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Volume One Issue One
A Quarterly Publication
A quarterly publication An International Journal Of Rama vigyan sarovar
Mystical Insights into Ramayana ©
An International Journal of Rama Vigyan Sarovar and
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Quarterly International Journal – Rama Vigyan Sarovar
Title Message of Editor Sri Rama Raksha Strotam Introduction to Rama Vigyan Sarovar Kamba Ramayanam Krittivas Ramayanum Adhyatma Ramayana Sri Rama Gita Avadhoota Gita Valmiki Ramayana Yoga Vasistha Ananda Ramayana Agastaya Ramayana Tulsikrit Ramayana The Way of Sri Rama The Abode of Sri Rama Page iv 1 5 7 10 11 15 17 20 32 37 40 50 70 74
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Quarterly International Journal – Rama Vigyan Sarovar
Message of the Editor
Swami Anand Neelambar
ri Ram, the very name is saturated with divinity. Ram is not just an ideal but he is a being who played the role of a human and played it so totally that he transformed his humanity into divinity. Swami Vivekananda says “to be truly human is to be divine”. The story of this magnanimous character Ram was first recorded in Sanskrit by sage Valmiki. Valmiki went through a radical revolution in consciousness and that made him the worthy bard of the epic Ramayana. Many other versions and editions of the story have come into existence since then. Swami Vivekananda says that as long as mankind exists the story of Ram and Sita will continue to inspire humanity. Sri Aurobindo says the Ramayana “has been an agent of almost incalculable power in the moulding of the cultural mind of India: it has presented to it to be loved and imitated in figures like Rama and Sita, made so divinely and with such a revelation of reality as to become objects of enduring cult and worship, or like Hanuman, Lakshmana, Bharata, the living human image of its ethical ideals.” Our attempt in Rama Vigyan Sarovar is to present a spiritual and mystical dimension to the story and to unravel the deeper inner imports of the text – Ramayana. We are especially intrigued by the Ram- Kaikeyi Samvad. In this discussion Ram calls Kaikeyi as his ‘janani’. Janani is one who gives you birth. His actual mother is Kausilya but why does he call Kaikeyi as his mother and not just mother as the title can be used for various persons of that disposition, but he says janani – one who gives me birth. Kaikeyi actually was the one because of who Ram could have executed the reason for his mission. The real spiritual works of Ram started with his journey to the forest – that was initiated by Kaikeyi. One of the more popular editions of the Ramayana is by Goswami Tulsidasa. Tulsidas‟ Ramcharitmanas is “a long chant of religious devotion.” Tulsidas‟ famed Hindi Ramayana “combines with a singular mastery lyric intensity, romantic richness and the sublimity of the epic imagination.” – Sri Aurobindo. Tulsidasa made the story of Ram available to “common people”. The era of bigotry, fanaticism and bias has been long over and has not place in the spiritual realm. If we continue to believe that our way is the only way then we can be assured we are not on
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Quarterly International Journal – Rama Vigyan Sarovar the spiritual path. We always encourage all our readers to persevere in any path that they choose. Our path is like an aashiyaan – an oasis where a weary traveller can come and have an intoxicating elixir and linger for a while until he has rested to continue the mystical sojourn on the pathless path to life eternal. Our way is both unique and universal. We present old wine in new bottles because the mystic wine is the same and causes the same effect when drunk. We are merely preparing a menu that suits the appetite of the seeker. The text lends itself to allegory but the allegory is not of personal whim or fancy. It has a mystical synergy. With our mental caprice we can concoct a meaning and interpretation. This fabrication would be a travesty of truth. The truth is hidden from the unscrupulous and revealed only to the sincere seekers who have risen above the moral dualities and who have adopted the path of the sannyasin – divine outlaw, one who has gone beyond the laws of mortal men. Our singular approach is to give hints of the mystical and point towards the moon (in this case the Sun). Truth is such that is cannot be said directly, that is the very nature of truth. We can only give hints and indicate towards some dimension beyond the known. The relation of Gayatri to Rama is that Rama is a descendent of the Sun Dynasty, and Gayatri (Savitri) is the daughter of the Sun God. Hence a direct bond is established. Also the guru of Rama is Vishvamitra who got his siddhis from the Sun God through recitation of the Gayatri Mantra. The demon king Ravana is a much misunderstand and misrepresented character of the Ramayana. His role cannot easily be unravelled without the „intuitive eyes of knowledge‟ – chakshyumati vidya. “If I cannot be Rama, then I would be Ravana, for he is the dark side of Vishnu.” – Sri Aurobindo. One encounters truth along the sojourn to life eternal. Then one comes to understand why the truth cannot be said. A truth that can be said is not truth. Truth is silence. When all the noise and chatter of the mind, when the waves of thought have receded into the vast eternity of love‟s mute gestures, truth shines like a thousand sun – Gayatri illumines the intellect and the eyes of knowledge open to see the Reality as it with no mind, no thought , no feeling – this is the truth . Ramayana is the path to truth. Rama is the incarnate truth. Aham Rama Asmi – I am Rama.
