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My darlings, in the wondrous world of Veda Pātti, today’s caption of Thirukolur Penpillai is, "anukoolam sonneno mālyavānaip pola" . Whom did Malyavān convey anukoolam to? And what does anukoolam mean? Anukoolam refers to sound advice given by a well-wisher.

As we all know, Rāvanan was the famous king of Lanka. Vishravas, a learned vedic scholar, was the son of Kekasi. His maternal grandpa was Mālyavān. Because of the gigantic error that Rāvana committed, the entire rākshasa kulam was going to perish. He felt sorry about it. Rāvana abducted the dharmapatni of Lord Rāma and held her captive in Lanka. His brother Vibhīshaṇa and wife Mandodari strongly advised him against it. But the stubborn Rāvana refused to return Sītādevi to Lord Rāma. After discovering Sītādevi’s whereabouts, Ānjaneya conveyed the news to Lord Rāma. Along with his Vānara sainya, Rāma constructed a bridge (called Rāma Sethu) to Lanka. After crossing the ocean, they surrounded the island of Lanka. Grandfather Mālyavān approached Rāvana and started telling him anukoolas.

“You think that you are all-powerful and that Lord Rāma is just an ordinary vanavāsi with a puny monkey army. What can he do to me, the great Rāvana? Rāvana, just because of the strength you acquired by way of your penance, you consider both humans and Vānaras to be beneath you. But the fact is, Lord Mahāvishnu himself has taken birth as Lord Rāma and all the devas are the Vānaras. And they are now here to fight with you. All the rishis, gandharvas, yakshas, pray that Lord Rāma should win the yuddha. Please note that since Lord Rāma is on the path of dharma, he is sure to win and as you are on the wrong trap of adharma, you are bound to be vanquished. From the day you brought Sītādevi here, for the past ten months, there have been so many ill omens. No yāga-yagyas have been performed at Lankāpuri, and the performers either forget the mantras or the mantras lose their effect. All the elephants and horses are shedding tears and weeping uncontrollably. From the forest, all the wild animals enter Lanka, making the innocent countrymen scream in fear. The Lanka people are mentally affected.

Look, Rāvana, in this stressful situation, it is your duty as king to perform certain parihāras which will bring peace and happiness to your people. Moreover, in the past ten months, despite all your efforts, Sītādevi has not even looked at you once nor has she consented to you in any manner. She is a great pativratā and she has adopted pātivratyam all along by having Lord Rāma alone in her mind. Whereas

you have invited and are harboring all evils within you.

“When there is a loss in strength one should develop friendship even with one’s enemy (shatru) - as emphasized by our shāstras, and only when our strength increases can we think of fighting with others. Moreover, when your opponent is at par with you in strength or more powerful it is always best to choose a compromise. Victory is possible only with those who are inferior in strength. Your current condition is very weak, unlike Lord Rāma who is always infinitely powerful. Thus, total surrender to Lord Rāma is the right solution. When approaching our shatru who is more powerful, we have to meet him with some offering or gift. So please give back Sītādevi to him. If you do so, you can prevent bloodshed, and if you don’t, the entire asura vamsam (clan) will be destroyed in the yuddham. Rāvana, I beseech you, please do not imagine that you can win this war.

All of Mālyavān’s wise words fell on deaf ears. Rāvana went to war with lord Rāma and lost his life. Dharma won and adharma lost.

Thirukollur Penpillai asked Rāmānuja, “At any time, adharma cannot win over dharma- is that right?” Rāmānujar gave her a beautiful explanation:

“My child, there are four yugas, of which, in Krita yuga, dharma will be at its best. And then slowly in the succeeding yugas like Treta and Dvāpara, dharma starts to deteriorate, and in Kali only adharma will occupy the first place. Whatever be the yuga, we should lead a life of dharma as much as possible and keep adharma under control. If we keep this in mind, even the dangerous Kali will not harm us.”

On hearing this, Penpillai felt very happy and remained determined in the conviction that we should follow the path of dharma. Then Rāmānujar asked Penpillai that next about whom we are going to learn, Penpillai replied, “kaLvan ivan endrEnO lOga guruvaip pOla”. Who is kaLvan and who is lOkaguru? We shall see this in the next episode.

Ram ram

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