The Power of Faith

When I read Sonia Rafeek’s award winning, beautiful, debut novel, ‘Herbarium’, many years before, I was charmed. The story was of a very smart 9 year old boy, who unexpectedly loses his mother and ends up knowing her in Mother Nature. The book is part of the B.A. syllabus of a University too. I felt that every child and parent would benefit from the simple, heartfelt, kind wisdom in its pages.

The journey from liking a book to translating it, is comparitively easy, I would say. It is a question of trust -as in all relationships- between the partners, in creative effort. The saga of publication, however, can be a different ballgame altogether! The journey to publication has taken us many years; but we have reached our destination , wiser for the lessons learnt.

The greatest lesson for me: the power of faith.

‘Ask and it will be given to you; seek and you will find; knock and the door will be opened to you.’ (Matthew 7:7)

The timing of course, depends on that Higher Power. He knows, when and where a project attains fruition. Our duty is to perform and leave the results to Him.

And based on my own life journey, let me say confidently, that the power of faith is truly divine. I have received so much, that it has left me overwhelmed. And I pray that I continue to deserve the wondrous Grace.

This is a note of gratitude:

Rejoice always, pray without ceasing, give thanks in all circumstances…’

In Adhyatma Ramayana, in the Malayalam interpretation, there is a line which echoes the same…

Nadakkumbozhum, irikkumbozhum, oridetthu kidakkumpozhum, bhujikumpozhum, ennu venda, nana karmangalanushittikumbol, sada kalam, manase, bhavadroopam, thonnenam dayanidhe!’

Roughly translated it goes:

When I walk, sit, lie down at a place, eat..indeed, when I do any action, may your divine form shine in my heart, unceasingly, dear Lord of Compassion!

I dedicate the success of our dream unto Your feet.

**


The Lord’s Beautiful Grace

Bal Kanda Part 1 is over. At the juncture where Sage Yagyavalkya finishes one story of Sri Ram avatar and starts the next story connected to the divine Lord Sri Hari, the book decided to pause.

Nimitta mathram bhava Savyasachinah’, as the Gita exhorts.  (Just be an instrument, Savyasachi!)

I am submitting Bal Kanda: Part 1, at my beloved Hanumanji’s lotus feet.  This part ends with the Lord Sri Hari speaking about Sri Ram avatar to Raja Manu and his wife; answering their plea that He should be born as their son.

This book is dedicated to the memory of my late father R.S.Nair, who sagaciously nourished the love of languages in me.

Accha, still remember you praying with closed eyes, enraptured by the Lord.



Touches of Love…

I have recorded in my mother tongue, Malayalam, few episodes based on certain lives I have seen…Hope you find something to inspire you…

  1. Yaksha Prashanam

2. Clothes and Us. Vastravum Nammalum.

3. Jail Inmates and Reflections

4. Life Struggles

5. Treasured Moments

6. Experiences of Love : Prem Dham and other abodes of compassionate love


Naradji is Tricked by Sri Hari’s Maya (Bal Kanda)

In Bal Kanda of Goswami Tulsidasji’s Sri Ramacharitmanas, there are enchanting stories which point at the Lord’s benevolence and sense of humour! Once Naradji conquered the attempts of Kamdev to beguile him and consequently became very arrogant. He went to Lord Shiv and narrated his greatness to him. The kind-hearted Lord advised him not to mention the story to Lord Vishnu ( Narad did not realize that it was Sri Hari’s grace which helped him conquer Kamdev.) But Narad did not listen. The game Lord Vishnu played with him is absolutely hilarious! He unleashes his Maya and creates an illusionary world… Narad abuses the Lord with choicest words under the delusion of Maya! The narrative points at the freedom the Lord grants to his devotees to question Him and how he laughs through it all!

It ends up being another reason for the Sri Ramachandra avatar.

Doha:

Birachevu mag mahu nagar tehim sat jojan bistar/

Shrinivaspur tem adhik rachna bibidh prakar//

Harimaya created a city of one hundred yojanas dimension. It was more striking than Vishnupuri in its beauty.

**

Basahim nagar sundar nar nari/ Janu bahu manasij rati tanudhari//

Tehim pur basayi seelnidhi raja/ Aganit hay gay sen samaja//

In the city were beautiful women and men, who seemed to be Kamdev and his wife Rati, come to life. The Raja’s name was Sheelnidhi; and there were many horses, elephants and many battalions of army.

**

Sat sures sam bibhav bilasa/ Roop tej bal neeti nivasa//

Biswamohini tasu kumari/ Shri bimoh jisu roopu nihari//

The King’s aura and capability were equivalent to a hundred Indra’s.  He was the epitome of good looks, radiance, strength and justice. He had a daughter called Viswamohini, whose loveliness would have allured Lakshmy herself.

**

Soyi harimaya sab guna khani/ Sobha tasu ki jayi bakhani//

Karayi swayambar so nripbala/ Aaye tah aganit mahipala//

Viswamohini was the Harimaya herself. Who can describe the stunning beauty? The swayamvar (choosing the bridegroom) was being held due to her desire, and many kings had arrived to participate.

**

Muni kautuki nagar tehim gayavu/ Purbasinh sab puchat bhayavu//

Suni sab charit bhupgrih aaye/ Kari puja nrip muni baidaye//

The curious Narad went to the city and enquired about it from the citizens. On hearing the news of the swayamvar, he went to the palace. The Raja seated him respectfully.

**

Doha:

Aani dekhayi naradahi bhupati rajkumari/

Kahahu nadh guna dosh sab ehi ke hridayam bichari//

Then the Raja called his daughter near. He asked Naradji, ‘Hey sage, please prayerfully meditate and speak about the good and bad in her future’.

**

Dekhi roop muni birati bisari/ Badi baar lagi rahe nihari//

Lacchan tasu biloki bhulane/ Hridayam harash nahim pragat bakhane//

Narad was entranced by the girl’s beauty and forgot his ‘vairagya’ or ‘detachment’. He stared for long at the princess. Seeing the portents, he was overwhelmed with happiness but did not speak about it.

**

Jo ehi barayi amar soyi hoyi/ Samarbhumi tehi jeet na koyi//

Sevahim sakal charachar tahi/ Barayi seelnidhi kanya jahi//

(Narad thought to himself) ‘ Who ever marries her, he will be immortal and nobody can vanquish him in the battlefield. Whoever marries this princess shall be served by every creature that moves or remains inert.’

**

Lacchan sab bichari ur rakhe/ Kacchuk banayi bhup san bhashe//

Suta sulacchan kahi nrip pahim/ Narad chale soch mann mahim//

Narad kept all thoughts to himself and spoke something superfluous to the king. After speaking about the princess’s qualities, Narad went away but started brooding…

**

Karaum jayi soyi jatan bichari/ Jehi prakar mohi barai kumari//

Jap tap kacchu na hoyi tehi kala/ He bidhi milayi kavan bidhi bala//

‘I should now think of a way to marry this girl. Meditation and penance are not going to help now. Lord, how will I get to marry this maiden?’

**

Doha:

Ehi avasar chahiya param sobha roop bisal/

Jo biloki reechai suvari tab melai jaymal//

‘Now I need great beauty and handsome physique so that the princess gets enchanted at my sight and garlands me.’

**

Hari san magaim sundartayi/ Hoyihi jaat gaharu ati bhayi//

Morem hith Hari sam nahim kovu/ Ehi avasar sahay soyi hovu//

‘Shall I ask for beauty from the Lord? It will take a long time to reach his side.  But then, Sri Hari is the greatest well wisher I have, so I have to seek his help now.’

