30 | Śrī Rāma Carita Mānasa Stotra
I stubbornly upheld the cause of Devotion, for which the great sage Lomaśa cursed me;
but eventually I obtained a boon which is difficult even for the sages to obtain, Witness the efficacy of adoration. (114 B)
They who knowingly cast aside such Devotion and take pains to acquire mere wisdom are fools who would leave alone the cow of plenty at their own house and knock about in search of the Āka plant (the milk-weed) to get milk out of it. Listen.
O lord of the winged creatures; the fools who ignore Bhakti and seek happiness by any other means stupidly seek to swim across the ocean without the help of a vessel”.
Garuḍa, O Bhavānī, (continues Lord Śaṅkara,) rejoiced to hear Bhūśuṇḍī’s words and submitted in gentle accents:
“By your grace, my lord, doubt, sorrow, error and delusion have disappeared from my heart. I have also listened to the praises of Śrī Rāma and attained peace of mind by your blessing.
My lord, I ask you one question more: pray, explain the whole thing clearly, O ocean of compassion:
The saints and sages as well as the Vedas and Purāṇas declare that there is nothing so difficult of attainment as wisdom:
Although the sage (Lomaśa) instructed you in the same, my lord, you did not show the same amount of regard for Gnosis as for Devotion.
Explain to me, my gracious lord, all the difference between Gnosis and Devotion.”
The sagacious crow was gratified to hear the question of Garuḍa (the enemy of the serpents) and politely replied,
“There is no difference whatsoever between Gnosis and Devotion: both are equally efficacious in relieving the torments of birth and death.
Great sages nonetheless point out some difference between the two, my lord: listen to the same with rapt attention, O chief of the birds!
Wisdom, dispassion, Yoga (union with God) and Realization - mark me - are all masculine in conception, O mount of Śrī Hari! The might of man is stronger indeed; while a woman is naturally weak and dull by her very birth. (1 - 8)
But that man alone who is unattached and resolute of mind can forbear woman - not the sensual voluptuary, who has turned his face against the feet of Śrī Rāma (the Hero of Raghu’s line).
But even such an enlightened sage, O mount of Śrī Hari, succumbs to the charms of a pretty woman at the very sight of her moon-like face. It is God Viṣṇu’s own Māyā (deluding potency) that manifests itself in the form of a woman! (115 A-B)
Here I do not speak in a partisan spirit, but merely state the view of the Vedas and Purāṇas as well as of the saints. A woman is never enamoured of another woman’s beauty: this, O enemy of the serpents, is a strange phenomenon.
Māyā and Bhakti (Devotion), mark me, both belong to the feminine group, as everyone knows. Again, Bhakti is beloved of Śrī Rāma (the Hero of Raghu’s line); while poor Māyā is a mere dancing girl.
The Lord of the Raghus is well-disposed towards Bhakti; hence Māyā is terribly afraid of her.
Nay, Māyā shrinks at the very sight of the man in whose heart ever abides unobstructed the peerless and guileless spirit of Devotion, and cannot wield her authority over him.
Knowing this, sages who have realized the Truth solicit Bhakti, which is the fountain of all blessings. (1 - 4)
No one can speedily know this secret of Śrī Rāma (the Lord of the Raghus); but whoever comes to know it by the grace of Raghupati Himself can never fall a prey to infatuation even in a dream.
Further hear, most sagacious Garuḍa, the distinction between Gnosis and Devotion, by hearing which one develops perpetual and uninterrupted love for Śrī Rāma’s feet. (116 A-B)
Listen, dear Garuḍa, to this unutterable wisdom, which can only be comprehended by the mind but is incapable of expression.
The soul is a particle of the Divinity, immortal, conscious, untainted by Māyā and blissful by nature. Such a soul, my lord, has allowed itself to be dominated by Māyā and has been caught in its own trap like a parrot or a monkey.
Matter and Spirit have been linked together with a knot which, though imaginary, is difficult to untie. Since then the soul has become worldly: it can have no happiness unless this knot is untied.
