When He Walks With You…

**

The publisher is putting the finishing touches to the third translation/transliteration from Shri Ram Charit Manas : Aranya Kanda. I was fortunate to complete Aranya Kanda and Lanka Kanda in 2021. The kind hearted editor informs me that the artist has now started working on Lanka Kanda/Yuddha Kanda. I simply express my heartfelt gratitude for their commitment and sincerity. The Lord works through us: when we submit the results at His beautiful lotus feet.

I recollect the struggle of the days when I was completing these two translations. Perhaps, the words, page by page of grueling work, saved me from slipping into the morass of depression.

Today, when we discuss the publication, I wish to bow my head in reverence again to that ineffable loving energy which guides, protects and embraces all seekers. By whatever name we hail the Lord, in whichever manner we choose to pray…He is my light and signpost…the spark in my soul. May He allow this insignificant speck of dust to cling more to Him.

May my beloved Hanumanji bless this book too.


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 Nature of the Wicked…(Bal Kanda)

One is awe-struck at the wisdom and perspicacity of the great Tulsidasji. When he writes that he bows before the wicked….(hoping for peace)…and explains the nature of duality in this world of ours, it makes me understand the inevitable encounters in life’s journey with many such characters.

(From Bal Kanda )

Sad sudharahim satsangati payi/ Paaras paras kudhat suhayi//

Bidhi bas sujan kusangat parahim/ Phani mani sam nij guna anusarahim//

In the blessed companionship of the elevated souls, even a despicable, wicked person gets transformed. It is like base metal turning into gold by the touch of the Philosopher’s Stone! By fate’s decree, if a saintly soul ends up with evil people, like the gem of the serpent, he shall continue to showcase the goodness of his character around; without getting sucked up by the venom . (The vile beings shall have no effect on him at all.)

**

Bidhi Hari Har kabi kobid bani/ Kahat sadhu mahima sakuchani//

So mo sank ahi jaat na kaisem/ Sak banik mani guna gana jaisem//

Even Brahma, Vishnu, Shiva, poets and scholars are tongue-tied when it comes to describing the greatness of sages! So, how can I do that? It will be like asking a seller of vegetables to explain the qualities of precious gems!

**

Doha:

Bandavu sant saman chit hith anahit nahim koyi/

Anjali gat subh suman jimi sam sugandh kar doyi//

I prostrate myself before the saints who are equipoised and full of equanimity always. They have no friends nor enemies. Consider the flowers which spread their fragrance on the hands which pluck them and keep them : likewise, the sages shower their graces on both friends and foes.

**

Sant saral chit jagat hit jaani subhavu sanehu/

Balbinay suni kari kripa Ram charan rati dehu//

Saints are extremely tender-hearted and are well-wishers of the universe. Their nature and love inspire me and fill me with adoration. Becoming cognizant of my budding affection, may the kind hearted Lord Ram grant me the blessing of being devoted to his lotus feet.

**

Bahuri bandi khal gan satibhaye/ Je binu kaaj dahinehu baye//

Par hit hani labh jinh kerem/ Ujarem harash bishad baserem//

Now, with utter sincerity let me offer respects to the wicked! The souls, who, without reason, commit wrong on even those who are benevolent towards them. In their eyes, harming others is delightful; they feel happy watching the downfall of another and get depressed when he gains success.

**

Hari Har jas rakes rahu se/ Par akaj bhat sahsabahu se//

Je par dosh lakhahim sahsakhi/ Par hit khrit jinh ke mann makhi//

They are like Rahu to the full moon like glory of Vishnu and Shiva. (Wherever Lord Shiv and Vishnu are praised, they create disturbances!). When it comes to speaking ill about others, they are like Sahasrabahu the great warrior himself! These wicked souls watch the faults of others with thousand eyes (They are always alert to catch another’s smallest error.). They are like buzzing flies to the ghee of another’s reputation. (Even at the cost of killing itself, a fly shall dive into the ghee and spoil it. Likewise, the jealous, wicked souls shall attempt to destroy someone else’s work and achievements even at the risk of their own lives.)

