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First Sloka Of Ramayana, Genuineness Of Location Bithoor - Sri Ramanin Padhaiyil

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In my previous post Lava Kusa Mandir, Valmiki Ashram Bithoor, Kanpur - Sri Ramanin Padhayil, we had wonderful sight of Valmiki Ashram and Lava Kusa Janma Bhoomi Mandir. Now let us continue our journey further.

Deva Rishi Naradhar had come to hermitage of Sage Valmiki located in Bithoor, through which the great epic Sri Ramayana was born. Below is the first sloka of epic Ramayana.

First Sloka Of Ramayana:

"Tapah swaadhyaaya niratam Tapasvee vagvidaam varam,
Naaradam Paripapraccha Valmeekir Muni pungavam"

Valmiki Ramayan starts with, Valmiki asking a question to, constantly self-meditating and a sublime enunciator, Deva Rishi Narada, as he wants to know about a person - Sarva Guna Sampannam Purusham in this world who has the 16 virtues, such as Principled, Potential, Conscientious, Redeemer, truth teller, self determined in his deeds, having good conduct, who is a benign, Adept, Ablest, unique with good looks, Courageous, Controls his ire, Brilliant, Non-Jealous and whom even the Gods fear when provoked. And Narada explains that only Rama has the said qualities and asks Valmiki to write the story of Rama, describing the story of Rama in a nut shell. Thus came, from Valmiki with the blessings from Brahmaji, the "Ramayana", the Immortal Epic, for the human beings. If we go through the story of Rama, we might agree with Maharshi Narada that Rama is the only person with all the qualities mentioned above.

How did you confirm that Valmiki Ashram was located in Bithoor, since you can find Valmiki Ashrams in Chitrakoot and Naimisharanya also. Do you have any historic evidence on this? This question might arise in everyone's mind.
We always take an reference point before proceeding on anything in similar fashion while doing study on epic Ramayana, research was carried out on all the books connected to it. All the information gathered from these were collaborated without any discrepancy. In Valmiki Ramayana we have an incident stating that Lord Rama met Sage Valmiki before entering Chitrakoot. This incident leads to uncertainty in location of Valmiki's Ashram in Bithoor. This uncertainty is cleared below.

Rishi's always don't stay in an permanent shelter or place. If they reside in an permanent place, they get connected with the place and the relationship is built with the families there. Because of which their Yogam (the science of one's relationship to the Supreme), Brahmam (beginning of transcendental realization), Dhyanam (meditation) are disrupted. Hence, they keep travelling from one place to the other. Thereby Valmiki would have been residing in Chitrakoot and met Lord Rama there. Later, Sage Valmiki would have moved to Bithoor from Chitrakoot.

Now lets see how we arrived at the location Bithoor. During Rama's reign, while peace prevailed in most places, Lavanasura continued to torment the innocent and destroy many sacrifices of sages and terrify them in many ways. Many kings were defeated by him and they were all afraid. Therefore, one day all the sages came all the way from Madhupuri to Lord Rama with a plea to protect them. Sri Rama welcomed them and they blessed him with the waters of all the tirthas (rivers and ponds). They offered him many fresh fruits and roots. When they were comfortably seated, Sri Rama asked them how he might serve them. Then Bhargava told him about the Daitya (son of Diti) whose name was Madhu.

Madhu was a daitya of the Krtayuga. (The one before the Trethayuga. Other persons of the Krutha Yuga that are Pulastya, the grandfather of Ravana and Vedavati, the ascetic who immolated herself when disturbed by Ravana). Madhu was a mighty Asura and the eldest son of Lola. He was wise and respectful of the brahmans. He maintained excellent relationships with the Devas.

Rudra (Shiva) was pleased with Madhu and gave him a Sula (spear) made from his own Sula, because he was pleased with Madhu’s policy towards the Devas and the Brahmans. Madhu asked Rudra, if his family could keep the Sula forever. Siva did not agree, but not wishing to deny Madhu his wish completely, he said that one son of Madhu could use the sula, and that son would be invincible as long as he held it in his hand.

Madhu was happy. He built a lovely palace and married Kumbhinasi, the daughter of Visravasu and Anala. They had a son called Lavana. Lavana caused much trouble to the Tapasas (the one doing penance - asetics). None of the other kings were able to protect them from Lavana. So they decided to approach the slayer of Ravana, Sri Rama, himself.

Sri Rama asked the Maharshis to describe what Lavana was like and how he lived, so as to plan the best form of attack. He was told that Lavana heft his Sula at home when he went hunting humans and animals for food. Rama decided that Lavana should be killed and he asked which of his brothers would like to volunteer for the assignment.

Bharata volunteered first, but Satrughna made a case for himself. His argument was that Bharata had already done so much in looking after Ayodhya, while missing Sri Rama terribly and living without any comforts while waiting for Sri Rama’s return. He wanted an opportunity to be of service and for Bharata to get a peaceful break.

Sri Rama crowned Shatrughna the king of Madhu-nagara, then and there, with Vasishtha Maharshi performing the rites. (Do you know he did the same thing before? He had crowned Vibhishana, the king of Lanka, even before the battle with Ravana was fought.) Satrughna felt bad that he had unwittingly come in the way of Bharata’s kingship, and resolved never to speak out of turn again. The consecration ceremony was as grand as that when Indra crowned Skanda.

Then Sri Rama gave Shatrughna a divine arrow. That arrow was created by Sri Maha Vishnu when he wanted to destroy Madhu and Kaitabha. (Sri Rama had refrained from using this against Ravana). He asked Shatrughna to wait on the eastern gate of Madhu-nagari and challenge Lavana to a fight when he was returning from his hunt, with his sula inside the city.

Then he gave him 4000 horses, 2000 chariots, 100 excellent elephants, 100,000 pure gold coins, rows of stalls with goods for purchase and sale and actors and dancers. He advised Shatrughna to keep his army well governed and happy. Because a happy servant is more loyal than a family member or a relative.

He asked Shatrughna to proceed slowly so as to not rouse suspicion from Lavana as to his true purpose. The army was to proceed with the brahmans separately and he was to proceed alone to the city gates in the rainy season, after summer had passed.
Shatrughna told his army chiefs, where to cross the river during summer and where to wait at the pre-appointed places at the beginning of the rainy season.

The he took the blessings of his elders and waited with Sri Rama for 1 month, while his army went ahead. Then he went to visit Valmiki Maharshi, resting only 2 nights on the way. He asked Valmiki permission to stay there for a night before going west again in the morning. Valmiki welcomed him and told him the story of Saudasa-Kalmashapada. That very night Sita Devi delivered two charming boys (twins) in the ashram. Valmiki named them Kusa and Lava after the grasses with which the children were purified. Shatrughna went to see the children, his nephews and to see his (bhabhi) Sitamma. He told her, “Oh mother, you have delivered twins!”. That night was Sravana Pournima.

From the above incident we can confirm that, to slay Lavana, Shatrughna traveled from Ayodhya to Mathura via Valmiki's Ashram, which is located in Bithoor. If we draw a straight line from Ayodhya to Mathura in a map, you will get Bithoor in between. Hence we reach to the conclusion that, this place Bithoor is the birth place of Epic Valmiki Ramayana. With these kind of information's and incidents we arrive at conclusion on places related to Ramayana.

In the coming the article, we will be dealing with Sanatana Dharma


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