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Quarterly International Journal – Rama Vigyan Sarovar
he hymn called Sri Ramaraksha Stotram that has been praised by all as a remedial measure for good health, peace and bliss. Chanting of the Divine name and prayers like Ramaraksha Stotram has been hailed as the unfailing means to liberation in the spiritual tradition. This prayer Stotram is unmatched as it is not only the name of the Lord, the supreme Rama Parabrahman during his incarnation as Dasaradha’s son, but also as incantation which is capable of delivering man from bondage. The author of this hymn is Budhakousika. The Deity is Sri Sita Ramachandra and the metre is anushtup. The energy force is Sita central point is Hanuman and the usage is recitation. Aasya Shriramrakshastrotamantrasya budhkaushik hrishi | ShriSitaramcandro devta anushtup Chanda: Sita shakti | Shriman hanuman keelkam ShriRamcandapreetyeRthe | Ramrakshastotrajape vinyOgah ||
Dhyaaedaajaanu baahum dhyaanam dhrit shar dhanusham badhhpadmaasanastham | Peetam vaaso vasaanam navkamaldalspardhinetram prasannam | Vamaankaarooddh sita mukhkamal milallochanam neerdaabham | Naanaalankaar deeptam dadhat murujataamandalam Ramchandram ||
Quarterly International Journal – Rama Vigyan Sarovar
Charitam Raghunaathasya shut koti pravistaram | Ekaikam aksharam punsaam mahaa paatak naashanam || 1 || Dhyaatvaa nilotpal shyaamam Ramam rajeev lochanam | Jaanaki lakshmanopetam jataa mukut manditam || 2 || Saasitoor dhanurbaan paanim naktam charaantakam | Swalilayaa jagat traatumaavirbhuntam ajam vibhum || 3 || Ram rakshaam patthet praagyaha paapaghaneem sarv kaamdam | Shiro may Raaghavah paatu bhaalam Dasharathaatmjah || 4 || Kausalyeyo Drishau Paatu Vishvaamitra priyah shrutee | Ghraanam paatu makha traataa mukham saumitrivatsala || 5 || Jihvaam vidyaa nidhih paatu kanttham bharat vanditah | Skandhau divyaayudhah paatu bhujau bhagnesh kaarmukah || 6 || Karau seetapatih paatu hridayam jaamadagnyajit | Madhyam paatu khara dhwansi naabhim jaambvadaashrayah || 7 || Sugriveshah katee paatu sakthini hanumat prabhuh | Uru Raghoot tamah paatu rakshakul vinaashkrit || 8 || Jaahnuni Setukrit Paatu janghey dasha mukhaantakah | Paadau vibhishan shreedah paatu Ramokhilam vapuh ||9 || Etaam Ram balopetaam rakshaam yah sukriti patthet | Sa chiraayuh sukheeputri vijayi vinayi bhavet || 10 || Paataal bhutalavyom chaari nash chadmchaarinah | Na drashtumapi shaktaaste rakshitam ramnaambhih || 11 || Rameti Rambhadreti Ramchandreti vaa smaran | Naro na lipyate paapeir bhuktim muktim chavindati || 12 || Jagat jaitreik mantrein Ram naam naabhi rakshitam | Yah kantthe dhaareytasya karasthaah sarv siddhyah ||13 || Vajra panjar naamedam yo Ramkavacham smaret | Avyaa hataagyah sarvatra labhate jai mangalam || 14 ||
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Quarterly International Journal – Rama Vigyan Sarovar Aadisht vaan yathaa swapne Ram rakshaimaam harah | Tathaa likhit vaan praatah prabu dho budh kaushikah || 15 || Aaraamah kalpa vrikshaanam viraamah sakalaapadaam | Abhiraam strilokaanam Ramahi Shrimaansah nah prabhuh || 16 || Tarunau roop sampannau sukumaarau mahaa balau | Pundreek vishaalaakshau cheerkrishnaa jinaambarau || 17 || Fala moolaa shinau daantau taapasau brahma chaarinau | putrau dashrathasyetau bhraatarau Ram Lakshmanau ||18 || Sharanyau sarv satvaanaam shreshtthau sarv dhanush mataam | Rakshah kul nihantaarau traayetaam no raghuttamau || 19 || Aattasajjadhanushaa vishusprishaa vakshyaashug nishang sanginau | Rakshnaaya mum Ram lakshmanaa vagratah pathi sadaiv gachhtaam || 20 || Sannadah kavachi khadagi chaap baan dharo yuvaa | Gachhan manorathaa nashch Ramah paatu salakshmanah || 21 || Ramo daashraltih shooro lakshmanaaru charo balee | Kaakutsthah purushah purnah kausalyeyo raghuttmah || 22 || Vedaant vedyo yagneshah puraan puru shottamah | Jaanaki vallabhah shrimaan prameya paraakramah || 23 || Ityetaani japan nityam madabhaktah shraddhyaan vitah | Ashvamedhaadhikam punyam sampraapnoti na sanshayah || 24 || Ramam doorvaadal shyaamam padmaaksham peet vaasasam | Stuvanti naambhirdivyern te sansaarino naraah || 25 || Ramam Lakshman poorvajam raghuvaram sitapatim sundaram | Kaakutstham karunarnvam gunnidhim viprapriyam dhaarmikam || 26 || Raajendram satyasandham Dashrath tanayam shyaamalam shaantmurtium Vande Lokaabhiraamam Raghukultilakam Raghavam Raavanaarim | Ramaay Rambhadraay Ramchandraay Vedhasey Raghunaathaay naathaay sitayah paataye namah || 27 || Shri Ram Ram Raghunandan Ram Ram Shri Ram Ram Bharataagraj Ram Ram Shri Ram Ram Runkarkash Ram Ram Shri Ram Ram Sharanam bhav Ram Ram || 28 ||
