5 | Śrī Rāma Carita Mānasa Stotra

“Hear the blessed story of the holy Rāmacaritamānasa, which was narrated at length by the sage Bhuśuṇḍi and heard by the king of birds, Garuḍa, I shall tell you later on how that great dialogue took place. First listen to the most charming and sanctifying story of His descent. The virtues, names, stories and forms of Śrī Hari are all unlimited, innumerable and immeasurable. Yet I proceed to tell them according to the best of my intellectual capacity; listen, Umā, with reverence.” (120 B - D)

“Hark, O Girijā: the Vedas and the Tantras have sung numerous charming and sinless exploits of Śrī Hari. The cause of Śrī Hari’s descent cannot be precisely stated. Listen, O sensible lady: Śrī Rāma is beyond the grasp of intellect, mind or speech: such is my conviction. Yet, O charming lady, I tell you the reason as I understand it and even as the saints and sages, the Vedas and the Purāṇas have stated according to their intellectual level. Whenever virtue declines and vile and haughty demons multiply and work iniquity that cannot be told, and whenever Brāhmaṇas, cows, gods and earth itself are in trouble, the gracious Lord assumes various (transcendent) forms and relieves the distress of the virtuous.” (1 - 4)

“Killing the demons He reinstates the gods, preserves the bounds of propriety fixed by the Vedas, which represent His own breath, and diffuses His immaculate glory throughout the world. This is the motive of Śrī Rāma’s descent.” (121)

“Singing this glory the devotees cross the ocean of mundane existence; it is for the sake of His devotees that the compassionate Lord bodies Himself forth. The motives of Śrī Rāma’s birth are many, each more wonderful than the other. I will refer to one or two such births at some length; please listen attentively, O wise Bhavānī. Śrī Hari has two favourite gate-keepers Jaya and Vijaya, who are known to everybody. Due to the curse of certain Brāhmaṇas (Sanaka and his three brothers) both these brothers were born in the accursed species of demons. One of them was known as Hiraṇyakaśipu and the other as Hiraṇyākṣa. They became known throughout the universe as the tamers of the pride of Indra (the chief of gods). Both of them were celebrated heroes who came out victorious in battle. The Lord assumed the form of a Boar in order to kill one of the two brothers (viz. , Hiraṇyākṣa); while bodying Himself forth as a Man- Lion, He killed the other (Hiraṇyakaśipu) and spread the fair renown of His devotee, Prahlāda (Hiraṇyakaśipu’s son).” (1 - 4)

“It is these two brothers that were born again as the powerful and most valiant Rākṣasas. Rāvaṇa and Kumbhakarṇa, who were great warriors and, as all the world knows, conquered even gods.” (122)

“Even though slain by the Lord, the two brothers (Hiraṇyākṣa and Hiraṇyakaśipu) did not attain liberation; for the Brāhmaṇas had doomed them to three births. It was on their account that the Lover of the devotees bodied Himself forth on one occasion. In that birth Kaśyapa and Aditi were His parents, who were known by the names of Daśaratha and Kauśalyā respectively. This was how in one Kalpa (round of creation) the Lord descended from heaven and performed purifying deeds on earth. In another Kalpa all the gods were worsted in their conflict with the demon Jālandhara. Seeing their distress Śambhu waged war against him, which knew no end; but the demon, who possessed a great might, could not be killed in spite of His best efforts. The wife of the demon chief was a most virtuous lady. Armed by her strength of character the demon could not be conquered even by the Vanquisher of Tripura.” (1 - 4)

“By a stratagem the Lord broke her vow of chastity and accomplished the purpose of the gods. When the lady discovered the trick, she cursed Him in her wrath.” (123)

“The sportive and gracious Lord accepted her curse. It was this Jālandhara who was reborn as Rāvaṇa in this latter Kalpa. Killing him in battle Śrī Rāma conferred on him the supreme state (final beatitude). This was the reason why Śrī Rāma assumed a human form in one particular birth. Hark, O Bharadvāja; the story of each birth of the Lord has been sung by poets in diverse ways. On one occasion Nārada cursed the Lord; this served as an excuse of His birth in one particular Kalpa.” Girijā was taken aback to hear these words and said, “Nārada is a votary of God Viṣṇu and enlightened soul too. Wherefore did the sage pronounce a curse? What offence had Lakṣmī’s lord committed against him? Tell me the whole story, O Slayer of the demon Tripura. It is very strange that the sage should have fallen a prey to delusion.” (1 - 4)

