24-1 | Śrī Rāma Carita Mānasa Stotra

Śrī Rām acaritam ānasa

(The Mānasa lake containing the exploits of Śrī Rāma)

Descent Five


I adore the Lord of the universe bearing the name of Rāma, the Chief of Raghu’s line and the crest-jewel of kings, the mine of compassion, the dispeller of all sins, appearing in human form through His Māyā (deluding potency), the greatest of all gods, knowable through Vedānta (the Upaniṣads), constantly worshipped by Brahmā (the Creator), Śambhu (Lord Śiva) and Śeṣa (the serpent-god), the bestower of supreme peace in the form of final beatitude, placid, eternal, beyond the ordinary means of cognition, sinless and all-pervading. (1)

There is no other craving in my heart, O Lord of the Raghus: I speak the truth and You are the Spirit indwelling the hearts of all. Grant me intense devotion to Your feet, O crest-jewel of Raghus, and free my mind from faults like concupiscence etc. (2)

I bow to the son of the wind-god, the beloved devotee of Śrī Rāma (the Lord of the Raghus), the chief of the monkeys, the repository of all virtues, the foremost among the wise, a fire to consume the forest of the demon race, possessing a body shining as a mountain of gold and a home of immeasurable strength. (3)

Hanumān was much delighted at heart to hear the heartening speech of Jāmbavān. He said, “Suffering hardships and living on bulbs, roots and fruits, wait for me, brethren, till I return after seeing Sītā. I am sure our object will be accomplished as I feel very cheerful.” So saying and after bowing his head to them all he set out full of joy with the image of Śrī Rāma (the Lord of the Raghus) enshrined in his heart. There was a beautiful hill on the sea- coast; he lightly sprang on to its top. And invoking the Hero of Raghus line again and again, the son of the wind-god took a leap with all his might. The hill on which Hanumān planted his foot while leaping sank down immediately into the nethermost region (Pātāla). Hanumān sped forth in the same way as the faili shaft of Śrī Rāma (the Lord of the Raghus). Knowing him to be Śrī Rāma’s emissary, the deity presiding over the ocean spoke to mount Maināka, “Relieve him of his fatigue, O Maināka (by allowing him to rest on you).” (1 - 5)

Hanumān simply touched the mountain with his hand and then made obeisance to it saying, “There can be no rest for me till I have accomplished Śrī Rāma’s work.” (1)

The gods saw the son of the wind-god sweeping along; and in order to test his extraordinary strength and intelligence they sent Surasā, a mother of serpents, who came near him and said: “The gods have provided me a meal today.” On hearing these words the son of the wind-god said in reply, “Let me return after accomplishing Śrī Rāma’s errand and tell my lord the news of Sītā. Then I will approach you and enter your mouth; I tell you the truth. Mother, only let me go now.” When, however, she would not let him go on any account, Hanumān said, “Then why not devour me?” She distended her mouth to a distance of eight miles, while the chief of monkeys grew double the size of her mouth. She stretched her mouth to a circumference of a hundred and twenty-eight miles, and the son of the wind-god immediately took a form covering two hundred and fifty-six miles. Even as Surasā expanded her jaws the chief of the monkeys manifested a form twice as large as her mouth. When she further expanded her mouth eight hundred miles wide, the son of the wind-god assumed a very minute form, by which he entered her mouth and came out again and bowing his head to her begged leave to proceed. “I have gauged the extent of your wit and strength, the errand for which the gods had despatched me. (1 - 6)

“You will accomplish all the work of Śrī Rāma, a storehouse that you are of strength and intelligence.” Having blessed Hanumān she departed and Hanumān too joyfully resumed his journey (through the air). (2)

There was a demoness who dwelt in the ocean and would catch the birds in the air by conjuring tricks. Seeing on the surface of the water the reflection of the creature that coursed in the air she would catch it and the bird was unable to move. In this way she would devour birds every day. She employed the same trick against Hanumān, but the chief of monkeys at once saw through her game. The valiant son of the wind-god dispatched her and swept across the ocean, resolute of mind as he was. Reaching the other shore he gazed on the loveliness of the forest with the bees humming in quest of honey. Trees of various kinds looked charming with fruits and flowers; and he was particularly delighted at heart to see the numerous birds and beasts. Beholding a huge mountain ahead of him, he fearlessly ran up to its summit. The chief of the monkeys, O Umā (Pārvatī), deserved no credit for it: it was all attributable to the glory of the Lord, who devours Death himself. Climbing up the hill he surveyed Laṅkā, a most marvellous fortress that defied description. It was very high and was enclosed by the ocean on all sides. The ramparts of gold shed great lustre all round. (1 - 6)

