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THIRUKOLUR PEN PILLAI RAGASIYAM - 47

Below is the translation to Veda Paati's story, narrated in tamil, available in below platforms:

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Did I leave Rama on the other shore of the ganges like Guha


Swami Ramanuja, who was constantly reminded of his earlier avatar as Lakshmana during Ramayana through Tirukolur Pen Pillai’s last couple of stories, asked her kindly,


“Dear child, please tell me the next story is also one from Rama’s life. These bring back so many pleasant and emotional memories for me!”. The child who hardly took notice of the great Ramanuja’s words, dreamily said, “Oh Swami, all of us know well that Lord Rama had 3 biological brothers! Did you also know that he accepted a 4th person as his brother? That too, this person belonged to a lower caste. Yet, Rama considered him as his own and they both shared great affection!”


King Dasharatha was the ruler of Kosala. Kosala was a big and beautiful city. Next to Kosala, was a big forest which was outlined by the river Ganges. This area was called Nishada. A tribal community lived and ruled Nishada. The leader of this tribe was Guha. These tribesmen would do the service of ferrying those who wanted to cross river Ganga in their boats.

In those days, the Kings and Princes had the hobby of hunting in the forests. Rama and his brothers, during their days of youth would often do the same. They would go to the forests of Nishada to hunt. Guha, also a young boy then, would watch Lord Rama from afar, admiring His matchless beauty! Eventually Guha met Rama, and they became good friends.


Years passed. One day, Guha heard that Rama had been wed and he was soon to become the King of Kosala, as King Dasharata was retiring from his post. He heard that there would be a Pattabhishekam, a grand celebration to coronate the new king. He wanted to attend the event and partake in the joy of the people of Kosala. Alas! Before he prepared to leave for Kosala, he found Rama, Sita, and Lakshmana at his kingdom instead! Not only were they there, but they were also clad in robes of tree bark, suitable for forest dwellers.


Rama kindly enquired from Guha about the wellbeing of his people and Nishada. The overwhelmed Guha said, “Rama, we are all doing well by Your blessings and grace. However, it breaks my heart to see your state. From now, let Nishada be Your kingdom! Please rule these beautiful forests, and give us the great blessings of serving you, oh King!”. Guha was surprised to see the calm and pleasant demeanour of Rama despite his situation. Rama’s demeanour when he heard that he was to be crowned King of Kosala was just as calm. Guha wondered how one could be as balanced as Rama, come fortune or misfortune! He was inspired at Rama’s maturity.

Rama was moved at Guha’s selfless offer. He hugged Guha and said, “Till now we were only 4 brothers. But from now there are 5 of us brothers, including you, O Guha! I have come to fulfil my father’s instructions. This is a very important duty of mine. Also, I am here to live the life of a forest dweller. I should not enjoy the luxuries of a royal life! However, I do need a favour from you. Can you please ferry us across the river tomorrow?”. Guha was very pleased to do so.


Lakshmana prepared a makeshift bed for Rama and Sita with grass. As the divine couple slept, Lakshmana updated Guha on what had transpired in Kosala that caused this unfortunate turn of events.

The next morning, after finishing their morning duties, the trio got ready for their trip across the river. Guha yearned to do some service for the Lord and said emotionally, “Oh Lord, those divine feet of Yours turned a rock into a lady. What might happen if you were to step on my boat, would that turn into a lady as well? Please may I wash them?”. Rama, enjoying the emotions hidden within the jest, allows Guha to wash His feet.


He considers the water that washed his Lord’s feet as holy water and splashes it on himself. He decorates Rama’s feet with flowers, offering a small prayer. Then, finally he starts to slowly ferry the trio across the river, singing folk songs.




Rama then noticed the sadness in Lakshmana and to cheer him up, started telling him stories. He related the story of Ganga, that was told to him by Vishvamitra. Soon they reached the shore, and Guha reluctantly took leave of Rama. Rama embraced him heartily.


Tirukolur Pen Pillai bemoaned, “Dear Swami, did I serve my Lord as Guha did for Lord Rama? Why do I deserve to be here at all?”. RAmAnujA thoughtfully reflected on his days in the forest when he was Lakshmana, “Rama is one who saves His devotees when they suffer in this ocean of worldly suffering. He is the one to bring His devotees ashore. However, Guha was one who brought such a Lord ashore during His Rama avatar! He deserves to be called Guha PerumAn from now on!”



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