The great Lord Śiva then replied with a smile, “There is no one enlightened or deluded. Man instantly becomes what the Lord of Raghus wills him to be at a particular moment.” (124 A)

Said Yājñyavalkya, “I am going to recount the virtues of Rāma, O Bharadvāja; listen with a devout mind.” Renouncing pride and intoxication, O Tulasīdāsa, adore the Lord of Raghus, who puts an end to metempsychosis. (124 B)

“In the Himālaya mountains there was a most sacred cave; the beautiful heavenly stream (Gaṅgā) flowed nearby. The sight of this most holy and charming hermitage highly attracted the mind of the celestial sage Nārada. Seeing the mountain, the river and the forest glades, his heart developed love for the feet of Lakṣmī’s lord. The thought of Śrī Hari broke the spell of the curse (pronounced by Dakṣa, which did not allow him to stay at one place); and his mind, which was naturally sinless, fell into a trance. Seeing the sage’s condition, Indra (the chief of gods) became apprehensive. Summoning the god of love, he received him with great honour and said, “For my sake go with your associates!” The god of love (who has a fish emblazoned on his standard) set out gladdened at heart. Indra apprehended that the celestial sage sought to occupy his abode. Those who are lustful and grasping are afraid of everyone like the evil-minded crow. (1 - 4)

Just as a foolish dog, on seeing a king of beasts, should run away with a dry bone, fearing in his crass ignorance lest the lion should rob him of it, Indra too in his shamelessness thought as above. (125)

When the god of love reached that hermitage, he created a semblance of the vernal season by his illusory power. Many-coloured blossoms appeared on the trees of different kinds; cuckoos sang and bees hummed. Delightful breezes, cool, soft and fragrant, blew, fanning the flame of passion. Rambhā and other heavenly damsels, who looked ever young and were all past masters in amorous sports, sang in undulating tones of various kinds and sported in many ways, ball in hand. The god of love was delighted to see his associates there and employed a variety of devices. But his amorous devices had no effect on the sage. Guilty Cupid was now apprehensive of his own destruction. Can anyone dare to trespass the bounds of him who has the Lord of Lakṣmī as his great protector. (1 - 4)

In dire dismay the god of love with his accomplices acknowledged his defeat and clasped the sage’s feet, addressing him in accents of deep humility. (126)

There was no anger in Nārada’s mind; he reassured the god of love by addressing him in friendly terms. Then, bowing his head at the sage’s feet and obtaining his leave, Love retired with his accomplices. Reaching the court of Indra (the chief of gods) he related his own doings, on the one hand, and the sage’s clemency, on the other. Hearing the tale all were astonished; they extolled the sage and bowed their head to Hari. Then Nārada called on Śiva; he was proud of his victory over Love and told Him all Love’s doings. Knowing him to be His most beloved friend, the great Lord Śiva admonished him as follows: - ”O sage, I pray you again and again: never repeat this story to Hari as you have repeated it to me. Even if the topic ever comes up before Him, please hush it up.” (1 - 4)

Wholesome was the advice given by Śambhu; but it did not please Nārada. Bharadvāja, now hear what interesting thing happened. The will of Hari is predominant. (127)

The will of Śrī Rāma alone prevails; there is no one who can alter it. Śambhu’s advice fell flat on the sage. Then he went to the abode of Brahmā (the Creator). Singing the glories of Śrī Hari, to the accompaniment of the excellent lute he had in his hand, the lord of sages, Nārada, who was skilled in music, once repaired to the ocean of milk. Where dwells the abode of Lakṣmī, Bhagavān Nārāyaṇa, who is Vedānta (the crown of all Vedas) personified. The abode of Ramā (Lakṣmī) rose to meet him in great joy and shared His seat with the sage. The Lord of the entire creation, animate as well as inanimate, said with a smile, “It is after a long time that you have showed Me this favour, reverend sir.” Nārada told Him all the doings of Love, even though Śiva had already forbidden him to do so. Most formidable is the Māyā (deluding potency) of the Lord of Raghus. No one was ever born in this world, who is beyond its charm. (1 - 4)

With an impassive look, yet in coaxing accents, said the Lord, “By your very thought self-delusion, lust, arrogance and pride disappear.” (128)