**

Bahibidhi binay keenhi tehi kala/ Pragatevu prabhu kautuki kripala//

Prabhu biloki muni nayan judane/ Hoyihi kaju hiyem harshane//

Naradji started beseeching Lord Vishnu in many ways. Then the compassionate, ever playful Lord appeared before his devotee. Narad’s eyes were cooled by that sight and he was assured that what he desired would happen.

**

Ati aarati kahi kadha sunayi/ Karahu kripa kari hohu sahayi//

Aapan roop dehu prabhu mohi/ Aan bhanti nahim pavaum ohi//

Narad narrated his piteous story to the Lord and begged him for a boon. ‘ Lord, please give me your handsome form else there is no way I can win over the princess.’

**

Jehi bidhi nadh hoyi hith mora/ Karahu so begi das mai tora//

Nij maya bal dekhi bisala/ Hiyam hasi bole deendayala//

‘Lord, I am your servant. Kindly take action fast so my welfare is ensured.’ Seeing the power of his own Maya, the kind Lord could not help smiling. He spoke thus…

**

Doha:

Jehi bidhi hoyihi param hith narad sunahu tumhar/

Soyi hum karab na aan kacchu bachan na mrisha hamar//

‘ Hey Narad! I shall do that which shall ensure your well-being, nothing else. My words are never false.’

**

Kupadh maag ruj byakul rogi/ Baid na deyi sunahu muni jogi//

Ehi bidhi hith tumahr mai dayavu/ Kahi antarahit prabhu bhayavu//

‘Narad, even when a patient bedevilled with his disease asks the vaidya (healer) for a harmful medicine, he is not given that. Likewise, I am determined to do only what’s good for you.’ Having said that, Lord Vishnu disappeared.

**

Maya bibas bhaye muni mooda/ Samuchi nahim Hari gira nigooda//

Gavne turat taham rishirayi/ Jaham sawyambar bhumi banayi//

Narad was so much influenced by Sri Hari’s Maya that he could not comprehend the Lord’s straightforward words. He went to the spot where the svayamvar was to be held.

**

Nij nij aasan baide raja/ Bahu banav kari sahit samaja//

Muni mann harash roop ati morem/ Mohit aji aanahi barihi na bhorem//

Every king was seated all bedecked up, along with his cohorts. Narad was thinking happily to himself that since he was very handsome now, the princess would not marry anybody but him.

**

Muni hith karan kripanidhana/ Deenh kuroop na jayi bakhana//

So charitra lakhi kahu na pava/ Narad jaani sabhim sir nava//

The compassionate Lord had made Narad extremely ugly, and nobody can describe how he looked! But others did not know what had transpired and everyone bowed to him knowing him to be Narad.

**

Doha:

Rahe taham duyi Rudra gan te janahim sab bhevu/

Biprabesh dekhat phirahim param kautuki tevu//

There were two bhootgana of Lord Shiv in the premises. They knew what was happening and were disguised as brahmins. They were wandering around, having great fun.

**

Jehim samaj baide muni jayi/ Hridayam roop ahamiti adhikayi//

Tah baide mahes gana dovu/ Biprabesh gati lakhayi na kovu//

 Narad sat himself , brimming with pride at his so-called good looks. The two bhootgana were also seated nearby. Nobody could perceive that they were not brahmins in reality.

**

Karahim kooti naradahi sunayi/ Neeki deenhi Hari sundartayi//

Reechihi rajkuvari chhabi  dekhi/ Inhahi barihi Hari jaani biseshi//

They started making fun, using innuendoes, so that Narad could overhear them. ‘ This man has been gifted with so much beauty that the princess shall be allured by him for sure! He looks like ‘Hari’ (vanar or monkey) and knowing to be so, she shall wed him.’

**

Munihi moh mann haath paraye/ Hasahim sambhu gan ati sachu paye//

Jadapi sunahim muni atapati baani/ Samuchi na parayi buddhi bhram saani//

Narad was in the grip of desire because his mind was in the control of Maya. Lord Shiva’s bhootgana were very merry and laughing openly. Though Narad heard their jokes, he could not perceive the double meaning due to his delusion. (He thought that they were praising him.)

**

Kahu na lakha so charit bisesha/ So sarup nripkanyam dekha//

Markat badan bhayankar dehi/ Dekhat hridayam krodh bha tehi//

 Nobody knew about the events which were happening and the princess saw only Narad’s face and body as it was. Seeing the monkey’s face and terrifying body, she felt furious.

**

Doha:

Sakhim sangh lai kuari tab chali janu rajmaral/

Dekhat phirayi maheep sab kar saroj jayamal//

The princess, accompanied by her  maids, walked gracefully like a royal swan. With a garland in her lotus like hands, she gazed at the various kings seated, and moved around.

**

Jehi disi baide narad phooli/ So disi tehim na biloki bhooli//

Punim puni ukasahim akulahim/ Dekhi dasa har gana musukahim//

 She never moved to that direction where Narad was sitting, all bloated up in his own glory. The sage was agitated and moved restlessly. Seeing his plight, the bhootgana were sniggering.

**

Dhari nriptanu tah gayavu kripala/ Kuvari harshi melevu jayamala//

Dulhini lai ge lacchinivasa/ Nripsamaj sab bhayavu nirasa//

The compassionate Lord Sri Hari reached the venue in the guise of a king. The princess blissfully garlanded him. Sri Hari took his bride with him. The rest of the rajas were dejected.

**

Muni ati bikal moh mati nadi/ Mani giri gayi chuti janu gadi//

Tab har gana bole musukayi/ Nij mukh mukur bilokahu jayi//

 Narad’s intelligence was clouded by desire and he became distraught at losing the princess. It was as if the pearl had slipped away from the knot which held it in place in a chain! Then the bhootgana mocked, ‘Please take a look at your face in a mirror!’

**

As kahi dovu bhaage bhayam bhari/ Badan deekh muni baari nihari//

Beshu biloki krodh ati baada/ Tinhahi sarap deenh ati gaada//

Having said that, petrified at what would occur, the duo fled from the scene.  Narad peered into water and took a look at himself. He became infuriated at what he saw! He cast a mighty curse at the two bhootgana of Lord Siva.

**

Doha:

Hohu nisachar jayi tumh kapati papi dovu/

Hasehu hamahi so lehu phal bahuri hasehu muni kovu//

‘Both of you wicked and sinful souls shall turn into rakshasas! Taste the result of laughing at me! Now dare to mock any other sage!’

**

Puni jal deekh roop nij paava/ Tadapi haridayam Santosh na aava//

Pharkat adhar kop mann mahim/ Sapadi chale kamalapati pahim//

When Narad peeped into the water once more, he saw that he had regained his original form. But that did not make him happy.  His lips were quavering and his mind was filled with fury. Immediately he set off to meet Lord Vishnu.

**

Dehavu shrap ki marihavu jayi/ Jagat mori upahas karayi//

Bichahim pandh mile danujari/ Sangh rama soyi rajkumari//

Narad was brooding ‘Either I will curse Vishnu or I shall give up my life. He made me a laughing stock in front of the world!’ In the journey he met Sri Hari. He was accompanied by Devi Lekshmy and the princess.

**

Bole madhur bachan sursayim/ Muni kah chale bikal ki nayim//

Sunat bachan upaja ati krodha/ Maya bas na raha mann bodha//

The Lord of all devas Sri Hari spoke very sweetly, ‘Narad, where are hurrying, looking so worried?’ On hearing these words, Narad became enraged. Being deluded by Maya, he could not come to his senses.