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Quarterly International Journal – Rama Vigyan Sarovar Shri Ram Chandra Charan Shri Ram Chandra Charanau manasaa smaraami Shri Ram Chandra Charanau vachasaa grinaami Shri Ram Chandra Charanau Shirasaa namaami Shri Ram Chandra Charanau Sharanam prapadye || 29 || Maataa Ramo Matpitaa. Ram Chandrah Swaami Ramo matsakhaa Ram Chandrah Sarvasvam may Ram Chandra Dayaalur Naanyam jaane naive jaane na jaane || 30 || Dakshiney Lakshmano yasya vaame cha janakaatmajaa | Purato marutir yasya tama vande Raghunandanam || 31 || Lokaabhi Ramam rana rangdheeram Rajeev netram Raghuvansh naatham Kaarunya roopam karunaa karantam Shri Ram Chandram Sharanam prapadye || 32 || Manojavam maarut tulya vegam Jitendriyam buddhi mataam varishttham Vaataatmjam vaanar youth mukhyam Shri Ram dootam Sharanam prapadye || 33 || Koojantam Ram raameti madhuram madhuraaksharam | Aaruhya Kavitaa Shakhaam vande Vaalmikilokilam || 34 || Aapdaampahar taaram daataaram sarvsampdaam | Lokaabhiramam Shri Ramam bhooyo bhooyo namaamya hum || 35 || Bharjanam bhav beejaanaam arjanam sukh sampdaam | Tarjanam yum dootaanaam Ram Rameti garjanam || 36 || Ramo Rajmani sadaa vijayate Ramam Ramesham bhaje Ramenaa bhihtaa nishaacharchamoo Ramaay tasmai namah| Ramannaasti paraayanam partaram Ramasya daasosmyaham Rame Chittalayah sadaa bhavtu me bho Ram maamudhhar || 37 || Ram Rameti Rameti Ramey Rame manoramey | Sahastra naam tatulyam Ram naam varaananey || 38 || Eti Shree Ram Raksha Stotram
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Quarterly International Journal – Rama Vigyan Sarovar
aapadaam apahartaaram daataaram sarvasaMpadaam.h . lokaabhiraamam shriiraamam bhuuyo bhuuyo namaamyaham.h .. ‘I bow again and again to Sri Rama who removes (all) obstacles and grants all wealth and pleases all.’ This is a salutation offered at the start of reading any scripture as per tradition. This prayer is for removing all obstacles encountered. The prefix Sri to Rama indicates that Rama is always accompanied by Sri, His consort Sita in the form of goddess Sri Maha Lakshmi
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Quarterly International Journal – Rama Vigyan Sarovar Unlike International Journal of Gita Dhyan Sadhana this journal is quite different. In case of the GDS source was the Bhagavad Gita. It was relatively easy to write on the text and the methodology of the transformation. The entire text is the methodology of transformation. The Rama Vigyan Sarovar is relatively a difficult subject though it seems easy. Here we are dealing with the portrayal of the Life of Sri Rama and incarnation of Sri Vishnu. The problem gets accentuated because the character of Sri Rama has been narrated by different poets and sages. The first portrayal has been done by sage poet Valmiki. This narration is in Sanskrit language and is known as Ramayana. The other most popular widely known and adored narration is by Tulsidas. These are two most popular versions. However out of the two Tulsi – Krit – portrayals popularly known as Rama Charit Manas has been composed in the language of the people and can be musically composed as well. Valmiki Ramayana, Adhyatma Ramayana, Vasishta Ramayana, Ananda Ramayana, Agasthya Ramayana in Sanskrit, Ranganatha Ramayana in Telugu, Kamba Ramayana in Tamil, Tulsi Ramayana or Ramacharitamanas in Hindi, Kirtivasa Ramayana in Bengali, and Ezuthachan’s Adhyatma Ramayana in Malayalam are some of the other well-known versions. Below are a few of the most prominent Sanskrit versions of the Ramayana. Some primarily recount Valmiki’s narrative, while others focus more on peripheral stories and or philosophical expositions: 1. Adhyatma Ramayana is extracted from the Brahmananda Purana, traditionally ascribed to Vyasa. 2. Ramacharitmanas of Tulsidas in Awadhi draws inspiration from Adhyatma Ramayanai. While the Valmiki Ramayana emphasizes Rama’s human nature, the Adhyatam Ramayana tells the story from the perspective of his divinity. Tulsi-krit composition is organized into seven Kandas, parallel to Valmiki’s. 3. Vasistha Ramayana (more commonly known as attributed to Valmiki. It is principally a dialogue which Vasistha advances many of the principle includes many anecdotes and illustrative stories, story of Rama in detail. Yoga Vasistha) is traditionally between Vasistha and Rama in tenets of Advaita Vedanta. It but does not recount Valmiki’s
4. Laghu Yoga Vasishtha, by Abhinanda of Kashmir, is an abbreviated version of the Yoga Vasistha containing 6000 sutras. 5. Ananda Ramayana is traditionally attributed to Valmiki. While it briefly recounts the traditional story of Rama, it is composed primarily of stories peripheral, though
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Quarterly International Journal – Rama Vigyan Sarovar related, to Valmiki’s narrative. These include Ravana’s abduction of Kausalya and Rama’s installment of the Shiva Lingam at Rameswaram. 6. Agastya Ramayana is also traditionally attributed to Valmiki. 7. Adbhuta Ramayana, traditionally attributed to Valmiki, includes related stories of Rama. Its emphasis is on the role of Sita, and includes an expanded story of the circumstances of her birth as well as an account of her defeat of Ravana’s older brother, also known as Ravana but with 1000 heads. The story of Ramayana is also recounted within other Sanskrit texts, including: the Mahabharata where in the Ramokhyana Parva of the Vana Parva this description is found; Bhagavata Purana contains a concise account of Rama’s story in its ninth skandha; brief versions also appear in the Vishnu Purana as well as in the Agni Purana. An eleventh century Sanskrit play entitled Mahanataka by Hanumat relates the story of Rama in nine, ten, or fourteen acts, depending on recension. For all these works on the saga of Rama, Ramayana authored by Valmiki who is called Aadi Kavi has been the basis which is called Aadi Kavya.
