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Valmiki Ramayana - Bala Kanda in Prose Sarga 22


King Dasharatha sends Rama and Lakshmana along with Sage Vishvamitra as requested by the sage. In their course of travel, Sage Vishvamitra imparts a secret knowledge to the young princes Rama and Lakshmana, called bala atibala vidya-s, by practicing which nothing can wither their vigour and vitality.




When Vashishta said that way king Dasharatha with an air of satisfaction personally fetched Rama along with Lakshmana.

Rama is blessed for a propitious travel firstly by his mother Kausalya and then by his father king Dasharatha, thereupon the royal priest Vashishta rendered Vedic hymns blessing the journey, then Dasharatha well pleased in his heart of hearts kissed his son Rama on forehead and entrusted him to Vishvamitra.

The mother is the first one to bless sons. prathamam m˜t® k®ta maðgala pratipadanena itara k®ta maðgala apekÿay˜ m˜t® k®ta maðgalasya ˜vaþyikat˜ vyatirekeõa anvayena ca s¨citam Duryodhana of Maha Bharata knows about this rule position and when he wanted to gain victory over Pandava-s he approaches his mother Gandhari, seeking her blessings, at first. vyatireka× t˜vat p˜õýav˜n jetu k˜mo duryodhana× - þivam ˜þamsa me m˜ta× yudhyam˜na sva þatrubhi× - iti aÿ÷˜ daþa ˜h˜ni ap sva m˜taram g˜ndh˜rŸm pr˜rthitav˜n | sa ca - yato dharma× tato jaya× - iti vadantŸ maðgalam na kurvatŸ - dharm˜k¨tam When Duryodhana sought for his mother Gandhari's blessings even for eighteen days, where eighteen is the particular number of Maha Bharata, she said 'where there is virtue there will be victory'. Hence, mothers are the first ones to bless sons in every enterprise, and here Rama's enterprise as incarnate of Vishnu is commencing.

Then on seeing the lotus-eyed Rama following Vishvamitra the breeze became dustless and breezed pleasant for touch. When the great-souled Rama forged ahead there occurred an abounding downpour of flowers with the booming of divine drums, together with the boom and blare of drums and conch-shells of Ayodhya. Rama with jet-black hair-locks handling his bow followed Vishvamitra who walked ahead, while Lakshmana handling his own bow followed Rama.

Rama and Lakshmana, with two quivers each and two bows in their hands, and making all the ten directions of compass lambent followed Vishvamitra, as if three headed serpents followed Vishvamitra, and with their highly dynamic physiques and spiritedness they look as if like the Ashwin twin gods of unequal charm following Brahma, the Forefather.

Each one is having two quivers tied on each shoulder. Thus the upper portions of the quivers with feathered shafts, with the tips of arrows inside, are giving a picture of two more heads, on either side of the princes' heads. Thus Rama and Lakshmana are appearing like three headed serpents. That is to say they are too young with the size of their heads equalling the mouth of the quiver.

The meaning of As'vins (from as'va a horse, Persian asp, Greek ιππος Latin equus, Welsh *eck,) is Horsemen. They were twin deities of whom frequent mention is made in the Vedas and the Indian myths. The As'vins have much in common with the Dioscuri of Greece, and their mythical genealogy seems to indicate that their origin was astronomical. They were, perhaps, at first the morning star and evening star. They are said to be the children of the sun and the nymph As'viní, who is one of the lunar asterisms personified. In the popular mythology they are regarded as the physicians of the Gods. Gorresio/Griffith.

Those two youngsters with charming and bejewelled physiques are handling bows and swords and their fingers have leathern covers. Both the unreprovable brothers Rama and Lakshmana are highly resplendent and effulgent by their worth. While they are following Vishvamitra they looked like the sons of Fire-god, namely Skanda and Vishakha, following the great god with inscrutable potential, namely Shiva, and thus the brothers have made Vishvamitra to shine forth in even pose with god Shiva.

The Supreme Being that is resident like an atom. stha Being, aNum atom like. In every mobile or sessile being he is there. Here it is Shiva. Shiva's sons are two, one Ganesha and the other Kumara, of which Kumara is the Army General of Gods. According to Maha Bharata, Kumara is said to have become four in a split-second, known as 1- Skanda, 2- Vishaakha, 3- Shaaka, 4- Naigamesha. Here the first two aspects of Kumara, namely Skanda and Vishaakha, are incorporated in simile to Rama and Lakshmana.

And on going one and half yojana distance Vishvamitra addressed Rama in a harmonious voice calling, 'oh, Rama', on the southern riverbank of Sarayu.

" "Take water, my boy, and like that you receive a group of hymns, bala and ati bala from me, and let no time lapse.

Since the Vedic hymns cannot be taught after sunset, now it shall be evening time before sunset, when oblations will be offered at sunset, and hence no time lapse is envisaged. Govindaraja.

