1-2 | Śrī Rāma Carita Mānasa Stotra

The tales of sins and vices of the wicked, on the one hand, and of the virtues of the virtuous, on the other, are like boundless and unfathomable oceans.

That is why I have enumerated only a few virtues and vices; for they cannot be acquired or discarded without being duly distinguished.

The good as well as the vile, all have been brought into being by the Creator; it is the Vedas that have differentiated them by reckoning the merits of the former class and the demerits of the other.

The Vedas, the Itihāsas (such as the Rāmāyaṇa and the Mahābhārata) and the Purāṇas unanimously declare that the creation of Brahmā (the Creator) is an intermixture of good and evil.

It is characterized by pairs of opposites such as pain and pleasure, sin and merit, day and night, the good and the wicked, good birth and vile birth, demons and gods,

the high and the low, nectar and poison, a happy life and death, Māyā and Brahma, i.e., Matter and Spirit, the soul and God (the Lord of the universe), plenty and poverty, the pauper and the king,

the sacred Kāśī or Vārāṇasī and Magadha or North Bihar (the accursed land), the holy Gaṅgā the river of the celestials - and the unholy Karmanāśā (in Bihar),

the desert land of Māravāra (Western Rājapūtānā and Sindha) and the rich soil of Mālavā, the Brāhmaṇa - who is a veritable god on earth - and the barbarian who feeds on the cow, heaven and hell, attachment and dispassion.

- The Vedas and other sacred books have sifted good from evil. (1 - 5)

God has created the universe consisting of animate and inanimate beings as partaking of both good and evil; swans in the form of saints imbibe the milk of goodness rejecting water in the form of evil. (6)

When Providence blesses one with such discrimination (as is possessed by the swan), then alone does the mind abandon evil and gets enamoured of goodness.

By force of the spirit of the times, old habits and past Karma even the good deviate from goodness under the influence of Māyā.

But just as servants of Śrī Hari rectify that error and, eradicating sorrow and weakness, bring untarnished glory to them,

even so the wicked occasionally perform a noble deed due to their good association, although their evil nature, which is unchangeable, cannot be obliterated.

Even those who are impostors are respected on account of their garb, as the world is taken in by their attractive appearance. But they are eventually exposed, and cannot keep up their false appearance till the end, as was the case with Kālanemi, Rāvaṇa and Rāhu.

The good are honoured notwithstanding their unbecoming appearance, even as Jāmbavān (a general of Sugrīva’s army, who was endowed with the form of a bear and possessed miraculous strength) and Hanumān (the monkey-god) won honour in this world.

Bad association is harmful, while good company is an asset in itself: this is true in the world as well as in the eyes of the Vedas, and is known to all.

Through contact with the wind dust ascends to the sky, while it is assimilated with mud when united with low-lying waters. Parrots and Mainās nurtured in the house of the virtuous and the wicked repeat the name of Rāma and pour a volley of abuses respectively.

Smoke coming in contact with an evil (earthy) substance turns into soot; the same is used as a material for copying the Purāṇas with when converted into beautiful ink.

Again, in conjunction with water, fire and air it is transformed into a cloud and brings life to the world. (1 - 6)

The planets, medicines, water, air and cloth prove good or bad in the world according to their good or evil associations; only men endowed with a keen insight are able to know this.

The proportion of moonlight and darkness is the same in the bright as well as in the dark fortnight; only the two have been named differently by the Creator.

Knowing the one as the nourisher and the other as the emaciator of the moon, the world has given it a good name and a bad one.

Whatever beings, animate or inanimate, there are in the universe, recognizing them, one and all, as consisting of Śrī Rāma, I ever adore the lotus feet of all with joined palms.

I reverence gods, demons, human beings, Nāgas, birds, evil spirits, manes (the souls of departed ancestors) and Gandharvas, Kinnaras and Rākṣasas (giants). Pray, be gracious to me all on this occasion. (7 A - D)

Eight million and four hundred thousand species of living beings, classified under four broad divisions, inhabit land, water and the air:

Recognizing the entire creation as full of Sītā and Rāma, I make obeisance to them with joined palms.

I have no confidence in my intellectual power, hence I supplicate you all.

