21-2 | Śrī Rāma Carita Mānasa Stotra

When Bharata heard the sage’s words and came to know what was in Śrī Rāma’s mind, he was satisfied that both the preceptor and the master were exceedingly propitious to him.

At the same time he realized that the entire responsibility had been thrown on his own shoulders. He was, therefore, unable to speak a word and became thoughtful.

With his body thrilling all over he stood in the assembly and tears of love gushed forth from his lotus eyes:

“The lord of sages has already said what I had to say. Beyond that I have nothing to submit. I know the disposition of my master, who is never angry even with the offender.

To me he has been particularly kind and affectionate; I have never seen him frown even in play. Even from my infancy I never left his company and at no time did he damp my spirits.

I have realized in my heart the benevolent ways of my lord, who would have me win a game even though I had lost it. (1 - 4)

 “Overcome by affection and modesty I too never opened my lips before him. And my eyes, which have been thirsting through love for his sight, have not been satiated to this day.” (260)

But Fate could not bear to see me treated with fondness. In the disguise of my vile mother God created a cleft between us. It does not behove me today to say even this; for who has come to be recognized as good and innocent on the basis of his own estimation? To entertain the thought that my mother is wicked while I am virtuous and upright is itself tantamount to a million evil practices. Can an ear of the Kodo plant yield good rice and can a dark bivalve shell produce a pearl? Not a tinge of blame attaches to anyone even in a dream. My ill-luck is unfathomable like the ocean. In vain did I torment my mother by taunting her without estimating the consequences of my own sins. I have mentally surveyed all possible avenues but feel frustrated. There is only one hope of my salvation: Your Holiness is my preceptor while Sītā and Rāma are my masters. From this I presume that all will be well in the end. (1 - 4)

 “In this concourse of holy men, in the presence of my preceptor and master and in this holy place I speak in good faith. Whether there is any love in my heart or it is all simulation and whether what I say is true or false is known to the sage as well as to the Lord of Raghus.” (261)

“The whole world will bear witness, on the one hand, to the king having died as a result of his uncompromising love, and to my mother’s evil intent, on the other. The queen- mothers are in such distress that one cannot bear to look at them; while the men and women of the city are burning with deep agony. I have heard and realized that I am the root of all trouble and have accordingly endured all suffering. To crown all when I heard that clad in hermit’s robes and accompanied by Lakṣmaṇa and Sītā, the Lord of Raghus proceeded to the woods on foot and without shoes, God Śaṅkara be my witness, I survived even that blow. On top of it, when I witnessed the Niṣāda’s love, my heart, which is harder than adamant, refused to break. And now I have seen all with my own eyes and so long as I live my stupid soul will subject me to all kinds of suffering. What shall I say of Rāma, Lakṣmaṇa and Sītā, at whose sight even snakes and scorpions on the road divested themselves their virulent poison and irrepressible anger!” (1 - 4)

“On whom else, then, should Providence inflict severe pain if not on the son of Kaikeyī, who looked upon these very Rāma, Lakṣmaṇa and Sītā as her enemies!” (262)

On hearing the excellent and most impassioned speech of Bharata, which was full of agony and love, humility and prudence, everybody was plunged in sorrow and the assembly became sad as if a bed of lotuses was smitten by frost. The enlightened sage comforted Bharata by narrating old legends of various kinds; and the Delighter of Raghus, who was a veritable moon to the lily-like solar race, spoke words which were meet and proper: “You feel humiliated in spirit for nothing, dear brother; know that the destiny of souls lies in the hands of God. To my mind, men of holy reputation in all the three spheres of creation and belonging to the past, present and future are pygmies before you, my darling. He who attributes malevolence to you even in his heart will be ruined in this world as well as in the next. As for mother Kaikeyī they alone blame her, who have waited neither on the Guru nor on assemblage of holy men.” (1 - 4)

“With the very invocation of your name all sins and error and all the hosts of evils will be obliterated; nay, it will bring in its train fair renown in this world and happiness hereafter.” (263)

