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Posts Tagged ‘Ramayanam ’


Today we are seeing a very rare sculpture which takes us back to the very beginning of the Ramayana. Its a subtle reminder that the you are accountable for your acts, irrespective of whether committed knowingly or unknowingly - the consequences have to be faced.

When Dasaratha (father of Rama) was a young Prince, he reveled in all sport. He is a charioteer unparalleled but so are his archery skills. His skill is so great that he could put an arrow from just the sound of an animal moving. But this very skill proved to be his undoing. Yes, we are going to see the legend of Shravana Kumara from a rare sculpture from the Hazara Rama temple in Hampi.

hazare rama temple - shravanakumara

updating with anotehr view ( thanks to Manju)

sravanakumara

The story goes thus. In his youthful jest, Dasaratha is hunting in the forests adjoining the river Sarayu. But despite his best efforts, he is not able to bag anything till late in the evening. Just as the Sun, was setting, as he was hiding behind tree cover, he heard a familiar sound of elephants drinking water in the river. Impatient to get his prize, Dasartha relies purely on his skill and lets loose a deadly arrow, guided purely by the sound. But as it found its mark, he was shocked to hear a man scream in mortal pain.

Can you spot the above plot in the sculpture.

dasaratha aiming blind

As he rushed to the spot, he found that he had mistakenly shot a young boy filling water in a pot.

The boy is actually Shravana Kumaran, the dutiful son - who takes such good care of his aged and blind parents - that he transports them on a sling balancing on his shoulders. His parents are totally dependent on him. As he was passing through the forest they had asked him to fetch some water as they were thirsty and it was in this act that he was felled by the fateful arrow.

carrying his parents

The young boy, despite his mortal wound, is still thinking about his parents.Dasartha begs for his forgivness, but the boy requests him to take the water to his parents. He also tells him to disclose the bad news of their son’s death after their thirst is quenched! such a noble soul. So requesting he moves to realm of the heavens.

Dasartha is all remorse personified as he goes to the place where the aged couple are resting. Just as he approaches they realise from the sound of his footsteps that its not their son and insist Dasartha to tell them the truth. Dasartha tries his best to dampen the blow, by offering to be their Son - but on hearing from him that their dearest son is no more, the mother falls down dead. The father is filled with great anger that he curses Dasartha thus :

” you too will suffer this pain of separation from your loved son and die of that ”

The rest - well is history

dasaratha breaking the sad news and after

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We had earlier seen Rama aiming at Vali in the amazing miniature from Darasuram. To see the next part of the story we travel to Cambodia. We have seen many panels from the Banteay Srei complex. This is another excellent one.

vaali + sugreev 33

We see the story progressing left to right ( right to left as you view it)

rama n lakshmana - notice the bow string

Watch carefully the pose of Rama - he has just discharged his arrow. The right hand is a definite give away ( look at the delightful detailing of the bow - even to the knot at the bottom)

SugrivaandBaliatBanteaySrei
vaali +sug 75
vaali n sugreeva
vaali vs sug 10
vaali vs sugrev 16

Lets look at the two fighting brothers - that they are monkeys is obvious, but see the masterly depiction of their feet - monkey feet. The hands are depicted as humans though. See Vaali’s clenched fist ready to deliver a massive blow to Sugreev. The ferociousness of the battle has been superbly caught by the sculptor in the face of the two fighting brothers.

fallen vaali with arrow in his heart

The next scene in the storyboard is also shown - Vaali is felled by the arrow, mortally wonded, he is shown grabbing the arrow. Who is holding him up - he seems to have fallen down and is held up protectively - is it his Tara. ( see the slight differentiation between the two facial features). A standing Sugreev is shown looking over at his slain brother.

vaali fallen

Vali is shown with a questioning look - he seems shocked and very angry. To understand what transpired, we need to look back at the text of the Ramayana. The southern version ( tamil) says that Vaali was very angry with Rama for having shot him from an ambush position, which doesn’t quite befit a noble warrior. He has a heated argument with Rama and Lakshmana, questioning the disgraceful act. Rama then goes on to explain to him his need to uphold righteousness and how Vaali has turned against the right path and banished his own brother and usurped his wedded wife!

SugrivaandBaliatBanteaySrei
vaali +sug 75
vaali vs sugre 8
vaali vs sugree 8
vaali vs sugreev 3
vaalivadham cambodia

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