21-3 | Śrī Rāma Carita Mānasa Stotra

Śrī Rāma’s hermitage was an ocean as it were, overflowing with the sacred water of quietism; while the host that accompanied Janaka was as it were, a river of pathos, which the Lord of Raghus was now conducting (to the ocean of His hermitage). (275)

The river flooded the banks of wisdom and dispassion and was joined in its course by tributary streams and rivulets in the form of sorrowful utterances. Sighs and lamentation severally represented the waves and the wind that uprooted the stout tree of fortitude standing on its banks. It had deep sorrow for its swift current, while fear and delusion constituted its numberless eddies and whirlpools. Boatmen in the form of the learned waited with big boats in the form of their learning; but they were unable to row them, because they had no idea of its depth. The Kolas and Kirātas that roamed about in the woods were the poor wayfarers who had lost heart at the sight of the turbulent stream and stood aghast. When the stream joined the ocean of the hermitage, the latter too surged up as it were with emotion. The two royal hosts were so excited with grief that they had no sense, fortitude or shame left. Extolling King Daśaratha’s comeliness of form, goodness and amiability they all wept and were plunged into an ocean of woe. (1 - 4)

Plunged into the ocean of grief the men and women lamented in great anguish. They all angrily and reproachfully exclaimed, ”Alas! What has cruel Fate done!” Of the gods, accomplished saints, ascetics, Yogīs (mystics) and anchorites, whoever witnessed the condition of Janaka on that occasion, none, says Tulasīdāsa, was capable of enough to cross the river of love (to escape being drowned in it).

Here and there the great sages admonished people in numberless ways; and the sage Vasiṣṭha said to Videha, “Be consoled, O king!” (276)

Can the darkness of infatuation and attachment ever approach him (King Janaka), the sun of whose wisdom drives away the night of metempsychosis and the rays of whose speech delight the lotus-like sages? That he too was plunged in grief shows the triumph of the affection he bore for his daughter, Sītā and Her lord, Śrī Rāma. According to the Vedas there are three types of embodied soul (human beings) in the world - the sensual, the seeker and the wise who have attained perfection (in the form of God- Realization). Of all these he alone is highly honoured in an assembly of holy men, whose heart is sweetened by love for Śrī Rāma. Wisdom without love for Śrī Rāma is imperfect like a vessel without the helmsman. The sage Vasiṣṭha admonished King Videha in many ways; and now all the people bathed at the ghat associated with the name of Śrī ªRāma (who generally bathed and said His prayers there). All the men and women were so overwhelmed with grief that the day passed without anyone taking a drop of water. Even the cattle, birds and deer remained without food, to say nothing of Śrī Rāma’s near and dear ones. (1 - 4)

At daybreak both King Janaka (the lord of Nimis) and Śrī Rāma (the Lord of Raghus) bathed with all their retinue and sat under the banyan tree, sad at heart and wasted in body. (277)

The Brāhmaṇas who hailed from King Daśaratha’s capital (Ayodhyā) as well as those who came from King Janaka’s capital (Mithilā) and even so Vasiṣṭha, the preceptor of the solar race, and Śatānanda, the family priest of King Janaka, who had explored the way to worldly prosperity as well as the path leading to blessedness, gave discourse containing righteousness, ethics, dispassion and discrimination. The sage Viśvāmitra (a descendant of Kuśika) eloquently admonished the entire assembly with many a reference to ancient legends till the Lord of Raghus said to him, “Everyone, my lord, has remained without water since yesterday” Said the sage, “What the Lord of Raghus says is quite reasonable. It is already past noon even today.” Perceiving what was in the mind of the sage (Viśvāmitra) the King of Tirahuta (Mithilā) replied, “It will not be proper to take cereals here.” The king’s reasonable reply pleased all; and having received the sage’s permission they proceeded to perform their midday ablutions. (1 - 4)

At that moment arrived the people of the forest with large quantities of fruits, blossoms, leaves and roots of various kinds loaded in their panniers. (278)

