Dattapaharam: Call of the Forest by V.J.James

And here is the book, published by Penguin Random House India. Every dream begins with a hope of fruition. Though it takes sweat and perseverance to climb the mountain. But the happiness is worth all that struggle!


Of Two Forest Journeys

The whole universe is a magical place. What happens to us is decided by our thoughts/words/actions melding with the Universal Mind. How the sequence plays out is the beautiful magic.

Aranya Kanda : The canto of the forest , from Tulsidasji’s Shri Ramcharitmanas has gone into publication. The Lord explores the forests and blesses many a sage in this lovely portion. Mata Sita gets abducted by Ravan and Jatayu is granted salvation by Lord Ram. The poet describes the forests, the trees, animals and birds with much affection in the original Awadhi; and my adventure in understanding and interpreting was truly blessed by His Grace.

Simultaneously, I was translating Dattapaharam- a stunning novel about the forests and its great role in human lives; by V.J.James. The author is one of the most erudite and humble people I have known in my life. Truly has the Ramayana spoken of ‘fruit laden trees bending low’: great souls are utterly simple, so unassuming and kind. They also laugh a lot.

The fact that both the books are going into print together brings me much hope and cheer. They say when coincidences happen in a miraculous manner, when serendipity graces us, the divine plan is meeting our life plan.

May the Lord help us to follow the divine path always. And empower us to do our work with humility.

**

Few hymns to the magic:

While I was poring over the edits of Aranyakanda and reached the portion of Mareech getting killed by the Lord, I casually clicked on songs in my mobile with nothing particular in my mind.

The song enveloped my senses, enchanting me.

I gazed at the mobile screen.

There He was: My Lord Ram, so beautiful and glorious, with Sita, and she was staring at the golden deer!

Tumhi mere Ram, tumhi Ghanshyam!

How could that happen?

I called my friend in utter delight and she asked me to bow my head lower.

I did.

He watches over every speck of dust, does he not?

**

I was struggling with translating a sentence which spoke of ‘sighting that which lay beyond the visible.’ Indeed, the portion referred to seeing what usually remains unseen by going inwards…a deep, spiritually heavy sentence. Typical of the author’s style, super simple, and oh-so-heavy with meaning!

I tried many a combination and permutation. The zing of satisfaction did not come.

My phone pinged. Another dear friend had forwarded a Sufi song…Tu Jhoom sung by the inimitable Abida Parveen.

Ah, Lord! Just what I needed!

The sentence translated itself in matter of moments.

He watches over every green blade , does he not?
**

So both the forest journeys, soon to be in book forms, are hereby dedicated to the Lord.

He, who is love

He, who is kindness

He, who is mine

And yours


The Story of Shri Ramcharitmanas

Sab bidhi puri manohar jani/ Sakal siddhiprada mangal khani//

Bimal kadha kar keenh arambha/ Sunat nasahi kaam mada dhambha//

Knowing that Ayodhya is beautiful in all ways, grants all siddhis and is the seating place of all prosperity, I started writing this pure story. If anybody listens to it, all desires, ego and pride (kama, mada, dhambha) shall be cleansed from within.

**

Ramcharitmanas ehi nama/ Sunat shravan payia bishrama//

Mann kari bishay anal ban jarayi/ Hoyi sukhi jaum ehim sar parayi//

The name of this work is ‘Ramcharitmanas’. On hearing it with one’s ears, it leads to peace. The elephant called mind, which is burning in desire’s fires, shall find itself cool and blissful when it steps inside the lake called ‘ Shri Ramcharitmanas’.

**

Ramcharitmanas muni bhavan/ Birachevu sambhu suhavan pavan//

Tribidh dosh dukh darid davan/ Kali kuchali kuli kalush nasavan//

The Ramcharitmanas is beloved to sages. This beautiful and pure story was told by Lord Shiva. It destroys three types of doshas, sufferings and penury; and all the hypocrisies of Kaliyuga and all forms of sins.

**

Rachi mahes nij manas rakha/ Payi susamavu siva san bhasha//

Tatem Ramcharitmanas bar/ Dharevu naam hiyam heri harashi har//

Lord Shiva conceived the story and it stayed within his mind until he narrated it to his wife Parvati. Since the Lord’s story was gracing his heart (manas), Lord Shiv was pleased and named it ‘Ramcharitmanas’.

**

Kahavu kadha soyi sukhad suhayi/ Sadar sunahu sujan mann layi//

I am going to narrate the same beautiful, blissful story of Lord Ram. Devout souls, listen to it with sincerity.

Doha:

Jas manas jehi bidhi bhayavu jag prachar jehi hetu/

Ab soyi kahavu prasang sab sumiri uma brishketu//

Now, remembering the divine Uma and Mahesh, let me describe how the Ramcharitmanas was created and which reason it spread across the world.

**

Sambhu prasad sumati hiyam hulasi/ Ramcharitmanas kabi tulsi//

Karayi manohar mati anuhari/ Sujan suchit suni lehu sudhari//

Due to Lord Shiva’s grace, intelligence dawned, and Tulsidas became the poet of Shri Ramcharitmanas. He has created it as beautiful as his intelligence could endeavour. Yet, devout souls, by listening to it with pure hearts, kindly modify any mistakes.

**

Sumati bhumi dhal hriday agadhu/ Bedh puran udadhi khan sadhu//

Barashahim Ram sujas bar bari/ Madhur manohar mangalkari//

Clear, pure intelligence is like earth; the heart is a place within; Vedas and Puranas are the oceans, and the sages and saints are the rain filled clouds. These clouds shower us with the rain waters of Lord Ram’s glorious, beautiful, sweet, wondrous and ever bountiful grace.

