Bhagati nirupan bibidh bidhana/ Chhama daya dam lata bitana//
Sam jam niyam phool phal gyana/ Hari pad rati ras bed bakhana//
Multiple interpretations of devotion, patience, compassion, and mastery over the senses are the cluster of leaves. Vanquishing the mind, Yam (Non-violence, truth, celibacy, faith, non-hoarding nature); Niyam (Cleanliness and hygiene, happiness, meditation, self-knowledge, surrender to the Lord); are the flowers; wisdom is the fruit; and untrammelled devotion at Sri Hari’s lotus feet is the nectar of the wisdom-fruit. That is what the Vedas expound.
Shri Ramcharitmanas has many anecdotes and stories which are akin to gorgeous parrots and cuckoos.
Pulak batika bagh ban such subhihang biharu/
Mali suman saneh jal seenchat lochan charu//
The thrill on hearing this story is the garden, orchard, forest; and the joy experienced is the sanctuary of the birds. The pure mind is the gardener. The loving tears flowing from the beautiful eyes water the greenery.
Je gaavahim yeh charit sambhare/ Teyi ehi taal chatur rakhware//
Sada sunahim sadar nar nari/ Teyi surbar manas adhikari//
Those who sing this story slowly and carefully are the keepers of the four ghats. The men and women who ardently and devoutly listen to the glorious tale are the ideal gods and goddesses who are in possession of this sundar ‘Manas’.
Ati khal je bishayi bag kaagaa/ Ehi sar nikat na jahim abhagaa//
Sambuk bhek sevar samana/ Iham na bishay kadha ras nana//
The wicked and sensual souls are like the unfortunate cranes and crows who never venture near this beautiful lake. Because, inside this Manas-Sarovar or Lake of Shri Ramcharitmanas there are no frogs, grass et al., which epitomise the sensual stories preferred by the five senses.
Aavat ehim sar ati kadinayi/ Ram kripa binu aayi na jaayi//
Consequently, the helpless crows and cranes (folks who are caught in the sensual world) get demotivated and disheartened on arriving near this lake. There are many obstacles in arriving at this destination. Without the grace of Sri Ramji, one cannot arrive here.
Jay Ram sada sukhdham hare/ Raghunayak sayak chaap dhare//
Bhav baran daran singh prabho/ Guna sagar nagar nadh bibho//
‘The giver of joys and conqueror of sorrows! Sri Raghunadhji, who holds the bow and arrows in his hands…You are the lion who destroys the elephant of bhav-sagar (ocean of births and deaths or worldly sufferings). You are the ocean of good qualities, omni present and completely wise.
Tan kaam anek anup chabi/ Guna gavat siddh munindra kabi//
Jasu pavan ravan nag maha/ Khagnath jadha kari kop gaha//
Your body is like that of many Kamadeva (Lord of desire) and radiates supreme beauty. The siddhas, sages and poets sing your praises. Your fame is pristine. The great serpent called Ravan was vanquished by your Garuda like ferocity.
Jan ranjan bhanjan sokabhayam/ Gatkrodh sada prabhu bodhmayam//
Avatar udar apar gunam/ Mahi bhaar bibhanjan gyanghanam//
Dear Lord, you give happiness to your servants, destroy all fears and sorrows; you are always serene and never angry; and you are the embodiment of wisdom and consciousness. Your avatar is supreme and full of divine qualities. You are the remover of the earth’s burdens; and is the treasure house of all knowledge.
Aj byapakmekmanadi sada/ Karunakar ram namami muda//
Raghubans bibhushan dushan ha/ Krit bhup bibheeshan deen raha//
You are omnipresent, the one and only, without beginning, full of compassion; Sri Ramji, I bow to you joyously. You are the ornament of Raghu clan, you killed the rakshasa Dushan. You are the destroyer of all sins; you graced the pitiable Vibheeshan with the kingship of Lanka.
Guna gyan nidhan aman ajam/ Nit ram namami bibhum birajam//
Bhujadand prachand pratap balam/ Khal brind nikand maha kusalam//
The embodiment of qualities and wisdom, without any ego or pride, the one without a beginning, omnipresent, free of illusions : Sri Ramji! I prostrate before you forever. The incomparable might of your arms is renowned; and your ability to destroy the wicked is unique.
Binu karan deen dayal hitam/ Chabi dham namami rama sahitam//
Bhav taran karan kaaj parem/ Mann sambhav darun dosh haram//
Without any reason, you are kind to those who suffer; you bestow good on them and is the epitome of radiance. I pay my obeisance before the divine forms of Ram and Janaki. You help us cross the ocean of worldly births and deaths; you are beyond karma, and beyond reason (you are not defined by either jagat/world of action or prakriti/reason.) You remove all the tough stains of sins originating in the mind.
