19-1 | Śrī Rāma Carita Mānasa Stotra

“My preceptor has given me excellent advice, which has been endorsed by my subjects, ministers and all. Mother (Kauśalyā) too has enjoined on me what she has thought fit and which I certainly wish to carry out with reverence. The advice of one’s preceptor, parents, master and friend ought to be acted upon with a cheerful heart as conducive to one’s good. By pausing to think whether it is right or wrong one fails in one’s duty and incurs a load of sin. You are surely giving me sincere advice which, if followed, will do me good. Even though I fully realize this, my heart is not satisfied. Now hear my request and give me advice that may suit me. Forgive me my presumption in returning an answer to you; for good people reckon not the virtues or faults of the distressed. (1 - 4)

“My father is in heaven and both Sītā and Rāma are in the woods, whereas you ask me to rule the kingdom. Do you think this will do me good or you expect some unusual gain to yourself from this arrangement?” (177)

“My good lies in the service of Śrī Rāma, although I have been deprived of that privilege through my mother’s perversity. I have pondered in my heart and realized that my good lies in no other way. Of what account is this kingdom, which is nothing but an abode of sorrow, when the feet of Lakṣmaṇa, Rāma and Sītā are no longer to be seen? A load of jewels is of no use without clothes; an enquiry about Brahma (the Absolute) is of little use without dispassion; abundant enjoyments are of no use to a diseased body; of little use are Japa (muttering of prayers) and Yoga (exercises of mind-control) without devotion to Śrī Hari. A handsome body is of no use without life and all I have is naught without the Lord of Raghus. Grant me leave to go where Rāma is; my good exclusively lies in this. And if you urge that you seek your own good by crowning me king, you say so only through ignorance caused by affection.” (1 - 4)

“It is through infatuation that you expect happiness from the reign of a wretch like me, who is Kaikeyī’s son, of perverted intellect, hostile to Rāma and lost to shame.” (178)

“I tell you the truth: you should all listen and believe what I say. A virtuous man alone should be crowned as king. The moment you install me on the throne perforce the earth will sink into the lowest depths. Who is such an inveterate sinner as I, on whose account Sītā and Rāma have been exiled into the forest? The king sent Rāma into exile and himself ascended to heaven the moment the latter left him. My wretched self, which is the root of all evil, is sitting quietly and hears all talk unmoved. Even though I find the palace without Rāma, I have survived and endured the world’s jeers. Devoid of attraction for Śrī Rāma, who is a sacred object of love, my soul is rapacious and hungers for land (dominion) and enjoyment. I have no words to depict the cruelty of my heart that has attained notoriety by surpassing even adamant.” (1 - 4)

“An effect is as a rule harder than its cause and I am not to blame for it. The thunderbolt is more formidable and harder than bone (of which it was made) and iron than rock (from which it is quarried).” (179)

 “Clinging to this body born of Kaikeyī, my wretched life is exceedingly unfortunate. When life has been dear to me even though I have been torn from my beloved brother, I shall have much to see and hear yet. Kaikeyī has sent Lakṣmaṇa, Rāma and Sītā into exile and has done a good turn to her husband by despatching him to the abode of immortals; she has taken widowhood and infamy upon herself and bestowed grief and affliction on the people; and to me she has allotted happiness, good reputation and a thriving kingdom; in this way she has served the interests of all. I cannot expect greater good than this at present; over and above that you proclaim your intention to crown me king. Since I have been born into this world through Kaikeyī’s womb, this is not at all unbecoming of me. God Himself has accomplished everything for me; why, then, should you all as well as the people help my cause? (1 - 4)

“If a man under the evil influence of planets (who is possessed by some evil spirit) and is also affected by delirium and has been further stung by a scorpion is given a cup of wine, tell me, what kind of treatment is this?” (180)

