Holy Lake of the Acts of Lord Rama, Part 15


Rama and Lakshmana Receive Envoys
Malwa, c. 1835

Feb 16, 2012 — CANADA (SUN) — A serial presentation of Tulasi das's 'Ramacaritamanasa'.

And now I tell you what happened next. When the gods heard all these tidings, they went together to Vaikuntha, and with Visnu and Brahma drew near to Siva, the gracious Lord. Each severally praised him, and he who bears the moon upon his brow was pleased. Said the ocean of grace, on whose banner is blazoned the bull, 'Tell me, immortals, why you have come.'

'Lord', said Brahma, 'you know the thoughts of every heart, yet, master, devotion impels me to make my prayer. [Doha 88] In the hearts of all the gods, O Samkara, is this one earnest desire; Lord, we long to see with our own eyes your marriage rites performed. [Caupai 89] O subduer of Love's pride, so act that we may feast our eyes on this glad ceremony! O ocean of grace, it was a kindly deed to grant a boon to Rati after burning up Kama. Lord, it is the nature of the great to show mercy after punishment. Parvati has performed an endless penance; now take her to yourself.'

When he heard Brahma's petition and remembered the words of the Lord, Siva was content and said, 'So let it be!' Then the gods beat their drums and rained down flowers and cried, 'Glory, glory to the Lord of heaven!' Then judging it to be the proper time, the Seven Seers came and Brahma at once sent them to the palace of the Mountain King; and first they approached Bhavani and spoke to her soft words, full of guile: [Doha 89] 'Last time you would not heed our words but only Narada's advice; now your vow has proved vain, for Mahesa has burnt up Kama!'

Rama and Laksmana in the Grasp of a Demon
Malwa, c. 1650

[Caupai 90] When she heard this, Bhavani smiled and said, 'True indeed, wise sages! You image that Sambhu has only now burnt up Kama and until this day has been a prey to desire. But I believe that Siva has always been an ascetic, unborn, irreproachable, free from lust and sensual desire; and if in this belief I have offered Siva my loving service, in thought and word and deed, then hearken, high sages! The gracious Lord will bring my vow to true fruition. When you said that Hara had burnt up Kama, you were displaying profound ignorance. Fire, my good sirs, is of such a nature that snow can never approach it; if it comes near it, it is sure to be destroyed; and so it is with Kama and Mahesh.'

[Doha 90] Right glad were the sages when they heard her words and marked her love and trust. They bowed the head to Bhavani and went to Himalaya.

Rama and Laksmana Defeat Demon with Monkey Allies
Malwa, c. 1650

[Caupai 91] They told the king of the mountains the whole story. He was very sad when he heard that Kama had been burnt, but when they told him of the boon granted to Rati, Himalaya took comfort. Thinking on Sambhu's sovereign power, he summoned the great sages with reverence, and asking them to choose an auspicious day and planet and hour, soon fixed a date for the wedding according to Vedic rule. He then gave the horoscope to the Seven Seers and clasping their feet besought them to be gracious. They went and gave the horoscope to Brahma, and when he read it he could not contain himself for loving joy. Brahma read out the appointed date to all, and all the sages and assembled gods rejoiced. Flowers rained down from heaven and music sounded, and in every quarter festive vessels were prepared. [Doha 91] All the gods made ready their various steeds and chariots; fair and auspicious omens were seen and Apsaras sang their songs.

[Caupai 92] Sambhu's attendants dressed him for the wedding; on his knot of matted hair they set a marriage-crown of snakes. Serpents were the earrings and bracelets he wore, with ash-smeared body and lion-skin for dress. The moon was on his noble forehead and Ganga on his head; three eyes he had, his sacred thread a snake. Poison was on his throat and on his breast a necklace of human heads; a gracious home of blessing in unblest guise! And there were the trident and the tabor glorious in his hand; he rode upon a bull to the sound of music.

Rama Procession
Malwa, c. 1690

When they saw Siva, the gods' wives smiled. 'Nowhere in the world,' they said, 'is a bride to match this groom!' Visnu and Brahma and all the other gods mounted their several vehicles and joined the marriage procession. Naught could equal the splendor of the company of gods, yet the procession was not worthy of the bridegroom!

[Doha 92] Then Visnu summoned all the guardians of the quarters and said with a smile, 'Do you all march separately, each with his own train. [Caupai 93] Friends, this procession is not worthy of the bridegroom! Will you expose yourselves to ridicule when you enter a strange city?'

The gods smiled at Visnu's words and marched on separately, each with his own troops. Mahesa smiled to himself and thought, 'Hari must ever be indulging in sarcasm!' When he heard his dear Lord's loving words, he sent Bhringi and summoned all his hosts. At Siva's command they all came and bowed their heads before their lord's lotus feet. Siva laughed when he saw his retinue riding all kinds of steeds and appearing in all kinds of forms. Some had no mouths and some had many; some had no feet or hands and some had many; some had a number of eyes and some had none; some were stout and sturdy and some thin and weak.

Rama and Laksmana find Jatayu
Malwa, c. 1630

[Chanda 7] Some were thin and some were stout, some looked pure and some impure; frightful ornaments they wore and carried skulls in their hands, and all were smeared with fresh blood. Their faces were the faces of donkeys and dogs and pigs and jackals; who could count the countless forms of hosts assumed? All kinds of spirits there were and goblins and witches in troops, indescribable!

[Sloka 93] All the ghosts were dancing and singing songs in high glee, very repulsive to look at and uttering all sorts of outlandish cries.


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