Sar chaap manohar tronadharam/ Jalajarun lochan bhupabharam//
Sukh mandir sundar Shriramanam/ Mada mar mudha mamta samanam//
You are adorned with bow, arrows and the divine quiver. Your beautiful lotus eyes are red in colour. You are supreme amongst kings, the treasury of joys, extremely beautiful, the Lord of Lakshmi, and vanquisher of arrogance, desires and false attachment.
Anavadh akhand na gochar go/ Sabroop sada sab hoyi na go//
Iti bed bandati na dantkadha/ Rabi aatap bhinnamabhinn jadha//
You are free of sins, complete and whole, not accessible through senses; You are everywhere and part of everything, but still remain detached; as per the Vedas. This is no fantasy or imaginary story. Like the sun and its light are different yet the same, you are part of the universe yet apart from it.
Kritkritya bibho sab banar ee/ Nirakhanti tavanan sadar ee//
Dhig jeevan dev sareer hare/ Tav bhakti bina bhav bhuli pare//
The monkeys around you are filled with gratitude; they gaze at you with such respect! Sri Hari, we would be mortifying our divine body and eternal soul if we were to abstain from being devoted to you and indulge in sensory matters.
Ab deenadayal daya kariye/ Mati moro bibhedkari hariye//
Jehi te bipareet kriya kariye/ Dukh so such maani sukhi chariye//
Hey Compassionate One! Take pity on me now and defeat my chaotic intelligence which creates the duality within me. It makes me do the wrong deeds : I mistake sorrow as joy, and wander about happily (in my ignorance)
Khal khandan mandan ramya chama/ Pada pankaj sevit sambhu uma//
Nrip nayak de baradanamidam/ Charanambuja premu sabda subhadam//
You are the vanquisher of the wicked, and the true ornament of earth! Shiva and Uma worship your lotus feet. King of Kings, grace me with this boon: the love of my heart may forever be devoted to your lotus feet.’
Binay keenhi chaturanan prem pulak ati gat/
Sobhasindhu bilokit lochan nahim aghat//
In this manner, Brahmaji prayed, with his whole body enthralled by love. His eyes were not satisfied gazing at the ocean of beauty, Sri Hari.
Ta par harashi chadi baidehi/ Sumiri Ram sukhdham sanehi//
The maids dressed Sita in various jewellery and brought a decorated palanquin before her. A delighted Sita climbed into it, remembering her beloved with great love and joy.
Betpani racchak chahu pasa/ Chale sakal mann param hulasa//
Dekhan bhalu kees sab aaye/ Rachhak kopi nivaran dhaye//
The palanquin was surrounded in all four sides by guards with sticks in hand. Everybody was full of excitement and hope. When bears and monkeys jostled one another to catch a glimpse of Sitaji, the guards waved their sticks angrily and stopped them.
Kah raghubeer kaha mam manahu/ Sitahi sakha payadem aanahu//
Dekhahu kapi Janani ki nayim/ Bihasi kaha raghunadh gosayi//
Sri Ramji said, ‘Let Janaki come walking. The bears and monkeys will be able to see the darsan of the Mother.’ He said it smilingly.
Sita pradham anal mahu rakhi/ Pragat keenhi chah antar sakhi//
Hearing the Lord’s words, the monkeys and bears became joyous. The devas showered flowers from the skies. The real Janaki was hidden inside the agni (flames of fire). The Lord wished to manifest the true Sita (Maya Sita to return to the flames and the real Sita to take up her place by his side.)
Tehi karan Karunanidhi kahe kacchuk durbad/
Sunat jatudhanim sab laagim karai bishad//
Due to that reason, the kind hearted one ended up speaking some harsh words, as part of his divine lila. Hearing that, the rakshasis became sorrowful. (The Lord asked Sitaji to prove her purity by stepping into a pyre before accepting her back.)
Prabhu ke bachan sees dhari sita/ Boli mann kra, bachan punita//
Lacchiman hohu dharam ke negi/ Pavak pragat karahu tumh begi//
Accepting her Lord’s words in mind, body and soul (mind, words and deeds), Sitaji exhorted Lakshman, ‘Brother, become my helper in doing Dharma. Please get ready a burning pyre.’
Suni Lacchiman sta kai baani/ Birah bibek dharam niti saani//
Lochan sajal jori kar dovu/ Prabhu san kacchu kahi sakat na oovu//
Listening to Sitaji’s words filled with her love, prudence, dharma and justice, Lakshman’s eyes welled up with tears. (He was not aware of the lila being played out.) He could hardly dare to question Sri Ramji’s command.
Sensing the determination of Sri Ram, Lakshman went to gather logs for a strong pyre. The flames were burning and sky-high. Sitaji did not feel afraid and instead was happy.
