Mahavir Mandir
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दासोsहं कोसलेन्द्रस्य रामस्याक्लिष्टकर्मणः। हनूमान् शत्रुसैन्यानां निहन्ता मारुतात्मजः।।

    
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  • Here is an analysis on the popularity of Lord Rãma in Bharath khand and beyond Bharath in the last two thousand years. In the second canto of the Rãmãyana, Brahma, while admiring Maharshi Vãlmïki for the composition of the Rãmãyana, is seen to have prophetically proclaimed:-

    यावत् स्थास्यन्ति गिरयः सरितश्च महीतले।
    तावद् रामायणकथा लोकेषु प्रचरिष्यति।।(2)

     

    Yāvat sthāsyanti girayaḥ saritaśca mahītalē.
    Tāvad rāmāyaṇakathā lōkēṣu pracariṣyati 

    That is, As long mountains and rivers remain on the earth, so long the story of Rãmãyana will be prevalant amongst people.

    In the Vãlmïki Rãmãyana itself Rãma has been worshipped by Brahma as a Supreme God equivalent to Nãrãyana:-

    Rama-stuti by Brahma

    भवान् नारायणो देवः श्रीमांश्चक्रायुधः प्रभुः।
    एकशृंगो वराहस्त्वं भूतभव्यसपत्नजित्।।13।।

     

    Bhavān nārāyaṇō dēvaḥ śrīmānścakrāyudhaḥ prabhuḥ.
    Ēkaśr̥ṅgō varāhastvaṁ bhūtabhavyasapatnajit..13..

    अक्षरं ब्रह्म सत्यं च मध्ये चान्ते च राघव।
    लोकानां त्वं परो धर्मो विष्वक्सेनश्चतुर्भुः।।14।।

     

    Akṣaraṁ brahma satyaṁ ca madhyē cāntē ca rāghava.
    Lōkānāṁ tvaṁ parō dharmō viṣvaksēnaścaturbhuḥ..14..

    शांर्गधन्वा हृषीकेशः पुरुषः पुरुषोत्तमः।
    अजितः खड्गधृग् विष्णुः कृष्णश्चैव बृहद्वलः।।15।।

     

    Śānrgadhanvā hr̥ṣīkēśaḥ puruṣaḥ puruṣōttamaḥ.
    Ajitaḥ khaḍgadhr̥g viṣṇuḥ kr̥ṣṇaścaiva br̥hadvalaḥ..15..

    सेनानीर्ग्रामणीश्च त्वं बुद्धिः सत्त्वं क्षमा दमः।
    प्रभवश्चाप्यश्च त्वमुपेन्द्रो मधुसूदनः।।16।।

     

    Sēnānīrgrāmaṇīśca tvaṁ bud'dhiḥ sattvaṁ kṣamā damaḥ.
    Prabhavaścāpyaśca tvamupēndrō madhusūdanaḥ..16..

    इन्द्रकर्मा महेन्द्रस्त्वं पद्मनाभो रणान्तकृत्।
    शरण्यं शरणं च त्वामाहुर्दिव्या महर्षयः।।17।।

     

    Indrakarmā mahēndrastvaṁ padmanābhō raṇāntakr̥t.
    Śaraṇyaṁ śaraṇaṁ ca tvāmāhurdivyā maharṣayaḥ..17..

    सहस्त्रशृंगो वेदात्मा शतशीर्षो महर्षभः।
    त्वं त्रयाणां हि लोकानामादिकर्ता स्वयम्प्रभुः।।18।।

     

    Sahastraśr̥ṅgō vēdātmā śataśīrṣō maharṣabhaḥ.
    Tvaṁ trayāṇāṁ hi lōkānāmādikartā svayamprabhuḥ..18.

    सिद्धानामपि साध्यानामाश्रयश्चासि पूर्वजः।
    त्वं यज्ञस्त्वं वषट्कारस्त्वमोंकारः परात्परः।।19।।

     

    Sid'dhānāmapi sādhyānāmāśrayaścāsi pūrvajaḥ.
    Tvaṁ yajñastvaṁ vaṣaṭkārastvamōṅkāraḥ parātparaḥ..19..

    प्रभवं निधनं चापि नो विदुः को भवानिति।
    दृश्यसे सर्वभूतेषु गोषु च ब्राह्मणेषु च।।20।।

     

    Prabhavaṁ nidhanaṁ cāpi nō viduḥ kō bhavāniti.
    Dr̥śyasē sarvabhūtēṣu gōṣu ca brāhmaṇēṣu ca..20..

    दिक्षु सर्वासु गगने पर्वतेषु नदीषु च।
    सहस्त्रचरणः श्रीमांशतशीर्षः सहस्त्रदृक्।।21।।

     

    Dikṣu sarvāsu gaganē parvatēṣu nadīṣu ca.
    Sahastracaraṇaḥ śrīmānśataśīrṣaḥ sahastradr̥k..21..

    त्वं धारयसि भूतानि पृथिवीं सर्वपर्वतान्।
    अन्ते पृथिव्याः सलिले दृश्यसे त्वं महोरगः।।22।।

     

    Tvaṁ dhārayasi bhūtāni pr̥thivīṁ sarvaparvatān.
    Antē pr̥thivyāḥ salilē dr̥śyasē tvaṁ mahōragaḥ..22..

    त्रींल्लोकान् धारयन् राम देवगन्धर्वदानवान्।
    अहं ते हृदयं राम जिह्वा देवी सरस्वती।।23।।

     

    Trīnllōkān dhārayan rāma dēvagandharvadānavān.
    Ahaṁ tē hr̥dayaṁ rāma jihvā dēvī sarasvatī..23..

    देवा रोमाणि गात्रेषु ब्रह्मणा निर्मिताः प्रभो।
    निमेषस्ते स्मृता रात्रिरुन्मेषो दिवसस्तथा।।24।।

     

    Dēvā rōmāṇi gātrēṣu brahmaṇā nirmitāḥ prabhō.
    Nimēṣastē smr̥tā rātrirunmēṣō divasastathā..24..

    संस्कारास्त्वभवन् वेदा नैतदस्ति त्वया विना।
    जगत् सर्वं शरीरं ते स्थैर्यं ते वसुधातलम्।।25।।

     

    Sanskārāstvabhavan vēdā naitadasti tvayā vinā.
    Jagat sarvaṁ śarīraṁ tē sthairyaṁ tē vasudhātalam..25..

    अग्निः कोपः प्रसादस्ते सोमः श्रीवत्सलक्षणः।
    त्वया लोकास्त्रयः क्रान्ताः पुरास्वैर्विक्रमैस्त्रिभिः।।26।।

     

    Agniḥ kōpaḥ prasādastē sōmaḥ śrīvatsalakṣaṇaḥ.
    Tvayā lōkāstrayaḥ krāntāḥ purāsvairvikramaistribhiḥ..26..

    महेन्द्रश्च कृतो राजा बलिं बद्ध्वा सुदारुणम्।
    सीता लक्ष्मीर्भवान् विष्णुर्देवः कृष्णः प्रजापतिः।।27।।

     

    Mahēndraśca kr̥tō rājā baliṁ bad'dhvā sudāruṇam.
    Sītā lakṣmīrbhavān viṣṇurdēvaḥ kr̥ṣṇaḥ prajāpatiḥ..27..

    वधार्थं रावणस्येह प्रविष्टो मानुषीं तनुम्।
    तदिदं नस्त्वया कार्यं कृतं धर्माभृतां वर।।28।।

     

    Vadhārthaṁ rāvaṇasyēha praviṣṭō mānuṣīṁ tanum.
    Tadidaṁ nastvayā kāryaṁ kr̥taṁ dharmābhr̥tāṁ vara..28..

    निहतो रावणो राम प्रहृष्टो दिवमाक्रम।
    अमोधं देव वीर्यं ते न ते मोघाः पराक्रमाः।।29।।

     

    Nihatō rāvaṇō rāma prahr̥ṣṭō divamākrama.
    Amōdhaṁ dēva vīryaṁ tē na tē mōghāḥ parākramāḥ..29..

    अमोघं दर्शनं राम अमोघस्तव संस्तवः।
    अमोघास्ते भविष्यन्ति भक्तिमन्तो नरा भुवि।।30।।

     

    Amōghaṁ darśanaṁ rāma amōghastava sanstavaḥ.
    Amōghāstē bhaviṣyanti bhaktimantō narā bhuvi..30..

    ये त्वां देवं ध्रुवं भक्ताः पुराणं पुरुषोत्तमम्।
    प्राप्नुवन्ति तथा कामानिह लोके परत्र च।।31।।

     


    Yē tvāṁ dēvaṁ dhruvaṁ bhaktāḥ purāṇaṁ puruṣōttamam.
    Prāpnuvanti tathā kāmāniha lōkē paratra ca..31..

    इममार्षं स्तवं दिव्यमितिहासं पुरातनम्।
    ये नराः कीर्तयिष्यन्ति नास्ति तेषां पराभवः।।32।।

     

    Imamārṣaṁ stavaṁ divyamitihāsaṁ purātanam.
    Yē narāḥ kīrtayiṣyanti nāsti tēṣāṁ parābhavaḥ..32..

    Mahabharata

    By the time Mãhãbhãrãta was finally edited in the beginning of the Christian era, Rãma had already been deified and many tirthas (pilrim centres) had emerged after his name. Some of them are enumerated here. In the Aranya-parvan of the Mahãbhãrata there is a chapter तीर्थयात्रापर्व* from which the following pilgrim place are highlighte:-
    (i) Gopratãra:- It is present Guptãra ghãt near Faizabad army cantonment on the bank of the Sarayu river at a distance of about 5 km from Ayodhyã. It is described as the best of the pilgrim centres because here Rãma had left for heaver along with his servants, army and vehicles.

    गोप्रतारं ततो गच्छेत् सरय्य्वास्तीर्थमुत्तमम्।
    यत्र रामो गतः स्वर्गं सभृत्यबलवाहनः।।

     

    Gōpratāraṁ tatō gacchēt sarayyvāstīrthamuttamam.
    Yatra rāmō gataḥ svargaṁ sabhr̥tyabalavāhanaḥ..

    Thereafter the following śloka occurs:-

    देहं त्यक्त्वा दिवं यातस्तस्य तीर्थस्य तेजसा।
    रामस्य च प्रसादेन व्यवसायाच्च भारत।।

     

    Dēhaṁ tyaktvā divaṁ yātastasya tīrthasya tējasā.
    Rāmasya ca prasādēna vyavasāyācca bhārata..

    O Yudhisthira! Men, after leaving mortal remains, go to paradise, by the virtue of the tirtha as well as Rãma’s grace and their own endeavour.
    The Gita Press reading स च वीरो महाराज does not carry much sense, therefore the critical edition reading देहं त्यक्त्वा दिवं यातः has been preferred.

    तस्मिंस्तीर्थे नरः स्नात्वा गोप्रतारे नराधिप।
    सर्वपापविशुद्धात्मा स्वर्गलोके महीयते।। (82. 63-65)

     


    Tasminstīrthē naraḥ snātvā gōpratārē narādhipa.
    Sarvapāpaviśud'dhātmā svargalōkē mahīyatē..

    O King! He, who takes bath in that Gopratãra tirtha, is liberated from all sins and becomes thoroughly pure. In addition, he is respected in also heavern.
    This pilgrim centre is situated on the bank of the Saray river.
    Again in the next chapter, Kosalã’s (Ayodhyã’s) pilgrim centres Rishabha tirtha and Kãlatirtha are described are described.
    (ii) Rãmatirtha The Mahãbhãrata informs another Rãmatirtha on the bank of the Gomati river in the following œloka-

    रामतीर्थे नरः स्नात्वा गोमत्यां कुरुनन्दन।
    अश्वमेधमवाप्नोति गोमत्यां कुरुनन्दन।। (82.66)

     


    Rāmatīrthē naraḥ snātvā gōmatyāṁ kurunandana.
    Aśvamēdhamavāpnōti gōmatyāṁ kurunandana..

