Holy Lake of the Acts of Lord Rama


Rama and Sita attended by Lakshman and Hanuman

Jan 02, 2012 — CANADA (SUN) — A serial presentation of Tulasi das's 'Ramacaritamanasa'.

Today we begin a new series, segments of which will be interspersed with the remainder of our Indian Miniature Painting series. The manuscript is entitled, The Holy Lake of the Acts of Lord Rama, an English translation of Tulasi das's Ramacaritamanasa, written by W. Douglas P. Hill, M.A., in 1952.

Mr. Hill offered his translation some 75 years after the first widely distributed English translation by F.S. Growse. Hill explained that during that three-quarters of a century since Growse's translation, scholars had produced more authentic texts of the poems and Rama-lila pandits had provided more elaborate commentaries on the difficult passages, thus enabling him to deliver a more accurate translation.

Goswami Tulsidas

The original Sanskrit edition that Hill made his translation of was one published in 1947 by one of Srila Prabhupada's contemporaries -- Sriman Hanuman Prasad Poddar of Gita Press in Gorakpur, who included his own tika. Hill writes:

    "[Poddar's] tika is straightforward and sensible and does not indulge in those fantastic interpretations that mar so many commentaries. I have almost always been able to prefer the tikakar's explanation of doubtful verses…"

Skipping for the moment an extensive biographical sketch of the author Tulasi das (which we may provide at the conclusion of this series), today we begin with the first of seven chapters comprising The Holy Lake of the Acts of Lord Rama's:

    The Forest
    The Beautiful
    The Epilogue

For time's sake, extensive footnotes are being eliminated (we are hand-typing this manuscript for presentation in the Sun), and for devotion's sake, we are adding illustrations not found in the author's edition.

Rama Fighting with Ravana
Ramayana - 19th c. Bengal Woodcut

The Holy Lake of the Acts of Lord Rama


SLOKA: Homage to Vani and Vinayaka, inventors of letters and all their significance, of styles and meters, too, and of auspicious prayers!

Homage to Bhavani and Samkara, Faith and Trust in person, apart from whom adepts see not the Lord who dwells within them!

Homeage to the guru, perfect in knowledge and eternal, Samkara himself, on whom alone dependent even the crescent moon is everywhere adored!

Homage to the lord of poets and the lord of monkeys, of perfect purity and wisdom, who haunt the holy forest that is the excellence of Sita and Rama!

I bow before Sita, Rama's well-beloved, the cause of creation, preservation and dissolution, destroyer of pain and source of every blessing!

Homage to the Lord Hari, whose name is Rama, to whose illusive power is subject the whole universe with Brahma and all the gods and demons; because of whose true being all this unreal world seems true, as when a rope is thought to be a snake; whose feet are the only boat for those who would cross the sea of birth and death; first cause beyond all other causes!

Now in accord with all the Puranas, the Vedas and the Agamas, that which is told in the Ramayana and culled from other sources too Tulasi for his own soul's delight declares at length, the story of Raghunath, composed in very charming modern speech.

[Sundarakanda or Soratha] May he, by thinking on whom success is won, lord of hosts, whose face is the face of a noble elephant, perfection of wisdom and abode of virtue, show me his favour!

May he by whose grace the tongue of the dumb is loosed and the cripple climbs the steepest hill, the merciful Lord who burns to ashes the foulness of the Kaliyuga, show me his compassion!

May he who ever rests upon the Sea of Milk, dark as the dark-blue lotus, with eyes dawn-bright as lotuses of the pond new-opened, make his dwelling in my heart!

May he whose body is fair as jasmine or the moon, beloved spouse of Uma, home of tender mercy, lover of the humble, slayer of Mayana, show me his grace!

Lord Ramacandra's Pastimes
[ Click for larger version ]

I do homage to the lotus feet of my guru, ocean of grace, Hari in human form, whose words are the rays of the sun to disperse the deep darkness of powerful ignorance! [Caupai 1] I do homage to the dust of my guru's lotus feet, sweet to the taste and fragrant and full of the flavour of love, delightful powder of the ambrosial root that heals all life's attendant ills; smeared on the virtuous man like the pure ashes on Sambhu's body; beautiful, auspicious and bringing forth joy; removing the foulness from the fair mirror of the votary's mind, and, applied as a sect-mark, granting mastery of all perfections. The brightness of the nails of the holy guru's feet is as the brightness of jewels; when one dwells upon it, divine vision illumines the heart; that fair brilliance scatters the darkness of ignorance; thrice blessed he in whose soul it dawns!

Then the heart's clear eyes are opened and the errors and pains of the night of existence are dispersed, and the acts of Rama, like hidden diamonds and rubies plain to see, are discovered, in whatever mind they be.


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