28-2 | Śrī Rāma Carita Mānasa Stotra

The monkeys were drowned in the joy of absorption into Brahma; all were devoted to the Lord’s feet. Days rolled by them unnoticed till a period of six months had elapsed.(15)

They had forgotten their home so completely that they never thought of it even in a dream any more than a saint would harbour ill-will towards another. The Lord of the Raghus then called all His comrades; all came and bowed their heads with reverence. Most lovingly He seated them by His side and addressed them in tender words, which were the delight of devotees: “You have rendered unstinted service to Me; but how can I praise you to your face? You renounced your home and comforts on My account; hence you have endeared yourselves most to Me. My younger brothers, My crown, My fortune, Sītā (My spouse), My life, My home, My near and dear ones are all dear to Me; but none so dear as you; I tell you no untruth, I simply reveal My nature to you. Every master, as a rule, loves his servant; but I, for one, am exceptionally fond of My servants. (1 - 4)

“Now, My comrades, return to your homes all of you, and, worship Me with a steadfast vow. Knowing Me as omnipresent and friendly to all, love Me most dearly.” (16)

On hearing the Lord’s words all were so enraptured that they forgot their bodily existence and did not know who and where they were. Joining their palms they stood looking on with unwinking eyes; they were too overwhelmed with love to speak anything. The Lord perceived their excessive fondness and gave them special instruction in wisdom inculcating the truth on them in various ways. They, however, could not utter a word in the presence of the Lord; they would simply gaze on His lotus-feet again and again. The Lord then called for jewels and costumes of various colours, incomparably beautiful; and Bharata with his own hands got ready a set with which he invested Sugrīva first of all. By the Lord’s command Lakṣmaṇa then invested Vibhīṣaṇa (the king of Laṅkā) with another set, which gladdened the heart of Śrī Rāma (the Lord of the Raghus). Aṅgada, however, remained seated and refused to stir; and the Lord who saw his affection did not call him. (1 - 4)

Then the Lord of the Raghus Himself invested with clothes and jewels Jāmbavān, Nīla and all the rest; and enshrining Śrī Rāma’s image in their heart they all bowed their heads at His feet and took their leave. Now Aṅgada arose and bowed his head; and with joined palms and eyes full of tears he addressed the Lord in words which were not only most polite but steeped as it were, in the nectar of love: - (17 A-B)

“Listen, all-wise, all-merciful and all-blissful Lord, full of compassion to the meek and the befriender of the afflicted; it was in Your charge, my lord, that Vāli (my father) left me while departing from this world. Therefore, recalling Your vow of affording protection to the forlorn, forsake me not, O benefactor of the devotees. You are my master, preceptor, father and mother, all in one; where can I go, leaving Your lotus-feet? Ponder Yourself and tell me, O Ruler of men; severed from You, of what use is my home to me? Extend Your protection to this humble servant, a mere child, without knowledge, reason or strength. I will do all menial service in your household and shall cross the ocean of mundane existence by the mere sight of Your lotus-feet.” So saying he fell at His feet, adding, “Save me, my lord, and tell me no more, my master, to return home.” (1 - 4)

Hearing Aṅgada’s humble entreaty Lord Śrī Rāma, the perfection of tenderness, raised him and clasped him to His bosom, His lotus eyes streaming with tears. Investing Vāli’s son (Aṅgada) with the need that hung on His own bosom as well as with His own robes and jewels, the Lord then sent him away with many words of consolation. (18 A-B)

Conscious of the devotees’ services, Bharata as well as his younger brother (Śatrughna) and Lakṣmaṇa (Sumitrā’s son) proceeded to see them off. Aṅgada’s heart was so full of love that he would turn again and again to have one more look at Śrī Rāma. He would repeatedly prostrate himself on the ground and expected that Śrī Rāma might ask him to stay on. He became sad as he recalled the characteristic way in which Śrī Rāma looked, talked, walked and smilingly greeted His friends. But when he perceived in the Lord’s look what was in His mind, he departed with many a word of prayer, impressing His lotus-feet on his heart. Having seen all the monkeys off with utmost respect, Bharata and his younger brothers returned. Then Hanumān (who had evidently accompanied his master to see him off) clasped the feet of Sugrīva and sought his favour in many ways: “After spending a few more days in the service of Śrī Rāma (the Lord of the Raghus), if you please, I will see your feet again, my master.” “A storehouse of merit as you are, O son of the wind-god, you go and serve the All-merciful.” So saying, all the monkeys forthwith departed. Aṅgada, however, tarried to say, Listen, Hanumān: - (1 - 5)