    O Yuddhisthira/scion of kuru)! After having taken bath in Rãmatirtha situated at the bank of Gomati a man obtains the virtue of Ashvamedha Yajña and purifies his whole clan.
    (iii) Ahalyãkunda:- Persons who came into contact with Rãma became pious and their places also became pilgrim centres. Ahalya was such person who had been cursed by her husband Gautama because of her infidelity.
    Rãma came to her rescue and hermitage became pilgrim place. the Mahãbhãrata describes its virtues in the following words:-

    ततो गच्छेत ब्रह्मर्षेगौतमस्य वनं प्रियम्।
    अहल्याया हªदे स्नात्वा व्रजेत परमां गतिम्।।
    अभिगम्याश्रमं राजन् विन्दते श्रियमात्मनः।।

     

    Tatō gacchēta brahmarṣēgautamasya vanaṁ priyam.
    Ahalyāyā haªdē snātvā vrajēta paramāṁ gatim..
    Abhigamyāśramaṁ rājan vindatē śriyamātmanaḥ..

    Then one should go to the dear forest of sage Goutmama. A man gets supreme bliss by taking bath in the Ahalyã pond. O king! One gets splendor after visiting the hermitage.

    तत्रोदपानं धर्मज्ञ त्रिषु लोकेषु विश्रुतम्।
    तत्राभिषेकं कृत्वा तु वाजिमेधमवाप्नुयात्।। (82- 93&94)

     

    Tatrōdapānaṁ dharmajña triṣu lōkēṣu viśrutam.
    Tatrābhiṣēkaṁ kr̥tvā tu vājimēdhamavāpnuyāt..

    O Dharmarãja! There exists a tank, famous in all the three worlds. By taking a bath in that tank one gets merit of an Aœva-medha sacrifice.
    Thereafter, a well of Janaka is described. It is revered by gods also and by taking bath in that well, one gets the land of Vishnu.
    (iv) Śringeverapuram- It was the capital of the kingdom of Rama’s bosom tribal friend Guha. Here he had crossed the Ganga and therefore it was considered to be a holy place. The Mahãbhãrata thus speaks of its virtues:-

    ततो गच्छेत राजेन्द्र  शृङ्गवेरपुरं महत्।
    यत्र तीर्णो महाराज रामो दाशरथिः पुरा।।

     


    Tatō gacchēta rājēndra śr̥ṅgavērapuraṁ mahat.
    Yatra tīrṇō mahārāja rāmō dāśarathiḥ purā..

    O King! Then one should go to the great œringaverapura where Rãma, the son of Daœaratha had crossed the gañga.

    तस्मिंस्तीर्थे महाबाहो स्नात्वा पापैः प्रमुच्यते।

    गङ्गायां तु नरः स्नात्वा ब्रह्मचारी समाहितः।।
    विधूतपाप्मा भवति वाजपेयं च विन्दति।। (83- 62&63)

     


    Tasminstīrthē mahābāhō snātvā pāpaiḥ pramucyatē.
    Gaṅgāyāṁ tu naraḥ snātvā brahmacārī samāhitaḥ..
    Vidhūtapāpmā bhavati vājapēyaṁ ca vindati..

    In that pilgrim place one is liberated from all sins by having just a dip in the Ganga. He becomes thoroughly purified and obtains the merit of a Vajapeya Yajna.
    (v) Dandakãranya – It was the abode of khara and Dishana, the evil and cruel brothers of Rãvana. But it was sanctified by Rãma’s exile in this forest. Therefore, the Mahãbhãrata speaks of its celebrated places:-

    दण्डकारण्यमासाद्य पुण्यं राजन्नुपस्पृशेत्।
    गोसहस्रफलं तस्य स्नातमात्रस्य भारत।।
     

    Daṇḍakāraṇyamāsādya puṇyaṁ rājannupaspr̥śēt.
    Gōsahasraphalaṁ tasya snātamātrasya bhārata..

    O king Yudhisthira! One, after having reached Dansakãranya and taken a both there, gets the merit of giving one thousand cows.

      Other places like Chitrkuta and the hermitage of the sage Sarabhanga are also described as pilgrim centres. These places have been called tirthas and this could happen only after Rãma became on object of worship. This happened before the beginning of the Christian era.

    Bhasa’s Literature

    Bhasa is one of the earliest dramatists in the country. Even Kalidasa in Malavikagnimitra drama mentions Bhasa as a dramatist of very high repute in the following words-

    प्रथितयशसां भास-सौमिल्ल-कविपुत्रादीनां प्रबन्धान्।

     

    Prathitayaśasāṁbhāsa-saumilla-kaviputrādīnāṁ prabandhān.

    Even Kautilya has quoted the following Śloka from Pratijna-yaugandharayara of Bhasa without mentioning the source. He writes:-

    श्लोकौ भवतः -
    नवं  शरावं  सलिलैः   सुपूर्णं  सुसंस्कृतं   दर्भकृतोत्तरीयम्।
    तत्तस्य मा भून्नरकं स गच्छेद् यो भर्तृपिण्डस्य कृते न युध्येत्।। (4. 2)

     

    Ślōkau bhavataḥ -
    navaṁ śarāvaṁ salilaiḥ supūrṇaṁ susanskr̥taṁ darbhakr̥tōttarīyam.
    Tattasya mā bhūnnarakaṁ sa gacchēd yō bhartr̥piṇḍasya kr̥tē na yudhyēt..

    Thus Bhasa appears to have lived in the 4th century B.C. He wrote 13 dramas out of which the theme of two are taken from the Rãmãyana. They are Pratima and Abhisheka dramas. There are many allusions in these dramas which show that Rãma was regarded as Narayana or his incarnation before the advent of Christ. The following ślokas of Abheśeka drama will confirm it-

    नमो भगवते त्रैलोक्यकारणाय नारायणाय
    ब्रह्मा ते हृदयं जगत्त्रयपते रुद्रश्च कोपस्तव
         नेत्रे चन्द्रदिवाकरौ सुरपते जिह्वा च ते भारती।
    सब्रह्मेन्द्रमरुद्गणं त्रिभुवनं सृष्टं त्वयैव प्रभो
         सीतेयं जलसम्भवालयरता विष्णुर्भवान् गृह्यताम्।। (6-30)

     

    Namō bhagavatē trailōkyakāraṇāya nārāyaṇāya
    Brahmā tē hr̥dayaṁ jagattrayapatē rudraśca kōpastava
    Nētrē candradivākarau surapatē jihvā ca tē bhāratī.
    Sabrahmēndramarudgaṇaṁ tribhuvanaṁ sr̥ṣṭaṁ tvayaiva prabhō
    Sītēyaṁ jalasambhavālayaratā viṣṇurbhavān gr̥hyatām..

    Salute to Lord Narayana who is the cause (aerator) of three worlds:-
    Brahma is your heart, Rudra is your anger. The Sun and the Moon are your two eyes. Sarasvati is your tongue. O Lord! all the there worlds with Brahma, Indra and Maruts are your creation. It is Sìtã; She may be accepted.
    In the next śloka Rãma is identified with Varaha and Vamana incarnations-

    मग्नेयं हि जले वराहवपुषा भूमिस्त्वयैवोद्धृता
         विक्रान्तं भुवनत्रयं सुरपते पादत्रयेण त्वया।
    स्वैरं रूपमुपस्थितेन भवता देव्या यथा साम्प्रतं
         हत्वा रावणमाहवे न हि तथा देवाः समाश्वासिताः।।(6- 31)

     

    Magnēyaṁ hi jalē varāhavapuṣā bhūmistvayaivōd'dhr̥tā
    Vikrāntaṁ bhuvanatrayaṁ surapatē pādatrayēṇa tvayā.
    Svairaṁ rūpamupasthitēna bhavatā dēvyā yathā sāmprataṁ
    Hatvā rāvaṇamāhavē na hi tathā dēvāḥ samāśvāsitāḥ

    When the earth was deluged in water, you recovered it; O Master of gods! You measured the three worlds with three steps
    Having killed Ravana in the battle, you have assured gods
    In an earliar śloka Sìtã has been identified with Lakşmi-

    इमां भगवतीं लक्ष्मीं जानीहि जनकात्मजाम्।
    सा  भवन्तमनुप्राप्ता  मानुषीं  तनुमास्थिता।। (6- 28)

     

    Imāṁ bhagavatīṁ lakṣmīṁ jānīhi janakātmajām.
    Sā bhavantamanuprāptā mānuṣīṁ tanumāsthitā..

    O Rãma! Consider this daughter of Janaka as goddess Lakşmï, who in human form, is obtained by you.
    There are many more such slokas in the Abhisheka drama and even then our great scholars proclaim that Rãma was regarded as an incarnation at a very late stage, rather in the medieval period.

    Kautilya’s Arthashastra

    Kautilya, himself has mentioned many incidents of the Rãmãyana in his Arthasastra. While warning Princes in the section on control of senses he has asked them not follow the example of Ravana and Duryodhana, lest they are ruined:-

    मानाद् रावणः परदारानप्रयच्छन् दुर्योधनो राज्यांशं च। (1-6-8)

     

    Mānād rāvaṇaḥ paradārānaprayacchan duryōdhanō rājyānśaṁ ca.

    Buddhist texts

    According to the Buddhist text the ‘Kalpanã-manditika’ written by the great Buddhist scholar Kumaralata towards the end of the secondary century A.D., and found from Turfan in Central Asia bu Dr. Luders. There was a daily public recitation of the Rãmãyana. If there is the public recitation of a text on regular basis it can be possible in relation to a scripture only. And if Rãmãyana was regarded as a scripture in the second century A.D.; then the natural presumption will be that Rãma was being worshipped in the second century A.D. in India.
    Most of the contents in the Sutrãlankãra of Aśvaghosha are similar to those of the ‘Kalpanã-manditika’ of Aśvaghosha who was a contemporary of Kanishka. It was translated from the Sanskrit original to the Chinese in 405 A.D. by Kumãrajiva. It is now extant in the Chinese only. Itsing (7th century A.D.) also mentioned it as a work of Aśvaghosha. It is difficult to ascertain now whether both Kalpanã-manditikã and Sutrãlankãra were the same work or not and who was the real author. But in both works there is a a parable that ‘a simple headman of an Indian village in used to listen to the recital of the Mahãbhãrata and the Rãmãyana delivered by the Brãhmanas. The simple headman was attracted by their promise to guarantee the heaven to the brave who die in the battle and to the pious men who burn themselves. Thereafter he prepared himself to mount a burning pile of wood. At that time a Buddhist monk as curtained reached there and preached him about the futility of the promise given by the Brahmins. Then the Buddhist monk succeeded he in converting to Buddhism. Thus from independent Buddhist source it is evidence that the Rãmãyana was being preached even in remote villages in the second century A.D.

    Again in the same book, the (foster) mother of Lord Buddha is delighted in proclaiming that she is the mother of Buddha and then compares him with Rãma is the following words:-
      “So all the powerful women
      Having a son like Buddha!
      The mother of Rãma and mother of A-soun
      The mother of Po-su and many other mothers Still remaining in the ocean of existence And there go round with no beginning or end.
      This Buddhist text is aware of Rama’s building a bridge at the ocean:-
      Rãma made a bridge of grass (sic)
      To arrive in the city of Lankã
      And I desire to ascend to heaven
      Without scaling?
      I wish to arrive in the city of Lankã
      Without either gue or bridge?
      I have no way
      To arrive with my treasures in the other world.