**

Par sampada sakahu nahim dekhi/ Tumhare eerisha kapat biseshi//

Madhat sindhu Rudrahi bairayahu/ Suranh preri bish paan karayahu//

Narad burst out, ‘You cannot tolerate anybody’s prosperity. You are full of envy and hypocrisy. During the churning of the ocean (milky ocean), you made a fool of Lord Shiva and instigated the devas to make him drink the poison.

**

Doha:

Asur sura bish sankarahi aapu rama mani charu/

Swaradh sadhak kutil tumh sada kapat byavaharu//

‘You fed liquor to the asuras and poison to Shiva and grabbed the precious Kaustub and Devi Lakshmy for yourself! You are an opportunist and a traitor. You are always indulging in treacherous deals!’

**

Param swatantra na sir par koyi/ Bhavayi manahi karahu tumh soyi//

Bhalehi mand mandehi bhal karahu/ Bisamay harsh na hiyam kacchu dharahu//

You are totally free, nobody is sitting on your head (no superior to control you ), so whatever pleases your mind, you do it! You transform good things to bad and vice versa. No sorrow or joy touches your heart.’

**

Dahaki dahaki parichehu sab kahu/ Atia sank mann sada uchahu//

Karam subhasubh tumhahi na baadha/ Ab lagi tumhahi na kahu saadha//

‘ You have become an expert in cheating others and grown utterly fearless too! You get enthusiastic at tricking others! You are not bound by whether your doings are auspicious or not. Nobody has ever taught you a lesson.’

**

Bhale bhavan ab bayan deenha/ Pavahuge phal aapan keenha//

Banchehu mohi javani dhari deha/Soyi tanu dharahu shrap mam eha//

‘Now you have met your match ( Tried to destroy a sturdy house), and so you shall endure the fruits of your karma. The body you assumed in order to deceive me, you shall be reborn in the same body, that is my curse.’

**

Kapi aakriti tumh keenhi hamari/ Karihahim kees sahay tumhari//

Mam apakar keenh tumh bhari/ Naari birah tumh hob dukhari//

‘You made me look like a monkey, and so a monkey shall come to help you. By separating me from the woman I desired, you did me injustice, and hence, you shall suffer the pangs of separation from your beloved too.’

**

Doha:

Shrap sees dhari harashi hiyam prabhu binati keenhi/

Nij maya kai parabalata karshi kripanidhi leenhi//

Lord Vishnu accepted Narad’s curse, and in his heart was delighted (It was as He wished), and beseeched Narad to calm down. The Lord withdrew the effects of His Maya.

**

Jab Hari maya duri nivari/ Nahim tah rama na Rajkumari/

Tab muni ati sabhit Hari charna/ Gahe paahi pranatarati harna//

When Lord Vishnu retracted his Maya, there was neither Lakshmi there nor the princess. Narad came to his senses and became terrified of his actions. He fell at the Lord’s feet and pleaded, ‘Dear Lord who protects all refugees, please save me.’

**


Devi Parvati Makes a Request (Bal Kanda)

Jaani priya aadaru ati keenha/ Baam bhag aasanu har deenha//

Baidim siv samip harshaayi/ Purab janma kadha chit aayi//

With great love and respect, the Lord invited his wife to sit by his left side. With great joy, Devi Parvati seated herself next to her husband. She remembered her previous birth.

**

Pati hiyam hetu adhik anumani/ Bihasi Uma bolim priya bani//

Kadha jo sakal lok hitkari/ Soyi puchan chah sailkumari//

Knowing that her beloved loved her more than ever (compared to her previous birth as Sati), Parvati smiled and spoke sweetly.  (Sage Yagyavalkya says that…) Parvati wished to enquire about that story whose narration benefits everyone  of us.

**

Biswanath mam nadh purari/ Tribhuvan mahima bidit tumhari//

Char aru achar naag nar deva/ Sakal karahim pad pankaj seva//

‘Lord of the universe, my husband, the vanquisher of Tripurasura! All the three worlds are agig with your greatness. All beings which move or are static, serpents (Naag), humans and gods (deva) serve your lotus feet.’

**

Doha:

Prabhu samaradh sarbagya siv sakal kala guna dham/

Jog gyan bairagya nidhi pranat kalpataru nam//

‘Dear Lord, you are all capable, omniscient and the embodiment of auspiciousness and prosperity. You are the seating place of all good qualities and fine arts. You are the master of yoga, wisdom and detachment. Your name is the Kalpvriksha for all refugees who seek moksha.’

**

Jaum mo par prasann sukhrasi/ Jania satya mohi nij dasi//

Tau prabhu harahu mor agyana/ Kahi Raghunath kadha bidhi nana//

‘Dear Lord, giver of all joys, if you are pleased with me and know that I am your truthful servant (totally and utterly devoted), please tell me about the different stories of Sri Ramachandra and remove all my ignorance.’

**

Jasu bhavanu surtaru tar hoyi/ Sahi ki daridra janit dukhu soyi//

Sasibhushan as hriday bichari/ Harhu nadh mam mati bhram bhari//

‘When one’s house is in the shades of the Kalpvriksha, why should one suffer pangs of poverty? (When you, who know Sri Ramji’s story that removes all sins, are my husband, why should I stay in the dark?) The one who uses the moon as his adornment (Sasibhushan), please remove the heavy burden of my mind.’

**

Prabhu je muni paramaradhbadi/ Kahahim Ram kahu brahma anadi//

Ses sarada bedh purana/ Sakal karahim raghupati guna gana//

‘The sages who know of Para Brahma speak of Sri Ramji as ‘Anadi Brahma’, or the eternal Brahma. The revered Sesh Nag, Saraswati, Vedas and Puranas all hail the fine qualities of Raghunath!’

**

Tumh puni Ram Ram din rati/ Sadar japahu anang aarati///

Ramu so avadh nripati sut soyi/ Ki aj aguna alakhgati koyi//

‘Enemy of Kamdev! You reverently recite ‘Ram, Ram’, every moment of day and night too! Is this Ram the prince of Ayodhya? Or is it some other Ram who is beyond birth and death, transcends all qualities, and remains unperceivable?’

**

Doha:

Jaum nrip tanay ta brahma kimi naari birah mati bhori/

Dekhi charit mahima sunat bhramati buddhi ati mori//

‘If he is a royal prince, how can he be Brahma? If he is Brahma, why is he lamenting due to the loss of his wife? Looking at what’s happening in the world and hearing about his greatness elsewhere, I am lost and confused!’

(Note: The wisdom which Sati lacked, Parvati possesses. She seeks guidance from her Lord instead of setting out to find the truth of Sri Ramji by herself!)

**

Jaum aneeh byapak bibhu kovu/ Kahahu buchayi nadh mohi sovu//

Agya jaani ris ur jani dharahu/ Jehi bidhi moh mitai soyi karahu//

‘If the Brahma which is desireless, omnipresent and all powerful is different from Sri Ramji, then make me understand it, dear Lord! Do not get angry with me on my foolishness. Do that which will remove my ignorance.’

**

Mai ban deekhi Ram prabhutayi/ Atib hay bikal na tumhahi sunayi//

Tadapi malin mann bodhu na aava/ So phalu bhali bhanti hum paava//

‘In my previous birth, I had witnessed the greatness of Lord Ram. But being stricken with fear, I could not speak about it, my beloved! Even then my polluted mind did not learn the truth. I had to endure the fruits of that sin of mine.’

**

Ajahu kacchu samsavu mann morem/ Karahu kripa binavavu kar jorem//

Prabhu tab mohi bahu bhanti prabodha/ Nadh so samuchi karahu jani krodha//

‘There are doubts persisting in my mind even now. Please take compassion on me, I plead with folded hands. You tried to explain in many ways in the past, and I still did not understand. Dear Lord, please don’t get vexed with me.’

