29-1 | Śrī Rāma Carita Mānasa Stotra

The Lord’s Māyā beguiles even Śiva and Brahmā; of what account is any poor creature? Bearing this in mind, the sages adore the divine Lord of Māyā. (62 B)

Garuḍa went to the abode of Bhūśuṇḍī (Kākabhuśuṇḍi) of unhampered intellect and possessing uninterrupted devotion to Śrī Hari. At the sight of the mountain his heart rejoiced and he was rid of all Māyā (delusion), infatuation and anxiety. After bathing in the tarn and drinking of its water he betook himself under the banyan tree, delighted at heart. Aged birds of all kinds flocked there to hear Śrī Rāma’s charming exploits. Bhūśuṇḍī was just on the point of commencing the narration when the king of the birds arrived. All inclusive of Kākabhuśuṇḍi feel happy to see Garuḍa coming. Bhūśuṇḍī received the king of the birds with the utmost reverence and, having enquired after his welfare, conducted him to an exalted seat. After offering him loving worship the crow addressed him in honeyed accents: -  (1 - 4)

“My lord, I have been blessed by your sight; now let me do whatever you bid me, O king of the birds. With what object have you come, my master?” “You have always been a picture of blessedness,” replied the lord of the feathered kingdom in gentle phrase, “as I find that the great Lord Śiva reverently extolled you with His own mouth.” (63 A-B)

“Listen, dear one: the object for which I came has already been fully accomplished and I have also had the privilege of seeing you. At the very sight of your most holy hermitage my infatuation, doubt and many misconceptions have been removed. Now, dear one, narrate to me with due reverence the most sacred story of Śrī Rāma, which is ever delightful and a cure for all sufferings. This is what I beg of you again and again.” The moment Bhūśuṇḍī heard Garuḍa’s request, humble, sincere, loving; delightful and pious, a supreme joy diffused over his soul and he commenced recounting the virtues of Śrī Rāma (the Lord of the Raghus). First of all, with fervent devotion, O Bhavānī, he gave an elaborate description of the lake of Śrī Rāma’s exploits. Next he told about Nārada’s terrible infatuation and then of Rāvaṇa’s incarnation. Thereafter he sang the story of the Lord’s descent and then recounted with deep interest His childlike sports. (1 - 5)

After narrating His boyish sports of various kinds with the utmost rapture of soul he told of the sage’s (Viśvāmitra’s) arrival and thereafter of Śrī Rāma’s wedding. (64)

Then he narrated the episode of Śrī Rāma’s projected installation (as the Prince- Regent of Ayodhyā) and after that he spoke of the sudden interruption in the festivities connected with the installation due to King Daśaratha’s solemn pledge (to Kaikeyī), as well as of the citizens’ agony at Rāma’s parting. He then reproduced the dialogue between Śrī Rāma and Lakṣmaṇa and further described their journey to the forest, the devotion of the boatman and their ferrying across the celestial stream (Gaṅgā) and halt at Prayāga. He further described the Lord’s meeting with the sage Vālmīki and how the divine Śrī Rāma sojourned at Chitrakūṭa. Again, he then told of the minister’s (Sumantra’s) return to the capital, the King’s demise, Bharata’s coming back (from his maternal grandfather’s) as well as his abundant love (for Śrī Rāma). He further related how after performing the King’s obsequies Bharata with all the citizens betook himself to where the All-blissful Lord was, and how when the Lord of the Raghus consoled him in every way he took the Lord’s sandals and returned to the city of Ayodhyā. Bhūśuṇḍī continued and described Bharata’s mode of life (at Nandī Grāma), the (mischievous) conduct of Jayanta (the son of Indra, the lord of the celestials) and the Lord’s meeting with the sage Ātri. (1 - 4)

After giving an account of Virādha’s death (at the hands of the Lord) he told how the sage Śarabhaṅga dropped his body, and further described Sutīkṣṇa’s devotion and also the Lord’s holy communion with the sage Agastya. (65)

