As bichari pragatavu nij mohu/ Harahu nadh kari jan par chohu//
Ram naam kar amit prabhava/ Sant puran Upanishad gava//
Recollecting that, I am daring to expose my ignorance. Kindly obliterate this lack of knowledge. The sages, Puranas and Upanishads all espouse the great power of chanting Rama’s name.
Santant japat sambhu abinasi/ Siv Bhagwan gyan guni rasi//
Aakar chari jeev jag ahahim/ Kasim marat param pad lahahim//
The incarnation of auspiciousness, greatness and wisdom-Lord Shiv himself chants ‘Ram, Ram’ every moment. There are four clans on this universe; and whoever dies at Kashi, shall attain the abode of the Lord.
Sopi Ram mahima muniraya/ Siv upadesu karat kari daya//
Ramu kavan prabhu puchavu tohi/ Kahia buchayi kripanidhi mohi//
‘Great sage, it is the greatness of Rama’s name that Lord Shiv kindly grants moksha reciting His name. Can you please tell me who this Ram is? Hey, kind-hearted one, please make me understand.’
Ek Ram avadhes kumara/ Tinh kar charit bidit samsara//
Naari birah dukhu lahevu apara/ Bhayavu roshu ran ravanu mara//
‘There is the prince of Kosala, Ram, about whom the whole world knows! He was agonised on losing his woman and in his fury, he killed Ravan.’
Prabhu soyi Ram ki apar kovu jahi japat Tripurari/
Satyadham sarbagya tumh kahahu bibeku bichari//
‘Tell me, is that the same Rama whom the Tripurari (Lord Shiv) worships? You are the epitome of truth and is omniscient. Speak to me in your wisdom.
Jaisem mitai mor bhram bhari/ Kahahu so kadha nadh bistari//
Jagbalik bole musukayi/ Tumhahi bidit Raghupati prabhutayi//
‘Please narrate that story in all details so that my grave doubt is cleared.’ Hearing sage Bharadwaj’s words, the wise Yagyavalkya smiled and replied: ‘You know about the glory of Ragunath very well.’
Rambhagat tumh mann kram bani/ Chaturayi tumhari mai jani//
Chahahu sunai Ram guna guda/ Keenhihu prasn manahu ati muda//
You are a devotee of Sri Ramji in mind, words and deeds. I have understood your cleverness. You desire to listen about Sri Ramji’s undisclosed qualities! And that is why you asked this question as if you are a naïve idiot.
Taat sunahu sadar manu layi/ Kahahu Ram kai kadha suhayi//
Mahamohu mahishesu bisala/ Ramkadha Kalika karala//
‘Dear son, listen carefully! I am going to narrate Sri Ramji’s beautiful story. Heavy ignorance is like Mahishasura and Sri Ramji’s story is like the fearsome Kali herself ( Durgaji who killed him).
Ramkadha sasi kiran samana/ Sant chakor karahim jehi pana//
Aiseyi samsay keenh Bhavani/ Mahadev tab kaha bakhani//
Rama’s story is like enchanting moonlight which the sages, who are like chakor birds, keep drinking. The same question you raised, was once posed by Parvati Devi herself. And Lord Shiv had given an elaborate reply.
Kahavu so mati anuhari ab Uma Sambhu sambad/
Bhayavu samay jehi hetu jehi sunu muni mitihi bishad//
‘Now, to the best of my ability, I shall narrate the conversation between Lord Shiva and Uma. Now listen to how and when it happened and your ignorance shall flee.’
Ek baar treta juga mahim/ Sambhu gaye kumbaj rishi pahim//
Sangh Sati jagjanani Bhavani/ Puje rishi akhileswar jani//
In Treta Yuga, once, Lord Shiv, accompanied by his wife Sati- the mother of the multiple universes- went to visit sage Agastya. The seer did all welcome rites of the great Lord (Akhileswara).
Ramakadha munibarj bakhani/ Suni Mahes param sukh mani//
Rishi puchi Haribhagati suhayi/ Kahi Sambhu adhikari payi//
Sage Agastya recited Lord Ram’s story and Bhagwan Shiv relished listening to it. Then the sage asked about the intricacies of devotion to Hari (to the Lord) and Lord Shiva, knowing him deserving, narrated it in detail.
Kahat sunat Raghupati guna gadha/ Kacchu din taham rahe girinadha//
Muni san bida magi Tripurari/ Chale bhavan sangh Dacchakumari//
Narrating and listening, few days passed by and Lord Shiv stayed in the hermitage. Then bidding farewell to Agastya, Shiv and Sati (Daughter of Daksha) returned to Kailas.