Jaum mann bach kram mam ur mahim/ Taji raghubir aan gati nahim//
Tau krisanu sab kai gati jana/ Mo kahu hovu shrikand samana//
(Sitaji spoke) ‘If I have been devoted to my husband in mind, words and deeds; and have not deviated at all, may the fire become like cool sandal wood for me.’
Shrikand sam pavak prabes kiyo sumiri prabhu maidhili/
Jay kosales mahes bandit charan rati ati nirmali//
Pratibimb aru laukik kalank prachand pavak mahu jare/
Prabhu charit kahu na lakhe nabh sur siddh muni dekhahim khare//
Remembering the Lord, Maidhili hailed the lotus feet of Sri Ramji : worshipped by Shivji himself and enveloped with her own innocent adoration, and stepped into the sandal wood like flames. The reflection of Sita (Maya Sita ) and the worldly taint which was cast on her burnt away. Nobody understood the lila at play; and the sages, siddhas and devas were watching from the heavens.
Nav neel neeraj nikat manahu kanak pankaj ki kali//
Then Agnidev took human form and entrusted the real Shri, Sitaji, acclaimed in Vedas and all universes to Sri Ramji; much like Goddess Lakshmi was offered to Lord Vishnu during the churning of the milky ocean. (Ksheer sagar). Sitaji took her place in the left side of her husband. Her radiance was so great that she resembled a golden lotus bud, placed next to a freshly blooming blue lotus.
Barshahim suman harshi sur bajahim gagan nisan/
Gaavahim kinnar surbadhu nachahim chadim biman//
The devas were showering flowers, the drums were being beaten joyously; kinnar were singing and apsaras were dancing in the divine vimanas.
Janaksuta samet prabhu sobha amit apaar/
Dekhi bhalu kapi harshe jay raghupathy such saar//
The radiance of the Lord, accompanied by his consort Janakiji, was immensely majestic, striking and limitless. The army of bears and monkeys were ecstatically hailing his glory.
Aaye dev sada swardhi/ Bachan kahahim janu paramardhi//
Then, Matali, the charioteer of Indra bowed at Sri Ramji’s feet and returned to Indraloka. Then the devas appeared; they were self-centered as ever. But the words they spoke were sagacious indeed.
Deen bandhu dayal raghuraya/ Dev keenhi devanh par daya//
Biswa droh rat yeh khal kami/ Nij agh gayavu kumargagaami//
‘Hey protector of the needy, compassionate one! You have been very kind to the devas. Ravan who was immersed in hurting the universe, wicked and desirous, and always walking the wrong path, he has been destroyed due to his sins.’
Tumh samroop brahma abinasi/ Sada ekaras sahaj udasi//
Akal aguna aj anagh anamay/ Ajit amoghsakti karunamay//
‘You are samroop (present in everything), Brahma, indestructible, eternal, unchanging, detached, whole, beyond gunas, without beginning, sinless, emotionless, unvanquishable, possessor of energy which always abounds, and compassionate…’
‘You took the avatars of Fish, Tortoise, Wild Boar, Narasimha, Vaman and Parasu Ram for the benefit of the universe. Whenever the devas were in trouble, you took different bodily guises to give them relief!’
Yeh khal malin sada surdrohi/ Kaam lobh mad rat ati kohi//
Adham siromani tav pad paava/ Yah hamrem mann bismay aava//
‘Ravan was wicked, impure in heart, and a relentless enemy of the devas! Drowning in kama, mada and lobha (Desire/passions, arrogance and ambition), he was also very prone to fury (krodha). Even the king of all wickedness was granted your divine abode! That is very astounding to us…’
Hum devata param adhikari/ Swarath rat prabhu bhagati bisari//
Bhav prabah santat hum pare/ Ab prabhu pahi saran anusare//
‘We devas, despite being evolved, often forget you in our selfishness and are caught up in the never-ending cycle of births and deaths. Dear Lord, we have come seeking your protection, give us refuge!’
Kari binati sur siddh sab rahe jah tah kar jori/
Ati saprem tan pulaki bidhi asthuthy karat bahori//
The devas and siddhas stood devoutly, with folded hands praising the Lord. Then, with hair standing on end due to his immense love for the Lord, Brahmaji started singing eulogies of the Lord Hari.
Jay kripa kand Mukund dwand haran saran sukhprad prabho/
Khal dal bidaran param karan karunik sada bibho//
Sur suman barshahim harash sankul baaj dundhubi gahgahi//
Sangram angan Ram ang anang bahu sobha lahi//
‘Hey bud of compassion, the giver of moksha, Mukunda, the one who destroys dualities (happiness- sorrow, attachment-detachment, birth-death etc), the Lord who bestows happiness to the seekers… the one who destroys the wicked, the great reason behind reason, always kind and compassionate, the omnipresent one, may you be glorious!’ The devas were showering flowers and beating the war drums ecstatically. In the battlefield, the Lord was resplendent-as if countless Kamadevas had come together.