**

Tab kar as bimoh ab nahim/ Ramkadha par ruchi mann mahim//

Kahahu puneet Ram guna gadha/ Bhujagraj bhushan surnadha//

‘I am not befuddled anymore; I yearn to listen to Sri Ramachandra’s story. Dear Lord of devas, who wears the Seshnag himself as an adornment,  please narrate the pristine story of Sri Ramji’s great qualities.’

**

Doha:

Bandavu pad dhari dharni siru binay karavu kar jori/

Barnahu Raghubar bisad jasu shruti Siddhant nichori//

‘I prostrate myself at your feet and beg with folded hands. Squeeze the essence of the Vedas and describe the pure radiance of Sri Ram’s glory.’

**

Jadapi joshita nahim adhikari/ Dasi mann kram bachan tumhari//

Gudavu tatwa na sadhu duravahim/ Aarat adhikari jah pavahim//

‘Though I don’t deserve to listen to the story, I am your devoted servant with my mind, words and deeds. When the sages discern deserving listeners, they don’t hide even the most cryptic of enigmas.’

**

Ati arathy puchavu suraraya/ Raghupati kadha kahahu kari daya//

Pradham so karan kahahu bichari/ Nirgun brahma sagun bapu dhari//

‘Dear Lord, I am beseeching you piteously, kindly tell me the story of Sri Ramji. First of all, explain why Nirgun Brahma (Brahma that has transcended qualities) has assumed the Sagun Roop (Guise of a manifestation with the finest qualities).’

**

Puni prabhu kahahu Ram avatara/ Balcharit puni kahahu udara//

Kahahu jadha Janaki bibahim/ Ram taja so dushan kahim//

‘Then my Lord, tell me the story of Rama’s avatar and about his childhood days. Then narrate the story of his marriage with Sita and the reason why he had to renounce his kingdom.’

**

Ban basi keenhe charit apara/ Kahahu nadh jimi ravan mara//

Raj baidi keenhi bahu leela/ Sakal kahahu sankar sukhseela//

‘Lord, tell me about the great deeds of Sri Ramji during his stay in the forests and how he killed Ravan. Dear Lord Shanker, the incarnation of joy,  then tell me about all the glorious actions of Raghunathji as he sat on the royal throne.’

**

Doha:

Bahuri kahahu karunayatan keenh jo acharaj Ram/

Praja sahit Raghubamsamani kimi gavane nij dham//

‘Dear Lord, tell me about the wondrous actions of SriRamji, how he and the citizens of his kingdom returned to Lord Vishnu’s abode.’

**

Puni prabhu kahahu so tatwa bakhani/ Jehim bigyan magan muni gyani//

Bhagati gyan bigyan biragaa/ Puni sab barnahu sahit bibhagaa//

‘Lord, elucidate about that mystery in which wise sages remain immersed in meditation. Then explain about the differences between bhakti, wisdom, knowledge and detachment.’

**

Auravu Ram Rahasya aneka/ Kahahu nadh ati bimal bibeka//

Jo prabhu mai pucha nahim hoyi/ Sovu dayal rakhavu jani goyi//

‘Apart from these, tell me about the unknown secrets of Ramji’s avatar. Dear Lord, your wisdom is pristine, so tell me those nuances about which I am unaware. ‘( Kindly tell me about those aspects  about which I have not asked you… )

**

Tumh Tribhuvan gur bedh bakhana/ Aan jeev pavar ka jana//

Prasn Uma kai sahaj suhayi/ Chal bihin suni siv mann bhayi//

‘The Vedas hail you as the guru of the three worlds! How can any other illiterate being know about these mysteries?’ Listening to Uma’s straight forward, simple and beautiful questions, Lord Shiva was pleased.

**


Lord Shiv Returns to Kailasa (Bal Kanda)

Bahu bidhi sambhu saasu samuchayi/ Gavni bhavan charan siru nayi//

Jananim Uma boli tab leenhi/ Lai uchhang sundar sikh deenhi//

Lord Shiv mollified his mother-in-law affectionately. Maina bowed at the Lord’s feet and returned to her house. Then the mother called her daughter near, and seating her on the lap, provided beautiful advice.

**

Karehu sada sankar pad puja/ Naridharmu pati devu na duja//

Bachan kahat bhare lochan bari/ Bahuri layi ur leenhi kumari//

‘Dear Parvati, always be devoted to your husband (worship his lotus feet) and this is the wife’s dharma. For her, the spouse is the god and there is no other deity.’ Speaking lovingly, tears filled the mother’s eyes and she embraced her daughter close to her heart.

**

Kat bidhi srijim naari jag mahim/ Paradheen sapnehu sukhu nahim//

Bhai ati prem bikal mahtari/ Dheeraju keenh kusamay bichari//

(The mother lamented at the impending separation from her beloved daughter) ‘Why did the creator make women? There is no happiness even in dreams for she belongs to someone else.’ The mother lost her composure but slowly regained her poise, recognising that the time was not for mourning.

**

Puni puni milati parati gahi charna/ Param premu kachhu jayi na barna//

Sab narinh mili bheti bhavani/ Jayi Janani ur puni lapatani//

 Maina was hugging Parvati and falling at her feet. The love cannot be expressed in words. After taking leave of all other women, Girija embraced her loving mother again.

**

Jananihi bahuri mili chali uchit asees sab kahu dayim/

Phiri Phiri bilokati matu tan tab sakhim lai siv pahim gayim//

Jachak sakal Santoshi sankaru uma sahit bhavan chale/

Sab amar harshe suman barshi nisan nabh baje bhale//

  Parvati bid farewell to her mother and everybody showered blessings on her. She was often turning to take a backward glance at her mother. Her maids ushered her to Lord Shiva’s presence. The Lord benevolently gave the beggars whatever alms they needed and proceeded to Kailas with his wife and entourage. All the devatas started showering flowers and the sound of drums resounded ecstatically from the skies.

**

Doha:

Chale sangh himavantu tab pahuchavan ati hetu/

Bibidh bhanti paritoshu kari bida keenh brishketu//

 King Himavan accompanied the couple. Then Lord Shiv very affectionately bid him farewell, making his heart glad in many ways.

**

Turat bhavan aaye girirayi/ Sakal sail sar liye bolayi//

Aadar daan binay bahumana/ Sab kar bida keenh himavana//

On returning to his palace, King Himavan called all the mountains and rivers to his side. With great reverence and humility,  after giving gifts, with great respect, he bid farewell to all his guests.

**

Jabahim sambhu kailasahim aaye/ Sur sab nij nij lok sidhaye//

Jagat matu pitu sambhu bhavani/ Tehim singaru na kahavu bakhani//

When Lord Shiva reached his abode, all the gods returned to their own homes. Tulsidasji says, “Since Shiv and Parvati are the father and mother of the universe, I cannot explain the ways of their mutual love.”

**

Karahim bibidh bidhi boh bilasa/ Gananh samet basahim kailasa//

Har girija bihar nit nayavu/ Ehi bidhi bipul kaal chali gayavu//

 Enjoying their great love for each other, and indulging in sensory pleasures, the young couple lived in Kailasa with the bhootgana. Everyday they would explore new nuances of love. Thus, time went by.

**

Tab janamevu shatbadan kumara/ Taraku asuru samar jehim mara//

Aagam nigam prasiddh purana/ Shammukh janmu sakal jag jana//

The birth of Lord Shiva and Parvati’s son, Kartikeya took place. (Shanmukha, six faced one) He defeated Tarakasura in a ferocious battle as a young prince. Vedas, Sastras and Puranas describe his birth and the whole universe is familiar with the story.

