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Valmiki Ramayanam in Audio Form for Tamil Children — தமிழில் வால்மீகி ராமாயணம் – ஒலி வடிவில்

Most probably for the first time, Valmiki Ramayanam for children is now available in audio form in Tamil, as a serial, narrated in the most child-friendly tone and texture in the Internet, available for free listening.

அனேகமாய்த் தமிழில் முதன் முறையாக வால்மீகி ராமாயணக் கதை, குழந்தைகள் கேட்பதற்கென்று ஒலி வடிவில், இணையத்தில் ஒரு தொடராக வரத்தொடங்கியுள்ளது.

Deepika Arun, is one of the most famous Audio book narrators, whose Tamil audio books are very popular in her Kadhai Osai Channel (both in Youtube and other podcast channels), is rendering the story of Ramayana through her Podcast for Children — Chittukuruvi in famous podcast sites like Spotify, Apple Podcast, Google Podcast etc.   In fact, this podcast contains many children stories in Tamil narrated by Deepika.

ஒலி வடிவில் தமிழ்க் கதைகளை வழங்கிவரும்  கதை ஓசை ஒலிப்புத்தகத் தளத்தின் மிகப் பிரபலமான கதை சொல்லியான தீபிகா அருண், தமது அருமையான குரலில் தமிழில் ராமாயணக் கதையை தமது “சிட்டுக்குருவி போட்காஸ்ட்”  மூலம் ஸ்பாட்டிஃபை, கூகிள், போட்காஸ்ட், ஆப்பிள் போட்காஸ்ட் போன்ற தளங்கள் வழியே சொல்லத் தொடங்கியுள்ளார். அவர் குழந்தைகளுக்காகவென்றே சொல்லியுள்ள பல பிரபல கதைகள் ஏற்கனவே ‘சிட்டுக்குருவியில்’ இருக்கின்றன.

This Tamil Valmiki Ramayanam audio series for children is now available at Spotify. It has started from the auspicious Pongal Day, 15th January 2023.  Each episode will be for about 15 to 20 minutes and are scheduled to be released weekly, every Sunday. New listeners can register at Spotify free of cost and continue to listen it every week.

இப்போது தமிழில் வால்மீகி ராமாயணம் ‘ஸ்பாட்டிஃபை’ தளத்தில், இந்தப் பொங்கல் நன்னாள் (ஜனவரி 15, 2023)  அன்று தொடங்கி, முதல் அத்தியாயத்தை வெளியிட்டுள்ளார். இனி வாரா வாரம் ஞாயிறன்று ஒரு அத்தியாயம் வெளியிடுவது எண்ணம். புதிய ரசிகர்கள், அத்தளத்தில் தங்களைப் பதிவு செய்துகொண்டு, இலவசமாக இக்கதையைக் கேட்டு மகிழலாம்.

(Links given at the bottom of this article)

அதற்கான இணைப்புகள் கீழே தரப்பட்டுள்ளன.

The story is being written by writer ‘Sandeepika‘ (who also writes in English by name C.V.Rajan).  Beginning with the popular story of Ratnakar, the bandit who turned into the poet Valmiki, the narrative will continue, reasonably elaborately with Bala kandam,  Ayodhya Kandam, Aranya Kandam and so on. The narrative by Deepika is in a very children-friendly conversational tone, in simple Tamil, with enough dose of emotions and voice modulations.

இந்தத் தமிழ் ராமாயணக் கதைத் தொடரை  எழுதுபவர் எழுத்தாளர் சாந்தீபிகா. சி.வி.ராஜன் எனும் பெயரில் எழுதும் எழுத்தாளரும் இவரே. ரத்னாகரன் எனும் காட்டு வழிப்பறிக் கொள்ளைக்காரன், வால்மீகி முனிவராகப் பரிணமித்த கதையிலிருந்து தொடங்கி, ஓரளவு விரிவாகவே பால காண்டம், அயோத்தியா காண்டம், ஆரண்ய காண்டம் என்று கதை தொடரும். குழந்தைகளுக்கு எளிதில் புரியும் வகையில், மிகுந்த நட்புணர்வுடன், எளிய பேச்சுத் தமிழில், உணர்ச்சிகரமாகவும், கதா பாத்திரங்களுக்கு ஏற்பக் குரல் மாற்றியும் வெகு சுவையாக இக்கதையை வழங்குகிறார் தீபிகா அருண்.