“Hark, O sage! the mind of him alone is susceptible to delusion, whose heart is devoid of wisdom and dispassion. You are steadfast in your vow of celibacy and resolute of mind; you can never be smitten with pangs of Love.” Nārada replied with a feeling of pride, “Lord it is all due to Your grace.” The compassionate Lord pondered and saw that a huge tree of pride had sprouted in his heart. “I shall soon tear it up by roots; for it is My vow to serve the best interest of My servants. I must contrive some plan which may do good to the sage and serve as a diversion for Me.” Then, bowing his head at the feet of Śrī Hari, Nārada departed. The pride in his heart had swelled. The Lord of Lakṣmī (the goddess of prosperity) then set His Māyā into operation. Now hear of her relentless doings. (1 - 4)

The Lord’s Māyā (deluding potency) created on the way a city with an area of eight hundred square miles. The manifold architectural beauties of that city excelled even those of Viṣṇu’s own capital (Vaikuṇṭha). (129)

It was inhabited by graceful men and women, whom you would take to be so many incarnations of the god of love and his wife Rati. A king, Śīlanidhi by name, ruled over that city; he owned numberless horses, elephants and troops. He possessed the grandeur and luxury of a hundred Indras, and was a repository of grace, splendour, might and wisdom. He had a daughter, Viśvamohinī by name, whose beauty enraptured even Lakṣmī. She was no other than Śrī Hari’s own Māyā (enrapturing potency), the fountainhead of all virtues; who can describe her charm? The princess was going to marry by self-choice; hence kings beyond number arrived there as suitors. The sportive sage (Nārada) entered the city and inquired everything from the people. Hearing all that had been going on there, he wended his way to the king’s palace. The king paid him homage and gave him a seat. (1 - 4)

The king brought and showed the princess to Nārada and said, “Tell me after mature thought all that is good or bad about her.” (130)

Seeing her beauty the sage forgot all about his dispassion and remained gazing on her for a long time. When he read the auspicious marks on her body, he was lost in reverie. He was gladdened at heart, but he would not openly mention the happy characteristics. “He who weds this girl,” he said to himself, “Shall become immortal; and no one shall be able to conquer him in battle. He whom Śīlanidhi’s daughter selects for her lord shall be adored by the entire creation, both animate and inanimate.” Having read these characteristics the sage kept them to himself, and mentioned a few fabricated ones to the king. Telling the king that his daughter was of good promise, Nārada left. He thought within himself, “Let me devise and try some means whereby the princess may choose me for her husband.” He had no more zeal to practise Japa (muttering of sacred formulas) or austerity. “Good God, how am I to get the girl?” he said to himself. (1 - 4)

“What is needed on this occasion, is great personal charm and surpassing beauty, whereby the princess may be enamoured of me and place the wreath of victory round my neck,” he continued. (131)

“Let me ask Hari for a gift of beauty. But, alas! Much time will be lost in going to Him. Yet I have no such weal as Hari; let Him, therefore, come to my rescue at this juncture.” Then Nārada prayed in manifold ways and lo! The sportive and merciful Lord appeared before him. The sight was soothing to the sage’s eyes. He was glad at heart and felt assured that his object would be accomplished. In great humility he told the Lord all that had happened, and said, “Be gracious to me and be good enough to help me. Lord, bestow on me Your own beauty; in no other way can I get possession of her. Soon do that which may serve my best interests; I am Your own servant, my lord.” Seeing the mighty power of His Māyā, the Lord, who is compassionate to the poor, smiled to himself and said: -    (1 - 4)

“Nārada, listen to me; I shall do that alone which is good to you, and nothing else My words can never be untrue.” (132)

“Hark, O contemplative ascetic! if a patient distracted by his malady asks for something which is harmful to him, the physician would not give it. In a like manner I have resolved on doing what is good to you.” So saying, the Lord disappeared. Under the spell of His Māyā the sage was so mystified that he could not understand even such unambiguous words of Śrī Hari. The chief of seers hastened to the spot where the arena for the choice-marriage had been prepared. Richly adorned, the royal suitors had occupied their respective seats, each with his retinue. The sage was glad at heart; for he thought within himself, “My beauty is so surpassing that the princess will never commit the error of choosing for her husband anyone else than me.” In the sage’s own interest the gracious Lord had made him hideous beyond description. But no one could mark the change that had taken place in him; everyone knew him to be Nārada and greeted him as such. (1 - 4)

Two of Śiva’s attendants too happened to be there. They knew the whole secret and, disguised as Brāhmaṇas, went about seeing the fun. (133)