By the grace of Śrī Rāma the hills yielded the objects of one’s desire and dispelled one’s sorrow by their very sight. The lakes, streams, woods and other parts of the land overflowed as it were with joy and love. The trees and creepers were all laden with fruits and blossoms, while birds and beasts and bees made a melodious concert. The forest was bursting with joy at that time; a cool, soft and fragrant breeze delighted everyone. The loveliness of the forest was past all telling; it seemed as if Earth herself was showing her hospitality of King Janaka. In the meantime all the citizens finished their ablutions and receiving the permission of Śrī Rāma, King Janaka and the sage Vasiṣṭha, they filled with love as they were selected suitable trees for them for their encampment; while leaves, fruits, roots and bulbs of every description - pure, lovely and delicious as ambrosia - (1 - 4)

 - Were sent to all, in basketfuls, with due courtesy by Vasiṣṭha, Śrī Rāma’s preceptor. And having worshipped the manes, the gods, the visitors and the Guru they began to partake of this holy repast. (279)

In this way four days rolled by; the people, both men and women, were gratified to see Śrī Rāma. In both camps the feeling uppermost in the heart of all was; ”It is not good to return without Sītā and Rāma. Living in excile in the woods with Sītā and Śrī Rāma one would be millions of times more happy than in Amarāvatī (the city of immortals) . Leaving the company of Lakṣmaṇa, Śrī Rāma and Sītā he who chooses to live at his home is not favoured by Providence. The privilege of living in close proximity to Śrī Rāma can be had only when God is propitious to us all. Bathing in the Mandākinī thrice every day, the sight of Śrī Rāma, which is a perennial source of joy and blessedness, roaming about on the hill (Kāmadanātha) associated with the name of Śrī Rāma, in the forest adjoining the same and among the hermitages of ascetics situated thereabout, and living on bulbs, roots and fruits delicious like ambrosia! In this way four years and ten will be happily spent like a minute without our knowing it. (1 - 4)

“We do not deserve this happiness.” all exclaimed; “Our luck is not like that.” Such was the natural and spontaneous devotion to Śrī Rāma’s feet in both the camps. (280)

In this way all indulged in their own fancy; their affectionate words were so charming to hear. In the meantime Sītā’s mother (Queen Sunayanā) despatched her handmaids to King Daśaratha’s queens; and perceiving that it was a convenient hour they returned with that information. Having learnt that Sītā’s mothers-in-law were at leisure the ladies of King Janaka’s gynaecium called on them. Queen Kauśalyā (Śrī Rāma’s mother) received them with due honour and courtesy and offered them such seats as circumstances would permit. Nothing amiability and affection of all from both sides and hearing them as even the thunderbolt could melt. With their body thrilling all over and overpowered by emotion and eyes full of tears all began to sorrow and scratch the ground with the nails of their toes. They were all incarnations as it were of love for Sītā and Śrī Rāma; it seemed as if Pathos herself mourned in so many forms. Said Sītā’s mother, “The intellect of Providence is so pervose that He has thought fit to break up the foam of milk with a chisel of adamant! (1 - 4)

“We hear of nectar but see only venom: all His doings are hard. Crows, owls and herons are seen everywhere; but swans can be found in the Mānasa lake alone.” (281)

Hearing this Queen Sumitrā (Lakṣmaṇa’s mother) sorrowfully observed, “The ways of Providence are most perverse and strange: He creates, maintains and then destroys. God’s designs are as silly as child’s play.” Said Kauśalyā, “It is nobody’s fault; sorrow and joy, loss and gain are determined by our past actions. The inexorable ways of Providence are known to God alone, who dispenses all kinds of fruits, both good and evil. God’s commands prevail over all, including the processes of creation, maintenance and dissolution and even over poison and nectar (which destroy and restore life respectively). It is no use lamenting, O good lady, out of infatuation. The doings of Providence are, as I have said, inevitable and eternal. If we mourn over the contrast After considering the circumstances during the lifetime of king after his demise if we feel sorry it is because of our interests suffered.” Sītā’s mother replied, “Your noble words are quite true, a spouse that you are of Ayodhyā’s lord, who was the greatest of all virtuous souls known to history.” (1 - 4)

“If Lakṣmaṇa, Rāma and Sītā stay in the forest, the end will be good, not bad. But, said Kauśalyā with a heart overwhelmed with emotion.” I am anxious about Bharata. (282)

