16 | Śrī Rāma Carita Mānasa Stotra

“Realizing this, O friend, shed all infatuation and be devoted to the feet of Sītā and the Hero of Raghu’s race.” While Lakṣmaṇa was yet recounting Śrī Rāma’s virtues, the day dawned and the Joy and Delighter of the world woke up. After finishing all purificatory acts Śrī Rāma, who was all pure and wise, performed His ablutions and sent for some milk of the banyan tree. He as well as His brother then matted the hair on their heads, a sight which filled the eyes of Sumantra with tears. With great agony in his heart and a doleful face he joined his palms and spoke in most piteous accents, The king of Kosala, my lord, charged me thus: “Take the chariot and go with Rāma; let him see the forest and bathe in the Gaṅgā and then speedily bring the two brothers back. Setting at rest all their doubts and scruples do bring Lakṣmaṇa, Rāma and Sītā back to their home.” (1 - 4)

“The king has commanded me thus; I shall, however, do as my lord bids me, I assure you.” Having supplicated in this way Sumantra fell at the Lord’s feet and wept like a child. (94)

“Have compassion, my darling, and take steps to see that Ayodhyā is not left without a master.” Śrī Rāma raised the minister and thus admonished him; “Dear one, you have investigated the truths of religion in their entirety. Śibi, Dadhīci and King Hariśchandra suffered untold hardships for the sake of virtue. The wise kings Rantideva and Bali upheld virtue even through many trials. There is no virtue equal to truthfulness: so declare the Āgamas (Tantras), Vedas and Purāṇas. That virtue I have found by an easy road; by abandoning it I shall be reviled in all the three worlds. To a man who is highly esteemed, infamy causes agony as terrible as a million deaths. ser, what more shall I say to you? By urging something in reply I shall incur sin. (1 - 4)

Clasping the feet of my father and conveying my repeated obeisances to him pray to him with joined palms: “Be not troubled in anyway on my account, dear father.” (95)

“You too are extremely kind to me as my own father. Hence I pray with joined palms, sire, do everything in your power to see that my father does not feel miserable on account of grief for us.” Hearing this conversation between the Lord of Raghus and the minister (Sumantra) the Niṣāda chief and his people felt much distressed. Thereafter Lakṣmaṇa made some poignant remarks; but the Lord stopped him knowing his words to be highly objectionable. Feeling shy Śrī Rāma adjured Sumantra by his own self not to convey Lakṣmaṇa’s words. Sumantra then reproduced the king’s message: “Sītā will not be able to endure the hardships of the forest; therefore, both Rāma (the Chief of Raghus) and yourself (Sumantra) should endeavour to see that Sītā returns to Ayodhyā. Otherwise, left entirely without any support, I shall not survive even as a fish without water.” (1 - 4)

There is very comfort both in her parent’s home as well as with the parents of her lord (i.e., ourselves); therefore, Sītā can live at ease wherever she pleases at a particular time till this adversity ends. (96)

“The piteousness and affection with which the king’s entreaty was attended cannot be expressed in words.” On hearing His father’s message the All-merciful Lord admonished Sītā in countless ways. “If you return, the affliction of your mother- in-law and father-in-law, your preceptor and all your near and dear ones will cease.” In response to Her lord’s advice King Videha’s Daughter said, “Listen, most loving lord of my life, my all-compassionate and supremely wise master: can a shadow be torn away from its substance? The sunlight can never exist apart from the sun nor can the radiance of the moon leave the moon.” Having submitted Her loving entreaty to Her Lord, She spoke these charming words to the minister: “You are just like my own father or father-in-law; it is therefore most undesirable that I should urge something in reply.” (1 - 4)

“It is due to grief that I am constrained to address you; do not take offence at it, sire. In the absence of the lotus feet of my lord all other ties of kinship are of little account.” (97)