Sar jata mukut prasun bich bich ati Manohar rajahim/
Janu neelgiri par tadit patal samet udugan bhrajahim//
Bhujdand sar kodand pherat rudhir kan tan ati bane/
Janu raymunim tamal par baidim bipul such aapne//
The knot of hair on his forehead adorned with flowers is a wonderful sight. It was like a blue mountain, surrounded with lightning blazes and stars. He was twirling the bow and arrow in his hands and his body is spotted with drops of blood. It was as if red birds, like sages, were seated on a Tamal (Indian Bayleaf tree), deeply immersed in their meditative joys.
Kripadrishti kari brishti prabhu abhay kiye sur brindh/
Bhalu kees sab harshe jay such dham Mukund//
By raining his compassion, Sri Ramji delighted the hearts of devas and freed them from fear. The bears and monkeys were shouting the paeans of Sri Ramji, ‘Glory to Mukunda’, with great happiness.
Pati sar dekhat Mandodari/ Muruchit bikal dharini khasi pari//
‘Dear husband, you made the earth quaver due to your strength! Before you, the fire, moon and sun lost their radiance. Your body, which even Sesh Nag and the divine tortoise could not carry, today lies covered with dust on the earth!’
Barun kuber sures sameera/ Rann sanmukh dheer kahu na dheera//
Bhujbal jitehu kaal jam sayim/ Aaju parehu anadh ki nayim//
‘Varun, Kuber, Indra and Vayu, none of them could ever face you in war. With the might of your arms, you defeated Kaal (Lord of Time) and Yama (Lord of Death) both! And that same you lies orphaned on the ground now!’
Jagat bidit tumhari prabhutayi/ Sut parijan bal barni na jayi//
Ram bimukh as haal tumhara/ Raha na kovu kul rovnihara//
Your greatness is famous across the universe! The fame of your relatives and sons are known to all. Yet, by turning your face away from Sri Ramji you ended up with this fate! There is nobody left to even cry in our clan.
Tav bas bidhi prapanch sab nadha/ Sabhay disip nith navahim madha//
Ab tav sar bhuj jambuk khahim/ Ram bimukh yeh anuchit nahim//
Hey Lord! Everything destiny created was under your control. Even the digpal (Lords of Directions) shivered on sighting you and bowed before you. Now, your heads and arms are being eaten by jackals! Indeed, for the enemy of Sri Ramji, such a fate is expected.
Kaal bibas pati kaha na maana/ Ag jag nadhu manuj kari jaana//
Since you were in the clutches of Death, you ignored everybody’s wise counsel; and considered the Lord of all living and non-living beings (SriRamji ) as a mere human being!
Jaanyo manuj kari danuj kanan dahan pavak hari swayam/
Jehi namat siv brahmadi sur piya bhajehu nahim karunamayam//
Aajanma te paradroh rath papaukhamay tav tanu ayam/
You misunderstood Sri Hari, who became the fire to burn down the asuras, as a mere human. The One whom both Brahma and Shiva worship, you my beloved, never meditated on that compassionate One. All your life, you relished harming others and sins accrued on you. Yet, the One beyond all corporeal forms, Sri Ramji granted you his own abode! I bow to the Lord.
Ahah nadh raghunadh sam kripasindhu nahim aan/
Jogi brindh durlabh gati tohi deenhi bhagwan//
Oh, dear husband! There is no one like Lord Ram who is an ocean of compassion. He granted you his own abode (Vishnu Dham) which is something which even great sages pine for! (A rare fortune denied even to great saints.)
Mandodari bachan suni kaana/ Sur muni siddh sabaninh such maana//
Aj mahes narad sanakadi/ Je minibar paramaradhbadi//
Listening to Mandodari’s words, devas, siddhas and sages were happy. Brahma, Shiva, Narad, Sanaka and other sages, and all else who were aware of the eternal truth (Of the Lord’s grace and glory)…
Bhari lochan raghupatihi nihari/ Prem magan sab bhaye sukhari//
Rudan karat dekhim sab nari/ Gayavu bibheeshanu mann dukh bhari//
All of them gazed at Sri Ramji and became delirious with happiness. Seeing the women of his family lamenting and grieving, Vibheeshan was shattered and he approached them.
Vibheeshan felt agonized at the fate of his brother. Then, Sri Ramji send Lakshman to console Vibheeshan. Lakshmanji advised him in many ways and Vibheeshan returned to the Lord.
Kripadrishti prabhu taahi biloka/ Karahu kriya parihari sab soka//
Keenhi kriya prabhu aayasu maani/ Bidhivat des kaal jiyam jaani//
Looking at him compassionately, Sri Ramji asked him to conduct all the funeral rites due to Ravan , relinquishing his sorrows. Obeying the Lord’s command, and being dutiful, Vibheeshan conducted all the rites duly.