After speaking about the purification of the Daṇḍaka forest Bhūśuṇḍī told of the Lord’s friendship with the vulture king (Jaṭāyu). He further narrated how the Lord took up His abode at PaVirañcicavaṭī and dissipated the fears of all the hermits. Then came the Lord’s incomparable exhortation to Lakṣmaṇa and the story of Sūrpaṇakhā’s mutilation. He further narrated the death of Khara and Dūṣaṇa (at the Lord’s hands) and how Rāvaṇa (the ten-headed monster) got all the information. Again, he then told all the particulars of the latter’s talk with Mārīcha. Thereafter he described the abduction of the illusory Sītā and briefly referred to the desolation of Śrī Rāma (the Hero of Raghu’s line). After this he told how the Lord performed the Obsequies of the vulture king, slew the demon Kabandha and bestowed the highest state (final beatitude) on Śabarī (the Bhīla woman), and further narrated how the Hero of Raghu’s line went to the bank of the Pampā lake, bewailing His desolation all the way. (1 - 4)

After repeating the Lord’s talk with the sage Nārada as well as the episode of His meeting with the son of the wind-good, Bhūśuṇḍī told of Śrī Rāma’s alliance with Sugrīva and of Vāli’s death at His hands. He further related how after installing Sugrīva (on the throne of Kiṣkindha) the Lord took up His abode on Mount Pravarṣaṇa, gave an account of the rains as well as of the autumn that immediately followed and told of Śrī Rāma’s wrath on Sugrīva and the latter’s dismay. (66 A-B)

The crow further narrated how Sugrīva (the lord of the monkeys) sent out monkeys, who rushed forth in every direction in quest of Sītā; how the party sent to the south entered a cave and were met later on by Sampātī (Jaṭāyu’s elder brother); how after hearing all the news from him the son of the wind-god jumped over the vast ocean, how the monkey chief made his way into Laṅkā and how later on he saw and reassured Sītā; how after laying waste the grove (where Sītā had been lodged) and exhorting Rāvaṇa he set fire to his capital and leapt back across the sea; how the whole party of the monkeys re-joined the Lord of the Raghus and told Him of Sītā’s welfare and how the Hero of Raghu’s line with His army went and encamped on the seashore and how Vibhīṣaṇa came and saw Him; and further recited the story of the ocean’s subjugation. (1 - 4)

Bhūśuṇḍī then narrated how after building a bridge across the ocean the monkey host crossed over to the other side and how the most heroic son of Vāli went as an envoy to Rāvaṇa. He further described the conflict between the demons and the monkeys in all its phases, and in course of it the might and valour, and eventually the destruction, of Kumbhakarṇa and Meghanāda. (67 A-B)

The crow then told about the extermination of the demon host and the various phases of the combat between the Lord of the Raghus and Rāvaṇa, Rāvaṇa’s death and Mandodarī’s lament, the enthronement of Vibhīṣaṇa, the cessation of the gods’ sorrow and Sītā’s reunion with the Lord of the Raghus. He further narrated how the gods with joined palms hymned the Lord’s praises, how the All-merciful Lord then mounted the aerial car known by the name of Puṣpaka along with the monkeys and flew to Ayodhyā and how Śrī Rāma arrived at His own capital and all such holy doings. He then told of Śrī Rāma’s coronation and also described the city and all its kingly polity. In this way Bhūśuṇḍī narrated the whole story as I have already told you, Bhavānī. When he heard the whole of Śrī Rāma’s narrative, Garuḍa’s mind was filled with rapture and he spoke the (of the lord) thus: -  (1 - 4)

“My doubts have gone, now that I have heard the whole of Śrī Rāma’s narrative. And by your grace, O best of crows, I have developed devotion to Śrī Rāma’s feet. A mighty bewilderment possessed me when I saw the Lord bound in battle: Śrī Rāma is Knowledge and Bliss personified; for what reason can he be perturbed?” (68 A-B)