**

Jagu jaan Shanmukh janmu karmu pratapu purushardhu maha/

Tehi hetu mai brishketu sut kar charit samchepahim kaha//

Yeh Uma sambhu bibahu je nar nari kahahim je gavahim/

Kalyan kaaj bibah mangal sarbada sukhu pavahim//

The universe is aware of the birth, actions, valour and great deeds (purushartha) of Kartikeya. So, Tulsidasji says, ‘I have told the story of Shiva’s son succinctly. The men and women who speak or sing about the glorious marriage of Shiv and Parvati shall be blessed with happy marital lives and prosperous events.’

**

Doha:

Charit sindhu Girija raman bedh na pavahim paru/

Barnai tulsidasu kimi ati matimand gavaru//

‘The story of Lord Shiva is as immense and vast like the ocean, which even the Vedas cannot cross. Now, how can an illiterate and mentally deficient Tulsidas ever claim to do it?’

**

Sambhu charit suni saras suhava/ Bharadwaj muni ati sukh pava//

Bahu lalasa kadha par baadi/ Nayananhi neeru romavali taadi//

Listening to Lord Shiva’s glorious and interesting story, sage Bharadwaj became delighted. His eagerness to listen to more of the divine story increased greatly. His eyes filled with tears and hair stood on end.

**

Prem bibas mukh aav na bani/ Dasa dekhi harshe muni gyani//

Aho dhanya tav janmu muneesa/ Tumhahi pran sam priya gaureesa//

Bharadwadji became overwhelmed with love and no words were escaping his mouth. Sage Yagyavalkya became pleased and said, ‘ Dear sage, you are truly blessed. For you, Gauri’s Lord Shiva is as beloved as your very life…’

**

Siv pad kamal jinhahi rati nahim/ Ramahi te sapnehu na sohahim//

Binu chal Biswanath pad nehu/ Ram bhagat kar lacchan ehu//

‘The one who is not devoted to Lord Shiva’s lotus feet, cannot be accepted by Sri Ramachandra even in his dreams. The sign of Sri Ram’s devotee is one who loves Lord Shiv with a pure heart.’

**

Siv sam ko raghupathy bratdhari/ Binu agh taji sati as inari//

Panu kari raghupathy bhagati dekhayi/ Ko siv sam ramahi priy bhayi//

‘Who is the one who has undertaken the devotion to Lord Ram better than Lord Shiva? He relinquished a woman like Sati, who had not committed any sin, and showcased his steady devotion to Lord Sri Ramachandra. Brother, is there anyone more beloved to Sri Ramji like Lord Shiva?’

Doha:

Pradhamahim mai kahi siv charit bucha marmu tumhar/

Suchi sevak tumh ram ke rahit samast bikar//

‘I know your deep sensitivity (Love for Lord Shiv), and that’s why you narrated the story of Lord Shiv first. You are pure hearted and an ardent devotee of Lord Sri Ramachandra.’

**

Mai jana tumhar guna seela/ Kahavu sunahu ab raghupathy leela//

Sunu muni aaju samagam torem/ Kahi na jayi jas sukhu mann morem//

‘I have discerned your nature and qualities. Now, listen, I will narrate Sri Ram’s story.  Dear sage, the joy I feel on meeting you today, cannot be described.’

**

Ram charit ati amit muneesa/ Kahi na sakahim sat koti aheesa//

Tadapi jadhashrut kahavu bakhani/ Sumiri girapati prabhu dhanupani//

‘Dear sage, the story of Sri Ram is ineffable, and even one hundred Seshnag cannot narrate it completely. Even so, I remember Sri Ramachandra with the bow in his hand; the One who controls the flow of words (the One who inspires me).’

**

Sarad darunari sam swami/ Ramu sutradhar antarjami//

Jehi par kripa karahim janu jani/ Kabi ur ajir nachavahim bani//

Sri Ram, the omniscient,  is the puppeteer who controls the thread which makes Devi Saraswati move (the one who controls the gift of words, is the Lord himself.) Knowing a poet as his devotee, the Lord takes compassion on him, and makes Saraswati dance inside the garden of his heart!

**

Pranavau soyi kripal raghunadha/ Barnau bisad tasu guna gadha//

Param ramya giribaru kailasu/ Sada jahan siv uma nivasu//

I am bowing before the ocean of compassion Sri Ramji and going to narrate the story of his pristine qualities. The mountain Kailas, where Lord Shiva and Uma reside, is great and extremely enchanting in its beauty.

**

Doha:

Siddh tapodhan jogijan sur kinnar munibrindh/

Basahim taham sukriti sakal sevahim siv sukhakand//

On the mountain peak reside siddhas, saints, deva, kinnar and groups of monks. They are all elevated souls and serve Lord Shiva, the giver of all joys.

**

Hari har bimukh dharma rati nahim/ Te nar tah sapnehu nahim jahim//

Tehi giri par bat bitap bisala/ Nit nutan sundar sab kala//

The person who has turned away from Shiv and Vishnu (Har and Hari), who does not walk on the path of Dharma, can never approach Kailas even in his dreams. There is a majestic banyan tree on the pinnacle which remains eternally green and lush every season of the year.

**

Tribidh sameer suseetali chhaya/ Siv bishram bitap shruti gaaya//

Ek baar tehi tar prabhu gayavu/ Taru biloki ur ati sukhu bhayavu//

The breeze around is soothing, gentle and fragrant; and it is always cool. The tree under which Lord Shiv rests, about which the Vedas have sung, stands on the pinnacle. One day, Lord Shiv went near the tree and his heart was brimming over with happiness.

**

Nij kar daasi nagaripu chhala/ Baide sahajahim sambhu kripala//

Kund indu dar gaur sareera/ Bhuj pralamb paridhan municheera//

After spreading the tiger skin underneath the tree, Lord Shiv seated himself. His body shimmered like kund pushpa (jasmines), the moon and the conch shell. His  long arms were arresting in sight,  and his attire was vatkal ( from bark of trees ), which the mendicants wear.

**

Tarun arun ambuj sam charna/ Nakh duti bhagat hriday tam harna//

Bhujag bhuti Bhushan Tripuraari/ Aananu sarad chand chhabi haari//

His feet resembled newly blossomed lotus flowers, and the glimmer of his nails conquered all darkness in the hearts of devotees. Serpents and ashes were his adornments; Lord Shiv, the one who is also known as Tripurari ( One interpretation says : He who destroyed three cities of demons with a single arrow; Tripurantaka. Another says, He who killed Tripurasur), the radiance of his face defeated the beauty of the autumnal full moon !

**

Doha:

Jata mukut sursarit sir lochan nalin bisaal/

Neelkanth lavanyanidhi soh balbidhu bhaal//

His hair was knotted in the crown from which divine Ganga flowed. His eyes were big, shaped like lotus petals. The Lord’s throat was blue ( He is the blue necked one, having swallowed the bitter venom, Kalkoot/Halahal to protect the universe during the churning of the milky oceans), and He is the embodiment of beauty. The new crescent moon shone resplendent on his forehead.

**

Baide soh kamaripu kaisem/ Dharem sareeru santharasu jaisem//

Parbati bhal avasaru jani/ Gayim sambhu pahim matu bhavani//

How was Lord Shiv ( the enemy of Kamdev) looking, seated thus? He was the incarnation of serenity itself! Perceiving it was an auspicious time,  Devi Parvati approached her husband.