“By the grace of God and through your blessing my sons and daughters-in-law are all pure as the water of the celestial stream (Gaṅgā). Although I have never sworn by Rāma, I now swear by him and tell you in good faith, my friend, that in extolling Bharata’s amiability, goodness, modesty, loftiness of character, brotherly affection, devotion, faith and nobility the wit of even Śāradā (the goddess of speech) falters. Can the ocean be ladled out by means of an oyster-shell? I have always known Bharata to be the glory of his house and the king repeatedly told me so. Gold is tested by rubbing on the touchstone, and a precious stone on reaching the hands of an expert jeweller; while men are tested in times of emergency by their innate disposition. It was wrong on my part today to have spoken thus; but you know sorrow and affection leave one little reason.” On hearing these words, pure as the water of the celestial river, all the queens were overwhelmed with affection. (1 - 4)

Kauśalyā collected herself and continued: “Listen, O venerable queen of Mithilā: who can advise you, the consort of King Janaka, who is an ocean of wisdom? (283)

“Yet finding a suitable opportunity, O queen, you may speak to the king as if on your own initiative and plead with him that Lakṣmaṇa may be detained and Bharata allowed to proceed to the forest. Should this proposal find favour with the king, let him do his utmost after due deliberation. I feel much concerned about Bharata; for the love in his heart is so profound that if he stays at home I fear something untoward may happen to him.” Perceiving Kauśalyā’s pure love and hearing her guileless and eloquent appeal all the queens were overwhelmed by the pathetic sentiment. There was a shower of flowers from heaven accompanied by shouts of applause. Accomplished saints, Yogīs (mystics) and hermits were overpowered with emotion. All the ladies of the gynaecium were struck dumb to see this. Then, recovering herself, Sumitrā interposed, “Madam! Nearly an hour of the night has passed.” Hearing this Śrī Rāma’s mother (Kauśalyā) courteously rose, and - (1 - 4)

 - Said out of affection and goodwill, “Pray return quickly to your camp. Our only refuge now is God and our only helper is the lord of Mithilā.” (284)

Seeing her affection and hearing her polite words Janaka’s beloved queen (Sunayanā) clasped Kauśalyā’s holy feet. “Such modesty on your part, O venerable lady, is quite becoming of you, you being King Daśaratha’s spouse and Śrī Rāma’s mother. Great men treat with honour even the lowest of their servants: fire is crowned with smoke, while mountains bear grass on their tops. The king (of Mithilā) is your servant in thought, word and deed; while the great Lord Śiva and His Consort (Bhavānī) are your constant helpers. Who on this earth is worthy of serving as your auxiliary? Can an ordinary light ever pose with any grace as a helper of the sun? After serving the term of his exile in the woods and accomplishing the object of the gods Śrī Rāma will reign undisturbed at Ayodhyā; and protected by Śrī Rāma’s strength of arm gods, Nāgas and human beings will dwell peacefully in their own abodes. This has all been predicted by the sage Yājñyavalkya and a sage’s prophesy, madam, can never go in vain.” (1 - 4)

So saying she fell at Kauśalyā’s feet with the utmost affection and preferred her request for being allowed to take Sītā with her. And having received Kauśalyā’s kind permission Sītā’s mother now left for her camp with Sītā. (285)

Videha’s Daughter (Sītā) greeted Her dear kinsfolk in the same manner as was befitting in each case. When they saw Jānakī (Janaka’s Daughter) in the robes of an ascetic everybody was stricken with deep sorrow. Receiving the permission of Śrī Rāma’s preceptor, Vasiṣṭha, King Janaka too left for his camp and on arrival found Sītā there. The king clasped Jānakī to his bosom - Jānakī who was an honoured guest of his unalloyed love and life. In his heart welled up an ocean of love and the king’s heart now appeared like the holy Prayāga. The immortal banyan tree in the shape of affection for Sītā was seen growing with the divine babe of love for Śrī Rāma adorning its top. The long-lived sage (Mārkaṇḍeya) in the form of King Janaka’s wisdom was greatly bewildered and was just going to be drowned when lo! he found his support in the divine babe and was saved. Really speaking, it was not that Videha’s wit was lost in infatuation; it was the triumph of the affection he bore for Sītā and the Chief of Raghus. (1 - 4)

Overcome by the affection of Her parents Sītā was too deeply moved to control Herself. But realizing the awkward moment and Her noble duty, Earth’s Daughter recovered Herself. (286)