In the row where sat Nārada, exceedingly proud of his beauty, the two attendants of Maheśa too seated themselves. Being disguised as Brāhmaṇas they could not be detected. They flung sarcastic remarks at Nārada, saying, “Hari has given this man such excellent beauty that the princess will be enamoured to look at it and shall certainly choose him, taking him for Hari Himself.” The sage was under a spell of delusion; for his heart had been stolen by love. The attendants of Śiva felt amused at this and greatly enjoyed the fun. Even though the sage heard their ironical talk, he could not follow it, his reason being clouded by infatuation. No one perceived this extra-ordinary phenomenon; the princess alone saw his ugly form. The moment she beheld his monkey-like face and frightful form she was filled with rage. (1 - 4)

She did not care to look even casually at the quarter in which Nārada sat elated with pride. Again and again the sage would raise himself and fidget about; the attendants of Hara smiled to see him in that state. The gracious Lord too went there in the form of a king; the princess joyfully placed the wreath of victory round His neck. The Lord of Lakṣmī carried off the bride to the despair of all assembled kings. The sage felt much perturbed; for infatuation had robbed the sage of his reason. He felt as if a gem had dropped from a loosened knot in the end of his garment. The attendants of Hara then smilingly said, “Just look at your face in a mirror.” Uttering these words both ran away in great alarm and the sage looked at his reflection in water. His fury knew no bounds when he beheld his form; and he pronounced a terrible curse on the attendants of Śiva: - (1 - 4)

“O you sinful impostors, go and be reborn as demons. You mocked me; therefore, reap its reward. Mock again a sage, if you dare. (135)

Looking again in water, he saw that he had regained his real form; yet his heart found no solace. His lips quivered and there was indignation in his heart. At once he proceeded to where the Lord of Lakṣmī was. “I shall either curse Him or die at His door,” he said to himself, “seeing that He has made me a butt of ridicule throughout the world.” The terror of the demons, Śrī Hari, met him right on the way. He was accompanied by Goddess Ramā and the princess referred to above. The lord of immortals spoke in gentle tones, “To what destination, holy sir, are you betaking yourself like one disconsolate” As soon as he heard these words Nārada was filled with rage. Dominated as he was by Māyā, there was no reason left in him. He said, “You cannot bear to look upon the good fortune of others. You are extremely jealous and guile. While churning the ocean You drove Rudra mad and inciting Him through the gods You made Him quaff the poison. (1 - 4)

“Apportioning intoxicating liquor to the demons and poison to Śaṅkara, You appropriated Ramā and the lovely gem (Kaustubha) to Yourself. You have ever been selfish and perverse, and treacherous in Your dealings.” (136)

“You are absolutely independent and subordinate to none; therefore You do whatever pleases Your mind. You debase a good soul and redeem a vile person and neither rejoice nor grieve over it. Deceiving everyone You have become habituated to such tricks. You entertain no fear and are always zealous in pursuing Your object. Good and evil deeds do not come in Your way; no one has so far been able to correct You. You have this time played with fire and shall reap what You have sown. Take that very form in which You have imposed upon me: this is my curse. You made me look like a monkey; therefore You shall have monkeys for Your helpmates. And as You have grievously wronged me, so shall You suffer the pangs of separation from Your wife.” (1 - 4)

Gladly accepting the curse, the compassionate Lord made many entreaties to the sage, and withdrew the irresistible charm of His Māyā. (137)

When Śrī Hari lifted the spell of His Māyā, there was neither Ramā nor the princess to be seen by His side. In dire dismay the sage then clasped the feet of Hari and said, “O Reliever of the distress of the suppliant, save me! O gracious lord! let my curse prove ineffectual.” “It was My will,” replied the Lord, who is so merciful to the humble. “I poured many abuses at You,” the sage repeated, “how shall my sins be expiated? “Go and repeat the names of Śaṅkara a hundred times; your heart will be disburdened at once. No one is so dear to Me as Śiva: never give up this belief even by mistake. O sage, he who does not earn the good-will of Śiva shall never attain true devotion to Me. Bearing this in mind, go and perambulate the globe. My Māyā shall haunt you no more.” (1 - 4)

Having thus reassured the sage, the Lord then disappeared; while Nārada proceeded to Satyaloka (the seventh paradise, the abode of Brahmā) chanting Śrī Rāma’s praises as he went. (138)