I would recount the virtues of the Lord of Raghus, Śrī Rāma; but my wits are poor, whereas the exploits of Śrī Rāma are unfathomable. For this I find not the least resources, while I am dull of mind and intellect, my ambition is right royal.

Even though my intellect is exceedingly mean, my aspiration is pitched too high; while I crave for nectar, I have no means in this world to procure even butter-milk.

The virtuous will forgive my presumption and listen to my childish babbling with interest. When a child prattles in lisping accents, the parents hear it with a mind full of delight.

Those, however, who are hard-hearted, mischievous and perverse and cherish others’ faults as an ornament, will feel amused:

Who does not like one’s own poetry, be it delightful or exceedingly insipid? Such good people who delight to hear others’ composition are rare in this world.

The world abounds in men who resemble lakes and rivers, that get swollen with their own rise when waters are added to them. There is some rare good soul like the ocean, which swells at the sight of the full moon. (1 - 7)

Humble is my lot and my ambition high; my only hope is that all good men will be gratified to hear what I say, while the evil-minded will ridicule. (8)

The Ridicule of the evil-minded will benefit me; crows call the cuckoo hoarse. Herons ridicule the swan, frogs make fun of the Chātakā bird and malicious rogues deride refined speech.

To those who have no taste for poetry nor devotion to the feet of Śrī Rāma, this undertaking of mine will serve as a subject for delightful mirth.

My composition is couched in the popular dialect and my intellect is feeble; hence it is a fit subject for ridicule, and those who laugh shall not incur any blame.

To those who cherish no love for the feet of the Lord and have no sound reason either, this story will sound unattractive to the ears.

To those, however, who possess devotion to the feet of God Viṣṇu and Śiva and whose mind is not perverse, the tale of the Chief of the Raghus will taste as sweet.

Knowing it in their heart as adorned with devotion to Śrī Rāma, the virtuous will listen to it with bland words of praise.

I am no poet nor an adept in the art of speech and am a cipher in all arts and sciences:

There are elegant devices of letters, subtleties of meaning, various figures of speech, metrical compositions of different kinds, infinite varieties of emotions and sentiments and multifarious flaws and excellences of poetic composition.

Of these details of poesy, I possess critical knowledge of none. I vouch for it in writing on a blank sheet. (1 - 6)

My composition is devoid of all charm; it has only one merit, which is known throughout the world. Recognizing this merit, men of sound reason, who are gifted with unbiased judgment, will surely hear it. (9)

It contains the gracious name of the Lord of Raghus, which is exceedingly holy and the very cream of the Purāṇas and the Vedas.

It is the abode of blessings and the remover of evils, and is muttered by Lord Śiva, the enemy of the demon Tripura, along- with his consort, Umā.

Even a composition of marvellous beauty and written by a gifted poet does not commend itself without the name of Śrī Rāma. A pretty woman with a charming countenance and fully adorned, does not look attractive when undressed.

On the other hand, the wise recite and hear with admiration even the composition of a worthless poet, which is devoid of all merit, knowing it as adorned with the name and glory of Śrī Rāma; for, like the bee, saints have a bias for goodness.

Although it has no poetic charm whatsoever, the glory of Śrī Rāma is manifest in it. This is the only hope which flashes on my mind; who has not been exalted by noble company?

Even smoke rising from burning aloe wood is impregnated with the latter’s fragrance and gives up its natural pungency.

Although my composition is clumsy, it treats of a commendable theme, viz., the story of Śrī Rāma, which brings felicity to the world. (1 - 5)

The tale of the Lord of Raghus, O Tulasīdāsa, brings forth blessings and wipes away the impurities of the Kali age.

The course of this stream of my poetry is tortuous like that of the holy Gaṅgā:

By its association with the auspicious glory of the Lord my composition will be blessed and will captivate the mind of the virtuous. On the person of Lord Śiva, even the ashes of the cremation-ground appear charming and purify by their very thought.

My composition will appear extremely delightful to all by its association with the glory of Śrī Rāma,

even as timber of every description is transformed into sandal and becomes worthy of adoration by contact with the Malaya mountain (in South India), and nobody takes into account the quality of wood in that region.

