Holy Lake of the Acts of Lord Rama, Part 4
BY: SUN STAFF
Rama and Lakshamana
18th c., Rajasthani School
Jan 05, 2012 CANADA (SUN) A serial presentation of Tulasi das's 'Ramacaritamanasa'.
First among the brothers I reverence the feet of Bharat, whose rule of life and rigid vows cannot be described; his soul was greedy for the lotus feet of Rama, as a bee for honey; he would not leave his side. I do homage to the lotus feet of Laksman, cool, beautiful, bringing joy to the faithful, whose glory was like a staff to bear the stainless banner of Raghupati's renown. He was the thousand-headed Sesa who came down for the sake of the world to relieve the earth of fear. May that son of Sumitra ever show me his favour, ocean of grace, mine of perfection!
I do reverence to the lotus feet of Satrughna, valiant and chivalrous companion of Bharat; and to the mighty warrior Hanuman I make petition, whose glory Rama himself has celebrated. [S. 17.] Yea, I do reverence to the Son of the Wind, very wise, a fire to the forest of evil-doers, in whose heart Rama, bearing bow and arrows, makes his home.
[C. 18.] The monkey king, the king of the bears, the king of the demons, Angada and all the company of monkeys – I do homage to the fair feet of all; for, though fashioned in lowly form, they yet found Rama. I do homage to the lotus feet of all the birds and beasts and god and men and demons who worship the feet of Raghupati and serve Rama without selfish motive. Sukadeva, Sanaka and his brethren and all devotees, Narada the sage and all high sages, wise and learned, I reverence with my head upon the ground; O mighty sages, be gracious to me as your servant!
I make my prayer to the two lotus feet of Janaki, Janak's daughter, Mother of the world, most beloved of him in whom all mercy dwells, that by her grace I may win to clear understanding. Again, I do homage in thought and word and deed to the lotus feet of Raghunayak, all-powerful, lotus-eyed, bearing bow and arrows, banishing the troubles of the faithful and granting them joy. [D. 18.] I do homage to the feet of Sita and Rama, who dearly love the afflicted and who are truly one, as the word is one with its meaning, and water with the wave, though they are distinguished in speech.
[C. 19.] I do homage to RAMA, the Name of Raghubar, signifying fire and sun and moon; essence of Brahma, Hari and Hara; vital breath of the Veda; unique, treasure-house of all perfections; the Great Spell uttered by Mahesa, who teaches it as affecting final release at Kasi. Ganesa knows its power, for by the might of the Name he is first to be worshipped. The father of poetry knows the power of the Name, for he was purified by repeating it backwards. Hearing from Siva that the Name of Rama was equal to a thousand other names, Bhavani repeated it and joined her husband's meal; and when he saw her heartfelt love, Hara rejoiced and made that ornament of women his own female ornament. Siva knows well the power of the Name, by virtue of which the deadly poison had the effect of ambrosia.
[D. 19.] Devotion to Raghupati is the season of rain; his faithful servants are the growing rice, and the two fair syllables of Rama's Name are the months of Sravana and Bhadon.
[C. 20.] Two sweet and ravishing syllables that are the eyes of the alphabet and the life of the faithful, easy to remember, bringing happiness to all, gain in this world and salvation in the next; very lovely to repeat, to hear and to contemplate; as dear to Tulasi as Rama and Laksman. When they are uttered, devotion separates them, but they are as naturally bound together as Brahma and the individual soul; fair brothers, like Nara and Narayana; guardians of the world and, especially, saviours of the faithful; lovely jewels in the ears of the beauteous lady Faith; moon and sun shining clear for the good of the world. Sweet taste and satisfaction they bring, like the nectar of salvation; like the tortoise and the serpent, upholding the world; as a bee to the lovely lotus of the faithful soul; as sweet to the tongue as Hari and Haladhara to Yasoda.
Hanuman pays obeisances to Rama and Laksman
18th c., Rajasthani School
[D. 20.] Of the two syllables of the Name of Raghubar one gleams like a royal umbrella and one like a jeweled crown over all the letters of the alphabet.
