25-1 | Śrī Rāma Carita Mānasa Stotra

Śrī Rāmacaritamānasa

(The Mānasa lake containing the exploits of Śrī Rāma)

Descent Six


I adore Śrī Rāma, the supreme Deity, the object of worship even of Śiva (the Destroyer of Cupid), the Dispeller of the fear of rebirth, the lion to quell the mad elephant in the form of Death, the Master of Yogīs, attainable through immediate knowledge, the storehouse of good qualities, unconquerable, attributeless, immutable, beyond the realm of Māyā, the Lord of celestials, intent on killing the evil-doers, the only protector of the Brāhmaṇas, beautiful as a cloud laden with moisture, who has lotus-like eyes and appeared in the form of an earthly king. (1)

I glorify Śaṅkara, the Lord of Kāśī (the modern Vārāṇasī), the Consort of Girijā (Himālaya’s Daughter), the storehouse of good qualities, the Destroyer of Cupid, worthy of all praise, shining like a conchshell or the moon, most handsome of persons, clad in a tiger’s skin, decked with dreadful ornaments in the shape of deadly serpents, fond of the Gaṅgā and the moon, the allayer of the sins of the Kali age and the celestial tree yielding the fruit of Blessedness as wishes. (2)

May Lord Śambhu, the bestower of blessings, who confers on the virtuous even final beatitude, which is so difficult to obtain, and who punishes the evil-doers, extend His blessings to me. (3)

O my soul, why do you not worship Śrī Rāma, who has the indivisible Time for His bow and the various divisions of time such as a Paramāṇu, a twinkling, a moment, a year, an age and a cycle for His fierce arrows?

On hearing Ocean’s words Śrī Rāma called His counsellors and spoke to them thus: “Why delay now? Build the bridge, so that the army may cross over.” “Listen, O Glory of the solar race.” said Jāmbavān with joined palms, “Your name itself, my lord, is a bridge by ascending which men cross over the ocean of mundane existence.”

 “It will take no time to cross this insignificant sea!” Hearing this, the son of the wind- god added: “My lord’s glory is a great submarine fire that had long since raised up the water of the ocean. But it was filled again by the flood of tears shed by Your enemies’ wives; that is how it came to be brackish in taste.” When the monkeys present there heard this hyperbolic remark made by the son of the wind-god, they gazed on the person of Śrī Rāma (the Lord of the Raghus) and smiled. Jāmbavān called the two brothers, Nala and Nīla, and related to them the whole story. “Calling to mind the glory of Śrī Rāma start building the bridge and you will experience no difficulty.” He then called the monkey troops and said, “Hear, all of you, a small request of mine. Enshrine in your heart the lotus-feet of Śrī Rāma and engage yourself in a sport, bears and monkeys all. Go forth, you formidable monkey troops and bring numerous trees and mountains.” On hearing this command the monkeys and bear set forth hurrahing and exclaiming, “Glory to the almighty Hero of Raghu’s race!” (1 - 5)

They would lift up gigantic trees and mountains in mere sport and bring them to Nala and Nīla, who in their turn carefully set to build the bridge. (1)

The monkeys brought huge mountains, which were received like play-balls by Nala and Nīla. When the All-merciful saw the exceedingly beautiful construction of the bridge, He smiled and observed thus: “This is a most delightful and excellent spot; its glory is immeasurable and cannot be described in words. I will install (an emblem of) Lord Śambhu here: it is the crowning ambition of My heart.” Hearing this the lord of the monkeys despatched a number of messengers, who invited and fetched all the great sages. Having installed an emblem of Lord Śiva and worshipped It with due solemnity, He said, “No one else is so dear to Me as Śiva. An enemy of Śiva although he calls himself a devotee of Mine, cannot attain to Me even in a dream. He who is opposed to Śaṅkara and yet aspires for devotion to Me, is doomed to perdition, stupid and dull-witted as he is.” (1 - 4)

“Men, who, though devoted to Śaṅkara, are hostile to Me and even so those who are enemies of Śiva but votaries of Mine shall have their abode in the most frightful hell till the end of creation.” (2)

“They who will behold Lord Rāmeśvara will, on quitting the body, go direct to My sphere in heaven. And a man who takes the water of the Gaṅgā and pours it on the Lord will attain liberation in the form of absorption into My being. Again, whosoever adores the Lord in a disinterested spirit and without guile, will be blessed by Śaṅkara with devotion to Me. And he who sees the bridge erected by me will be able to cross the ocean of worldly existence without any exertion.” Śrī Rāma’s words gladdened the heart of all and the great sages returned each to his own hermitage. Girijā, (says Śaṅkara,) such is the way of the Lord of the Raghus: He ever loves those who take refuge in Him. The clever Nala and Nīla constructed the bridge and by Rāma’s grace their renown spread far and wide. Those very rocks that not only sink themselves but cause even other things to sink along with them floated like so many rafts. This is, however, not ascribed to any miraculous power of the ocean, nor to a virtue of the rocks themselves, nor again to any skill of the monkeys. (1 - 5)

It was by the glory of Śrī Rāma (the Hero of Raghu’s line) that rocks floated on the ocean. They are dull-witted indeed, who go to worship a lord other than Śrī Rāma. (3)

Having completed the bridge they made it exceptionally strove; the All-merciful was glad at heart to see it. As the army marched it was a sight beyond all telling, the troops of monkey warriors roaring as they went. Ascending an eminence near the bridge the gracious Lord of the Raghus surveyed the vast expanse of the ocean. All the creatures inhabiting the ocean appeared on the surface in order to have a look at the Lord, who was the very fountain-head of mercy. There were many kinds of alligators, crocodiles, fishes and serpents with bodies eight hundred miles in length and colossal in size. There were others who could devour even these. They in their turn were afraid of some other creatures.