**

Leela sagun jo kahahim bakhani/ Soyi swachhata karayi mal hani//

Prem bhagati jo barni najayi/ Soyi madhurata susselatayi//

The elaboration of all the wonderful lila of the Lord forms the pure waters of Sri Ramji’s glory; which annihilates all evil. The ineffable loving devotion to the Lord causes the sweetness and coolness of the above said divine waters.

**

So jal sukrit saali hith hoyi/ Ram bhagat jan Jeevan soyi//

Medha mahi gath so jal pavan/ Sakili Shravan mag chalevu suhavan//

Bharevu sumanas sudhal dharana/ Sukhad seet ruchi charu chirana//

The waters of Sri Ramji’s glorious story are very beneficial for the rice crop of good deeds; and is the very life of Ram devotees. The pristine waters of Sri Ramji’s story fell on the earth of intelligence, flowed through the ears, and entering the ‘Manas’ or heart, stayed still therein. Residing there forever, it became beneficial, cool, sweet and beautiful.

**

Doha:

Sudi sundar sambad bar birache buddhi bichari/

Teyi ehi pavan subhag sar ghat manohar chari//

The four enchanting and glorious conversations interwoven within this story ( Kaka Bhushundi-Garudji, Shiva-Parvatiji, Yagyavalkya-Bharadwaji, Tulsidas-Sages) form the four ghats of  the immaculate and lovely lake.

**

Sapt prabandh subhag sopana/ Gyan nayan nirakhat mann mana//

Raghupati mahima aguna abadha/ Barnab soyi bar bari agadha//

The seven sopans (cantos) are the seven steps of this gorgeous lake of Ramcharitmanas. Gazing at which, through eyes of wisdom, the mind becomes pleased. The description of SriRamji’s nirguna (transcending all qualities) and unique greatness ushers in the depths of the graceful waters.

**

Ram Siya jas salil sudhasam/ Upma beechi bilas manoram//

Purayini saghan charu chaupayi/ Juguti manju mani seep suhayi//

The glories of Sri Ramji and Janaki are like amrit.  The metaphors in the poetry are like the play of waves. The beautiful chaupayis are like lotus blossoms in the lake; and the poetic references are the sea shells holding pretty pearls.

**

Chhand sorada sundar doha/ Soyi bahurang kamal kul soha//

Aradh anoop subhav subhasa/ Soyi parag makarand subasa//

The beautiful play of words (Chhand, Sorada, Doha) is like an ensemble of vibrantly coloured lotus flowers. The incomparable meaning, spiritual elevation and exquisite language are the pollen, honey and fragrance of these flowers.

**

Sukrit punj manjul ali mala/ Gyan birag bichar marala//

Dhuni avareb kabit guna jati/ Meen Manohar te bahu bhanti//

The gathering of punya is like a flock of blue bees. Wisdom, detachment and contemplation are the swans. The intonation, word play, quality and character of the poetry are like beautiful fishes swimming about the waters.

**

Aradh dharam kamadik chari/ Kahab gyan bigyan bichari//

Nav ras jap tap jog biraga/ Te sab jalchar charu tadaga//

Dharma, Artha, Kama, Moksha: these four purusharthas, the wisdom and practical knowledge ingrained within, the nine rasas of poetry, recitation of the Lord’s name (jap), tap or meditation, yoga, and affirmations of detachment- these are all the enchanting creatures which thrive in this water body.

**

Sukriti sadhu naam guna gaana/ Te bichitra jalbihag samana//

Santsabha chahu disi avarayi/ Shradhha ritu basant sam gayi//

The pure souls, sages and songs eulogizing Sri Ramji are the scintillating water birds around. The  groups of sages are like the mango orchards surrounding the lake and the prayerful dedication shines like the spring season.

**


Sri Hari’s Beautiful Story

Kalpabhed Haricharit suhaye/ Bhanti anek munisanh gaye//

Kari ana samsay as ur aani/ Sunia kadha sadar rati maani//

In different yugas, sages have sung about the glorious stories of Sri Hari. Do not have any doubt in your mind, and with due respect and love, listen to this story.

**

Doha:

Ram anant anant guna amit kadha bistar/

Suni acharaju na manihahim jinh kem bimal bichar//

Sri Ramji is infinite, and his qualities are also infinite; hence his stories also are countless. Those whose thoughts are pristine and pure shall not be surprised at hearing this story.

**

Ehi bidhi sab samsay kari duri/ Sar dhari gur pad Pankaj dhuri//

Puni sabahi binavavu kar jori/ Karat kadha jehim lag na khori//

In this manner, after keeping all apprehensions at bay, wearing the dust of my guru’s lotus feet on my head, I pray with folded hands to everybody, so that no blemish occurs in the narration of this story.

**

Sadar sivahi nayi ab madha/ Barnavu bisad Ram guna gadha//

Sambat sorah sai ekteesa/ Karavu kadha Hari pad dhari seesa//

Now I prostrate myself before Lord Shiva and begin the pure and beautiful story of Sri Ramji. In this year 1631, after bowing my head at the feet of Sri Hari.

**

Naumi bhaum baar madhumasa/ Awadhpurim yeh charit prakasa//

Jehi din Ram janam shruti gavahim/ Teeradh sakal taham chali aavahim//

On the Navami of Chaitra, on Tuesday, this story began in Ayodhya. The Vedas say that on the day of Sri Ramji’s birth, all the divine rivers flow towards Ayodhya and reach the divine city.

