Subject: Shri rAmAyaNa vaibhavam (the glory of Shri rAmAyaNa). Speaker: Shri brahmashri cAganTi kOTEswara Rao.
TV channel: S.V.B.C. (Sri VenkaTESwara bhakti Channel), run by T.T.D. (tirumala tirupati dEvasthAnam, the famous Hindu Temple of tirumala, tirupati, Andhra pradEsh, inDia.
of the program: The speaker has great control on his voice modulation. He has great dhAraNa (memory retention). He has quoted sanskrit verses profusely from vAlmiki rAmAyaNa and probably other scriptures. He has also quoted some telugu language verses, particularly from bhAskara rAmAyana. I greatly appreciate his oratorial skills. May be from childhood. May be from continuous practice of lecturing and preaching.
Audience have also received it well. They have occasionally clapped and smiled in response to what he said.
The lecture is very long. Nearly two hours.
My memory retention power is unfortunately poor. I am unable to recall the verses quoted by him. But, I can say that many of the events of rAmAyaNa referred to by him, I am unable to trace in vAlmiki rAmAyaNa. His narrations may be from other rAmAyaNAs. Hindus regard vAlmIki rAmAyaNa as the first epic in Sanskrit language. Other rAmAyaNas are believed to be adaptations, improvements and modifications, to the basic story of vAlmiki's narrations. Hence, whatever does not find mention in vAlmiki rAmAyaNa, we can accept as a part of the rAmAyana story, for analysis -- at least for the purpose of this blog.
I do not have an audio or video of the oration of Shri CAganTi kOTEswara rAo. I can reply to every preaching made by Shri kOTEswara rAo in his speech.
Shri cAganTi kOTEswarao Rao, as he himself accepted in his speech, cannot speak freely. His brief was not to depart from the custom and scripture. If that was the case, he should have at least confined himself to vAlmIki rAmAyaNa. He was probably expected to speak as per the guidelines of TTD, SVBC channel, the SringEri maTh (monastery), the audience themselves, Hindus in general, etc. Besides, lecturing and preaching is his livelihood. Hence, I sympathise with him.
I believe that audience have taken pains to visit the venue of the speech, spending money and time. I found on T.V., one gentleman folding his hands and nodding his head in obedience. Others were also very much appreciative. They looked as though they were believing everything, the preacher said.
I wish that they start studying vAlmiki rAmAyaNa carefully, before they start every word of the speech. Nobody will dispute some of the advice given by the preacher about the need to respect elders, love brothers etc. Nobody, will demur on the need to make 'dharma' (duty- broad meaning).
But, the problem is, the preacher has a different meaning of 'dharma' or duty. His (and most of other preachers of not only Hinduism, but also all religions in the world) definition revolves around scriptures and what the preachers interpret as the decree of the pictures.
This need to blindly accept the contents of the scriptures, and the interpretations made by preachers, can lead to grave injustice to truth (sathyam) and dharma (duty) itself.
We cannot make out a list of erroneous preachings made by preachers and scriptures, of all religions in this world because, today the tendency is to claim that their sentiments are hurt. There will be street demonstrations and public outrage.
The same public which has time to throw stone and torch buses and buildings, has to change its ways, if they are to progress civilly, philosophically, and spiritually. They should start studying vAlmIki rAmAyaNa in an effort to find out truth.
I shall give one example from vAlmIki rAmAyaNa :
The preacher repeatedly stressed that rAma's greatness lay on his persistent adherence to dharma i.e. sanAtana dharma. I shall, now, ask the preacher one simple question:
Which sanAtana dharma asked or prompted rAma to say harsh words to sItA?
6-115- 22 and 23 BOOK 6 - BOOK OF WAR - YUDDHA KANDA CHAPTER 115 - SARGA 115 VERSES 22 AND 23 - SLOKAS 22 AND 23
tadadya vyaahritam bhadree mayaitat kritabuddhinaa Lakshman`ee vaa tha Bharate kuru buddhim yathaa sukham (22)
Shatrughne vaa tha Sugriivee raakshase vaa Vibhiishan`ee niveshaya manaha Siitee yathaa vaa sukha maatmanaha (23)
gist: Oh secure lady! I am declaring this today, with a determined mind. Set your mind on Lakshmana or Bharata as is comfortable to you.
Alternatively, set your mind, as per your convenience, on S`atrughna, Sugriva or Vibhishana.
I invite the great speaker, to quote the scripture (SAstra) or smriti, which rAma followed. Why didn't he wait to consult about dharma with vaSishTha or viSvAmitra or agastya or at least hanumAn? hanumAn himself was well-versed in three vEdAs. He might have known a lot about dharma.