Holy Lake of the Acts of Lord Rama, Part 24
BY: SUN STAFF
Apr 10, 2012 CANADA (SUN) A serial presentation of Tulasi das's 'Ramacaritamanasa'.
[Ed. Note: Readers who have not been following this serial presentation from the start are encouraged to read the comments offered as a preface to this early segment.
[Caupi 141] 'Now, daughter of the Mountain King, hear yet another cause. I tell you at length this wonderful story to explain why the [ ] Absolute became king of the city of Kosala. That Lord, whom you beheld roaming the forest with his brother, clad in hermit's garb, at the sight of whose acts, Bhavani, when you were Sati, you became as one distraught -- and still the shadow of that madness rests upon you -- hearken to his acts that heal the sick fancies of error. I shall relate to you all the mysterious deeds he did in that incarnation, according to the measure of my understanding.'
When Uma heard Samkara's words, Bharadvaja, she was embarrassed and smiled affectionately; and again he on whose banner is blazoned the bull began to tell for what reason the incarnation took place. [Doha 141] That same story, great sage, I tell you in full; hearken attentively; the glorious story of Rama cleanses the Kaliyuga of its defilement and brings blessing to men.
[Caupi 142] 'Manu Svayambhuva and Satarupa, they from whom sprang the incomparable race of men, were a wedded pair, perfect in conjugal fidelity and virtuous conduct, whose rectitude scripture extols to this day. King Uttanapada was their son, and his son was Dhruva, Hari's votary. The name of Manu's younger son was Priyavrata, exalted in Veda and Purana. Their daughter, again, was Devahuti, the beloved wife of Kardama the sage, and of her womb was born the Primal Deity as Kapila, lord of grace and compassion. He it was who brought to light the Samkhya system, Kapila the blessed, skilled in the analysis of elements. That Manu reigned for many years and upheld in every way the commandments of the Lord.
[Sundarakanda or Soratha 142] 'But life in a palace does not conduce to detachment from worldly affairs; he grew old and felt very sad at heart that his life had passed without devotion to Hari.
[Caupi 143] So he constrained his son to succeed to the throne and himself went with his wife to the woods. The forest called Naimisa is a very sacred spot, a holy place that grants perfection to the aspirant, and there dwell companies of sages and adepts. Thither with happy heart went king Manu. As the resolute pair walked along the road, they looked like Wisdom and Faith in bodily form. They reached the bank of the Gomati, and gladly bathed in its clear stream. Adepts and hermits and wise men came to meet them, for they recognized in him a kingly seer, upholder of righteousness. The sages reverently escorted them to all the most noted places of pilgrimage. Their frames were emaciated and they wore hermit's dress, and they were for ever listening to the recital of the Puranas in the assembly of the saints.
[Doha 143] 'Husband and wife devoutly repeated the spell of twelve syllables with thoughts firmly fixed on the lotus feet of Vasudeva. [Caupi 144] They fed on vegetables, fruit and roots, and meditated on the Absolute, True Being, Consciousness and Bliss. Next, they began to undergo penance, for Hari's sake; they gave up roots and fruit and subsisted on water. Ever in their hearts was a yearning to see with their own eyes the Supreme Lord, impersonal, indivisible, without end or beginning, whom mystics contemplate, whom the Veda defines as "Not thus, not thus", pure delight, without attribute or equal, from a part of whom are born many a Sambhu, Brahma and Visnu, the Blessed Lord. "So mighty a Lord," they thought, "subjects himself to his servants and for the sake of the faithful assumes in sport a body. If this be true, as scripture declares, our desire will be fulfilled."
[Doha 144] 'Thus passed six thousand years while they lived on water, and then for seven thousand years they subsisted on air. [Caupi 145] Next, for ten thousand years they even gave up air and remained, each of them, standing on one leg.
'When Brahma, Hari and Hara beheld their interminable penance, they came to Manu many times and tempted them in many ways, asking them to claim a boon; but, utterly resolute, they could not be moved. Their bodies were now mere skeletons, but their minds felt not the least pain. The omniscient Lord recognized the king and queen -- ascetics devoted to none other -- to be his true servants, and from heaven there came a voice, very solemn and full of ambrosial grace, saying, "Ask, ask a boon!" When this glorious voice that would quicken the dead passed through their ears and entered their hearts, their bodies became strong and beautiful as though they had only just left their homes.
[Doha 145] 'When they heard the ambrosial voice, they trembled all over with rapture. Manu prostrated himself and spoke, unable to contain his devotion: [Caupi 146] "Hear me, thou who art the tree of Paradise and Heavenly Cow to thy servants! Brahma, Hari and Hara worship the dust of thy feet. Easy of access art thou to those who serve thee, bringer of every joy, protector of the suppliant and Lord of all creation. Friend of the desolate, if thou lovest us, graciously grant this boon; on that true form of thine that dwells in the heart of Siva and for love of which sages do their endeavour, the form that sails like a swan on the holy lake of Bhusundi's mind -- on that for which the Vedas extol as both personal and impersonal, graciously grant, O healer of they suppliants' woe, that we may feast our eyes!"
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