Asur nag khag nar muni deva/ Aayi karahim Raghunayak seva//

Janma mahotsav rachahim sujana/ Karahim Ram kal keerati gaana//

Asuras, Nagas, birds, humans, sages, devas all reach Ayodhya and serve Sri Ramji. The wise people celebrate the Lord’s birth- festival and sing about his great glories that day.

**

Doha:

Majjahim Sajjan brind bahu pavan saraju neer/

Japahim Ram dhari dhyan ur sundar syam sareer//

On that day, the devotees take bath in the pure waters of Sarayu, and meditating on the blue-hued Lord, keep reciting his divine name ‘Ram’.

**

Daras paras majjan aru paana/ Harayi paap kah bed purana//

Nadi puneet amit mahima ati/ Kahi na sakayi Sarada bimal mati//

The Vedas and Puranas say that seeing, touching, taking bath or drinking the holy waters of river Sarayu vanquishes all sins. This river is very pure, and its greatness is ineffable, which even the brilliant Saraswatiji cannot describe fully.

**

Ram dhamada puri suhavani/ Lok samast bidit ati pavani//

Chari khani jag jeev apara/ Awadh tajem tanu nahim samsara//

This radiant Ayodhya puri grants access to Vishnu Dham. Indeed, it is a holy place and is famous across all worlds. Of the four forms of life on the universe (Andaj (born of egg), Uddhibhaj( born of the earth) Swedaj (Born from excreted elements) and Jarayujj (Born of wombs), if its death occurs at Ayodhya, there is no return to the unending cycle of births and deaths in this world.

**


The Beautiful River Mandakini…

Doha:

Ramkadha Mandakini Chitrakoot chitt charu/

Tulsi subhag saneh ban siya Raghubeer biharu//

Tulsidasji says that Sriramji’s story is like the pure river Mandakini; a beautiful, pristine heart is like Chitrakoot, and true love is the forest where Sri Ramji moves about graciously.

**

Ramcharit Chintamani charu/ Sant sumati tiya subhag singaru//

Jag mangal gunagram Ram ke/ Dani mukuti dhan dharam dham ke//

Sri Ramji’s blessed story is the wish-fulfilling, gorgeous jewel ‘Chintamani’.  It adorns the woman embodying the wisdom of the sages. Sri Ramji’s good qualities grant prosperity and joy to the world; and bestow salvation, riches, dharma, and access to the Vishnu dham.

**

Sadgur gyan birag jog ke/ Bibudh baid bhav bheem rog ke//

Janani Janak siya Ram prem ke/ Beej sakal brat dharam nem ke//

The story of Sri Ramji is the sadguru for attaining wisdom, detachment and yoga. It is akin to the twin brothers, Ashwini Kumaras, (who are the vaids of devas) when it comes to vanquishing the dreadful disease of worldly sufferings. The story acts like progenitors for creating love towards Sri Ramji and is the seed of complete penance, dharma and all laws.

**

Saman paap santap sok ke/ Priya palak parlok lok ke//

Sachiv subhat bhupati bichar ke/ Kumbhaj lobh udadhi apar ke//

Sri Ramji’s beautiful story ends all sins, sufferings and disappointments. It looks after this world as well as the next. If wisdom was embodied in a king, then the story is his courageous minister. It is like Agastya who can dry up the oceans of greed and worldly desires.

**

Kam koh kalimal karigan ke/ Kehari savak jan mann ban ke//

Atithi pujya priyatam purari ke/ Kamad ghan darid dawari ke//

The story of the Lord is like the young lions which kill the elephants called kaam (lust), krodh (fury), and other Kaliyug’s sins (lobha/moha/mada/matsarya-greed/ desire/ego/competition et al) which dwell within the minds of devotees. The Lord’s story is the beloved and venerated guest of Lord Shiva; and is like the rain filled clouds which douses the flames of poverty.

**

Mantra mahamani bishay byal ke/ Metat kadin kuvank bhal ke//

Haran moh tam dinkar kar se/ Sevak saali paal jaldhar se//

The story acts as the divine mantra and precious stone for removing the venom of the snake called sensory desires. Sri Ramji’s story can remove even the toughest fate lines (Prarabdh : accumulated karmas of previous births). It is equivalent to the sun’s rays in destroying the darkness of ignorance. It is also like rain clouds when it comes to taking care of the devotees who are like the rice saplings.

**

Abhimat daani devtaru bar se/ Sevat sulabh sukhad Hari Har se//

Sukabi sarad nabh mann udgan se/ Rambhagat jan Jeevan dhan se//

Sri Ramji’s divine story is like Kalpataru (Kalpavriksh-the tree which bestows whatever the devotee desires) in fulfilling the devotee’s wishes. It is like Vishnu and Shiva when it comes to answering prayers and bestowing happiness. The Lord’s story is like the stars illuminating the mind-sky of the good poet called autumn season (Sharad); and is the very life-line of Sri Ramji’s devotees.

**

Sakal sukrit phal bhuri bhog se/ Jag hith nirupadhi sadhu log se//

Sevak mann manas maral se/ Pavan gang tarang maal se//

The divine story results in great punya; akin to the royal feast offered unto the Gods. The story does unpretentious good to the universe just like the sages and saints. The Lord’s story is like the beautiful white swans swimming about in the Manasarovar Lake of the devotee’s mind and purifies one like Gangaji herself.

Doha:

Kupadh kutarak kuchali kali kapat dambh pashand/

Dahan Ram guna gram jimi indhan anal prachand//

Sri Ramachandra’s great qualities shall burn down all the wrong paths, malicious arguments, wrong behaviours, the hypocrisies, arrogance, pretentiousness of Kali Yug like a fiery flame enhanced by fuel.

