You may know that 'Ramayana' is the story of Lord Rama. Rama Avatar is one of the Ten Incarnations (Dasavatharam) of Lord Vishnu. Sage Valmiki has written Ramayana in Sanskrit language. Therefore it is called Srimad Valmiki Ramayanam. He has divided the narration into sections or Kandams - 'Bala Kandam', 'Ayodhya Kandam', 'Aranya Kandam', 'Kishkinda Kandam' and 'Sundara Kandam', the fifth Kandam. Sundara Kandam comprises of 2885 slokas or verses spread in 68 chapters.
I will give a brief account of the story for you to ascertain the context. Lord Rama (Prince of Ayodhya), His wife Sita and His brother Lakshmana came to the forest to observe 'Vanavasa' (living in forest) for 14 years. The King Ravana (Asura) of Sri Lankatakes took Sita to his palace by foul means. There he kept Sita in a place called Asoka Vanam (forest). Rama was aggrieved by the separation of Sita. The brothers searched the forest after forest, place after place to find Sita. Lord Hanuman meets Lord Rama and his brother Lakshmana and he makes his commitment to serve Rama. Hanuman assured them that finding Sita is his faithful duty.
Sundara Kandam: Story
With this assurance Hanuman commences his attempts to search Sita. From here our Sundara Kandam begins. From Skandhamana Parvatham - a mountain - Hanuman successfully crosses the Bay of Bengal. Reaches Sri Lanka and there he meets Sita. He identifies himself as Lord Rama's envoy (Rama Dootha) and hands over his Lord's Ring as his identity. At the court of Ravana Hanuman was disrespected and ill-treated. The army of Ravana set fire over Hanuman's tail. Hanuman took revenge by setting fire to the entire city of Sri Lanka. He gets back to Rama and shared the entire story and about his meeting with Sita as well as her eagerness for reunion with Lord Rama.
This is the most blessed Kandam or section in the whole of Ramayana and therefore it gains this unique name 'Sundara Kandam'. 'Sundaram' means beauty. Lord Hanuman's other name is 'Sundara'. In Sundara Kandam, Sage Valmiki speaks about the achievements of Hanuman. For Hanuman nothing is impossible. His attitude always reminds us self-confidence, faith and devotion to Rama, fearlessness, and trustworthiness.
Benefits of Sundara Kanda Parayanam
The events in this chapter bring confidence and hope from all corners. Hanuman's indulgence in the destruction of evils has proved that Dharma alone will triumph. People started believing in Dharma (good virtues). Only Lord Rama could destroy Adharma (all evil virtues). The Kandam teaches us that, if we want to be successful in life we have to practice Dharma. The significance of performing Sundara Kandam Parayanam will definitely result in prosperity and it will mitigate all problems you face in your daily life. Reading one chapter or sargam of Sundara Kandam is equal to chanting 1000 times Gayathri Japam.
Where to Recite? When to Recite? :
Recitation of Sundara Kandam of Srimad Valmiki Ramayana is called 'Parayanam.' It can be read for any occasion like Rama Navami (Rama's birthday), Navarathri, Anniversary, Birthday, etc.
There are conventional methods for Sundara Kanda Parayanam. The Parayanam can be made either on a communal basis in temples, public mandapams (halls) or in your home. Parayana can either be made by a guru for the benefit of every listener to hear, or you yourself can recite the slokas in Sanskrit. To help people who don't know Sanskrit script, there are books comprising Sanskrit slokas along with English (or other Indian vernacular languages) transliteration.
How to Recite?
Though it is desirable to represent Rama either by Dasavarana Yanthra or statue, it would be sufficient if you worship your Ramayana Book. You may keep the Pattabhishekam image of Lord Rama. You must offer Naivedya (submit boiled milk added with Sugar) to God before and after the Parayana. If not at beginning at least offer Naivedya at the end of the Parayana. Lotus and Thulasi (Ocimum) flowers are the best to worship the Lord. If not available, any flower except Karavira (Arali) can be used. Offering to God Pomegranate would bring in immense benefits. You may commence with Chanting of Rama Gayathri or Shadakshari mantra before and after finishing you parayana. Find your Rama Gayathri and Shadakshari mantra below:
"Dasarathaya Vidhmahe, Sita vallabhata Dheemahi, Thanno Rama Prachodayath." - Rama Gayathri
Om Ram Ramaya Namaha (or Swaha) - Shadakshari mantra
How to PLAN and Cover the Parayanam within specified days:
- Read the entire Sundara Kanda once in ONE full day.
- Read Chapter 1-35 on the first day and the rest of the chapters in the SECOND day.
- Read Chapter 1-37 on the first day, 37-40 on the second day and the rest on the THIRD day.
- Read chapter 1-15 on the first day, 16-37 on the second day, 38th chapter on the third day, 39-54 on the fourth day and the rest on the FIFTH day.
- Start on a Friday, daily read 9 chapters and complete reading on the next Friday. EIGHT days
- Read within NINE days stopping each day on 5th, 15th, 20th, 26th, 28th, 40th, 52nd, 80th and 68th chapters.
- Daily read 6 chapters and complete it on the TWELTH day.
- Till 22 days read two chapters a day, 5 chapters on the 23rd day, 3 chapters on the 24th day, 6 chapters on the 25th day, 3 chapters on the 26th day, 4 chapters on the 27th day and the rest 3 chapters on the TWENTY-EIGHTH day.
Sundara Kandam Parayanam to Mitigate Specific Problem or Grief:
You may recite the slokas as per your capacity and convenience without following any plan or conventions. The purpose is to recite the slokas and complete Sundara Kandam. You may mitigate your specific problems by reciting certain chapters. The details are found below. I am reproducing below what Lord Shiva told to Goddess Parvathy: Whoever reads or listens to this book on the Sundara Kanda Phala prapthi, would become a great devotee of Lord Rama and would lead a happy painless life.
- Salvation can be achieved by reading the first chapter daily for six months.
- Effect of attack of devils, ghosts, and spirits can be warded off by reading 3rd chapter.
- To get rid of dullness of brain, read 13th chapter
- To get rid of the sin of having affair with someone else's wife, read chapters 7-11.
- To get permanent wealth and happiness read chapter 15.
- To get rid of bad dreams read Chapter 27.
- To get good behavior read chapter 20-21.
- To rejoin with lost relatives read chapters 33-40.
- To get rid of impending danger read chapter 36.
- To get pardon from god for insult done to him, knowingly and unknowingly read chapter 38.
- Read chapters 42-47 to win over enemies
- To become just and charitable read chapter 51
- For improvement of assets like house, land, etc. read chapter 54.
- To get peace and happiness read Chapter 61
- To get perennial happiness and to attain God read chapter 67.
- To get what one wishes read chapter 41
- To realize God and to become one capable of sweet words read chapter 19.
At the end of the parayana you recite this sloka:
Yatra yatra Raghunatha KirtanamTatra
tatra kritha mastakanjalim
Bhaspavaan paripurna lochanam
Marutim namata rakshasanthakam
Meaning: We bow the Maruthi, Sri Hanuman, who stands with his folded above his forehead with a torrent tears flowing down his eyes wherever the Names of Lord Rama is sung.
You may conclude your Parayana for the specified day with Karpura Harathi.
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