The original version of Ramayana was written by Sage Valmiki. This epic of 24,000 verses tells of a Raghuvamsa prince, Rama of Ayodhya, whose wife Sita is abducted by Ravana, a mighty emperor. In Hinduism Rama is the Seventh incarnation of Lord Vishnu, one of the Hindu holy trinity (Brahma and Shiva completing the trinity). The Ramavataram or Kamba Ramayanam of Kambar is an epic of about 11,000 stanzas as opposed to Valmiki’s 24000 couplets. The Rama-avataram or Rama-kathai as it was originally called was accepted into the holy precincts in the presence of Vaishnava Acharya Nathamuni. Kamba Ramayana is not a translation of the Sanskrit epic by Valmiki, but an original retelling of the story of the God Rama. The poetic work is well known for its similes.
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Quarterly International Journal – Rama Vigyan Sarovar Legend has it that the entire episode was written in one night by Lord Ganesha. Ganesha is said to have written the poems that Kamban dictated to him during the night, as Kamban procrastinated the work till the day before the deadline set by the King. There is also a legend that Ottakuthar, an eminent Tamil poet and a contemporary of Kamban also composed Ramayanam. Tradition has it that Ottakoothar was ahead of Kambar as the former had already finished five (5) Cantos but when the king asked for an update, Kambar, a master of words, lied that he was already working on the Setu bandhalam, upon which Ottakoothar feeling dejected threw away all his work. Feeling guilty, Kambar recovered the last two chapters of Ottakoothar's composition and added into his own. Bala Kaandam, Sundara Kaandam, Yudha kaandam, Ayodhya Kaandam are four main parts of six parts called Kaandam in Kambaramayanam.
Many Tamil poets, statesmen, kings, common people have praised Kambar for his Kamba Ramayanam which has more than 10,000 songs forming a greatest epic of Tamil. Kambaramayanam has more than 45,000 lines of sweetest phrases and Poems we could ever see. Often poets would say that, the mill in his house would also sing poem. Such is his ability to catch minds. Also he is so special in singing poems under ‘viruthapa’, One of the ‘kurunila paa’, central themes of poem. Ramavataram popularly referred to as Kamba Ramayanam a Tamil epic written by Kambar during the 12th century is another portrayal of Sri Rama. Based on Valmiki’s Ramayana in Sanskrit, the story describes the life of King Rama of Ayodhya. However, Ramavatharam differs from the Sanskrit original in many aspects - both in spiritual concepts and in the specifics of the story line. This historic work is considered by Tamil scholars as well as the general public as one of the greatest literary works in Tamil literature. Kamban wrote this epic with the patronage of Thiruvennai Nallur Sadayappa Vallal, a Pannai kula chieftain. In gratitude to his patron, Kambar references his name once in every 1000 verses. The epic is quite well known, both in the Tamil literary world and in the Hindu spiritual world, for the colorfulness of its poetry and for its religious value. The book is divided into six chapters, called Kandam. 1. Bala Kandam (Chapter: Childhood) 2. Ayodhya Kandam (Chapter: Ayodhya) 3. Aranya Kandam (Chapter: Forest) 4. Kishkinta Kandam (Chapter: Kishkintha) 5. Sundara Kandam (Chapter: Beautiful) 6. Yutha Kandam (Chapter: War)
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Quarterly International Journal – Rama Vigyan Sarovar The Kandams are further divided into 123 sections called Padalam in Tamil. These 123 sections contain approximately 12,000 verses of the epic.
As with many historic compilations, it was very difficult to discard the interpolations and addendum or supplement or additions which have been added over a period of time to the original. This task was taken up a committee of scholars headed by T. P. Meenakshi Sundaram called the Kamban Kazhagam (Kamban Academy). The compilation published by this committee in 1976 is what is used as the standard today.