“With Lord Śiva as my witness I speak the truth in good faith, Bharata: the earth is being sustained by you. Pray do not indulge in wrong hypotheses about yourself for nothing, my darling; hatred and love cannot be disguised even if one tries to conceal them. Birds and beasts draw close to hermits, while they run away at the very sight of a hunter who torments them. Even beasts and birds can distinguish between a friend and a foe, to say nothing of the human body, which is a storehouse of virtue and knowledge. I know you full well, dear brother; but what am I to do? There is great perplexity in my mind. The king (our father), you know, kept his word and abandoned me; nay, he gave up his life in order to keep his vow of love. I feel perturbed in my mind if I proceed to violate his word; and my scruple on your account is even greater. On top of it my preceptor has given his command to me. In any case I am prepared to do precisely what you suggest.” (1 - 4)

“With a cheerful heart and shaking off all scruple tell me what to do; and I will accomplish it this very day.” The assembly rejoiced to hear these words of Śrī Rāma (the Chief of Raghu’s line), who was ever true to his word. (264)

Indra (the king of celestials) and the hosts of other gods trembled with fear and felt perturbed at the thought that their whole scheme was going to miscarry. They were completely at a loss what to do. At last they mentally approached Śrī Rāma for protection. Again they deliberated with one another and said that the Lord of Raghus was under the spell of the devotion of His devotees. Remembering the story of Ambarīṣa and Durvāsā the gods as well as their lord (Indra) became utterly despondent. In the past too the gods suffered for a long time till at last it was Prahlāda who revealed Lord Nrisimha. Beating their head they whispered into one another’s ear: “The gods” interests now lie in Bharata’s hands. We see no other remedy, O gods; our only hope is that Śrī Rāma acknowledges the services rendered to His noble servants. Do you all, therefore, invoke with a loving heart Bharata, who has won over Śrī Rāma by his goodness and amiability.” (1 - 4)

When the preceptor of the gods (the sage Brihaspati) heard of the gods” intention, he said, “Good! Your luck is great. Devotion to Bharata’s feet is the root of all choice blessings in this world.” (265)

“The service of a devotee of Sītā’s lord is as good as a hundred cows of plenty (i.e., it fulfils all one’s desires). Now that devotion to Bharata has appealed to your mind worry no more; for God has accomplished your object. See Bharata’s greatness O king of gods; the Lord of Raghus is completely under his sway as a matter of course. Knowing Bharata to be Śrī Rāma’s shadow, make your mind easy. O gods; there is no cause for fear.” The Lord, who has access to all hearts, felt uncomfortable when He came to know of the conference between the gods and their preceptor (the sage Brihaspati) and of the anxiety of the former. Bharata now felt in his heart that the whole responsibility rested on his shoulders; he, therefore, entertained in his mind propositions of innumerable kinds. After much deliberation he came to the conclusion that his welfare consisted in obeying Śrī Rāma. “He has kept my vow, relinquishing his own, and has thereby shown not a little kindness and love.” (1 - 4)

“Sītā’s lord has done me a great and unbounded favour in every way.” Then, bowing his head and joining his lotus hands, Bharata said: - (266)

“What shall I say or put into other’s mouth, my lord, an ocean of compassion and the knower of all hearts that you are? Now that my Guru is pleased and my master (yourself) propitious, the torment, which was the creation of my foul mind is over. I was obsessed with imaginary fears and my anxiety had no foundation whatsoever. It is no fault of the sun if anyone mistakes the quarters. My own ill-luck, my mother’s perversity, the odd ways of Providence and the cruelty of fate, all conspired with the avowed object of ruining me; but you came to my rescue by redeeming your vow (of protecting your devotees), a protector of the suppliant that you are. This is, however, no novel procedure for you; it is well-known to the world as well as to the Vedas and is an open secret. If the whole world is hostile and you alone are kindly disposed, my lord, tell me through whose goodness if not through yours, can one’s good be accomplished? My lord, you are of the same disposition as the tree of paradise: it is neither for nor against anyone.” (1 - 4)

“Should anyone approach the tree of paradise recognizing it as such, it’s very shade relieves all anxiety. And everyone in this world obtains the desired object on the mere asking, be he a prince or pauper, good or bad.” (267)