**

Tej krisanu rosh mahishesa/ Agh avaguna dhan dhani dhanesa//

Uday ket sam hit sab hi ke/ Kumbhkaran sam sovat neeke//

These vile, wicked, evil humans are like blazing fire when it comes to harming others, and are like Yama when it comes to being angry. They are rich like Kubera, when it comes to the accumulation of bad qualities and sins. Their growth is as inauspicious like Ketu the inferior star, because it destroys others. It is better for everyone that such people are allowed to sleep (are rendered useless) like Kumbhakarna.

**

Par akaju lagi tanu pariharahim/ Jimi him upal Krishi dali garahim//

Bandavu khal jas sesh sarosha/ Sahas badan barnayi par dosha//

Like hailstones melting on devastating farm lands, these wicked ones throw themselves into harming the work of other people! (At the risk of their own health!) I bow before the wicked, who, like Seshnag, with a thousand tongues, speak unceasingly about the faults of others, with much fury !

**

Puni pranavavu prithuraj samana/ Par agh sunayi sahas das kana//

Bahuri sakra sam binavavu tehi/ Santat suranik hith jehi//

I bow before the wicked knowing that they are like Raja Pridhu (the one who wished for a boon of ten thousand ears to listen to the glories of the Lord) when it comes to listening to gossip about others with ten thousand ears! I consider them like Indra and bow; after all liquor too can be helpful sometimes. (Even the wicked has their uses in this universe of ours.)

**

Bachan bajra jehi sada piaara/ Sahas nayan par dosh nihari//

The wicked humans love using harshest words always and are constantly on the lookout for the slightest mistakes of others with a thousand eyes!

**

Doha:

Udasin ari meet hit sunat jarahim khal reeti/

Jaani  paani jug jori jan binati karayi sapreeti//

The nature of these indolent, wicked characters is that they blaze with jealousy on hearing about the success of anybody- friend or foe. I offer my loving respects, with folded hands, fully aware of their nature.

**

Mai i disi keenh nihora/ Tinh nij or na laub bhora//

Bayas paliahim ati anuraga/ Hohim niramish kabahu ki kaga//

I have extended my requests (hoping for peace), but these people shall never deviate from their nature even a bit. Even if you look after a group of crows with great love and affection, will they ever relinquish their desire for flesh?

**

Bandevum sant asajjan charna/ Dukhprad ubhay beech kacchu barna//

Bicchurat ek pran hari lehim/ Milat ek dukh darun dehim//

Now I bow at the feet of both the holy and unholy people. Both render sorrow, but there is a difference in the manner of its occurrence. When a holy, kind soul departs one’s hearts breaks with sorrow; while intense agony happens on meeting a wicked, unholy character. ( Saints give sorrow while departing from us and the wicked humans impart sorrow when we encounter them on life’s journey!)

**

Upajahim ek sangh jag mahim/ Jalaj jonk jimi guna bilagahim//

Sudha sura sam sadhu asadhu/Janak ek jag jaladhi agadhu//

Both the sages and the vile souls are born in the universe together. But like a lotus and leech, their natures differ! (The lotus delights at sight and with its touch. The leech sucks your blood as soon as it encounters you!) The saintly soul is like amrit (Sudha) which helps you rise above the mortal world; while the asadhu or wicked one is like intoxicating liquor which grants sluggishness, desire, arrogance. The source of origin of both is the same, deep worldly ocean. (It is through the churning of the ocean that both amrit and madira have emerged.)

**


Uma, Ram Mriduchitt Karunakar…

As I reach almost half way through the Lanka Kanda, Lord Shiv tells Parvati, ‘Uma, Ram mriduchitt karunakar’.

The artist has caught Lord Shiv speaking to his lovely Uma, remembering the kindness and generosity of the Lord. My Ram is so full of love, that he grants his abode even to the foes.