“God in His wisdom has ordained for me everything in this world that is worthy of Kaikeyī’s son. He has, however, bestowed on me in vain the honour of being a son of king Daśaratha and a younger brother of Śrī Rāma. All of you urge me to accept the throne and the king’s command is good for all. How shall I answer all individually? Let everyone gladly say what one pleases. Barring me and my vile mother, tell me, who will say the right thing has been done? Excepting myself who is there in the whole animate and inanimate creation that does not love Sītā and Rāma as one’s own life? What is most baneful appears to you all as a mighty gain; this is my misfortune and none is to be blamed for it. You are in the grip of doubt, amiability and affection; and whatever you all say is right.” (1 - 4)

“Śrī Rāma’s mother (Kauśalyā) is most guileless of heart and loves me in a special degree. Finding me in distress she has said all this under impulse of natural affection.” (181)

“My Guru (Vasiṣṭha) as all the world knows, is an ocean of wisdom; the universe is like a plum in the palm of his hand. Even he is making preparations for my coronation; when Fate is adverse, everyone else turns hostile. With the exception of Śrī Rāma and Sītā no one in this world will say the plot did not have my approval. All this I must hear and endure with a cheerful heart; for wherever there is water mud must be there eventually. I shudder not to think that the world will call me vile; and I have little anxiety about the other world either. There is one terrible anguish that plagues my heart; it is that Sītā and Rāma are suffering hardships on my account. Lakṣmaṇa has fully reaped the reward of his existence; discarding everything else, he has fixed his mind on Śrī Rāma’s feet. As for myself I was born for Śrī Rāma’s banishment; in vain do I lament, wretched that I am.” (1 - 4)

“Bowing my head to all I lay open my terrible distress before you. Unless I behold Śrī Rāma’s feet the agony of my soul shall not go.” (182)

“I find no other remedy. Who else than the Chief of Raghus can know what passes in my heart? There is only one resolve in my mind; at daybreak I must proceed to meet the Lord. Even though I am a vile offender and am at the root of all troubles, yet when the Lord finds me before him in a suppliant mien he will forgive all my faults and shower his special grace on me. The Lord of Raghus is an embodiment of amiability, meekness, extreme guilelessness of disposition, compassion and love. Śrī Rāma has never injured even an enemy, to say nothing of me, a mere child and his servant too, though hostile to him. Therefore, do allow me, all of you, to depart and bless me in an auspicious strain knowing it to be for my good, so that on hearing my supplication and recognizing me as his servant Śrī Rāma may return to his capital.” (1 - 4)

“Though I am born of a wicked mother and am myself a rogue and ever guilty, I am confident of Rāma that he will never forsake me knowing me for his own.” (183)

Bharata’s words pleased all, imbued as they were with the nectar of devotion to Śrī Rāma. The people who had been burning with the deadly poison of separation from Śrī Rāma were roused to their senses on hearing as it were a charm against snake poison along with its seed-letter. The mothers, the ministers, the preceptor and the people of the city, all were overwhelmed with emotion. They praised Bharata again and again and said, “Your body is the very personification of affection for Śrī Rāma. It is no wonder that you should say so, dear Bharata, since you are dear to Rāma as his own life. The vile man who through his ignorance hates you because of your mother’s perversity, the wretch shall abide in hell for a hundred Kalpas (cycles) with millions of his past generations. A gem on the head of a serpent is not affected by the sins and faults of the serpent; on the other hand, it counteracts poison and destroys burns to ashes, sorrow and indigence.” (1 - 4)

“Bharata, you have thought out a good plan; by all means let us proceed to the woods where Śrī Rāma is. You have held out a helping hand to us all while we were being drowned in an ocean of grief.” (184)

Everyone felt as great a joy as when the Chātakā birds and peacocks hear a clap of thunder. When the people came to know Bharata’s welcome resolve to start the very next morning, they all began to love him as their own life. After reverencing the sage and bowing their head to Bharata they all took leave and proceeded to their respective homes praising as they went his amiability and affection and exclaiming, “Blessed is Bharata’s life in this world!” They said to one another, “A great object has been accomplished!” Everyone began to make preparations for the journey. Whomsoever they left behind saying “You should stay behind to guard the house,” felt as if he was smitten on the neck. Someone said, “Nobody should be asked to remain behind; who in this world would not have the reward of his life?” (1 - 4)