“Since I have found my Guru and my master (yourself) affectionate to me in every way, my unrest has gone and I have no doubt left in my mind. Now, O mine of compassion, take steps to see that you do not feel perturbed for the sake of your servant. A servant who seeks his own gain by placing his master in an embarrassing situation is a mean-minded fellow. A servant will gain only if he serves his master renouncing all his personal comforts and greed. If, my lord, you return to Ayodhyā, everyone will be a gainer. And if we obey your orders, we shall gain in millions of ways. Obedience to you constitutes the highest gain both materially and spiritually; nay, it is the consummation of all meritorious acts and the ornament of all good destinies. My lord, listen to a request of mine and then do as you deem fit. I have brought with me, duly arranged, all the requisites for the coronation ceremony. Kindly have it brought into use, my lord, if it so pleases you.” (1 - 4)

“Send me into exile with my younger brother (Śatrughna) and let everybody feel secure under your protection. Or else, send back both the younger brothers (Lakṣmaṇa and Śatrughna) and let me accompany you, my lord.” (268)

“Or (as a third alternative) we three brothers may remain in the forest, while Sītā and yourself may return to Ayodhyā. Do that, O ocean of mercy, which may please your heart, my lord. You have thrown the whole burden on me, my master; but I have no ethical insight nor any idea of religion. I am actuated by self-interest in whatever I say; a man in distress loses his senses. Shame herself would be ashamed to look at a servant who evades compliance with an order given by his master. Even though I am such an unfathomable ocean of faults, my master (yourself) out of affection for me praises me as a noble soul. Now, O merciful one, I will submit to that proposition which will spare my lord an awkward situation. Swearing by my lord’s feet I tell you in good faith that this is the only way to ensure the happiness of the world .” (1 - 4)

“Each one of us will reverently carry out the orders that the Lord may be pleased to give with a cheerful heart and without reserve; and all injustice and imbroglio will end.” (269)

The gods rejoiced to hear Bharata’s guileless speech; and acclaiming him in the words “Well done!” they rained down flowers. The people of Ayodhyā felt much puzzled, while the ascetics and the foresters were greatly delighted. The Lord of Raghus, who was very considerate by nature, kept mum; and observing His silence the whole assembly felt perturbed. That very moment messengers from King Janaka arrived. When the sage Vasiṣṭha heard of it he sent for them promptly. After making obeisance they looked at Śrī Rāma and were much grieved to behold His attire (which resembled that of a hermit). The chief of sages, Vasiṣṭha, made enquires from the messengers: “Tell me if all is well with King Videha (Janaka).” The noble messengers felt abashed to hear this. They bowed their head to the ground and replied with joined palms: “Your loving enquiry itself, O lord, has proved conducive to our good, holy sir.” (1 - 4)

“Otherwise our welfare, O lord, passed away with the king of Kosala, whose death has left the whole world, particularly Mithilā (Janaka’s capital) and Ayodhyā, masterless.” (270)

On hearing of the demise of King Daśaratha (the lord of Ayodhyā) the people of Janakapura were all mad with grief. No one who saw King Videha at that time took his name (Videha) to have any truth behind it. When the king heard of Queen Kaikeyī’s wickedness, he was as nonplussed as a serpent without its gem. Prince Bharata crowned king and the Chief of Raghus, Śrī Rāma, exiled into the woods! The news caused deep agony to the heart of Mithilā’s lord! The king called together a council of wise men and ministers and said, “Tell me after careful deliberation what ought to be done now.” But realizing the conditions at Ayodhyā and the difficulty in either case nobody gave any definite opinion whether he should go or stay at home. The king now collected himself and after calm reflection despatched four clever spies to Ayodhyā with the following instructions: “Ascertain whether Bharata means well or ill and come back at once without being recognized.” (1 - 4)

The spies went to Ayodhyā and having ascertained Bharata’s ways and seen his doings they proceeded back to Tirahuta (Mithilā) the moment the latter left for Chitrakūṭa. (271)

