There are those that use Sri Ramayanam and then there are others who use Srimad Ramayanam.
What is the difference between thes two and which one was preferred by Srivaishnava acharyas?
Sri is the name for Sridevi. In Mumukshuppadi, Pillai Lokachariar says “srI enRu periya pirATTiyArkkuth thirunAmam”. In Chatushloki, Alavandar says “srIrityeva cha nAma tE bhagavatI”.
The root for Sri is “srIn sevAyAm”. There are six derivations shown for it.
srIyate shows that everyone seeks Her.
shrayatr shows that She in turn seeks Perumal.
That She listens to Her devotees is shown by shruNoti.
That She makes Perumal listen to their pleas is shown by shrAvayati.
shruNAti explains that She makes Him forget their transgressions.
shrINAti says that She makes everyone happy through Her divine, auspicious qualities.
The word “mat” shows that She and Perumal are always together. Pillai Lokachariar: “mathuppAlE iruvar chErththiyum nithyam engiRadhu”.
When a devotee approaches the Lord, He may reject the chetana for his sins. She mediates on the chetana’s behalf to prevent that. So, She never separates from Him.
Based on this, we can say that the meaning of ‘Srimad Ramayanam’ is that it is the story of Rama who is never separated from Sita Piratti. We see that Her presence is always felt in Ramayanam.
Nevertheless our acharyas took to using Sri Ramayanam predominantly.
It is because, to them, Ramayanam is the story of Sita.
In his magnum opus Srivachanabhushanam, Pillai Lokachariar says “ithihAsa srEShTamAna srI rAmAyaNaththAl chiRai irundhavaL ERRam sollugiRadhu”
Valmiki Maharishi said that Ramayanam is the great story of Sita. In Bala Kandam, he says “kAvyam rAmAyaNam krutsnam sItAyA: charitam mahat |”.
Some may ask, therefore, why it came to be known as Ramayanam and not Sitayanam.
We should not assume Rama in Ramayanam stands for the Lord only. In Sanskrit, “ramA” means a beautiful girl. And that is a name for Sridevi.
Also, “rAm” means one who is sweet or brings about sweetness. In that regard, it is appropriate to say that it stands for Sridevi who is sweet to Her husband and who is sweet to the devotees who are Her children.
Therefore, we can say Ramayanam means it is the story of Sita.
That does not mean Srimad Ramayanam is to be rejected. In Srigunaratnakosham, Parasara Bhattar says “srImatrAmAyaNamapi param prANiti tvachCharithre”. That is, the itihAsam known as Ramayanam thought of as the story of Rama in this world gains its life only speaking of your story. Here, Srimad is used to explain that it is thought of as Rama’s story.
However, in general or when used to show Her greatness, Srivaishnava acharyas preferred the use of Sri Ramayanam.
Seeking everyone’s pardon for any and all mistakes committed in this article.
aDiyEn madhurakavi dAsan