Mandodari aadi sab deyi tilanjali taahi/
Bhawan gayim raghupathy guna gan barnat mann mahi//
After doing Tilanjali (offering sacrificial rites) for Ravan, Mandodari and the other women returned to the palace. They were singing praises of Sri Ramji’s great qualities.
Sab mili jahu bibheeshan sadha/ Sarehu tilak kahevu raghunadha//
Pita bachan main agar na aavavu/ Aapu saris kapi anuj padavavu//
Vibheeshan returned after conducting the funeral rites of Ravan. Then, Sri Ramji called Lakshmanji nearby. ‘You along with Sugreev, Angad, Nal, Neela, Jambavan and Hanuman; all well versed in the art of ruling, should go with Vibheeshan and anoint him as the next king of Lanka. Due to the promise made to my father, I cannot enter any city. Hence, I am sending my brother and learned colleagues who can conduct the rites of coronation.’
Sadar simhasan baidari/ Tilak saari asthuti anusari//
Obeying Sri Ramji’s command, the group accompanied Vibheeshan and did all the needful for the coronation. Seating him on Lanka’s throne, they conducted the rites of Rajtilak, and praised his glory.
Jori paani sabahim sar naye/ Sahit bibheeshan prabhu pahim aaye//
Tab raghubeer boli kapi leenhe/ Kahi priya bachan sukhi sab keenhe//
Folding their hands and bowing their heads, they wished the new ruler. Then they returned to Sri Ramji’s side along with Vibheeshan. Sri Ramji called all the monkey warriors near and made them happy with his sweet and wise counsel.
Kiye sukhi kahi bani sudha sam bal tumhare ripu hayo/
Mohi sahit subh keerati tumhari param preeti jo gaayahaim/
Samsar sindhu apar paar prayas binu narpayihaim//
The Lord uttered amrit like words which delighted everybody’s hearts. ‘Only because of your indomitable strength could such a powerful enemy be vanquished and Vibheeshan become king! Your fame and glory will shine in all the three worlds forever. Whoever sings the story of your victory along with my name, effortlessly they shall cross the ocean of worldly suffering.’ (Singing the saga of my victory shall enable them to cross the bhav-sagar.)
Prabhu ke bachan shravan suni nahim aghahim kapi punj/
Baar baar sir navahim sakal pad kanj//
Hearing the Lord’s words is not satisfying enough for the monkeys. They were prostrating themselves before him again and again; and clutching at Sri Ramji’s lotus feet.
Puni prabhu boli liyavu hanumana/ Lanka jahu kahevu bhagwana//
Samachar janakihi sunavahu/ Tasu kusal lai tumh chali aavahu//
Then Sri Ramji called Hanuman near him. ‘You should go to Lanka and meet Janaki. Tell her about what has happened and find out how she is faring.’
Hanumanji arrived in Lanka. Hearing the news, all of the rakshasas and their wives ran to welcome him. They honoured him greatly and took him to meet Janakiji.
Doorihi te pranam kapi keenha/ Raghupathy doot Janaki cheenha//
Kahahu taat prabhu kripaniketa/ Kusal anuj kapi sen sameta//
Hanuman ji bowed from afar seeing Janakiji. Recognising Sri Ram’jis messenger, Sita asked, ‘Son, tell me, how is my Lord, the epitome of compassion? How is my young brother? And how well does the monkey army fare?’
Sab bidhi kusal kosaladheesa/ Matu samar jeetyo dasaseesa//
Abichal raju bibheeshan payo/ Suni kapi bachan harash ur chayo//
Hanumanji replied, ‘Mata, Sri Ramji is glorious in all ways. He has defeated Ravan and anointed Vibheeshan as the king of Lanka.’ Hearing Hanuman’s words, happiness filled Janaki’s heart.
Ati harash mann tan pulak lochan sajal kah puni puni rama/
Ka devu tohi trailok mahu kapi kimapi nahim bani sama//
Sunu matu mai payo Akhil jag raju aaju na samsay/
Rann jeeti ripudal bandhu jut pasyami Ramamanamayam//
Sitaji was full of joy. Her eyes welled up with tears and her hair stood on end. She was saying, ‘Son, how do I reward you for this news? There is nothing equivalent to this in the three worlds!’ Then, Hanumanji said, ‘I feel like the conqueror of the three worlds myself because I watched Sri Ramji, detached and radiant, accompanied by his brother defeat the enemy in battle!’
Sunu sut sadaguna sakal tav hridayam basahu hanumant/
Sanukul kosalapati rahahu samet anant//
Sitaji blessed him, ‘Son, may all the good qualities grace your heart always! May Sri Ramji, along with Sesh Nag (Lakshman) remain pleased with you always!’
