The much-hyped Sethusamudram Shipping Canal Project belongs to the non-viable and non-implementable category. The controversial project has been stayed by the Supreme Court and the matter is now sub judice. As this project has come to a grinding halt and the Congress Party has shown a sudden disinterest and change of mind, the ruling DMK-led Democratic Progressive Alliance (DPA) in Tamil Nadu got annoyed by the recent developments. This led to the DPA leaders including the Chief Minister indulging in issuing malicious statements about Lord Ram. They also questioned the historicity of Ramayana, truth of Ram Sethu and insulted as well as ridiculed Lord Ram, hurting the religious sentiments of millions of Hindus.
As the Rameshwaram Ram Sethu Protection Movement comprising scholars and experts from various fields gained momentum, the DPA resorted to give it a communal colour by saying that the realisation of 150 years old dream of ?Tamils? is being thwarted by the ?Hindus?. It is a disgrace to this great Hindu nation that the great Itihasa and the Avatar Purush Lord Ram are criticised and questioned in the very land of Sanatana Dharma.
In this backdrop, it becomes imperative for us to create an awareness among the people about the historicity of Lord Ram and the fact that they are being cheated and taken for a solid ride by the DPA in the name of a non-viable and worthless project. It is also an opportunity for us to teach the DPA and its cadres a lesson or two on Tamil Nadu'shistorical connection to Lord Ram and Ramayana.
Ram means, the one who remains happy and makes others also happy. Peace and happiness result from the following of dharma as per the Vedic scriptures. Lord Narayana took the human avatar of Ram in order to show the world, how a person must lead a life. Lord Ram is a perfect role model, well suited for the Vedic saying, Dharmo Rakshati Rakshitaha meaning ?if we protect dharma, dharma will protect us?. The Sanskrit phrase Ramo vigrahavaan dharma implies, Rama is a personification of dharma.
The Tamil Nadu connection
After the abduction of Sitaji by Ravana, Ram and Lakshman came into contact with Sugriva and Hanuman, while searching for her in the forests. Later on after the elimination of Bali, Sugriva as per his commitment helped Ram by sending his monkey army to all directions in search of Sitaji. While sending a team of monkeys under the leadership of Angad and Hanuman towards the south, he asked them to cover Vindhya, Narmada, Godavari, Krishna, Avanthi, Vidarbha, Kalinga, Kasi, Dandakaranya, Andhra, Pundram, Chozham (kingdom of Cholas), Pandiyam (kingdom of Pandiyas) and Keralam (kingdom of Cheras), Kaveri, Sage Agastya'sabode of Malayaparvatam (Pothigai Hills) to reach Thamaraparani (Thirunelveli) and finally the southern end of the ocean (Bay of Bengal).
Later on, during his travel inside the territory of Chozhapandiyam (kingdom of Chola & Pandiya) Ram and Lakshaman worshipped Lord Shiva at Vaitheeswaran Kovil near Mayiladuthurai. Angaraka (Mars) and Jatayu (bird) were also believed to have worshipped Lord Shiva there. Hence, this temple is also known as Pullirukkuvelur (pull-bird; Irukku-veda; Vel-Angaraka.). We also have a literary work named Pullirukkuvelur Puranam talking extensively about this fact.
In Vellore district, on the way to Kaveripakkam, near a small town called Balu Chetti Chathram, a village called Thirupullkuzhi is situated, where a Perumal Temple is located. Lord Ram while passing this place had performed the customary rituals for the moksha of Jatayu. Even now on the day of Amavasya, thousands of devotees congregate here to perform tarpana for their ancestors.
Apart from Kamba Ramayana and Sangam Literature, we also have a lot of evidences to prove the existence of Ram Sethu in Tamil literary works like Thevaram, Divyaprabhadham, Thiruchendur Sthala Puranam, Thirunaagaikarona Puranam, Koorma Puranam, Perundevanar Bharatham, Ramodhatham, Kudanthai Anthathi, Kaalamega Pulavar Paadal, Thirupullani Maalai, Vadamalai Venba, Siva Siva Venba, Theerthagiri Puranam, Soodavahana Puranam, Sethu Puranam, Ramayana Venba, Thiruvengada Thala Puranam, Thirupugazh, Meenakshi Ammai Pillai Thamizh, Ashta Prabandham, Barathiyar songs and many other works.
Ramayana has been performed through dance-dramas, folk songs, and upanyasams since time immemorial in Tamil Nadu. Ramayana has been a part and parcel of the lives and times of the people of Tamil Nadu like any other place in the country. Hence, it is the right time for those in Tamil Nadu to realise the immortality of Lord Ram and impossibility of SSCP.
With inputs from:-
1. Deivathin Kural (Voice of Divinity)?A compilation of the Teachings & Preachings of Kanchi Paramacharya by Sri R. Ganapathy.
2. Valmiki Ramayana by Srimad Annangaracharya Swamigal, Kanchi.
3. Sri Sundara Kanda by Sr. V. Panchapagesa Iyer, Tanjore.