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Published on Tuesday, Nov 25, 2008 at 14:23 Hrs.IST

Exemplary Devotion and Dedication of Ramadas

In the packed Prasanthi Calendar, where every day is a festive day, one often gets to see the thrust being given for nation’s cultural and spiritual renaissance. In the very recent Divine Discourses delivered on the Convocation day that was followed by the one on 23rd November, Bhagawan repeated yet again His oft made references regarding the richness and greatness of Bharat. …And Bharat has the richest reservoir of spiritual wealth and with this comes an array of great men and women who had contributed yeomen services to the nation’s cultural and spiritual build.

Fresh from the festive mood, Prasanthi’s tale of celebration was on. Every year, 24th November does not pass empty without a cultural show and so was the case this year as well, with the tiny tots from the state of Tamil Nadu was ready with a Musical Drama on the devoted life of one of the well-known carnatic music composers of South India during 17th century, Bhadrachala Ramadas.

Bhadrachala Ramadas was one of the well-known Carnatic music composers of South India during 17th century. Born in 1620 A.D., Ramadas lived during the pre-trinity period, before the times of Thyagaraja, Muthuswami Dikshitar and Shyama Sastri. His father was Linganna Murthy and mother Kamamba, who named him Gopanna. But later, he became famous by the name Ramadas due to his unconditional devotion for Lord Rama. His unflinching devotion and total surrender to Lord Rama earned him the name of Ramadas, meaning a devout servant o Lord Sri Rama.

The Musical Drama performed in the Divine presence on the twilight of 24th November was a portrayal of Ramadas’s total surrender and devotion to Lord Sri Rama.

The story-line:

One day, while visiting Bhadrachalam for a `Jatara` (fair), Ramadas noticed the damaged condition of the temple there. Moreover, the place was very significant as it is believed that Lord Rama along with Sita and Lakshmana stayed near the Parnasala there during his exile. So, he collected money for renovating and reconstructing the temple. But all his assets finished and he needed more money to complete the works. Then the villagers requested him to spend the money of revenue collection for the purpose and they would repay him the amount after harvesting crops. He did accordingly and spent hundred thousand rupees of the revenue without the permission of Abul Hasan Qutb Shah. Just before the completion of the construction of the temple, one night Bhadrachala Ramadas had a dream in which Lord Rama asked him to have a holy dip in the Godavari River. So, he did the same and found the holi Sudarshana Chakra in the river without much difficulty. He also bought new jewels for the icon of Rama in that temple.

In the earlier period of him as Tahsildar, Bhadrachala Ramadas submitted all the money of collected from revenue to the state treasury. But later, he started to invest a part of it in building and renovating the Rama shrine and temples. This resulted in the arrest of Ramadas by the officials of the Nawab and he was kept at the fort of Golconda. He was in the prison for almost 12 years. During his stay in prison, Ramadas composed most of his soul-stirring songs. In those dark days, he constantly prayed to his favourite deity Lord Rama and begged for his help. He believed that nothing can harm him and he had nothing to fear during this punishment period or after that because he is under the care of Lord Rama.

There is a strange story regarding his relief from the jail. It is said that being pleased with his devotion, Lord Rama and Lakshmana in the disguise of two employees of Ramadas went to the palace of the Golconda ruler Tana Shah. They paid him the entire amount which was Ramadas Ramadas owed and also received a receipt for the same from the ruler. The extraordinary magnetism of the two youths and their sudden disappearance after paying the money made Tana Shah believe that they were indeed Rama and Lakshmana whom Ramadas had constantly been worshipping. So, he personally went to Ramadas to release him and also explained about the incident. Tana Shah then gave him a lot of money and placed him in a palanquin and sent this great devotee of Rama to Bhadrachalam to continue his noble work of temple reconstruction.

It is said that Ramadas later got `darshan` of his Lord Rama and so he is considered yet as one of the foremost among the galaxy of Rama devotees. Many devotional songs composed by him are sung now also in many parts of the country, especially in South India.

His greater devotion to Lord Sri Rama and the devoted pain that he underwent with his unwavering faith in His master in rebuilding the house of the Lord earned him the name Bhadrachala Ramadas, a name that is synonymous with pristine love and dedication to the Divine.

37 Balvikas Children, including a tiny little girl of just 3 years from the state assisted by a team of dedicated devotees put up a most impressive display in the Divine Presence, all with one intention of making their Beloved Bhagawan happy. No fruition comes without pain and these adversities come always with a greater message of His testing and reassurance that He is with us. Mrs. Soundarya Krishnamurthy, State Mahila co-ordinator had the inspirational tale of dedication and co-operation that made the presentation a grand success. The main character who was to act as Ramadas had an appendicitis operation just five days before the final rehearsal scheduled for 12th November. And when the children were about to board the bus, it was lashing rains all over, and come encouragement from the devoted parents, who dared the rains to bring the children in time, that Bhagawan would take care and they should proceed. From the language front, it would be interesting to note that all these children, of tamil speaking origin without any base or knowledge in telugu, were narrated the song sequences to get the best of emotions each character entailed and they excelled.  The drama interspersed with many a keerthan sung in melodious tunes was a treat to the eye and ears in the presence of the greatest joy man could ever decipher, Divinity’s physical presence.

A prayer submitted during Dasara celebrations this year finally fructified…and the children got a life opportunity in the Divine Presence. …And the Lord was pleased. Coming down the ramp, Bhagawan granted a coveted photo session for the children….a cherished possession to carry back home which would speak of a tale of Divine Love.