When King Janaka beheld Sītā in the robes of a hermitess he was overwhelmed with love and was highly gratified. “Daughter, you have brought sanctity to both the houses (viz., my house and the house of your husband); everyone says your fair renown has illumined the whole world. The river of your fame outshone the celestial stream (Gaṅgā) in that it has penetrated (not only one solar system but) millions of universes. While the Gaṅgā has (in the course of its career) exalted only three places, the river of your fame has added to the glory of numerous congregations of holy men.” Even though Her father made these flowery yet truthful remarks out of affection for Her, Sītā was drowned as it were, in a sea of bashfulness. Her parents pressed Her to their bosom once more and gave Her good and salutary advice and blessing. Sītā did not speak but felt uncomfortable in Her mind because She thought that it was not good to remain with Her parents overnight. Reading Her mind the queen (Sunayanā) made it known to the king (her husband) and both admired in their heart Her modesty and noble disposition. (1 - 4)

Meeting and embracing Sītā again and again they politely allowed Her to depart and availing herself of this opportunity the clever queen eloquently told the king all about Bharata’s condition. (287)

When the king heard of Bharata’s conduct, which was rare as a combination of gold with fragrance or as nectar extracted from the moon, the king closed his tearful eyes and a through his body and with gleeful heart he paid encomiums to his marvellous glory. “Listen attentively, O fair-faced and bright-eyed lady; the story of Bharata loosens the bounds of worldly existence. Religion, statecraft and an enquiry about Brahma (the Infinite) are domains to which I have some access according to my own poor lights. But thought acquainted with these subjects, my wits cannot touch the shadow of Bharata’s glory even by trick, much less describe it. To Brahmā (the Creator), Lord Gaṇapati (Gaṇeśa) Śeṣa (the king of serpents), Lord Śiva, Śāradā (the goddess of learning), poets, scholars and wise men, the character fame, doings, righteousness, amiability, goodness and unsullied glory of Bharata are delightful to hear and appreciate. They surpass the celestial stream in purity and even nectar in taste. (1 - 4)

“Possessed of infinite virtues and a man above comparison, know Bharata alone to be the like of Bharata. Can Mount Śumeru be likened to a seer? Hence the wit of the race of poets was confused (in finding a comparison for him). (288)

“The greatness of Bharata, O fair lady, baffles all who attempt to describe it, even as a fish cannot glide on dry land. Listen, O beloved queen: Bharata’s inestimable glory is known to Śrī Rāma alone; but he too cannot describe it.” Having thus lovingly described Bharata’s glory the king, who knew his queen’s mind, continued, “If Lakṣmaṇa returns to Ayodhyā and Bharata accompanies Śrī Rāma to the woods, it will be well for all and that is what everyone wants. But the mutual affection and confidence, O good lady, of Bharata and Śrī Rāma (the chief of Raghus) are beyond one’s conception. Even though Śrī Rāma is the highest limb of equanimity, Bharata is the perfection of love and attachment. Bharata has never bestowed any thought on his spiritual or worldly interests or personal comforts. Devotion to Śrī Rāma’s feet is at once the means and the end; to my mind this appears to sum up Bharata’s creed. (1 - 4)

“Bharata would never think of flouting Śrī Rāma’s orders even unwittingly. We need not, therefore, in our affection give way to anxiety,” said the king in choked accents. (289)

As the king and queen (Janaka and Sunayanā) were thus fondly recounting the virtues of Śrī Rāma and Bharata the night passed like an instant. At daybreak both the royal camps awoke and after finishing their ablutions proceeded to worship gods. Performing His ablutions the Lord of Raghus called on His Guru and after adoring his feet and receiving his tacit permission said, ”Holy sir, Bharata, the citizens and my mothers are all stricken with grief and inconvenienced by their sojourn in the woods. The king of Mithilā too and his followers have been enduring hardships for many days past. Therefore, my lord, do what is advisable under the circumstances. The welfare of all lies in your hands.” So saying Śrī Rāma felt much embarrassed. And the sage was thrilled with joy when he saw His amiability and kind disposition. “Without you, Rāma, all amenities of life are like hell to both the royal camps. (1 - 4)

“Rāma! you are the life of life, the soul of soul and the joy of joy.” Those who like to be in their home away from you, my child, are under the influence of an adverse fate. (290)