    Inscriptions

    The recent discovery of a Prãkrita inscription from Kausambi is another proof that Rãma was regarded as synonym with Narayana. This inscription is on a sand stone slab which is in a slightly broken state. It reads as follows:-
    i)          …duvase 10+2 gahapati.... (दुवसे 10+ 2 गहपति---)
    ii)         … Saha dãrakena Iddaghosena... (---सह दारकेन इद्दघोषेन...)
    iii)        … bhagavato Rãma-Nãrãyana... (---भगवतो राम-नारायन---)
    It appears that the house owner i.e. grihapati Indraghosha along with his son either constructed Lord Rãma Nãrãyana's temple or had the darshana of his pratimã, on the pious occasion on the dwãdaśï day. Dvãdaśï is the pãranã day of the ekãdaśî ritual and very sacred for Vaisnavas. The speculation of scholars has been that since the word ‘bhagavato’ is in the genitive form, so probably it was for the construction of some Rãma-Narayana temple. But since Indraghosa is with his son; so the natural presumption should be that they came for the ‘darśana’ of Rãma-Nãrayana temple. The year of the inscription is not available because the relevent portion is broken and lost. However, from the paleographic features, the mode of dating and the nature of Prãkrita it is ascertained that the inscription belongs to the second century A.D. Dr. B.C. Shukla of Allahabad presented a note on this inscription at the Indian History Congress Session in Calcutta in 1990. In an article” The earliest Inscription of Rãma Worship." published in “Art, Archaeology and Culture of Eastern India”. B.C. Shukla made this suggestion on its paleographic features:-

    “---the use of serif in Brãhmï script was a result of śaka influence. It came into prevalence in India in the 1st c.B.C. Letters of the present inscription are similar to the letters of Kausãmbi inscription of Bhadramagha. The inscriptions of this ruler are dated in śaka era 81, 83 and 87 corresponding to 159, 161 and 165 A.D. respectively. On the other hand the medial signs used in the inscriptions of Bhimavarm of Kaušãmbì, dated in śaka era 122 to 139 i.e. 200 to 217 A.D., show the more developed tendency of ornamentation than the present inscription. Hence, this inscription may be put in the later part of second century A.D.”

    Kumaralata was considered one of the four shining Suns on the Buddhist sky along with Aśvaghosha, Aryadeva and Nagarjuna. Kumaralata was a native, of Taxila and spent his considerable time there. But the king of Kabandha country was so found of his erudite scholarship that he forcibly took him away to his country and gave him a very impressive portion of his place to stay there. Kumaralata composed most of his works there. Yuan Chwang had seen the place where Kumaralata had stayed. According to him Kumaralata was the founder of Sautrantrika School. He has been called ‘master of parables’. The mention of the public recital of the Rãmãyana and the Mahabharata in his book ‘Kalpana-mandatika’ is a big testimony to the popularity of these two epics.

    The Mahabibhasha on the Jnanaprasthana of Katyayaniputra was written during the reign of Kanishka. It speaks of the central them of Rãmãyana. According to this Mahabibhasha there were 12000 slokas in the Rãmãyana.

    In his article. ‘Rãma : His Divinity in Literature, Numismatics and Epigraphy" in the book “Ayodhyã. History, Archaeology and Tradition” published by All India Kashi Raj Trust, Ajay Mitra Shastri has drawn the attention of scholars to the following inscription of Maharãja Bhulunda discovered from Bagh in the Dhar district of Madhya Pradesh.

    ‘‘भगवतः सुरासुर-नरोरग-गुरोः अमरवररिपुरुधिरसृतशर- प्रसरस्यैकार्णव- विपुल-विमल- पर्यङ्कतलशायिनः नाभिसम्भवारविन्दषट्पदोपगीयमाननिन्द्रय शङ्ख-बाण-शक्ति- चक्र-नन्दक-ज्वलदाङ्गदाग्र-शूल-भास्वराष्टबाहुशालिनः बलि-नरक-नमुचि-वरतुरग-भुजग- दशवदन-कंस-चाणूरारिष्ट-शिशुपालदप्र्पमथनस्य जगस्कन्दोद्धारणवराहस्य अनादिमध्यनिधनस्य सुरगणालङ्करिष्णो-स्त्रैलोक्य-प्रभविष्णोर्जिष्णोर्विष्णोः

     

    Bhagavataḥ surāsura-narōraga-gurōḥ amaravararipurudhirasr̥taśara- prasarasyaikārṇava- vipula-vimala- payryaṅkatalaśāyinaḥ nābhisambhavāravindaṣaṭpadōpagīyamānanindraya Śaṅkha-bāṇa-śakti- cakra-nandaka-jvaladāṅgadāgra-śūla-bhāsvarāṣṭabāhuśālinaḥ Bali-naraka-namuci-varaturaga-bhujaga- daśavadana-kansa-cāṇūrāriṣṭa-śiśupāladaprpamathanasya Jagaskandōd'dhāraṇavarāhasya anādimadhyanidhanasya suragaṇālaṅkariṣṇō-strailōkya-prabhaviṣṇōrjiṣṇōrviṣṇōḥ

    According to Shastri “The record is intended to register the grant of  five villages for the performance of rites called bali, chary and sattra of god Vishnu, who is described as the lord of gods, the demons, the mortals and the serpents, the Bhagavat, sleeping in the ocean, who is put to sleep by the music of the bees inhabiting the lotus blooming out of his navel, who is endowed with his eight arms holding the conch shell, arrow, spear, wheel, the sword named Nandak, a radiant mace, a lance (in seven arms, the eighth arm supporting his head in the Sesha-shãyin pose) who had broken the pride of Bali, Narak, Namuchi, the Kesi  horse, the Kaliya snake, Dasavadan (Ravan), Kamsa, Chanura, Arishta, and śiśupãla, who as Varaha (Boar incarnation) retrieved the lost earth, and who is without beginning middle and end.”

    The inscription is dated in the 47th year of an unspecified era. From the chaste language of the edict, it appears to be the Gupta era and then the year will be 366 A.D. It will perhaps be the first genuine inscription of the Gupta era. Here Rãma is identified with an incarnation of Lord Visnu and his feats have been equated with those of other incarnations. Thus in the 4th century A.D. Lord Rãma had been widely accepted as the incarnation of Lord Visnu and his worship was in vogue. Shastri informs that this is the second dated plate of Mahãraj of Valkhãand, which forms part of the unique hoard of as many as twenty-seven grants. They were found accidentally in a suburb of the present town of Bagh in the Dhar district of Madhya Pradesh.

    (8) Rãghava i.e. Rãma has been mentioned in the mentioned in the Eran Inscription of Samudragupta. But the problem is that the first 6th lines of the inscription are completed obliterated and in the 7th line the last word is ……………………. सुवर्णदाने There in the 8th line the first two letters are illegible and then comes …रिता नृपतयः पृथुराघवाद्याः।।2।। It is in Vasantatil ka Chhanah which contains 14 complete letters. Here first two letters are missing. Someone has filled it with (न्यक्का)रिता thereby meaning that he brought low Prithu and Raghava etc. in gifting gold. Uday Narayan Rai has made it (laok) fjrk and translated that Prithu and Rãghava lagged behind him in muficencea. But for a ‘bhagavata’ monarch this is not an apt choice. It could have been like (संधा)रिता i.e. he emulated the ideals of Prithu, Rãma, etc. in gifting gold. Thus in the middle of the 4th century A.D. Rãma was an ideal for an emperor in muficena. Samudragupta his eldest son as Rãmagupta.

    Gadhawa inscription was discovered by Cunningham in 1875 A.D. It is an inscription issued in the 118th year of the Gupta era i.e. 467-68 A.D. on the 21st day of Mãgha month. It appears to be in the reign of Skandaìupta. For his religious benefit  some devotee had established a temple of Ananta-svami i.e. Visnu but in the same inscription it is mentioned- Chitrakûtasvãmi-pãdiya-koshthe  i.e. in the chamber of Chitrakûtasvãmî i.e. Rãma. Therefore in the fifth century either Vishnu and Rãma had become identical or in the same temple complex another sanctum of Chitrakûtasvãmi had been constructed. The devotee had given land grant for the use of dhûpa, ‘gandha’ and ‘srag’ (garland) in the temple which had a śhikhara also. Thus it is clear that Rãma’s temple was built along with Vishnu’s in the fifth century A.D.

    From the Bhitari inscription of Skandagupta it is known that for the enhancement of the punya (virtues) of his father, Skandagupta had established a temple of Lord śãrñgin. śãrñgin is generally an epithet of Lord Vishnu. But śãrñgin means an archer also and therefore it could be a temple of Lord Rãma also. Some scholars have suggested that this temple was constructed at Ayodhyã. But there is no evidence to show that this temple was built at Ayodhyã. On the contrary, the expression इह चैनं प्रतिष्ठाप्य and भगवतो मूर्तिरियं यश्चात्र संस्थितः” (sic) indicates that it was built at Bhitari, which is situated in Ghazipur district of Uttar Pradesh near Saidpur from where it is at a distance of 8km. Hans Bakker has written that the vanquisher of Hunas, Skandagupta liked to compare himself with Rãma in prowess (महा) बलविक्र(मे)ण रा(म) (तु) ल्यो (Mahã) balavikra (me) na r(ãm) (tu) lyo. It is wrong because it is not Skandagupta who has compared himself with Rãma in prowess but the inscriber of the inscription found from Supia under Riwa district of M.P. has compared him with Rãma in prowess and with Yudhisthira in truthfulness. Bakker should not confuse readers on important issues. Immediately issues. Immediately after the above erroneous observation he makes another fanciful comment:-

    “… and the choice of Sãketa/Ayodhyã as now capital may have offered good opportunities to invigorate the ideology of his power. The restoration of the capital of yore, the renascence of the glory of the Ikşvãkus was a theme that was prominent an circles attached to the Gupta court of this time.” Bakker must realize that this Gupta glory was shining like the rays of the sun at least a hundred years before the accession of throne and therefore there was no need for an emperor, mostely engaged in the suppression of enemies and welfare of his subjects to shift the capital from the historical town of Pataliputra.

    Though the Vãkãtaka kings were initially śaivas, they after the arrival of Prabhavatigupta in the Vakataka family, became Vaishnavas; rather the followers of Rãma cult. Thus it may be well presumed that Prabhavati’s father and grandfather might have been Ramites. Prabhãvatiguptã was one of the earliest rulers who were a committed devotee of Rãma. A charter of this dedicated queen was issued from the feet of the Lord of Rãmagiri.” (रामगिरिस्वामिपादमूलाद्) c II V, 35 (1.1) Another inscription proclaims the bestowal of some village, “after having been offered to the feet of the Lord” (भगवत्पादमूले निवेद्य) to a Vaishnava teacher Chanalasvãmi. From these inscriptions it is clear that a sanctuary on top of Rãmagiri hill had been dedicated to Rãma.

    Even after the mention of Rãmagirisvãmi, some scholars have reservation that it may not refer to Rãma. The Meghadutam (12) of Kalidãsa refers to it as Raghupatipãda (रघुपितपदपाद) वन्द्यैः पुंसां रघुपतिपदैरङ्कितं मेखलासु i.e. slopes with the imprints of Rãma’s feet worthy of being adored by men. Here root is वन्द् i.e. to adore, to worship. Similarly in the first verse Kãlidãsa says:- जनकतनयास्नानपुण्योदकेषु i.e. the waters which were rendered holy by the ablutions of Janaka’s daughter (Sitã).

    Despite this clear mention of the Meghadutam that this Rãmagiri was sanctified by the presence of Rãma and Sitã, Henry Cousens writes either mischievously or ignorantly that according to a local legend Ramtek is the place where Rãma slew śambûka.  śambûka story is an interpolation made by some perverse person and is in contradiction to the whole Rãma story. In this interpolated story the place where Rãma killed śambûka is given and that is Shaivãla hill which is on the Vindhya mountain range, far away from Rãmagiri. There were five temples on the Rãmatek hill dedicated to Rãma and Sîta, Lakşmana, Hanuman, Ekadaśî and Lakşmi-Narayana respectively. It has been long debated whether they have been in existence since the days of Prabhãvatiguptã or during the time of Hemãdri Pandit (Hemãdpant). But this much is certain that there existed a Rãma temple during the days of Prabhãvatiguptã (390-410 A.D.) on the Rãmagiri wherefrom she made her two grants after performing fast on the ekãdasi and pãranã on the dvãdaśï day which is so important in the Vaishnava cult. Rudrasen II was her husband who died young and therefore she had been a regent queen till her son Pravara-sena II (410-440 A.D.), who composed the Prãkrita epic Setu-bandha, ascended the throne.

