And then there was one…

मां निषाद प्रतिष्ठां- त्वमगमः शाश्वतीः समाः।
यत्क्रौंचम- िथुनादेकम्- अवधीः काममोहितम् ||

“mā niṣāda pratiṣṭhāṁ tvamagamaḥ śāśvatīḥ samāḥ 
yat krauñcamithunādekam avadhīḥ kāmamohitam” 

“You will find no rest for the long years of Eternity 
For you killed an unsuspecting bird in love” 

It is said that all Sanskrit literature originated in its form as sahitya from the time of Sage Valmiki himself. There was, as we are told, no versification or presentation of any subject in the form of a sloka before Valmiki for the first time uttered words which became a sloka [verse] though what he expressed to all is a shoka [sorrow]. 

This seems to be the first verse ever available to us in Sanskrit literature, originated from the mouth of Valmiki Adi Kavi, who uttered these words not as a kavi but as a person in distress at the sight of a fowler shooting an arrow of death- bringing strength to a male bird, krouncha, [dove] which was with its partner.

Valmiki felt deeply grieved. “How cruel you are to bring death to a joyful dove”, he cursed the hunter. That curse, came in the series of these words: manishada pratishtatum samagah sashvatisamah yat krouncha mithunadekam sokam avadhim kama mohitamManishada pratishtatum samagah: O fowler, don’t live for long. That means to say, let this be the end of your life. Why? Yat krouncha mithunadekam sokam avadhim kama mohitam: When the male krouncha was with his partner with joy, you killed him. This is the cruelest of acts that one can deal to one who is most innocent. As you have dealt a deathblow to one of the two doves who was most innocent and not deserving of this harm, I utter this word of immediate annihilation of yourself.

When these words were uttered in a state of anger as a curse to bring death to the fowler instantaneously, Brahma descended and blessed Valmiki, the sage who uttered these words. “Glory to him who has uttered this first verse of glorification of the great Shri Narayana.”

Where is the glorification of the great Narayana in these words? Valmiki never knew that within the words of curse that he uttered there was a prayer to Shri Narayana present, unwittingly made present inside in the form of a systematic verse of thirty-two letters. Though the obvious meaning of this verse of thirty-two letters is a curse, it had another meaning altogether which was a glorification of Lakshmi-Narayana. 

Manishada: O abode of Mahalakshmi, is another meaning of these words. Ma means Lakshmi,nishada is one who is abode. Pratishtatum samagah: May your glory be forever and ever.

O abode of Mahalakshmi, may you be glorified forever and ever. Why? Yat krouncha mithunadekam sokam avadhim kama mohitam: Because you have been a conduit for bringing an end to Ravana, who was attached in a sensuous manner to objects. You brought an end to this crude way of living. May you live long. May you live long. May your glory be immortalised, O Narayana, the abode of Lakshmi.

“O, you have uttered these words?” Brahma immediately said, “You have started the glory of Rama, incarnation of Narayana, who came to end this tyranny of Ravana. You will now compose the whole epic Ramayana from now onwards, commencing with this great glorification of Narayana.

And thus began the journey of the greatest epic of all time – the Ramayana.

Which is the next series that I will attempt. Wish me luck! जय श्री राम!