All gazed upon the Lord and would not stir even when diverted. They were all glad of heart and felt very happy. Covered by them the water could not be seen; they were filled with ecstasy at the sight of Śrī Hari’s beauty. The army advanced on receiving the Lord’s command: who can describe the vastness of the monkey host? (1 - 5)

The bridge being overcrowded, some of the monkeys flew through the air; while others crossed over treading on the backs of sea monsters. (4)

The gracious Lord of the Raghus and His brother laughed at the sight of this amusing spectacle and marched. The Hero of Raghu’s line reached the other shore along with the host: the throng of monkey chiefs was beyond all description. The Lord encamped Himself across the ocean and commanded all the monkeys to go and regale themselves on the delightful fruit and roots. As soon as they heard this the bears and monkeys ran off in all directions. All the trees bore fruit in the interest of Śrī Rāma in season or out of season without any regard to the laws of time. The bears and monkeys would eat the luscious fruit, shake the trees and hurl hill-tops towards Laṅkā. If they ever found a straggling demon anywhere, they all hemmed him in and teased him not a little; nay, they would bite off his nose and ears and let him go only after reciting to him the Lord’s fair renown. Those who had thus lost their nose and ears went and related everything to Rāvaṇa. The moment he heard that the sea had been bridged the ten-headed monster exclaimed in consternation with all his tongues at once: - (1 - 5)

“What! has he really bridged the waves, the billows, the sea, the ocean, the main, the deep, the brine, the tide, the hyaline, the lord of rivers?” (5)

Then, realizing his own nervousness, he laughed and left for his palace forgetting his fear. When Mandodarī (Rāvaṇa’s consort) heard that the Lord had arrived and bridged the ocean in mere sport, she took her spouse by the hand, led him to her own palace and spoke to him in most sweet accents. Bowing her head at his feet, she spread the end of her garment as a token of supplication and said, “Listen to my words without getting angry, my beloved: one should enter into hostilities with him alone whom one may be able to conquer by wit or physical force. The disparity between you and the Lord of the Raghus, however, is certainly analogous to that obtaining between a fire-fly and the sun. He who disposed of the most powerful Madhu and Kaiṭabha and finished the most valiant sons of Diti (Hiraṇyakaśipu and Hiraṇyākṣa), nay, who bound Bali and despatched King Sahasrabāhu (so-called because he was possessed of a thousand arms) - it is He who has descended on earth in order to relieve it of its burden. My lord, you should not oppose Him who is the Master of Time, fate and the soul.” (1 - 5)

“Bowing your head at Śrī Rāma’s lotus feet restore Janaka’s Daughter to Him; then, handing over the kingdom to your son and, retiring to the forest, worship the Lord of the Raghus.” (6)

“Śrī Rāma (the Lord of the Raghus), my lord, is compassionate to the humble (He will surely forgive you). Even a tiger (the most ferocious of all beasts) will not devour a man if he goes submissively before him. You have already accomplished all that you had to do: you have conquered not only gods and demons but the whole animate and inanimate creation. Holy men, my lord, have declared this maxim that a monarch should retire to the forest in the fourth stage of his life. There, my spouse, you should adore Him who is the creator, preserver and destroyer (of the universe). Renouncing all worldly ties, my lord, worship the self-same Hero of Raghu’s line, who is fond of the suppliant. The same Lord of the Raghus, the King of Kosala, whom the greatest of sages strive hard to realize and for whom monarchs relinquish their throne and shed every attachment - it is He who has arrived here to shower His grace on you. If, my beloved, you accept my advice, your fair and exceedingly holy renown shall spread through all the three spheres.” (1 - 4)

So saying she clasped him by the feet; and with eyes full of tears and trembling in every limb she added, “My lord, worship Śrī Rāma (the Lord of the Raghus) so that my union with you may last till eternity.” (7)

Thereupon Rāvaṇa lifted Maya’s daughter (Mandodarī) and the wretch began to harp on his own glory. “Listen, darling; you are haunted by idle fears. What warrior in this world is my equal? I have conquered by the might of my arms not only Varuṇa (the god presiding over the waters), Kubera (the god of riches), the wind-god, Yama (the god of punishment), and all the other regents of the quarters but Death himself. Gods, demons and human beings are all under my control; what is the cause of your fear, then?” He thus reassured her in many ways and once more went and sat in his council-chamber. Mandodarī was now convinced at heart that it was her husband’s impending death which had turned his head. Returning to his council-hall he asked his ministers: “How shall we proceed to fight the enemy?” “Listen, O lord of the demons,” replied the ministers, “why do you ask this question again and again? What is there to be afraid of, which should engage our thought? Human beings, monkeys and bears are our food.” (1 - 5)