The monstrous bears and enraged monkeys raced towards the battle field with mountains in their claws. They were hitting the foes with great might. The rakshasa army shattered due to their onslaught. After dispersing the enemy ranks, the monkeys and bears surrounded Ravan. Tearing apart his body with their nails and hitting him from all directions, they tired him out.
Dekhi maha markat Prabal ravan keenh bichar/
Antarahit hoyi Nimish mahu krit maya bistar//
Ravan paused on seeing the extraordinarily strong attack by the monkeys; and in an instant, he disappeared from sight and unleashed his magic.
Ehi bidhi sakal bal tori/ Tehim keenh kapat bahori//
‘Hai Ram, Hai Raghunath!’ Even the stalwart warriors were defeated and flustered. In this way, Ravan tore at the morale of the monkey army with his second bout of black magic.
Pragatesi bipul Hanuman/ Dhaye gaye pashan/
Tinh Ramu ghere jayi/ Chahu disi baroodh banayi//
Ravan created multiple forms of Hanuman which were carrying rocks. These illusions formed a group and surrounded Sri Ramji from all sides.
Marahu dharahu jani jayi/ Katkatahim poonch udayi//
Dah disi langur biraj/ Tehim madhya Kosalraj//
‘Catch him, kill him, let him not escape!’ The illusionary forms were yelling and their tails fanned out in all directions; with Sri Ramji in their middle.
Tehim madhya kosalraj sundar syam tan sobha lahi/
Janu indradhanush anek ki bar baari tung tamalahi//
Prabhu dekhi harsh bishad ur sur badat jay jay jay kari/
Raghubir ekahim teer kopi nimesh mahu maya hari//
In the midst of all those maya-creatures, Sri Ramji’s handsome, blue-hued form was radiating like a magnificent Tamal tree surrounded by the enclosures of many brilliant rainbows. The devas were singing the Lord’s glories in their hearts which were both sad and happy at the same time. Then, Sri Ramji, aimed a single arrow with great fury and shattered all of Ravan’s black magic.
Maya bigat kapi bhalu harshe bitap giri gahi sab phire/
Sar nikar chade ram ravan bahu sir puni mahi gire//
Shriram ravan samar charit anek kalp jo gavahim/
Sat sesh sarad nigam kabi tevu tadapi par na pavahim//
When the maya was removed, the monkeys and bears became enthusiastic and started running to fight with mountains and trees in their claws. Sri Ramji again cut off Ravan’s heads with his arrows. This saga of Ram and Ravan, even if recited by thousands of Sesh Nag, Ma Saraswati, poets and Vedas for yugas on end, will still not be able to cross the waters of the story yet!
Taake guna gan kacchu kahe jadmathy tulsidas/
Jimi nij bal anuroop te macchi udayi akas//
This slow-brained being called Tulsidas also has tried to sing about the glories of that great story; just like a house fly also attempts to soar into the sky based on its purushartha! (Dharma, Artha, Kama, Moksha…its own life spirit and ways)
Kaate sar bhuj baar bahu marat na bhatt lankes/
Prabhu kreedit sur siddh muni byakul dekhi kales//
Ravan’s arms and heads were getting chopped off unceasingly. Yet, he did not die. The Lord was enacting his divine lila; but the sages, siddhas and devas became worried (at what they perceived as Sri Ramji’s efforts that were not being fruitful.)
Katath badahim sees samudayi/ Jimi prati labh lobh adhikayi//
Marayi na ripu shram bhayavu bisesha/ Ram bibheeshan tan tab dekha//
The heap of heads started accumulating, like human greed increasing with every profitable achievement. The work was arduous but the enemy was undefeated. Then Sri Ramji looked at Vibheeshan.
Uma Kaal mar jaakim eerchha/ So prabhu jan kar preeti pareecha//
Sunu sarbagya charachar nayak/ Pranatpal sur muni sukhdayak//
(Lord Shiva says) ‘Uma, the One at whose desire, even Kala will die, is testing the devotion of his devotee.’ Vibheeshan spoke, ‘Hey, omniscient one, Lord of all living and non-living beings, the refuge of all the needy, the one who bestows happiness on devas and sages…listen!’
Nabhikund piyush bas yakem/ Nadh jiat ravanu bal takem//
Sunat bibheeshan bachan kripala/ Harashi gahe kar baan karala//
‘In Ravan’s navel resides the elixir of life (amrit). Ravan is alive because of that source of eternal life.’ Listening to Vibheeshan, Sri Ramji became delighted and took up a very powerful arrow.
Asubh hon laage tab naana/ Rovahim khar srikal bahu svana//
Many ominous signs became visible then. Many donkeys, jackals and dogs started howling and crying. Indicating the inauspicious happenings which were imminent, birds started making noises. Ill-omened stars like Ketu started appearing in the sky.