“Perish that property, house, happiness, friend, father, mother or brother, who does not gladly help one turn one’s face towards Śrī Rāma’s feet!” (185)

In every house they got ready vehicles of various kinds; their soul rejoiced at the thought of starting early next morning. On reaching his own apartments Bharata thought to himself: “The city, horses, elephants, houses and the treasury - everything belongs to the Lord of Raghus. If I leave it unprotected, the result will not be good for me; for disloyalty to one’s master is the greatest of all sins. A servant is he who serves the interests of his master, no matter if anyone brings millions of imputations against him.” Pondering thus he summoned faithful servants who had never dreamt of flinching from their duty. Confiding to them all the secrets he taught them their paramount duty and entrusted them with the work for which they were severally fit. After making all arrangements and posting guards Bharata went to Śrī Rāma’s mother (Kauśalyā). (1 - 4)

Knowing all the mothers in distress, Bharata, who understood the ways of love, ordered palanquins to be got ready and sedan-chairs to be equipped. (186)

Much afflicted at heart like the male and female Cakravāka birds, the men and women of the city longed for the dawn. They kept awake the whole night till it was daybreak, when Bharata summoned his wise counsellors and said to them, “Take all that is necessary for the installations ceremony; the sage (Vasiṣṭha) will crown Śrī Rāma even in the forest. Start expeditiously.” Hearing this the ministers greeted him and had the horses, chariots and elephants immediately equipped. Taking with him his wife, Arundhatī, and the requisites for Agnihotra (offering oblations into the sacred fire) the chief of sages, Vasiṣṭha, was the first to mount the chariot and led the way. Hosts of Brāhmaṇas, who were all repositories of austerity and spiritual glow followed in vehicles of various kinds. The people of the city followed next; having equipped their own conveyances they all left for Chitrakūṭa. All the queens journeyed in palanquins which were lovely beyond words. (1 - 4)

Leaving the city in the charge of faithful servants and respectfully sending the whole party ahead, the two brothers, Bharata and Śatrughna, started last of all, remembering the feet of Śrī Rāma and Sītā. (187)

Seized with a longing for the sight of Śrī Rāma, all the people, including both men and women, headed with the same zeal as male and female elephants rush in pursuit of water. Realizing in their heart that Sītā and Rāma were in the woods Bharata and his younger brother journeyed on foot. Seeing their affection the people were overcome with emotion and dismounting walked on foot, leaving their horses, elephants and chariots. Going up to Bharata Śrī Rāma’s mother (Kauśalyā) stopped her palanquin by his side and spoke in soft accents, “I adjure you by my life to mount the chariot, dear child; or else all our near and dear ones will be put to trouble. If you walk on foot the whole party will follow suit and you know they are all wasted with sorrow and hardly fit to undertake the journey on foot.” Reverently obeying her command and bowing their head at her feet the two brothers mounted their chariot and proceeded on the journey. They halted the first day on the bank of the Tamasā river and made the next halt on the bank of the Gomatī. (1 - 4)

Some of them lived on milk and some on fruits; while others took their meals by night. Renouncing ornaments and luxuries they observed vows and fasts for the sake of Śrī Rāma. (188)

Halting on the bank of the Saī river they resumed their journey at daybreak and the whole party drew near to Śriṅgaverapura. When the Niṣāda chief (Guha) heard the whole story, he anxiously thought within himself: “What motive can Bharata have in journeying to the woods? He must have some evil design at heart. If he had no mischievous intention at heart, why should he have brought an army with him? He must have thought that after killing Rāma and his younger brother (Lakṣmaṇa) he would reign peacefully and happily. But Bharata did not take to heart the maxims of sound polity; latterly he brought on himself stigma alone but this time he will meet a sure death. If all the warriors among the gods and demons combine against Śrī Rāma, even they will fail to conquer him in battle. But what wonder that Bharata should behave as he is doing; for venomous plants, after all, can never bear fruits of ambrosia.” (1 - 4)