I request my publisher to capture that image for the coverpage of AranyaKanda: The third sopan which I have translated, which is getting published after Sundar Kanda and Kishkindha Kanda.

**

I started this wonderful journey with the saga of Hanumanji – Lord Ram’s greatest devotee- crossing the ocean and overcoming innumerable obstacles to accomplish his divine mission. On his return, he was embraced by the Lord who told him, ‘You are dear to me like my own Bharat.’

Kishkindha Kanda came next, in reverse order.

Aranya Kanda , the journey through the forests , which comes before Kishkinda Kanda in Ramayan, appears next in print from the publisher.

This time, we are moving ahead…to the battle in Lanka.

(You see, my Lord is very indulgent with fools like me. He lets us worship him in our own ways, no questions asked:)To and fro, back and forth, this travel is as illuminating as multiple births and deaths, to understand and chant about the Lord’s great love. Again, I am re-discovering the avatar which is truly love incarnate, whose heart abounds with mercy and generosity. That’s my Lord Ram.

And following him, the greatest devotee, who answers instantaneously to our prayers.

Jai Hanuman gyanguna sagar….

**

Chapter : The Kindness of Lord Ram (Lanka Kanda )

Pavantanay mann bha ati krodha/ Garjevu Prabal kaal sam jodha//

Koodi Lank gad upar aava/ Gahi giri Meghnad kahu dhava//

Fury filled Hanuman and growing into a veritable Yama, he hollered mightily and leapt atop the fort. He rushed towards Meghnad, a veritable hill in his hands.

**

Bhanjevu radh sarathy nipaata/ Taahi hriday mahu maresi laata//

Doosarem soot bikal tehi jaana/ Swayamdan khali turat grih aana//

Hanumanji destroyed Meghnadh’s chariot, killed the charioteer and assaulted Meghnad himself (Hit his chest). The second charioteer, sensing the danger to his lord, quickly rescued his master and turned to the palace, moving away from the battle field.

**

Angad suna pavanasut gad par gayavu akel/

Ran bankura Balisut tarki chadevu kapi khel//

When Angad heard that Hanuman was fighting all alone inside the fort, almost like a child’s play, he leapt on top of the fort to be at Hanuman’s side.

**

Juddh biruddh kruddh dwau bandar/ Ram Pratap sumiri ur antar//

Ravan bhavan chadhe dwau dhayi/ Karahim Kosaladees dohayi//

The two mighty monkeys were incensed. Holding onto the lotus feet of Sri Ramji in their hearts, both leapt on top of Ravan’s royal palace and started chanting about the glories of Lord Ram.

**

Kalas sahit gahi bhavanu dahava/ Dekhi nisacharpati bhay pava//

Nari brindh kar peetahim chaathi/ Ab dui kapi aaye utpaathi//

Holding the dome of the palace, they shook the palace furiously. Seeing this, Ravan lost his serenity. The women started beating their chests in fear and cried, ‘This time, two monkeys have arrived to wreak havoc.’

**

Kapileela kari tinhahi deravahim/ Ramachandra kar sujasu sunavahim//

Puni kar gahi Kanchan ke kambha/ Kahenhi kariya utpadh arambha//

The warriors were scaring the inmates and were singing the songs of praises of Lord Ram all the while. Clasping the golden pillars, they told each other, ‘Now, let us begin the real havoc.’

**

Garji pare ripu katak machaari/ Laage marde bhuj bal bhaari//

Kahuhi laat chapetinh kehu/ Bhajahu na Ramahi so phal lehu//

Roaring, they hurled themselves in the middle of their enemy’s army and devastated the asuras with their superior strength. Hitting and kicking the asuras, they were yelling, ‘Take the reward for not meditating on Lord Ram.’

**

Ek ek som mardahim tori chalavahim mund/

Ravan aagem parahim te janu phutahim dadhi kund//

They crushed one asura against the other and cracking the skulls together, would throw the bodies apart. The severed heads fell in front of Ravan and splintered like pots of buttermilk.