**

Ramcharit rakes kar saris sukhad sab kahu/

Sajjan kumud chakor chitt hith biseshi bada lahu//

Sri Ramji’s story is appealing and joyful to everyone like the light of a full moon. However, for good souls, it is extremely precious and especially benevolent like moonlight is to water lilies and Chakor birds.

**

Keenhi prasn jehi bhanti Bhawani/ Jehi bidhi sankar kaha bakhani//

So sab hetu kahab mai gayi/ Kadha prabandh bichitra banayi//

The way in which Paravtiji asked the question ( about Lord Ram) to Lord Shiv, and the manner in which he answered elaborately, I shall be singing about the unique, wondrous tale now.

**

Jehim yeh kadha suni nahim hoyi/ Jani acharaju karai suni soyi//

Kadha aloukik sunahim je gyani/ Nahim acharaju karahim as jani//

Ramkadha kai mithi jag nahim/ Asi pratiti tinh ke mann mahim//

Nana bhanti Ram avatara/ Ramayan sat koti apara//

Those who have not heard of Sri Ramji’s story, please do not be astonished on listening to it. The wise souls do not get surprised that the story of Sri Ramji is infinite and never ending. They deeply believe that Sri Ramchandra has appeared in many avatars and the narrations of Ramayana – the saga of Lord Rama- is innumerable (hundred crore and more).

**


The Saga of the Lord’s Story

Ram nikayi ravari hai sabahi ko neek/

Jaum yeh saachy hai sada tau neeko tulseek//

‘Sri Ramji, your good heartedness showers grace on everyone.’ If this is true, Tulsidas is also blessed by the Lord’s grace.

**

Ehi bidhi nij guna dosh kahi sabahi bahuri siru nayi/

Barnavu raghubar bisad jasu suni kali kalush nasayi//

In this way, by speaking about one’s good and bad deeds, and bowing to everybody, I shall start narrating the pure glories of Sri Ramji. By listening to His story, all the sins accrued in Kaliyug gets removed.

**

Jagbalik jo kadha suhayi/ Bharadwaj munibarhi sunayi//

Kahihavu soyi sambad bakhani/ Sunahu sakal Sajjan sukhu mani//

The beautiful story which Sage Yagyavalkya narrated to Sage Bharadwaj; I shall be reciting. The good folk may listen to it and experience happiness.

**

Sambhu keenh yeh charit suhava/ Bahura kripa kari umahi sunava//

Soyi siv kagbusundihi deenha/ Ram bhagat adhikari cheenha//

Lord Shiv was the one, who first compassionately narrated the story, to Uma. Then Lord Shiv told it to Kakabushundi, knowing him to be a true servant of Ram and deserving to be told the great story.

**

Tehi san Jagbalik puni pava/ Tinh puni Bharadwaj prati gava//

Te shrota bakta samseela/ Samvadrasi janahim Harileela//

Kakabushundi then passed on the story to Sage Yagyavalkya. He told the story of Ram to Sage Bharadwaj. Both the speaker and the listener (vakta and shrota) were of same spiritual nature and similar in their philosophical outlook; knowing the playfulness (lila) of Sri Hari very well.

**

Janahim teeni kaal nij gyana/ Kartal gat aamalak samana//

Auravu je Haribhagat sujana/ Kahahim sunahim samuchahim bidhi nana//

The two divine sages are ‘Trikalagyani’ (knowing the three time zones) and like a gooseberry on one’s palm, they can see what’s happening in any time-zone in front of them. They are great devotees of Sri Hari (deeply cognisant of Hari leela); and they narrate , hear and understand this beautiful story in many ways.

**

Doha:

Mai puni nij gur san suni kadha so sukarkheth/

Samuchi nahim tasi balpan tab ati rahevu achet//

I heard this story in the realm of Varaha avatar from my blessed Guru. However, since I was very immature, I could hardly discern the depths of the beautiful story.

**

Shrota baktha gyannidhi kadha Ram kai gudh/

Kimi samuchaum mai jeev jad kali mal grasit bimoodh//

The narrator and listener of Sri Ramji’s glorious story has to be the treasure house of wisdom. How could someone like me, swathed by all sins of Kaliyug, stupid and foolish to the core, lifeless and barren, ever hope to decipher the enigmatic story?

**

Tadapi kahi gur barahim bara/ Samuchi pari kacchu mati anusara//

Bhashabaddh karbi mai soyi/ Morem mann prabodh jehim hoyi//

When my Guru repeated the story of the Lord many times, I started comprehending it partially. Now what I have understood, I shall narrate in the vernacular language, so that my mind becomes happy.

**

Buddh bishram sakal jan ranjani/ Ramkadha kali kalush bibhanjani//

Ram kadha kali pamnag bharni/ Puni bibek pavak kahu arni//

The story of Sri Ramji rests the minds of the learned; delights everyone who listens to it. It vanquishes all the sins accrued in Kaliyug. Sri Ramji’s story is the female peacock which kills the snake embodying Kaliyug. It is also the ‘arni’ (the wood used to kindle holy sacrificial fire) which shall kindle wisdom and discrimination. (Through this story, inner wisdom shall arise.)

**

Ram kadha kali kamad gaayi/ Sujan sajeevani moori suhayi//

Soyi basudhatal sudha tarangini/ Bhay bhanjani bhram bhek bhuangini//

 In Kaliyug, Sri Ramji’s beautiful story is like Kamdhenu, the divine cow who bestows whatever you desire. For the good folk, it is like the life-giving Sanjeevani herb, which acts as the elixir of life. On earth, it is like a river of amrit; it destroys the fear of life and death; and is like the female serpent which eats the frogs of illusions.