“With joined palms I beseech you: please convey my prostrations to the Lord and remember me to Śrī Rāma (the Lord of the Raghus) from time to time.” So saying, Vāli’s son (Aṅgada) started on his journey; while Hanumān came back and told the Lord of Aṅgada’s love, which filled the Lord with ecstatic delight. Harder far than adamant and softer than a flower is the heart of Śrī Rāma, O king of the birds, (continues Kākabhuśuṇḍi): tell me, who can know it? (19 A - C)

Next the All-merciful summoned the Niṣāda chief (Guha) and presented him with jewels and raiment as a token of His pleasure. “Now return to your home; but remember Me and follow the dictates of Dharma in thought, word and deed. You, My friend, are as much My brother as Bharata; you must continue to visit the capital every now and then.” Guha was immensely gratified to hear these words; he fell at the Lord’s feet, his eyes full of tears. Enshrining an image of His lotus feet in his heart he returned home and told his kinsmen of the Lord’s amiable disposition. Witnessing the doings of Śrī Rāma (the Lord of the Raghus) the citizens repeatedly said, “Blessed is the All-blissful Lord!” Śrī Rāma’s installation to the throne brought joy to all the three spheres and ended all their sorrows. No one bore enmity to another; Śrī Rāma’s glory had obliterated all disharmony. (1 - 4)

Devoted to duty each according to his own caste and stage of life, the people trod the path of the Vedas and enjoyed happiness. They knew no fear, nor sorrow nor disease. (20)

Under the rule of Rāma there was none who suffered from affliction of any kind - whether of the body, or proceeding from divine or supernatural agencies or that caused by another living being. All men loved one another: each followed one’s prescribed duty, conformably to the precepts of the Vedas. Dharma with its four pillars (viz., truth, purity - both external and internal, compassion and charity) reigned everywhere throughout the world; no one even dreamt of sin. Men and women alike were devoted to Śrī Rāma’s worship and all were qualified for final beatitude. There was no premature death nor suffering of any kind; everyone was comely and sound of body. No one was destitute, afflicted or miserable; no one was stupid or devoid of auspicious marks. All were unaffectedly good, pious and virtuous; all were clever and accomplished - both men and women. Everyone recognized the merits of others and was learned and wise; nay, everyone acknowledged the services and benefits received from others and there was no guileful prudence. (1 - 4)

Listen, O king of the birds, (continues Kākabhuśuṇḍi,) during Śrī Rāma’s reign there was not a creature in this world, animate or inanimate, that was liable to any of the sufferings attributable to time, past conduct, personal temperament and character. (21)

Śrī Rāma (the Lord of the Raghus), who reigned in Ayodhyā, was the undisputed sovereign of the entire globe girdled by the seven oceans. This lordship (of the entire globe) was nothing great for Him every hair-hole in whose (Cosmic) body contains myriads of universes. To him who has realized such infinite greatness of the Lord, even this description (viz., to speak of Him as the sovereign of the entire globe) will sound highly disparaging. But even those, O king of the birds, (continues Kākabhuśuṇḍi) who have realized the greatness of the Lord (as indicated above) have turned round and conceived a fondness for this story of the Lord. For the immediate perception of such exploits of the Lord is the reward of knowing His infinite greatness; so declare the greatest of sages that have subdued their senses. The happiness and prosperity of Śrī Rāma’s reign were more than even Śeṣa (the serpent-god) and Śāradā (the goddess of learning) could describe. All were generous and all beneficent; men and women alike were devoted to the feet of the Brāhmaṇas. Every husband was pledged to a vow of monogamy and the wives too were devoted to their husband in thought, word and deed. (1 - 4)

“Daṇḍa” was never seen save in the hands of the recluse and “Bheda” too had ceased to exist except among the dancers in a dancing party. Even so the order “Conquer!” was heard only with reference to the mind throughout the realm of Śrī Rāmacandra. (22)