**

Maha maha mukhiaa je pavahim/ Te pad gahi prabhu paas chalavahim/

Kahayi Bibheeshanu tinh ke nama/ Dehim Ram tinhahu nij dhama//

When they caught hold of mighty commanders, they hurled them by feet towards Lord Ram. Vibheeshan spelled out their names, and the Lord granted them His abode. (On their deaths as heroes in battlefield, the generous Lord Ram granted them his own abode aka Vishnu Dham)

**

Khal manujad dwijamish bhogi/ Pavahim gati jo jachat jogi//

Uma Ram mriduchitth karunakar/ Bayar bhav sumirat mohi nisichar//

(Lord Shiv says) ‘Hey Uma! The destiny which great sages pray for, namely, the abode of the Lord, is granted to the ones who once feasted on human flesh! Lord Ram is generosity incarnate and extremely kind hearted. The benevolent Lord thinks that though in enmity, the asura was thinking about me (during the last breath). So, let him be granted Vishnu Dham.’

*


The Green Parrot With Red Eyes

I am astounded at the transformation of Jatayu into the Lord himself. Never in any earlier readings of the story (in another language) have I encountered such a description. (Aranya Kanda, Sriramcharit Manas)

Parahit bas jinh ke mann mahim/ Tinh kahu jag durlabh kach nahim//

Tanu taji taat jaahu mam dhama/ Devu kaah tumh poorankama//

Lord Ram spoke to Jatayu : ‘For someone who always places others’ welfare ahead of his ( one who is compassionate. Passion means suffering, compassion-suffering with another) can attain any spiritual heights. Go and attain my abode, my child, after giving up your mortal guise. What is left for me to bless you with? You are complete in yourself.’

Geedh deh taji dhari Hari roopa/ Bhooshan bahu pat peet anoopa//

Syam gaat bisaal bhuj chaari/ Astuthi karat nayan bhari baari//

Jatayu renounced his vulture’s body and assumed the form of Hari. He was dressed in resplendent yellow garbs and was wearing splendiferous ornaments. His body was blue-black in hue, he possessed four mighty hands and his eyes were filled with love and bliss…and he started singing glories of the Lord.

(Note: When attaining salvation aka the abode of the Lord, the devotee is depicted as merging with the Lord himself.)

**

Searching, I turn to Joseph Campbell’s conversations with Bill Moyers in ‘The Power of Myth’.

‘You quote those lines from the Upanishads : “Thou art the dark blue bird, and the green parrot with red eyes. Thou hast the lightning as thy child. Thou art the season and the seas. Having no beginning, thou dost abide with immanence, whereof all things are born.”

‘There’s a wonderful saying in one of the Upanishads: “Oh wonderful, oh wonderful, oh wonderful, I am food, I am food, I am food! I am an eater of food, I am an eater of food, I am an eater of food.“…A yielding to the flow is the great mystery experience that goes with thanking an animal that is about to be eaten for having given of itself. You, too, will be given in time.

‘I’m nature, nature is me.’

**

And then, Dr.Clarissa Pinkola Estes, in ‘Women who run with the wolves’…

She is the Life/ Death/Life force, she is the incubator. She is intuition, she is far-seer, she is deep listener, she is loyal heart. She encourages humans to remain multiligual; fluent in the languages of dreams, passion, and poetry. She whispers from night dreams, she leaves behind on the terrain of a woman’s soul a coarse hair and muddy footprints. These fill women with longing to find her, free her, and love her.

She is ideas, feelings, urges, and memory. She has been lost and half forgotten for a long, long, time. She is the source, the light, the night, the dark, and day break. She is the smell of good mud and the back leg of a fox. The birds which tell us secrets belong to her. She is the voice that says, ‘This way, this way.’

She is the one who thunders after injustice. She is the one who turns like a great wheel. She is the maker of cycles. She is the one we leave home to look for. She is the one we come home to. She is the mucky root of all women. She is the things that keep us going when we think we’re done for. She is the incubator of raw little ideas and deals. She is the mind which think us, we are the thoughts that she thinks.