    It is one of the earliest surviving temples in the country. There are many Rãmãyana scenes at its independent panics. Important sanes depicted from the Rãmãyana are (i) Rãma freeing Ahalyã from curse (ii) abduction of Sìtã by Rãvana (iii) Vali after having been shot by Rãma, lying on Tara’s lap, Lakşmana disfiguring Surpanakha and building the bridge over the sea. 

    Another ancient temple of the same antiquity (i.e. 5th century A.D.) is that of Nachna in Panna district. A very impressive panel portrayal is that of Ravana in the form of a samnyasi begging alms from Sìtã on the eve of her abduction. Another scene is that of enthusiastic monkeys building a bridge of stores over the sea.

    Similarly, from the Aphsad mound in Nawada district in Bihar, an inscription of king Adityasena was found below a Varaha figure. It referred to the construction of a Vishnu temple by Adityasena and a mutt and tank by his mother. the scenes shown include Rãma, Sìtã and Lakşman crossing the Gangã in a boat and visit of Bharata to Rãma and his return with Rama’s pãdukã. Thus we find the Rãmãyana portrayals in most ancient temples and from mounds. This proves the prevalence of Rãma’s worship from the earliest times.

    The Rãmãyana became well-known in Tibet around 800 A.D. A Tibetan scholar J.W. De Jong in his article ‘The story of Rãma in Tibet’ published in Sahityn Akedemy’s Asian Variations in Rãmãyana has written:-

    “The Story of Rãma is well known in Tibet and it is told in many texts. The oldest known version is found in six manuscripts from Huen-Tsang. Tun-huang in the north-west of China was occupied by the Tibetans during a period of about sixty years from 787 to 848 A.D. It is probably during the Tibetan occupation that this Version of the story of Rãma was written in Tun-huang. It is also possible that the manuscripts containing this story could have been written in Central Tibet and brought to Tun-huang during the Tibetan occupation.”

    The second possibility appears to be nearer the truth and in that case the adoption of Rãmãyana story in Tibet would have been still earlier.

    A very important Rãma temple is at Rajim near Raipur in newly created State of  Chhattisgarh. The temple is called Rãjïva-lochan Mandir. It is situated on the confiuence of Pairi and Mahanadi rivers. There is an inscription in the temple dated 3rd January, 1145. The minister Jagpal of Kalchuri king Prithvideva II had established this temple for Lord Rãma, the son of Daśaratha. There the image has four arms and had this incription not been there, it, too, could have construed as a Vishnu temple. In this inscription King Jayapal has compared himself with Rãma and claimed thus

    “He has caused this beautiful temple to be constructed for manifesting the splendour of Rãma.” (VS. 21-22).

    The composer of this praśasti was Jasãnarda who hailed from Ayodhyã. It is a living temple where a large number of devotees throng even today. Cunninghum has described this temple in the following words:-

    “This temple is visited  by thousands of pilgrims on their way to Jagannath in Orissa. They come to pay their devotions to Ramachandra whose statue is said to be enshrined inside. But the figure is actually one of the common four-armed representations of Vishnu himself with the usual symbols of the club, the discus, the shell, and the lotus" (Ayodhyã, Chapter 4, page 64 footnote).

    According to another inscription of 1193 A.D. a feudatory of later Kalchuri king Vijaysingha, ruling at Tripuri, built a temple at Mukundpur under Reewa district of Madhya Pradesh. Some translated portion of the inscription reads as such:-

    “He erected a marvellous row of mansions touching the sky for gods and Brahmanas, through fear of obstruction from which, as it were, the sun's chariot goes obliquely with speed. Having performed fierce and painful penance, the Siddhas go to the high heaven, (while) those, who worship (?) at the temple of Rãma (built) by him, generally go to the abode of Vishnu." This temple may have been situated at the "Kastara tank", perhaps identical with a tank in Kahtara near Makundpur. (15 kms from Rewa town where inscription was found, 240-24'N, 810 -20'E) (Hans Bakker, Ayodhyã Chapter 4, Page- 64-65)

    A temple of 11th century is at Osain near Jodhpur. Though the temple is called Amba Mata temple, it has the images of Rãma Sïtã and Hanuman. Had Hanuman not been here, the images would have been misconstrued as those of Lakşmi and Narayana. 

    Another Rãma temple was built at Saroa and it was demolished during the days of Aurangzeb. However, the Hindus rebuilt it subsequently. In the temple there is still an inscription in accordance with which the temple was built in V.S. 1226 i.e. 1169 A.D.

    Prof. R.S. Sharma has sarcastically written that the first name known after Rãma is that of the tainted emperor Rãmagupta. Despite Prof. Sharma’s taunt and Rãmagupta’s real or imaginary ignominious role in the surrender of his wife, it was the name given to him in the 4th century A.D. by his illustrious father Samudragupta who was by far a greater warrior and victor than even Napoleon Bonapart. For a great historian the name of the ruler Rãma datta found on his coins dated the second century A.D. from Mathura should not have been unfamiliar. Then the fact that after the nirvãna of Lord Buddha the Koliyas of Rãmagãma had claimed the relics of Buddha is known to all. This shows that even in the 5th century B.C. there was a village named after Rãma. The stone bull of Rãmapûrva in West Champararan district of Bihar is a masterpiece of Mauryan sculpture during the period by Aśoka. Buddhaghosha in his commentary on the Mahãvastu in the Tibetan Vinaya narrates the story of one king Rãma of Vãrãnasi who was the progineter of the Koliya tribe. At Ayodhyã itself Mahavir had converted one Rãma to Jainism. Thus the name Rãma was in use as a person and places were named after him even during the days of Buddha.

    Iconographical features of Lord Rama

    Since Rãma was an object of public worship; various texts such as Vãrãhamihira’s Brihat-samhita, the Vishnu-dharmottara Purãna the Agni-Purãna, the Vaikhãnasãgama and the Rûpa-mandana have discussed the iconographical features of Rãma.

    Varaha-mihira is a well-known astrologer who wrote his “Panchasiddhantika” in 427 Sakas samvat i.e. 505 A.D.  His Brihat-samhita is a very celebrated book In the chapter ‘Pratima-Lakşana’ he writes that the image of Rãma, the son of Daśaratha and Bali, the son of Virochan should be of 120 anguli’ and of others should be 12 anguli’s less; i.e. 108 angulas. Thus the size of Rama’s image has been prescribed 120 anguli in following śloka.

    दशरथ-तनयो रामो बलिश्च वैरोचनिः शतं विंशम्।
    द्वादशहान्या     शेषाः     प्रवरसमन्यूनपरिमाणाः।।30।।
    (बृहत्-संहिता, प्रतिमालक्षणाध्याय, श्लोक 30)

     

    Daśaratha-tanayō rāmō baliśca vairōcaniḥ śataṁ vinśam. 
    Dvādaśahān'yā śēṣāḥ pravarasaman'yūnaparimāṇāḥ..30.. 
    (Br̥hat-sanhitā, pratimālakṣaṇādhyāya, ślōka 30)

    It shows that the worship of Rãma was quite prevalent in the beginning of the 6th century in this country. Had his image-worship not been very popular, Varahamihir would not have dilated on the dimension of the image of Lord Rãma.

    The Agni Purãna prescribes that the image of Rãma should have bow, arrow, sword, shell and two hands.  

    रामश्चापी शरी खड्गी शङ्खी वा द्विभुजः स्मृतः।
    (अग्निपुराण, अध्याय 49)

     

    Rāmaścāpī śarī khaḍgī śaṅkhī vā dvibhujaḥ smr̥taḥ.
    (Agnipurāṇa, adhyāya 49)

    According to Vishnudharmottara Purãna Rãma, the son of Daśaratha should have royal symptoms and Bharata, Lakşmana, Shatrughan should have no crest on head.

    रामो दाशरथिः कार्यो राजलक्षणलालितः।
    भरतो लक्ष्मणश्चैव शत्रुघ्रश्च महायशाः।।
    तथैव सर्वे कर्तव्याः किं तु मौलिविवर्जिताः।।
    (विष्णुधर्मोत्तरपुराण)

     

    Rāmō dāśarathiḥ kāryō rājalakṣaṇalālitaḥ.
    Bharatō lakṣmaṇaścaiva śatrughraśca mahāyaśāḥ..
    Tathaiva sarvē kartavyāḥ kiṁ tu maulivivarjitāḥ..
    (Viṣṇudharmōttarapurāṇa)

    Rûpamandanam prescribes that the image of Rãma should have bow and arrow and be made of śyam colour.

    रामश्शरेषुधृक्छ्यामः सशीरमुसलो बलः।
    (रूपमण्डनम्)

     

    Rāmaśśarēṣudhr̥kchyāmaḥ saśīramusalō balaḥ.
    (Rūpamaṇḍanam

    Vaikhãnas Âgama gives a detailed description of the images of the whole Rãma-darbãr i.e. Rãma, Sitã, Lakşmana, Bharata, Shatrughna and Hanumãn. It is in prose. The Vaikhanasiya Krityãdhikara is in verses. Both carry almost the same content. They were composed long before the Muslim rule in India. T. A. Gopinatha Rao has reflected the content in the following words:

    'The image of Rãghava-Rãma is, like that of Paraśuàama, to be worked out in the madhyama-daśa-tâla measure of 120 angulas in height. It should never have more than two arms; in the right hand the bãna or arrow should be held, and right hand the bãna or arrow should be held, and in the left hand the dhanus or the bow. The image of śrï-Rãma, which is another name for Rãghava-Rãma should be a standing one, with three bends in the body: in other words, it has to be a standing image of the tribhanga variety. The colour of shuch an image of Rãma has to be black, and it should be dressed in red clothes. On the head there should be the kirita-mukuta, in evidence of the fact that Rãma was the son of an emperor, otherwise also the image should be fully adorned.

    The figure of Sitã should be placed on the right side of Rãma, and should be made according to the navãrdha (or nine and a half) tãla measure; it should be so high as to reach the shoulder of the image of Rãma : and no band in the body need be shown in the figure. It should be golden-yellow in colour, and should be draped in parrot-green clothings and be adorned with all the necessary ornaments. The hair of the head should be tied up in a knot, and a karanda-makuta should adorn the head. In the left hand there should be a nïlotpala (Blue lotus) flower and the right hand should be hanging down freely. It should be so sculptured as to appear to be looking at Rãma with a supreme sense of happiness.

    On the left of Rãma should be shown the standing figure of Lakşmana made in accordance with the daśa-tãla measure of 116 angulas; in height it should go up to the shoulders or to the ear of Rãma. Adorned with all ornaments, and dressed in black clothing the golden-yellow image of Lakşmana should in all other respects be like that of Rãma.

    Moreover, Hanumãn, the faithful monkey-messenger, should be shown as standing a little in front and also to the right of Rãma, and should be only so high as to reach the chest, the navel or the hip of Rãma. The figure of Hanumãn should be sculptured in accordance with the saptatãla measure of 84 angulas. It should be represented as having only two hands, the right of which is placed upon the mouth in token of loyalty and the left is made to hang down so as to reach the knees; for this is the attitude which has to be assumed by servants in the presence of their masters. The look and posture of the image of Hanumãn should be such as to evoke compassion and to bring into prominence the ever-ready willingness of this faithful messenger to carry out the orders of his master."