**


The Marriage of Lord Shiv and Princess Parvati

Doha:

Bhayi bikal abala sakal dukhit dekhi girinari/

Kari bilapu rodati badati suta sanehu sambhari//

Seeing Queen Main’s agony, all the women were stricken with grief. Remembering the loving nature of her beautiful daughter, Maina was weeping and lamenting thus…

**

Narad kar mai kah bigara/ Bhavanu mor jinh basat ujara//

As upadesu Umahi jinh deenha/ Baure barhi laagi tapu keenhu//

‘What harm had I ever done to Narad that he has ended up destroying my home? Listening to his advice, Parvati performed penance to gain such a lunatic husband!’

**

Sachehu unh kem moh na maya/ Udaseen dhamu dhamu na jaya//

Par ghar khalak laaj na bheera/ Baach ki jaan prasav kai peera//

‘In truth, Narad has no desire for anything, no illusions, no money, no house, no wife; he is the most indifferent and laid-back. That is why he decided to shake the foundation of somebody else’s home! Afterall, how shall a barren woman know the pain of giving birth?’

**

Jananihi bikal biloki bhavani/ Boli jut bibek mridu bani//

As bichari sochahi mati mata/ So na tarayi jo rachayi bidhata//

Seeing her extremely distressed mother, Parvati spoke pleasing, soothing words. ‘ Dear mother, whatever destiny has in store, it cannot be stopped. So, stop worrying so much.’

**

Karam likha jaum bavur nahu/ Tau kat dosu lahayiya kahu//

Tumh san mitahim ki bidhi ke anka/ Matu byardh jani lehu kalanka//

‘If a crazy husband is written in my destiny, why blame someone else for it? Can you rewrite whatever the creator has written?

So, let us not accuse anybody and cause that stain in the character.

**

Jani lehu matu kalanku karuna pariharahu avasar nahim/

Dukhu sukhu jo likha lillar hamare jab jah pavub tahim//

Suni Uma bachan bineet komal sakal abala sochahim/

Bahu bhanti bidhihi lagayi dushan nayan baari bimochahim//

‘My dear mother, let us not blame anyone, leave aside this grieving, this is not the time to be sad. Whatever happiness and misery is written in my fate, I shall receive them wherever I go.’ On listening to Paravati’s sweet and consoling words, all the women started brooding and censuring the creator’s act, started shedding tears.

**

Doha:

Tehi avasar narad sahit aru rishi sapt samet/

Samachar suni tuhingiri gavane turat niket//

King Himavan took Naradji and the Saptarishi home as soon he heard of the news.

**

Tab Narad sabahi samuchava/ Purab kadhaprasangu sunava//

Mayana satya sunahi mam bani/ Jagadamba tav suta Bhavani//

Then Narad narrated the story of  Parvati’s previous incarnation (Sati’s story) and said, ‘Maina, listen to the truth. Your daughter is the ‘Mother of the Universe, Bhavani’ herself.’

**

Aja anadi sakti abinasini/ Sada Sambu ardhang nivasini//

Jag sambhav palan laya karini/ Nij iccha leela bapu dharini//

‘She is indestructible Shakti without birth or death. She is the ardhangini of Shiva and will remain an inseparable part of Him. She is the one who creates, maintains and destroys the universe. She assumes any physical form based on her wishes.’

**

Janamim pradham dacch grih jayi/ Namu Sati sundar tanu payi//

Tahahu Sati Sankarahi bibahim/ Kadha prasiddh sakal jag mahim//

‘She was born in King Daksha Prajapati’s home first. Her name was Sati then and was extremely beautiful. Sati married Shiva. The whole world knows this story.’

**

Ek bar aavat Siv sanga/ Dekhevu raghukul kamal patanga//

Bhayavu mohu Siv kaha na keenha/ Bhram bas beshu Siy kar leenha//

‘Once Sati , when she was with her husband, saw the sun of (lotus) Raghukul clan, Sri Ramachandra himself. She got confused by Maya and disregarding Shiva’s warning, assumed Sita’s guise (to test Sri Ramachandra).’

**

Siya beshu Satim jo keenh tehim aparadh Sankar pariharim/

Har birah jayi bahori pitu kem jagya joganal jarim//

Ab janami tumhare bhavan nij pati laagi darun tapu kiya

As jani samsay tajahu Girija sarbada Sankapriya//

‘For the sin of assuming the physical form of Sita, Lord Shiva rejected Sati. Burning with the pain of separation from her beloved, she went to attend her father Daksha’s yagna and burnt herself to ashes in the sacrificial pyre. Now Jagadamba has taken birth in your home as Girija and did excruciating penance for acquiring Shiva as husband again. So discard all apprehensions, Parvati has always been Shiva’s beloved.’

**

Doha:

Suni Narad ke bachan tab sab kar mita bishad/

Chhan mahu byapevu sakal pur ghar ghar yeh sambad//

Listening to Sage Narad’s words, all grief was driven away and in a matter of moments, the good news spread across the city.

**

Tab maina himavantu anande/ Puni puni parbati pad bande//

Nari purush sisu juba sayane/ Nagar log sab ati harshane//

Maina and Himavan were overwhelmed with joy and were bowing at Parvati’s feet again and again. The women, men, children, youth and old folk of the city were delirious with joy.

**

Lage hon pur mangal gaana/ Saje sabahim hatak ghat nana//

Bhanti anek bhayi jevnara/ Supsastra jas kacchu byavahara//

The city resounded with auspicious songs and everyone started decorating the golden pots for worship. As per the dictates of the art of cooking, many kitchens were being readied.

**

So jevnar ki jayi bakhani/ Basahim bhavan jehim matu bhavani//

Sadar bole sakal barati/ Bishnu biranchi dev sab jati//

How can the greatness of the food be described, when the Mother Goddess herself dwells in that home? Himavan reverently invited Lord Vishnu, Brahma and all other devas.

**

Bibidh panti baidi jevnara/ Lage parusan nipun suaara//

Naribrind sur jewat jani/ Lagim den gaarim mridu bani//

There were many rows of guests seated to have the feast. Talented cooks started preparing the food. Groups of women started teasing sweetly knowing that the devas were having food.

**

Gaarim madhur swar dehim sundarim bingya bachan sunavahim/

Bhojanu karahim sur ati bilambu binodu suni sachu pavahim//

Jewat jo badyo anandu so much kotihu na parai kahyo/

Achavayi deenhe paan gavne baas jah jaako rahyo//

The beautiful women were mocking sweetly and hinting at innuendos. The devas were relishing their teasing and so were taking a long time in finishing their repast. The joy of enjoying the feast was so great that hundred lakh ( crore) tongues cannot do justice in describing the experience! After the feast and ablutions, everyone was served with paan. Then the guests dispersed to their dwelling places.

**

Doha:

Bahuri muninh himavant kahu lagan sunayi aayi/

Samay biloki bibah kar padaye dev bolayi//

The sages returned to show the wedding time (lagn patrika) to Himavan and at the due time for the auspicious function, called the devas.

**

Boli sakal sur sadar leenhe/ Sabahi jadhochit aasan deenhe//

Bedi bedh bidhan samwari/ Subhag sumangal gavahim nari//

All the devas were invited respectfully and seated with due diligence. The pandal was decorated as per Vedic rites and the women were singing soulful, auspicious songs.

**

Singhasanu ati dibya suhava/ Jayi na barni biranchi banava//

Baide Siv bipranh siru nayi/ Hridayam sumiri noj prabhu Raghurayi//

There was a stunning throne on the stage, which was made by Brahma himself. Its beauty was incomparable. Bowing his head and showing respect to the elevated souls, bearing Sri Ramji in his heart, Lord Shiva was seated therein.