“As I found His ways so closely resembling those of a human being, a grievous doubt arose in my soul. Now I regard that error of mine as a blessing and feel that the All-merciful bestowed a favour on me (in the form of that error). For he alone who is terribly oppressed with the heat of the sun can appreciate the blessing of an umbrageous tree. Had I not thus fallen a prey to gross infatuation, how could it have been possible for me to meet you, revered sir, and how could I get an opportunity to hear the charming and most wonderful story of Śrī Hari that you have just sung in all its details. The Vedas, the Tantras and the Purāṇas are one on this point and so declare the Siddhas and sages in unequivocal terms that the fellowship of genuine saints is only attained by those whom Śrī Rāma regards with favour. By Śrī Rāma’s grace I have been blessed with your sight and by your blessing, again, all my doubts have disappeared.” (1 - 4)

On hearing Garuḍa’s speech, so modest and affectionate, the crow was greatly rejoiced at heart; every hair on his body stood erect and tears rushed to his eyes. Umā, (continues Lord Śiva,) saints reveal their profoundest secrets when they find a listener who is not only intelligent, virtuous and pious, but fond of Śrī Rāma’s story and a devotee of Śrī Hari. (69 A-B)

Then answered Kākabhuśuṇḍi, who had no small affection for the lord of the feathered creation: “My lord, you are in every way entitled to my homage, a recipient as you are of Śrī Rāma’s favour. You had neither doubt nor infatuation, nor delusion; it was only an excuse, my lord, for doing me a kindness. By sending you, O king of the birds, under the pretext of infatuation the Lord of the Raghus has conferred an honour on me. Yet, my lord, there is nothing peculiar in that delusion of yours of which you have told me, O king of the birds; for the celestial sage Nārada, Bhava (Lord Śiva) and Vira-Virañcici (the Creator), as well as Sanaka and the other great sages, exponents of the truth of the Spirit -  which of these has not been blinded by infatuation? Again, is there anyone in this world whom lust has not made a puppet of? Who has not been maddened by the thirst for enjoyment and whose heart has not been inflamed by anger? (1 - 4)

Is there any sage, ascetic, hero, seer, man of learning or man of virtue in this world, whom greed has not betrayed? Again, whom has the pride of pelf not perverted? Who has not been deafened by power? And is there anyone who has not been smitten by the shaft-like glances of a fawn-eyed woman? (70 A-B)

Who is not thrown out of his mental equipoise by the combined action of the three Guṇas (modes of Prakriti) as by the synchronous derangement of the three humours of the body (which generally proves fatal to the victim according to the principles of Āyurveda)? None has escaped the stings of pride and arrogance. Who does not get wildly excited under an attack of fever in the form of youth and whose good reputation is not marred by worldly attachment? Who does not incur obloquy through envy and who is not shaken by the blast of grief? Who is not bitten by the serpent of care? And is there anyone in this world who is not overcome by Māyā (the delusive potency of God)? Again, is there anyone so resolute of mind, whose body is not being consumed by desire as a piece of wood is eaten away by a wooded-borer? Whose mind has not been polluted by the threefold desire - the desire of progeny, the desire of wealth and the desire of fame? All these constitute the retinue of Māyā, formidable and infinite in number, more than any can tell. Even Lord Śiva and the four-faced Brahmā (the Creator) are ever afraid of these; of what account, then, are other creatures? (1 - 4)

Māyā’s formidable army is spread over the whole universe. Concupiscence and others (viz., Anger and Greed) are its generals; Hypocrisy, Deceit and Heresy its champions. That Māyā, however, is Śrī Rāma’s own handmaid; though unreal when understood, there is no release from her grip except by Śrī Rāma’s grace: I declare this with the utmost confidence. (71 A-B)

The same Māyā that has made a puppet of the whole world and whose ways are unknown to anyone, dances with all her party like an actress on the stage to the play of the Lord’s eyebrows, O king of birds. Such is Śrī Rāma, who is devoid of birth, the totality of Existence, Knowledge and Bliss, wisdom personified, the home of beauty and strength. He is both pervading and pervaded, fractionless, infinite and integral, the Lord of unfailing power, attributeless, vast, transcending speech as well as the other senses, all-seeing, free from blemish, invincible, unattached, devoid of form, free from error, eternal and untainted by Māyā, beyond the realm of Prakriti (Matter), bliss personified, the Lord indwelling the heart of all, the actionless Brahma, free from passion and imperishable. In Him error finds no ground to stand upon; can the shades of darkness ever approach the sun? (1 - 4)