The milk of even a dark cow is white and possesses a great medicinal value and is drunk by all. So do the wise chant and hear the glory of Sītā and Rāma even though couched in the vulgar tongue. (10 A-B)

The beauty of a gem, a ruby and a pearl does not catch the eye as it should so long as they are borne on the head of a serpent, the top of a mountain and the crown of an elephant respectively.

The charm of them all is enhanced when they adorn the diadem of a king or the person of a young lady.

Even so, the wise say, the outpourings of a good poet originate at one place (in the poet’s own mind) and exercise their charm elsewhere (on the mind of the admirer).

Attracted by his devotion, Sarasvatī (the goddess of poetry) comes with all speed from the abode of Brahmā (the topmost heaven) at his very invocation.

The fatigue occasioned by this long journey cannot be relieved by millions of devices unless she takes a dip in the lake of Śrī Rāma’s exploits.

Realizing this in their heart, poets and wise men chant the glory of Śrī Hari alone, which wipes away the impurities of the Kali age. Finding the bard singing the glories of worldly men the goddess of speech begins to beat her brow and repent.

The wise liken the heart of a poet to the sea, his intellect to the shell containing pearls and goddess Sarasvatī to the star called Svātī (the modern Arcturus, the fifteenth lunar asterism considered as favourable to the formation of pearls).

If there is a shower in the form of beautiful ideas, lovely pearls make their appearance in the form of poetic effusions. (1 - 5)

If those pearls are pierced with skill and strung together on the beautiful thread of Śrī Rāma’s exploits, and if noble souls wear them in their innocent heart, grace in the form of excessive fondness is the result. (11)

Those who are born in this terrible age of Kali,

who though akin to the crow in their doings have put on the garb of a swan, who tread the evil path, abandoning the track of the Vedas, who are embodiments of falsehood and repositories of sins of the Kali age,

who are impostors claiming to be devotees of Śrī Rāma, though slaves of mammon, anger and passion, and who are unscrupulous, hypocritical and foremost among intriguers

- I occupy the first place among them.

Were I to recount all my vices, their tale will assume large dimensions, and yet I shall not be able to exhaust them. Hence I have mentioned very few.

A word should suffice for the wise:

Entering into the spirit of my manifold prayers, none should blame me on hearing this story. Those who will raise objections even then are more stupid and deficient in intellect than myself.

I am no poet and have no pretensions to ingenuity; I sing the glories of Śrī Rāma according to my own lights, My intellect, which wallows in the world, is a poor match for the unlimited exploits of the Lord of Raghus.

Tell me, of what account is cotton in the face of the strong wind before which even mountains like Meru are blown away? Realizing the infinite glory of Śrī Rāma, my mind feels very diffident in proceeding with this story. (1 - 6)

Goddess Sarasvatī Śeṣa (the thousand-headed serpent-god), the great Lord Śiva, Brahmā (the Creator), the Āgamas (Tantras), the Vedas and the Purāṇas unceasingly sing His virtues, saying ‘not that’, ‘not that’.

Though all know the Lord’s greatness as such, yet none has refrained from describing it:

The Vedas have justified it thus; they have variously sung the glory of remembering the Lord, God,

who is one, desireless, formless, nameless and unborn, who is Truth, Consciousness and Bliss, who is supreme effulgence, all-pervading and all-formed –

-  it is He who has performed many deeds assuming a suitable form.

That He has done only for the good of His devotees; for He is supremely gracious and loving to the suppliant. He is excessively fond of His devotees and treats them as His own; He has never frowned at him to whom He has once shown His favour.

The restorer of what has been lost, the protector of the poor, the Lord of Raghus is a straightforward and powerful master. Knowing thus, the wise sing the glory of Śrī Hari and thereby hallow and bring supreme reward to their speech.

It is on this strength (the supreme efficacy of remembering the Lord and the potency of His grace) that I shall sing the virtues of the Lord of Raghus, bowing my head to the feet of Śrī Rāma. Sages have sung the glory of Śrī Hari in the past; it will be easy for me to follow that very path. (1 - 5)

If kings get bridges constructed over big rivers, which are too broad, even the tiniest ants cross them without exertion. (13)

Reassuring the mind in this way, I shall narrate the charming story of the Lord of Raghus.