The charming city was enclosed by a fortification wall of gold inlaid with precious stones of various kinds, and contained many beautiful houses, cross roads, bazars, lovely streets and lanes, and was decorated in every way. Who could count the multitudes of elephants, horses and mules, the crowds of foot soldiers and chariots and the troops of demons of every shape - a formidable host beyond all description? Groves and orchards, gardens and parks, lakes and also wells, big and small, looked charming; daughters of human beings, Nāgas, gods and Gandharvas (celestial musicians) enraptured with their beauty the minds of even hermits. Here roared mighty wrestlers endowed with huge mountainlike forms. They grappled with one another in many ways in different courts and challenged one another to a duel. Myriads of champions possessing frightful forms sedulously guarded the city on all sides. Elsewhere the vile demons feasted on buffaloes, human beings, cows, donkeys and goats. Tulasīdāsa has briefly told their story only because they will drop their bodies at holy place in the form of Śrī Rāma’s arrows and thereby attain the supreme state. (1 - 3)

Seeing a host of guards defending the city, the chief of the monkeys thought to himself, “Let me assume a very minute form and enter the city at night.” (3)

Hanumān assumed a form as small as a gnat and, invoking the Lord in human semblance (Bhagavān Śrī Rāma), headed towards Laṅkā. (At the gateway of Laṅkā) lived a demoness, Laṅkinī by name. “Where should you be going heedless of me?” she said. “Fool, have you not been able to know who I am? Every thief hereabout is my food.” The great monkey dealt her such a blow with his fist that she toppled down vomiting blood. Then, recovering herself, Laṅkā (Laṅkinī), stood up, and joining her palms in dismay, humbly addressed him, “When Brahmā granted Rāvaṇa the boon he had asked for, the Creator furnished me with the following clue (to the extermination of the demon race) while departing: - “When you get discomfited by a blow from a monkey, know that all is over with the demon race.” I must have earned very great merit, dear Hanumān, that I have been blessed with the sight of Śrī Rāma’s own messenger. (1 - 4)

“In one scale of the balance, dear son, put together the delights of heaven and the bliss of final beatitude; but they will all be outweighed by a moment’s joy derived from communion with the saints.” (4)

“Enter the city with the Lord of Ayodhyā enshrined in your heart and accomplish all your business. Poison is transformed into nectar, foes turn friends, the ocean contracts itself to the size of a cow’s footprint, fire becomes cool and Mount Meru, O Garuḍa, appears like a grain of sand to him on whom Śrī Rāma has cast His benign look.” Hanumān assumed a very minute form and invoking Śrī Rāma entered the city. He ransacked every mansion and saw countless warriors here and there. Then he made his way into Rāvaṇa’s palace, which was marvellous beyond words. He saw the demon chief buried in sleep; but he did not find Videha’s Daughter there. He then noticed another splendid building, with a temple of Śrī Hari standing apart. (1 - 4)

The mansion had the weapons (bow and arrow) of Śrī Rāma painted on its walls and was beautiful beyond words. The monkey chief rejoiced to see clusters of young Tulasī plants there. (5)

“Laṅkā is the abode of a gang of demons; how could a pious man take up his residence here?” While the monkey chief was thus reasoning within himself, Vibhīṣaṇa (Rāvaṇa’s youngest brother) woke up. He began to repeat Śrī Rāma’s name in prayer and Hanumān was delighted at heart to find a virtuous soul. “I shall make acquaintance with him at all events; for one’s cause would never suffer at the hands of a good man.” Having thus resolved he assumed the form of a Brāhmaṇa and accosted Vibhīṣaṇa. As soon as he heard Hanumān’s words he rose and came where the latter was. Bowing low he enquired after the Brāhmaṇa’s welfare: “Tell me all about you, holy sir. Are you one of Śrī Hari’s own servants (Nārada and others)? My heart is filled with exceeding love at your sight. Or are you Śrī Rāma Himself, a loving friend of the poor, who have come to bless me (by your sight)?” (1 - 4)