**

I am at peace.


Thus Spake Surpanakha…

(Mimicking both Nietzsche’s iconic work and Richard Strauss’ tone poem, I dare to name the title thus!)

Karasi paan sovasi dinu raati/ Sudhi nahim tav sir par araati//

Raj neeti binu dhan binu dharma/ Harihi samarpe binu satkarma//

Bidya binu bibek upjaye/ Shram bhal padem kiye aru paye//

Sang tem jati kumantra te raja/ Maan te gyan paan tem laja//

‘You indulge in intoxicating liquor and sleep day and night. Are you aware that your enemy is edging so close to you? Ruling without justice, acquiring wealth without righteousness, doing good work without surrendering the results to the Lord, becoming learned without any wisdom arising within, are all futile efforts. A sage becomes tainted due to proximity to sensual temptations, a king is waylaid by wrong advice, wisdom is lost due to  pride, and shame flees due to liquor…’

**

Preeti pranay binu mad te guni/ Nasahim begi neeti as suni//

‘Without humility, one’s ability to be pleasing disappears and a good man is soon wrecked by his conceit: Indeed, I have heard rules of living like these.’

**

Ripu ruj pavak paap prabhu ahi ganiya na chot kari/

As kahi bibidh bilap kari laagi rodan karan//

‘Foe, disease, fire, sin, master and snake should never be underestimated.’ Having spoken thus, Surpanakha started lamenting in many ways.

***

I am trying to understand/translate/interpret the beautiful canto-Aranya Kanda of Goswami Tulsidasji’s Sriramacharit Manas; aka the Ramayana in Hindi. Imagine my surprise at the wisdom of the words the poet/devotee Tulsidasji put in the mouth of the character of the ‘rakshasi’ named ‘Surpa-Nakha’ or ‘The one with nails like winnowing sieves.’

Now, Supranakha’s role is the main pivot of the story, so to speak.

How stunning that she speaks to her brother Ravan that ‘ any good work done without submitting/surrendering to Hari is futile!’ Here you have the gist of Karma Yoga in Treta Yuga itself! I wondered whether she was hinting that ‘Hari’ was in human avatar in the forest of Dandakaranya.

Rules of living, ruling, loving…how beautifully and skilfully poets across ages put in the mouths of their characters the wisdom they wished to transmit.

Couldn’t resist a note on how a mutilated woman speaks ‘the philosophy of living’ to the most powerful king at that time.

**

For those who read Malayalam, you might want to explore Sara Joseph’s subversive retelling/(subaltern retelling) of Surpanakha’s perspective in her story ‘Taikulam.’ That’s another learning altogether. Grateful for every bit of wisdom.


Namami Indira Patim…

Sage Atri praising the Lord with folded hands…blissful paen. From Goswami Tulsidasji’s Sree Ramacharita Manas, Aranyakanda.

Namami bhakt vatsalam/ Kripalu sheel komalam//

Bhajami te padambujam/ Akaminam swadhamadam//

I bow to the One who loves his devotees. I bow to the One with the sweetest disposition. I meditate on your lotus-feet. I bow to the One who bestows his own abode to the devotees who are devoid of desires. (nishkama purusha: the person who works without desires)

**

Nikaam shyam Sundaram/ Bhavambunadh mandaram//

Prabhul kanj lochanam/ Madadi dosh mochanam//

(My Lord) You are coloured blue and so beautiful. You are like the mountain Mandar used for churning the ocean of life’s sufferings. (Holding onto you one can overcome the ocean of worldly struggles). Your eyes are wide and lovely like a resplendent lotus. You help us to be free from sins of pride and its ilk. (Kama, krodha, lobha, moha, mada, matsarya: Lust, anger, greed, desire, pride, competition)

**

Pralamb bahu vikramam/ Prabho-prameya vaibhavam//

Nishang chaap sayakam/ Dharam Trilok nayakam//

My Lord! The strength of your long arms and your radiance are infinite. You are praised by the devas as you shine resplendent, with your bow and quiver of arrows.