Das disi daah hon ati lagaa/ Bhayavu parab binu rabi uparagaa//
Mandodari ur kampati bhari/ Pratima sravahim nayan mag bari//
The ten directions became parched with thirst (fire started blazing). The solar eclipse started occurring even when the time was not appropriate. Mandodari’s heart started beating in terror. Tears started rolling down from the eyes of statues/sculptures.
Pratima rudahim pabipat nabh ati baat bah dolati mahi/
Barshahim balahak rudhir kacch rajj asubh ati sak ko kahi//
Utpat amit biloki nabh sur bikal bolahim jay jaye/
Sur sabhay jaani Kripal raghupati chaap sar jorat bhaye//
The sculptures were shedding tears, thunderbolts were descending, cyclonic storms were brewing in the skies, the earth started quaking; the clouds started raining blood, hair and dust. So many evil auguries were rampant in the air, that it was indescribable. Seeing an unlimited carnage being stoked, the devas in the skies were getting panic stricken. Knowing their turbulent hearts, the Lord readied his divine arrow in his great bow.
Khainchi sarasan shravan lagi chade sar ekatees/
Raghunayak sayak chale manahu kaal phanees//
Pulling the bow string till his ears, Sri Ramji released thirty-one arrows in unison. The arrows blazed through the air like Kala-Sarpa (Black Serpent of Death) itself.
Sayak ek nabhi sar sosha/ Apar lage bhuj sar kari rosha//
Lai sar bahu chale naracha/ Sir bhuj heen rund mahi nacha//
One arrow penetrated Ravan’s navel and dried up the elixir of life (amrit-kumbha). The rest of the thirty impaled his heads and arms. The arrows took flight carrying the heads and limbs! Ravan’s decapitated body, devoid of heads and arms, started dancing on the battle field!
Garjevu marat khor rav bhari/ Kaham ramu ran hatau pachari//
The headless, limbless torso started running, and the earth shook under its impact. Sri Ramji sent forth an arrow which sliced the monstrous corpse to two pieces. Even while dying, Ravan roared, ‘Where is Ram? I will challenge him and kill him in battle!’
Doli bhumi girat daskandhar/ Chubit sindhu sari diggajj bhudhar//
When Ravan fell, the earth quavered. The oceans, rivers, the elephants of the directions, and mountains all became agitated. The two slivers of Ravan’s headless, armless corpse fell on earth, crushing the monkeys and bears.
Mandodari aagem bhuj seesa/ Dhari sar chale jaham jagdeesa//
Prabise sab nishang mahu jaayi/ Dekhi suranh dundhubhi bajayi//
Depositing Ravan’s heads and arms before Mandodari, the arrows returned to Sri Ramji. They entered the divine quiver. The devas began an ecstatic beating of drums on seeing the culmination.
Taasu tej saman prabhu aanan/ Harshe dekhi sambhu chaturaanan//
Jay jay dhuni poori brahmanda/ Jay raghubir prabal bhujdanda//
Ravan’s life spirit merged with the Lord’s face. Lord Shiva and Brahma became delighted at that sight. The whole of the Brahmanda resounded with eulogies of the Lord: ‘Glory to Lord Ram, strong and powerful!’
Barshahim suman dev muni brinda/ Jay Kripal jay jayati mukunda//
The sages and devas were showering flowers and praising Sri Ramji. ‘Glory to the compassionate one! Glory to Mukunda!’
Chalevu nisachar kataku apara/ Chaturangini ani bahu dhara//
Bibidhi bhanti bahan radh jana/ Bipul baran patak dwaj nana//
The mighty army of rakshasas marched onward. The ‘chaturangini’ (as in chess) army had many units: various kinds of chariots, vehicles, multi coloured flags and streamers.
Chale matt gaj jodh ghanere/ Praabit jalad marut janu prere//
Baran baran birdait nikaya/ Samar soor janahim bahu maya//
There were lines of elephants, looking like black thunder clouds of the rainy season moving with the breeze. Carrying varied weapons of different colours, mighty warriors were moving; they were fierce in combat and also experts in magical practices.
Ati bichitra bahini biraaji/ Beer basant sen janu saaji//
The very unique army was absolutely striking in its appearance! It was as if a courageous Spring season had dressed up the army. The ocean underwent turbulence, mountains shook and the elephants symbolizing the various directions became restless.
Nakh dasan sail mahadrumayuddh sabal sank na manahim/
Jay Ram Ravan matth gaj mrigraj sujasu bakhanahim//
The fearsome and Yama-like warriors, monkeys and bears, were racing forward. They resembled mountains with wings flying together. Huge trees, mountains, sharp nails, teeth were their weapons. They were very formidable assailants and not intimidated by anybody. Hailing Sri Ramji as the lion fighting against the intoxicated elephant named Ravan, they were praising the glories of the Lord.