    राघवरामः
    अथ राघव रामं सविंशतिशताङ्गुलमितं द्विभुजं त्रिभङ्गस्थितं दक्षिणेन हस्तेन शरधरं वामेन चापधरं श्यामाभं रक्ताम्बरधरं किरीटाद्याभरणान्वितं कारयेत्।

    देवस्य बाहुसमां देवीं सीतां नवार्द्धतालमानेनाभङ्गवशाद्रुक्माभां शुकपिच्छनिभाम्बरधरां सर्वाभरणभूषितां धम्मिल्लबन्धयुतां करण्डिकामुकुटोपेतां वामहस्तेन नीलोत्फुल्लपद्मधरां प्रसारितदक्षिण हस्तां कारयेत्।

    देवस्य दक्षिणे पार्श्वे देवं किचिंत्समीक्ष्य विस्मयोत्फुल्ललोचनां देवीं कारयेत्।
    वामपार्श्वे सौमित्रिं देवस्य कर्णसीमान्तं बाह्न्तं वा लक्ष्मणं दशतालं षोडशाधिकशताङ्गुलं उद्वुद्धकुलन्तं युवराजभूषणान्वितं द्विभुजं रामवच्छरचापधरं सुवर्णवर्णं श्यामाम्बरधरं समभङ्गान्वितं कारयेत्।

    हनुमन्तं प्रमुखे दक्षिणमाश्रित्य स्थितं स्तनान्तं नाभ्यन्तमूरुमूलान्तं वा सप्ततालमितं द्विभुजं दक्षिणेन हस्तेनास्यं वामेन स्ववस्त्रं पिधानं किंचिदूर्ध्वाननं कारयेत्।
    (वैखानस आगम)

     

    Rāghavarāmaḥ 
    atha rāghava rāmaṁ savinśatiśatāṅgulamitaṁ dvibhujaṁ tribhaṅgasthitaṁ dakṣiṇēna hastēna śaradharaṁ vāmēna cāpadharaṁ śyāmābhaṁ raktāmbaradharaṁ kirīṭādyābharaṇānvitaṁ kārayēt.

    Dēvasya bāhusamāṁ dēvīṁ sītāṁ navārd'dhatālamānēnābhaṅgavaśādrukmābhāṁ śukapicchanibhāmbaradharāṁ sarvābharaṇabhūṣitāṁ dham'millabandhayutāṁ karaṇḍikāmukuṭōpētāṁ vāmahastēna nīlōtphullapadmadharāṁ prasāritadakṣiṇa hastāṁ kārayēt.

    Dēvasya dakṣiṇē pārśvē dēvaṁ kicintsamīkṣya vismayōtphullalōcanāṁ dēvīṁ kārayēt.
    Vāmapārśvē saumitriṁ dēvasya karṇasīmāntaṁ bāhntaṁ vā lakṣmaṇaṁ daśatālaṁ ṣōḍaśādhikaśatāṅgulaṁ udvud'dhakulantaṁ yuvarājabhūṣaṇānvitaṁ dvibhujaṁ rāmavaccharacāpadharaṁ suvarṇavarṇaṁ śyāmāmbaradharaṁ samabhaṅgānvitaṁ kārayēt.

    Hanumantaṁ pramukhē dakṣiṇamāśritya sthitaṁ stanāntaṁ nābhyantamūrumūlāntaṁ vā saptatālamitaṁ dvibhujaṁ dakṣiṇēna hastēnāsyaṁ vāmēna svavastraṁ pidhānaṁ kin̄cidūrdhvānanaṁ kārayēt. 
    (Vaikhānasa āgama)

      (Quoted from the book "Elements of Hindu Iconography by T.A. Gopinath Rao, vol. one part ii, Appendix C page 40)

    देवहिंसाकरान् हन्तुं रावणाद्यांश्च राक्षसान्।।86।
    आसीद्दाशरथी रामः सायुधाङ्गो निरायुधः।
    सार्धाष्टतालमानेन राघवं सम्प्रकल्पयेत्।।87।
    श्यामलं द्विभुजं कुर्यात् त्रिभङ्गेन च सुस्थितम्।
    शरं दक्षिण हस्तेन चापं वामेन बिभ्रतम्।।88
    सर्वाभरणसंयुक्तं किरीटमुकुटोज्ज्वलम्।
    सीतांच दक्षिणे पाश्र्वे पीतवर्णां प्रकल्पयेत्।89।
    सपद्मवामहस्तांच सम्प्रसारितदक्षिणाम्।।
    दक्षिणं सुस्थितं पादं वामं किचिंच्च कुचिंतम्।90।
    पादं हस्तं प्रकुर्वीत विपरीतमथापि वा।
    वामतो लक्ष्मणं कुर्यादष्टतालेन रुक्मभम्।91
    बालकुन्तलसंयुक्तमन्यत्सर्वं च रामवत्।
    वार्ताविज्ञापनपरं हनूमन्तं च दक्षिणे।92।
    रुक्माभं दक्षिणेनैव पाणिना पिहिताननम्।
    प्रह्वाङ्गमूर्ध्ववदनं वामेनापि धृताम्बरम्।93।
    एवं सायुध उद्दिष्टो वक्षाम्यन्यं निरायुधम्।
    सिंहासने समासीनं देवं देवीं यथाविधि।94।
    वामतो लक्ष्मणं कुर्यात् प्रञ्जलीकृत्य सुस्थितम्।
    कारयेत् कौतुकं तद्वदासीनं स्थितमेव वा।95।
    सायुधे सायुधं तद्वत्कौतुकं च समाचरेत्।।
    एकस्मिन्नेव कुम्भे तु त्रयाणां ध्यानमाचरेत्।96।
    तस्य देवस्य देव्याश्च शयनक्रम इच्यते।।
    तद्वेद्यां लक्ष्मणस्यापि शयनं तु पृथग्भवेत्।97।
    अन्वाहार्ये प्रधानाग्नौ हौत्रशंसनमाचरेत्।
    ‘रायामीश इति जपन् सप्तत्येकोत्तरं यजेत्।98।
    श्रीवत्सर्वं च सीतायाः युक्त्या बुद्ध्या समाचरेत्
    (वैखानसीय कृत्याधिकार)
    (भृगुसंहिता) एकादशाध्याय, श्लोक संख्या 86-99

     

    Dēvahinsākarān hantuṁ rāvaṇādyānśca rākṣasān..86.
    Āsīddāśarathī rāmaḥ sāyudhāṅgō nirāyudhaḥ.
    Sārdhāṣṭatālamānēna rāghavaṁ samprakalpayēt..87.
    Śyāmalaṁ dvibhujaṁ kuryāt tribhaṅgēna ca susthitam.
    Śaraṁ dakṣiṇa hastēna cāpaṁ vāmēna bibhratam..88
    Sarvābharaṇasanyuktaṁ kirīṭamukuṭōjjvalam.
    Sītān̄ca dakṣiṇē pāśrvē pītavarṇāṁ prakalpayēt.89.
    Sapadmavāmahastān̄ca samprasāritadakṣiṇām..
    Dakṣiṇaṁ susthitaṁ pādaṁ vāmaṁ kicin̄cca kucintam.90.
    Pādaṁ hastaṁ prakurvīta viparītamathāpi vā.
    Vāmatō lakṣmaṇaṁ kuryādaṣṭatālēna rukmabham.91
    Bālakuntalasanyuktaman'yatsarvaṁ ca rāmavat.
    Vārtāvijñāpanaparaṁ hanūmantaṁ ca dakṣiṇē.92.
    Rukmābhaṁ dakṣiṇēnaiva pāṇinā pihitānanam.
    Prahvāṅgamūrdhvavadanaṁ vāmēnāpi dhr̥tāmbaram.93.
    Ēvaṁ sāyudha uddiṣṭō vakṣāmyan'yaṁ nirāyudham.
    Sinhāsanē samāsīnaṁ dēvaṁ dēvīṁ yathāvidhi.94.
    Vāmatō lakṣmaṇaṁ kuryāt prañjalīkr̥tya susthitam.
    Kārayēt kautukaṁ tadvadāsīnaṁ sthitamēva vā.95.
    Sāyudhē sāyudhaṁ tadvatkautukaṁ ca samācarēt..
    Ēkasminnēva kumbhē tu trayāṇāṁ dhyānamācarēt.96.
    Tasya dēvasya dēvyāśca śayanakrama icyatē..
    Tadvēdyāṁ lakṣmaṇasyāpi śayanaṁ tu pr̥thagbhavēt.97.
    Anvāhāryē pradhānāgnau hautraśansanamācarēt.
    'Rāyāmīśa iti japan saptatyēkōttaraṁ yajēt.98.
    Śrīvatsarvaṁ ca sītāyāḥ yuktyā bud'dhyā samācarēt
    (Vaikhānasīya kr̥tyādhikāra)
    (Bhr̥gusanhitā) ēkādaśādhyāya, ślōka saṅkhyā 86-99

     ("Vaikhanasiya Krityadhikar" (Bhrigu Samhita) edited by P. V. Ramanujaswami, Sri Venkatesvar Oriental Institute, Tirupati, 1953, Page No. 144-145)

    Âdi-Shankãrãcharya (788-820 A.D.)

    Âdi-Shankãrãcharya (788-820 A.D.) was aware of the divinity. He not only composed hymns in praise of Lord Rãma but also quoted various authorities on his commentary on Vishnu-sahasra nama. In the shloka 56 where Rãma is made synonym of Vishnu, he writes नित्यानन्दलक्षणेस्मिन् योगिनो रमन्त इति रामः i.e. and in whom Rãma is He who is always blissful Yogins take delight quotes the following authority of the Padma-purãna:-

    रमन्ते योगिनो यस्मिन् नित्यानन्दे चिदात्मनि।

    इति रामपदेनैतत् परं ब्रह्माभिधीयते।।

    इति पद्मपुराणे, स्वेच्छया रमणीयं वपुर्हन्वा दाशरथी रामः।

     

    Ramantē yōginō yasmin nityānandē cidātmani.

    Iti rāmapadēnaitat paraṁ brahmābhidhīyatē..

    Iti padmapurāṇē, svēcchayā ramaṇīyaṁ vapur'hanvā dāśarathī rāmaḥ.

    Again is shloka 62, he explains the synonym in the following words

      शोभनं व्रतमस्येति सुव्रतः।
         सकृदेव प्रपन्नाय तवास्मीति च याचते।
         अभयं सर्वभूतेभ्यो ददाम्येतद् व्रतं मम।। (Vãl. Rãm. 6/18/33)
         इति श्रीरामायणे रामवचनम्।

     

    Śōbhanaṁ vratamasyēti suvrataḥ.
    Sakr̥dēva prapannāya tavāsmīti ca yācatē.
    Abhayaṁ sarvabhūtēbhyō dadāmyētad vrataṁ mama.. (Vãl. Rãm. 6/18/33)
    Iti śrīrāmāyaṇē rāmavacanam.

    He is called Suvrata because his Vrata (pledge) is beautiful. In Vãl. Rãm. he has made this pledge- Having come even once in my shelter, if some one requests that he is mine; I given him ‘abhaya’ (non-fear) from all creatures; this is my pledge. In the explanation of सुमुखः in the same śloka he has explained वनवाससुमुखत्वाद् वा दाशरथी रामः सुमुखः। Thereafter, he has quoted three ślokas from the Vãlmïki Rãmãyana in its support.
    In śloka 857 he has explained धनुर्धरः- श्रीमान् रामो महद् धनुर्धारयासेति धनुर्धरः।। and धनुर्वेदः also in the context of Rãma in these words- स एव दाशरथिर्धनुर्वेदं वेत्तीति धनुर्वेदः।
    In śloka 119 he explains क्षितीशः in the context of Rãma-क्षितेर्भूमेरीशः क्षितीशः दशरथात्मजः।। In addition, he wrote the followingरामभुजङ्गप्रयातस्तुतिः in His praise and it is one of the best stuti of the Sanskrit literature-

         
     

    विशुद्धं परं सच्चिदानन्दरूपं
    गुणाधारहीनं वरेण्यम्।
    महान्तं विभान्तं गुहान्तं गुणान्तं
    सुखान्तं स्वयंधाम रामं प्रपेद्ये।।1।।

    Viśud'dhaṁ paraṁ saccidānandarūpaṁ
    Guṇādhārahīnaṁ varēṇyam.
    Mahāntaṁ vibhāntaṁ guhāntaṁ guṇāntaṁ
    Sukhāntaṁ svayandhāma rāmaṁ prapēdyē..1..
     