Trees in the forest blossomed and bore fruit throughout the year; the elephant and the lion lived together as friends. Nay, birds and beasts of every description had forgotten their natural animosities and developed friendly relations with one another. Birds sang and beasts fearlessly moved about in the woods in distinct herds, making merry all the time. The air breathed cool, soft and fragrant; bees hummed even as they moved about laden with honey. Creepers and trees dropped honey to those who asked for it; cows yielded milk to one’s heart’s content. The earth was ever clothed with crops; even in the Tretā age the conditions of the Satyayuga prevailed. Conscious of the fact that the Ruler of the earth was no other than the Universal Spirit, the mountains brought to light their mines containing jewels of every description. Every river carried in it excellent water - cool, limpid and pleasant to the taste. The oceans kept within their bounds and scattered jewels on their shores for men to gather. Ponds were all thick with lotuses and every quarter was clear and bright. (1 - 5)

The moon flooded the earth with her rays, while the sun shone just as much as was necessary. Similarly clouds poured forth showers for the mere asking so long as Śrī Rāmacandra wielded the sceptre. (23)

The Lord performed myriads of horse-sacrifices and bestowed innumerable gifts on the Brāhmaṇas. The Defender of the Vedic usage and the champion of righteousness, He transcended the three modes of Prakriti (Sattva, Rajas and Tamas) and was another Indra (the lord of paradise) so for as enjoyment was concerned. A mine of beauty, virtuous and meek, Sītā was ever devoted to Her lord. She knew the greatness of the All-merciful Lord and adored His lotus-feet with a devoted heart. Although there were many man-servants and maid-servants in Her palace, all expert in the art of service, She did all household work with Her own hands and carried out the behests of Śrī Rāmacandra. Sītā invariably did what would afford delight to the All-merciful, conversant as She was with the art of service. Devoid of pride and conceit, She waited upon Kauśalyā and all the other mothers-in-law in the palace. Umā, (continues Lord Śiva,) Sītā was no other than Goddess Ramā (Lakṣmī), the Mother of the universe, who is adored even by Brahmā and other gods and is ever flawless. (1 - 5)

The same Lakṣmī whose benign look is craved by the gods but who never casts a glance at them constantly loves Śrī Rāma’s lotus feet, forgetting Her natural majesty. (24)

All the younger brothers served the Lord with great fidelity; for their love for Śrī Rāma knew no bounds. They ever kept gazing on His lotus face in the hope that the benign Lord might give some order to them at any moment. Śrī Rāma too loved His younger brothers and taught them wisdom of every kind. The citizens led a happy life and enjoyed all sorts of pleasures which even gods could scarcely obtain. Day and night they prayed to God and sought the boon of devotion to the feet of Śrī Rāma (the Hero of Raghu’s line). Sītā gave birth to two pretty sons, Lava and Kuśa by name, who have figured in the Vedas and Purāṇas. Both these boys were victorious in battle, modest, accomplished and handsome, the very images as it were, of Śrī Hari (Rāma). Śrī Rāma’s other brothers too had two sons each, pre-eminent in comeliness of form, merit and virtue. (1 - 4)

The same Brahma who is beyond all knowledge, speech and sense-perception, nay, who is unborn and transcends Māyā (Prakriti or Matter), the mind and the modes of Prakriti and is truth, knowledge and bliss solidified, exhibited the ideal behaviour of a human being. (25)

After taking a bath in the Sarayū early in the morning the Lord sat in an assembly of Brāhmaṇas and holy men. The sage Vasiṣṭha expounded the Vedas and Purāṇas, while Śrī Rāma listened to the exposition, even though He knew everything Himself. He took His meals with His younger brothers and the sight filled all the mothers with joy. The two brothers, Bharata and Śatrughna, would accompany the son of the wind-god to some grove, where they would sit and ask Hanumān to expatiate on Śrī Rāma’s virtues, and Hanumān would plunge his sound intellect into the ocean of His virtues and then recount them. The two brothers derived much joy from the discourse on His immaculate virtues and with much entreaty had it repeated again and again. Everywhere - in every house the people recited the Purāṇas and narrated Śrī Rāma’s holy exploits of a diverse character. Men and women alike joined in hymning Śrī Rāma’s praises and days and nights passed on unnoticed. (1 - 4)