 “I have witnessed the glory of my father’s fortune; his footstool is kissed by the crowns of the greatest monarchs. Bereft of my Lord, my parent’s home, which is such an abode of bliss, does not attract my mind even in an unguarded moment. My father- in-law is no less a personage than the King of Kosala, the suzerain lord of the entire globe, whose glory is manifest in all the fourteen spheres comprising the universe. Even Indra (the lord of celestials) goes ahead to receive him and seats him beside himself on his own throne. Such is my father-in-law, Ayodhyā is my abode, agreeable is my family and my mothers-in-law love me as my own mother. But without the dust from the lotus feet of my husband (the Lord of Raghus) none affords me pleasure even in a dream. On the other hand, impassable roads, forest regions and hills, elephants and lions, lakes and streams that cannot be crossed, wild tribes such as Kolas and Bhīlas, deer and birds - all these are delightful to me in the company of my beloved lord. (1 - 4)

“Falling at the feet of my father-in-law and mother-in-law request them on my behalf not to grieve the least for me; for I feel naturally happy in the woods.” (98)

“I have by my side the lord of my life as well as his younger brother, the foremost of heroes; both carrying a bow and a quiver full of arrows with them. My mind does not feel the toil of the journey, and there is no giddiness or sorrow; therefore, pray grieve not on my account even unwittingly.” On hearing these soothing words from Sītā’s lips, Sumantra felt uneasy as a serpent at the loss of its gem. He saw not with his eyes and heard not with his ears; and he was too agitated to speak. Śrī Rāma comforted him in many ways; yet his heart would not be pacified. He made many efforts even to accompany the Lord; but the Delighter of Raghus gave him suitable replies each time. Śrī Rāma’s command could not be violated either. Cruel was the turn Fate had taken; there was no help. Bowing his head at the feet of Śrī Rāma, Lakṣmaṇa and Sītā, he turned back as a merchant who had lost his capital. (1 - 4)

As he drove the chariot the horses turned their eyes towards Śrī Rāma and neighed. Overcome with grief at this sight, the Niṣādas (Guha’s men) beat their heads and lamented. (99)

When even beasts felt so miserable on being torn away from Him how could His subjects and His father and mother hope to live without Him? Śrī Rāma dismissed Sumantra against the latter’s will and Himself arrived at the bank of the heavenly stream (Gaṅgā) immediately afterwards. He called for a boat, but the ferryman would not bring it. The latter said, “I know your secret; about the dust of your lotus-feet everyone says it is some drug possessing the quality of turning things into human beings. By its very touch a rock was transformed into a charming woman and wood is not harder than stone. If my boat itself gets converted into a hermit’s wife (like Ahalyā), I shall be robbed of the very means of my subsistence in that my boat will disappear. It is by means of this boat that I maintain the whole of my family; I know no other trade. If, therefore, my lord, you must cross the river, permit me to leave your lotus-feet. (1 - 4)

“I will let you board the boat only when I have bathed your lotus-feet; I seek no toll from you. I swear by you, O Rāma, as well as by King Daśaratha, that what I tell you is all true. Let Lakṣmaṇa shoot me with his arrows if he will; but until I have washed your feet I will not, O gracious lord of Tulasīdāsa, ferry you across.”

On hearing these words of the ferryman, mysterious though imbued with love, the all-merciful Lord looked at Janaka’s Daughter and Lakṣmaṇa and smiled. (100)

The all-compassionate Lord smilingly said, “Do that which may prevent the loss of your boat. Bring water at once and lave my feet; we are getting late, take us across.” The same gracious Lord, by uttering whose Name only once men cross the boundless ocean of mundane existence, and for whose three strides the universe proved too small, thus importuned an ordinary boatman. Though bewildered by the Lord’s words, the celestial river (Gaṅgā) rejoiced on beholding the nails of His toes. On receiving Śrī Rāma’s command the ferryman brought a wood basin full of water. In great joy and with a heart overflowing with love he proceeded to bathe the Lord’s lotus-feet. Raining flowers on him all the gods envied his lot and said there was none so meritorious as he. (1 - 4)

