Wednesday, February 6, 2008

The Rameshwaram– Kashi connection!

No Aryan - Dravidian divide - it was one Aryavartha - (11)

Sethu and Rameshwaram are in the news for wrong reasons!

In other religions, places of pilgrimage or places of importance

are connected with the life and events of the founder of those religions.

But in Hinduism,

in addition to this feature –

there also exists a rational justification

in terms of some aspect of Sanatana Dharma

that makes these places unique.

Irrespective of whether one believes in Rama or Shiva

and worships them,

a dip in the seas at Rameshwaram or Sethu

relieves one of even the worst sins.

Even those persons ignorant of the greatness of such pilgrim shrines,

will get remedy by taking a dip in those waters.

Even a casual act will bring benefits to the doer,

if it is dharma-oriented.

There are many instances to substantiate this.

A mouse was born as a princess because,

it accidentally dragged up the wick of the oil lamp in a temple,

when it was running over the lamp to escape from a chasing cat.

It got a highly birth for having made the lamp burn well,

however ignorant it was about that noble act.

Even the great poet without whom we would not have known the story of Rama in detail,

was chanting a meaningless ‘mara mara’, which granted him wisdom,

as it sounded like ‘rama rama’.

The main idea is about how an action begets a reaction.

Every action is born of Prakruthi swabhava.

As every action gives rise to an equal and opposite action,

the chain of karma haunts the one who does the action.

The escape from this chain

or a minimization of the impact of this chain of actions,

is made possible by some other actions

which help in minimizing the impact of the re-action

or sometimes even eliminating the re-action itself.

This is known as Parihara or Prayaschittha.

The pilgrim centres are for Parihara or Prayaschittha.

They play a big role in scuttling this re-action impact on us.

Whether one believes in Rama or not,

in Shiva or not,

it does not matter.

These centres exist –

helping in the betterment of the people.

The removal of the statue of Kannagi in Marina beach,

or the re-installation of the same

did in no way alter whatever benefit it was giving

(the only benefit of it is as a land mark in the Marina!).

Most of such mundane structures stand as symbols of human pride and vanity.

But pilgrim centres are not such symbols.

They are made

or come into existence for the benefit of humanity.

The Ganga agreed to descend, because her presence would benefit humanity.

Pilgrim centres sprang up at many places in the course of Ganga,

for the benefit of humanity.

She came to what is today known as Rameshwaram,

only for the benefit of humanity.

Such areas stand for 'giving' something to humanity.

Such places are not to be destroyed,

nor desecrated.

Sethu is one such place / structure.

Any damage to the Sethu is something irretrievable.

No one can bring back what it is giving.

What is it giving??

That this question has come up now is the best thing that has happened.

And those who have made the entire Bharatha varsha to sit up and think about this,

are like the ones cited in the instance above,

-the rats which had made the temple lamp burn brightly.

They too will give get their salvation,

for creating awareness about a time-old practice of Sanatana Dharma!

If not for their action and words,

we would not have delved deeper into the importance of Sethu

If not for their ignorance of the historicity of Rama which has been well chronicled,

awareness about the greatness of Rameshwaram and Sethu

could not have swelled.

And we would not even have known that

it was not just Sethu,

but even the Bay of Bengal

was man-made!!

They changed Madras to its indigenous name, Chennai.

They know and we all know how the British

changed so many things including the names!

Let them know what this Adam’s bridge was known as

before the British named it so.

Let researchers, find out what this Bay of Bengal was known as

before the British named it so.

Then they will know the historicity of

everything this land is associated with.

Rameshwaram does not indicate Rama’s historicity.

It is about a much ancient dharma,

though prevalent right from the time of first man

in this Aryavartha,

came to be practiced at Rameshwaram

nearly 1000 years before Rama (at Rameshwaram)

- from Bhageeratha's times.

That Dharma is still continuing today.

A dip in the Ganga is considered to wipe off sins.

A dip in at Kashi and offer of water oblations at Kashi is

a must-be-done in the life time of a person

who resides anywhere in India.

But a trip to Kashi is not complete without a trip to Rameshwaram!

From Kashi, one must bring the water of Ganga to Rameshwaram

and do abhishekam to the idol of Shiva at Rameshwaram with the Ganga-water.

After offering the tarpaNam rites at the waters here,

one must take a handful of sand from the shore of Rameshwaram

to Kashi

and immerse it at the Ganga.

The first part of this ritual sounds logical –

taking dip at the Ganga at Kashi and doing the oblations.

Why the compulsory trip to Rameshwaram?

Did any Dravida king or Aryan king order it to be so?

Again why the picking up of sand from Rameshwaram

to Kashi and immersing of it at the Ganga there?