For the sake of His devotees, the divine Lord Śrī Rāma took the form of an earthly sovereign and performed most sacred deeds, in the manner of an ordinary mortal, even as an actor while acting on the stage, assumes various guises and exhibits different characters but himself dose not became that. (72 A-B)

Such, O enemy of serpents, is the pastime of Śrī Rāma (the Lord of the Raghus), a bewilderment to the demons but a delight to His servants. Those who are impure of mind, given over to the pleasures of sense and slaves of passion, attribute infatuation to the Lord in the following manner, my master. He who has a jaundiced eye declares the moon as of a yellow colour so long as the disease is there. When a man is bewildered as to the point of the compass, O Garuḍa, he affirms that the sun has risen in the west. A man who is sailing on a boat finds the world moving and deludes himself with the idea that he himself is standing still. Children whirl round in play, but not the surrounding buildings etc., yet they dub one another a liar (when some of them insist that it is they themselves who are moving). It is in this way, O king of the birds, that error is ascribed to Śrī Hari; otherwise not even in a dream is He subject to delusion. Those dull-witted wretches who are dominated by Māyā and who have many a veil hanging over their soul, such fools alone raise doubts in their perversity and ascribe their own ignorance to Śrī Rāma. (1 - 5)

Steeped in lust, anger, arrogance and greed and attached to their home, which is full misery of woe, how can such dullards know the Lord of the Raghus, fallen as they are in the depths of darkness (ignorance)? The attributeless aspect of the Godhead is easy to understand; but no one can comprehend the embodied form (which is beyond all modes of Prakriti and divine in character). Even a sage’s soul is bewildered on hearing of the various exploits of the Lord, both of an intelligible and baffling character. (73 A-B)

“Hear, O lord of the feathered kingdom, of the greatness of Śrī Rāma (the Lord of the Raghus). I recite to you according to the best of my lights a delightful story in this connection. I shall also narrate to you the whole story as to how I fell a prey to delusion, my lord. You, dear Garuḍa, are a favourite of Śrī Rāma and fond of hearing Śrī Hari’s praises and a source of delight to me. I am, therefore, concealing nothing from you and tell you a profound and charming secret. Hear of Śrī Rāma’s innate disposition: He never tolerates pride in His people. For pride is the root of metempsychosis and the cause of all kinds of pain and every form of grief. Hence the All-merciful gets rid of it in His extreme fondness for His servants, even as when a boil appears on the body of a child, my lord, the mother gets it opened like one having a stony heart.” (1 - 4)

Although at first (while the boil is being cut open) the child experiences pain and cries helplessly the mother minds not the child’s agony, in her anxiety to see the child cured. Even so, in the interest of the devotee himself, the Lord of the Raghus takes away his pride. Forswearing all error, Tulasīdāsa, why should you not adore such a lord as this? (74 A-B)

Now, O lord of the feathered kingdom, I tell you of Śrī Rāma’s benignity and my own opacity; listen attentively. Whenever Śrī Rāma appears in human semblance and enacts numberless sports for the sake of His devotees I betake myself to the city of Ayodhyā and delight to watch His childish exploits. I go and witness the grand festival of His birth and, fascinated (by the charm of His childish sports), stay on there for full five years. The child Rāma is my beloved deity, who sums up in His person the charm of countless Cupids. Ever gazing on the countenance of my lord, I allow my eyes to enjoy the fruit of their existence, O enemy of serpents. Assuming the form of a small crow and remaining in the company of Śrī Hari I witness His childish exploits of all kinds. (1 - 4)

“Wherever He moves about as a child I flutter about close to Him. And the crumbs that fall from His mouth in the courtyard I pick up and eat. In one particular cycle the Hero of Raghu’s line performed all His exploits in an extreme degree.” The moment Kākabhuśuṇḍi recalled those exploits every hair on his body stood erect. (75 A-B)