Having laved the Lord’s feet and drunk of the water in which they had been immersed along with the other members of his family, he thereby transported the souls of his deceased forbears across the ocean of metempsychosis and then gladly took the Lord across the Gaṅgā. (101)

Getting down from the boat Sītā and Rāma stood on the sands of the Gaṅgā along- with Guha and Lakṣmaṇa. The ferryman too got down and fell prostrate before the Lord, who felt uncomfortable at the thought that He had given nothing to the ferryman. Sītā, however, who could read the mind of Her beloved lord, took off Her jewelled ring with a cheerful heart. The gracious Lord said, “Take your toll.” But the ferryman clasped His feet in great distress. “What have I not already received, my lord? The fire of my errors, sorrows and indigence has been quenched today. I worked for my livelihood for a long time; it is only today that God has given me an adequate and handsome return. By your grace, my compassionate Lord, I want nothing now. While returning, whatever you bestow on me I shall thankfully accept that boon.” (1 - 4)

The Lord as well as Lakṣmaṇa and Sītā did their utmost; but the ferryman would accept nothing. The All-merciful Rāma, therefore, dismissed him after bestowing on him the boon of unalloyed devotion. (102)

The Lord of Raghu’s race then bathed in the Gaṅgā and after worshipping a newly- made clay image of Śiva bowed His head to the Deity. With joined palms Sītā addressed the celestial river (Gaṅgā), “Mother, pray accomplish my desire, that I may return with my husband and His younger brother and worship you.” In response to Sītā’s prayer, steeped as it was in the nectar of love, the following happy utterance came from the holy stream: “Listen, O Vaidehī (Videha’s Daughter), beloved Consort of Śrī Rāma (the Chief of Raghu’s line): who in this world is not aware of Your glory? People become masters of the heaven’s quarters the moment You look at them and all supernatural powers wait upon You with joined palms. By addressing an humble prayer to me You have done me a favour and exalted me. Yet, O venerable lady, bless You I must, just in order to fulfil my speech.” (1 - 4)

“With Your beloved Lord and His younger brother You shall safely return to Ayodhyā. Every wish of Your heart shall be accomplished and Your bright glory shall spread throughout the world.” (103)

Sītā rejoiced to hear these benedictory words of goddess Gaṅgā and to find her favourably disposed. Then the Lord said to Guha, “Go home.” The moment he heard this his face turned pale and there was great agony in his heart. With joined palms Guha addressed the Lord in pathetic terms: “Hear my prayer, O Jewel of Raghu’s race; let me remain with you, my lord, and show you the path; after serving you for a few days I shall prepare a beautiful hut of leaves for you in whichever forest, O Lord of Raghus, you may go and take up your abode. Thereafter I swear by you, O Chief of Raghus, to do as you bid me.” Perceiving his natural love Śrī Rāma took him with Him and Guha felt much joy in his heart. Then Guha summoned all his kinsmen and having gratified them sent them away. (1 - 4)

Then the Lord invoked the gods Gaṇeśa and Śiva; and bowing His head to the celestial stream (Gaṅgā) the Lord of Raghus proceeded to the woods with His friend (Guha), His younger brother (Lakṣmaṇa) and Sītā. (104)

That day He halted under a tree; Lakṣmaṇa and His friend (Guha) provided for all His comforts. At dawn the Lord of Raghus performed His morning duties and then the Lord proceeded further and visited Prayāga, the king of holy places. This king has Truth for his minister, śraddhā for his beloved consort and a beneficent friend like Bindumādhava (the Deity presiding over Prayāga). His store is replete with the four prizes of human life, while the sacred region surrounding the confluence of the Gaṅgā and the Yamunā marks his most beautiful dominion. The holy Prayāga represents his inaccessible, strong and lovely fortress that no enemy has ever dreamt of possessing. All the sacred spots are his chosen and valiant warriors, who are staunch in battle and capable of crushing the host of sins. The confluence of the Gaṅgā and Yamunā constitutes his exquisite throne, while the immortal banyan tree (known by the name of Akṣayavaṭa) represents his royal umbrella, which captivates the heart even of sages. The waves of the Gaṅgā and Yamunā constitute his chowries, whose very sight destroys sorrow and want. (1 - 4)