The Vedas and Purāṇas have suggested a number of devices for untying the knot; but the knot, far from being resolved, becomes harder and harder.
The interior of the soul being utterly clouded with the darkness of ignorance, the knot cannot even be perceived; how, then, can it be untied?
If God were to bring about such conditions (as are depicted ahead), even then the disentanglement of the knot is problematical.
Suppose by the grace of Śrī Hari the blessed cow in the shape of Sāttvika (genuine) piety comes to abide in one’s heart and feeds on green herbage
in the shape of Japa (muttering of prayers), austere penance, sacred observances, the Yamas or forms of self-restraint (viz., continence, veracity, non-violence, non-stealing and non-possession),
the five Niyamas or positive virtues (viz., external and internal purity, contentment, self- study, self-discipline and self-surrender to God) and innumerable other blessed virtues and religious practices recommended by the Vedas.
Milk begins to flow from her teats, let us hope, when she is united with her newly-born calf in the form of love.
Quietism serves as the cord by which her hind legs are tied (in order to milk her); faith represents the pot in which the cow is milked; while a pure mind, which is at one’s beck and call, plays the role of a milker.
Having thus drawn the milk in the shape of supreme righteousness one should boil it, brother, on the fire of desirelessness.
When boiled, it should be cooled down with the breath of contentment and forbearance and congealed by mixing with it a little curd in the shape of fortitude and mind-control.
The curd thus made should be churned in the earthen vase of cheerfulness with the churning-stick of reflection after fastening the stick to the host of self-restraint with the cord of truthful and agreeable words;
and by this process of churning one should extract the pure, excellent and holy butter of dispassion. (1 - 8)
After kindling the fire of Yoga (concentration of mind) one’s past Karma, both good and evil, should be consigned to it as fuel, and the butter placed on it.
When the scum in the form of worldly attachment is burnt, the ghee (clarified butter) that is left in the form of Gnosis should be cooled down by Buddhi (Reason).
Having obtained this pure ghee (in the form of wisdom), Buddhi, which is of the nature of understanding, should fill with it the lamp of the Citta (reasoning faculty), and making a stand of even-mindedness set the lamp securely there.
Extracting cotton in the form of the transcendental state out of the boll of the three states of consciousness (viz., waking, dream and dreamless sleep) and the three modes of Prakriti (viz., Sattva, Rajas and Tamas) the same should be carded and fashioned into a strong wick.
In this manner one should light the glorious lamp of immediate knowledge, by merely approaching which moths in the shape of vanity etc., are all consumed. (117 A - D)
The constant awareness that “I am the same (Brahma)” represents the most dazzling flame of the lamp.
In this way when the bliss of Self-Realization sheds its bright lustre, the error of duality, the root of worldly existence, is dispersed and the infinite darkness of infatuation etc. - which forms the family of Avidyā (Nescience) - disappears.
Having thus procured a light, the Buddhi referred to above sits in the chamber of the heart to untie the ligature (that binds the Spirit with Matter).
The soul can hope to attain its object only in the event of Buddhi succeeding in untying it. But when Māyā, O king of the birds, finds her attempting to untie the knot, she creates many difficulties:
She sends forth, brother, a number of Riddhi and Siddhi (riches and supernatural powers in their embodied forms), that try to excite her cupidity. By artifice, force or fraud they approach her and put off the light by fanning it with the end of their garment.
If the Buddhi happens to be most sagacious, she refuses even to look at them considering them to be her enemies. If these impediments fail to distract her, the gods next proceed to create trouble.
The various apertures of the body that locate the five senses are so many windows in the chamber of the heart, each of which is presided over by a god.
Even as they find the gust of sensuality entering the chamber the gods wantonly throw the shutters of these apertures wide open.
As soon as the blast penetrates the chamber of the heart the light of immediate knowledge gets extinguished.