Thereupon Hanumān told him all about Śrī Rāma and disclosed his identity as well. The moment Vibhīṣaṇa heard this a thrill ran through the body of both and they were transported with joy at the thought of Śrī Rāma’s host of virtues. (6)

“Hear, O son of the wind-god, how I am living here: my plight is similar to that of the poor tongue, that lives in the midst of the teeth. Will the Lord of the solar race, dear friend, ever show His grace to me, knowing me to be masterless? Endowed as I am with a sinful (demoniac) form, I am incapable of doing any Sādhana (striving for God- Realization); and my heart cherishes no love for the Lord’s lotus-feet. But I am now confident, Hanumān, that Śrī Rāma will shower His grace on me; for one can never meet a saint without Śrī Hari’s grace. It is only because the Hero of Raghu’s race has been kind to me that you have blessed me with your sight unsolicited.” “Listen, Vibhīṣaṇa: the Lord is ever affectionate to His servants; for such is His wont. Tell me what superior birth can I claim - a frivolous monkey vile in every way, so much so that if anyone mentions our name early in the morning he is sure to go without any food that day. (1 - 4)


“Listen, my friend: though I am so wretched, the Hero of Raghu’s race has shown His grace even to me!” And his eyes filled with tears as he recalled the Lord’s virtues. (7)

“It is not to be wondered that those who knowingly forget such a lord and go adrift should be unhappy.” Thus recounting Śrī Rāma’s virtues, Hanumān derived unspeakable solace. Then Vibhīṣaṇa fully narrated how Janaka’s Daughter had been living there. Thereupon Hanumān said, “Listen, brother: I should like to see Mother Sītā:” Vibhīṣaṇa fully explained to him the method of seeing Her and the son of the wind-god took leave of Vibhīṣaṇa and proceeded on his errand. Assuming the same (minute) form as he had taken before, he repaired to the Aśoka grove where Sītā dwelt. He mentally bowed to Her as soon as he saw Her. Obviously She had been squatting away the hours of the night. Emaciated in body, She wore a single braid of matted hair on Her head and repeated to Herself the list of Śrī Rāma’s excellences. (1 - 4)

She had Her eyes fixed on Her own feet, while Her mind was absorbed in the thought of Śrī Rāma’s lotus feet. The son of the wind-god felt extremely miserable to see Janaka’s Daughter sad. (8)

Concealing himself among the leaves of a tree he mused within himself, “Come, sir, what should I do?” At that very moment Rāvaṇa arrived there gaily adorned and accompanied by a troop of women. The wretch tried to prevail upon Her in many ways through friendly advice, allurements, threats and estrangement. Said Rāvaṇa, “Listen, O beautiful and wise lady: I will make Mandodarī and all other queens your handmaids, I swear, provided you cast your look on me only once.” Interposing a blade of grass between Herself and Rāvaṇa and fixing Her thoughts on Her most beloved lord (Śrī Rāma), the King of Ayodhyā, Videha’s Daughter rejoined: “Listen, O ten-headed monster: can a lotus flower ever expand in the glow of a fire-fly?” “Ponder this at heart,” continued Janaka’s Daughter; “perhaps you have no idea what Śrī Rāma’s shafts are like, O wretch. You carried me off at a time when there was none by my side; yet you do not feel ashamed, O vile and impudent rogue!” (1 - 5)

Hearing himself likened to a glow-worm and Śrī Rāma compared to the sun, and exasperated at Her harsh words, the monster drew out his sword and said: - (9)

“Sītā, you have hurled on me an insult; I will cut off your head with my relentless sword. If not, obey my command at once; or else you lose your life, O beautiful lady.” “My lord’s arm is lovely as a string of blue lotuses and shapely and long as the trunk of an elephant, O ten-headed monster. Either that arm or your dreadful sword will have my neck: hear this my solemn vow, O fool. (Turning to Rāvaṇa’s glittering scimitar) Take away, O Chandrahāsā, the burning anguish of my heart caused by the fire of separation from the Lord of the Raghus. You possess a cool, sharp and good blade; therefore, relieve the burden of my sorrow,” Sītā said. On hearing these words he rushed forward to kill Her; it was Queen Mandodarī (Maya’s daughter) who (intervened and) pacified him with words of good counsel. Summoning all the demonesses (posted there) he said, “Go and intimidate Sītā in every way. If she does not accept my proposal in a month’s time I will draw my sword and behead her.” (1 - 5)