    शिवं नित्यमेकं विभुं तारकाख्यं
    सुखाकारमाकारशून्यं सुमान्यम्।
    महेशं कलेशं सुरेशं परेशं
    नरेशं निरीशं महीशं प्रमद्ये।।2।।

    Śivaṁ nityamēkaṁ vibhuṁ tārakākhyaṁ
    Sukhākāramākāraśūn'yaṁ sumān'yam.
    Mahēśaṁ kalēśaṁ surēśaṁ parēśaṁ
    Narēśaṁ nirīśaṁ mahīśaṁ pramadyē..2..
     

    यदाऽवर्णयत्कर्णमूलेऽन्तकाले
    शिवो राम रामेति रामेति काश्याम्।
    तदेकं परं तारकब्रह्मरूपं
    भजेऽहं भजेऽहं भजेऽहम्।।3।।

    Yadā̕varṇayatkarṇamūlē̕ntakālē
    Śivō rāma rāmēti rāmēti kāśyām.
    Tadēkaṁ paraṁ tārakabrahmarūpaṁ
    Bhajē̕haṁ bhajē̕haṁ bhajē̕ham..3..
     

    महारत्नपीठे शुभे कल्पमूले
    सुखासीनमादित्यकोटिप्रकाशम्।
    सदा जानकीलक्ष्मणोपेतमेकं
    सदा रामचन्द्रं भजेऽहं भजेऽहम्।।4।।

    Mahāratnapīṭhē śubhē kalpamūlē
    Sukhāsīnamādityakōṭiprakāśam.
    Sadā jānakīlakṣmaṇōpētamēkaṁ
    Sadā rāmacandraṁ bhajē̕haṁ bhajē̕ham..4..
     

    क्वणद्रत्नमंजीरपादारविन्दं
    लसन्मेखलाचारुपीताम्बराढ्यम्।
    महारत्नहारोल्लसत्कौस्तुभाङ्ंग
    नदच्चंचरीमंजरीलोलभालम्।।5।।

    Kvaṇadratnaman̄jīrapādāravindaṁ
    Lasanmēkhalācārupītāmbarāḍhyam.
    Mahāratnahārōllasatkaustubhāṅṅga
    Nadaccan̄carīman̄jarīlōlabhālam..5..

     

    लसच्चन्द्रिकास्मेरशोणाधराभं
    समुद्यत्पतङ्ेगन्दुकोटिप्रकाशम्।
    नमद्ब्रहारुद्रादिकोटीररत्न-
    स्फुरत्कान्तिनीराजनाराधिताङ्घ्रिम्।।6।।

    Lasaccandrikāsmēraśōṇādharābhaṁ
    Samudyatpataṅgēndukōṭiprakāśam.
    Namadbrahmarudrādikōṭīraratna-
    Sphuratkāntinīrājanārādhitāṅghrim..6..
     

    पुरः प्रांजलीनांजनेयादिभक्तान्
    स्वचिन्मुद्रया भद्रया बोधयन्तम्।
    भजेऽहं भजेऽहं सदा रामचन्द्रं
    त्वदन्यं न मन्ये न मन्ये न मन्ये।।7।।

    Puraḥ prān̄jalīnān̄janēyādibhaktān
    Svacinmudrayā bhadrayā bōdhayantam.
    Bhajē̕haṁ bhajē̕haṁ sadā rāmacandraṁ
    Tvadan'yaṁ na man'yē na man'yē na man'yē..7..
     

    यदा मत्समीपं कृतान्तः समेत्य
    प्रचण्डप्रकोपैर्भटैर्भीषयेन्माम्।
    तदाऽविष्करोषि त्वदीयं स्वरूपं
    सदापत्प्रणाशं सकोदण्डबाणम्।।8।।

    Yadā matsamīpaṁ kr̥tāntaḥ samētya
    Pracaṇḍaprakōpairbhaṭairbhīṣayēnmām.
    Tadā̕viṣkarōṣi tvadīyaṁ svarūpaṁ
    Sadāpatpraṇāśaṁ sakōdaṇḍabāṇam..8..
     

    निजे मानसे मन्दिरे सन्निधेहि
    प्रसीद प्रसीद प्रभो रामचन्द्र।
    ससौमित्रिणा कैकयीनन्दनेन
    स्वशक्त्यानुभक्त्या च संसेव्यमान्।।9।।

    Nijē mānasē mandirē sannidhēhi
    Prasīda prasīda prabhō rāmacandra.
    Sasaumitriṇā kaikayīnandanēna
    Svaśaktyānubhaktyā ca sansēvyamān..9..
     

    स्वभक्ताग्रगण्यैः कपीशैर्महीशै-
    रनीकैरनेकैश्च राम प्रसीद।
    नमस्ते नमोऽस्त्वीश राम प्रसीद
    प्रशाधि प्रशाधि प्रकाशं प्रभो माम्।।10।।

    Svabhaktāgragaṇyaiḥ kapīśairmahīśai-
    Ranīkairanēkaiśca rāma prasīda.
    Namastē namō̕stvīśa rāma prasīda
    Praśādhi praśādhi prakāśaṁ prabhō mām..10..
     

    त्वमेवासि दैवं परं मे यदेकं
    सुचैतन्यमेतत्त्वदन्यं न मन्ये।
    यतोऽभूदमेयं वियद्वायुतेजो-
    जलोव्र्यादिकार्यं चरं चाचरं च।।11।।

    Tvamēvāsi daivaṁ paraṁ mē yadēkaṁ
    Sucaitan'yamētattvadan'yaṁ na man'yē.
    Yatō̕bhūdamēyaṁ viyadvāyutējō-
    Jalōrvyādikāryaṁ caraṁ cācaraṁ ca..11..

     

    नमः सच्चिदानन्दरूपाय तस्मै
    नमो देवदेवाय रामाय तुभ्यम्।
    नमो जानकीजीवितेशाय तुभ्यं
    नमः पुण्डरीकायताक्षाय तुभ्यम्।।12।।

    Namaḥ saccidānandarūpāya tasmai
    Namō dēvadēvāya rāmāya tubhyam.
    Namō jānakījīvitēśāya tubhyaṁ
    Namaḥ puṇḍarīkāyatākṣāya tubhyam..12..
     

    नमो भक्तियुक्तानुरक्ताय तुभ्यं
    नमः पुण्यपुंजैकलभ्याय तुभ्यम्।
    नमो वेदवेद्याय चाद्याय पुंसे
    नमः सुन्दरायेन्दिरावल्लभाय।।13।।

    Namō bhaktiyuktānuraktāya tubhyaṁ
    Namaḥ puṇyapun̄jaikalabhyāya tubhyam.
    Namō vēdavēdyāya cādyāya punsē
    Namaḥ sundarāyēndirāvallabhāya..13..
     

    नमो विश्वकर्त्रे नमो विश्वहर्त्रे
    नमो विश्वपित्रे नमो विश्वामात्रे।
    नमो विश्वनेत्रे नमो विश्वजेत्रे
    नमो विश्वपित्रे नमो विश्वामात्रे।।14।।

    Namō viśvakartrē namō viśvahartrē
    Namō viśvapitrē namō viśvāmātrē.
    Namō viśvanētrē namō viśvajētrē
    Namō viśvapitrē namō viśvamātrē..14..
     

    नमस्ते नमस्ते समस्तप्रपंच-
    प्रभोगप्रयोगप्रमाणप्रवीण।
    मदीयं मनस्त्वत्पदद्वन्द्वसेवां
    विधातुं प्रवृत्तं सुचैतन्यसिद्ध्यै।।15।।

    Namastē namastē samastaprapan̄ca-
    Prabhōgaprayōgapramāṇapravīṇa.
    Madīyaṁ manastvatpadadvandvasēvāṁ
    Vidhātuṁ pravr̥ttaṁ sucaitan'yasid'dhyai..15..
     

    शिलापि त्वदङ्घ्रिक्षमासंगिरेणु-
    प्रसादाद्धि चैतन्यमाधत्त राम।
    नरस्त्वत्पदद्वन्द्वसेवाविधानात्
    सुचैतन्यमेतीति किं चित्रमत्र।।16।।

    Śilāpi tvadaṅghrikṣamāsaṅgirēṇu-
    Prasādād'dhi caitan'yamādhatta rāma.
    Narastvatpadadvandvasēvāvidhānāt
    Sucaitan'yamētīti kiṁ citramatra..16..
     

    पवित्रं चरित्रं विचित्रं त्वदीयं
    नरा ये स्मरन्त्यन्वहं रामचन्द्र।
    भवन्तं भवान्तं भरन्तं भजन्तो
    लभन्ते कृतान्तं न पश्यन्त्यतोऽन्ते।।17।।

    Pavitraṁ caritraṁ vicitraṁ tvadīyaṁ
    Narā yē smarantyanvahaṁ rāmacandra.
    Bhavantaṁ bhavāntaṁ bharantaṁ bhajantō
    Labhantē kr̥tāntaṁ na paśyantyatō̕ntē..17..
     

    स पुण्यः स गण्यः शरण्यो ममायं
    नरो वेद यो देवचूडामणिं त्वाम्।
    सदाकारमेकं चिदानन्दरूपं
    मनोवागगम्यं परं धाम राम।।18।।

    Sa puṇyaḥ sa gaṇyaḥ śaraṇyō mamāyaṁ
    Narō vēda yō dēvacūḍāmaṇiṁ tvām.
    Sadākāramēkaṁ cidānandarūpaṁ
    Manōvāgagamyaṁ paraṁ dhāma rāma..18..
     

    प्रचण्डप्रतापप्रभावाभिभूत
    प्रभूतारिवीर प्रभो रामचन्द्र।
    बलं ते कथं वण्र्यऽतीव वाल्ये
    यतोऽखण्डि चण्डीशकोदण्डदण्डम्।।19।।

    Pracaṇḍapratāpaprabhāvābhibhūta
    Prabhūtārivīra prabhō rāmacandra.
    Balaṁ tē kathaṁ vaṇrya̕tīva vālyē
    Yatō̕khaṇḍi caṇḍīśakōdaṇḍadaṇḍam..19..
     

    दशग्रीवमुग्रं सुपुत्रं समित्रं
    सरिद्दुर्गमध्यस्थरक्षोगणेशम्।
    भवन्तं विना राम वीरो नरो वा
    सुरो वाऽमरो वा जयेत् कस्त्रिलोक्याम्।।20।।

    Daśagrīvamugraṁ suputraṁ samitraṁ
    Sariddurgamadhyastharakṣōgaṇēśam.
    Bhavantaṁ vinā rāma vīrō narō vā
    Surō vā̕marō vā jayēt kastrilōkyām..20..

     

    सदा राम रामेति रामामृतं ते
    सदाराममानन्दनिष्यन्दकन्दम्।
    पिबन्तं नमन्तं सुदन्तं हसन्तं
    हनूमन्तमन्तर्भजे तं नितान्तम्।।21।।

    Sadā rāma rāmēti rāmāmr̥taṁ tē
    Sadārāmamānandaniṣyandakandam.
    Pibantaṁ namantaṁ sudantaṁ hasantaṁ
    Hanūmantamantarbhajē taṁ nitāntam..21..
     

    सदा राम रामेति रामामृतं ते
    सदाराममान्दनिष्यन्दकन्दम्।
    पिबन्नन्वहं नैव मृत्योर्बिभेमि
    प्रसादादसादात्तवैव।।22।।

    Sadā rāma rāmēti rāmāmr̥taṁ tē
    Sadārāmamāndaniṣyandakandam.
    Pibannanvahaṁ naiva mr̥tyōrbibhēmi
    Prasādādasādāttavaiva..22..
     

    असीताममेतैरकोदण्डभूषै-
    रसौमित्रिवन्द्यैरचण्डप्रतापैः।
    अलंकेशकालैरसुग्रीवमित्रै-
    ररामाभिधेयैरलं दैवतैर्नः।।23।।

    Asītāmamētairakōdaṇḍabhūṣai-
    Rasaumitrivandyairacaṇḍapratāpaiḥ.
    Alaṅkēśakālairasugrīvamitrai-
    Rarāmābhidhēyairalaṁ daivatairnaḥ..23..
     