In this way while the ligature binding the Spirit with Matter remains untied, the light (of Self-Realization) also disappears and the understanding gets bewildered when buffeted by the blast of sensuality.
Gnosis is welcome neither to the senses nor the gods presiding over them, who are ever fond of sensuous enjoyments. And the Buddhi too having been distracted by the blast of sensuality, who can light the lamp again as before? (1 - 8)
(When the light of wisdom is thus extinguished) the soul then goes again through the manifold agonies of transmigration. Śrī Hari’s deluding potency, O lord of the winged creatures, is most difficult to cross: it cannot easily be crossed over.
Gnosis is difficult to expound, difficult to grasp and difficult to achieve through practice. And if by chance one succeeds in attaining it, there are many impediments in the way of preserving it. (118 A-B)
The path of wisdom is like the edge of a sword: one is apt to fall from it very soon, O king of the birds. He alone who successfully treads it attains to the supreme state of final emancipation.
But this supreme state of final beatitude is most difficult to attain, so declare the saints as well as the Purāṇas, Vedas and Āgamas (Tantras). By worshipping Śrī Rāma, my lord, the same beatitude comes unsolicited even against our will.
Water cannot stay except on land notwithstanding our best efforts; even so, mark you, O king of the birds, the joy of final beatitude cannot stay apart from Devotion to Śrī Hari.
Realizing this, the wise devotees of Śrī Hari spurn final emancipation and remain enamoured of Devotion:
By practising Devotion ignorance, which is the root of metempsychosis, is eradicated without any effort or exertion, in the same way as we eat for our own gratification but the gastric fire digests the food so eaten (without any effort on our part).
What fool is there who does not welcome such Devotion to Śrī Hari, which is so easy and delightful at the same time?
The ocean of transmigration, O enemy of serpents, cannot be crossed without cultivating the same feeling of Śrī Rāma as a servant cherishes towards his master. Knowing this to be the established doctrine, adore the lotus feet of Śrī Rāma.
The Lord of the Raghus can make the sentient inert and the inert sentient: the souls that adore such an omnipotent lord are blessed indeed. (119 A-B)
I have expounded at length the established doctrine relating to Gnosis; hear now the virtue of Devotion, which has been likened to a jewel:
The beautiful wish-yielding gem of Devotion to Śrī Rāma is an embodiment of supreme effulgence, which sheds its radiance day and night, requiring neither a vessel nor clarified butter nor a wick (to light it).
He in whose heart, O Garuḍa, such a jewel abides, is not haunted by poverty in the shade of infatuation.
No blast of greed can ever extinguish this light, which dispels the overpowering gloom of ignorance and the swarms of moths (in the shape of vanity etc.,) keep away from it in a mood of frustration.
Nay, vicious propensities like lust dare not approach him in whose heart the gem of Devotion abides:
For him venom is transformed into ambrosia and enemies turn into friends; nobody can attain happiness without this jewel.
Again, he is never attacked by the terrible mental diseases from which all living beings are grievously suffering. He in whose heart the gem of Devotion to Śrī Rāma abides cannot have the least woe even in a dream.
They alone are paragons of wisdom in this world; who spare no pains to secure this gem. Although this jewel is manifest in the world, none can find it without the grace of Śrī Rāma.
There are easy devices for finding it, but luckless souls attempt harder methods:
The Vedas and Purāṇas represent holy mountains; and the stories of Śrī Rāma, the many glorious mines located in their midst.
The saints are the expert mineralogists and their penetrating intellect, the pickaxe; while spiritual wisdom and dispassion, Garuḍa, are the two eyes (surveying the mines).
Any creature who looks for it with faith succeeds in discovering the gem of Devotion, a mine of all blessings. I have this conviction in my heart, my lord, that a servant of Śrī Rāma is greater than Śrī Rāma Himself:
While Śrī Rāma is the ocean, the wise saints are like the rain-clouds; or (to use another metaphor) while Śrī Hari is the sandal-tree, the saints represent the winds (that diffuse its perfume).