When the attendants of Śiva saw the sage moving along the way free from delusion and greatly delighted at heart, they approached him in great fer and, clasping his feet, entreated piteously, “We are servants of Śiva and no Brāhmaṇas, O great sage; we committed a great sin and have reaped its fruit. Now rid us of the curse, O benevolent sage.” Nārada, who was full of compassion to the humble, replied, “Both of you go and take the form of demons. You shall possess an enormous fortune, grandeur and strength. When you have subdued the universe by the might of your arm, God Viṣṇu shall take a human form. Dying at His hands in battle, you shall be liberated and shall never be reborn.” Bowing their head at the sage’s feet, both departed and were reborn as demons in due course. (1 - 4)

In one Kalpa (round of creation) it was for this reason that Lord Śrī Hari assumed a human form as. It is His vow to gladden the gods, to delight the virtuous and to ease the earth of its burden. (139)

Thus Śrī Hari’s births and exploits are many; they are all charming, delightful and marvellous. In every cycle of creation the Lord manifests Himself and enacts lovely sports of various kinds; and the great sages have on each such occasion sung His story in most sacred strains, relating wonderful anecdotes of diverse kinds, hearing which the allise marvel not. Infinite is Śrī Hari and infinite are His stories; each saint sings and hears them in divergent ways. The lovely sports of Rāmacandra cannot be sung even in crores of Kalpas. This episode, O Bhavānī, has been narrated by me in order to show that even enlightened sages are deluded by Śrī Hari’s Māyā. The Lord is sportive and a friend of the suppliant; He is easy to serve and rids one of all sorrows. (1 - 4)

There is no god, man or sage whom Śrī Hari’s powerful Māyā cannot infatuate. Bearing this in mind, one should adore the Lord of this great Māyā. (140)

Hear, O daughter of the mountain-king, another reason why the unbegotten, unqualified and formless Brahma became king of Ayodhyā. I shall relate at length the marvellous story connected with it. The Lord whom you saw roaming in the forest with His brother (Lakṣmaṇa) in the garb of hermits, and whose doings drove you mad in the form of Satī to such an extent that the shadow of that madness haunts you even to this day - hear His exploits, which serve as a cure for the disease of delusion. The sportive deeds that were performed by the Lord in that birth, I shall relate them all to the best of My talents. Hearing Śaṅkara’s words, O Bharadvāja, Umā blushed and smiled with love. Śiva (who has a bull emblazoned on His standard) then began to relate the cause of the Lord’s descent on that particular occasion. (1 - 4)

I proceed to tell you all about it, O Bharadvāja; listen attentively. The story of Śrī Rāma wipes out all the impurities of the Kali age, brings forth all blessings and is most charming. (141)

Svāyambhūva Manu had Śatarūpā as wife; of them was born this peerless human race, in God’s creation. The piety and conduct of the pair were excellent; the standard of morality set up by them is sung by the Vedas even to this day. Their son was king Uttānapāda, who begot the celebrated devotee of Śrī Hari, Dhruva. Manu’s younger son was known as Priyavrata, who is mentioned with praise by the Vedas and the Purāṇas. They had a daughter too, Devahūti by name, who was the beloved consort of the sage Kardama, and who bore in her womb the all-powerful and benevolent Lord Kapila the primal divinity, who is compassionate to the humble and who openly expounded the philosophy of Sānkhya, an adept as He was in the enquiry after the ultimate principles. The said Manu ruled for a long period and followed the Lord’s commandments (in the form of the scriptural ordinance) in every way. (1 - 4)

“I have reached the fourth stage of my life (old age) while I am still living under the roof of my house as a householder; but I have not yet lost my relish for the pleasures of sense,” he said to himself. He felt sore distressed at heart that his life had been wasted without devotion to Śrī Har i. (142)

Manu then perforce resigned the throne to his son and departed for the forest with his wife. Pre-eminent of all holy places is the celebrated Naimiṣāraṇya (the modern Nimsar in Oudh), which is most sacred and bestows success on those striving for realization. Multitudes of sages and adepts lived there. Glad of heart, king Manu proceeded to that place. Passing along the way, the king and queen of resolute mind looked like incarnations of spiritual wisdom and devotion respectively. On reaching the bank of the Gomatī they bathed with delight in the limpid stream. Adepts and enlightened sages came to see him, recognizing in the royal sage a champion of virtue. The sages reverently took them to all holy and lovely spots that were scattered here and there. With emaciated bodies and clad in hermits’ robes they daily listened to the Purāṇas in the assembly of saints. (1 - 4)