Vyāsa and various other top-ranking poets, who have reverently recounted the blessed glory of Śrī Hari, I bow to the lotus feet of them all; let them fulfil all my desires.

I make obeisance to the poets of the Kali age, who have sung the multitudinous virtues of the Lord of Raghus.

Even those poets of supreme wisdom who belong to the Prākrita or popular class (as opposed to the Saṁskṛta or the cultured class),

who have narrated the exploits of Śrī Hari in the spoken language, including those who have flourished in the past, those who are still living and those who are yet to come,

- I reverence them, one and all, renouncing all false appearance.

Be propitious and grant this boon that my song may be honoured in the assemblage of pious souls. A composition which the wise refuse to honour is fruitless labour which only silly poets undertake.

Of glory, poetry and affluence that alone is blessed which, like the celestial river (Gaṅgā), is conducive to the good of all. The glory of Śrī Rāma is charming indeed, while my speech is rough. This is something incongruous, I am afraid. By your grace, even this incongruity will turn out well for me; embroidery of silk looks charming even on coarse cloth. (1 - 6)

The wise admire only that poetry which is lucid and portrays a spotless character and which even opponents hear with applause forgetting natural animosity.

Such poetry is not possible without a refined intellect, and of intellectual power I have very little. Be gracious, therefore so that I may depict the glory of Śrī Hari; I solicit again and again.

Poets and wise men, lovely swans sporting in the Mānasarovara lake of Śrī Rāma’s exploits! Hearing my childlike prayer and recognizing my refined taste, be kindly disposed towards me. (14 A - C)

I bow to the lotus feet of the sage (Vālmīki) who composed the Rāmāyaṇa, which though containing an account of the demon Khara (a cousin of Rāvaṇa), is yet very soft and charming, and though faultless, is yet full of references to Dūṣaṇa (another cousin of the demon-king Rāvaṇa).

I reverence, all the four Vedas, barks as it were on the ocean of mundane existence, which never dream of weariness in singing the untarnished glory of Śrī Rāma, the Chief of Raghus.

I greet the dust on the feet of Brahmā (the Creator), who has evolved the ocean of worldly existence, the birth-place of nectar, the moon and the cow of plenty in the form of saints, on the one hand, and of poison and wine in the form of the wicked, on the other.

Making obeisance to the feet of gods, the Brāhmaṇas, wise men and the deities presiding over the nine planets, I pray to them with joined palms! Be pleased to accomplish all my fair desires. (14 D - G)

Again, I bow to goddess Sarasvatī and the celestial river Gaṅgā, both of whom are holy and perform agreeable roles.

The one (Gaṅgā) wipes away sin through immersion and draught; the other (Sarasvatī) dispels ignorance through the recital and hearing of her glory.

I adore the great Lord Śiva and His consort Goddess Bhavānī (Pārvatī), my preceptors and parents, friends of the forlorn and ever given to charity, servants, masters and friends of Sītā’s Lord, and true benefactors of Tulasīdāsa in every way.

Seeing the prevalence of the Kali age Hara and Girijā (Śiva and Pārvatī) evolved a string of spells in the tongue of savages, incoherent syllables which yield no interpretation and require no repetition, but whose efficacy is patent, revealing Śiva’s glory.

That Lord of Umā (Pārvatī), favourable as He is to me, shall make this story of mine a source of blessings and joy. Thus invoking Lord Śiva and His Consort, Śivā (Pārvatī), and obtaining Their favour, I relate the exploits of Śrī Rāma with a heart full of ardour.

By Śiva’s grace my composition will shed its lustre even as a night shines in conjunction with the moon and the stars.

Those who will fondly and intelligently recite or hear this story with attention will develop devotion to the feet of Śrī Rāma and, purged of the impurities of Kali, will obtain choice blessings. (1 - 6)

If Hara and Gaurī (Lord Śiva and Pārvatī) are really propitious to me, even in dream, let all that I have said in glorification of this poetry of mine, written in a popular dialect, come out true. (15)

I reverence the exceedingly holy city of Ayodhyā (Śrī Rāma’s birth-place) and the river Sarayū (flowing beside it), which wipes out the sins of the Kali age.

Again, I bow to the men and women of the city, who enjoy the affection of the Lord in no small degree.