Not a thousand Śeṣas could tell all the happiness and prosperity of the people of Ayodhyā, where Śrī Rāma reigned as King. (26)

All great sages like Nārada, Sanaka and others came to Ayodhyā every day to have a sight of the Lord of Kosala, and forgot all their indifference to the world the moment they saw the city, with its attics built of gold and jewels and having splendid pavements laid in diverse colours. A most beautiful boundary wall with its battlements painted in different colours enclosed the city on all sides, as though the nine planets had mustered a large army and besieged Amarāvatī (Indra’s capital). The ground (the streets and squares etc.,) was so beautifully paved with crystals of various colours that the mind of the greatest Sages would be enraptured at the sight. The white palaces were so high as to reach the skies; their shining pinnacles put to shame as it were, the effulgence of the sun and the moon. Latticed windows made of diverse precious stones shone here and there; while every house was lit up with jewels that served as lamps. (1 - 4)

The mansions were illumined by jewels that served as so many lamps and had shining thresholds made of coral, pillars of jewels and walls of gold inlaid with emeralds, which were as lovely as though they had been built by the Creator (Brahmā) himself. Beautiful, charming and commodious as the palaces were, they had their courtyards decorated with crystal, and every gate thereof was provided with doors of gold embossed with diamonds.

Every house equipped with a hall adorned with lovely frescos which had Śrī Rāma’s exploits reproduced in such beautiful colours that they would ravish the soul of a sage who looked at them. (27)

Everyone had a flower garden planted in a characteristic design and trimmed with the greatest care, in which beautiful and lovely creepers of every variety blossomed all the year round as in the vernal season. Bees hummed in a pleasant strain and a delightful breeze breathed cool, soft and fragrant. Birds of all kinds, reared by the children, sang in melodious notes and looked graceful in their flight. Peacocks, swans, cranes and pigeons presented a most lovely sight on the houses, warbling and dancing in a variety of ways at the sight of their own shadow reflected everywhere (on the glossy surface of the roofs and balconies etc.). The children taught parrots and Mainās to repeat the words, “Rāma, Raghupati (the Lord of the Raghus), the Protector of His devotees.” The gates of the royal palace were magnificent in every way; the streets, cross-roads and bazars were all splendid. (1 - 4)

The bazars were splendid beyond description; things could be had without any consideration there. How can anyone describe the wealth of the city where the Abode of Lakṣmī Himself reigned as King? The cloth- merchants, bankers and other dealers sat at their shops like so many Kuberas (gods of riches). All men and women, children and aged folk alike were happy, all of good conduct and comely in appearance.

To the north (of the city) flowed the deep and limpid stream of the Sarayū with a line of charming ghāṭs and no trace of mud at the bank. (28)

Apart from the other ghāṭ and situated at some distance from them was the fine ghāṭ where multitudes of horses and elephants went to drink. There were numerous most charming ghāṭ for women to take water from, where men did not bathe. The best of all and beautiful in every way was the royal ghāṭ, where men of all the four castes could bathe. All along the bank stood temples sacred to the gods and surrounded by lovely groves. Here and there on the river bank dwelt sages and recluses unconcerned with the world and devoted to spiritual wisdom. All along the bank stood in clusters many a lovely Tulasī plant reared by hermits. The splendour of the city defied all description; its outskirts too were most picturesque. The very sight of the city with its groves and gardens, wells and ponds, drove away all one’s sins. (1 - 4)

Its peerless ponds and tanks and charming and spacious wells looked so beautiful with their elegant flights of steps and limpid water that even gods and sages were fascinated by their sight. The lakes were adorned with many-coloured lotuses and resounded with the cooing of the numerous birds and the humming of the bees; and the delightful gardens seemed to invite the passers-by through the notes of the cuckoos and other birds.