**

Bahuri munisanh uma bolayi/ Kari singaru sakhim lai aayi//

Dekhat roopu sakal sur mohe/ Barnai chhabi as jag kabi ko hai//

The sages asked that Parvati be ushered inside. The maids got the princess ready and brought her inside. She was so lovely that every deva was enchanted at her sight. Is there a poet in this universe who can describe the gorgeous Girija?

**

Jagadambika jaani bhav Bhama/ Suranh manahim mann keenh pranama//

Sundarata marjad bhavani/ Jaayi na kotihu badan bakhani//

Knowing that they were seeing the ‘Mother of the Universe’, the consort of Lord Shiva, all the devas were reverently worshipping her in their hearts. Parvati’s beauty was so great ( the ultimate) that not even with a crore tongue could that glory be described.

**

Kotihu badan nahim banai barnat jag Janani sobha maha/

Sakuchahimkahat shruti sesh sarad mandmati Tulsi kaha//

Chabikhani matu bhavani gavanim madhya mandap siv jaha//

Avaloki sakahim na sakuch pati pad kamal manu madhukaru taha//

Even from one crore faces, the radiance of Parvati (Mother of the Universe) cannot be elucidated. When the Vedas, Seshnag and Goddess Saraswati cannot do justice to her beauty, where does the mentally backward Tulsidas stand a chance? The embodiment of beauty and radiance, Girija proceeded to the middle of the mandal, where Lord Shiva sat. Since she felt extremely shy, Parvati did not dare to look at her bridegroom’s lotus feet; however the honey bees of her mind were buzzing nearby those lotus flowers.

**

Doha:

Muni anusasan ganapatihi pujehu sambhu bhavani/

Kovu suni samsay karai jani sur anadi jiya jani//

Following the instructions of the sages, Shiv and Parvati did the worship of Ganpati first of all. Let not any doubt arise in any mind on hearing this fact, please know that there is no origin for the gods.

(Note: Remove the doubt that Ganpati is the son of Shiva and Parvati, where did he appear from at the time of their wedding?)

**

Jasi bibah kai bidhi shruti  gaayi/ Mahamuninh so sab karvayi//

Gahi girees kus kanya pani/ Bhavahi samarpim jaani bhavani//

Following all the rites of marriages enunciated in the Vedas, the sages conducted the wedding. With kush grass in hand, King Himavan bestowed his daughter’s hand to Lord Shiv, knowing that she was the ardhangini,  the better half of the Lord.

**

Panigrahan jab keenh mahesa/ Hiyam harshe tab sakal suresa//

Bedmantra munibar uccharahim/ Jay jay jay sankar sur karahim//

When Lord Shiv took Parvati’s hand (panigrahan), all the gods, Indra and other devas found their hearts filled with delight. The evolved sages started reciting the shlokas of Vedas and the devas started hailing Lord Shiva enthusiastically.

**

Bajahim bajan bibidh bidhana/ Sumanbrishti nabh bhai bidhi nana//

Har Girija kar bhayavu bibahu/ Sakal bhuvan bhari raha uchahu//

A panoply of musical instruments started playing. Different varieties of flowers were showering from the skies. The marriage of Lord Shiva and Devi Parvati became a reality and the whole of the Brahmand, ( all the universes created by Brahma) became enthralled with joy

**

Dasim das Turag radh nagaa/ Dhenu basan mani bastu bibhaaga//

Ann kanakbhajan bhari jana/ Dayij deenh na jayi bakhana//

Maid servants, male servants, horses, chariots, cows, clothes, precious stones , rice, golden vessels,  and many other gifts were laden in many vehicles as Parvati’s dowry; and describing those is not possible.

**

Dayij diyo bahu bhanti puni kar jori himbhutar kaho//

Ka devu purankam sankar charan pankaj gahi raho//

Siva kripasagar sasur kar santhoshu sab bhantihi kiyo/

Puni gahe pad padhoj mayana prem paripuran hiyo//

After showering the couple with many gifts, and folding his hands respectfully King Himavan said, ‘Lord Shiva, you are the fulfiller of all wishes, what can I give you?’ He prostrated himself at the Lord’s feet and the Lord, ocean of compassion, consoled his father-in-law in many ways. Queen Maina, her heart overwhelmed with love, clutched at the Lord’s lotus feet.

**
Doha:

Nadh Uma mam pran sam grihkinkari karehu/

Chamehu sakal aparadh ab hoyi prasann baru dehu// ‘ Dear Lord, my daughter Uma is as beloved to me like my very life breath! Make her your life companion (Sah-dharmini, who walks with you every step devotedly) and forgive all her mistakes. Give me this blessing with joy.’

**


Unseen Worlds

There are infinite, parallel worlds which are unseen by mortal eyes. The ones who know the key to the ciphers, open the doors, and walk in. Welcome to a new, marvellous world of ineffable joy. These worlds are not the ones accessible through drugs, alcohol or any intoxicating substances. Yes, I remember the Oliver Stone movie, ‘The Doors”, and the original William Blake reference which inspired the rockband.

If the doors of perception were cleansed every thing would appear to man as it is, Infinite. For man has closed himself up, till he sees all things thro’ narrow chinks of his cavern.”

I speak of invisible threads connecting the worlds of knowledge: art, poetry, prose, plays, books, movies, sculpture, languages, dance, running, theatre, science….keep adding ad infinitum. These are portals to worlds filled with great joy, and often run into hall ways where others who walked in through different doors meet one another.

For example, you read about Francoise Gilot, the only woman who walked away from Picasso (his women either committed suicide or suffered mental breakdowns…( Ahem, classic Bluebeard who killed off their independent spirits!) and then discover that she was a very evolved woman, successful as an artist, and led a happy life with the great scientist Jonas Salk.

One might read her book ‘Living with Picasso’ or watch the Merchant Ivory movie ‘Surviving Picasso’ (starring Anthony Hopkins as the eponymous artist) and end up in the ‘hallway’ to just sit and sigh over human lives! Only few, very few ‘get you’ and what a joy to spend time discussing the whole world of art and its peccadilloes!

Somebody who walked in through the door called ‘Swedish cinema’ ( to which you did not have the key of the cipher) might gently hint at ‘Liv and Ingmar’: a seemingly parallel story of two great creative souls and their lives together. Liv Ulmann the brilliant actress and Ingmar Bergman, the great Swedish director. Were all creative geniuses troublesome when it came to relationships? Wasn’t the documentary great? How beautiful Liv is, and how compassionate and spiritual are her ruminations over her deep friendship with Ingmar Bergman.

Maybe, another would suggest, from behind his newspapers, having come in through the door called Urdu literature , Irish or Arab literature (imagine the hall way to be populated by human beings from different times and lands and languages that even the Tower of Babel couldn’t conceive….), that one should most definitely read ‘The magic lantern’ and then compare the director’s childhood with that of both Satyajit Ray and Akira Kurosawa. And yes, do read Kurosawa’s ‘Something like an autobiography’. All of them were super sentitive to sights, smells, lights and shade, and subtle nuances of life earlier on…

‘Contentment’ is a strange lady. She is far more finicky than the elegant woman called, ‘Happiness’. But there are human beings who woo the former, because the latter comes closely at her heels more often than not. And every day, every moment, someone is trying a key to unlock another door and reach the hallway where the human souls meet.

Let us teach the secrets of the cipher to our children earlier on in life. So then, they will realize, that life has secrets more tantalizing than the visible circus that often passes of in its name. And all it costs, is the strength of the human spirit and the willingness to learn. It will make us kinder, humbler, more tolerant and aware of the esential oneness of humanity. We get to see beyond what the ‘powers that be’ want us to believe all across the world. We discover truths for our own selves.