    अवीरासनस्थैरचिन्मुद्रिकाढ्यै-
    रभक्तांजनेयादितत्त्वप्रकाशैः।
    अमन्दारमूलैरमन्दारमालै-
    ररामाभिधेयैरलं दैवतैर्नः।।24।।

    Avīrāsanasthairacinmudrikāḍhyai-
    Rabhaktān̄janēyāditattvaprakāśaiḥ.
    Amandāramūlairamandāramālai-
    Rarāmābhidhēyairalaṁ daivatairnaḥ..24..
     

    असिन्धुप्रकोपैरवन्द्यप्रतापै-
    रबन्धुप्रयाणैरमन्दस्मिताढयैः।
    अदण्डप्रवासैरखण्डप्रबोधै-
    ररामाभिधेयैरलं दैवतैर्नः।।25।।

    Asindhuprakōpairavandyapratāpai-
    Rabandhuprayāṇairamandasmitāḍhayaiḥ.
    Adaṇḍapravāsairakhaṇḍaprabōdhai-
    Rarāmābhidhēyairalaṁ daivatairnaḥ..25..
     

    हरे राम सीतापते रावणारे
    खरारे मुरारेऽसुरारे परेति।
    लपन्तं नयन्तं सदा कालमेवं
    समालोकयालोकयाशेषबन्धो।।26।।

    Harē rāma sītāpatē rāvaṇārē
    Kharārē murārē̕surārē parēti.
    Lapantaṁ nayantaṁ sadā kālamēvaṁ
    Samālōkayālōkayāśēṣabandhō..26..
     

    नमस्ते सुमित्रासुपुत्राभिवन्द्य
    नमस्ते सदा कैकयीनन्दनेड्य।
    नमस्ते सदा वानराधीशवन्द्य
    नमस्ते नमस्ते सदा रामचन्द्र।।27।।

    Namastē sumitrāsuputrābhivandya
    Namastē sadā kaikayīnandanēḍya.
    Namastē sadā vānarādhīśavandya
    Namastē namastē sadā rāmacandra..27..
     

    प्रसीद प्रसीद प्रचण्डप्रताप
    प्रसीद प्रसीद प्रचण्डारिकाल।
    प्रसीद प्रसीद प्रपन्नानुकम्पिन्
    प्रसीद प्रसीद प्रभो रामचन्द्र।।28।।

    Prasīda prasīda pracaṇḍapratāpa
    Prasīda prasīda pracaṇḍārikāla.
    Prasīda prasīda prapannānukampin
    Prasīda prasīda prabhō rāmacandra..28..
     

    भुजंगप्रयातं परं वेदसारं
    मुदा रामचन्द्रस्य भक्त्या च नित्यम्।
    पठन् सन्ततं चिन्तयन् स्वान्तरंगे
    स एव स्वयं रामचन्द्रः स धन्यः।।29।।

    Bhujaṅgaprayātaṁ paraṁ vēdasāraṁ
    Mudā rāmacandrasya bhaktyā ca nityam.
    Paṭhan santataṁ cintayan svāntaraṅgē
    Sa ēva svayaṁ rāmacandraḥ sa dhan'yaḥ..29..
     

    इति श्रीमच्छंकरभगवतः कृतौ श्रीरामभुजंगप्रयातस्तोत्रं सम्पूर्णम्।।

    Iti śrīmacchaṅkarabhagavataḥ kr̥tau śrīrāmabhujaṅgaprayātastōtraṁ sampūrṇam..

    Agastya-Samihita is an ancient Agama text. It is composed for properly performing the rituals of the Rãma sect. Agastya-samhita is comprehensive manual of the rituals of Rãma's worship. It prescribes the details of making images of Rãma and establishing Rãma's temple and placing the deities of Rãma-Parivar in sanctum. It prescribes Rãma's Archana by षोडशोपचार i.e. 16 rituals. Its detail on Rãmanavamï Vrata have been quoted by Hemadri and all important writers on Karmakanda. It gives special importance to Ratnamandap at Ayodhyã, as one has to concentrate on Ayodhyã during the dhyana.
    It is quoted in many texts including the ‘Chaturvarga-Chintamani’ of Hemadri which was composed between1260-70 A.D. Though Hans Baker has regarded this text of 12th century; from an impartial scrutiny it appears to be a text of the 9th century. It has been published by Mahavir Mandir Prakashan, Patna, and its erudite scholarly editor Shri Bhavanath Jha has proved it how it is a text of the 9th century and even earlier.
    Rãma-rakşa-stotra is older than even Agastya-Samhita.
    Scholars must not forget that out of 108 Upanishads, 4 are related to Rãma. They are Rãma-Rahasyopanishad, Ramatapenpanishad, (purva and uttara). Sitopanishad and Muktikopanishad. In the following passage of Rãma Rahasyopanishad Rama’s dhyana at Ayodhyã is emphasised in the following words:-

    अयोध्यानगरे रत्नचित्रे सौवर्णमण्डपे
    मन्दारपुष्पैराबद्धविताने तोरणांचिंते।।94।।
    सिंहासने समासीनं पुष्पकोपरिराघवं
    रक्षोभिर्हरिभिर्देवैर्दिव्ययानगतैः शुभैः।।95।।

     

    Ayōdhyānagarē ratnacitrē sauvarṇamaṇḍapē
    Mandārapuṣpairābad'dhavitānē tōraṇān̄cintē..94..
    Sinhāsanē samāsīnaṁ puṣpakōparirāghavaṁ
    Rakṣōbhir'haribhirdēvairdivyayānagataiḥ Śubhaiḥ..95..

    The Muktiponishad begins with Ayodhyã only:-

    अयोध्यानगरे रम्ये रत्नमण्डपमध्यमे।
    सीताभरतसौमित्रिषत्रुघ्नाद्यैः समन्वितम्।।

     

    Ayōdhyānagarē ramyē ratnamaṇḍapamadhyamē.
    Sītābharatasaumitriśatrughnādyaiḥ samanvitam..

    In Ramatapani-upanishad Rãma has been identified as Brahma and there is a detailed description of the rituals of Rãma. This Upanishad is divided into two : Purva and Uttara. It starts with ओम् चिन्मयेस्मिन् महाविष्णौ जाते दाशरथे हरौ।। It proclaims that like i.e. रां रामाय नमः there is no mantra in the whole world- अनेन सदृशो मन्त्रो जगत्स्वपि न विद्यते।
    In the Sitopanishad Sìtã has been projected as the Supreme. She is the cause of the birth, existence and amihilation of all beings:-

     उत्पत्तिस्थितिसंहारकारिणी सर्वदेहिनाम्।

     

    Utpattisthitisanhārakāriṇī sarvadēhinām.

    Hans Bakker has written in his book "Ayodhyã" that the three Ram-texts are Rãma purvatapaniyo-panishad, the Ramarakşa-stotram of Budhakushika and the Agastya-samhita. Thus there has been a set of texts propounding the cult of Rãma from the closing centuries of the first millennium. It is difficult to digest that when there were different dynasties in various parts of the country which patronized Sanskrit scholars, these ware no sectarian texts and Deming Muslim rule which witnessed the with drawl of royal patronage for Sanskrit Pandits, there was a spate of such compositions in the country.
    From the minute observation of the literary and archaeological sources it appears that the worship of Rãma has been since early times, although the mode of his worship was more in the form of the recital of the Rãmãyana than formal rituals in the temples. Because of the prevalence of this early, independent worship which is included in the Uttarakãnda of the Vãlmïki Rãmãyana he was considered an incarnation of Lord Vishnu at a later date than that of Krishna. But this fact does not diminish his stature as the supreme object of worship and overwhelming popularity and reverence which he has enjoyed for two millenia.
    In the South too, Rãma's story and worship has been populor for long.
    Rãma is mentioned as an incarnation in the list of avataras found in the fragment of a Mahãbalipuram temple inscription. The following list of ten incarnations in an inscription on the lintel above the figure of Lord Shankara-Narayana in the Varaha Perumal temple at Mahabalipuram belongs to the latter half of the seventh century (during the pallava era):

    मत्स्यः  कूर्मो  वराहश्च  नरसिंहोsथ  वामनः।
    रामो रामश्च कृष्णश्च बुद्धः कल्की च ते दश।।

     

    Matsyaḥ kūrmō varāhaśca narasinhōtha vāmanaḥ.
    Rāmō rāmaśca kr̥ṣṇaśca bud'dhaḥ kalkī ca tē daśa..

    In an article ‘Rãma Temples and Traditions in Tamil Nadu published in “Rays and ways of Indian Culture” edited by D.P. Dubey the authors K.V. Raman and T. Padmaja have cited many traditions and temples of Lord Rãma in Tamil Nadu.
    In the famous epic śilappadikãram” (3rd cent. A.D.) written by Ilango Adigal Rãma has been identified with Thirumal (Vishnu). The author says that the holy feet of Vishnu which once measured the universe (as Trivikrama) have become red by his trekking the forests with his brother And destroyed œri Lanka, the city of Rakşasas, along with its inhabitants. The poet asks as to of what use are these ears which have not heard the greatness of Thirumal, (the destroyer of Lankã)? (Maduraik Kandam) In the same Maduraik Kãndam (14.4) the poet Ilango Adigal says that by the order of his father he went to the forest along with his wife and the progenitor of Veda-garbha (Brahma), by being separated from his wife, had to face a lot of suffering. Here Rãma has been equated with Vishnu, who has been called progenitor of Brahma, the creator of the Vedas.
    There is one more reference of Rãma in this epic. In the same Maduraik Kandam (13.5) informs that when Rãma of unlimited prowess went to jungle saying that the father’s order in Supreme and Kingdom is a trifle, then a renowned and ancient town Ayodhyã was extremely distressed by his separation.
    In the Manimekalai (3rd century A.D.), another great epic of Tamil literature there is a reference of Sètubandha which was constructed by Nediyon (Vishnu) who was born as Rãma on this earth. The bridge was built over the sea with the help of monkeys who brought stones and rocks and threw them in the sea.
    Manimekali is a Buddhist epic composed by 'khÙkyS 'kkÙkrukj. It is a sequent to Śilappadikãram, the author of which is generally considered to be a Jain. But many Tamil scholars consider him to be a Śaiva. In both the epics, Rãma’s reference is not in the context of his story but various characters of the epics incidentally refer to him and his divinity which shows that Rãma was considered as an incarnation of Vishnu and worshipped in the distant South and the second and third centuries.
    Many of the Âlvãr saints have sung the glory of Rãma which is preserved in Nãlãyir-divya-prabandham which comprises 4000 songs and is called the Tamil Veda. Nammãlvar, the greatest of Alvãrs, asks this question in his ecstasy:- “Is there any name worthier than Rãma for those who desire to know about the Supreme?” His disciple Madhur Kavi Alvar had came to Ayodhyã for the worship of Lord Rãma and was camping there. When he saw the illuminating light coming from south.
    Perialvar Tirumoli too, calls Rãma an incarnation of the Vishnu in the following verse:-
    "This is the temple of whome became
    the divine fish, tortoise, boar, lion and dwarf,
    He became Rãma in three forms, he became Kanna,
    and as Kalki he will end (these worlds).
    This Srirangam, where the swan and its mate
    swing on the lotus blossoms, embrace on flowery beds,
    and revel in the red pollen srewn around river"
    (Perumal Tirumoli, 4.9.9, translated by Basudha Narayan)
    Kulashekhara Alvar was a king and a keen devotee of Rãma  has sung the glory of Rãma and Ayodhyã in the following manner:-
    "In the beautiful city of Ayodhyã, encircled by towers,
    Aflame that lit up all the worlds appeared in Solar
    race, and gave life to all the heavens,
    This warrior, with dazzling eyes,
    Rãma, dark as a cloud, the first one, my only lord,
    is in---the City of Tillai.
    When is the day
    When my eyes behold him
    and rejoice"
                (Perumal Tirumoli, 10,1. translated by Basudha Narayan)
    Lord Ranganãtha was the family deity of the kings of the Ikşvãku dynasty till Rãma’s coronation, when the idol was given to Vibhishana on his demand for his daily worship. But the idol of the  Ranganatha stuck at Srirangam in the midst of the Kaveri river. Since then the deity Ranganãtha is reclining on Sheshanãga and constantly looking towards Lankã to give darshana to Vibhishana. It has become the greatest pilgrim centre of the Rãmãnuji Vaishnavas. The temple and gopurams are one of the most excellent monuments of the country. The worship of Ranganãtha by Vibhishana is mentioned by Tondaradippodi Âlvãr and Periãlvãr. The Vaishnava tradition affirms that Kambana’s Rãmãyana was launched in this temple in the presence of the Vaishnava Acharya Nãthamuni during the ninth century. But it may not  be a certainity.
    During Parãntaka I’s reign (AD 907-955) there was a shrine for Adyodhya Perumãnadiga in the Chaturvedi Mangalam, as gleened from a land grant. There is an inscription of king Parãntaka – I of 914 A.D. regarding his gift. There is a reference to the establishment of the image of Rãma in this temple by Villavan Mahadevi, the queen of Pãrthivendravarman (A.D. 955-69). During the reign of the some king, the queen Seyyabhubhuvana Sundar-Maniyar made a gift of a lamp for śri Rãghavadeva in the temple at Pulvèfur.
    Manimanlangam is near Tambaram and has temples of Krishna and Rãma. Krishned was has been called the Lord of Dwãrakã (Thuvarapati-Emberumãn) and Rãma has been called Lord of Ayodhyã (Tiru-Ayodhi Emberuman). These temples were constructed during the Chola period.
    Again in the town of Chengalpattu there is a temple of Kodanda Rãma. The Mûla-Vigraha is Pattabhi Rãma and the ‘Utsava-vigraha is Kodanda Rãma. There is a Pandaya inscription in the temple which is dated the 13th century A.D.
    In the Rãmasvãmi temple at Sermãdevi in the Tirunelveli district of Tamilnadu there is an inscription of A.D. 985 which belongs to the period of Rajendra Chola I. There are many such temples of the chola period scattered in the State of Tamil Nadu. But they are not being mentioned here because of the paucity of space.
    During the Vijayanagara empire there were many magnificent temples dedicated to Lord Rãma. But since they belong to the medieval period, they are not included here. Instead the ancient temples built in the ancient period in the South-East Asia are highlighted below.