Is it ever possible to describe the city of which Rāma’s lord was the King? Aṇimā (the power of assuming atomic size) and all other superhuman powers and even so joys and riches of every kind stayed in Ayodhyā forever. (29)

Everywhere men sang the praises of Śrī Rāma (the Lord of the Raghus), and even as they sat this is how they exhorted one another: “Worship Śrī Rāma, the Protector of the suppliant, the home of elegance, amiability, beauty and goodness, who has lotus-like eyes and swarthy limbs, who looks after His servants even as the eyelids guard the eye- balls, who is armed with a splendid bow, arrows and quiver and is staunch in battle, who delights the saints even as the sun brings joy to a bed of lotuses, who is a Garuḍa (the king of the birds) to devour the dreadful serpent in the form of Death, who destroys the feeling of mine-ness the moment a person bows to Him in a disinterested spirit, and who is a hunter to kill the herd of deer in the form of greed and infatuation, a lion to quell the elephant of concupiscence, the delight of His servants, a sun to scatter the thick darkness of doubt and sorrow, and a fire to consume the dense forest of the demon race. Oh, why should you not adore the Hero of Raghu’s line, ever accompanied by Janaka’s Daughter, who dispels the fear of transmigration, who plays the role of frost to destroy mosquitoes in the disguise of manifold latent desires, who is ever unchangeable, unborn and imperishable, the delight of the sages, the reliever of the earth’s burdens, the munificent lord of Tulasīdāsa.” (1 - 5)

In this way the men and women of the city sang Śrī Rāma’s praises and the All- merciful was ever favourable to all. (30)

From the time, O king of the birds, (continues KākaBhūśuṇḍī,) the most dazzling sun of Śrī Rāma’s glory appeared on the horizon the three spheres were all flooded with light, which brought delight to many and sorrow to many others . First I enumerate at length those to whom it caused sorrow. To begin with, the night of ignorance terminated; the owl-like sins hid themselves wherever they could; the white lily in the form of lust and anger closed. Chakora birds in the shape of activities of various kinds, the phenomenal existence, Time and Nature never rejoiced; thieves like jealousy, pride, infatuation and arrogance had no occasion to display their skill in any quarter; lotuses of every description in the shape of knowledge and realization opened in the pond of piety. Happiness, contentment, dispassion and discernment, like so many Cakravāka birds, were rid of sorrow. (1 - 4)

When the sun of Śrī Rāma’s glory illumines the heart of an individual, the qualities enumerated in the end grow while those mentioned in the beginning die away. (31)

One day, Śrī Rāma and his brothers, accompanied by His most favourite Hanumān, went to see the beautiful grove, where the trees were all blossoming and had put on fresh leaves. Finding it a good opportunity the sage Sanaka and his three brothers (Sanandana, Sanātana and Sanatkumāra) arrived there. They were all embodiments of spiritual glow, adorned with amiability and other noble qualities and constantly absorbed in the ecstasy of union with Brahma; though infants to all appearance, they are aeons old. The sages looked upon all with the same eye and were above all diversity; it seemed as if the four Vedas had each assumed a bodily form. They had no covering on their body except the quarters; and their only hobby was to hear the recital of Śrī Rāma’s exploits wherever it was carried on. Sanaka and his brothers, O Bhavānī, (continues Lord Śiva,) had stayed in the hermitage of the enlightened sage Agastya and the noble sage had narrated to them many a story relating to Śrī Rāma, which are productive of wisdom in the same way as the friction of two pieces of wood produces fire. (1 - 4)

Śrī Rāma saw the sages approaching and gladly prostrated Himself before them. And after an enquiry about their health etc., the Lord spread His own yellow scarf for them to squat on. (32)

All His three brothers (Bharata, Lakṣmaṇa and Śatrughna) then prostrated themselves along with Hanumān and everyone felt very happy. The sages were beside themselves with rapture on beholding the incomparable beauty of Śrī Rāma (the Lord of the Raghus). They remained gazing with unwinking eyes on the Lord, who is the abode of comeliness and brings about release from worldly existence and has a swarthy form and lotus-eyes . The Lord in His turn bowed His head with joined palms. When the Hero of Raghu’s line perceived their condition, His eyes too streamed with tears and every hair on His body stood on its end. Taking them by the hand, the Lord seated them and addressed them in most charming words: “Listen, great sages: I am indeed blessed today. By your very sight all one’s sins are wiped out. By extreme good luck one is able to secure the company of saints; for through such communion the chain of births and deaths is broken without the least exertion. (1 - 4)

“Communion with saints is the road to emancipation, while that of the sensualist paves the way for transmigration: so declare the saints themselves, the men of wisdom and the learned, as well as the Vedas, Purāṇas and other real scriptures.” (33)