As a start, let us read C.S.Lewis’s essays….Ah, man, he was the master keysmith! Following his footsteps, one ends up in dazzling worlds.

***


Parvati’s Mother, Queen Maina, is Shocked…(Bal Kanda)

Sail sakal jah lagi jagmahim/ Laghu bisal nahim barni sirahim//

Ban sagar sab nadim talava/ Himagiri sab kahu nevat padava//

Himavan had sent wedding invitations to all small and big hills and mountains on earth, all oceans, rivers and lakes.

**

Kamroop sundar tandhari/ Sahit samaj sahit bar nari//

Gaye sakal tuhinachal geha/ Gavahim mangal sahit saneha//

All these assumed guises to their liking and accompanied by their beautiful wives and families proceeded  to King Himavan’s palace. They were all singing auspicious songs very lovingly.

**

Pradhamahim giri bahu grih samvaraye/ Jadhajogu tah tah sab chaye//

Pur sobha avaloki suhayi/ Lagayi laghu biranchi nipunayi//

Himavan had readied many suitable houses for his guests. They disembarked from their vehicles and moved into their welcoming abodes. The city was shining so beautifully that even Brahma’s creations seemed diminished by its glory.

**

Laghu lag bidhi ki nipunata avaloki pur sobha sahi/

Ban bagh koop tadag sarita Subhag sab sak ko kahi//

Mangal bipul toran pataka ketu grih grih sohahim/

Banita purush sundar chatur chabi dekhi muni mann mohahim//

Brahma’s reputation as a creator seems inferior on seeing the resplendence of Himavan’s city. The forests, groves, wells, lakes, rivers are all beautiful, and who indeed can describe them? There are lovely festoons and flags decorating every house. The beauty of the women and men in Himavan’s city was enough to enchant even the hearts of sages!

**

Doha:

Jagadamba jah avatari so puru barni ki jayi/

Riddhi siddhi sampati sukh not nutan adhikayi//

Can anyone eulogise perfectly the city where Jagadamba (Mother of the universe) has taken birth? The place witnesses great fortune, peace, mastery of all skills, prosperity growing fresh and new every day.

**

Nagar nikat baraat suni aayi/ Pur gharbharu sobha adhikayi//

Kari banaav saji bahan nana/ Chale len sadar agvana//

Hearing that Lord Shiva’s wedding procession has reached the city, there was a thrill in the air and the loveliness of the place increased. Those assigned the task of welcoming the wedding procession adorned themselves and with various vehicles went to receive the bridegroom.

**

Hiyam harshe sur sen nihari/ Harihi dekhi ati bhaye sukhari//

Siv samaj jab dekhan lage/ Bidari chale bahan sab bhage//

On sighting the group of devas, all were delighted and the vision of Sri Hari was greatly wonderful to everybody’s eyes. But on seeing Lord Shiva’s bhootgana, all the animals like elephants, horses, bulls, drawing the vehicles bolted in terror!

**

Dhari dheeraju tah rahe sayane/ Balak sab lai jeev parane//

Gaye bhawan puchahim pitu mata/ Kahahim bachan bhay kampit bata//

Some elders gathered courage and stayed put. The young lot fled with their lives, scared out of their wits. On reaching their homes, their parents questioned them. Then, with trembling bodies, they tried to speak.

**

Kahia kah kahi jayi na bata/ Jam kar dhar kidhaum bariaata//

Baru baurah basah asavara/ Byal kapal bibhushan chara//

However, they are unable to speak a word properly. ‘Was it a baraat (wedding procession) or the army of Yama himself? The bridegroom is crazy and is seated on a bullock! His ornaments are ashes, serpents and skulls!’

**

Tan char byal kapal bhushan nagan jatil bhayankara/

Sang bhoot pret pisach jogini bikat mukh rajanichara//

Jo jiat rahihi baraat dekhat punya badh tehi kar sahi/

Dekhihi so Uma bibahu ghar ghar baat asi larikanh kahi//

‘The bridegroom is smeared with ashes all over; snakes and human skulls are his jewellery! He is naked, hair is matted and tangled and terrible to behold. Accompanying him are ghosts, spectres, yoginis and demons. Those who survive the shock of seeing Shiva’s baraat shall be fortunate and shall remain to see Parvati’s wedding!’

All the young lot spread the news in the houses.

**

Samuchi Mahes samaj sab Janani janak musukayi/

Baal buchaye bibidh bidhi nidar hohu daru nahim//

The parents understood they were describing Shiva’s entourage and smiled with understanding. They tried to soothe their children not to be afraid and stay calm.

**

Lai agavan baratahi aaye/ Diye Sabahi janvas suhaye//

Mainam subh aarati Sanwari/ Sangh sumangal gavahim naari//

The welcoming group ushered the wedding procession inside the city and showed them the beautiful houses to dwell in.  Queen Maina, Parvati’s mother, arranged the welcoming lamps (aarati) and the women started singing auspicious songs.

**

Kanchan dhar soh bar pani/ Parichan chali harahi harshani//

Bikat besh Rudrahi jab dekha/ Abalanh urb hay bhayavu bisesha//

With golden plates laden with lamps and flowers, held in lovely hands, Maina and her ladies went to greet Shiva. On seeing Rudra in his bizarre attire, terror seized hold of their hearts.

**

Bhagi bhavan paidi ati trasa/ Gaye Mahesu jaham janvasa//

Maina hriday bhayavu dukhu bhari/ Leenhi boli Giriskumari//

The women fled desperately and escaped into their homes while Lord Shiva returned to his dwelling place. Maina’s heart was filled with fear and unhappiness. She called Parvati near.

**

Adhik sanehu godh baidari/ Syam saroj nayan bhare bari//

Jehim bidhi tumhahi rupu as deenha/ Tehim jad baru bavur kas keenha//

Seating her daughter on her lap, with her blue lotus like eyes brimming over with tears, Maina lamented thus: ‘  The Lord who gave you such incomparable beauty, why did he make your bridegroom demented?’

**

Kas keenh baru baurah bidhi jehim tumhahi sundarata dayi/

Jo bhalu chahiya surataruhim so barbas baburahim lagayi//

Tumh sahit giri tem giraum pavak jaraum jalnidhi mahu paraum/

Dharu javu apajasu hovu jag jeevat bibahu na haum karamu//

‘The god who made you so lovely, why did he create a lunatic for your husband? The fruit which should be shining from Kalpvriskha (The divine tree) is now hanging from a babul tree (thorny and inauspicious tree)! I will take you along and dive from the mountain top, burn in fire or dive into the ocean…Let the house get shattered and infamy spread across the world but as long as I am alive, I shall not let this crazy bridegroom marry you!’

**

Note: There is an interesting spiritual interpretation that the Lord Shiva’s bhootgana, whom He controls, simply embodies all the six relentless enemies always wrestling inside the human mind: Kama, Krodha, Lobha, Moha, Mada and Matsarya. (Lust, Fury, Greed, Desire, Pride/Ego, Competition)The Lord always accepts all sinners and gives refuge. He is the epitome of inclusivity: all the marginalised, the laughed at, the outliers, the sufferers are given a place in his entourage…


And He Appears…

The first copies of Lanka Kanda … I am so awed and happy. Super grateful.

May the epitome of kindness and compassion, Lord Ram, bless us all.

Dedicated to my Hanumanji.

https://www.nageenprakashan.in/product/lanka-kanda-devotional-lord-hanuman-spirituality-prayer-book