**

Dinesh vansha mandanam/ Mahesh chaap ghandanam//

Munindra sant ranjanam/ Surari vrinda bhanjanam//

 (You are) The scion of Suryavansh, the One who broke Lord Shiva’s bow; beloved to sages and monks; and vanquisher of the asuras (foes of devas).

**

Manoj vairi vanditam/ Ajadi deva sevitam//

Vishuddh bodh vigraham/ Samasth dooshanapaham//

You are revered by the enemy of Kamadeva (Lord Shiva), worshipped by Brahma and other gods; you are the incarnation of the purest intelligence; and you remove the entire spectrum of sins.

**

Namami Indira pathim/ Sukhakaram satam gatim//

Bhaje sashakthi saanujam/ Shachi pati priyanujam//

 Goddess Lakshmy’s Lord! The seating place of all joys and the exclusive refuge of all saints! I worship the Lord who is the younger brother of Indra, along with the epitome of Shakti (Sitaji) and your own younger brother (Lakshmanji).

Note: (Shachi’s husband: Indra; Vishnu in Vaman avatar: Indra’s younger brother)

**

Thvadhamkhri mool ye narah/ Bhajanti heen matsarah//

Patanthi no bhavarnave/ Vitark veechi sankule//

The humans who serve your lotus feet without indulging in envy of others or virulent competition (matsarya), they never fall into the ocean of worldly struggles where anxieties/ doubts rise high as waves.

**

Viviktha vasinah sada/ Bhajanthi muktaye muda//

Nirasya indriyadikam/Prayanthi te gatim swakam//

The mortals who live alone, conquering their senses, and meditating on you Lord, with joy; they attain your abode. (salvation)

**

Tamekamadbhutam prabhum/ Nireehameeshwaran vibhum//

Jagadgurum cha sashwatam/ Tureeyameva kevalam//

You are wonderful, all powerful, desireless, Lord of everything, omnipresent, Guru of the universes, eternal, above all three Gunas and pure.

**

Bhajami bhav vallabham/Kuyoginam sudurlabham//

Swabhakt kalp padapam/ Samam susevyamanwaham//

(I meditate on thee) Inaccessible to those lured by sensory pleasures, like a Kalp-vriksh who bestows every wish for His devotees, impartial and always providing happiness to those who pray to Him.

**

Anoop roop bhupathim/Natohamurvijapatim//

Praseed me namami te/Padabj bhakti dehi me//

Hey beautiful Lord, ruler of the world, husband of Sitaji, please bless me. I bow to you, bestow on me bhakti on your lotus-feet.

(Note: Urvijapati: Lord of the one born from earth, i.e. Sitaji.)

**

Padanthi ye sthavam idam/ Naradarenu te padam/

Vrajanti nathra samshayam/ Thwadiya bhakthi samyutah//

Whoever recites this paen, undoubtedly, he or she, filled with devotion, shall attain your abode, My Lord.

**


Bowing At His Feet

In 2017, Sundar Kanda was published. In 2020, Kishkindha Kanda is getting released. The publication is underway. I can only chant His name in ecstasy.

Keep using me in your service, my dearest Lord.

Keep this speck of dust at your feet, beloved Hanumanji.

I survive because You watch over me always.

Thank you for everything.

https://www.kopykitab.com/Sundar-Kanda-by-Ministhy-S

https://www.amazon.in/Books-Ministhy-S/s?rh=n%3A976389031%2Cp_27%3AMinisthy+S.


Lanka Kanda -1

 

Have you ever felt like raising your hands in ecstasy when a small miracle sweeps past you? It could be as light as a breeze, but full of magic and power. Let me give you an example:

The sentence I was editing in a translation had a phrase…’why didn’t he wear a watch?’ As I ponder, with the cursor on the word watch, Lata Mangheshkar croons ‘meri ghadi bandh thi…’to my ears.

