathri Mantra in it. “ This book is replete with several such revelations and unnerving observations. The chapters on “ Relationship between Ramayanayana and Megha Sangesham “ “Indra supreme deity “ compel the reader to stop and think at the turn of every observation. This reviewer does not like to “spill all the beans “. Dr. Murthy, the translator, aptly observes “ It needs a very attentive mind and adequate patience to follow author’s arguments “. Seshendra Sharma( ) , winner of Sahitya Akademi Award for his “Kaala Rekha “( Arc of Blood ) a collection of essays in comparative literature , a fellow of the Akademi During his life time whose Long Poem “ My Country – My People – Modern Indian Epic “was nominated for Nobel in 2004 is scholar –poet of our times . His Kavisena Manifesto (Modern Indian Poetics), Kaala Rekha( Essays in Comparative Literature)are monuments of contemporary Indian Literature , unsurpassed to this day. His prose works prove that he is Albert Einstein of Indian Literature. After completing the first round of reading the reader would certainly agree with Vishwanatha Satyanarayana ,Telugu poet of romantic era , recipient of Gyanpith Award for his “Ramayan Kalp Vriksh” who wrote preface to this book “ Every one , not only the telugu – speaking people all Indians must be grateful to him for writing this book”. -------- Ramayana, a replica of Vedas S. VARADARAJAN There are several versions of the Sri Ramayana, one of the two greatest epics. Following Sri Valmiki Ramayana several editions have been published in various languages, besides scores of commentaries written across centuries. Late.GunturuSeshendra Sharma, scholar poet of 20th Century unearthed secrets of the Ramayana through his popular Telugu book “Shodasi”. The novelty of nomenclature Shodasi , called Sri Vidya is reflected , in the 16th Chapter . Sharma’s intellectual depth comes forth in analyzingSundara Kanda specially through KundaliniYoga . The author highlights hidden truth in Valmiki’s thought that is similar to Vedas and says that Trijata’s dream in Sundara Kanda reflects Gayatri Mantra of 32 Syllabi in 4 lines. Sharma pays rich encomiums in the description of Lanka surrounded by three impregnable borders. He compares these three borders with Trikuta viz... Shakti ,Kaamaraaja , VagbhavaKutas with those of Sri Vidya in Kundalini . A staunch believer of Vedas, the author feels that Ramayana is a replica of Vedas and oriented towards the character of Indra . He concludes that in Ramayana the mentioning of the supreme God is Indra and not Vishnu, as the presiding deity of valour in Vedas. Utterances of the word Vishnu were considered to be imaginary overstatements in the author’s view. This book lends a new perspective to the Ramayana by adding the dimension of KundaliniYoga . The foreword by VishwanathaSatyanarayana adds credibility to the book. The current work is an English translation of the original by GurujadaSuryanarayanaMurthy , a scientist by profession . His proficiency in the subject is evident in the translation throughout that doesn’t swerve from the original’s purport. The Hindu (Friday Review: 2nd October 2015) A Resplendent Icon of all Arts This is an exemplary book which elevated the status of Indian Literary Criticism to the peaks of the world literature. Shodasi is a name associated with a great hymn. The title suggests that it’s a book on spiritual discourse. A reading of this book suggests that the spirit of scientific temper is critical to comprehend Valmiki’sSrimad Ramayana. Besides this, command on Vedic or Scriptural knowledge is essential. What does a layman has to say when a towering personality like ViswanathaSatyanarayana himself extolled the critical acumen and serious scholarship of Seshendra Sharma. Sharma has made it crystal clear that unless one has an apparent understanding of the plot’s context, psyche of the characters, and the milieu of the bygone days supplemented by extraordinary scholarship, sound knowledge of phonetics and awareness on contemporary issues; one cannot easily comprehend the poetic diction of Valmiki. The debate on the phrase “Netraturaha” is a fitting example. The uniqueness of the title, Sundarakanda, Kundalini Yoga, Gayatri Mantra secretly hidden in Trijata’s dream sequence, considering The Bharatha as an image of The Ramayana.... this book is a repository of many such critical discourses. It is replete with inconceivable and unfathomable issues. This magnum opus is an invaluable gift to the Telugu literature. - VIPULA, Viswa Katha Vedika: May 2014 (An exclusive Telugu Monthly Magazine for stories) * * * Valmiki Ramayana – Greatest Medicine for Mankind The story of Ramayana is prescribed as textbook for students. Sita and Rama are worshiped as prime