Even though they were damned as a result of the heap of sins incurred by the calumniators of Sītā (who were instrumental in bringing about Her lifelong exile), they were lodged in a heavenly abode, having been divested of sorrow.

I greet Kauśalyā (the eldest queen of king Daśaratha) whose glory stands diffused throughout the world:

She is the eastern horizon whence arose the lovely moon in the shape of the Lord of Raghus, who affords delight to the entire universe and is blighting as frost to lotuses in the form of the wicked.

Recognizing king Daśaratha together with all his consorts as incarnations of merit and fair blessings, I make obeisance to them in thought, word and deed:

Knowing me as a servant of your son, be gracious to me:

The father and mothers of Śrī Rāma are the very perfection of glory, by creating whom even Brahmā (the Creator) has exalted himself. (1 - 4)

I adore the king of Ayodhyā, who cherished such true love for the feet of Śrī Rāma that he gave up his dear life as a mere straw the moment the Lord, who is compassionate to the poor, parted from him. (16)

I make obeisance to king Janaka, along with his family, who bore secret affection for the feet of Śrī Rāma. Even though he had veiled it under the cloak of asceticism and luxury, it broke out the moment he saw Śrī Rāma.

Of Śrī Rāma’s brothers, I bow, first of all, to the feet of Bharata, whose self-discipline and religious austerity beggar description and whose mind thirsts for the lotus feet of Śrī Rāma like a bee and never leaves their side.

I reverence the lotus feet of Lakṣmaṇa - cool and charming and a source of delight to the devotee - whose renown served as a staff for the spotless flag of Śrī Rāma’s glory.

He is no other than the thousand-headed serpent-god, Śeṣa, the cause (support) of the universe, who came down to dispel the fear of the earth.

May that son of Sumitrā, an ocean of benevolence and a mine of virtues, be ever propitious to me!

I adore the lotus feet of Śatrughna (lit., the slayer of his foes), who is valiant yet amiable in disposition, and a constant companion of Bharata. I supplicate Hanumān, the great hero, whose glory has been extolled by Śrī Rāma Himself. (1 - 5)

I greet Hanumān, the son of the wind-god, an embodiment of wisdom, who is fire as it were for the forest of the wicked, and in the abode of whose heart resides Śrī Rāma, equipped with a bow and arrows. (17)

The lord of monkeys (Sugrīva), the chief of bears (Jāmbavān), the king of demons (Vibhīṣaṇa) and the host of monkeys beginning with Aṅgada, I reverence the charming feet of all, who attained Śrī Rāma even though born in the lowest species.

As many worshippers there are of the feet of Raghupati (the Lord of Raghus), including birds, beasts, gods, human beings and demons, I adore the lotus feet of them all, who are disinterested servants of Śrī Rāma.

Śuka, Sanaka and others (viz., Sanandana, Sanātana and Sanatkumāra), sage Nārada and all other eminent sages who are devotees of God and proficient in the spiritual lore,

I make obeisance to all, placing my head on the ground; be gracious to me, O Lords of ascetics knowing me as your servant.

Jānakī, daughter of Janaka and mother of the universe and the most beloved consort of Śrī Rāma, the Fountain of Mercy, I seek to propitiate the pair of Her lotus feet, so that by Her grace I may be blessed with a refined intellect.

Again, I adore, in thought, word and deed, the lotus feet of the all-worthy Lord of Raghus, who has lotus-like eyes and wields a bow and arrows, and who relieves the distress of His devotees and affords delight to them. (1 - 5)

I reverence the feet of Sītā and Rāma, who though stated to be different are yet identical just like a word and its meaning or like water and the waves on its surface, and to whom the afflicted are most dear. (18)

I greet the name ‘Rāma’ of the chief of Raghus, which is composed of seed-letters representing the fire-god, the sun-god and the moon-god (viz., Ra, Ā and Ma respectively).

It is the same as Brahmā (the creative aspect of God), Viṣṇu (His preservative aspect) and Śiva (His disintegrating aspect), and the vital breath of the Vedas; It is attributeless, peerless and a mine of virtues.