They further devoutly repeated the twelve-lettered formula (Om Namo Bhagavate Vāsudevāya). Their mind was fondly devoted to the lotus feet of Lord Vāsudeva (the all-pervading Viṣṇu). (143)

They lived on vegetables, fruits and roots and meditated on Brahma (the Absolute), who is truth, consciousness and bliss combined. Again, they started undergoing penance for the sake of Śrī Hari, giving up roots and fruits for water alone, Their heart ever clamoured, “Let us see with our eyes that supreme Lord who is without attributes, without parts and without beginning or end, who is contemplated upon by the exponents of the highest reality, whom the Vedas describe in negative terms such as “Not this, not this”, who is bliss itself, unconditioned and without comparison, and from a particle of whose being emanate a number of Śambhus, Virañcis and Viṣṇus.” Even such a Lord is subordinate to the will of His devotees and assumes for their sake a form suitable for sport. If the above utterance of the Vedas is true, our desire will be surely accomplished. (1 - 4)

In this way six thousand years elapsed even while they lived on water. Then for another seven millennia they lived on air alone. (144)

For ten thousand years they refused to inhale even air (i. e., held their breath) and remained standing on one leg. Beholding their great penance Brahmā, Hari and Hara repeatedly called on Manu and tempted him in many ways, saying “Ask for a boon.” But the king and queen were most resolute and did not swerve in spite of the deities” efforts to deflect them from their course. Although their frame had been reduced to a mere skeleton there was not the least anguish in their heart. The omniscient Lord now recognized the king and queen as His own servants. The ascetic couple solely depended on Him. In the meantime a most deep voice thundered from heaven, “Ask, ask for a boon.” The voice was steeped in the nectar of compassion and was so charming that it infused life into the dead. Entering through the cavity of the ears when it reached their very heart, they found their body attractive, animated and robust as before, as if they had just returned from home. (1 - 4)

As the royal couple heard these words, which were delightful to the ear as nectar itself, the hair on their body bristled and a thrill ran through their limbs. Then, falling prostrate on the ground and with his heart overflowing with love Manu spoke: - (145)

“Listen, O Lord! You are a wish-yielding tree and a cow of plenty to Your servants. The dust below Your feet is adored by Brahmā, Hari and Hara. You are easy to serve and a fountain of all blessings. You are the protector of the suppliant and the lord of all creation, both animate and inanimate. O friend of the forlorn, if You have any affection for us, be pleased to grant this boon to us. The form which dwells in Śiva’s heart and is sought by sages, which sports like a swan in the lake of Bhūśuṇḍī’s mind and is glorified by the Vedas as both with and without attributes - be gracious to us and let us feast our eyes on that form; O Reliever of the distress of the suppliant.” The soft and humble words of the royal couple, steeped as they were in the nectar of love, were liked by the Lord very much. Full of affection for His devotees and a storehouse of compassion, the all-powerful Lord, who pervades the whole universe, manifested Himself. (1 - 4)

Billions and millions of Loves blushed to behold the elegance of His swarthy form, which resembled a blue lotus (in the softness of its touch), a sapphire (in its gloss) and a dark cloud (in its freshness). (146)

His countenance, which resembled the autumnal full moon, was the very perfection of beauty. Lovely were His cheeks and chin and His neck resembled the conch-shell in its spiral shape. His ruddy lips, teeth and nose were charming. His smile put to shame the rays of the moon. His eyes possessed the exquisite beauty of fresh-blown lotuses and His lovely glance captivated the heart. His eyebrows stole the beauty of Love’s bow and a sectarian mark shone on His forehead. Fish-shaped ear-rings hung from his ear- lobes and a crown adorned His head. His curly locks looked like a swarm of bees. His breast was marked by a curl of hair and adorned with a beautiful wreath of sylvan flowers, a string of precious stones and other jewelled ornaments. His strong and well- built shoulders resembled that of a lion and the lovely sacred thread was suspended from it. His long beautiful arms resembled the trunk of an elephant. The ornaments adorning them were also charming. A quiver was tied to His waist and His hands bore an arrow and a bow. (1 - 4)

His yellow robes put to shame streaks of lightning and His belly had three- folds; while His attractive navel robbed, as it were, the eddies on the Yamunā of their beauty. (147)