Narrator Deepika Arun says, “The Itihas Ramayana has been living with us across thousands of years, enthralling kids and grownups alike, teaching dharma, values, morals and devotion to children generations after generations. Ramayana and Mahabharata continue to be the most popular bed time stories for children from time immemorial, verbally told by grandmas, grandpas and also parents.  Is it not a wonder by itself?  Present day parents are not able to spend enough time with their children to narrate stories. Even many parents may not remember the whole story of Ramayana with all its details and nuances to tell their children. I thought it will really benefit parents and children alike if Valmiki Ramayana, which is the source of all other Ramayana forms,  is narrated verbally. Unlike seeing a tele serial of Ramayana, the verbal narration will kindle lots of imagination in children to mentally form their own images of the scenes and characters.”

The author C.V.Rajan adds, “As for as I know, Rajaji was the pioneer in writing Ramayana and Mahabharata keeping children in mind as the potential readers, in addition to adults.  In fact, I grew up reading Rajaji’s Ramayanam. But he, just like Kambar who wrote the Tamil magnum opus Kamba Ramayanam, opted to end the story with Rama Pattabhishekam (crowning of Rama as the king), after he annihilated Ravana and returned to Ayodhya after 14 years of exile. It may be because most children and adults love stories that end in a happy note.  But Rama’s story will not be complete unless Uttara kandam is also narrated. Uttara kandam covers the detailed story of the Rakshas Ravana and also Rama abandoning Sita in the forest. The story goes on till the end of Rama’s life.  I do believe that we should not shy away from narrating these stories too to children.  Only then Rama’s story will be complete. Let children too try to grasp the nagging questions behind Rama leaving Sita at the hermitage of Valmiki. ”

Tamil children and parents are welcome to enjoy Valmiki Ramayanam episode by episode narrated in Deepika’s sweet voice. Here are the links:

தமிழ்ப் பெற்றோர்களையும் குழந்தைகளையும் வால்மீகி ராமயணக் கதையைக் கேட்டு மகிழ வரவேற்கிறோம். கீழ்க்கண்ட இணைப்புகளை சொடுக்குங்கள்:

1) Introductory Chapter 1 – Valmiki’s story – அறிமுகம் 1 – வால்மீகி முனிவரின் கதை

2) Introductory chapter 2  – The evolution of Ramayana Story- அறிமுகம் 2 – ராமாயணம் உருவான விதம்

3) Bala Kandam 1 – Arrival of Rushyashringa Rishi for conducting Ashwamedha Yaga – பால காண்டம்: அசுவமேத யாகம் நடத்த ருஷ்யசிருங்க முனிவர் வருகை

4) Bala Kandam  2 – Avatar of Rama – பால காண்டம் – ராமர் அவதரித்தார்

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How did the end of Rama Avatar happen? How did Rama Rajya end?

According to Valmiki’s Uttara Ramayana, Rama ruled his kingdom from Ayodhya for 11 thousand years. The way he ruled his country was so prosperous, dharmic and wonderful that ‘Ramarajya’ as a word used to symbolize the best ideal of rule to emulate.

During Rama’s rule, all his subjects lead a virtuous life; there were no thiefs and there was no dacoity. There  was no enemy attack on the kingdom. Dharmas and shastras were the guiding principles of life. Rishis and sadhus were the leading lights of the society. There was no draught, no floods or other natural calamities.

After Rama ruled Ayodhya for 11 thousand years, Lord Yama (Lord of Time) came to meet Lord Rama in disguise at the king’s palace in Ayodhya. He wanted a total private talk with Rama on an important matter. Rama asked Lakshmana to stand outside the doors as a guard to prevent anyone from entering the room and gave a warning that whomsoever intruded into the room during the private discussions would be killed by Him.