Kambar’s use of Virutham - Tempo and Santham - Tune in various verses is effective in bringing out the emotion and mood for storytelling. He achieves the Virutham and Santham by effective choice of words. This epic is read by many Hindus during prayers. In some households the entire epic is read once during the Tamil Month of Aadi. It is also read in Hindu Temples and other religious associations. This epic is evidence that worship of Rama started in Tamil Nadu. On many occasions, Kambar talks about surrendering to Rama, who is a manifestation of Vishnu himself. The chapter Sundara Kandam is considered quite auspicious and is the most popular. The chapter talks about the hardships faced by the main characters in the epic, their practice of restraint, and their hopes for a better tomorrow. Kambar belonged to the Ochchan or Occhan caste, traditionally nadaswaram players in southern India. But he was brought up in the household of a wealthy farmer in Vennai Nellur in south India. The Chola king having heard of this talented bard, summoned him to his court and honored him with the title of Kavi Chakravarthi or The Emperor of Poets. Kambar flourished in Therazhundur, a village in the culturally rich Thanjavur District in the modern state of Tamil Nadu in South India. Kambar was a great scholar of India’s two ancient and rich languages, Sanskrit and Tamil. Mahavidwan R. Raghava Iyengar in a scholarly biography, Kavichakravarty Kambar writes in detail about this 12th century poet. According to tradition, Kambar’s son, Ambikapathi was put to death cruelly for having fallen in love with the King’s daughter and Kambar himself had to flee but only after he paid back in kind by killing his only son. In his old age, he was obliged to support himself doing manual labor. He was then supported and patronized by his friend Vallal Sadaiyappa Mudaliar.
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Another version is by Bengali poet Krittivas and it is called Krittivas Ramayanum. Krittivasi Ramayan - Bengali: or Krittibasi Ramayan or Sri Ram Panchali th Bengali: , composed by 15 century Bengali poet Krittibas Ojha, is a translation of the Ramayana into Bengali, which represents the first translation of the Ramayana into any North Indian language other than Sanskrit. Written in the traditional Ramayan Panchali form of Middle Bengali Literature, the Krittivasi Ramayana is not just a rewording of the original Indian epic, but a vivid depiction of the society and culture of Bengal in the middle ages. Krittivas Ojha (1381-1461) medieval translator-poet, was indeed first to translate the Sanskrit Ramayana. He is said to have been born in the village of Phulia near Premtali in the district of Rajshahi or in the district of Nadia. His father, Banamali Ojha, and paternal grandfather, Murari Ojha, were both well-versed in the scriptures. After completing his early education, Krttivas travelled to north Bengal at the age 12 to study under the religious scholars of Varendra. He then proceeded to the court of the king of Gauda, hoping to become a royal pundit. There he recited various verses to the king. According to some scholars, the king of Gauda was Raja Ganesh (1415-18), according to others he was Sultan Jalaluddin Mahmud Shah (1418-31). All agree, however, that the king of Gaud Gaureswar was very pleased to hear the verses and honored the poet with different kind of gifts. He then requested the poet to compose the Ramayana. Accordingly, Krttivas wrote the first Bangla Ramayana based on the Sanskrit Ramayana of Valmiki, in payar metre, a metrical system in which each line consists of fourteen letters or syllables. Krttivas’s Ramayana was first printed in five volumes from the serampore mission press in 1802-3. Subsequently, in 1830-34, under the editorship of Jaygopal Tarkalankar, a second edition was published in two volumes. Of all the editions of the Ramayana published so far, the first Serampore edition is considered to be the best. Many other writers composed the Ramayana in Bangla, but failed to equal Krttivas’s fame and popularity. The religious, social and cultural traditions of the Hindu community are specially based on the story of Ramachandra. Bengali Hindus are therefore indebted to Krttivas for making this knowledge available to them through his Bangla translation of the Ramayana.
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Quarterly International Journal – Rama Vigyan Sarovar The text is also remembered for its exploration of the concept of Bhakti which would later contribute to the emergence of Vaishnavism in Gangetic Bengal and the surrounding regions. The total number of manuscripts (puthis) containing the Krittivasi Ramayan text numbers approximately 2,221. Most of these contain only fragments of the text. Extant manuscripts are presently stored in universities such as the University of Calcutta, Visva-Bharati University, Rabindra Bharati University, Jadavpur University, University of Burdwan, and North Bengal University, in West Bengal. There are also puthis preserved in Silchar Normal School Library, Assam, Dhaka University and Jahangirnagar University, Bangladesh, the British Museum and School of Oriental and African Studies in the United Kingdom, and Bibliothèque nationale de France in France.
Timeline of Krittivasi Ramayan
The original Krittivasi Ramayan is dated to the first half of the 15 th century. In the next four centuries it underwent various changes at the hands of various puthi scribes. The current version of the epic was revised by Jaygopal Tarkalankar and was published in 1834. Later in the 20th century various editions were published based on the Jaygopal Tarkalankar version. Krittivasi Ramayana is not only a translation, but contains picturesque descriptions of Bengali social life and its values.
Influence of Krittivasi Ramayan
The epic of Krittivas has had a profound impact on the literature of Bengal and the surrounding regions. Tulsidas, the 16th century Hindi Ramayana translator, was deeply moved by the theme of Bhakti just as Krittivas was. The story of Rama as depicted by Krittivas Ojha inspired many latter-day poets, including Michael Madhusudan Dutt and Rabindranath Tagore.
Adhyatma Ramayana or Spiritual Ramayana is an ancient Sanskrit work extolling the spiritual virtues of the story of Ramayana. It comprises around 4200 double verses embedded in the latter portion of Brahmanda Purana and is traditionally believed to have been authored by Veda Vyasa.