**

Asur sen sam narak nikandini/ Sadhu bibudh kul hit girinandini//

Sant samaj payodhi rama si/ Biswa bhaar bhar achal chama si//

The Ram Kadha is like Durga, who vanquishes the narak equivalent to an army of asuras; and protects the sages and their clan. For the milky ocean (ksheer sagar) embodying the society of saints, the story of Sri Ramji is like Lekshmi herself. For carrying all the burdens effortlessly, the story acts like Mother Earth (Prithvi)herself.

**

Jam gan muh masi jag jamuna si/ Jeevan mukuti hetu janu kasi//

Ramahi priya pavani tulsi si/ Tulsidas hith hiyam hulsi si//

To combat the Yamudoota (to put ink on the face of Yama’s messenger, literally), the story of Ramji is like the dusky Yamuna herself. For salvation of the soul, Ram kadha acts like Kashi.  Narrating his story is beloved to Sri Ramji like tulsi. And as for Tulsidas, the story of the Lord does good from the heart; like ‘Hulsi’ herself (his mother’s name).

**

Sivapriya mekal sail suta si/ Sakal siddhi sukh sampati rasi//

Sadguna surgana amba aditi si/ Raghubar bhagati prem parmiti si//

This story of SriRam is as beloved to Shiv as Parvati (Narmada) herself. It augurs all siddhis and prosperity. The story is like Mata Aditi in birthing and looking after the devas called good qualities. The ultimate horizon of the love and devotion to the Lord is encapsulated in his story.

**


The Name of the Lord is the Kalpataru

Dhyanu pradham jug makhbidhi duje/ Dwapar paritoshat prabhu pujem//

Kali keval mal mool maleena/ Paap payonodhi jan mann meena//

In the first Yuga, Satya Yug, by meditation one can cross the bhav-sagar; in Treta Yuga it is through yagya (sacrifices); in the Dwapar Yuga, it is by means of puja (prayerful rituals). However, in Kali Yuga, sins have enveloped every mind and is deep rooted. The human minds are like fishes swimming in the ocean of sins in Kali Yuga. (Hence meditation, sacrifices and prayerful rituals do not become effective)

**

Naam kamataru kaal karala/ Sumirat saman sakal jag jala//

Ram naam kali abhimat data/ Hit parlok lok pitu mata//

In this Kaliyuga which is formidable and fearsome, the Name of the Lord is like Kalpavriksha-which grants all which the heart desires. Remembering the Lord’s Name, all worldly desires and sufferings are burned to cinders. Ram Naam gives everything which is benign: in this world it protects like one’s own parents; and grants access to Vishnu Dham in the yonder world (parlok).

**

Nahim kali karam na bhagati bibeku/ Ram naam avalamban eku//

Kalnemi kali kapat nidhanu/ Naam sumati samaradh Hanumanu//

In Kali yuga, there is neither karma, nor devotion, or discrimination/wisdom. The sole refuge is the Name of Ram. The Lord’s Name is the capable and intelligent Hanumanji who can kill the embodiment of all sins of the wicked Kaliyuga called Kalnemi.

**

Doha:

Ram naam narkesari kanakakasipu kalikaal/

Japak jan prahlad jimi palihi dali sursaal//

Ram’s divine Name is the Narsimha avatar; the sins of Kaliyuga is Hiranyakashipu; and the devotee chanting the Ram Naam is like prince Prahlad. The Ram Naam kills the asura called Kaliyuga and protects the chanters of the Lord’s Name.

**

Bhayam kubhayam anakh aalasahu/ Naam japat mangal disi dasahu//

Sumiri so naam Ram guna gadha/ Karavu nayi Raghunadhahi madha//

Whether you utter the Lord’s Name with love, hatred, anger or even laziness, the auspiciousness/goodness spreads across the ten directions. I remember that blissfully divine Ram Naam, bow my head before Sri Ramji and shall sing about his great glories.

**

Mori sudharihi so sab bhanti/ Jasu kripa nahim kripam aghati//

Ram suswami kusevaku mosu/ Nij disi dekhi dayanidhi poso//

Sri Ramji’s compassion is indescribable; He shall correct all my life’s fault-lines (Grace me with abundant blessings). Such a great Lord like Sri Ramji and such a lowly servant like me! Even then, that embodiment of kindness, has taken pity on me and guards me with compassion.

**

Lokahu beda susahib reeti/ Binay sunat pahichanat preeti//

Gani gareeb gram nar nagar/ Pandit moodh malin ujagar//

In the world, and in the Vedas the ways of the good king are stated thus: on hearing the polite request, he recognises the love and sincerity. Whether rich or poor, illiterate or sophisticated, pandit or fool, notorious person or famous man…

**

Sukabi kukabi nij mati anuhari/ Nripahi sarahat sab nar nari//

Sadhu sujan suseel nripala/ Ees ans bhav param kripala//

Good poet or bad poet; all men and women praise the ruler as per their intelligence. The sage, the wise, the good natured one and the king, formed from a part of Brahma himself…

**

Suni sanmanahim Sabahi subani/ Bhaniti bhagati nati gati pahichani//

Yeh prakrit mahipal subhavu/ Jaan siromani Kosalravu//

 (They…as mentioned above) Listen to everyone and discerning the words, devotion, humility and sincerity answer with sweetness and grace each with rewards. Now, this is the nature of ordinary good rulers, whereas Lord Sri Ramchandra is the crown jewel of all wise kings!