Duhu disi jay jaykar kari nij nij jori jaani/
Phire beer ith Ramahi uth ravanahi bakhani//
The warriors of both sides were busy singing praises of their own Lords and fighting with their respective foe.
Adhik preeti mann bha sandheha/ Bandi charan kah sahit saneha//
Seeing Ravan in his chariot and Sri Ramji without one, Vibheeshan became anxious. Due to the great love for the Lord, he became worried about the forthcoming battle. Clutching at the lotus feet of the Lord, he spoke…
Nadh na radh nahim tann pad trana/ Kehi bidhi jitab beer balwana//
Sunahu sakha kah kripanidhana/ Jehim jay hoyi so syandan aana//
‘Dear Lord, you have no chariot, no armour, no footwear to protect yourself! How do you hope to defeat the mighty Ravan?’ Then Lord Ram smiled, ‘Listen, my friend! The means of winning victory- well, that chariot is unique!’
Bal bibek dam parhit ghore/ Chama kripa samta raju jore//
‘Valour and Courage are the two wheels of the chariot. The flagpole and flag happen to be Truth and Good behaviour. Strength, Prudence, Sensory control and Kindness (helping others) are the four horses; and these are tied by the ropes formed of Forgiveness, Compassion and Fairness.’
Ees bhajanu saradhy sujana/ Birati charm santosh kripana//
Daan parsu budhi sakti prachanda/ Bar bigyan kadin kodanda//
‘The charioteer is the Faith (in the divine). Happiness is the sword and the shield is Detachment. The battle axe is Charity, Intelligence is the fiery trident. Wisdom (Deep Learning) is the incomparable Kodanda.’ (SriRamji’s bow).
Amal achal mann thron samana/ Sam jam niyam silimukh nana//
Kavach abhed bipra gur puja/ Ehi sam bijay upay na duja//
‘ The pure and steady mind is the strongest quiver (of arrows). The mind and body being under control, (Sham, Yam etc… where bodily functions and mind are regulated with discipline) are the sharp arrows. The impenetrable body armour is the devotion to one’s gurus and evolved souls. There is no other mantra for victory.’
Sakha dharmamay as radh jakem/ Jeetan kah na katahu ripu takem//
‘Dear friend, the one who is in possession of such a chariot will hardly find an enemy to vanquish!’
Maha ajay samsara ripu jeeti sakayi so beer/
Jakem as radh hoyi dridh sunahu sakha matidheer//
‘Such a warrior, who has that firm chariot, can conquer the formidable enemy called life and death cycle.’ (To speak the least of somebody like Ravan!)
Suni prabhu bachan bibheeshan harashi gahe pad kanj/
Ehi mis mohi upadesahu Ram kripa such punj//
Hearing Sri Ramji’s wonderful words, Vibheeshan fell at the Lord’s lotus feet. He said,
‘Dear Lord, seating place of all joy and compassion! You have blessed me with your great words of wisdom.’
Uth pachar daskandhar ith angad hanuman/
Larat nisachar bhalu kapi nij nij prabhu aan//
Ravan was spouting challenges on one side, whereas Angad and Hanuman were retorting from the other. Both armies were fighting with each other, hailing their respective leaders.
Sur Brahmadi siddh muni nana/ Dekhat ran nabh chade bimana//
Hamahu Uma rahe tehim sanga/ Dekhat Ram charit ran ranga//
The devas including Brahma, the siddhas, and sages were on different vimanas and were watching from the sky. Lord Shiv says, ‘Uma, I was also with them, watching Sri Ramji’s valour at war, His divine lila.’
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.
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//
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.’
Jasu naam bal Sankar Kasi / Det samahi sam gati abhinasi//
Sages praise You in multiple ways in multiple lives. Yet many are not fortunate to utter thy name, ‘ Ram’ towards their end.
By the radiance of Whose name, in Kashi, Lord Shankara bestows moksha on everyone alike…
Mam lochan gochar soyi aava/ Bahuru ki Prabhu as banihi banaava//
That glorious SreeRamji himself is ( You, My Lord ) gracing me with his presence now! Would such a fortunate time occur ever again?
So nayan gochar jaasu gun nit neti kahi Shruti gavahim//
Jiti pavan mann go niras kari muni dhyan kabahuk pavahim//
Mohi jaani athi abhimaan bas Prabhu kahehu rakhu sareerahi/
As kavan sad hadi kaatu surataru bari karihi baboorahi//
The One whom Shrutis praise as ‘ Neti Neti’ ( Not this, neither that), The One , whom by meditation, saints who control all senses, over coming limitations of body and mind, even so rarely attain a glimpse of- that Lord himself stands by my side! Knowing my conceit, you allowed me to keep my body! Tell me, who can be such a fool who chooses to willingly to cut off the Kalpataru( eternal tree) and plant thorny babool trees in its place? ( Why would anyone demand the boon of keeping this mortal body before the Giver of Moksha?)