Virtuous and holy saints wait upon this king and attain all that they desire; while the Vedas and Purāṇas are the rhapsodists who recount his stainless virtues. (105)

Who can describe the glory of Prayāga, a lion as it were for the herd of elephants in the shape of sins? The Chief of Raghu’s race, who is an ocean of bliss, was filled with delight to see this glorious king of holy places. With His own gracious lips He told Sītā, Lakṣmaṇa and His friend (Guha) the greatness of Prayāga. Making obeisance to this holy place He cast a look round the groves and gardens and expatiated on its glory with the utmost devotion. In this way he arrived at and saw the confluence of the Gaṅgā and Yamunā, the very thought of which bestows all choice blessings. After bathing in the confluence He gladly adored Lord Śiva and worshipped the deities presiding over the holy Prayāga according to the prescribed ritual. The Lord then called on Bharadvāja; and the sage clasped Him to his bosom as He fell prostrate before him. The joy that the sage felt within his heart cannot be described in words; it looked as if he had found the bliss of oneness with Brahma incarnate. (1 - 4)

The chief of sages, Bharadvāja, invoked his blessing on the Lord. He felt great joy in his heart to perceive that God had as it were set before him in visible form the reward of all his virtues. (106)

After enquiring of their welfare the sage allotted seats to the royal guests and offering homage to them sated them all with his love. He then brought and presented to them bulbs, roots, fruits and sprouts, all sweet as ambrosia. Śrī Rāma, with Sītā, Lakṣmaṇa and His devotee (Guha), partook of those delicious roots and fruits with much relish. Relieved of His toil Śrī Rāma felt much happy and Bharadvāja addressed Him in gentle tones; “Today my penance, pilgrimage and renunciation have been rewarded; today my prayer, meditation and dispassion have borne fruit; nay, all my pious practices have been rewarded by Your very sight, O Rāma. There is no culmination of gain, no culmination of joy other than this. In beholding You all my hopes have been realized. Now be pleased to grant me this one boon, viz., spontaneous attachment to Your lotus-feet. (1 - 4)

“Until a man gets sincerely devoted to You in thought, word and deed, he cannot even dream of happiness in spite of all his devices.” (107)

Śrī Rāma felt abashed to hear the words of the sage, much as He was sated with joy by his love and devotion. The Chief of Raghus then told all in countless ways the fair and bright renown of the sage. “Great indeed is he and he the repository of all virtues, whom, O chief of sages, you are pleased to honour.” The sage (Bharadvāja) and the Hero of Raghu’s line thus exchanged civilities and experienced ineffable joy. On receiving this news the people of Prayāga, including religious students, ascetics, hermits, accomplished saints and recluses, all flocked to the hermitage of Bharadvāja in order to have a look at the charming sons of King Daśaratha. Śrī Rāma made obeisance to them all, who were delighted to obtain the reward of their eyes. Deriving supreme joy they gave their blessing and returned extolling the beauty of the royal guests. (1 - 4)

Śrī Rāma reposed (in the hermitage) overnight. At day break He bathed at Prayāga (in the confluence of the Gaṅgā and Yamunā) and proceeded on His journey with Sītā, Lakṣmaṇa and His attendant (Guha), gladly bowing His head to the sage. (108)