Devotion to Śrī Hari, which is so delightful, is the reward of all spiritual endeavours; none has ever secured it except through a saint. Realizing this whoever cultivates the fellowship of saints finds Devotion to Śrī Rāma easy of attainment, O king of the birds. (1 - 10)
The Vedas are compared to the ocean (of milk); spiritual wisdom plays the role of Mount Mandāra; while saints are the gods who churn out nectar in the form of the sacred legends; and Devotion represents its sweetness.
Using Dispassion as a shield (for self-defence) and slaying with the sword of wisdom enemies in the form of vanity, greed and infatuation, it is Devotion to Śrī Hari that triumphs; ponder and realize this, O king of the birds. (120 A-B)
Garuḍa (the king of the birds) further submitted in loving tones:
“If you cherish fondness for me, my gracious master, kindly recognize me as your servant, and answer me the following seven questions:
Tell me, first of all, my most wise master; which form of all is the most difficult to obtain?
Next consider and tell me briefly which is the greatest misery and which again is the highest pleasure. You know the essential characteristics of the saints and the evil-minded; therefore, describe their innate disposition.
Also tell me which is the highest religious merit made known in the Vedas and which, again, is the most terrible sin. Further tell me in unambiguous terms the diseases of the mind, omniscient as you are and richly endowed with compassion.”
“Listen, dear Garuḍa, with reverence and rapt attention while I tell you briefly my views on these questions:
There is no other form as good as the human body: every living creature - whether animate or inanimate - craves for it:
It is the ladder that takes the soul either to hell or to heaven or again to final beatitude, and is the bestower of blessings in the form of wisdom, dispassion and Devotion.
Men who fail to adore Śrī Hari even after obtaining this body, and wallow in the basest pleasures of sense, throw away the philosopher’s stone from the palm of their hand and take bits of glass in exchange for the same.
There is no misery in this world as terrible as poverty and no blessing as great as communion with saints. Beneficence in thought, word and deed is the innate disposition of saints, O king of the birds.
The saints undergo suffering in the interest of others while impious wretches do so with a view to tormenting others.
Tender-hearted saints, like the birch tree, submit to the greatest torture (even allow their skin to be peeled off) for the good of others; while the wicked, like the hemp, have their skin flayed off and perish in agony in order to be able to bind others (in the form of cords).
Listen, O enemy of serpents: like the rat and the serpent, the wicked injure others without any gain to themselves. Having destroyed others’ prosperity they perish themselves, even as the hail dissolves after destroying the crops. The elevation of the wicked, like the rising of a comet - which is a detestable heavenly body - is a source of calamity to the world. The advancement of a saint, on the other hand, is ever conducive to joy, even as the rising of the sun and the moon brings delight to the whole universe. A vow of non-violence is the highest religious merit known to the Vedas; and there is no sin as grievous as speaking ill of others. A reviler of Lord Hara and his own preceptor takes the form of a frog (after his death) and his birth in that form is repeated a thousand times. A reviler of the Brāhmaṇas, after suffering tortures in a number of hells, is born on earth in the form of a crow. Those conceited souls who revile the gods and the Vedas are cast into the hell known as Raurava. They who delight in vilifying the saints are reborn as owls, who love the night of error and for whom the sun of wisdom has set. The fools who censure all, are reborn as bats. Note now, dear Garuḍa, the diseases of the mind, from which everyone suffers. Infatuation is the root of all ailments and from these again arise many other troubles. Lust is a counterpart of wind and inordinate greed corresponds to an abundance of phlegm; while anger represents bile, which constantly burns the breast. Should all these three combine, there results what is known as