**

Reechat Ram saneh nisotem/ Ko jag mand malinmati motem//

Sri Ramji is pleased only by the purest love. But in this world, where is a fool and sinner bigger than my own self?

**

Doha:

Sadh sevak ki preeti ruchi rakhihahim Ram Kripalu/

Upal kiye jaljaan jehim sachiv sumati kapi bhalu//

But the generous, compassionate Sri Ramji will still bless this wicked servant (and indulge his imperfect love and devotion to the Lord). After all, He is the one who made stones float on the ocean and anointed monkeys and bears as his wise counsel of ministers.

**

Hauhu kahavat sabu kahat Ram sahat upahas/

Sahib Sitanadh so sevak tulsidas//

Everybody says that I am Ram’s servant ; and I too, losing all shame and hesitation, do not dare to correct them. The great Lord tolerates this indignity of a wicked man like me being the servant of the incomparable Sri Ram!

**

Ati badi mori didayi khori/ Suni agh narakahu naak sakori//

Samuchi saham mohi apadar apnem/ So sudhi Ram keenhi nahim sapnem//

There is no limit to my stubbornness and sins that even the Narak has no place for a sinner like me. I am horrified by myself, yet the kindest Lord, Sri Ramji simply ignores all my multifarious faults and sins.

**

Suni avaloki suchit chakh chahi/ Bhagati mori mati swami sarahi//

Kahat nasayi hoyi hiyam neeki/ Reechat Ram jaani jan jee ki//

After listening and seeing all my faults with his pure eyes, Lord Ram is pleased with my devotion and acumen! In spite of whatever one says, what matters is the purity of a devotee’s heart. The Lord gazes inside one’s heart and showers His abundant graces.

**

Rahit na prabhu chit chuk kiye ki/ Karat surati saya baar hiye ki//

Jehim agh badhevu byadh jimi bali/ Phiri sukand soyi keenhi kuchali//

The good Lord never remembers the sins of the devotees and only retains the memories of their good deeds. Indeed, the sin which Bali committed and which made Sri Ramji kill him like an animal; Sugreev continued to commit the same! (Take the brother’s wife as his own)

**

Soyi kartooti bibheeshan keri/ Sapnehu so na Ram hiyam heri//

Te Bharatahi bhentath sanmane/ Rajsabham Raghubeer bakhane//

Vibheeshan too committed the same sin; but not even in his dreams did the Lord take affront. When he returned to Ayodhya, he praised his brother Bharat with such generosity of spirit in the royal court.

**

Doha:

Prabhu taru tar kapi dar par te kiye aapu saman/

Tulsi kahu na Ram se sahib seelnidhan//

Is there any comparison between the supreme Lord Ram and the monkeys frolicking on the tree branches? Yet, the Lord treated them as equals. Tulsidas vouches that there is nobody as kind or good hearted as the embodiment of compassion Sri Ramji.

**


The Greatness of His Name

Naam jeeh japi jagahim jogi/ Birati biranchi prapanch biyogi//

Brahmasukhahi anubhavahim anoopa/ Akadh anamay naam na roopa//

The Yogi who has completely detached from this world (of illusion) created by Brahma, by reciting the ‘Name of the Lord’, awakens into deep spiritual wisdom and experiences Brahma-sukh, eternal bliss which is beyond name and form, incomparable, ineffable, perfect.

**

Jaana chahahim goodh gati jevu/ Naam jeeh japi janahim tevu//

Sadhak naam japahi lay layem/ Hohim siddh animadik payem//

The one who wishes to know the cryptic ways of the creator, needs only to recite the name, ‘Ram’ to become aware of it. The one who wishes to attain worldly fame and name (siddhis) need only to light a lamp and recite the name, ‘Ram’ in order to attain all the siddhis.

**

Japahi namu jan aarati bhari/ Mitahim kusamkat hohim sukhari//

Ram bhagat jag chaari prakara/ Sukriti chaarivu anagh udara//

The ones who cry out his name ‘Ram’ to seek refuge from the pains and troubles which ail them, find that all their heavy miseries are immediately removed and attain peace and joy. There are four types of Ram devotees/Ram Bhakts in this world. ( Ardharthi: Those who wish for prosperity and prays to the Lord; Aarth: those who pray to free themselves of worldly sufferings; Jigyasu: those who wish to gain insight into the nature of the Lord; Gyani: those who understands His beautiful nature and lovingly prays to Him) All the four are sinless, pure souls and generous.

**

Chahu chatur kahu naam adhara/ Gyani prabhuhi biseshi piyaara//

Chahu jug chahu shruti naam prabhavu/ Kali biseshi nahim aan upavu//

All the four types of devotees have one foundation called ‘Ram Naam.’ Of these, the Lord’s favourite is the Gyani bhakt. In all four yugas and all four Vedas, the power of the ‘Ram Naam’ is high; but it is highly significant in Kali Yuga. Because, in Kali Yuga, there is no other alternative other than recitation of the Lord’s Name!

**

Doha:

Sakal kaamana heen je Ram bhagati ras leen/

Naam suprem piyush hrid tinhahu kiye mann meen//

Those who are immersed in the bhakti of Ram, without any desires, (of material prosperity or even salvation), have made their minds akin to fishes that swim about every moment; in the loving, beautiful amrit-filled lake of Ram Naam.

**

Agun sagun duyi brahma saroopa/ Akadh agaadh anaadi anoopa//

Morem mat bad naamu duhu tem/ Kiye jehim jug nij bas nij butem//

Nirguna and Saguna are two forms of Brahma- both are indescribable, deep, without origin, and unique. But in my opinion, the ‘Naam’ of the Lord is bigger than both, since they dwell under its power.