couple. No need to mention about reciting it. Whether Valmiki was satisfied with simple narration of the story? Seshendra Sharma denies it. He analyzed it mentioning that to understand the inner meanings of Valmiki Ramayana, the scientific knowledge is essential. The underlying secret of the sage’s mind will be known through the knowledge of science. It is the firm opinion of Seshendra that the argument that “the sciences are for scholars only” is a conspiracy hatched by Selfish scholars and lazy uneducated persons. Seshendra who has democratic ideology and conviction on science and literature informs the public about the secrets of Ramayana expounded by Valmiki. He explains that Valmiki dedicated ambrosia (The Greatest Medicine) named “Kundalini Yoga” to the mankind. The poetry in the metre of AnushtupSloka is the honey coating to the medicine. It was explained with great introspection and exemplary scholarship. He concludes that the Ramayana is older than the MahaBharatha and it is another form of Veda. Valmiki introduced the system of meditation in Ramayana. The Introspection and research bent of mind of Seshendra are spread over in the book in two streams. The exuberant fragrance of scholarship is experienced throughout the book. The present generation can understand the scholarship of Seshendra in Vedas and Mantra Sastra. Seshendra is a poet who has composed unique RuthuGhosha (Cry of the Seasons: Metrical Poetry) and revolutionary free verse –MandeSuryudu (The Burning Sun). - Andhra Prabha (Telugu Daily), 24th August 2014. * * * Two Great Peaks in the world literary criticism and research Shodasi: Secrets of The Ramayana and SwarnahamsaHarshanaishada from the mighty pen of the great Telugu poet, GunturuSeshendra Sharma are considered to be the two great peaks in the world literary criticism and research. This is a truth most contemporary Telugu writers and readers aren’t aware of. The way Seshendra could discover Kundalini Yoga, Gayathri Mantra in Shodasi, he could discern the treasure trove of mantra yoga, Sri Mahatripurasundari, Chintamani mantra in Swarnahamsa. At a time when our universities which are mere Degrees production Units, churn out “solid waste” in the name of research; Seshendra even while attending to his job as a Municipal Commissioner created research oriented critical volumes like a sage. Though Shodasi was published in 1967 and Swarnahamsa in 1968; Swarnahamsa was created by him much before Shodasi was conceived. The concepts that Srinatha, Nannayya and Mallanatha, the Telugu Classical poets couldn’t decipher, Seshendra could. He humbly submits that he is most fortunate that the triumvirate had left behind some pertinent concepts only to be discovered by him at a later stage. These two great kavyas were serialised under the editorship of late NeelamrajuVenkataSeshaiah in Andhra Prabha Daily, Sunday Literary Supplements from 1963 to 1967 and Seshendra’s poems and non-fiction were published in the book forms (6) only after they appeared in serial form in Andhra Prabha. ----------------- GunturuSeshendraSarma, the well-known poet, critic and scholar of unfathomable depth, has to his credit quite a number of books in Telugu as well as English. A keen intellect and a lucid exponent of the intricacies in Samskrit literature, the author brought out a treatise on Ramayana. The book also reveals the symbolism in our epics and shows the spirit behind. According to the author, Sage Valmiki has observed Ramayana as though it is a story of a dynasty in its outward appearance. But when the story part is kept aside, the hidden secrets of the Mantrasastra come out. Valmiki’s Ramayana is full of Vedic literature, language and usages. Ramayana can be appreciated from three angles. The poetic beauty, the historicity and the secret meaning of mother Parasakti. Later Upanishads have taken Valmiki Ramayana as the way to the Mantrasastra. Rama’s wife Sita is considered as Parasakti. In Devi BhagavathamSita is described as Goddess Gayatri. The author has taken unusual pains and quoted Vedic dictations which are literally taken by Valmiki in his Ramayana. Thus it has been a product of Vedas and the usages in Ramayana and the words used therein and the similies adopted by Valmiki speak inexplicably the secret of Mother Lalita in his stories. The author has given and attached a very great significance for Sundarakanda in Ramayana. The author has quoted numerous quotations from Smrithis and Srithis to establish that Sundara­kanda is beautiful because Anjaneya the Jeeva has seen Sita the Parasakti. Hence this canto is so styled as Sundara. According to the author “Sita” means “Kundalini.” Hanuman has seen Sita while she was sitting on the ground. Ground means Earth. Earth denotes