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Quarterly International Journal – Rama Vigyan Sarovar Adhyatma Ramayana takes the form of a dialogue between Shiva and Parvati, it contains the ideal characteristics of Lord Rama and the precepts related to devotion, knowledge, dispassion, adoration and good conduct. It is also considered a treatise of Vedantic philosophy. It is supposed to have inspired several later versions of the Ramayana story in languages like Awadhi (Ram Charit Manas by Tulsidas), Oriya, Bengali and Malayalam.
Adhyatma Ramayana - Date and Authorship
Tradition ascribes the authorship of Adhyatma Ramayana to Vedavyasa since it is said to be an integral part of Brahmanda Purana. However, some scholars attribute it to the period 14th -15th century AD and the author as unknown. Adhyatma Ramayana is the portrayal of a conversation between Lord Siva and Goddess Parvati (as reported by Lord Brahma to Sage Narada). It is this work that provided Tulsidas with the inspiration to compose his immortal work, the Ramcharitamanas.
Adhyatma Ramayana has about 4000 verses and is popular amongst the devotees of Rama and also among the Vedantins. Written in mellifluous Sanskrit the work sums up the main events of the Valmiki Ramayana. Discussions pertaining to Advaita Vedanta philosophy, the path of Bhakti (devotion) in general and Ramabhakti in particular and several hymns in praise of Rama are the hallmarks of this work. Adhyatma Ramayana is essentially a Puranic work that demonstrates the inquisitiveness of Parvati and unambiguous expositions by Mahadeva. But in the orthodox circles of Rama devotees, the Adhyatama Ramayana is considered to be a Mantra-sastra, a sacred book, each stanza of which is revered as a Mantra (mystic syllable) and devoutly repeated in a ceremonial way. A question naturally arises why Adhyatma Ramayana when Valmiki Ramayana is already there. The answer could be that the purpose behind the work was not to narrate Rama Katha but to propound ideological principles of Bhakti in co-ordination with Advaita Vedanta. The very title ‘Adhyatma Ramayana’ indicates this as otherwise it would have been christened as Vyasa Ramayana as in the case of Valmiki Ramayana. This is to be viewed against the picturisation of Sri Rama by Valmiki as a perfect human being, a maryada purushottama, with embodiment of Dharma. In Adhyatma Ramayana we see Rama as Brahman - omnipotent, omnipresent and omniscient, the cause without a cause and the One without a second. The factors that
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Quarterly International Journal – Rama Vigyan Sarovar caused Him to incarnate Himself in a human form were, as stated in the Gita, to protect Dharma and destroy the evil.
Adhyatma Ramayana represents the story of Rama in a spiritual context, in this version everything is preordained, and Rama being the Brahman himself, does not kill or destroy, rather offers salvation to those he kills, thus this act is called, Uddhar. It also provides several valuable insights into the various seeming anomalies in the popular versions of Ramayana, like:The provocation of Kaikeyi by her maid Manthara, was not an evil act of her choice as presented in the Valmiki’s version of Ramayana, instead mastered by the goddess of knowledge, Saraswati, thus Manthara appears only to be playing her character in the larger drama of destiny, which lead to the killing of Ravana, the sole reason Lord Vishnu had incarnated as Rama. Similarly, according to this text, real Sita was never really abducted by Ravana. Rama being the all-knower in this version, has premonition about the abduction, and thus instructs Sita to invoke Agni, the God of Fire and creates an illusionary self, or Maya Sita, thus when Ravana finally appears, Sita plays along the character, and illusionary Sita is abducted, and is regained after the fire ordeal, once Ravana is killed.
It makes us aware of the larger than life aspects of Lord Ram and the fact he being the Brahman Supreme Creator incarnate, acts to instruct. Adhyatma Ramayana raises every mundane activity of Rama, to a spiritual or transcendent level, thus instructing the seeker to view his own life through the symbolic vision for his soul, where the external life is but a metaphor for eternal journey of the soul.
It makes us aware of the larger than life aspects of Lord Ram and the fact he being the Brahman - Supreme Creator incarnate, acts to instruct. Adhyatma Ramayana raises every mundane activity of Rama, to a spiritual or transcendent level, thus instructing the seeker to view his own life through the symbolic vision for his soul, where the external life is but a metaphor for eternal journey of the soul. The book is aimed to be used as guide and ready source of instruction for a spiritual seeker as it presents Ramayana as a divine allegory, where an exiled king, a man out of his elements, gets beguiled by the lure of maya or the illusions, - maya mrigya, hence loses his Beloved - Sita, to the demon or dark forces - Ravana. Later when he repents and asks for divine grace, he is given the strength and friends - Hanuman to help him reclaim his divinity - his Beloved.
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Adhyatma Ramayana is divided according to following themes:
1. Bal Kand:
This opening part begins with the description of Brahmaswarup, that is, the cosmic and celestial appearance of Lord Rama, his avatar as a human being to remove the asuras (demons) like Ravana; Rama’s childhood; story of emancipation of Ahilya by Rama.
The episode at Ayodhya, describes, among other things, exile of Rama; death of his father, Dasarath.
2. Ayodhya Kand
The episode at the forest (Aranya), including the kidnapping of Sita by Ravana.
3. Aranya Kand:
4. Kishkindha Kand: The episode of Kishkindha describes killing of Bali, and of active search for Sita.
It details entry of Hanuman in Lanka.
