One more thing ! ......

The Story of "My" Sundarakanda!!

The Story of "My" Sundarakanda

Sundarakanda !?

It is said that it is a story that can convert a non believer into a believer !

In fact that is how it started for us !

To start with I must first admit that Sundarakanda reading is a family tradition. So as per the Gene theory you can say it must be part of my genes !

My mother used to do Sundarakanda Parayana.

As family traditions go sometimes you may follow it without thinking about it or say believing in it !

In this case I did not do anything to follow that tradition except knowing that my mother is doing the same for my sake. If I were to ask her to do some puja she would say that "I will read Sundarakanda for you!!" That was the extent of my involvement !

I always had copies of Sundarakanda with me. The first one being a gift from my parents ( a Vavilala Ramasastri Telugu edition !!). That was when I was going for a job in Allahabad late 1970's.! But much before that when I was going to IISc as a student my father inserted a small card in my wallet with 'Jaya mantram', from Sundarakanda in his hand writing. That remained as part of my wallet for several decades.

I also had the the complete Valmiki Ramayana ( the three volume Gita press edition) bought for a princely sum of Rupees twenty five at the Kanpur Railway platform. Being an avid collector I also had the Sanskrit Valmiki Sundarakanda of Advaita press, Calcutta too !

So I was well equipped in all respects to be a follower of Sundarakanda!

Then it happened when a person I admired visited us!

I was in Trivandrum as a Director of an Electronics Lab under Govt of India and had one of my seniors from IISc Bangalore visit us for some official technical reviews . My senior was a well regarded nationally known academically brilliant scholar. Having known him from school days as my senior , he was the kind of person I wanted to be in my dreams!! .

The general belief would be that those who are brilliant do not need the hand of God!, they make their own hand of god !! . It is the rest of us who are struggling for success that run after Gods , temples, coconuts etc. So my senior was the one whom I framed in my mind as one who does not need to resort to any prayers for any success etc ! .

We finished the days technical discussions, and moved into what I would call as social chit chat . The discussion some how turned to Sundarakanda. And then he held forth on the 'power' of Sundarakanda . He was insisting that I should read the same if I have not done so !

I was actually taken aback by the fact that here is a man who did not need any "hand of God" from his college days or subsequent years. Yet he is sold on the power of Sundarakanda ! He is telling me about some thing which my mother was already practicing ! In fact she was reading Sundarakanda parayana for me !!

That is when I took up serious reading ! There has been never been any looking back after that.

Being a Sanskrit student all my life the Valmiki's simple Sanskrit Slokas made it easy for me to grasp the meanings and the story !! There was never a "difficult to read" moment in Sundarakanda !

Then came a real collaboration with my mother in recreating a simpler version of Sundarakanda. My mother, having already gone through re-printing excerpts ( Raamudu Sugunaabhiraamudu) from Sundarakanda with the blessings of Shri Bhashyam Appalaacharyulugaru, now wanted to print a few Slokas from all the sixty eight chapters of Sundarakanda as a booklet .

With my interest in Sanskrit we selected about three hundred Slokas out of nearly three thousand Slokas which maintained the thread of the story fully. We brought the same out as Sankshipta Sundarakanda in Telugu, again with the blessings of Sri Bhashyam Appalaacharyulu garu!!

That was like a dream project completed at the peak of my professional career with little time for anything else other than office !

Subsequently we also had the same Sankshipta Sundarakanda Sanskrit Slokas with English translation. This was followed by Sankshipta Sundarakanda in Kannada script and malayalam Script !!

That in short is the story of "my" Sundarakanda !!

om tat sat