Once alone, Lord Yama conveyed Lord Brahma’s message that since the purpose of Lord Vishnu’s Avatar as Rama had been over after annihilating Ravana and also His wish to rule the kingdom for 11 thousand years too was over, it was now time for Rama to return to His heavenly abode as Vishnu, if he so wished to leave his earthly divine play.

Rama agreed that he too preferred to return to his abode rather than continuing in this world.

As the conversation was taking place, Rishi Durvasa came to the palace and wanted to meet Rama urgently. When Lakshmana told Durvasa about Rama being busy on an urgent matter, Rishi Durvasa, known for his short temper and capacity to curse people, threatened Lakshmana with dire consequences if he was not allowed to meet Lord Rama.

Lakshmana had to yield. He went into the room to inform Lord Rama about the arrival of Durvasa. Rama bade farewell to Lord Yama and came out to meet Durvasa. Durvasa wanted Rama to feed him sumptuously as he was in extreme hunger after doing a penance for a long time by taking fasting as a vow. Rama arranged it immediately.

However Rama became woeful as he had to keep his word that he had uttered earlier (that he would kill any intruder during his private talk with Yama). Taking a cue from the scriptures that said that renouncing a person is equivalent to killing that person, Rama, with heavy heart said to Lakshmana that he was renouncing all the ties with Lakshmana.

Lakshmana felt that his end had come. He went to River Sarayu and stopped his breath and entered into samadhi. He left his mortal body; his soul which was one fourth part of Lord VIshnu returned to the heavenly abode.

Grief stricken Rama called all his citizens and ministers and announced his decision to relinquish the kingdom and retire to the woods so as to leave his life like Lakshmana. He asked Bharata to take over the kingdom of Ayodhya. The devout Bharata stoutly refused the proposal as he too wanted to accompany Rama.

Rama with his sons Lava & Kusa (A still from the film Lava Kusa)

As advised by Bharata, Rama gave the Southern Kosala portion of the Kosala kingdom to his son to Kusa and the Northern Kosala zone to his son Lava to rule.

The entire population of Ayodya had no desire to live after their beloved Rama was no longer the king. They too expressed their desire to follow Rama.

News was sent to Satrughna, who was by that time ruling the kingdom of Mathura. Satrughna too had no desire to live if his beloved brother was gone. He handed over his kingdom (Mathura and Vidisha) to his two sons to rule and rushed to Ayodhya.

Having heard the news, Rama’s erstwhile associates and well wishers — Hanuman, Sugriva and his vanaras (monkeys), Jambavan and the other bears, Vibhishana and his loyal Rakshasas came to Ayodhya. All of them wished to go with Rama when he exited the earth.

However, Rama blessed Hanuman and Vibhishana to be Chiranjeevi’s — ever living. He wanted Hanuman to enjoy the company of devotees of Rama wherever they sang the glory of Rama. He wished Vibhishana to keep ruling the his kingdom of Sri Lanka. He blessed Jambavan and his five associates to live till Kaliyuga.

Sugriva said he had given charge of his kingdom to his son Angata and had no longer any desire to live. All the monkeys too said so.

Thus Rama, followed by Bharata, Satrughna, their families and servants, the ministers, the vanaras, bears and Rakshasas and the entire populace of Ayodhya with their cattle and birds left the city and went to the River Sarayu, chanting vedic hymns. None of them had any worries and every one was extremely happy. Whomsoever saw Rama leaving, including animals and creatures gleefully joined him so as to ascend to the heavenly abode.

All the celestial Gods headed by Lord Brahma had assembled at the skies near the river Sarayu to welcome their Lord. They chanted hymns praising their Lord Vishnu and welcoming him back.

Rama requested Lord Brahma to allow all his citizens, followers and lovers including the animals and creatures who had served him with respect and devotion into the heavenly world. Brahma said that he would accommodate all of them unmindful of any sins committed by them into the region known as Santanaka, which was next only to Brahma Loka. He also said all those celestial beings who had earlier taken up various forms and descended to earth to assist Rama in his activities of the avatar would regain their original divine forms.

All of them headed by Rama joyfully immersed themselves in the waters of Sarayu, left their bodies and ascended to the higher worlds.

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