Sannipāta (a derangement of the aforesaid three humours of the body, causing fever which is of a dangerous type). The cravings for the manifold pleasures of the sense, so difficult to realize, are the various distempers, which are too numerous to name. The feeling of mineness corresponds to ringworms, envy represents itches while joy and grief correspond to a disease of the throat marked by an excessive enlargement of its glands. Grudging contemplation of others’ happiness represents consumption; while wickedness and perversity of soul correspond to leprosy. Egotism is a counterpart of the most painful gout; while hypocrisy, deceit, arrogance and pride correspond to the disease known as Dracontiasis (which is marked by the presence in the body of a parasite known as the guinea-worm). Thirst for enjoyment represents the most advanced type of dropsy; while the three types of craving (those for progeny, riches and honour) correspond to the violent quartan ague. Jealousy and thoughtlessness are the two types of fever. There are many more fell diseases, too numerous to mention. (1 - 19)
People die even of one disease; while I have spoken of many incurable diseases which constantly torment the soul. How, then, can it find peace? There are sacred vows and religious observances and practices, austere penance, spiritual wisdom, sacrifices, Japa (muttering of prayers), charity and myriads of other remedies too; but the maladies just enumerated do not yield to these, O mount of Śrī Hari. (121 A-B)
Thus every creature in this world is ailing and is further afflicted with grief and joy, fear, love and desolation. I have mentioned only a few diseases of the mind; although everyone is suffering from them, few are able to detect them. These wretches, the plague of mankind, diminish to a certain extent on being detected, but are not completely destroyed. Fed by the unwholesome diet of sensuality they sprout even in the mind of sages, to say nothing of poor mortals. All these ailments can no doubt be eradicated if by Śrī Rāma’s grace the following factors combine. There must be faith in the words of the physician in the form of a true preceptor; and the regimen is indifference to the pleasures of sense. Devotion to the Lord of the Raghus is the life-giving herb (to be used as a recipe); while a devout mind serves as the vehicle in which it is taken. By this process the ailments can certainly be eradicated; otherwise all our efforts will fail to get rid of them. The mind should be accounted as cured, my lord, only when the heart gathers strength in the form of dispassion, appetite in the shape of good resolutions grows stronger and stronger every day and weakness in the form of sensual appetite goes. (Being thus rid of all diseases) when the soul bathes in the pure water of wisdom, the heart is saturated with Devotion to Śrī Rāma. Lord Śiva, Brahmā (the Unborn), Sanaka and his three brothers, Nārada and other sages who are adept in the investigation of Brahma, all are of this opinion, O lord of the winged creatures, that one should cultivate devotion to the lotus-feet of Śrī Rāma. The Vedas and Purāṇas and all other scriptures declare that there can be no happiness without practising devotion to the Lord of the Raghus. It would be easier for the hair to grow on the shell of a tortoise, or for the progeny of a barren woman to slay anyone or for flowers of every description to appear in the air than for any creature to be happy even though hostile to Śrī Hari. Sooner shall thirst be slaked by drinking of a mirage or horns sprout on a hare’s head or darkness efface the sun than a creature who has turned his face against Śrī Rāma find happiness. Sooner shall fire appear out of ice than an enemy of Śrī Rāma enjoy happiness. (1 - 10)
Sooner shall butter be churned out of water or oil be extracted from sand than the ocean of worldly existence be crossed without adoring Śrī Hari: this is a conclusion which cannot be set aside. The Lord can exalt a mosquito to the position of Brahmā (the Creator) and degrade Brahmā to a position lower than that of a mosquito. Realizing this, the wise discard all doubt and worship Śrī Rāma. (122 A-B)
I tell You my considered view and my words can never be untrue: men who worship Śrī Rāma are able to cross the most turbulent ocean of mundane existence. (122 C)