Śrī Rāma lovingly asked the sage, “Tell me, my lord, by which route we should go.” Smiling inwardly the sage replied to Rāma, “All paths are easy to You.” The sage then called his pupils in order that they may escort Śrī Rāma; hearing his call some fifty of them came, glad of heart. They all cherished boundless love for Śrī Rāma and each of them said he had seen the path. The sage then sent with the royal party four religious students who had practised all kinds of virtues in a series of previous births. Making obeisance to the sage and receiving his permission the Lord of Raghus proceeded with a cheerful heart. As the party passed by some village, men and women of the village ran to have a look at them. They felt gratified in having attained the fruit of their life and returned disconsolate sending their heart after the strangers. (1 - 4)

With great courtesy Śrī Rāma dismissed the students, who returned having obtained their heart’s desire. The Lord then crossed the river Yamunā and bathed in its water, that was as dark as His own body. (109)

Hearing of their arrival the people inhabiting the river banks ran to see them unmindful of their duties. Beholding the beauty of Lakṣmaṇa, Rāma and Sītā they congratulated themselves on their good luck. Their hearts were seized with intense longing, but they felt shy in enquiring the names and residence of the newcomers. Such of them, however, as were advanced in years and intelligent were able to identify Rāma through same device. They related to them the whole story telling them how Śrī Rāma had proceeded to the woods in obedience to His father’s commands. They were all sad to hear this and lamented: “The king and queen have not done well.” In the meantime there arrived an ascetic who was an embodiment of spiritual glow, young in years and charming in appearance. His ways were unknown to the poet; he was attired in the garb of a recluse and was devoted to Rāma in thought, word and deed. (1 - 4)

His eyes were wet with tears and a thrill ran through his body when he came to recognize his beloved Deity (Śrī Rāma). He fell prostrate on the ground and the state of his body and mind could not be described in words. (110)

Thrilling all over with emotion, Śrī Rāma pressed him to His bosom, he was in such an ecstasy as though a pauper had found a philosopher’s stone. Everyone who saw them suggested as though love, on the one hand, and the supreme Reality, on the other, embraced each other in living form. Next he threw himself at the feet of Lakṣmaṇa, who lifted him with a heart overflowing with love. Again he placed on his head the dust of Sītā’s feet and the Mother (Sītā) gave him Her blessing, knowing him to be Her own child. The Niṣāda chief in his turn fell prostrate before the hermit, who gladly embraced him recognizing him to be a friend of Śrī Rāma. With the cup of his eyes he drank the nectar of Śrī Rāma’s beauty and was delighted as a hungry soul who had secured excellent food . “Tell me, friend, what are those father and mother like, that have exiled to the woods children such as these?” Beholding the beauty of Śrī Rāma, Lakṣmaṇa and Sītā, men and women alike were ill at ease on account of love. (1 - 4)

The Hero of Raghu’s race then admonished His friend (Guha) in ways more than one. And bowing to Śrī Rāma’s commands he left for his home. (111)

Then, with joined palms, Sītā, Rāma and Lakṣmaṇa made renewed obeisance to the Yamunā. Accompanied by Sītā the two brothers gladly proceeded further, extolling the daughter of the sun-god as they went. Many a traveller met them on the way and beholding the two brothers they fondly exclaimed: “Finding all the marks of royalty on your person, we are sore troubled at heart. When you went your way on foot, the science of astrology (which tells us that men possessing such and such features should always be borne on some vehicle) is misleading to our mind. The path is difficult and lies through big mountains and forests. On top of it you have a delicate lady with you. Infested with elephants and lions the forest is too terrible to look at. We are ready to accompany you if you enjoin us to do so. We will escort you as far as you go and will then return bowing our heads to you.” (1 - 4)

In this way they offered their services, overmastered as they were by love; a thrill ran through their body and tears came to their eyes. The all-merciful Lord, however, dismissed them with polite and gentle words. (112)

