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Samudra Raja's Saranagathi, Pamban Bridge - Sri Ramanin Padhayil

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The 32nd episode of Sri Ramanin Padhayil was unfolded with the below verse from the epic Ramayana.

Mithra bhavena sampraptham nathyajeyam kathanjana
Dhosho yathyapi thasya syath satham ethath aharhitham

Meaning: Even if some one seeks my refuge while pretending freindship to Me, I will protect that Saranagathan independent of whatever danger may come My way. I will cast aside his blemishes and protect him and keep My word. My dharmam and vow is to protect anyone, who performed Saranagathi to Me even once. I will guarantee that he will be free from every kind of danger.

These slokas were given by Sri Rama in the beach when Vibeeshana approached him in total surrender. Sri Rama presented these slokas to remove the fears of Surgreeva and others who saw Vibeeshana as the brother of Ravana.

For catching an elephant, people prepare deep pits and cover it over with green leaves and twigs, into which the animal falls, attracted by the greenery and unaware of what lies beneath it. The Lord too falls for even a mere show of bhakti. Some of them adopt the mere outward symbols of a devotee, with a mind filled with thoughts totally out of tune with the external affectations. The Lord is so kindhearted that He is pleased with even such insincere imitations, pretends not to detect the underlying hypocrisy and showers us with all that we seek.

Sri Rama laid on the shores of ocean at Thiruppullani; and wanted the King of oceans to appear and give way for the army of monkeys to cross to reach Lanka. But the Ocean King never appeared and so Sri Rama got angry and called Lakshmana to get His bow so that He would dry up the entire ocean.

Verse from Yuddha Kandam, Sarga 21:

caapam aanaya saumitre sharaamh ca aashii visha upamaan
samudram shoshayishyaami padbhyaam yaantu plavan gamaah

Meaning: "The Ocean is not appearing himself before me on kind words. O, Lakshmana! Bring the bow and the serpentine arrows. I shall dry up this ocean, so that our monkeys can cross it by feet."

Samudra Raja, the King of oceans, hurriedly came with his wife and apologized and suggested a way to cross the ocean. Swami Desika says that Samudra Raja need not have been afraid. He says that Sri Rama could never dry up ocean, as in it were the waters of Sarayu, with which Sri Rama's paduka were washed and being so sacred, nothing could dry them! Such is the greatness of Paduka more than of Sri Rama.

Verse By Swami Koorathaazhwan from Athimaanusha Sthavam:

Tvam dakshiNasya nivasan udadhEstaTEpi
dooraantarOthara payOdhi mahaantarEpE /
daityaan nijaika sara paaraNayan, kim Etaam
lankaam sthitO atra kurushE na kila sma bhasma?

Meaning: Stationed on the shores of the vast seas in the far south, how come you were able to direct a single arrow at the Northernmost seas to feed it with the lives of some demons living there and yet you could not reduce to cinders the city of Lanka that was so near at hand?

When the Ocean king did not heed his prayers to help even after Sri Rama did "pratisayanam", Sri Rama got so mad at the Ocean King that he invoked fire weapon "agni astra" swearing to dry up the waters of the ocean. At that moment, the Ocean King came along with his wives and pleaded to be excused and surrendered to Sri Rama. While Sri Rama was prepared to excuse, he told him that once drawn, his arrow cannot go in vain without hitting a target and asked him where to direct his arrow.

The Ocean king seized on the opportunity and replied that there were quite a few of his enemies who were encroaching his domain in a place called "drumagulyam" in the northernmost corner of Bhaaratavarsha and they were tormenting him along with demons known as "dasyus" and "aabheeras". Sri Rama agreed and directed his arrow towards them and decimated them. Due to the extreme heat of the agni astram, that portion of sea got dried up and became a desert called "marukaantaaram". Sargam 22 of Yuddha Kandam describes this incident and even mentions how a spring called "Vrina Koopam" appeared where from water spouted from the parched ground.

Here, Kuresar says: "Oh Lord without birth! You engaged in Prathisayanam at Thiruppullani and waited for permission from Samudra Rajan to build a dam over him to reach the island of Lanka to engage Ravanan in battle and destroy him. Samudra Rajan ignored You thinking that You are just a human being. You got enraged at the insult of the King of oceans and got ready to send Your fiery arrow to dry up the waters of the oceans. Samudra Raajan was now afraid for his life and appeared with his wives before You and performed Saranagathy and begged to be spared. You informed the king of Oceans that Your arrow was set and can not be withdrawn; You asked him to suggest another target. Samudra Rajan begged You to send Your unfailing arrow at the inhabitants of a remote island in the north, who were abusing him. You obliged and Your arrow destroyed them from an immense distance. If that (Your power) is so profound and far reaching, how can adiyen understand your inaction in not destroying Ravana and his army, which were not far away from your position in Thiruppullani. Sethu Bhandam and the invasion of Lanka look in this context appear like window dressing. You could have reduced to ashes Ravanadhis from the banks of Sethu itself but you chose not to. Why is that?

Pamban Bridge:

The Pamban Bridge is a cantilever bridge on the Palk Strait which connects the town of Rameswaram on Pamban Island to mainland India. The bridge refers to both the road bridge and the cantilever railway bridge, though primarily it means the latter. Opened in 1914, it was India's first sea bridge, and was the longest sea bridge in India till 2010. The rail bridge is for the most part, a conventional bridge resting on concrete piers, but has a double leaf bascule section midway, which can be raised to let ships and barges pass through. On 24 February 2014, the Pamban Bridge marked its 100th anniversary.

Pamban Bridge
Pamban Bridge
Pamban Bridge
Pamban Bridge
Pamban Bridge
Pamban Bridge
Pamban Bridge
Pamban Bridge
Pamban Bridge
Pamban Bridge
Pamban Bridge
The railway bridge is 6,776 ft (2,065 m) long and was opened for traffic in 1914. The railroad bridge is a still-functioning double-leaf bascule bridge section that can be raised to let ships pass under the bridge. The bridge was subsequently restored to working conditions under E. Sreedharan in just 46 days.

The railway bridge historically carried metre-gauge trains on it, but Indian Railways upgraded the bridge to carry broad-gauge trains in a project that finished Aug. 12, 2007. Until recently, the two leaves of the bridge were opened manually using levers by workers. About 10 ships — cargo carriers, coast guard ships, fishing vessels and oil tankers — pass through the bridge every month. From the elevated two-lane road bridge, adjoining islands and the parallel rail bridge below can be viewed.

After completion of bridge metre-gauge lines were laid by them from Mandapam up to Pamban Station, from here the railway lines bifurcated into two directions one towards Rameshwaram about 6.25 miles (10.06 km) up and another branch line of 15 miles (24 km) terminating at Dhanushkodi. The section was opened to traffic in 1914.

The noted boat mail ran on this track between 1915 and 1964 from Madras-Egmore up to Dhanushkodi, from where the passengers were ferried to Talaimannar in Ceylon. The metre-gauge branch line from Pamban Junction to Dhanushkodi was abandoned after it was destroyed in a cyclone in 1964.


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