Mooladharam. The serpent Kundalini stays in this. Thus it is symbolised as Sita sat on the ground. Hanuman the Yogi has the vision of Kundalini in Sita. With the aid of Ida and Pingala, Kundalini travels in Sushumna through spinal cord crossing the six fluxes, and finally reaching Sahasraram. This again speaks of “Shodasi.” Rama is a beautiful man. He is having a Sundari in Sita (a beautiful woman). The descriptions are beautiful in this canto. Thus it is synonymous with “Soundarya­lahari” of Sankaracharya. The author expressed that Mahabharata is a reflection of Ramayana in all the cause, origin and delivery. Innumerable similarities are quoted from both Valmiki and Vyasa to prove that the usages, style and similies are almost similar in both the epics. He compares Vyasa’s “Nalacharitam” with Sundarakanda of Valmiki in the vision of Srividya. The author further argues that Kalidasa’s “Meghasandesam” is only an imitation of Valmiki. The flight of Anjaneya in search of Sita is the basis for Kalidasa’s “Meghasandesam.” Both Sita and the Yaksha’s wife are described as “Syamas” – meaning in the middle of youth. The duration of separation is one year in both the cases. Ultimately the author said that “Meghasandesam” is the offspring of Ramayana, with yearning to see Parasakti. The author has taken the readers in his book to that sublime beauty where there is no further argument, than to enjoy the flow of citations with their intrinsic meaning and full of scientific vision. His unsurpassed knowledge in Mantrasastra has enabled him to pass dictums vivisecting the symbolic mysticisms into splinters and handing the kernel of truth under each word, usage, and application. He deserves all praise for this meritorious contribution to our literature. Visionary Poet of the Millennium An Indian poet Prophet Seshendra Sharma October 20th, 1927 - May 30th, 2007 eBooks : Seshendra Sharma is one of the most outstanding minds of modern Asia. He is the foremost of the Telugu poets today who has turned poetry to the gigantic strides of human history and embellished literature with the thrills and triumphs of the 20th century. A revolutionary poet who spurned the pedestrian and pedantic poetry equally, a brilliant critic and a scholar of Sanskrit, this versatile poet has breathed a new vision of modernity to his vernacular.Such minds place Telugu on the world map of intellectualism. Readers conversant with names like Paul Valery, Gauguin, and Dag Hammarskjold will have to add the name of Seshendra Sharma the writer from India to that dynasty of intellectuals. Rivers and poets Are veins and arteries Of a country. Rivers flow like poems For animals, for birds And for human beings- The dreams that rivers dream Bear fruit in the fields The dreams that poets dream Bear fruit in the people- * * * * * * The sunshine of my thought fell on the word And its long shadow fell upon the century Sun was playing with the early morning flowers Time was frightened at the sight of the martyr- - Seshendra Sharma B.A: Andhra Christian College: Guntur: A.P: India B.L : Madras University: Madras Deputy Municipal Commissioner (37 Years) Dept of Municipal Administration, Government of Andhra Pradesh Parents: G.Subrahmanyam (Father) ,Ammayamma (Mother) Siblings: Anasuya,Devasena (Sisters),Rajasekharam(Younger brother) Wife: Mrs.Janaki Sharma Children: Vasundhara , Revathi (Daughters), Vanamaali ,Saatyaki (Sons) Seshendra Sharma better known as Seshendra is a colossus of Modern Indian poetry. His literature is a unique blend of the best of poetry and poetics. Diversity and depth of his literary interests and his works are perhaps hitherto unknown in Indian literature. From poetry to poetics, from Mantra Sastra to Marxist Politics his writings bear an unnerving pprint of his rare genius. His scholar ship and command over Sanskrit , English and Telugu Languages has facilitated his emergence as a towering personality of comparative literature in the 20th century world literature. T.S.Eliot ,ArchbaldMacleish and Seshendra Sharma are trinity of world poetry and Poetics. His sense of dedication to the genre of art he chooses to express himself and the determination to reach the depths of subject he undertakes to explore place him in the galaxy of world poets / world intellectuals. Seshendra’seBooks : Seshendra Sharma’s Writings Copyright © Saatyaki S/o Seshendra Sharma Contact ------------------------ GunturuSeshendraSarma: an extraordinary poet-scholar One of the ironies in literature is that he came to be known more as a critic than a poet HYDERABAD: An era of scholastic excellence and poetic grandeur has come to an end in the passing away of GunturuSeshendraSarma, one of the foremost poets and critics in Telugu literature. His mastery over western