It is the great spell which Lord Maheśvara mutters and which, when imparted by Him at Kāśī (the modern Vārāṇasī) leads to emancipation. Its glory is known to Lord Gaṇeśa, who is worshipped before all others as a glary of the Name.

The oldest poet (Vālmīki) is acquainted with the glory of the Name, inasmuch as he attained to purity by repeating It in the reverse order.

Hearing the verdict of Lord Śiva that the name is as good as a thousand other names of God, Goddess Bhavānī (Pārvatī) dined with Her consort after uttering It only once.

Noticing such partiality of Her heart for the Name, Hara (Lord Śiva) made that lady, who was the ornament of Her sex, the ornament of His own person (i.e., made Her a part of His own being by assigning to Her the left half of His body).

Śiva knows full well the power of the Name, due to which deadly poison served the purpose of nectar to Him. (1 - 4)

Devotion to the Lord of Raghus is, as it were, the rainy season and the noble devotees, says Tulasīdāsa, represent the paddy crop;

while the two charming syllables of the name ‘Rāma’ stand for the two months of Śrāvaṇa and Bhādrapada (corresponding roughly to July and August). (19)

Both the letter-sounds are sweet and attractive; they are the two eyes, as it were, of the Alphabet and the very life of the devotee:

Easy to remember and delightful to one and all, they bring gain here and provide sustenance hereafter. They are most delightful to utter, hear and remember and are dear as Rāma and Lakṣmaṇa to Tulasīdāsa.

When treated separately, the two letters lose their harmony (i.e., are differently pronounced, bear diverse meaning in the form of seed-letters and as such yield different results);

whereas they are naturally allied even as Brahma (the Cosmic Spirit) and Jīva (the individual soul) Good brothers like the divine sages Nara and Nārāyaṇa, they are sustainers of the universe and redeemers of the devotee in particular.

They are beautiful ornaments for the ears of the fair damsel in the form of Bhakti (Devotion) and stand as the spotless sun and moon for the good of the world.

They are like the taste and the gratifying quality of nectar in the form of emancipation, and are supporters of the globe like the divine Tortoise and the serpent-god Śeṣa.

Again, they are like bees for the beautiful lotus in the shape of the devotee’s mind and are the very like of Hari (Śrī Kṛṣṇa) and Haladhara (Balarāma, who wielded a plough as a weapon) for Yaśodā (Their foster- mother, the wife of Nanda) in the shape of the tongue. (1 - 4)

Lo! the two letters (Rā and ma) forming part of the name of Raghuvara (the Chief of the Raghu) crown all the letters of the Alphabet, the one spreading like an umbrella and the other resting as a crest-jewel, O Tulasīdāsa. (20)

The name and the object named, though similar in significance, are allied as master and servant one to the other.

(That is to say, even though there is complete identity between God and His name, the former closely follows the latter even as a servant follows his master. The Lord appears in person at the very mention of His Name).

Name and form are the two attributes of God; both of them are ineffable and beginningless and can be rightly understood only by means of good intelligence.

It is presumptuous on one’s part to declare as to which is superior or inferior. Hearing the distinctive merits of both, pious souls will judge for themselves.

Forms are found to be subordinate to the name; without the name you cannot come to the knowledge of a form.

Typical forms cannot be identified, even if they be in your hand, without knowing their name. And if the name is remembered even without seeing the form, the latter flashes on the mind with a special liking for it.

The mystery of name and form is a tale which cannot be told; though delightful to comprehend, it cannot be described in words.

Between the unqualified Absolute and qualified Divinity, the Name is a good intermediary; it is a clever interpreter revealing the truth of both. (1 - 4)

Install the luminous gem in the shape of the divine name ‘Rāma’ on the threshold of the tongue at the doorway of your mouth, if you will have light both inside and outside, O Tulasīdāsa. (21)

Yogīs (mystics) who are full of dispassion and are wholly detached from God’s creation keep awake (in the daylight of wisdom) muttering the Name with their tongue, and enjoy the felicity of Brahma (the Absolute), which is incomparable, unspeakable, unmixed with sorrow and devoid of name and form.

Even those (seekers of Truth) who aspire to know the mysterious ways of Providence are able to comprehend them by muttering the Name.

Strivers (hankering after worldly achievements) repeat the Name, absorbed in contemplation, and become accomplished, acquiring superhuman powers such as that of becoming infinitely small in size.