This question can be answered only if we know the

way Ganga was born,

the way she gave salvation to the 60,000 sons of Sagara.

To understand these rituals better,

let us look at the issue at a logical way.

The Ganga was born from the tuft (head) of Shiva

( as per the story

and we saw its symbolism in an earlier post).

When she reached the place of Sagaras’ death ( Kapila’s Ashrama),

that was her final destination.

It is logical to have the deity of Shiva

consecrated at the beginning and at the end of her journey

and in the middle regions too.

The first place in her journey-path

where the idol of Shiva could have been consecrated

was at the destination.

Brhama ordained Bhageeratha to offer oblations at that place.

By a rule of astrology,

The descendant will receive the ‘curse of the spirits’

(prEtha dOsha)

if the final rites and water oblations are not done to the ancestor.

In the case of the Sagaras,

they remained as ashes and without any final rite being done to them

(Amshuman wanted to do but could not do as there was no water in the vicinity)

till Bhageeratha, their great grand son arrived.

Bhageeratha must have been afflicted with PrEtha Shaapa

On account of non- implementation of rites to his great grand parents.

Jyothisha sashthra recommends ‘abhisheka to Rudra’

to overcome this curse.

Bhageeratha would have done this at the place of immersion of Sagaras’ ashes.

The Jyothir linga of Rameshwaram must have been installed by Bhageeratha

on Brahma’s advice,

And he would have done the abhisheka to the Linga with the Ganga water

which was the only waters

at that time filling in the trough created by the Sagaras!

It is to be noted that the Jyothir linga at Kashi

was installed by Brahma himself, according to puranas.

Both Kashi and Rameshwaram are associated with

Ashwamedha yaagas too.

The horse of the Ashwamedha yajna conducted by Sagara

was found to have stopped at Rameshwaram.

Brahma was said to have done Ashwamedha Yajnas at Kashi

when he consecrated the Jyothirlinga there!

Rameshawaram was the final destination of Ganga.

It was also the first place of Tarpanam at the Ganga.

Shiva was installed first at this place.

So this place can not be ignored in any piligrimage

about Shiva

or about tarpanam to ancestors.

But in course of time,

the Ganga sagar also came to be mixed with other waters,

and pure Ganga was not available at Rameshwaram.

So the practice would have evolved to bring Ganga water from Kashi

to do abhishekam at Rameshwaram.

Taking the sand from the shores of Rameshwaram and immersing it

at Kashi

indicates a strong evidence to this place as the resting place of the Sagaras.

Their ashes remained here to be touched by the Ganga.

The Ganga continues to wash them.

As a symbolism of reverence to the departed Sagaras,

for whose sake, the Ganga descended on the earth,

the pilgrims take up the sand from here,

- as the sand (once) contained the ashes of the Sagaras

and immerse them at Kashi where the Ganga flows.

There is no historicity to this.

This is about a dharma propagated as Sanatana dharma

and no mortal has any right to alter it.

Who has altered this, one may ask.

No one touched Rameshwaram, one may say.

Yes, Rameshwaram is untouched.

But this equation will be altered if Sethu bridge is disturbed.

The salvation granted at Rameshwaram

came to be guaranteed only after the building up of the Sethu!

Rama stopped the waters of the Ganga at Rameshwaram

by building this bund.

Sethu means ‘ a bund that is artificially made’.

The free flowing Ganga at Rameshwaram was stopped by the Sethu bund

so that it was ensured that

the Ganga

flowing through the channels dug by the Sagaras

that ended up here,

stops here

so that human kind can be benefited.

Here comes the answer for

what Sethu is giving.

Rama himself has said what Sethu is giving.

The beings in all the three worlds would be benefited by this Sethu,

said Rama,

while flying above the Sethu in Pushpaka Vimana, on his return journey.

The nether lands will be saved (rasaatala or paataala)

The people living on land would gain salvation.

And the people who left for the other world

would get their salvation

by the 'pindOdhaha-kriya' done by their off-springs.

The last two are understandable.

The first one is about the netherlands (sub-terranean layers)

that are saved by the Sethu.

Any disturbance to Sethu will affect the tranquility of the

sub-terrain here.

Marine archaeologists can take cue from

Valmiki Ramayana

and bring out to the world the underlying danger

which is prevented by the Sethu.

(to be continued)


Sivasubramanian said...

Namaste Madam,

Wow... Really wonderful informations.Infact i did this (Taking sand from rameswaram and bring ganga water and didi abhishegam) with out knowing the reason. Now am really felt happy by knowing the reason.You are all blessed one for our religious and thru you god is spreading the secrets to the upcoming peoples.God Bless you.

Jayasree Saranathan said...

Thank you Mr Sivasubramanian. All by God's grace!