5. Sundar Kand: 6. Lanka Kand:
The episode of Lanka, it has details of the battles between the armies of Rama and Ravana, killing of Ravana, and coronation of Rama upon his return to Ayodhya from Lanka.
Epilogue - It has description of banishment of Sita, birth of Luva and Kusha, sons of Rama and Sita, and Rama’s departure from the earth to Vaikunth, the abode of Lord Vishnu. The fifth adhyaya of the Uttar Kanda, describes a conversation between Lord Rama and his brother, Lakshmana, and is usually referred to as the Rama Gita, it is essentially an Advaitic philosophical work.
7. Uttar Kand:
The Adhyatma Ramayana has been translated by certain scholars 1. Swami Tapasyananda, Adhyatma Ramayana, Original Sanskrit, with English Translation, Sri Ramakrishna Math, Madras. 1985.
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Quarterly International Journal – Rama Vigyan Sarovar 2. Baij Nath Puri, Lala Baij Nath. The Adhyatma Ramayana, Cosmo Publications, 2005. ISBN 8177558951. 3. Beladakere Suryanarayana Shastri, ‘Adhyatma Ramayana’, Kannada translation with Sanskrit original, Shri Jayachamaraja Granthamala, Series 47, Mysore, 1948.
The fifth Adhyaya of the Uttara Kanda of Adtyatma Ramayana is a conversation between Lord Rama and his brother, Lakshman. This is usually called the Rama GITA. It is purely advaitic in nature. The analogies given by Lord Rama in Adtyatma Ramayana are very nice. 1. A frog is being swallowed by a snake. Even though it knows that it is going to be dead in a few moments, the frog puts out its tongue in the hope it will catch some insects. Similarly, man is being swallowed by the serpent of Time, but he is still running after transitory sense pleasures instead of remembering Me. 2. A dog bites a dry bone thinking that there is some meat there. It goes on biting the bone that blood starts to flow from its mouth. The stupid dog, however, thinks that the blood is from the meat of the bone and bites more and more at it. Similarly, man foolishly thinks that happiness lies in external objects and hankers after that. This results in wastage of the body and mind. Instead, if he leaves the bone alone, he will find happiness within. Both the above examples used to be quoted by Kanchi periyava in His speeches to show that man is foolish for sense-pleasures even when he knows that death is always round the corner. Similar sentiments are expressed beautifully by Shankara in bhaja govindam. dinayaaminyau saayam praataH shishiravasantau punaraayaataH . kaalaH kriiDati gachchhatyaayuH tadapi na muJNchatyaashaavaayuH.  Daylight and darkness dusk and dawn, winter and springtime come and go. Time plays and life ebbs away. But the storm of desire never leaves.
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Quarterly International Journal – Rama Vigyan Sarovar aN^gaM galitaM palitaM muNDaM dashanavihiinaM jataM tuNDam.h . vR^iddho yaati gR^ihiitvaa daNDaM tadapi na muJNchatyaashaapiNDam.h.  Strength has left the old man's body; his head has become bald, his gums toothless and leaning on crutches. Even then the attachment is strong and he clings firmly to fruitless desires. So, what should one do? Again, Shankar, in His infinite mercy, comes to our rescue and advises: mUDha jahiihi dhanaagamatR^ishhNaaM kuru sadbuddhiM manasi vitR^ishhNaam.h . yallabhase nijakarmopaattaM vittaM tena vinodaya chittam.h.  Oh fool! Give up your thirst to amass wealth, devote your mind to thoughts to the Real. Be content with what comes through actions already performed in the past. Actions performed in the past have resulted in the present prarabdha karma. That has to work its way out, when we like it or not. The purpose for which the body was created has to be fulfilled, whether the mind likes to perform its duty or not. Therefore, Shankara asks us to be content, make our mind equanimous and concentrate on the real. Instead of ruminating about samsara, if we devote thoughts to the real, we will ascertain the Truth. Where is the world or samsara when the Truth is known? (GYaate
tattve kaH saMsaaraH .. Shankara)
There is also a very nice exposition of bhakti in advaita by Lord Rama in Adtyatma Ramayana. He talks to Hanuman on how bhakti results in jnana ultimately. The steps indicated by Him are very similar to the nine steps (shravana, manana, pada-sevana, sharangati etc.) found in the bhagavatam. There are some beautiful hymns on what bhakti is and what one should ask God with Bhakti. These are from the works of Shankara, Tulsidas’ Ramayana - Ramacharitamanas and Adtyatma Ramayana. ‘The Ramayana’ is not a single book like ‘the Bible’ but rather a chronicle of history and a tradition of storytelling. Ramayana serves as an excellent window through which the great panorama of the Indian civilization is opened. The story of Rama depicted in the Ramayana unlocks a gateway leading the readers in any part of the globe to encounter with the world-view of a great civilization that both resembles, and markedly differs from their own and a process which enables them to realize that they should have a world view in the first place.