If devotees in distress mutter the Name, their worst calamities of the gravest type disappear and they become happy.

In this world there are four kinds of devotees of Śrī Rāma; all the four of them are virtuous, sinless and noble. All the four, clever as they are, rely upon the Name.

Of these the enlightened devotee is specially dear to the Lord.

The glory of the Name is supreme in all the four Yugas and all the four Vedas, particularly in the Kali age, in which there is no other means of salvation. (1 - 4)

Even those who are free from all desires and absorbed in the joy of devotion to Śrī Rāma have thrown their heart as fish into the nectarine lake of supreme affection for the Name. (22)

There are two aspects of God - the one unqualified and the other qualified. Both these aspects are unspeakable, unfathomable, without beginning and without parallel.

To my mind, greater than both is the Name, that has established its rule over both by its might.

Friends should not take this as a bold assertion on the part of this servant; I record my mind’s own conviction, love and liking.

The two aspects of Brahma (God) should be recognized as akin to fire: the one (viz., the Absolute) represents fire which is latent in wood; while the other (qualified Divinity) corresponds to that which is externally visible.

Though both are inaccessible by themselves, they are easily attainable through the Name; therefore I have called the Name greater than Brahma and Śrī Rāma both.

Brahma (God) is one, all-pervading and imperishable; He is all truth, consciousness and a compact mass of joy. Even though such immutable Lord is present in every heart, all beings in this world are nonetheless miserable and unhappy.

Through the practice of the Name preceded by Its true appraisement, however, the same Brahma reveals Itself even as the value of a jewel is revealed by its correct knowledge. (1 - 4)

The glory of the Name is thus infinitely greater than that of the Absolute; I shall show below how in my judgment the Name is superior even to Śrī Rāma. (23)

For the sake of His devotees Śrī Rāma assumed the form of a human being and, suffering calamities Himself, brought relief to the pious. By fondly repeating His Name, on the other hand, devotees easily become abodes of joy and blessings.

Śrī Rāma Himself redeemed a single woman (Ahalyā), the wife of an ascetic; while His Name corrected the error of crores of wicked souls.

For the sake of the sage (Viśvāmitra) Śrī Rāma wrought the destruction of Suketu’s daughter (Tāḍakā) with her army and son (Subāhu); while His Name puts an end to the devotee’s vain hopes along with his errors and sorrows even as the sun terminates night.

In His own person Śrī Rāma broke the bow of Śiva, while the very glory of His Name dispels the fear of rebirth.

The Lord restored the charm of the Daṇḍaka forest alone, while His Name purified the mind of countless devotees. The Delighter of Raghus (Śrī Rāma) crushed only a host of demons, while His Name uproots all the impurities of the Kali age. (1 - 4)

The Lord of Raghus conferred immortality only on faithful servants like Śabarī (the celebrated Bhīla woman) and the vulture (Jaṭāyu), while His Name has delivered innumerable wretches; the tale of its virtues is well-known in the Vedas. (24)

As is well-known to all, Śrī Rāma extended His protection to two devotees only, viz., Sugrīva and Vibhīṣaṇa; His Name, on the other hand, has showered its grace on numerous humble souls.

This superb glory of the Name shines forth in the world as well as in the Vedas.

Śrī Rāma collected an army of bears and monkeys and took no little pains over the construction of a bridge (to connect the mainland with the island of Laṅkā).

Through the repetition of His Name, however, the ocean of mundane existence itself gets dried up: let the wise bear this in mind.

Śrī Rāma killed in battle Rāvaṇa with all his family and returned to His own city with Sītā. He was then crowned king in the capital of Ayodhyā, while gods and sages sang His glories in choicest phrases.

His servants are, however, able to conquer the formidable army of error by fondly remembering His Name and, absorbed in devotion, move about in joy which is peculiarly their own; by the grace of the Name they know not sorrow even in dream. (1 - 4)

The Name is thus greater than Brahma and Śrī Rāma both and confers blessings even on the bestowers of boons.

Knowing this in His heart, the great Lord Śiva chose this word (Rāma) for Himself out of Śrī Rāma’s story comprising 100 crore verses. (25)