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Rama entrusts the construction work of a parNa shaala, straw-cottage in Panchavati, nearby river Godavari. Lakshmana with all his expertise constructs a cosy cottage and they enter it after the ritual of gR^iha pravesha, house-entering ceremony. Rama admires Lakshmana for his construction work and as a thanksgiving he embraces Lakshmana and expresses his heart felt feeling about Lakshmana's fatherly concern towards Rama.
Then on going to Panchavati, which is full with many serpents and predators, Rama said to splendidly brilliant Lakshmana... "Arrived are we...at this place as scheduled and as said by the sage, and this forest is in the realm of Panchavati... Cast your sight all over and verily you are an adept one in finding a place for a hermitage, and in which place it will be seemly for us... Where Vaidehi, also thus, and you and me can revel in...and such a place be seen, nearby a lakeside where the woodland is scenic and the water is pleasurable, and also where ritual- firewood, flowers, and darbha, the sacred grass are nearby... " Thus said by Rama, Lakshmana adjoining his palms to Kakutstha in the presence of Seetha said this sentence...
"Adherent I am, of the Supreme, oh Kakutstha, of you I am an adherent too, may it be hundred years [you may remain as Kakutstha, I am your adherent, therefore to construct the hermitage,] you tell me that place which is delightful to you...
Comment: Lakshmana is an ever adherent of the Supreme Vishnu
as His thousand-headed serpent namely aadi sheSha, on which Vishnu reclines.
Even in this incarnation of Rama, Lakshmana says he is the same adherent. Thus
Lakshmana wants Rama not to say 'to lookout for a place that is convenient to
you too, Lakshmana...' Lakshmana is saying this in presence of Seetha, siitaa
samakSe... because, if she is not going to accept that place, Rama rejects it.
Hence, it firstly is the choice of Seetha; next Rama's approval of it, thus the
question of agreeability or disagreeability of Lakshmana does not arise. 'Oh
Kakutstha...' 'Even in this incarnation in the dynasty of Kakutstha as Rama, I
am still subservient to you, as I was in VaikuNTha, as aadi sheSa. 'tvayi varSa
shatam sthite... shata is usually a hundred but also used in its infinitude,
thus 'I am anytime servant of yours...' svayam tu ruchire deshe... 'Your choice
of place is but my pleasure...' This is to portray the self-denial of Lakshmana
of any individual identity apart from the devotee status, kainkarya, to the
Adherent nature of Lakshmana is also like that of a younger brother towards his elder brother, for the elder brother becomes father-like after the demise of their father. anena piturantaram y˜vat jyeÿ÷ho jŸvati t˜vat kaniÿ÷hasya na sv˜tantryam iti s¨citam | tath˜ ca manu× piteva p˜layat sut˜n jyeÿ÷ha bhr˜t˜ yavŸyasa× | putravat ca api varteran jyeÿ÷ho bhr˜tari dharmata× || dharm˜k¨tam.
Gladdened by those words of that great resplendent Lakshmana and on exploring Rama liked a place that comprises of all the attributes... He, pacing on that beautiful place intended for the construction of hermitage, taking Lakshmana's hand by his, Rama spoke to Soumitri this way... "This evenly place is propitious amidst flowered trees and here the hermitage's threshold...oh, gentle Lakshmana...you are adept one to construct customarily, [according to vaastu shaastra...science of architecture...] This sun-like lake with its aromatically scented lotuses is seen adjacently, beauteous is this lake of lotuses adorned by its lotuses...
Comment: The Lake is beaming with resplendence of Sun in his solar orbit. Sun is Vishnu's another aspect, suurya naaraayaNa, and He is here in the form of lake. The lotus is the abode of Goddess Lakshmi and the lake is full with such lotuses, which are in the heart of the lake, padminii. As such Goddess Lakshmi is in the lotuses, which again are situated in the heart of Vishnu and hence this is a propitious place to reside nearby.
"As narrated by that contemplated soul... Sage Agastya, this river Godavari is beautiful, surrounded by its blooming trees... Spread out by swans, kaarandava and chakravka [waterfowls, this river is embellished and it is not very far-off and also not very nearby from this place, and it is flurried by herds of animals... Appealing is the screaming of peacocks, and soaring are the mountains with many caves, oh gentle Lakshmana, surrounded by flowered trees... The golden, silvery and coppery ores are there and there on the mountains, and they are beaming like cow-eye [ventilators,] and also like the superb paintings on elephants...
"With trees of Saala, Palmyra, Tamaala, Date Palms, Jackfruit and also thus with Punnaagaa, brightening are these mountains... With Chuuta [Sweet Mango,] Ashoka, Tialaka, even with Ketaka, Champaka trees, and with flowered shrubs, and along with climbers entwined are those and those trees... With Syandana, Sandalwood, Niipa, Paarnasa, Lakuch, dhava, Ashwakarna, Khadira, Shamii, Kimshuka, Paatala trees... This is pious, this is delightful and this is with many animals and birds...we reside here Soumitri, along with this bird Jatayu... Thus said Rama to Lakshmana.
Thus said by Rama to Lakshmana, the remover of foe's valour, briskly made a hermitage for his brother, and that very great mighty one, Lakshmana in all his briskness erected that cottage... There a very spacious straw-cottage is built by Lakshmana with well dug up clay, for levelling the floor of the cottage and to smear on the walls, well pillared with long bamboos, thereupon on those pillars excellent rafters are made... The branches of Shamii trees are spread out, twined firmly by twines of jute strands with the cross-laid bamboos in thatching, and over that, blades of Kusha grass and leaves of Kaasha are thus well over-covered for the roof...
The surface is levelled off and comely... and that very great mighty Lakshmana made that residence in the interest of Raghava, a feast to the eyes and the best [straw-cottage and it is called parNa shaala...] That noble Lakshmana on his going to River Godavari bathed and also gathering lotuses and fruits he came again to the chalet... Then making flowery offerings and peace-invocations also procedural [to gR^iha pravesha, entering a new house,] started showing to Rama hermitage that is constructed...
He, on seeing the construction... a cosy hermitage... along with Seetha, and much gladness coming upon that Raghava... Fully well gladdened then embraced Lakshmana tightly by stretching both of his hands, and very friendlily spoke this sentence...
"Elated I am by your great deed, this one done by you, oh masterful one, for that reason only well given is this hug by me... Knower of sensibilities, knower of flairs, also the knower of probity...Oh Lakshmana, with a virtue-souled son like you, my father is not dead... "
Thus said to Lakshmana, Raghava, the enhancer of magnificence, in that province which is with many a fruit, resided comfortably and contently for sometime... while Seetha and Lakshmana as well, ministering to him, Rama dwelt there like a Divinity in heavenly world...
Thus, this is the 15th chapter in Aranya Kanda of Valmiki Ramayana, the First Epic poem of India.
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© 2001, Desiraju Hanumanta Rao