Continued Bhūśuṇḍī: “Listen, O chief of the birds; the story of Śrī Rāma is the delight of His servants. The king’s palace (at Ayodhyā) was beautiful in every way; it was all of gold studded with precious stones of various kinds. The courtyard, where the four brothers played every day, was magnificent beyond description. The Lord of the Raghus frolicked about in this yard carrying on childish pastimes that were the delight of His mother. His tender frame was dark of hue with a greenish tinge resembling that of the emerald; every limb of it had the loveliness of numberless Cupids compressed into it. His feet were soft and ruddy like a young lotus, with bright toes and nails that outshone the brilliance of the moon. They had soles bearing the fourfold lovely marks of the thunderbolt, the elephant-goad, the flag and the lotus, and were adorned with beautiful anklets that sweetly jingled. The charming zone about His waist, which was made of gold bossed with jewels produced a pleasant tinkling sound. (1 - 4)

The belly contained three lovely creases with a charming deep navel. The broad chest gleamed with jewels and raiment of various kinds, all befitting a child. (76)

His roseate hands, nails and fingers were all captivating; His long arms were richly adorned. He had shoulders resembling those of a lion’s cub and a neck shaped like a conch, a lovely chin and a face which was the very perfection of beauty. His speech was yet indistinct, His lips rosy and His mouth contained a pair of small pearly and shapely teeth both above and below. He had lovely cheeks, a charming nose and a smile which afforded delight and was bright as the rays of the moon. His eyes, which resembled a pair of blue lotuses, undid the bonds of worldly existence; while His forehead gleamed with a sacred mark made with yellow pigment. He had arched eyebrows, pretty well-matched ears and curly dark-blue hair that scattered their charm all round. A thin yellow garment set off His swarthy person, and His shrill gleeful cry and glance captivated me. Thus frolicking in the courtyard of the royal palace, the All-beautiful danced at the sight of His own shadow and played with me in diverse ways, which I blush to tell you. Crying with joy as He ran to catch hold of me, I flew away; then He showed me a piece of sweet cake. (1 - 5)

As I went near Him the lord smiled; but the moment I flew away He fell crying. And when I approached Him to lay hold of His feet He scampered off, turning round again and again to look at me. Seeing Him play like an ordinary child I was overcome by bewilderment: “What! are these actions in anyway worthy of Him who is knowledge and bliss personified?” (77 A-B)

The moment I allowed this doubt to enter my mind, O king of the birds, Śrī Rāma’s Māyā (delusive power) took possession of me as directed by the Lord of the Raghus. That Māyā, however, did not prove to be a source of trouble to me, nor did it throw me into the whirlpool of birth and death as it does in the case of other creatures. This, my lord, was attributable to some extraordinary reason. Hear it attentively, O mount of Śrī Hari, Sītā’s Spouse alone is absolute intelligence; every creature, whether animate or inanimate, is subject to Māyā. If all had the same perfect wisdom, tell me, what would be the difference between God and the Jīva (the individual soul)? The latter, which identifies itself with a particular psycho-physical organism, is subject to Māyā; while Māyā itself, the source of the three Guṇas, is controlled by God. The Jīva is dependent (subject to Māyā), while God is self-dependent. The Jīvas are many, while the Beloved of Lakṣmī is one (without a second). Even though this difference, which has been created by Māyā, is false, it cannot disappear except by Śrī Hari’s grace, whatever you may do. (1 - 4)

The man who seeks to attain the state of eternal bliss without adoring Śrī Rāmacandra is a beast without tail and horns, however wise he may be. Even though the moon rose complete in all her sixteen digits with the entire starry host, and even if all the mountains were set on fire, night would not disappear without the sun. (78 A-B)

In like manner, O lord of the feathered race mortals cannot be rid of their suffering without adoring Śrī Hari. Avidyā (Nescience) has no power over a servant of Śrī Hari; it is Vidyā (knowledge of Brahma in Its relative aspect) that holds away over him as directed by the Lord. That is why a servant of the Lord never falls; on the other hand, O best of birds, his devotion to the Lord as apart from himself grows. Śrī Rāma smiled to see me bewildered with error: now hear further particulars in this connection. The secret of this diversion nobody came to know, neither His younger brothers nor His parents. The Lord with a swarthy form and rosy hands and feet crawled on His hands and knees in order to catch me. Thereupon, O enemy of serpents, I took to flight. Śrī Rāma stretched out His arm to lay hold on me. Away as I flew into the air I saw Śrī Hari’s arm close to me everywhere. (1 - 4)