literature and Indian `AlankaraSastra' gave his works a stunning imagery, unparalleled in modern Indian works. One of the ironies in literature is that he came to be known more as a critic than a poet. The Central SahityaAkademi award was conferred on him for his work `KaalaRekha' and not for his poetic excellence. The genius in him made him explore `Kundalini Yoga' in his treatise on Ramayana in `Shodasi' convincingly. His intellectual quest further made him probe `NaishadhaKaavya' in the backdrop of `LalitaSahasraNaamavali', `SoundaryaLahari' and `Kama Kala Vilasam' in `SwarnaHamsa', Seshendra saw the entire universe as a storehouse of images and signs to which imagination was to make value-addition. Like Stephene Mallarme who was considered a prophet of symbolism in French literature, SeshendraSarma too believed that art alone would survive in the universe along with poetry. He believed that the main vocation of human beings was to be artists and poets. His `Kavisena Manifesto' gave a new direction to modern criticism making it a landmark work in poetics. Telugus would rue the intellectual impoverishment they suffered in maintaining a `distance' from him. Seshendra could have given us more, but we did not deserve it! The denial of the Jnanpeeth Award to him proves it The Hindu India's National Newspaper Friday, Jun 01, 2007
    Saatyaki S/o seshendra Sharma October 05, 2021
  • Pranam The article is very good its give me a lot of energy I m very thankfull Best regard
    suresh Bajpai July 17, 2014
  • adoro esta cultura e religiões
    gloria maria dias fernandes July 30, 2010
    RAMAN LAL RANIGA June 11, 2007
  • Thank you so much for this article! I've been thinking about deeper meanings in the Ramaayana somewhat in the past, and you have given me answers and insights, and new inspiration to keep looking. Therefore, I feel like sharing my thoughts with you. For example, I used to think that Raavana is Rajas (the suffering-producing quality of the ten organs of action and perception) which captures the mind, Siitaa, and the result is the distressed state in which humans generally are. What didn't fit was that Siitaa clearly remembers Raama, whereas most people don't even know about Aatmaa. After reading your article, I got the thought that Siitaa may be the part of the mind which is devoted to God, and Mandoodarii the part which is connecting the mind to the senses. Both are pure in their way, and both are queens: One is queen when Aatmaa/Raama reigns - (with Sattwa/Wibhiishana prevailing in the body) and the other is queen when Rajas/Raavana reigns. And with Laxmana tentatively interpreted as Ahankaara, Bhaarata as love, and Shatrughna as steadfastness or humility, the picture is becoming more and more complete. One may further speculate about "outer beauty" (Kaikeeyii) being infected by fear (of old age and future ugliness) and wanting her son Love to be king. Your equation of Hanumaan with the intellect is a great find which fits very well: The mind gains faith in its coming liberation through intellectual insight, like Siitaa gains confidence through Hanumaana's message. One may even conjecture that the ring is a symbol of the human intellect's grasp of the concept of infinity, and thus a proof of its connection with the Divine. Also: the intellect can prepare the way for Aatmaa to come and rescue the mind, but it cannot take the mind to Aatmaa - which explains why Hanumaana does not simply carry Siitaa back to Raama, as one may expect. Already with this first issue, I'm really happy that I subscribed to the Exotic India newsletter. It shows a caring hand, both in the text itself and in the setup (e.g. with links to the online page and a printer-friendly page). I wish your site all good that comes from such dedication. With greetings,
    Ge' van Gasteren March 21, 2007
  • This is such a beautiful piece of translation of Ramayan. It's a terrible tragedy that Indians are such beautiful people full of humility, that we bypass so many wonderful things in the richness of our culture. Thank you once again for posting this article of the month to me.
    Gauri March 20, 2007
  • Indeed,this article has a great amount of information.Good job.Cheers!
    Ana-Maria Dragan March 19, 2007
  • The article was very touching and taught me a great deal about the religion and its ideals. Best regards,
    Ray Ford March 17, 2007
  • First, accept my sincerely NAMASKAAR.... Thank you for sending me such beautiful reading material. I am a Sarnami hindu woman, who is so grateful to you, that you have taken your time to send me all these wonderful news about my culture. Reading them gives me a great peace and I want to thank you once again. May God bless you.
    Ursula Sewnarain March 16, 2007