I just looked at His picture and bowed. Yes, Your eyes are on me always. And You do enjoy spinning Your magic at times!

My interpretation of Goswami Tulsidasji’s Sundar Kanda ( Sriramcharitmanas) was published in 2017.  Hopefully, in a couple of months Kishkinda Kanda will be released. Time to start the journey again: and I submit Lanka Kanda at His beautiful feet.

May He guide me in this journey across the glorious Lanka Kanda too.

***

Chapter One:

Ramam Kamaarisevyam Bhavabhayaharanam  Kalamattebhasimham

Yogindram Gyanagamyam Gunanidhimajitam Nirgunam Nirvikaram/

Mayateetam Suresham Khalavadhanirantam Brahwavrindaikadevam

Vande Kandavadantam Sarasijanayanam Devamurvisharoopam//

 

The devotee of Lord Shiv (enemy of Kamadev), the One who vanquishes the fear of worldly lives and deaths, a Lion facing the intoxicated elephant of Time/Kaal, the Lord of Yogis, the One who can be accessed through knowledge, the Epitome of virtues, the Unconquerable, Nirgun (beyond definitions of good and bad), Nirvikar ( indifferent to fluctuating emotions), the One beyond illusions, the Lord of the Gods, the One who exterminates evil doers, the Protector of the good, the Beautiful One coloured like a rain cloud,  the Lotus-eyed one, the One who has taken the form of King on earth : Sree Ramji, I bow before thee.

**

Shankendwabhamathivasundaramtanu Shardoolacharmambaram

Kalavyalakaralabhooshanadharam Gangashashankapriyam/

Kashisham Kalikalmashaukhashamanam Kalyanakalpadrumam

Naumishyam Girijapathim Gunanidhim Kandarpaham Shankaram//

One with the glow of the conch shell and crescent moon on his body, dressed in the skin of a tiger, the One adorned with black, fearsome serpents on his body,  Beloved of Ganga and the Moon, the Lord of Kashi, the One who removes the sins accrued in Kaliyug, the incarnation of virtues, the One who burnt Kamadeva to ashes, the Husband of Parvathy: Shankarji, I bow before thee.

**

Yo Datati Satam Shambu Kaivalyamapi Durlabham/

Khalanam Dandakrikhosau Shankaram Sham Tanotu Mei//

The One who bestows the rare salvation(mukti) to the good souls, the One who punishes the evil doers:  Shankarji the Generous, may bless me graciously.

Doha:

Lav Nimesh Parmanu Jug Barash Kalap Sar Chand/

Bhajasi Na Mann Tehi Ram Ko Kaalu Jaasu Kodand//

 Hey mind! Why don’t you meditate on Sri Ramji who has  different facets of time- moment,year, aeon et al- as his arrows and Time as his bow?

**

Sindhu Bachan Suni Ram Sachiv Boli Prabhu As Kahevu/

Ab Bilamb Kehi Kaam Karahu Setu Utarai Kataku//

After listening to the words of Varuna (The God of Oceans) Sri Ramji called his trusted team leaders (ministers) and spoke: ‘Why are we delaying anymore? Let us get the bridge ready so that the army can move.’

**

Sunahu Bhanukul Ketu Jamvant Kar Jori Kah/

Nadh Naam Tav Setu Nar Chadi Bhavsagar Tarahim//

Jambavan said with folded hands: ‘Please listen to me dear Lord, the scion of Surya Vamsha, (the flag bearer of the Sun Clan); The greatest bridge is your own name, reciting which (taking refuge) mankind can cross the ocean of worldly illusions.’

**

Yeh Laghu Jaladhi Tarat Kathi Bara/ As Suni Puni Kah Pavankumara//

Prabhu Pratap Badvanal Bhari/ Soshevu Pradham Payonidhi Bari//

‘How long will it take to cross such a small ocean?’ Hearing that, the Son of Wind (Hanumanji) said: ‘The Lord’s glory is like the flame on the ocean. It had already dried up the ocean waters.’