“Perish the happiness, ritual and piety in which there is no devotion to the lotus feet of Rāma (yourself). That Yoga (discipline conducive to union with God) is an abominable Yoga and that wisdom unwisdom, in which love for Rāma yourself) is not supreme. Whosoever is unhappy is unhappy without you and even so whoever is happy is happy through you. You know what exists in the mind of a particular individual. Your command holds sway over all and your gracious self knows all the ways full well. You may return to your hermitage now.” The lord of sages was overpowered with emotion. Śrī Rāma then made obeisance and departed, while the sage collected himself and called on King Janaka. The preceptor repeated to the king Śrī Rāma’s naturally graceful words, which were full of amiability and affection, and added, “O great monarch, now do that which may do good to all without prejudice to religion.” (1 - 4)

“O king! you are a storehouse of wisdom, clever, pious and staunch in upholding the cause of virtue. Who save you is able at the present moment to find a way out of this impasse?” (291)

Janaka was overwhelmed with emotion on hearing the sage’s words. His wisdom and dispassion themselves shrunk away from him when they saw his condition. Faint with love he reasoned to himself, “I have not done well in coming over to this place, King Daśaratha no doubt told Śrī Rāma to proceed to the woods; but at the same time he demonstrated the love he bore towards his beloved son. As for ourselves we shall now send him from this forest to another and return in triumph glorying over our wisdom!” Seeing and hearing all this the ascetics, hermits and the Brāhmaṇas were overwhelmed with emotion. Realizing the situation, the king took heart and proceeded with his followers to see Bharata; while the latter came ahead to receive him and gave him the best seat available in the circumstances. “Dear Bharata,” said the king of Tirhut, “you know the disposition of Śrī Rāma (the Hero of Raghu’s line).” (1 - 4)

“Śrī Rāma is true to his vow and devoted to his Dharma; he respects the feelings and affection of all. On account of the consideration of others” in conveniences Rāma feels disconcerted. Now give me your final word, so that the same may be communicated to him.” (292)

When Bharata heard these words, a thrill ran through his body and his eyes filled with tears. Imposing a great restraint upon himself he said, “My lord, you are dear and worthy of respect to me as my own father; and as regards my family preceptor (the sage Vasiṣṭha) my own parents are not so benevolent to me as he.” Here is an assembly of sages like Kauśika (Viśvāmitra) as well as of ministers; and today you too, an ocean of wisdom, are present in our midst. Know me to be a mere child and an obedient servant and instruct me accordingly, my master. To think that you should seek my advice in this assembly (of wise men) and at this holy place! Yet if I keep mum I shall be considered black of heart; and if I speak on this occasion it will be sheer madness on my part. Nevertheless I have the impudence to say something. Therefore, pray forgive me, father, knowing that Providence is against me. It is fully recognized in the Tantras, Vedas and Purāṇas, and all the world knows, that the duty of a servant is hard indeed. Duty to a master is incompatible with selfishness. Hatred is blind and love is not discreet. (1 - 4)

“Therefore, knowing me to be a dependant, and with due deference to Śrī Rāma’s wishes and consistent with his Drama and sacred vow, pray do that which all approve and is good for all, recognizing the affection everyone bears for him.” (293)

On hearing Bharata’s words and observing his disposition King Janaka and his followers applauded him. Easily intelligible yet incomprehensible, soft and sweet yet hard, pregnant with a vast meaning though too concise, his mysterious speech was as baffling as the reflection of one’s face seen in a mirror, which cannot be grasped even though the mirror be held in one’s own hand. King Janaka, Bharata, the sage (Vasiṣṭha) and the whole assembly called on Śrī Rāma, who delights the gods even as the moon brings joy to the lilies. On hearing this news all the people were overwhelmed with anxiety even as fish on coming in contact with the water of the first shower (of the monsoon). The gods first observed the condition of the family preceptor (the sage Vasiṣṭha) and next watched the great affection of King Videha. And then they beheld Bharata, the very incarnation of devotion to Śrī Rāma. Seeing all this the selfish gods felt unnerved and lost heart. When they saw everyone full of love for Śrī Rāma, the gods were immensely perturbed. (1 - 4)

“Śrī Rāma, is full of love and consideration for others” feelings.” Indra (the lord of celestials) despondently said, “Therefore, combine to contrive some underhand plot all of you; or else we are doomed.” (294)