Tehi avasar bhanjan mahibhara/ Hari Raghubans leenh avatara//
Pita bachan taji raju udasi/ Dandak ban bicharat abinasi//
In those days, Sri Hari had taken the avatar in the clan of Raghus, to reduce the burden of Mother Earth. The Lord was wandering in the guise of a mendicant in Dandakaranya, obeying the command of his father Dasrath and abdicating the kingdom.
Hridayam bicharat jaat har kehi bidhi darsanu hoyi/
Gupt roop avateruvu prabhu gayem jaan sabu koyi//
Lord Shiv contemplated how he could get the darsan of the Lord. ‘He has taken an avatar secretively. When I understand the avatar, the rest of the world too shall be able to appreciate it.’
Sankar ur ati chobhu sati na janahim marmu soyi/
Tulsi darsan lobhu mann daru lochan lalachi//
Inside Lord Shiva’s mind was the chaos whether it would be fruitful; but Devi Sati could not discern it. Tulsidasji says, Lord Shiv was apprehensive whether his inner thoughts were obvious, yet his eyes were yearning to catch a glimpse of the Lord Sri Hari.
Ravan maran manuj kar jacha/ Prabhu bidhi bachanu keenh chah sacha//
Jaum nahim javu rahayi pachitava/ Karat bicharu na banat banava//
‘Ravan had desired death at the hands of a human being. Lord Vishnu will always obey the words of Brahma (Honour Brahmaji’s boon). But if I don’t go near him, I shall regret it deeply.’ Lord Shiv was thinking of many such possibilities, but nothing seemed to point a way forward.
Ehi bidhi bhaye sochbas eesa/ Tehi samay jayi dasaseesa//
Leenh neech mareechahi sanga/ Bhayavu turat soyi kapat kuranga//
Lord Shiv was caught in a maze of thoughts, Meanwhile Ravan approached Mareech and the asura took on the guise of an illusionary deer.
Kari chalu moodh hari Baidehi/ Prabhu prabhavu tas bidit na tehi//
Mrig badhi bandhu sahit Hari aaye/ Ashramu dekhi nayan jal chaye//
The foolish Ravan treacherously stole Janaki. He had no awareness of who Sri Ramji really was. When the Lord returned with his brother, after killing Mareech in his deer form, he saw the deserted hermitage. Tears filled his beautiful eyes.
Birah bikal nar eev Raghurayi/ Khojat bipin firat dovu bhayi//
Kabahu jog biyog na jakem/ Dekha pragat birah dukhu takem//
Sri Ramji is lamenting like any normal human, having lost his wife. Both the brothers are wandering through the forests, in search of Sitaji. The holy one who never exhibits any attachment or pangs of separation, now is radiating pain in all its intensity! (The Lord is suffering like any other human being)
Ati bichitra Raghupati charit janahim param sujan/
Je matimand bimoh bas hridayam dharahim kacchu aan//
The story of the Lord is very intriguing, only those wise men who knows His nature understands the unfolding tale. The dim-witted ones, caught in illusions, shall comprehend something totally different.
Sambhu samay tehi Ramahi dekha/ Upaja hiyam ati harashu bisesha//
Bhari lochan chabisindhu nihari/ Kusamay jaani na keenhi chinhari//
Lord Shiv saw the Lord at that moment, and he felt enthralled with joy. He filled his eyes with the ocean of Sri Hari’s radiance but sensing that the time was inappropriate (The Lord was mourning over the disaster of losing his wife) he did not approach Lord Ram.
Jai sacchidanand jag pavan/ As kahi chalevu manoj nasavan//
Chale jaat siv sati sameta/ Puni puni pulkat kripaniketa//
‘Glory to the Sacchidananda (sat-chit-ananda: incarnation of truth, ultimate consciousness, happiness)’, hailing thus, Lord Shiv went on his way. The ocean of kindness, Lord Shiv, was in thrall, repeatedly his hair stood on end in ecstasy on observing Sri Hari; and he moved with Devi Sati.
Satim so dasa Sambhu kai dekhi/ Ur upaja sandehu biseshi//
Sankaru jagatbandh jagdeesa/ Sur nar muni sab navat seesa//
When Devi Sati saw Shiva in that state, a deep doubt arose within her. She thought, ‘My Lord Shiv is revered by all the worlds, he is the God of all universes: Jagadeeshwar. Humans, devas, sages- all bow before him.’
