Miracle Plays of Mathura - Ramlila, Part 3

BY: SUN STAFF

Hanuman Shows his Heart
Kalighat, Calcutta, c. 1865


Aug 08, 2011 — CANADA (SUN) — Reprise of a 2007 series on the Miracle Plays of Mathura.

Today we look at an exact transcription of a recording of a 1949 Mathura Ramlila performance. The occasion was the enactment of the Rajgaddi, or coronation of Rama.

After fourteen years of exile, Rama is seated at last upon his rightful throne amidst the rejoicing people of Ayodhya. The devout of Mathura, acting nominally in the role of Rama's loyal Ayodhyan subjects, press upward to the stage to salute their new sovereign.

Rama is thanking his helpers and allies of the late war and dismissing them with gifts. Brahmans chant the Vedas before their king and depart with rich rewards. Brahma and Siva pay their respects and take their leave.


The Ramlila

Chant 1:

Uma's Lord [1] praised Ram's virtues,
And, happy, he went to Kailas.
Then the Lord arranged for the monkeys
All sorts of easeful abodes.

That beauty, that pleasure in meeting,
Speech cannot tell, Lord of Birds. [2]
Sarada, Sesh, Veda describe it; [3]
Such charm is known to Mahes.

Vishishan, contented, arose then - [4]
Took up in his hand a necklace of gems.

Vibhishan:

O see! When my brother Ravan conquered the Ocean, the Ocean gave my brother at that time this necklace of gems.

Chant 2:

What the Treasury of Waters gave to Ravan,
Vibhishan received in turn.
That same pleasing necklace of gems
He dropped upon Janaki's neck.

Vibhishan:

Now I make a presentation of this necklace to the revered queen!

Bystander:

Cry out, 'Victory to King Ram!'

Chant 3:

Its brilliance became so great
The rulers could not gaze on it directly.
It was more glorious there than the concourse of kings;
The hearts of all were charmed to see it.
At that moment Janak's daughter the queen
Looked at Ram and then smiled.
The gracious Ram said, 'Please listen, dear.
Give whatsoever you wish to whomsoever you please.'

Ram:

O Darling, please give this necklace to whomsoever you wish.

Chant 4:

Then the beloved daughter of Janak, hearing the speech,
Took the string of jewels from her neck.
'To whom shall I give this?' she thought in her heart.
She looked in the direction of the Son of the Wind. [5]

Sita:

To whom shall I give this necklace?

Chant 5:

Noting her merciful glance, the Son of the Wind,
Pleased, made a prostration.
That necklace of jewels the daughter of Janak
Dropped around his throat. [6]

Bystander:

Cry out, 'Victory to Queen Sita!'

Chant 6:

Mahavir reflected in his mind,
'There is some great excellence in the necklace.'

Hanuman:

In the necklace which the revered Mother has graciously given me there must surely be some special excellence. Only for this reason has my Mother shown me the favor.

Chant 7:

Soaked in the syrup of love for the Supremely Blissful One,
He began to look at all the gems.
'Save light, there's nothing else in it
to appeal to the hearts of devotees!'

Hanuman:

The revered Mother has doubtless given this out of kindness. But in it, apart from light, no other thing is visible to which the minds of devotees should be attracted.

Chant 8:

'Within the gem there must be some kernel.'
Then he broke one pearl.

Hanuman:

But a thing given by Mother cannot be without importance. Therefore there surely must be some kernel inside these gems. I am going to break one bead first, and see. (He crushes one bead between his teeth. Since the 'gems' are grapes, this is not difficult.)

Chant 9:

He began to scrutinize the inside of it.
Seeing this, people were soaked in astonishment.

Hanuman:

Inside this, nothing is visible but luster. Just as there is luster outside, there is luster inside too, but far more than that.

Chant 10:

Then stout Hanuman broke another.
Seeing it to be without kernel, he discarded it.

Hanuman:

There's nothing in this, either!

Chant 11:

In this way he breaks one pearl after another.
It gives great pain to the multitude of bystanders.

Hanuman:

O look! Why is Hanuman here breaking this necklace of gems in this way?

Chant 12:

They began to say, each in his own mind,
'To one who has no fitness
Please do not give such a thing,
Or see the same sad state of affairs!'
Then some king cried out,
'What are you doing, Hanuman?
Why are you breaking the necklace -
The beautiful jewels - O Wise One?'

Bystander:

O Hanuman, why are you breaking up and throwing away a necklace of such beautiful and priceless jewels?

Chant 13:

Hearing the speech, the Son of the Wind said,
'I am looking for the joy-giving name of Ram.
The Name is not to be seen in this;
That is why I am breaking it, O brother.'

Hanuman:

Brother, I am looking in it for the name of the joy-giving Ram. The name of my Lord is not visible in it, brother. That's why I'm breaking it.

Chant 14:

Someone said, 'One does not hear anywhere
That the name of Ram is in all things!'

Bystander:

O Hanuman, the name of Ram is not inside everything, and we have never with our own ears heard anything to that effect anywhere!

Chant 15:

Said the Son of the Wind, 'What hasn't the Name in it
Isn't of any use at all.'

Hanuman:

O brother, that thing is not of any use in which there is not the name of my Lord!

Chant 16:

The same person said, 'Listen, O Abode of Strength!
Does the name of Ram exist in your body?'

Same Bystander:

O Hanuman, you Abode of Strength, is the name of the Lord Ram written even in your heart?

Chant 17:

Hearing the speech, the Son of the Wind said,
'Certainly Hari's noble name is in my body!'

Hanuman:

Yes, the name of the supremely noble Lord must surely be in my body!

Chant 18:

Having spoken thus, the ape tore open his own heart.
On every hair's breadth were the infinite names of the Lord.
Seeing the name of Ram stamped everywhere,
All became astonished at heart.
There was a rain of flowers, shouts of 'Victory!' in the sky.
Raghunath looked at him with gracious glance.
Hanuman's body became again hard as the thunderbolt. [7]
At once the Lord rose up;
With his body atingle and tears in his eyes
He took Hanuman to his heart.


FOOTNOTES:

[1] Epithet of Siva, Uma's husband.
[2] Garuda, to whom the story is being narrated.
[3] Great fluency is popularly ascribed to these beings: to Sarasvati, goddess of speech; to Adisesha, the primeval serpent; and to the personified Vedas.
[4] This and all subsequent lines are an interpolation in the text of Tulsidas.
[5] Hanuman.
[6] The story to this point is found in the Ramayana of Valmiki, ed. Kasinath Pandurang Parab (Bombay, Tukaram Javaji 1902), VI.128.780-83, p. 967; and in the Adhyatmaramayana, Lankakhand, 16.5-8 (Calcutta Sanskrit Series, No. XI, 1935), II, p. 895. The source of the subsequent episodes is doubtful or unknown to the writer. The cracking of the jewels between Januman's teeth may have been suggested by Jvalaprasad Misra's edition of the Ramcaritmanas, pp. 831 f., wherein Vibhishan at Ram's bidding, showers raiment and gems down upon the monkeys, who stuff the previous things into their mouths.
[7] Hindi simile regards the thunderbolt as the ultimate in hardness, rather than in speed and force.


Source: 'The Miracles Plays of Mathura' by Norvin Hein


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