"On receiving these hymns neither tiredness nor fever, nor disfiguring of personality can effect you, nor the demons can charge you either you are sleeping or unvigilant. As it is none whosoever on earth can equal you in dexterity, Rama, and by reciting these hymns none can equal you in the three worlds. My dear Raghava, if bala atibala hymns are practised, oh, impeccable one, none can equal you in the world by your handsomeness, calibre, erudition, by your discernment, and even in replying or rebutting you. On receiving these two teachings there will be none similar to you, for bala and atibala are the mothers of all knowledge. Oh, best one among men, Raghava, if you go on reciting bala and atiblala hymns, my dear Rama, there will be no hunger or thirst to you.

"And if these twin teachings are practised an inestimable renown will also accrue, oh, Raghu's legatee, these two hymns that possess brilliance are the daughters of Forefather Brahma, and oh, Rama of Kakutstha, I intend to impart these hymns to you, oh virtuous one, as you are the most eligible one, hence take the teachings that are kept safe from the world. Though all of these numerous qualities are undoubtedly available with you, that too in abundance, yet these hymns if ascetically nurtured will yield various results." Thus spoke Sage Vishvamitra to Rama.

Then Rama on touching water to purify himself received those teachings from the contemplative soul Vishvamitra with gladness beaming on his face.

Rama, the one with marvellous valiance, on obtaining those teachings performed all his duties of a student in respect of a teacher and then shone forth like the thousand rayed sun on a cloudless sky of autumn. Then those three very happily stayed on the riverbank of Sarayu for that night.

Here guru kaaryaaNi , are the duties demanded of a true disciple towards a guru, who is his mantra aachaarya, teacher according hymns. Without performing these duties the studentship remains unfulfilled. These works are fetching food for teacher, arranging his bed, pressing his sore-legs called paada samvaahana , etc. Rama does these services to any elderly person, more so to his father as at this canto 1-18-28.

Throughout this chapter Vishvamitra addresses Rama alone to learn the hymns. It may not be construed that Lakshmana is eliminated or avoided but he said to be one with Rama when it comes to education. Thus these hymn are imparted to Lakshmana also, not to Rama alone.

Though both Rama and Lakshmana slept on an undeserving grass bed, nestled by the comfortable words of Vishvamitra that night is as though pleasant to the noteworthy children of Dasharatha.


bala atibala teachings

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Sage Vishvamitra is the Seer for Gayatri hymn. He is the same Sage to impart bala atibala hymns to Rama and Lakshmana. For those readers that are interested to know or to practice, the Upanishad of bala atibala is included hereunder. This hymn is yet another aspect of Gayatri, and there is no hymn superior than Gayatri, na gaayatriyaaH paramam japam

balaatibala mantropanishad

bal˜tibalayo× vir˜÷ puruÿa ®ÿi× | g˜yatrŸ devat˜ | g˜yatrŸ chanda× | ak˜ra ok˜ramak˜r˜ bŸj˜dy˜× | kÿudh˜di nirasane viniyoga× |kl˜mity˜di ÿaýaðga ny˜sa× |kl˜m aðguÿ÷˜bhy˜m nama× | klŸm tarjanŸbhy˜m nama× | kl¨m madhyam˜bh˜mnama× | klaim an˜mik˜bhy˜m nama× | klom kaniÿ÷ik˜bh˜m nama× | kla× karatalakarap®ÿ÷˜bhy˜m nama× ||kl˜m h®day˜ya nama× | klŸm þirase sv˜h˜ | kl¨m þikh˜yaivaÿa÷ | klaim kavac˜ya hum | klom netratray˜yavauÿa÷ | kla× astr˜ya pha÷ | bh¨rbhuvassuvaromiti digbandha× |
|| dhy˜nam || 
am®ta karatal˜rdrau sarva sañjŸvan˜ýhy˜ avaghaharaõa sudkÿau veda s˜re may¨khe|
praõavamaya vik˜rau bh˜skar˜k˜ra dehau satatamanubhave'ham tau bal˜tŸbaleþau ||

om hrŸm bale mah˜devi hrŸm mah˜bale klŸm catur vidha puruÿartha siddhi prade tatsavitur varad˜tmike hrŸm vareõyam bhargo devasya varad˜tmike | atibale sarva day˜m¨rte bale sarva kÿud bhrama upan˜þini dhŸmahi dhiyoyonarj˜te pracury˜ pracoday˜tmike praõava þirask˜tmike | hum pha÷ sv˜h˜ || evam vidv˜n k®ta k®tyo bhavati | s˜vitry˜ eva salokat˜m jayati || Ÿtyupaniÿat ||

|| þ˜nti p˜÷ha || om ˜py˜yantu mam˜ðg˜ni v˜kpr˜õaþcakÿu× þrotramatho balamindriy˜õicasarvaõi | sarvam brahmaupaniÿadam | m˜ham brahma nir˜kury˜m m˜ m˜ brahma nir˜karot | anir˜karaõamastu anir˜karaõam me'stu× tad˜tmani nirate ye upaniÿatsu dharm˜ste mayi santu te mayi santu || om þ˜ntiþþ˜ntiþþ˜nti× |



Thus, this is the 22nd chapter in Bala Kanda of Valmiki Ramayana, the First Epic poem of India. 

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© 2001, Desiraju Hanumanta Rao [Revised : May 04]