Shatashloki 13: Description of the flawless, proportionate bodily features of Rama

Sama ssamavibhaktāṇgah snighdavarṇaḥ pratāpavān

Peenavakṣa visālākṣo laksmivān subhalakṣaṣaḥ.

Meaning- He is neither too tall nor too short- He is of optimal height. His body is proportionate, symmetrical and flawless. He has a lovely complexion. His chest is broad and strong. His eyes are wide. He is prosperous. All his bodily features symbolize auspiciousness.

The bodily features of Rama have been delightfully brought out in this hymn. Every body part of His is of the right proportion. He can be described the ideal, greatest and best man on earth. The Saamudrika shastra stipulates that both the eyes, holes of the nostrils, both the ears, lips, elbows, wrists, knees, legs, and ankles should be symmetrical.  This is the body structure of the ideal man.

Arjuna, of the Mahabharata fame, had beautifully proportioned ankles. It is said that due to this he had to face many difficulties in life. Krishna too had to face many hurdles in life.

Even Rama had to live in the deep forests and face so many hardships in life. In the case of Rama, however, the hardships were taken upon by Him willfully. His father did not send him to the forests. To ensure that the promise made by His father to his mother Kaikeyi is kept up and thereby to ensure that dharma is not transgressed, Rama himself decided to go and live in exile for fourteen years. Such was His greatness! Not even once did He find the life in the forest troubling and tedious.  He ruled the forests as He would have ruled his kingdom. He took it as His dharma and lived by it.

Snigdah varnah– His body glows with a divine complexion and radiance. His eyes shine. The glow in the teeth symbolize that the person will get good food. The glowing of the feet indicates that the person will enjoy the comforts of a vehicle.

Such was His valour that enemies trembled upon hearing His name. He has a massive and wide chest (pinavaksha).

Visālākso– Many poets have glorified the beauty of His wide eyes in their varied poetic compositions.  Nevertheless, however much they are praised, it can never suffice. They are beautifully shaped like lotus petals and are red in colour.

Saamudrika shastra stipulates that such a person shall enjoy all luxuries of life (bhogi). It is said that Mother Sita, when in captivity in Lanka, would recollect Rama’s beautiful eyes and grieve. Hanuman, when He had to describe Rama’s physique to Mother Sita, began with the description of Rama’s eyes. When demoness Surphanaka had to describe the distinguishing features of Rama, to her brother Ravana, she described him as a person who had wide beautiful eyes and who was long limbed.

In the earlier hymn, the term ‘shatru nibarhanah’ subtly referred to the killing of demoness Tataka and defeating Maricha. In this hymn, the word ‘Lakshmivaan’ refers subtly to the story of Mother Sita. Let us now discuss this story.

Emperor Nimi was the foremost emperor of Mithila. Due to the blessings of the Devatas (Gods), Devaraatha, the sixth emperor in the lineage of Nimi, obtained the custody of the Shiva’s bow.

During Daksha’s yagna, Shiva was enraged with the Devatas who did not offer to Him a share in the Yagna offerings. He fixed the arrow to his bow and threatened to behead them all with one single arrow. At this, the Devatas fell at Shiva’s feet at begged forgiveness. Shiva, who was pacified with this, in turn gave to them the bow that He had been holding in His hand.  These Devatas in turn gave that bow to Devaraatha, the emperor of Mithila, for safe custody. From then on, the kings of Mithila were offering worship to this Shiva’s bow.

Years rolled on. Janaka became the king of Mithila. One day when he was ploughing the field for conducting a yagna, he found a female infant. She was Sita. For this reason, Mother Sita is addressed as ayonija (not born in the normal course from a mother’s womb). This is the story of Her divine birth.

Subhalakshanah– Rama has in Him all the auspicious traits and physical features that is uniformly appreciated by everyone. His appearance itself is so auspicious that He has remained in the hearts of one and all!


Om Seeta Raamaabhyaam Namaha

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