The gods invoked goddess Śāradā and praised her. They said, ”O goddess, we celestials have sought refuge in you; pray protect us. Change Bharata’s mind by exerting your Māyā (deluding potency) and preserve the heavenly race from ruin by taking them under the cool shade of some deceptive trick.” When the wise goddess heard the gods” prayer, she understood that selfishness had robbed them of their senses, and accordingly replied (turning towards Indra in particular), “You ask me to alter Bharata’s mind! It is a pity you cannot see Mount Meru even though you possess a thousand eyes. The Māyā (deluding potency) even of Brahmā (the Creator), Hari (the Preserver) and Hara (the Destroyer of the universe), exceedingly powerful as it is, cannot even face Bharata’s reason. And yet you ask me to pervert it. What! Can the moonlight steal away the sun? Bharata’s heart is the abode of Sītā and Śrī Rāma; can darkness enter where the sun shines?” So saying goddess Śāradā returned to Brahmā’s heaven, leaving the gods as distressed as the Cakravāka bird at night. (1 - 4)

The gods, who were selfish by nature and malicious at heart, laid an ill-conceived plot and weaving a powerful net of deceptive artifice set up a wave of fear, confusion, ennui and vexation (among the people of Ayodhyā). (295)

Having started the mischief the lord of celestials thought within himself that the success and failure of his plans lay in Bharata’s hands. (Now reverting to Chitrakūṭa) King Janaka went to the Lord of Raghus, the Glory of the solar race received them all with honour. The priest of Raghu’s line then spoke words which were appropriate to the occasion as well as to the assembly in which he spoke and consistent with righteousness. He reproduced the conversation that had taken place between King Janaka and Bharata and also repeated the charming speech of Bharata. ”Dear Rāma,” he said, “whatever order you give all should obey: this is my proposal.” Hearing this the Lord of Raghus, with joined palms and in gentle accents, spoke words which were true and guileless: “In the presence of yourself and the lord of Mithilā it will be altogether unseemly on my part to say anything. Whatever order may be given by you and by the king of Mithilā, everyone, I swear by yourself, will positively bow to it.” (1 - 4)

On hearing Śrī Rāma’s oath the sage Vasiṣṭha and King Janaka as well as the whole assembly were embarrassed. All fixed their eyes on Bharata, as no one could make any answer. (296)

When Bharata saw the assembly confused, Śrī Rāma’s brother exercised great self-restraint and realizing the unfavourable situation he controlled his emotion even as the jar-born sage Agastya had arrested the growth of the Vindhya range. The demon Hiraṇyākṣa in the form of grief had carried away the globe in the shape of the assembly’s wit, which was the source of the entire creation in the form of a host of virtues, when the gigantic boar of Bharata’s discretion playfully delivered the same in no time. Bharata bowed his head and joined his palms before all and thus prayed to Śrī Rāma, King Janaka, his preceptor (the sage Vasiṣṭha) and other holy men present there, “With my juvenile lips I am going to make a harsh statement. Kindly forgive today this most unbecoming act of mine.” He now invoked in his heart the charming goddess Śāradā, who came from the Mānasarovara lake of his mind to his lotus-like mouth. Bharata’s speech, which was full of pure wisdom, piety and prudence, resembled a lovely cygnet (in that it possessed the virtue of sifting goodness from evil). (1 - 4)

Bharata saw with the eyes of his wisdom that the assembly was faint with love. He, therefore, made obeisance to all and, invoking Sītā and the Lord of Raghus, spoke as follows: - (297)

“O Lord, you are my father, mother, friend, preceptor, master, the object of my adoration, my greatest benefactor and my inner controller. Nay, you are a guileless and kind patron, the storehouse of amiability, the protector of the suppliant, all-knowing, clever, all-powerful, the befriender of those who take refuge in you, apt to appreciate merit and drive away vice and sin. You are the only master like you, my lord; while I am unique in disloyalty to my master. Setting at naught in my folly the commands of my lord (yourself) and my father I came here with multitude of men and women. In this world there are good men and vile, high and low, nectar and immortality, on the one hand, and venom and death on the other. But nowhere have I seen or heard anyone who dare violate Śrī Rāma’s (your) orders even in thought. Yet that is what I have presumed to do not only in thought but even in word and deed and my lord has taken this presumption on my part as a token of affection and an act of service. (1 - 4)

“By his grace and goodness my lord has done me a good turn; my failings have become my adornments and my fair and bright renown has spread on all sides.” (298)