(Having issued these instructions) the ten headed Rāvaṇa returned to his palace; while the host of fiendesses in the Aśoka grove assumed various kinds of hideous forms and intimidated Sītā. (10)

One of these demonesses, Trijaṭā by name, was devoted to Śrī Rāma’s feet and perfect in spiritual wisdom. She summoned all her companions, told them her dream and exhorted them to serve Sītā and thus bless themselves. “In my dream a monkey burnt Laṅkā and the whole demon host was killed. As for the ten-headed Rāvaṇa, I saw him mounted on a donkey, all naked, with his heads shorn and his twenty arms chopped off. In this fashion he went his way to the south; and it so appeared that Laṅkā had passed into the hands of Vibhīṣaṇa. Śrī Rāma’s victory was proclaimed (by beat of drum) throughout the city: it was then that the Lord (Śrī Rāma) sent for Sītā. This dream, I loudly proclaim, will come true a few days hence.” They were all dismayed to hear her words and fell at the feet of Janaka’s Daughter. (1 - 4)

Then they all dispersed in various directions and Sītā anxiously thought within Herself: “At the end of a month this vile monster will slay me.” (11)

With joined palms She said to Trijaṭā, “Mother, you are my only companion in adversity. Therefore, quickly devise some means whereby I may be enabled to cast off this body; for this desolation, which is so hard to bear, can no longer be endured. Bring some wood and put up a pyre; and then, my mother, set fire to it. Thus prove the genuineness of my love for the Lord, O wise lady. Who will stand Rāvaṇa’s words that pierce the ear like a shaft?” On hearing these words she clasped Sītā’s feet and comforted Her by recounting the majesty, might and glory of Her lord. “Listen, O tender lady: no fire can be had at night.” So saying she left for her residence. Sītā said (to Herself) “Heaven itself has turned hostile to me; there is no fire to be had and I cannot be cured of my agony otherwise. Sparks of fire are visibly seen in the heavens; but not a single star drops to the earth. The moon, though all fire, refuses to rain sparks, as if conscious of my wretchedness. Hear my prayer, O Aśoka tree: take away my sorrow and answer to your name. Your fresh and tender leaves bear the colour of flames; therefore, supply me with fire and do not aggravate my agony beyond limits.” The moment seemed like an age† to Hanumān as he beheld Sītā extremely distressed due to Her separation from Her lord. (1 - 6)

Then, taking thought within himself, Hanumān (the monkey chief) dropped down the signet ring, as though the Aśoka tree had thrown an ember (in response to Her prayer). She sprang up with joy and took it in Her hand. (12)

Now She saw the charming ring with the name of Śrī Rāma most beautifully engraved on it. Recognizing the ring She looked at it with wonder and was agitated at heart with a mixed feeling of joy and sorrow. “Who can conquer the invincible Lord of the Raghus and such a (divine) ring cannot be prepared through Māyā (a conjuring trick).” As Sītā thus indulged in fancies of various kinds, Hanumān spoke in honeyed accents and began to recount Śrī Rāmacandra’s praises. The moment they reached Sītā’s ears Her grief took flight. She listened with all Her soul and ears while Hanumān narrated the whole story from the very beginning. “Wherefore does he who has told this tale, which is like nectar to my ears, not reveal himself?” Thereupon Hanumān drew near Her, while Sītā sat with her back turned towards him, full of amazement. “I am Śrī Rāma’s messenger, mother Jānakī: I solemnly swear by the all-merciful Lord Himself. This ring has been brought by me, O mother; Śrī Rāma gave it to me as a token for you.” “Tell me what brought about this fellowship between men and monkey.” Then Hanumān explained the circumstances in which a union was brought about between men and monkeys. (1 - 6)

As She heard the monkey’s affectionate words she had an inclination to believe him and She know him to be a servant of the all-merciful Lord in thought, word and deed. (13)