“The spies on their arrival gave an account in Janaka’s court of Bharata’s doings as best as they could. The Guru (the sage Śatānanda), the members of the royal family, the ministers and the king himself were all overpowered with grief and affection at the report. Then, collecting himself and glorifying Bharata, the king summoned his chosen warriors and equerries and, posting guards at the palaces, city and realm got ready a number of horses, elephants, chariots and other conveyances. After ascertaining as auspicious of forty eight minutes he started at once and did not halt on the way. Having bathed at Prayāga this very morning, he has already left the place; and when the whole party began to cross the Yamunā, they despatched us ahead for obtaining news, holy sir.” So saying they bowed their head to the ground. The great sage Vasiṣṭha dismissed the messengers at once, sending with them an escort of six or seven Kirātas. (1 - 4)

The people of Ayodhyā were all delighted to hear of Janaka’s arrival, Śrī Rāma, the Delighter of Raghus, felt very uncomfortable; while Indra, the king of celestials, was particularly overwhelmed with anxiety. (272)

The malevolent Kaikeyī was writhing with remorse. To whom should she speak out her mind and whom could she blame? The people, on the other hand, rejoiced to think that their stay was ensured for some days more. In this way that day too was spent. The next morning everyone proceeded to bathe. And after their ablutions the men and women worshipped Lord Gaṇeśa, Goddess Gaurī (Śiva’s Consort), Bhagavān Śiva (the Slayer of the demon Tripura) and the Sun-god (the Dispeller of darkness). Again, they reverenced the feet of Bhagavān Viṣṇu (the Lord of Lakṣmī) and prayed, the men raising their joined palms, the women holding out the skirt of their garment ; “With Śrī Rāma our king and Sītā (Janaka’s Daughter) our queen, may our capital Ayodhyā, be gloriously re-peopled with its various communities and grow to be the very culmination of joy; and may Śrī Rāma install Bharata as the Crown Prince. Bathing all in the nectar of this bliss, let everyone, O Lord, reap the reward of his existence in this world.” (1 - 4)

“May Śrī Rāma rule over this city, assisted by his Guru, councillors and brothers. And may we die in Ayodhyā with Śrī Rāma as still our king.” This was what everyone asked in prayer. (273)

Hearing the affectionate words of the citizens even enlightened sages talked disparagingly of Yoga (asceticism) and dispassion. Having thus performed their daily devotions the citizens made obeisance to Śrī Rāma with a thrill of joy. Men and women of every rank - high, low or middling - were blessed with His sight according to their own conception. Śrī Rāma scrupulously honoured all and everyone praised the Storehouse of Compassion in the following words: ”From his very boyhood it has been Śrī Rāma’s wont to observe the rules of propriety, duly recognizing the love one cherishes towards him. With a lovely and cheerful countenance, gracious looks and a guileless disposition the Lord of Raghus is an ocean of amiability and modesty.” Thus recounting the virtues of Śrī Rāma they were all overwhelmed with emotion and began to extol their good fortune: ”There are few people in the world as meritorious as we, whom Śrī Rāma recognizes as his own!” (1 - 4)

All were absorbed in love at that time, Presently on hearing of the approach of King Janaka, the lord of Mithilā, Śrī Rāma, who was a veritable sun to the lotus-like solar race, and the whole assembly rose in a hurry (to receive him). (274)

The Lord of Raghus led the way, accompanied by His younger brothers, the minister (Sumantra), the Guru (Vasiṣṭha) and the citizens. The moment the lord of Janakas espied the great hill of Kāmadanātha he made obeisance to it and dismounted from his car. Seized as they were with a longing and eagerness to see Śrī Rāma, none of the party felt the least toil or hardship of the journey. For their mind was with the Chief of Raghus and Vaidehī (Janaka’s Daughter); and when the mind is elsewhere, who will feel the bodily pain or pleasure? In this way Janaka came advancing with his party, their mind intoxicated with love. When the two parties drew near and saw one another they were overwhelmed with love and began to exchange greetings with due respect. King Janaka proceeded to adore the feet of the hermits (who hailed from Ayodhyā); while Śrī Rāma, the Delighter of Raghus, made obeisance to the sages (who accompanied Janaka). Śrī Rāma and His younger brothers then greeted the king (their father-in-law) and led him with the whole party (to His hermitage). (1 - 4)