I have narrated, my lord, the incomparable story of Śrī Hari according to my own lights, now briefly and now in detail. The conclusion of the Vedas, O enemy of serpents, is just this: forgetting all other duties Śrī Rāma alone should be adored. Who else is worth serving, if you renounce the almighty, Lord of the Raghus, who regards even a fool like me as His own. You are wisdom incarnate and have no infatuation; on the other hand, you have done me a unique favour, my lord, in that you asked me to repeat the most sacred story of Śrī Rāma, which delights the soul of sages like Śuka, Sanaka and others, as well as of Lord Śambhu. The fellowship of saints is difficult to get in this world, be it for the twinkling of an eye or for half an hour even for once. Ponder in your heart, Garuḍa, and see for yourself whether I am competent in any way to worship the Hero of Raghu’s line. The vilest of birds and impure in every way as I was, the Lord has made me known as a purifier of the world. (1 - 4)
Though vile in every way, I am blessed, most blessed today, in that Śrī Rāma has acknowledged me as one of His own servants and therefore vouchsafed to me the fellowship of a saint (like you). My lord, I have spoken to the best of my ability and have concealed nothing. But the story of Śrī Rāma (the Lord of the Raghus) is vast as an ocean: can anyone find the bottom of it? (123 A-B)
The wise Kākabhuśuṇḍi rejoiced again and again as he pondered Śrī Rāma’s manifold virtues. That I should enjoy the grace of Śrī Rāma (the Lord of the Raghus), whose glory is sung by the Vedas only in negative terms as “not that,” whose might, majesty and glory are unequalled and whose feet are worthy of adoration even to Lord Śiva and Brahmā (the Unborn, Creator) - betrays His supreme tenderness of heart. Nowhere have I heard of, much less seen, such a kind disposition: to whom shall I compare the Lord of the Raghus, O chief of the birds? Strivers and perfect souls, the liberated and the unworldly-minded, the seers and learned men, those knowing the secrets of Karma (duty) and those who have renounced all action, Yogīs (mystics), and valiant heroes, great ascetics and wise men, pious souls and men of erudition and even men who have realized the Self - none of these can cross the ocean of mundane existence without adoring my lord, Śrī Rāma, to whom I bow again and again and yet again. I bow once more to that imperishable Lord by approaching whom for shelter even sinful souls like me get purified. (1 - 4)
“He whose name is an unfailing remedy for the disease of birth and death and alleviates the three kinds of terrible pain - may that gracious Lord remain propitious both to me and to you.” On hearing Bhūśuṇḍī’s blessed discourse and perceiving his devotion to Śrī Rāma’s feet, Garuḍa, who was now rid of all doubt, replied in endearing terms: - (124 A-B)
“I have attained the object of my life now that I have listened to your discourse, imbued with the nectar of Devotion to Śrī Rāma’s feet. My love for Śrī Rāma’s feet has been renewed and the trouble created by Māyā (the Lord’s deluding potency) has all ended. You have been a vessel to me, drifting as I was in the ocean of infatuation and have afforded me delight in various ways, my lord. I am, however, incapable of repaying my obligation to you and simply adore your feet again and again. You are fully satiated and a lover of Śrī Rāma; no one is so blessed as you, venerable sir. Saints, trees, rivers, mountains and the earth, all these operate for the good of others. The poets have declared the heart of a saint to be soft as butter; but they did not know what should be said. For, while butter melts only when the same is heated on fire, the holy saints melt at the suffering of others. My life and birth into this world have both been rewarded and by your grace all my doubts have fled. Ever regard me as your own servant.” Again and again did the chief of the birds speak thus, O Umā. (1 - 5)
Lovingly bowing his head at Kāka Bhūśuṇḍī’s feet, Garuḍa, who was so resolute of purpose, then flew away to Vaikuṇṭha (the divine abode of Lord Viṣṇu), with an image of Śrī Rāma (the Hero of Raghu’s line) imprinted on his heart. Girijā, there is no gain so valuable as the fellowship of saints; the same, however, cannot be had without the grace of Śrī Hari: so declare the Vedas and Purāṇas. (125 A-B)