Perceiving him to be a devotee of Śrī Hari She developed an intense affection for him. Her eyes filled with tears and a thrill ran through Her body. “To me who was being drowned in the ocean of desolation, dear Hanumān, you have come as a veritable bark. Now tell me, I adjure you, the welfare of all-blissful Śrī Rāma (the Slayer of Khara) and His younger brother (Lakṣmaṇa). Wherefore has the tender-hearted and compassionate Lord of the Raghus become so hard-hearted? Does the Chief of the Raghus ever remember me - He who is by natural disposition a source of delight to His servants? Will my eyes, dear Hanumān, be ever gladdened by the sight of His swarthy and delicate limbs?” Words failed Her and Her eyes swam with tears. “Ah, my lord! You have entirely forgotten me.” Seeing Sītā sore distressed due to Her separation from Her lord, Hanumān addressed Her in soft and polite accents: “The Lord and His younger brother (Lakṣmaṇa) are both doing well, mother, except for the fact that the all-merciful is sorrowful because of Your sorrow. Do not feel vexed at heart, mother; Śrī Rāma loves You twice as much as You love Him. (1 - 5)

“Mother, compose Yourself now and hear the message of Śrī Rāma (the Lord of the Raghus).” Even as he uttered these words, the monkey’s voice was choked with emotion and his eyes filled with tears. (14)

“Śrī Rāma said: Ever since I have been separated from you, Sītā, everything to me has become its very reverse. The fresh and tender leaves on the trees look like tongues of fire; nights appear as dreadful as the night of final dissolution and the moon scorches like the sun. Beds of lotuses are like so many spears planted on the ground, while rain-clouds pour boiling oil as it were. Those that were friendly before, have now become tormenting; the cool, soft and fragrant breezes are now like the hissing serpent. One’s agony is assuaged to some extent even by speaking of it; but to whom shall I speak about it? For there is no one who will understand. The reality about the chord of love that binds you and me, dear, is known to my mind alone; and my mind ever abides with you. Know this to be the essence of my love.” Videha’s Daughter was so absorbed in love the moment She heard the Lord’s message, that She lost all consciousness of Her body. Said the monkey, “Mother, collect Yourself, and fix Your thoughts on Śrī Rāma, the delight of His servants. Reflect on the glory of the Lord of the Raghus and shake off all faint- heartedness upon my word.” (1 - 5)

“The hosts of demons are like so many moths, while the shafts of the Lord of the Raghus are like flames. Have courage in Your heart, mother, and take the demons as consumed.” (15)

“Had the Hero of Raghu’s line any news about You, the Lord of the Raghus would not have tarried. The moment Śrī Rāma’s arrows make their appearance like the sun, the demon host would be scattered like the shadows of night. Mother, I would take You to Him this very moment; but, I swear by Rāma, I have no such orders from the Lord. Therefore, wait patiently for some days more, mother, till the Hero of Raghu’s line arrives with the troops of monkeys. Slaughtering the demons, He will take You away; while Nārada and the other sages will glorify Him in all the three spheres of creation.” “But, my son, all the monkeys must be pygmies like you, whereas the demons are mighty and great warriors. I have grave misgivings in my heart on this score.” On hearing this the monkey revealed His real form, colossal as a mountain of gold, terrible in battle, possessing great might and full of valour. Sītā now took comfort in Her heart and the son of the wind-god thereupon resumed his diminutive appearance. (1 - 5)

“Listen, mother: monkeys possess no great strength or intelligence either; but, through the Lord’s might, the most tiny snake might swallow Garuḍa (the king of birds and the mount of Bhagavān Viṣṇu).” (16)

“Sītā felt gratified at heart even as She heard the monkey’s words full of devotion and revealing Śrī Rāma’s majesty, glory and strength. Recognizing him as the beloved of Śrī Rāma She gave him Her blessing: “May you become a repository of strength and virtue, dear son. May you ever remain immune from old age and death and prove to be a storehouse of good qualities, my son; and may the Lord of the Raghus shower His abundant grace on you.” The moment the words “May the Lord be gracious to you” reached his ears Hanumān was utterly overwhelmed with emotion. Again and again the monkey bowed his head at Her feet and with joined palms addressed Her thus: “I have now accomplished all that I had to accomplish, my mother; for your blessing, everyone knows, is unfailing. Listen, mother: I am feeling frightfully hungry at the sight of these trees laden with delicious fruits.” “I tell you, my son, this grove is guarded by most valiant and mighty demons.” “Mother, I am not at all afraid of them, only if I have your hearty approval.” (1 - 5)

Seeing the monkey perfect in strength and wit, Janaka’s Daughter said, “Go, my son, and enjoy the luscious fruit with your heart fixed on Śrī Rāma’s feet.” (17)