Tinh nripsutahi keenh parnama/ Kahi sacchidanand pardhama//
Bhaye magn chhabi tasu biloki/ Ajahu preeti ur rahati na roki//
(Devi thought) ‘On seeing a royal prince he equated him with the Sacchidanand paramdhama : incarnation of all happiness, truth and consciousness. Seeing his radiance, my Lord has become so entranced and overwhelmed that he cannot control the love brimming over in his heart!’
Brahma jo byapak biraj aj akal aneeh abhedh/
So ki deh dhari hoyi nar jahi na janat bedh//
Can the Brahma, which is omnipresent, devoid of maya, without origin, invisible, desireless, that does not discriminate; the One which even the Vedas cannot claim to understand, can such an entity assume the form of a human being?
Bishnu jo sur hith nartanu dhari/ Sovu sarbaya jadha Tripurari//
Khojayi so ki agya eev naari/ Gyandham Shripati asuraari//
‘Lord Vishnu, who takes the guise of humans for the welfare of the devas, he too is omniscient like my Lord Shiva. That treasury of wisdom, husband of Devi Laxmi, enemy of asuras, shall he desolately search for a woman like a bewildered, ignorant man?’
Sambhugira puni mrisha na hoyi / Siv sarbagya jaan sabu koyi//
As samsay mann bhayavu apara/ Hoyi na hridayam prabodh prachara//
(Devi brooded) ‘But then, my Lord Shiva’s words cannot be wrong! Everyone knows he is wisdom incarnate.’ There was a mayhem inside Sati’s heart and light was not dawning at all within.
Jadhapi pragat na kahevu Bhawani/ Har antarjami sab jani//
Sunahi sati tav nari subhavu/ Samsay as na dharia ur kavu//
Though Sati never spoke a word, the all-knowing Lord Shiv understood her concerns. He said, ‘Listen, devi. Your behaviour is that of a typical woman. You should never entertain such doubts in your heart.’
Jasu kadha kumbhaj rishi gaayi/ Bhagati jasu mai munihi sunayi//
Soyi mam ishtadev Raghubeera/ Sevat jaahi sada muni dheera//
‘The one, whose story Agastya narrated to me, and about whose ways of devotion, I advised Agastya, He is my favourite Lord Ram. All the learned sages worship Him.’
Muni dheer jogi siddh santat bimal mann jehi dhyavahim/
Kahi neti nigam puran aagam jasu keerati gavahim//
Soyi Ramu byapak brahma bhuwan nikay pati maya dhani/
Avateruvu apne bhagat hith nijtantra nith Raghukulamani//
Saints, the valiant, the yogis, the siddhas: the One to whom they pray with pure hearts, the One praised by the Vedas, Puranas and Sastras as ‘Neti, Neti’ (Not this, Not this); that all pervasive, master of all universes, husband of Maya, eternal, ever-free Nirgun Para Brahma, Sri Ramji, has taken the avatar as the crown jewel of Raghu clan, for the sake of his devotees.
Laag n aur upadesu jadapi kahevu sivam baar bahu/
Bole bihasi mahesu harimaya balu jaani jiyam//
Although Lord Shiva tried to make Devi understand, she continued to be perturbed. Then, realizing the effect of Sri Hari’s maya, Lord Shiva smilingly said…
Jaum tumhare mann ati sandehu/ Tau kin jayi pareecha lehu//
Tab lagi baid ahavu battchahim/ Jab lagi tumh ehahu mohi pahim//
If you have such serious doubts, why don’t you undertake a test? Until you return to me, I shall be seated under the shades.
Jaisem jayi moh bhram bhari/ Karehu so jatanu bibek bichari//
Chalim sati siv aayasu payi/ Karahim bicharu karamu ka bhai//
Use your wisdom to think of a way for alleviating your deep apprehensions. Taking Lord Shiva’s leave, Devi Sati proceeded, brooding about the next step to be taken.
Iham sambhu as mann anumana/ Dacchasuta kahu nahim kalyana//
Morehu kahem na samsay jahim/ Bidhi biparit bhalayi nahim//
Here, Lord Shiv was thinking, Sati, daughter of Daksha was not prospering. Even when he had tried to soothe her doubts, Sati had persisted in worrying. When the destiny was misaligned, Sati could not be expected to flourish.
Hoyihi soyi jo Ram rachi rakha/ Ko kari tark badavai sakha//
As kahi lage Japan Harinama/ Gayim sati jah prabhu sukhdhama//
(Lord Shiv contemplated) ‘Whatever Ramji has planned, will eventually be carried out. Who will argue with that truth and worry?’ Lord Shiv started reciting the name of Sri Hari again. Devi Sati went to the place where Sri Ramachandra, the embodiment of serenity, was staying.