Hearing the words of all, Prahasta (Rāvaṇa’s son) said with joined palms, “Transgress not the bounds of propriety, my lord; your counsellors possess very little wit.” (8)

“All your stupid ministers tell you only that which is pleasing to their master; but that way you cannot succeed; my lord. A stray monkey sprang across the ocean and came this side and all the people still extol his doings in their heart of hearts. What! Did none of you have any appetite then? Why did you not seize and devour him while he was burning your city? Your ministers have given you, my lord, an advice which, though pleasant to hear, will hand you in trouble afterwards. He who has had the sea bridged in mere sport and has crossed over to the Suvela hill with all his army, tell me, is He an ordinary mortal whom you say you will devour? All these people are simply bragging. Dear father, listen to my words with great attention and do not account me a coward. There are multitudes of men in this world who are given to hearing and uttering pleasant words. Those men, however, who hear and utter words which are most salutary yet jarring to the ear are few and far between, my lord. Listen to my sound advice: first send an envoy to Śrī Rāma; and afterwards, when you have restored Janaka’s Daughter, make friends with Him.” (1 - 5)

“If He withdraws on receiving back His Consort, you should have no more quarrel with Him. Otherwise meet Him face to face on the battle-field, and give him a tough fight.” (9)

“If, my lord, you accept this advice of mine, your fair renown will spread throughout the world in either case.” The ten-headed monster asked his son (Prahasta) in a fury, “Fool, who has taught you such wisdom? If you entertain doubt in your mind from even now, my son, you have proved yourself to be a prickly plant at the root of a bamboo (which brings about the destruction of the bamboo).” On hearing the harsh and most malignant remarks of his father Prahasta left for home uttering these bitter words: “Words of good counsel fall flat on you even as a medicine proves ineffectual for a man who is doomed to die.” Finding that it was evening now the ten-headed monster turned towards his palace fondly gazing on his twenty arms. On the highest level of Laṅkā stood a most wonderful hall, where music and dancing contests used to be held. Rāvaṇa went and took his seat in that hall, while Kinnaras (celestial songsters) began to sing his praises. Expert celestial nymphs commenced their dance to the accompaniment of cymbals, tabors and lutes. (1 - 5)

He constantly revelled in luxuries one hundred times as much as Indra could enjoy. He had a most powerful foe threatening at his door; yet he had no anxiety or fear. (10)

At this end the Hero of Raghu’s line encamped with his vast army on Mount Suvela. Observing a very lofty, supremely lovely, even and remarkably shining peak, Lakṣmaṇa carefully spread on it with his own hands beautiful young leaves and blossoms of trees, which he covered with a charming and soft deerskin; it was on this seat that the gracious Lord rested Himself. The Lord placed His head in the lap of Sugrīva (the lord of the monkeys) with the bow and quiver to His left and right. He was passing both His lotus hands on an arrow, while the would-be king of Laṅkā (Vibhīṣaṇa) whispered some secret in His ears. The blessed Aṅgada and Hanumān kneaded His lotus-feet in diverse ways; while behind the Lord sat Lakṣmaṇa in the pose of a warrior, with the quiver fastened at his waist and the bow and arrow ready in his hands. (1 - 4)

Thus rested Śrī Rāma, the embodiment of benignity, beauty and goodness. Blessed are those men who remain ever immersed in the thought of the Lord as depicted here. Looking towards the east the Lord saw the moon risen above the horizon and said to them all, “Just look at the moon and see how undaunted like the king of beasts (lion) he appears.” (11 A-B)

“Dwelling in the eastern quarter, which may be compared to a mountain-cave, this lion of a moon, an embodiment of supreme grandeur, glory and strength, struts through the forest of the sky having rent asunder the crown of a mad elephant in the form of the darkness. The stars appear like so many pearls strewn all over the sky, which serve to adorn the lovely dame of night.” “Now tell me, brethren,” continued the Lord, “What you think, each of you, of the dark spot in the moon.” Said Sugrīva, “Listen, O Lord of the Raghus: it is only the shadow of the earth that is seen in the moon.” “The demon Rāhu struck the moon,” said another; “and the spot is nothing but a scar left on the latter’s bosom.” A third suggested: “When Brahmā (the Creator) fashioned the face of Rati (consort of the god of love), he took out the essence of the moon (thus leaving a hole in the orb thereof). The hole is still visible in the heart of the moon and through it can be seen the shade of the blue.” The Lord said, “Poison is the moon’s most beloved brother; that is why he has lodged it in his heart and, diffusing his envenomed rays, torments parted lovers.” (1 - 5)

Said Hanumān, “Listen, my lord: the moon is Your own beloved servant and it is Your image enshrined in his heart that appears as a dark patch.” (12 A)