“Your ways, your noble disposition and your greatness are known throughout the world and have been glorified in the Vedas and other sacred books. Even the cruel, the perverse, the vile, the evil-minded and the censured, nay, the low-minded, the impudent, the godless and the unscrupulous are known to have been accepted by you as your own as soon as you heard that they had approached you for shelter and if they merely bowed to you only once. You have never taken their faults to heart even if you saw them with your own eyes; while you have proclaimed their virtues in the assembly of holy men if you but heard of them . Where is the master, so kind to his servant, who would provide him with all his necessaries himself and, far from reckoning even in a dream what he has done for his servant would feel troubled at heart over any embarrassment caused to him? He is my lord (yourself) and no other; with uplifted arms I declare this on oath. A beast would dance and a parrot may attain proficiency in repeating what it is taught; but the proficiency of the bird and the rhythmic movements of the beast depend on the teacher and the dancing-master.” (1 - 4)

“Thus by reforming your servants and treating them with honour you have made them the crest-jewels of holy men. Is there anyone save the All-merciful (yourself) who will rigidly maintain his high reputation (as a kind and generous master)?” (299)

“Through grief, affection or mere childishness I came here in defiance of your commands; yet, true to his own disposition, my gracious lord (yourself) has taken my insolence in good part in every way. I have seen your most blessed feet and come to know that my master (yourself) is naturally propitious to me. In this august assembly I have seen my good fortune in that I continue to enjoy my master’s affection in spite of great remissness on my part. My all-gracious lord (yourself) has been extremely kind and compassionate to me in every way; all this is more than I have ever deserved. By virtue of his own amiability, noble disposition and goodness my lord (yourself) has ever been indulgent to me. Giving up all consideration for the feelings of my master and this assembly I have presumed too much by speaking politely or impolitely even as it pleased me; but perceiving my great distress I am sure my lord will pardon me.” (1 - 4)

“It is a great mistake to say too much to a loving, intelligent and good master. Therefore, be pleased, my lord, to give your command; for you have accomplished all my objects.” (300)

“Swearing by the dust of my lord’s lotus feet, which is the glorious consummation of truth, virtue and happiness, I proclaim the desire which I have cherished in my heart at all time, whether waking, dreaming or fast asleep. It is to serve my master with guileless and spontaneous affection forgetting my own interests and neglecting the four ends of human existence. And the greatest service to a noble master is to obey his orders. Let your servant, my lord, obtain this favour (in the form of an order).” So saying he was utterly overwhelmed with emotion; a thrill ran through his body and tears rushed to his eyes. In great distress he clasped the Lord’s lotus feet; the excitement of the moment and the intensity of affection cannot be described in words. The Ocean of Compassion honoured him with kind words and taking him by the hand seated him by His side. The whole assembly including the Lord of Raghus Himself was overpowered by love after hearing Bharata’s entreaty and seeing his disposition. (1 - 4)

The Lord of Raghus, the congregation of holy men, the sage Vasiṣṭha and the lord of Mithilā, all were faint with love and admired in their heart the surpassing glory of Bharata’s brotherly affection and devotion. The gods acclaimed Bharata and rained down flowers on him as though with a doleful heart. Hearing of this, says Tulasīdāsa, everyone felt distressed and uncomfortable even as lotuses get withered at the approach of night.

Seeing every man and woman both of Ayodhyā and Mithilā afflicted and downcast, Indra, who was most malicious at heart, sought his own happiness by killing those that were already dead. (301)

Though king of the gods, Indra is the worst specimen of deceitfulness and villainy; he loves others” loss and his own gain. The ways of Indra (the slayer of the demon Pāka) are like those of a crow - crafty, malicious and trusting none. Having conceived an evil design in the first instance he wove a net of wiles and made everyone a victim of ennui by throwing the net on the head of each. He then infatuated all by exerting the deluding potency of the gods; but they could not be wholly deprived of the affection they bore for Śrī Rāma. Overcome as they all were by fear and ennui, they were all distracted. Now they conceived a liking for the woods and the very next moment they loved to be at their home. The people were afflicted by this vacillating attitude of their mind even as the water at the mouth of a river is tossed on both sides. Wavering in mind, they did not derive solace anywhere nor did they disclose their heart to one another. Observing this, the all-compassionate Lord smiled within Himself and said, “The canine race, Indra and reckless youth are alike in nature.” (1 - 4)

Barring Bharata, King Janaka, the host of sages, the ministers and enlightened saints, the deluding potency of the gods prevailed on all according to the susceptibility of each. (302)