    Rama's worship abroad:-

    The most ancient document which indicates the reference of Valmiki’s Ramãyana is an inscription from Vietnam, it is in Sanskrit and undated. But from the paleographical evidence, it belongs to the 3rd century A.D. The inscription includes Rãmãyana’s expression लोकस्यास्य गतागतिं i.e. the custom of this world is that those who have departed will come back. Since it is a small phrase, it cannot be said with certainty that it was taken from Rãmayana only but the probability is highest in favour of the Rãmãyana.
    As early as the 5th century A.D. Rãmãyana was placed in a Cambodian temple for uninterrupted recitation. It is gathered from an inscription of king Bhava-varman at Val Kante (K 359) that one Brahmana teacher Somasarman placed Rãmãyana, Mahabharata and Puranas in the temple for uninterrupted reading.

    श्रीसोमशर्मार्कयुतं स श्री त्रिभुवनेश्वरम्।
    अतिष्ठिपन् महापूजामतिपुष्कलदक्षिणाम्।।
    रामायणपुराणाभ्यां यो महाभारतं ददत्।
    अकृतान्वहमच्छेद्यां स च तद्वाचनस्थितिम्।।

     

    Śrīsōmaśarmārkayutaṁ sa śrī tribhuvanēśvaram.
    Atiṣṭhipan mahāpūjāmatipuṣkaladakṣiṇām..
    Rāmāyaṇapurāṇābhyāṁ yō mahābhārataṁ dadat.
    Akr̥tānvahamacchēdyāṁ sa ca tadvācanasthitim..

    i.e. Somasarman established Tribhuvaneshvar  with Arka (sun) in a temple, and performed great ritual of homage with huge Dakşina which is here a corpus fund for pious activities. He presented Rãmãyana, Purana and Mahabharata to the temple and made arrangement for the uninterrupted recitation every day. At the end of the inscription there is a curse for the wicked person who steals even a single book हतस्तु हर्ता दुर्बुद्धिर्य एकमपि पुस्तकम्।।
    There are numerous inscriptions in South- East Asia which show the regular recital of the Rãmãyana in that part of the world during ancient period. In addition, in numerous inscriptions, there are copious mentions of Rãmãyana references. Some of them are quoted below. In Combodia King Yashovarman (889-900 A.D.) was a great ruler. His capital was Kambupuri. In the following verse he has thus compared the protection of his capital with that by Rãma in a ślesha-alankãra:-

    सुमन्त्रसुहृदं सीताभूषणां सुविभीषणाम्।
    जुगोप यः कम्बुपुरीमयोध्यामिव राघवः।।

     

    Sumantrasuhr̥daṁ sītābhūṣaṇāṁ suvibhīṣaṇām.
    Jugōpa yaḥ kambupurīmayōdhyāmiva rāghavaḥ..

    He protected Kambupuri like Rãma protecting  Ayodhyã with the wise counsel of his well-wishing friends (सुमन्त्रसुहृदम्), with bright fame as his enemies (सुविभीषणाम्). 
    King Rajendravarman who ascended the throne in 944 A.D. took clue from the Rãmãyana and boasted in an inscription found at Pre Rup, (K 806), a monument in the Angkor Area-

    मारीच  इव   रामस्य  नामाद्येकाक्षरश्रवात्।
    यस्यारिराजो वीरोऽपि जगामानन्यजां भियम्।।

     

    Mārīca iva rāmasya nāmādyēkākṣaraśravāt.
    Yasyārirājō vīrō̕pi jagāmānan'yajāṁ bhiyam..

      i.e. Like Maricha who by hearing the first letter of Rama’s name used to panic Rajendra Varman’s every rival king used to dread. 
    From present Indonesia there are a large number of inscriptions which mention the names of heroes of the Rãmãyana. From Java one copper plate of Sangsang, preserved at Amsterdam mentions foundation at Wukajana and reads, “Si jaluk recited the Rãmayana, blowing flutes and making buffoonery.” (IInd plat, verse 10). The date of the inscription is 908 A.D. (830 śaka)
    In one inscription of king Yaśovarman of Kambuj (889-900) the Setubandha or Rãvana Vadha of the Vakataka king Pravarasena has been mentioned. A Sanskrit inscription of Java refers to Rãghava in 732 A.D. while many other inscriptions mention names of several characters of the Rãmãyana from 824 to 928 A.D.
    But the greatest impact of the Rãmãyana on the old Javanese culture is reflected in the Rãmãyana of Yogiśvara which was composed in different Sanskrit metres. The epic has got 26 cantos. If follows the Bhattikãvya upto the middle of the canto. Bhattikavya, too, is a saga of Rãma but it was composed basically to teach the Sanskrit grammar. It is supposed to be a composition of the early 10th century by the majority of scholars but H.B. Sarkar has dated it in the late 11th century only on the sole presumption that only one poem of pre-Yogiœvara period has been available. But many works of pre-Yogiœvara period might have been lost to the posterity because of several factors. Therefore, the view of the majority of scholars that it belongs to the early 10th century seems to be correct. In addition, there are several idols found from South Asian countries which show the prevalence of Rama’s worship from 7th century onwards. One such idol is from phnom Da in the South of Cambodia and prior to the 7th century. The image is in ronde-bosse of a standing archer among a group of three Vaishnava images of natural size. Anyone associated with the Rãma saga will testify that it is an image of Lord Rãma and this is the earliest image discovered from Cambodia.
    So far the bas-reliefs are concerned the pictures from stories of Rãmãyana far exceed those found in ancient India. The most impressive Rãmãyana reliefs found belong to the 12th century. Angkor Vat has the largest Hindu temple in the world and most of the reliefs sculptured in the temple were during the first half of the 12th century during the reign of King Sunya Varman or soon after his death. All the reliefs have been photographed and published by the Ecole Française d’ extreme – Orient, Paris.
    Relief works from the Rãmãyana scenes are so numerous and found from so many parts of the country and abroad that it is not being dealt with here because it will require a great space. But this much can be said with certainty that on the basis of these panels alone one can conclude that Rãma has been one of the most popular personalities the world has ever witnessed.
    There was a temple of poet Vãlmïki, the author of Rãma saga, in ancient Champa i.e. modern Vietnam in the 7th century A.D. There is an inscription of king Prakashadharman who ruled Champa from 653 to 678 A.D. The edict speaks of the establishment of a temple for Vãlmïki. But there is a confusion amongst scholars about the meaning of the first two lines which are intact. They are translated separately in the following manner (Vãlmïki) whose śloka, originated from sorrow is praised by Brahma, is a human form of the antique Man Vishun. But nowhere Vãlmïki has been considered an incarnation of Vishnu. therefore, the correct translation will be that which has the following anvaya:- यस्य शोकात् समुत्पनं विष्णोः पुंसः पुराणस्य मानुषस्यात्मरूपिणः श्लोकं ब्रह्माभिपूजति i.e Brahma praises the śloka which is originated from the sorrow and which is that of (Rãma), who is the human form of the primeval person Vishnu. The second line means Rãma, who is an incarnation of Vishnu= and his śloka i.e. verse or fame is praised by Brahma.  who is equated with Lord Vishnu in human form and who is worshipped by Lord Brahma. The inscription found at Tra-Kieu in modern Vietnam consists of the following eight lines-

    यस्य शोकात् समुत्पन्नं श्लोकं ब्रह्माभिपूजति।
    विष्णोः पुंसः पुराणस्य मानुषस्यात्मरूपिणः।।
    ++++ रितं कृत्यं कृतं येनाभिषेचनम्।
    कवेराद्यस्य महर्षेव्र्वाल्मीकेश्रु ++ रिह।।
    पूजास्थानं पुनस्तस्य कृत ++य ++।
    प्रकाशधर्मनृपतिः सर्व्वारिगणसूदनः।।
    विद्याशक्तिक्षमालक्ष्मीकीर्तिधैर्य्य-(गुणान्वितः)।
    ++ त्य एष जगत्कान्तश्शारदेऽन्तरिते नृप।।

     

    Yasya śōkāt samutpannaṁ ślōkaṁ brahmābhipūjati.
    Viṣṇōḥ punsaḥ purāṇasya mānuṣasyātmarūpiṇaḥ..
    ++++ Ritaṁ kr̥tyaṁ kr̥taṁ yēnābhiṣēcanam.
    Kavērādyasya maharṣēvrvālmīkēśru ++ riha..
    Pūjāsthānaṁ punastasya kr̥ta ++ya ++.
    Prakāśadharmanr̥patiḥ sarvvārigaṇasūdanaḥ..
    Vidyāśaktikṣamālakṣmīkīrtidhairyya-(guṇānvitaḥ).
    ++ Tya ēṣa jagatkāntaśśāradē̕ntaritē nr̥pa..

    Though the text is damaged in some lines and some verbs have disappeared, yet the core meaning of the text is quite descrenible. When there could be a temple in the honour of the poet and when he could be equated with Lord Vishnu in human form, could his icon behind?
    Jayaharivarman’s inscription dated 1157 A.D. is very important. He compares himself with Rãma and proclaims that he was trying again to win the glory of Rãma which was staying in all direction but now it was set moving again in each direction by him-

    रामस्य कीर्तिं च पुनर्जिगीषुः दिक्षु स्थितेऽनुप्रतिदिक् प्रयाता।।

     

    Rāmasya kīrtiṁ ca punarjigīṣuḥ dikṣu sthitē̕nupratidik prayātā..

    (No. 74 Myson Stele inscription)

    (C) Copyright : Acharya Kishore Kunal

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