[C. 21.] A name and that which is named are regarded as one and the same, but the close connexion between them is that of master and servant. Name and form are two attributes of God; they are ineffable and without origin, known only by right understanding. It is a mistake to ask which of the two is the greater and which is the less; when they hear the difference between them, the good will understand. Forms are seen to be dependent on names; the form cannot be known apart from the name. Any particular form cannot be recognized, even if placed on the hand, unless the name is known; but if without seeing the form one meditates on the name, the form too enters the heart as an object of passionate devotion. The mystery of name and form is unutterable; it brings joy to those who understand it, but it cannot be expressed. The name bears testimony to the impersonal and the personal alike; it makes both known, a wise interpreter.
[D. 21.] If you would have light within and without, place the Name of Rama on your tongue, like a jeweled lamp on the threshold of the door.
[C. 22.] As their tongues repeat the Name, ascetics awake, free from desire, divorced from the Creator's world, and experience divine felicity, unequalled, ineffable, unsullied, knowing neither name nor form. Those who would know profound spiritual mysteries learn them by repeating the Name. Aspirants, too, repeat the Name, lost in contemplation, and so become adept and acquire the eight miraculous powers. Disciples repeat the Name when sore distressed; their troubles are removed and they are happy. Thus Rama has four kinds of votary in the world, and all four are meritorious, sinless and noble. All four wise types of devotee rely upon the Name, but the man of intuitive wisdom is dearest to the Lord; in the four ages and the four Vedas his Name is mighty, but mightiest of all in this Kaliyuga; there is no other refuge.
[D. 22.] Those who are rid of all selfish desire and rest absorbed in devotion to Rama have made their souls like fish in the ambrosial lake of the love of the Name.
[C. 23.] There are two forms of the Absolute – impersonal and personal; unutterable, fathomless, without beginning and unique. In my judgement the Name is greater than both, for by its own power it has made both subject to itself. Let not the good think their servant's statement to be overbold; I am stating my loving and devout belief. The two forms of the Absolute may be known like fire; the one within the wood, the other visible. Both forms are hard to understand, but both are made known by the Name; and therefore I declare that the Name is greater than the Absolute and than Rama. The Absolute is all-pervading, one, indestructible, the very essence of True Being, Consciousness and Bliss; but though such an immutable Lord dwells within the heart, every creature in the world is miserable and sad; but when one seeks out the true significance of the Name and practices its utterance, that Lord becomes manifest, as the value of a gem when it is examined.
[D. 23.] Thus the power of the Name is immeasurably greater than the impersonal; and I declare that in my judgement the Name is greater than Rama too.
[C. 24.] Rama took the form of man to help the faithful and endured suffering to make the good happy; but votaries who lovingly repeat the Name are without difficulty filled with joy and bliss. Rama redeemed one ascetic's wife; but the Name has converted the vile hearts of millions of wicked men. For the seer's sake, Rama put an end to Suketu's daughter, her army and her son; but the Name destroys its servants' sins and woes and despairs as the sun scatters the darkness of night. With his own hand Rama broke the bow of Siva, but the power of the Name shatters the terrors of rebirth. The Lord made beautiful the Dandaka forest; but the Name has purified the souls of countless votaries. Raghunandan massacred the demon host; but the Name extirpates all the sins of the Kaliyuga.
Rama's Army of Monkeys and Bears
[D. 24.] To Savari, the vulture and other righteous servants Raghunath granted the bliss of final release; but the Name has wrought the salvation of countless evil-doers, and the story of its virtues is celebrated in the Vedas. [C. 25.] Rama took both Sugriva and Vibhisan under his protection, as everyone knows; but the Name has shown mercy to many a poor man, and for this it has won distinction both in the world and in the Vedas.
Rama gathered together his army of bears and monkeys and laboured hard to build a bridge; but at the mention of the Name the ocean of birth and death is dried up; think on this, ye saint! Rama slew Ravan and his family in battle and returned to his own city with Sita; Rama was king and Avadh his royal capital, and gods and sages sang their virtues in melodious strains; but by devoutly thinking on the Name his servants overcome the mighty forces of ignorance without effort and, lost in love, wander in the paths of their own joy; by the grace of the Name no care can touch them, even in a dream.
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