His lotus feet, which attract the minds of sages like so many bees, were beyond description. On His left side shone His primordial energy, Sītā, who is ever devoted to Him, and who is a storehouse of beauty and the source of the universe. Sītā, who stood to the left of Śrī Rāma, was the same from a fragment of whose being emanate countless Lakṣmīs, Umās and Brahmāṇīs (Sarasvatīs), all mines of virtues, and the mere play of whose eyebrows brings the cosmos into existence. On the form of Śrī Hari, the ocean of beauty, Manu and Śatarūpā gazed intently with unblinking eyes. That incomparable beauty they looked on with reverence and would not feel sated with it. Overcome with joy they lost consciousness of their body and fell flat on the ground, clasping His feet with their hands. The gracious Lord touched their heads with His own lotus hands and lifted them up at once. (1 - 4)


The compassionate Lord then said, “Knowing that I am highly pleased with you and recognizing Me as a great donor, ask whatever boon you will.” (148)

On hearing the words of the Lord, Manu joined his palms and summoning courage spoke in soft accents, “Now that we have seen Your lotus feet, all our desires have been fulfilled. Yet one ardent longing still lingers in my heart. It is easy of accomplishment and at the same time hard to attain; hence it cannot be expressed. O Lord, it is easy for You to grant it; but due to my wretched condition it appears to me so hard to attain. Just as a pauper who has found a wish-yielding tree feels shy in asking for abundant wealth, little realizing its glory, even so my heart is possessed by doubt. Being the witness of all hearts, You know my mind; therefore, O my master, fulfil my desire.” “O king, ask of Me unreservedly; there is nothing which I would not give you.” (1 - 4)

“O crest-jewel of donors, O gracious lord, I tell You my sincere wish: I would have a son like You. I can have nothing to conceal from You.” (149)

On seeing his love and hearing his invaluable words, the compassionate Lord said, “Amen. But where shall I go to find My equal? I Myself, O king, shall be a son to you.” Then, seeing Śatarūpā with her hands still folded, He said, “O good lady, ask whatever boon you please.” “O gracious Lord, the boon which the clever king has just asked has appealed to me much. But it is great presumption, my Lord, even though such presumption is liked by You, O friend of the devotees. You are the progenitor even of Brahmā and other gods, the lord of the universe and the Supreme Being who dwells within the heart of all. Realizing this, my mind is filled with doubt; but what You have said is infallible. O my master, the bliss that is enjoyed and the goal that is reached by your own devotees - (1 - 4)

“Grant me in Your mercy, O Lord, that very bliss the same destiny, the same devotion, the same attachment to Your feet, the same insight and the same mode of living.” (150)

Hearing the soft, pregnant, charming and excellent speech of Śatarūpā, the gracious Lord gently replied, “Whatever desire you cherish in your mind I have granted; you should have no doubt about it. Mother, by My grace your uncommon wisdom shall never fail.” Bowing at His feet, Manu again said, “Lord, I have one more request to make. Let me have attachment to Your feet, of the same type as one has for a son, no matter if anyone calls me a big fool. Just as a snake cannot live without the gem on its hood and a fish without water, even so let my life be dependent on You (let me not survive without You).” Asking this boon, the king remained clasping the Lord’s feet till the All- merciful said, “Let it be so. Now, obeying My command go and dwell in the capital of Indra (the chief of gods).” (1 - 4)

“Having enjoyed extensive enjoyments there you shall, after some time, be born as king of Ayodhyā; then, o dear one, I will be your son.” (151)

“Voluntarily assuming human guise I will manifest Myself in your house. Bodying Myself forth with My drayments I will perform sportive acts which will be a source of delight to My devotees. Hearing of such exploits with reverence blessed men shall cross the ocean of worldly existence, renouncing the feeling of meum and arrogance. This Māyā, who is no other than My primordial energy that has brought forth the universe, too will manifest Herself. In this way I will accomplish your desire and this pledge of Mine shall never, never, never fail.” Repeating this again and again, the gracious Lord vanished out of sight. Cherishing in their mind the image of the Lord who is so compassionate to His devotees, the wedded couple stayed in that hermitage for some time more. And dropping their body, when the time came, without the least pain they went and took their abode in Amarāvatī, the city of immortals. (1 - 4)

This most sacred legend was related by Śiva (who has a bull emblazoned on His standard) to Umā. Bharadvāja, now hear yet another cause of Śrī Rāma’s birth. (152)