Pondering thus Guha said to his kinsmen, “Be alert all of you; collect the boats and sink them and blockade the Ghats (flight of steps leading to the river landing- place).” (189)

“Equip yourself and blockade the Ghats; be prepared in every way to face death. I will encounter Bharata in open combat and would not let him cross the Gaṅgā so long as there is life in me. To die in battle and that too on the bank of the Gaṅgā; and to lay down this frail body in Śrī Rāma’s cause! Then Bharata is Śrī Rāma’s own brother and a king; while I am an humble servant! It is through a great good fortune that one meets with a death like this. In the cause of my master I will fight on the battlefield and will brighten the fourteen spheres with my glory. I am going to lay down my life for the sake of Śrī Rāma (the Lord of Raghus) and will be a gainer either way. (If I win the battle I will have served the cause of my master, and if I die I will attain the eternal abode of the Lord and his constant service.) He who is not reckoned among the virtuous and is neither counted among Śrī Rāma’s devotees, lives in vain in this world; he is a veritable burden to the earth and an axe to the tree of his mother’s youth.” (1 - 4)

The Niṣāda chief, who was not the least troubled at heart, encouraged all and, fixing his thought on Śrī Rāma, forthwith demanded his quiver, bow and coat of mail. (190)

“Make haste, brethren, to get ready the necessary equipment; on hearing my command, let no one shrink in fear.” “very well, my lord,” they all joyfully responded, and roused the spirit of one another. Greeting their chief one after another, the Niṣādas left; they were all brave and loved to fight on the battlefield. Invoking the shoes of Śrī Rāma’s lotus feet they fastened their quiver and strung their bow. Nay, they donned their coat of mail, placed the helmet on their head and straightened their axe, bludgeon and spear. Some of them who were exceptionally clever at fencing, sprang with such agility that it seemed they never touched the ground and moved in the air. Equipping themselves with their weapons etc., and forming themselves into batches they all went up to their chief, Guha, and greeted him. Seeing his gallant warriors and finding them all fit for active service he addressed them, each by his name, and duly honoured them. (1 - 4)

“Don’t be treacherous (spare not your life), brethren; there is a great issue before me today.” At this the gallant warriors spiritedly exclaimed, “Have patience, our brave chieftain!” (191)

“Through the majesty of Śrī Rāma and by your might, my lord, we shall leave no fighting man or horse in the enemy’s ranks. We shall never retrace our steps so long as there is life in us; nay, we shall strew the earth with the trunks and heads of fallen warriors!” The Niṣāda chief saw that he had a good band of warriors and exclaimed, “Beat the martial drum.” Even as he said so someone sneezed on the left. The sooth- sayers said, “The sneeze has come from an auspicious quarter! (The issue will be a happy one.)” An old man thought over the meaning of the omen and exclaimed, “Let us go and meet Bharata; there will be no conflict. Bharata is out to persuade Śrī Rāma to return. The omen tells us that there will be no discord.” On hearing this Guha said, “The old man says aright. Fools act precipitately and repent. If we come to a clash without knowing Bharata’s intentions and ascertaining his temper and disposition, we shall be doing much harm to our own cause.” (1 - 4)

“Close up, all my warriors, and blockade the Ghats till I meet Bharata and find out what is in his mind. When I have ascertained his friendly, hostile or neutral attitude I shall act accordingly after that.” (192)

