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Friday, 3 January 2020

Margazhi Blogotsavam: Day 18: The One Rama Released from Jail: Bhadrachala Ramadasu

(I'm thankful to my sister Dr. Vatsala Kashi for this post idea)

In the 17th century, Linganna Mantri and Kamamba living in the Warangal area of Andhra Pradesh had a son called Goparaju. From a young age, the child showed great devotion to Sri Rama, chanting His Name, and serving the poor with a lot of compassion. Soon, he came to be known as Ramadasu. 


Bhakta Ramadasu. Image courtesy: Bhadrachalaramadasu.com 
During those days, the place was ruled by Sultan Tana Shah. He appointed Ramadasu as tehsildar of Palvancha taluk. Ramadasu would perform his administrative duties sincerely and at the same time, his devotion to Sri Rama kept on growing.

Once, he visited the fair of the Sri Rama temple in Bhadrachalam, a place famous for having been visited by Rama, Lakshmana, and Sita during their exile. 


Present day temple at Bhadrachalam. Image courtesy: Telangana Tourism
Ramadasu was pained to see that the temple was in a dilapidated state. He decided to raise money to renovate the temple. Despite his best efforts, there was still a shortage of funds. The villagers suggested that Ramadasu could take the money from his revenue collections; when they harvested their crops, they would repay that amount out of their earnings.

Without informing the Sultan, Ramadasu used an amount of six hundred thousand rupees for renovating the temple. His enemies made sure the Sultan heard of this and soon, Ramadasu was thrown into jail. He would be released only after the entire revenue amount was fully recovered!

Lying in jail, Ramadasu composed many songs, praising Sri Rama’s qualities, pleading with Him for help, describing the mysterious ways in which the Lord works and offering unconditional surrender at His Feet. 

Image courtesy: Indian Heritage.com
After about 12 years of imprisonment, a strange event occurred. 

Two young warriors entered the Sultan’s palace at midnight. They identified themselves as Ramoji and Lakshmoji, and handed over six lakh gold coins to the Sultan, as compensation to release Ramadasu. On their demand, the Sultan gave them a receipt for the money; using this receipt, the young men got Ramadasu released from jail.

The next morning, Ramadasu realized what had happened. Ramoji and Lakshmoji were his beloved Rama and Lakshmana! But he lamented his fate that despite all his devotion, he didn’t get to see Them, while the Sultan did!

That night, Sri Rama appeared in Ramadasu’s dream to clarify.

The Sultan, in his previous life, had been a devout worshiper of Lord Shiva, and vowed to do Rudra abhishekam for 365 days, convinced that the Lord would then appear before him. However, he got confused about the days, and did the abhishekam for just 364 days; the next day, when Lord Shiva didn’t appear, he was enraged and broke the Shivalingam into pieces. Then Lord Shiva appeared and told him his mistake. As punishment, he would be born a non-believer in the next life; but the result of his 364-day pooja would ensure him a darshan of Sri Rama Himself.

Ramadasu had done some mistakes in his previous life, and so, had to undergo the agony of the imprisonment to complete those accounts. Sri Rama promised him moksha (liberation) at the end of his life.

When the Sultan heard of this, he realized that all the events were the play of Sri Rama. He returned the six lakh gold coins to the Bhadrachalam Rama temple. These coins, with the Rama Pattabhishekam scene on one face, and Hanuman’s picture on the other side, can be seen in the temple even today.

One day, a chariot appeared, and Ramadasu called out to his wife, saying, “I’m going to Vaikuntha! Come with me!” She thought he was indulging in one of his favorite daydreams and said, “You go! I’ll come later.” Hearing a commotion outside the house, she rushed out, only to see that the chariot with Ramadasu had departed. When she rued her misfortune, a voice from the murti of Sri Rama told her she had to do more service and then, she too would go to Vaikuntha!

“Paluke Bangaaramayenaa” is one of the most famous Ramadasu compositions. To listen to a soulful rendition of it by the young and talented Rahul Vellal, click on this Youtube link.

Can we develop a devotion as deep as Ramadasu who never let his mind waver from his Rama, despite all the misfortune that came his way?

Can we learn to see all events in our life as a consequence of actions in our past births and stop wasting energy in lamenting over the discomfort we face?

Can we instead channelize our energy to pray that the Lord bless us with sadbuddhi and bhakti?

References
http://bhadrachalaramadasu.com/ramadasu/












5 comments:

  1. Sri Ramadasu 🙏🏻🙏🏻🙏🏻🌈💐

    ReplyDelete
  2. Murthy Dakshina Somayajula12 January 2020 at 21:08

    Another example of devotion! One should be consistent in one's devotion. One should understand that all events in present life are consequence of actions in earlier births. Hence, do good Karma in this life...�� �� ��

    ReplyDelete

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