In the previous episode we had been witnessing the grand coronation ceremony of Lord Rama that is taking place at Ayodhya. We saw a glimpse of Sage Vasishta officially coronating Lord Rama with the holy water from ninety-six holy rivers across the world. Subsequently other important people share a moment to participate in the coronation ceremony.
Subsequently we had also witnessed that Mother Sita wanted to specially felicitate Hanuman amidst the whole gathering and as per Lord Rama’s approval, she puts a garland around Hanuman’s neck, acknowledging Hanuman’s selfless service to both Mother Sita and Lord Rama! This is perhaps the greatest gift that Hanuman would have got in his entire life. Hanuman is in tears of joy as he receives it and he accepts the gift gleefully.
Now moving on further, as the grand ceremony comes to a close, Lord Rama gifts each one of them who had attended the function with some momentos. He gives momentos for Sugriva, Hanuman, Angadha, Vibhishana, etc. who had gathered there. Amongst everybody, Lord Rama feels that he should felicitate Vibhishana for his immense surrender and his extraordinary help in successfully defeating Ravana. Lord Rama wants to honour Vibhishana in some way. What could he do? He quickly goes into the prayer area of the palace and gifts his idol of Lord Narayana to Vibhishana and asks him to take it to Lanka and keep it with him safely! Upon receiving this from Lord Rama, Vibhishana is moved into tears of joy! He did not expect such a huge gift from Lord Rama and at this moment, Vibhishana realizes the extent to which Bhagawan loves him!
It should be recollected from one of our earlier episodes, I had explained the significance of this idol of Lord Narayana in a brief. Now the time has come for giving a detailed explanation. As Vibhishana receives the idol, he takes it with him in his “Pushpaka Vimaana” and commences his journey southwards. As he flies over the beautiful area where the river Cauvery flows, Lord Narayana (in the idol form) has a wish – He wants to stay in this particular place, rather than travelling all the way to Lanka. This place in the modern day is none other than the famous South Indian temple town of “Tiruchirapalli” and the place where the temple of “Srirangam” is located, is an island formed in between the rivers Cauvery and its tributary Kollidam.
Thus he requests Vibhishana to stop the “Vimaana” for a moment and proposes this idea. However, Vibhishana is not in a mood to leave Lord Narayana at Srirangam. It is at this point that Lord Narayana pledges to Vibhishana thus, “Oh Vibhishana! Please do not worry that I’m not travelling with you to Lanka. I shall bless you from this particular place itself. My hands would face the southern direction (towards Lanka) to bless you!”
It is only after these words of consolation that Vibhishana places the idol of Lord Narayana at this particular place called “Srirangam” near the temple town of “Tiruchirapalli” in Tamil Nadu. It is the same idol of Lord Narayana that we also worship today at Srirangam as “Ranganaatha Swamy” and even today we would witness that the hands of Lord Ranganaatha Swamy would be facing the southern direction! Hence for today, let us realize the significance of this wonderful place of Srirangam and appreciate it. We shall wait till the next episode to witness the unfolding of the “Raama-Raajya”! 🙂