Holy Lake of the Acts of Lord Rama, Part 8


Hanuman Offers Obeisances to Lord Rama
Trichinopoly, c. 1850

Jan 20, 2012 — CANADA (SUN) — A serial presentation of Tulasi das's 'Ramacaritamanasa'.

[Caupai 40.] The glorious Sarayu, that stream of fair renown, flows on to meet the river of the gods, the river of faith in Rama; and with them is united the great and splendid river Sona, pure as the warlike prowess of Rama and his brother. Between the two the heavenly stream of faith flows glorious on with self-control and wisdom, and the three confluent rivers scare away the three afflictions and flow to meet the ocean that is Rama's very self.

The Lake is the Sarayu's source and the Sarayu joins the Ganga; therefore will it purify the hearts and the faithful who hear it. The various stories related here and there are like the groves and gardens on the river banks. The guests at the wedding procession of Uma and Mahesa are like fish, innumerable and of varied kinds; the mirth and merry-making at the birth of Raghubar are the entrancing eddies and ripples on the water. [Doha 40.] The childish sports of the four brothers are quantities of lotus buds of many hues; the good deeds of the king and the queen and their family are bees and waterfowl.

[Caupai 41.] The delightful story of Sita's marriage-choice enhances the river's captivating charm. All the clever questions are the river-boats and the thoughtful answers the skillful boatmen. The conversation that follows the hearing of the story is the company of travelers who tread the river's banks; the wrath of Bhrigunath is the river's strong current, and Rama's noble words are the firmly fashioned ghats.

The wedding festivities of Rama and his younger brothers are the river's swelling flood, blessed and bringing joy to all; those who tremble with joyful rapture when they hear or tell of them are men of pious life who gladly bathe therein. The auspicious preparations for Rama's installation are like the pilgrims who gather to a festival.

Kaikeyi's evil counsel is the water-moss, and sore trouble is its fruitage. [Doha 41.] The acts of Bharat are the sacrifice of prayer, subduing all the countless vices; the sins of which the story tells are the filth in the water and the demerits of the wicked are the cranes and the crows.

Rama Darbar
Trichinopoly, c. 1850

[Caupai 42.] In all six seasons this river of renown is beautiful, at all times very glorious and pure. Siva's marriage to Himalaya's daughter is the winter; the celebration of the Lord's birthday is the pleasant season of dewy days. The story of Rama's wedding is that happy and auspicious king of seasons, spring. Rama's departure to the forest is the intolerable heat of summer, and the tale of his journeying the burning sun and wind. The fierce war with the demons is the season of the rains, a blessing to the gods as rain to the rice-fields. The rule of Rama – an age of happiness, gentle conduct and greatness – is the fair autumn, pure and pleasant. The story of the virtues of Sita, that crowning glory of all faithful wives, is the virtue of this water, incomparable, undefiled; the character of Bharat is its refreshing coolness, ever the same and indescribable. [Doha 42.] The brotherly affection of the four, their looks, their words, their loving intercourse and laughter, these are the sweetness and the fragrance of the water.

[Caupai 43.] My woeful state, humility and lowliness are the extreme shallowness of this fair unsullied stream; marvelous is its water, of healing virtue to the hearer, quenching the thirst of desire and cleansing the soul of its impurity. This water confirms true devotion to Rama and washes away all the sin and sorrow of the Kaliyuga; it drains away the toil of birth and death; it satisfies with the truest satisfaction and overcomes sin and pain and poverty and error. It destroys lust and wrath and pride and ignorance, and encourages sound judgement and detachment. If one reverently bathes in it or drinks of it, sin and affliction are banished from the heart. Those who have not washed their souls in this water are cowards, deceived by these times of evil; wretched creatures are they, like thirsty deer which look on water that is naught but a mirage created by the rays of the sun and turn back disappointed.

[Doha 43a.] Reckoning up the virtues of this goodly water and bathing his soul therein, with thoughts fixed on Bhavani and Samkara, the poet tells the charming story as best he may. [43b.] Now laying the lotus feet of Raghupati on my heart and receiving his gracious aid, I tell of the blessed converse of the two high sages at their meeting.

[Caupai 44.] Bharadvaja the sage lives at Prayaga, utterly devoted to the feet of Rama, an ascetic, perfect in self-control, continence and compassion, very expert in the way of spiritual wisdom. In the month of Magha, when the sun enters the sign of Capricorn, everybody visits Prayaga, the chief place of pilgrimage. Gods and demons, Kinnaras and men all throng reverently to bathe at Triveni. They worship the lotus feet of Madhava and rapturously touch the immortal banyan; and there is Bharadvaja's hermitage, exceeding pure, a very pleasant retreat that delights the souls of high sages. There assemble the sages and seers who come to bathe at Prayaga; early in the morning they bathe with joyful zest and hold converse together on Hari's virtues. [Doha 44.] They discuss the definition of the Absolute, religious observances and the analysis of elements, and tell of faith in God combined with knowledge and detachment.

Wedding of Sita and Rama
Trichinopoly, c. 1830

[Caupai 45.] In this manner they bathe during the whole month of Magha, and then they all return each to his own hermitage. Every year there is great rejoicing, and after bathing when the sun is in Capricorn the companies of sages depart. One day, after bathing throughout the appointed period, all the great sages returned to their retreats; but Bharadvaja clasped the feet of the very wise sage Yajnavalkya and would have him stay. Reverently he washed his lotus feet and set him on a very honourable seat; he worshipped the sage and extolled his glory and thus addressed him in pure and gentle tones: 'Lord, I am troubled by a great doubt, and you hold in your hand all the deep truths of the Veda. I am afraid and ashamed to tell you, but if I do not speak my loss will be great. Lord, there is a saying of the saints, [Doha 45.] and the Vedas, the Puranas and the sages too affirm it, that if a man hides aught from his guru, his soul finds no enlightenment.

[Caupai 46.] This I believe, and so expose my ignorance; dispel it, lord, and be gracious to your servant. Saints, Puranas and Upanisads have sung of the measureless power of the Name of Rama. The immortal Sambhu, Siva, the Blessed Lord, sum of all knowledge and perfection, continually repeats it, and the four kinds of creatures that are in the world win to the highest realm if they die at Kasi; and that too, O prince of sages, is due to the greatness of Rama, for Siva of his compassion instructs them in the power of the Name. I ask you, lord, which Rama is this? Tell me and explain, O treasure-house of grace! One Rama there is, the son of the king of Avadh, and his acts are known to all the world. He suffered untold grief at the loss of his wife, and in his fury slew Ravan in battle.

[Doha 46.] Lord, is that the Rama, or is it some other wise name Tripurari repeats? You are omniscient and the abode of truth; wisely discriminate and tell me.


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