**

Praudi sujan jani janahim jan ki/ Kahavu pratiti preeti ruchi mann ki//

Eku darugat dekhiya eku/ Pavak sam jug brahma bibeku//

Ubhay agam jug sugam naam tem/ Kahevu naamu bad brahma Ram tem//

Byapaku eku brahma abinasi/ Sat chetan ghan anand rasi//

The good folk should not mistake my words as stubbornness or even poetic logic. I am speaking about my mind’s faith, love and interest. The knowledge about both Nirguna and Saguna Brahma is like Agni or fire. Nirguna is like the sparks of fire inside the embers; essentially invisible; and Saguna is the flame itself. (Both are same in principle.) To distinguish between them is still very difficult. Only through by means of the ‘name’ or ‘Naam’, does the venture becomes easy. That’s why I exposit that the ‘name’ is bigger than Nirguna Brahma and Saguna Ram.

Brahma is omnipresent, unique, indestructible; and is the treasure house of power, radiance and happiness.

**

As prabhu hridayam acchat abikari/ Sakal jeev jag deen dukhari//

Naam niroopan naam jatan tem/ Sovu pragatat jimi mol ratan tem//

Though they reside in the heart of the Nirguna Brahma, the mortal creatures of the universe are fretful and unhappy. The preciousness and value of a gem is understood by a person on hearing its name. In the same way, by taking the ‘Naam’ or ‘name’ of the Lord, the Brahma appears to the devotee.

**

Doha:

Nirgun tem ehi bhanti bad naam prabhavu apar/

Kahavu naamu badh Ram tem nij bichar anusar//

In this manner, the ‘Naam’ is bigger than Nirguna Brahma. Now, I state as my belief that the ‘Naam of Ram’ is bigger than Saguna Ram too.

**

Ram bhagat hith nar tanu dhari/ Sahi sankat kiye sadhu sukhari//

Namu saprem japat anayasa/ Bhagat hohim mudd mangal basa//

 Lord Ram took the human avatar for the good of his devotees. He bestowed happiness to the sages while suffering much pain during his life time (the miseries of a human life).  Now, the devotees simply chant his beautiful name and amass all joys and prosperity! (That is the power of Sri Ram’s divine name!)
**


The Gem-Studded Lamp of the Lord’s Name

Jaan aadikabi naam pratapu/ Bhayavu suddh kari ulta japu//

Sahas naam sam suni siv bani/ Japi jeyim piya sangh bhavani//

Valmiki, the poet, knew about the powers of the Lord’s name. That’s why he recited ‘Ma Ra’, ‘Ma Ra’ and attained purity. When Lord Shiv said that one recitation of ‘Ram’ is equivalent to thousand recitations of any other god’s name, His consort, Devi Parvati started reciting ‘Ram, Ram’ along with Him.

**

Harshe hetu heri har hi ko/ Kiya Bhushan tiya Bhushan thee ko//

Naam prabhavu jaan Siv neeko/ Kaalkoot bhalu deenh ami ko//

Lord Shiv was thrilled by the devotion shown by Parvatiji and made her His ‘Ardhangini’. Though He drank the deadly Kaalkoot poison, it had the effect of amrit on Lord Shiv, because He knew the power of the reciting ‘Ram’.

**

Doha:

Barsha ritu Raghupathy bhagati tulsi sali sudas/

Ram naam bar baran jug savan bhadav mas//

The devotion to Sri Ramji is the rainy season; and Tulsidas says that true devotees are like rice crop. The two beautiful syllables of ‘Ram’ are like the months of Sawan and Bhadav.

Note: Shravan and Bhadrapad months- the two months of Hindu calender stretches across late July/Aug/Sep

**

Aakhar madhur manohar dovu/ Baran bilochan jan jiya jovu//

Sumirat sulabh sukhad sab kahu/ Lok lahu parlok nibahu//

Both the letters/syllables of ‘Ram’ are so beautiful and sweet. They are the eyes of the varnamala; (the garland of letters); and the very life-spirit of devotees. Just remembering those causes such happiness; and they usher in prosperity in this mortal world and helps you to reach the Vishnu-dham (Abode of Vishnu).

**

Kahat sunat sumirat sudi neeke/Ram Lakhan sam priya tusli ke//

Barnat baran preeti bilgaati/ Brahma jeev sam sahaj samghati//

The name ‘Ram’ is extremely melodious and pleasant to recite or recollect. For Tulsidas, the name ‘Ram’ is as beloved as Sri Ramji and Lakshmanji themselves. As a ‘Bijamantra’ the enunciation, meaning and results seem different but in truth, the syllables of ‘Ram’ are like ‘jeev’ and ‘brahma’: one essence and one form.

**

Nar Narayan saris subhrata/ Jag palak biseshi jan trata//

Bhagati sutiya kal karan bibhushan/ Jag hit hetu bimal bidhu pushan//

The two syllables comprising ‘Ram’ are handsome brothers like Nar and Narayan. They reign over the world and specially protect the devotees. They are the lovely earrings adorning the ears of the woman called devotion (who symbolises devotion to the Lord). They are the pristine sun and moon working for the benefit of the universe.

**

Swad tosh sam sugati sudha ke/ Kamad sesh sam dhar basudha ke//

Jan mann manju kanj madhukar se/ Jeeh jasomati hali haldhar se//

‘Ram’ is akin to amrit which grants sweet salvation. ‘Ram’ is like the Sesh Nag and the Tortoise which support the universe. ‘Ram’ is like the blue beetles which buzz around the beautiful lotuses of the devotees’’ minds; and for the tongue called Yashodaji, ‘Ram’ is like Krishna and Balrama who delight her forever.

