Once Vikramaditya asked which is the best sloka in Ramayana and offered a reward of 1000 gold coins. Vararuchi was a great Sanskrit scholar in the court of Vikramaditya. He tried to find the best sloka by discussing with many learned pandits. But could not arrive at a conclusion. One day while sleeping below a tree 2 Pishas (spirits) settled on the tree and were talking. As Vararuchi knew their language he was able to follow their conversation. They said as follows.
1st. Pishas: Where have you been?
2nd. Pishas: There was a birth of baby in a pariah’s (one outside the four castes – a very low caste) house. I had a good feed of the offal’s.
1st. Pishas: What child?
2nd. Pishas: A female one. I also read the fate of the child written on her head
1st. Pishas: Whom will she marry?
2nd. Pishas: The one below the tree who does not know the MAMVIDHI will marry her.
Hearing this Vararuchi was shocked but also happy that he got the answer. He immediately went to the King and recited the sloka in Ayodyakanda 40th Sarga
रामम् दशरथम् विद्धि माम् विद्धि जनक आत्मजाम् |
अयोध्याम् अटवीम् विद्धि गच्च तात यथा सुखम् || २-४०-९
It has 3 meanings as follows.
Meaning 1:”Know Rama to be Dasaratha. Look upon Seetha the daughter of Janaka as myself. Consider the forest as Ayodhya and depart happily, my son!”
Meaning 2: Know Rama is one with 10 avtharas (Vishnu) Know Seetha as Lakshmi (Mam) and Know Forest as Ayodya (Un conquerable-Vaikunta) and depart happily
Meaning 3: Consider Dasaratha as Dead, consider me as departed to my maternal home (as widow), and forget Ayodya and depart happily.
The king was impressed and rewarded him. Vararuchi also asked king to kill the parchi child as it may bring kingdom under threat. The fate cheats him and he marries her thinking she is Brahmin.
……..contributed by M H Gopalakrishnan
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All Sloka Translations are from the site Valmiki Ramayana