Inspired devotion

The epic Ramayana is venerated in India for the ethics and values expounded by the central character, Lord Rama, who is seen as a personification of all that is noble in human character.

Worshipped as a form of Lord Vishnu, the name Rama and Indian spirituality are inextricably intertwined. This nobility and loftiness of character has inspired saints, poets, writers, and many other creative personalities to explore the boundless depths of the Ramayana and come out with their own interpretations and explorations of this magnum opus.

Bhadrachala Ramadas was a great devotee of Lord Rama of Bhadrachalam. An enchanting confluence of a poet, philosopher, a musician and an unflinching devotee, Ramadas has composed many songs on his favourite deity. A lesser known work of Ramadas is his ‘Dasharathi Shatakam’ in Telugu, where, in a hundred verses, he explains the loftiness of Lord Rama’s character.

Many of the verses, outwardly simple and easily grasped, conceal ennobling philosophical messages and truths that will be of immense help to earnest believers. Ramadas commences this work by extolling the qualities of Lord Rama.

“You are endowed with all the noble qualities like patience, forgiveness, compassion and valour. You are the destroyer of the evil qualities of greed, anger, lust and pride. You are the very personification of righteousness and truth.” He continues in this vein, his poesy-inspired devotion surging like the uncontrollable waves of the ocean. Ramadas makes a moving confession.

“For materialistic gains, I dedicated my artistry to rich, but wicked and  insensitive people. I sold myself, like donating pearls in exchange for some wild, bitter, inedible fruits. O Lord, please grant piety to my tongue, treat it as your stage and dance on it, imparting sweetness to it.” That purity and devotion are far above hypocritical praise of earthly benefactors is the message sought to be conveyed here.

Further, he asks rhetorically, “Can ignorant laymen appreciate the beauty of a great poetic work like a connoisseur? Can the moon’s rays melt the rocks of the Vindhya mountains in the way they do for the moon stone gems? When a true devotee chants your names and if there any mistakes therein, it will not affect its sanctity. Just because the Ganga flows in a convoluted course, is its sanctity affected in any way?”

 “In my final moments, when the messengers of death are waiting to drag me away, when my disease-wracked body and phlegm-choked voice cannot utter anything, when my relatives surround me in helplessness, I may or may not be able to chant your name. Therefore, O Lord, immediately shower your grace on me that I may engage in your thoughts,” says Bhadrachala Ramadas.

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