**

Doha:

Eku chatru eku mukutamani sab barnani par jovu/

Tulsi Raghubar naam ke baran birajat dovu//

Tulsidasji says- The two syllables of ‘Ram’ shine resplendent. One is like the grand umbrella and the other, the crown reigning over the rest of the alphabets.

**

Samuchat saris naam aru nami/ Preeti paraspar prabhu anugami//

Naam roop duyi ees upadhi/ Akadh anadi susamuchi saadhi//

It appears as if the name and the form are both same; but there is a master-servant relationship between both. (Lord Ram appears when His name is taken with devotion. The Lord follows his name.) Both the name and the form are ways of accessing the Lord. They are ineffable, without origin, and can be attained only by a mind which is full of true devotion and love.

**

Ko bad chot kahat aparadhu/ Suni guna bhedu samuchihahim sadhu//

Dekhiahim roop naam aadheena/ Roop gyan nahim naam biheena//

To say which is superior-the name or the form- is sinful. Hearing about their merits, the enlightened devotee can perceive by himself. The ‘roop’ or ‘form’ is always a step behind the ‘name’. Without name, the form can never be!

**

Roop bisesh naam binu jaane/ Kartal gat na parahim pahichane//

Sumiriya naam roop binu dekhem/ Aavat hridayam saneh biseshem//

Any ‘roop’ even if placed on the palm of one’s hand is unrecognizable without its ‘naam’ or name. Even without a ‘form’, when a ‘name’ is uttered, with special love the ‘form’ rushes inside one’s heart.

**

Naam roop gati akadh kahani/ Samuchat sukhad na parati bakhani//

Aguna saguna bich naam susakhi/ Ubhay prabhodhak chatur dubhashi//

The saga of the name-form/naam-roop is indescribable. It is wonderful to understand, but impossible to narrate. The ‘name’ is a beautiful witness between the play of ‘Saguna’ and ‘Nirguna’ (form with attributes and form without attributes). Only an expert in both can discern the truth behind each.

**

Doha:

Ram naam manideep dharu jeeh deharim dwar/

Tulsi bheetar baherahu jaum chahasi ujiaar//

Tulsidasji says: ‘If you wish for light within and without; in the door of your mouth, at the stepping stone of your tongue, place the sparkling gem-studded lamp called ‘Ram Naam’ or ‘The name of Ram’.

**


The Maha-Mantra…

Kapipathy reech nisachar raja/ Angadadi je kees samaja//

Bandavu sab ke charan suhaye/ Adham sareer Ram jinh paye//

I prostrate myself before the beautiful feet of Sugreev-the king of monkeys, Jambavan-the king of bears, Vibheeshan-the king of rakshasas, Angad-the crown prince of monkeys and others of their families; who could attain Sri Ramji’s grace despite their being born in inferior bodies of rakshas and animals.

**

Raghupathy charan upasak jete/ Khag mrig sur nar asur samite//

Bandavu pad saroj sab kere/ Je binu kam Ram ke chere//

All the animals, birds, gods, humans, asuras and others who are devotees of Sri Ramji, I bow before the lotus feet of all who are servants of Lord Ram without any other expectations. (Nishkama sevak)

**

Suk sanakadi bhagat muni narad/ Je minibar bigyan bisarad//

Pranavavu sabahi dharani dhari seesa/ Karahu kripa jan jani muneesa//

Now I lower my head to the earth and offer respects to Suka, Sanak, Narad and all other greatly wise, learned sages. They are the supreme devotees of the Lord. Knowing that I am a humble servant of the Lord, please have compassion towards me.

**

Janaksuta jag janani Janaki/ Atisay Priya karunanidhan ki//

Take jug pad kamal manavu/ Jasu kripam nirmal mati pavavu//

Daughter of King Janaka, the mother of the universe Janaki, the beloved of Sri Ramji, I bow to Devi Sita’s beautiful lotus feet so that my mind acquires purity.

**

Puni mann bachan karma raghunayak/ Charan kamal bandavu sab layak//

Rajeevanayan dharem dhanu sayak/ Bhagat bipati bhanjan sukhdayak//

Now with my mind, words and actions let me pay respects to the most powerful lotus feet of the great Lord Ram: He with lotus like eyes, armed with bow and arrows, bestows happiness on his devotees and vanquishes all their troubles.

**

Gira aradh jal beechi sam kahiat bhinn na bhinn/

Bandavu Sita Ram pad jinhahi param priya khinn//

Like word and meaning, water and a wave, Lord Sita Ram, appears separate but is One and unique (non-dual). I bow to the lotus feet of the Lord, who is extremely compassionate towards the suffering souls.

**

Bandavu naam Ram Raghubar ko/ Hetu krisanu bhanu himkar ko//

Bidhi Hari Harmay bed praan so/ Agun Anupam guna nidhan so//

I bow to the name of ‘Ram’ which epitomises the quintessence of Agni (fire), Bhanu (sun) and Himkar (Moon) : The holy seed of the name ‘R A M’ contains within itself Brahma, Vishnu and Shiva. It is the life spirit of the Vedas; beyond all attributes, incomparable and the treasure house of the finest qualities.

**

Mahamantra joyi japat mahesu/ Kaseem mukuti hetu upadesu//

Mahima jasu jaan ganaravu/ Pradham pujiat naam prabhavu//

The Maha-Mantra ‘Ram’ is what Lord Shiv constantly chants, and which he graces devotees with at Kashi, for attaining salvation. It is the holy Mantra which Ganeshji knows and thus every puja begins by taking the name ‘Ram’…

**