I have thus repeated the most sacred narrative, by hearing which one is freed from the bonds of worldly existence and comes to have devotion to the lotus-feet of the All-merciful Śrī Rāma, who is a wish-yielding tree to the suppliant. Again, they who listen to this narrative attentively are absolved of sins committed with the mind, speech or body. Pilgrimages to sacred places and other means of self-purification, perfection in Yoga (mind-control), dispassion and wisdom, sacred rites and religious practices, vows and charitable acts of various kinds, self-denial and self-control, Japa (muttering of prayers) and austere penance, performing manifold sacrifices, compassion to all living beings, ministering to the Brāhmaṇas and one’s preceptor, learning, modesty, right judgment and nobility of mind and character, in short, all the expedients extolled in the Vedas, Bhavānī, have but one reward - Devotion to Śrī Hari. Such devotion to the Lord of the Raghus as has been glorified in the Vedas is attained to by some rare soul by the grace of Śrī Rāma Himself. (1 - 4)
Although such devotion to Śrī Hari is scarce attainable even by the sages, it can be easily attained by men who constantly listen to this story with faith. (126)
He alone is omniscient and accomplished, he alone is wise, he alone is an ornament of the globe, learned and munificent, he alone is pious and he the saviour of his race, whose mind is devoted to the feet of Śrī Rāma. He alone is perfect in correct behaviour and most sagacious, he alone has thoroughly grasped the conclusion of the Vedas, and he alone is a seer, a man of erudition, and staunch in battle, who adores the Hero of Raghu’s line in a guileless spirit. Blessed is the land where flows the celestial stream (the Gaṅgā); blessed the wife who observes a vow of fidelity to her husband. Blessed is the monarch who administers justice; blessed the Brāhmaṇa who swerves not from his duty. Blessed is the wealth which is used to the best advantage; blessed is the intellect and ripe too, which is devoted to pious acts. Blessed is the hour which is spent in communion with saints; blessed the birth in which one practises unceasing devotion to the twice-born (the Brāhmaṇas). (1 - 4)
Listen, Umā: blessed is the family, worthy of adoration for the whole world and most hallowed too, in which is born an humble devotee of the illustrious Rāma (the Hero of Raghu’s line) . (127)
I have told you this narrative according to my own lights, although at first I kept it secret. I saw excessive fondness for the same in your heart and then I narrated to you the story of Śrī Rāma (the Lord of the Raghus). This story, however, should not be repeated to a perverse knave, who does not listen attentively to the story of Śrī Hari; nor should it be recited to a greedy, irascible or lustful man who worship not the Lord of all animate and inanimate creation. It should never be repeated to a Brāhmaṇa-hater, be he a monarch as great as Indra (the lord of the celestials). They alone are qualified to hear Śrī Rāma’s narrative, who are extremely fond of communion with holy men. They alone are fit to hear it, who are devoted to the feet of their preceptor, and are lovers of propriety and votaries of the Brāhmaṇas. The story affords special delight to them who hold the graceful Lord of the Raghus dear as life. (1 - 4)
He who seeks devotion to the feet of Śrī Rāma or to enjoy the state of eternal bliss should fondly drink in this story with the cups of his ears. (128)
I have narrated, Girijā, the story of Śrī Rāma, which wipes out the sins of the Kali age and removes the impurities of the mind. The narrative of Śrī Rāma, as is declared by the Vedas and the seers, is a life-giving herb to cure the disease of birth and death. It has seven beautiful stairs, which are so many roads as it were leading to the goal of Devotion to the Lord of the Raghus. He alone who enjoys the utmost grace of Śrī Hari can set his foot on this road (the road to Devotion). Men who sing this story in a guileless spirit attain the object of their soul’s desire. Nay, they who repeat or listen to it or even approve of its recitation cross the ocean of mundane existence as they would the print of a cow’s hoof. Girijā (Daughter of the mountain-king) was greatly delighted at heart to hear the whole narrative and replied in pleasing tones: “By the grace of my lord (Yourself) my doubts have disappeared and my devotion to Śrī Rāma’s feet has been renovated. (1 - 4)
