Tuesday, April 17, 2012

#122 Where is the River GOdAvari

Our tourist-led and temple-preacher-led beliefs say that SRL (Sita-rAma-lakshmaNa) stayed at either nAsik in Maharashtra (place of river Godavari's origin) or parNaSAla-bhadrAcalam, khammam District, telangANa-Andhra Pradesh).

For Telugu people, Lord RAma was traditionally one of the most beloved and prayed-to God. The bhadrAchalam's Shri Rama Temple got hunDi-collections of about Rs. 7 millions during the Ram Naomi celebrations of 2012. They perform the 'wedding-ceremony' of Lord RAma on his birth day i.e. the 9th day of the first fortnight of the lunAr month Caitra. In North India, the wedding ceremony of rAma is celebrated at janakpur, nEpAl, on vivAha pancami, the fifth day of the second fortnight of the lunAr month mArgaSIrsha. They have built a model thatched house called parNa sAla on the northern bank of river gOdAvari, upstream bhadrAcalam. I visited this place about 30 years. It used to be very peaceful. There were also clay idols of rAma, lakshmaNa and Sita with their appropriate postures, as if they were really physically present. The pApi Hills (telugu poet SrInAtha called these hills 'prasravaNa hills' in his book kASIkhanDam) were very impressive.

There are numerous poetry books glorifying rAma.

Yet all these things do not prove that rAma was in bhadrAcalam. Similarly, there may be several books in marAThi and mahArAshtra. They may not be sufficient to prove that rAma was in nAsik.

sugrIva's geography in the following verses is correct.

Book 4 kishkindha kAnDa , Chapter 41, verses 8 to 10.

sahasra shirasam vindhyam
naanaa druma lataa aayutam
narmadaam ca nadiim
ramyaam mahoraga niSevitaam
tato godaavariim ramyaam
kR^iSNaaveNiim mahaanadiim
varadaam ca mahaabhaagaam
mahoraga niSevitaam
mekhalaan utkalaam caiva
dashaarNa nagaraaNi api
abravantiim avantiim ca
sarvam eva anupashyata
vidarbhaan RiSTikaan caiva
ramyaan maahiSakaan api

SugrIva's reference to southern-direction of gOdAvari and krishNavENi is correct. But this guideline, he is giving to the South-bound vAnarAs. If rAma and lakshmaNa lost their Sita in the GodAvari of MaharAshtra and Andhra Pradesh, and moved south-ward in search of her, godAvari should be to their North and, therefore, to the North of sugrIva. narmada was to the further North of Godavari and cannot become a part of search itinery of South bound vAnarAs. All the above places have become the itinerary of South-bound vAnaras, only because sugrIva was instructing from a place located north of these places.

Then, we cannot say that rAma and lakshmaNa did not lose their Sita on the banks of gOdAvari. This can lead us to a deduction that the gOdAvari where rAma and lakshmaNa lost their Sita was some other GodAvari which has a similar name.

Besides, Indians believe that river gOdavari was the result of the penance performed by Sage gautama. River gOdAvari is also called gautami, in the name of its founder. But Sage gautama's heritage is in bIhar. rAma, lakshmaNa and Sage viSvAmitra visited gautama's heritage on their journey to mithila, after slaying the demon tATaka, mArIca, and subAhu. There, rAma restituted gautama's petrified wife ahalya, back to human form. This heritage called 'gautama asthAn' is in bIhar, between buxAr City and Muzaffarpur City in Bihar. Its location rightly fits the storyline of vAlmiki-rAmAyaN. Further North are sItAmarhi, the birth place of Sita, and the mithila or janakpur of nEpal.

There may be two gautami rivers. The one where Sita, Rama, LakshmaNa stayed in their pancavaTi must have been in South-Eastern UP or in North-West Bihar.

citrakOOT itself has a river by name 'gupt-gOdAvari', an underground gOdAvari. It has even a place called 'sitA kI rasOyi' (sita's kitchen).

While Sita, Rama and lakshmaNa might have stayed at citrakOOT and the gupta gOdAvari for sometime, the gOdAvari of pancavaTi, where rAvana abducted Sita might have been elsewhere.

The place may be in the vicinity of gaya City, bIhar. It already has a legend that rAma paid his obsequies (in the sense of pinDa tarpaNam - not funeral) to his deceased father, daSaratha.

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