“I shall test his love on the touchstone of his friendly disposition; for hatred and love cannot be disguised even if one tries to do so.” So saying he began to collect articles for making a present and sent for bulbs, roots and fruits as well as birds and deer. Men of the porter class also brought loads of fat and ripe fish of the Pāṭhīna species. Thus equipping himself with presents he proceeded to meet Bharata and met with auspicious and happy omens. As soon as he saw the chief of sages, Vasiṣṭha, he mentioned his own name and prostrated himself before the sage from a distance. The sage, who knew him to be a friend of Śrī Rāma, bestowed his blessing on him and told Bharata in detail about him. Hearing that he was a friend of Śrī Rāma, Bharata alighted The Pāṭhīna is said to be a kind of sea-fish, the Silurus Pelorius or Boalis. from his chariot and, leaving it behind, advanced towards him with a heart overflowing with love. Guha, on his part mentioned his village, caste and name and greeted him by placing his head on the ground. (1 - 4)

When Bharata saw him falling prostrate on the ground he lifted him and pressed him to his bosom. He felt as if he had met Lakṣmaṇa and the surging emotion of his heart could not be repressed. (193)

Bharata embraced him with great affection and the people admired the mode of his love. Raising a jubilant cry of applause the gods extolled him and rained flowers on him. “This man is low in the eyes of the world as well as from the point of view of the Vedas, so much so that one must bathe even on crossing his shadow. Yet Śrī Rāma’s younger brother, Bharata, has met him in close embrace, his body thrilling all over with joy. Hosts of sins turn away from them who utter the name of Rāma even while yawning. As for this man he was embraced by Śrī Rāma Himself, who thereby bestowed on him and his family the efficacy of sanctifying the whole world. When the water of the Karmanāsā joins the celestial stream (the Gaṅgā) tell me who would not place it on his head! The whole world knows how Vālmīki became as good as Brahma (God Himself) by repeating the name (Rāma) in the reverse way (as Marā). (1 - 4)

“Even a pariah, a Śabara (Bhīla), a Khāsī, the stupid barbarian and the vile Kola and Kirāta get supremely sanctified and get renowned through all the spheres by uttering the name of Rāma.” (194)

“It is no wonder; it has been so for ages. Who has not been exalted through contact with the Hero of Raghu’s race?” In this way the gods glorified Śrī Rāma’s name and the people of Ayodhyā rejoiced as they heard the praise. Having thus met Śrī Rāma’s friend (Guha), Bharata lovingly enquired after his health, welfare and happiness. Seeing Bharata’s amiability and affection on that occasion the Niṣāda forgot all about himself. His bashfulness, love and soul’s delight grew; and he stood gazing at Bharata with unwinking eyes. Collecting himself he bowed at Bharata’s feet again and with joined palms lovingly submitted, “Now that I have beheld your lotus feet, which are the very fountain of happiness, I have accounted myself blessed for all time. And now, my lord, by your supreme grace my welfare is assured for millions of generations. (1 - 4)

“Remembering my doings and my descent, on the one hand, and realizing the Lord’s greatness on the other, he who does not devote himself to Śrī Rāma’s feet has been befooled in this world by Providence.” (195)

“False, cowardly, evil-minded and low-born as I am and cast off from society as well as from the fold of the Vedas in every way, I have become the ornament of the world ever since Śrī Rāma took me for his own.” Seeing his affection and hearing his humble submission Bharata’s younger brother, Śatrughna, embraced him next. The Niṣāda chief then greeted all the dowager queens in polite and respectful terms, mentioning his name each time. Treating him on the same footing as Lakṣmaṇa they gave him their blessing: May you live happily for millions of years. The men and women of the city were as glad to see the Niṣāda chief as if they saw Lakṣmaṇa, and said, “He has surely reaped the reward of his existence in that our beloved Rāma folded him in his arms.”

Hearing them extol his good fortune the Niṣāda chief led them with a cheerful heart. (1 - 4)

Receiving a signal from him and learning their master’s will all his attendants dispersed; and in the houses, the foot of trees, ponds, orchards and groves they made room for the guests to take up their lodging. (196)