“By your blessing, O Lord of the universe, I have now attained the object of my life. Unswerving devotion to Śrī Rāma has sprung in my heart and all my afflictions have ended.” (129)
This blessed dialogue between Lord Śambhu and Goddess Umā begets joy and lifts the gloom of depression. It puts an end to transmigration, disperses doubt, delights the devotees and is dear to the saints. To the worshippers of Śrī Rāma, nothing is so dear as this (narrative of Śrī Rāma). By the grace of Śrī Rāma (the Lord of the Raghus) Himself I have sung to the best of my ability this sacred and charming story. In this age of Kali no other discipline is of any avail - neither Yoga (mind-control) nor sacrifices, nor Japa (muttering of prayers) not austere penance nor any sacred vows nor ritual: Rāma alone should be remembered, Rāma alone should be glorified; and it is the catalogue of Rāma’s virtues alone that should be given ear to. Forswearing perversity, my soul, adore Him whose great vow it is to sanctify the fallen, as is declared by seers and saints, the Vedas and Purāṇas: who has not secured redemption by worshipping Śrī Rāma? (1 - 4)
Listen, my stupid soul: who has not been saved by adoring Śrī Rāma, the purifier of the fallen? The harlot (Pingala), Ajāmila, the hunter (Vālmīki), the vulture (Jaṭāyu), the elephant and many other wretches have been delivered by Him. Even Ābhīras (a hilly tribe inhabiting the south-west coast in the ancient times), Yavanas, Kirātas (Bhīlas), Khasas (another hill-tribe found in Assam), Chāṇḍālas (the pariah) and others, the very embodiments of grievous sin, are hallowed by merely uttering Your name even once: I adore You, O Rāma. Men who repeat to others, listen to (when repeated by others) or chant alone this narrative of Śrī Rāma (the Ornament of Raghu’s race) thereby wipe out the sins that are incident to the Kali age as well as the impurities of their soul, and ascend to the Abode of Śrī Rāma without any difficulty. Nay the Chief of the Raghus cures the perversities, caused by the fivefold ignorance, of those men who treasure up in their heart even a few Caupāīs (small four-footed verses) of this narrative that appeal to them as most charming. If there is anyone who is all-beautiful, all-wise and all-merciful and who is fond of the forlorn, it is Rāma and Rāma alone; who else can compare with Him as a disinterested friend and a bestower of eternal bliss? Nowhere can we find a lord like Śrī Rāma, by an iota of whose grace even the dull-witted Tulasīdāsa has found supreme peace. (1 - 3)
There is no one so miserable as I nor such a friend of the miserable as You, O Hero of Raghu’s line! Realizing this, O Jewel of Raghu’s race, take away my fear of transmigration, which is so terrible. May You be ever so dear to me, Rāma, as woman is dear to a lustful man, and as lucre is dear to the greedy, O Lord of the Raghus. (130 A-B)
The same mysterious “Mānasa-Rāmāyaṇa” (the story of Śrī Rāma figuratively spoken of as a Mānasa lake) which was composed of yore by the blessed Lord Śambhu, the best of all poets, with the object of developing unceasing devotion to the lotus-feet of the all-beautiful Śrī Rāma, has been likewise rendered into the language of cammar by Tulasī dāsa for dispersing the gloom of his heart, cognizing the fact that it is devoted to the Name of Śrī Rāma (the Lord of the Raghus). This glorious, holy, purifying, blessed and most limpid Mānasa lake of Śrī Rāma’s exploits ever begets happiness; nay, it bestows both wisdom and Devotion, wipes out delusion, infatuation and impurity and is brimful with the water of love. Men who devoutly take a plunge into it are never scorched with the burning rays of the sun of worldly illusion. (1-2)
[PAUSE 30 FOR A THIRTY-DAY RECITATION]
[PAUSE 9 FOR A NINE-DAY RECITATION]
Thus ends the seventh descent into the Mānasa lake of Śrī Rāma’s exploits, that eradicates all the impurities of the Kali age.