In the 1970’s, the great Sri U Ve Annangarachariar Swami wrote a work called Apoorva Ramayanam. This is a unique way of looking at entire Sri Ramayanam through the questions asked by Valmiki to Narada about 16 auspicious qualities of Sri Rama. The divine qualities that Valmiki asked to Narada are sixteen in number. Since the Moon has sixteen phases, Sri Rama with these sixteen qualities is known as Ramachandra. In explaining the sixteen qualities and showing how Rama exhibited these, one can cover the entire Sri Ramayanam.
The above work by Annangarachariar Swami has been translated in English by Swami TCA Venkatesan of acharya.org. Interested people can subscribe to acharya.org newsletter and receive e-mails as and when they are translated. Below is an excerpt from the translation of Apoorva Ramayanam sent by e-mail.
There are some that say that the Lord can never be said to suffer and that suffering is to be rejected. There are two types of suffering: svArtha and parArtha. When one suffers due to a misfortune that fell on one’s self, it is called svArtha du:kha. When one suffers seeing the misfortune of another, it is called parArtha du:kha. The former can be rejected but not the latter. The latter is a great quality. We see in this world, when someone suffers, if a person looks at that and remains unaffected, he is called stone-hearted. On the other hand, a person who is affected seeing anothers suffering is celebrated as kind hearted. Therefore, if He is affected by seeing someone’s suffering, it is to be celebrated and not rejected. Allowing other great qualities but rejecting this one alone is even not acceptable.
One thing may be said here. In this world, we may be affected seeing anothers suffering because we are unable to remove that suffering. The Lord who is known as praNathArtihara has the ability to remove the suffering. Why would He be affected then? The quality of suffering when seeing anothers hardship and the ability to remove that hardship are not opposed to each other. As an example – when a child has a hardship, even though his mother has the ability to remove that immediately, we see that she still suffers saying ‘It is my duty to protect this child from all hardships; yet I missed it and allowed the child to suffer; how could I have done that?”
When Draupathi suffered at the hands of Duschasana, Sri Krishna removed that and yet continued to regret that He was far away and not present physically there to remove her misery. He said that He was in her debt always for not saving her prior to the event taking place. He felt the same way with the elephant Gajendra after killing the crocodile that attacked it. Azhvars and Acharyas have melted thinking of His state after this event. Thus, His grace in suffering seeing the hardship of others cannot be questioned. This quality can also be seen in Sri Ramayanam.