I flew up to Brahmā’s abode; but when I looked back in my flight, two fingers’ breadth, dear Garuḍa, was all the distance between Śrī Rāma’s arm and myself. Penetrating the seven folds of the universe (consisting of earth, water, fire, air, ether, the cosmic ego and the cosmic intellect) I mounted to the utmost height I could reach. But there too I saw the Lord’s arm; then I felt distress. (79 A-B)

In my terror I closed my eyes; and when I opened them again I found myself at Kosalapura (Ayodhyā). Śrī Rāma smiled to see me back; and even as He laughed I was instantly driven into His mouth (throat). Listen, king of the birds: inside His belly I beheld multitudinous universes with many strange spheres each more wonderful than the rest, with myriads of Brahmās and Śivas, countless stars, suns and moons, numberless Lokapālas (guardians of spheres), Yamas (gods of punishment) and Kālas (gods of death), innumerable mountains and vast terrestrial globes, oceans, rivers, lakes and forests without end and manifold other varieties of creation, with gods and sages, the Siddhas, Nāgas, human beings and Kinnaras and the four classes of living beings, both moving and motionless. (1 - 4)

I saw there all such marvels as I had never seen or heard of before and such as could not be conceived even by the mind; how, then, can I describe them? I stayed a full hundred year in each of those universes and in this manner I went round and beheld multitudinous universes having the shape of an egg. (80A-B)

Each universe had its own Brahmā (Creator), its own Viṣṇu (Preserver), Śiva (Destroyer), Manu (lord of creation presiding over a single Manvantara, consisting of a little more than 74 rounds of the four Yugas), regents of the quarters, human beings, Gandharvas (celestial musicians), spectres and goblins, Kinnaras (another class of heavenly musicians having a human figure with the head of a horse), Rākṣasas (giants), quadrupeds, birds, serpents, gods and demons of all classes, all the creatures having a shape peculiar to that universe. The earth with its multitudinous rivers, oceans, lakes and mountains, nay, the entire creation in each universe had a distinctive character. In all these universes I saw myself in every universe and also I saw in nembable thip all eeniqne bi . Each universe had its own Ayodhyā with its own Sarayū and its own men and women. And listen, dear Garuḍa: Śrī Rāma’s parents - Daśaratha and Kauśalyā - as well as Śrī Rāma’s brothers, Bharata and others, were all different in each universe. In each such universe I witnessed the descent of Śrī Rāma as well as the infinite variety of His childish sports. (1 - 4)

Everything I saw had a distinctive stamp of its own universe and was exceedingly wonderful too, O mount of Śrī Hari. But in my round of the innumerable universes I saw no other Rāma, my lord. Tossed by the blast of infatuation I saw, in each successive world that I visited, the same child-like ways, the same beauty, the same gracious Rāma (Hero of Raghu’s line). (81 A-B)

It seemed as if a hundred cycles had been spent in my wanderings through the many universes. At last after all my travels I came to my own hermitage and stayed there for some time. Meanwhile as I happened to hear of my lord’s birth at Ayodhyā I started up and ran in an overwhelming ecstasy of love and went and witnessed the grand festival of His birth as I have already told you at length. (It need hardly be said that all this happened inside the belly of my lord.) Thus in the belly of Śrī Rāma I beheld a number of universes. But what I saw could only be seen with one’s eyes: it was beyond all telling. There again I beheld the divine Śrī Rāma, the gracious and all-wise Lord of Māyā. I pondered again and again. But my understanding was obscured by the mists of delusion. In less than an hour I had seen everything. My soul being utterly bewildered, I was lost in a maze. (1 - 4)

Seeing my distress the gracious Hero of Raghu’s line laughed; and mark me, O Garuḍa of resolute mind; the moment He laughed I came out of His mouth. Śrī Rāma again began the same childish pranks with me. I reasoned with myself in every way I could; but my mind knew no peace. (82 A-B)