**

Tav Ripu Naari Rudan Jal Dhaara/ Bharevu Bahori Bhayavu Tehim Khaara//

Suni Athi Ukuthi Pavansut Keri/ Harshe Kapi Raghupathi Tan Heri//

‘But then it gets filled up again with the tears of the enemies’ women (widows left behind), and becomes salty ’. Hearing Hanumanji’s striking simile, the monkeys joyously gazed at Sri Ramji.

Jamvant Bole Dovu Bhai/ Nal Neelahi Sab Kadha Sunayi/

Ram Pratap Sumiri Mann Mahim/ Karahu Setu Prayas Kachu Nahim//

Jambavan called the brothers-Nal and Neel- to his side and explained the challenge in front of them. He asked the brothers (they were skilled in engineering) to remember SriRamji and start building the bridge. Jambavan said that due to the grace of the Lord, it would be effortless.

**

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 


Kishkinda Kanda 27…When the Lord was in Vaman Avatar

Jo naghayi sat jojan sagar/ Karayi so Ram kaaj mati aagar//

Mohi biloki dharahu mann dheera/ Ram kripa kas bhayavu sareera//

The one who can cross one hundred yojanans ( four hundred kos) and is a repository of wisdom, only he can fulfill Lord Ram’s task.

Do not get upset!  Look at me and take courage! Due to Sri Ram’s blessings see how my body has regained its wings!

**

Papivu jaa kar naam sumirahim/ Athi apaar bhavsagar tarahim//

Taasu doot tumh taji kadarayi/ Ram hriday dhari karahu upayi//

‘Even a sinner can cross the formidable ocean of life (bhavsagar) easily on remembering His name!

And you are His messengers! Forget your trepidations; meditate on Lord Ram and think of a way!’

**

As kahi garud geedh jab gayavu/ Tinh kem mann athi bismay bhayavu//

Nij nij bal sab kahu bhasha/ Par jaayi kar samsay raakha//

(Kakabishundi says) : ‘Hey Garudji! When the vulture left after saying thus, the monkeys were left marveling!’

‘Each spoke of his strengths but expressed the lack of confidence in crossing the ocean.’

**

Jarad   bhayavu ab kahayi richesa/ Nahim tan raha pradham bal lesa//

Jabahim tribikram bhaye kharari/ Tab mai tarun rahevu bal bhari//

(The king of bears Jambavan said )  ‘I have grown too old. The initial strength is no longer left in my body.

When the enemy of Khar (Lord Vishnu in Ram avatar) was in the Vaman incarnation, I was young and very strong!’

Note:  (Matsya, Kurma, Varaha, Narasimha, Vaman, Parasu Ram, Sri Ram, Bal Ram, Krishna, Kalki:  10 avatars of Lord Vishnu)

**

Doha

Bali bandhat prabhu badevu so tanu barni na jaayi/

Ubhay khari mah deenhi saat pradacchin dhaayi//

(Jambavan said )‘When he vanquished King Maha Bali the Lord was gigantic in form: I cannot express in words;

Yet in two hours, I ran and completed seven pradakshinas (circumambulations) of that divine avatar!’

Note:  In his fifth incarnation, Lord Vishnu as Vaman avatar measured one step on the earth, another step on the skies; and the great King Mahabali ( literally  The Strongest of All) offered him his head for the third step.

**

Angad kahayi javu mai paara/ Jiyam samsay kachhu firthi baara//

Jamavant kah tumh sab layak/ Padayia kimi sabahi kar nayak//

Prince Angad said: ‘I can cross the ocean easily. But I am not confident about my return.’

Jambavan replied: ‘You are absolutely eligible in all ways. But you are the leader of the team and we cannot let you go.’

Note:  Jambavan is wise in elucidating the art of leadership: leading from the front is not a choice when it comes to undertaking dangerous missives single-handed. The leader has to stay back to strategize and plan for contingencies often.

**