The hamlets and villages that lay on the road were the envy of the towns of the Nāgas and gods. The deities presiding over these towns said to one another: “By what blessed soul and at what auspicious hour were these hamlets and villages founded? They are so lucky, meritorious and of such exquisite beauty!” Even Amarāvatī (the city of immortals) stood no comparison with the spots which were trodden by Śrī Rāma’s feet. The dwellers on the wayside were all embodiments of virtue; they evoked the praise of the denizens of heaven inasmuch as they feasted their eyes on Śrī Rāma, who was dark as a cloud, as well as on Sītā and Lakṣmaṇa. The lakes and streams in which Śrī Rāma bathed were the envy of the lakes and rivers of gods. The tree under which the Lord sat was glorified by the trees of paradise. Nay, kissing the dust of Śrī Rāma’s lotus- feet Earth deemed herself most lucky. (1 - 4)

Clouds screened Him from the sun, the gods rained flowers and regarded Him with wistful eyes as Śrī Rāma wended His way looking at the mountains, forests, birds and beasts. (113)

Whenever Sītā, Lakṣmaṇa and the Lord of Raghus happened to pass by some village, all those who heard of His coming - young and old, men and women alike - came out at once, unmindful of their household duties. Beholding the beauty of Śrī Rāma, Lakṣmaṇa and Sītā they obtained the reward of their eyes and felt gratified. Their eyes were wet with tears, a thrill ran through their body and they were all enraptured to behold the two brothers. The state of their mind could not be described in words; it seemed as if paupers had stumbled on a pile of cintamaṇi. Calling their neighbours they admonished one another: “Obtain the reward of your eyes this very moment.” Some were enraptured to see Rāma and went with Him gazing on Him all the time. Others took His image into the heart through the door of their eyes and were utterly overpowered in body, mind and speech. (1 - 4)


Seeing the cool shade of a banyan tree some spread soft grass and leaves under it and said, “Pray rest awhile and you may then depart either just now or preferably next morning.” (114)

Others brought a pitcher full of water and said in soft accents, “My lord, rinse your mouth.” Hearing their agreeable words and seeing their extreme love, the tender-hearted and most amiable Śrī Rāma mentally perceived that Sītā was fatigued, and rested awhile in the shade of the banyan tree. Men and women regarded His loveliness with great delight; His peerless beauty captivated their eyes and mind. Standing in a circle with their gaze fixed on the countenance of Śrī Rāmacandra they all shone like a group of Chakora birds encircling the moon. With His graceful form possessing the hue of a young Tamāla tree He fascinated by His looks the mind of a million Cupids. Lakṣmaṇa too, who had fair limbs bright as lightning and charming from head to foot, appeared most lovely and attracted the mind. With the bark of trees wrapped round their loins and a quiver fastened to their waist the two brothers carried a bow and arrow in their lotus hands. (1 - 4)

Their matted locks were coiled on their head in the shape of a beautiful crown and they had a broad chest, long arms and big eyes; while their lovely faces, which resembled the autumnal full moon, glistened with beads of sweat. (115)

The pair was charming beyond words; their loveliness was unbounded and my wits are too poor. Everyone gazed on the beauty of Śrī Rāma, Lakṣmaṇa and Sītā with their mind, intellect and reason fully absorbed. Thirsting for love the villagers, both men and women, stood motionless even as bucks and does are dazed by light. The village women approached Sītā; in their extreme love they would put questions to Her but hesitated to do so. Again and again they threw themselves at Her feet and addressed to Her soft and guileless words which came straight from their heart: “Princess, we have a request to make to you, but due to our womanly modesty we are afraid to ask you. Forgive our incivility, madam, and be not offended, knowing that we are after all rustic women. Both these princes are naturally graceful in form; it is from them that emerald and gold have borrowed their green and yellow lustre respectively.” (1 - 4)

“The one dark and the other fair, but both of tender age, - which is so attractive, - handsome and all-beauteous, they have faces resembling the autumnal moon and eyes like the autumnal lotus.” (116)