SREE SEETHA RAMACHANDRA SWAMY SHRINE-TEMPLE OF LORD RAMA IN BHADRACHALAM
This temple town of Bhadrachalam, located on the northern banks of the river Godavari in Khammam District of the State of Andhra Pradesh, India, best describes my Indian Identity as it brings together our myths, our legends and our quest for the “Ultimate Reality”. This place is connected to events described in the epic poem of ‘RAMAYANA’ which narrates Lord Rama’s journey in our Land. Rama while living in exile, camped in the forest by the name ‘Dandakaranya’ and His spouse Seetha was abducted and eventually, Rama and His brother Laxmana cross the river Godavari at this place in search of Seetha. A pious man known as Bhadra had prayed at this place seeking Lord Rama’s return to this place. Much later, a simple woman who had lived in this area had discovered the idols of ‘Vaikuntha Rama’ with Seetha seated on His lap and the idol of Laxmana standing next to them. Kancharla Gopanna, a Tahsildar(revenue official) of Palvancha Paragana, built this temple in 1674 A.D. The legend about the divine intervention and the miraculous release of Gopanna from the prison at the Golconda Fort is narrated in my previous entry titled, ‘The Benevolent Shia Ruler of Golconda-Verily A Blessed Soul’.
ABOUT MYTHS AND LEGENDS :
Myths are traditional stories which serve to explain our connection to God and the universe and hence they are not the same like the fictional stories. Myths exist in a historical context but may not be true historical accounts that are supported by scientific verification. Legends are stories handed down for generations among a people and popularly believed to have a historical basis but do not qualify for inclusion in a text book of history. As an Indian, I depend upon myths and legends to derive a sense of direction, a sense of guidance and a sense of hope for my human existence. They help me to know who I am and where I am going.
ABOUT ” REALITY ” :
Indians are very concerned about the effects of ‘ TIME ‘. We practically witness in our daily lives the forceful consequences of time. Time changes the course of human life and time changes the physical world. However, the “Ultimate Reality” does not change, it is constant and it is eternal. Indians seek this Reality as it represents their natural home and that is their final destination on completion of the life’s journey. Since ‘TRUTH’ is unchanging in its character, is also described as the Reality that we cherish to experience. Millions of Indians express this desire for Truth and the Reality with a very simple statement. They claim that the name ” RA MA ” is eternal Truth. Our search for Truth and Reality becomes very easy if we just seek ” RA MA “. Great powers on this earth had vainly tried to destroy our belief in RAMA. Mughal Emperor Babur had destroyed the temple in Ayodhya which we consider as Rama’s birth place. The forces of Sultan Tughlak had destroyed the Rama temple in my home town Rajahmundry. Mughal Emperor Aurangzeb had destroyed countless number of temples and idols of Rama. Yet the myth and legend of Rama survives. At Bhadrachalam also known as Bhadra giri or Bhadradri(the hill of Bhadra), Sultan Tani Shah, a benevolent Shia Muslim ruler of Golconda, had helped Kancharla Gopanna to maintain this temple and this devotee of Rama is popularly known by the name ‘ BHAKTA RAMA DASU ‘.
WOULD IT BE POSSIBLE TO DESTROY RAMA ???
” Lo ! In the creation of the heavens and the earth and (in) the difference of night and day are tokens( of His sovereignty ) for men of understanding”. Surah III, verse 190, Holy Book of Quran.
Many have tried to destroy the idols and images of Rama. For example, if some one would destroy the temple of Rama in Bhadrachalam, we still connect this place and the forest and the river with Rama’s life journey. If some one would destroy the forest, level the ground and change the course of the river, I would still look for the signs of His presence in the creation of the heavens and the earth. I would describe the blue sky as the color of Rama. If some one could destroy the blue sky and when I look up and see the dark sky, I would say that I am reminded of Lord KRISHNA who is described as black in color as dark as the sky of New Moon’s day. Our myths remind us that Rama and Krishna are one and the same. I do know people take great pride in their physical power but it may not be easy to wipe out a belief system which is more than the Idols which represent the Belief. I had mentioned before in a previous entry and the Indian Identity that I had defined is willing to accept the challenge of ‘TEN COMMANDMENTS’ and the Indian Identity would survive as long as there is a sky above our heads and as long as the difference of night and day exists on this earth.