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Quarterly International Journal – Rama Vigyan Sarovar The Ramayana tradition has enjoyed a unique popularity throughout the subcontinent of South Asia - comprising the modern states of India, Pakistan, Bangladesh, Nepal, and Sri Lanka) and beyond - for versions of the tale have flourished in Thailand, Cambodia, Laos, Vietnam, and Indonesia, Trinidad, USA, Guyana, and Surinam or for that matter wherever there is a Hindu Heart. Although the core story of the travails of Prince Rama and Princess Sita and their companions remains much the same everywhere, storytellers and poets in dozens of languages have chosen not simply to translate some ‘original’ version, but instead have retold the saga in their own words, often modifying and embellishing it according to regional traditions or their own insights and interpretations. Thus we have today different versions of Ramayana in various languages indicating the deep penetration and influence of the personalities of Rama and Sita in the hearts and minds of the Indian people. India is very vast and has varied cultural and literary traditions. It has always maintained and nurtured plants and flowers of different kinds, colors and shapes. Therefore an assortment of varieties and traditions of Rama Katha has been flourishing here not only in Sanskrit but in all the other Indian languages since centuries. Sri Rama, even now, is the favorite subject of poets, novelists, story writers, cartoonists, philosophers, thinkers, dramatists, film-makers and management consultants besides contemporary politics of different hues.
The Avadhoota Gita is written by Sage Dattatreya. Dattatreya is regarded by many as the foremost incarnation of Brahma, Vishnu and Shiva. His narration was recorded by his two disciples Swami and Kartika. It is undoubtedly one of the ancient most Hindu Scriptures. Dattatreya belonged to the ancient Vedic period as there is a Dattatreya Upanishad in the Atharvaveda. He is definitely before the Ramayana period as it is mentioned that Dattatreya taught the Shoda-nyasa of Srividya to Lord Parashurama, who was before Lord Rama. He also taught the Asthanga Yoga to Patanjali, who then wrote the famous Patanjali Yoga Sutras. The Avadhoota Gita is regarded by almost all sages as the greatest treatise on Advaita Vedanta. Some are of the opinion that Dattatreya was the originator of Tantra. Legends about his birth are many and varied, and the place he died is unknown. It is stated that he was born on Wednesday the 14th day of the Full Moon in the month of
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Quarterly International Journal – Rama Vigyan Sarovar Margashirsha, but of year and place there is no reliable information. Scholars speculate it must have been not less than 5000 B.C., or even earlier. Swami Vivekananda once said of the Avadhoota Gita, ‘Men like the one who wrote this song keep religion alive. They have actually become self-realized; they care for nothing, feel nothing done to the body, care not for heat, cold, danger, or anything. They sit still enjoying the bliss of Brahman.’ The story of Dattatreya is told in many Puranas. The story from Markandeya Purana, chapter 15, is as follows: A brahmin named Kaushika was enchanted by a courtesan and lost his wealth, health etc. However, his wife, Shandili was faithful to him. She even carried him on her shoulders to the courtesan’s place. Once, by mistake, she stepped on Sage Mandavya and the sage cursed both of them to die by sunrise. Shandili prayed and appealed that the sun may never rise so that her husband would live. Her prayer was answered and devas were in an uproar seeing the world order of time destroyed. They asked for the help of Anusuya, the wife of sage Atri, to convince Shandili. Anusuya was able to convince Shandili on the condition that Kaushika would live on sunrise. In appreciation of Anusuya’s intervention, the gods granted her three boons. She asked for her liberation, her husband’s liberation and that the three gods Brahma, Vishnu and Shiva be born as sons to her. The wishes being granted, from Sage Atri’s eyes issued a light and served as the seed for the divine sons – Soma, Durvasa, and Datta – partial incarnations of Brahma, Shiva and Vishnu, respectively. Other Puranas give different narratives but all involve the attribution of the name Dattatreya to mean ‘Son of sage Atri.’ For example, there is a story is that the gods decided to test the chastity of Anasuya, the wife of the rishi Atri. So, brahma, Vishnu and Siva went to her posing as handsome men. However, Atri was not fooled and transformed all three of them into a single child with three heads. This child is known as Dattatreya and is considered to be an incarnation of all the three gods: Brahma, Vishnu and Mahesha. At birth, Dattatreya looked like a well-developed child of three or four years. Right after his birth, he told his mother, ‘I am leaving home.’ She told him to at least wear a langoti, a loincloth. He said that he did not need one: ‘I will live just as I have come.’ And he spent his whole life as an avadhoota. He initiated thousands of people. Even while on the move, he would make disciples, give mantra diksha, work for their deliverance, without any discrimination according to religion, caste, sex or conduct. He spent most of his life wandering in the area between and including North Mysore, through Maharashtra, and into Gujarat as far as the Narmada River. One scripture refers to a disciple finding Datta meditating on Gandhmadana Mountain. He attained realization at a place not far from the town now known as Gangapur.
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Quarterly International Journal – Rama Vigyan Sarovar He is said to have lived a rather unconventional life, first being a warrior, then renouncing the world and practicing yoga and then drinking wine and living with a maiden etc. to show his disciples that he could be unattached to such mundane pleasures even if he indulges in them. Dattatreya is said to have met Shankar near Kedarnath before Shankar’s mahasamadhi. There is a still a cave in Kedarnath signifying this event. Apart from Avadhuta Gita, he also composed the Jivanmukta - Gita which is a short compendium of 23 verses which talks about the jnani (jivan mukta), a tantrik text known as Haritayana Samhita and Dattatreya Tantra. Dattatreya is also mentioned in the Mahabharata, in the Yagyavakya Upanishad, Jabala Upanishad, Narada-Parivraja Upanishad, Bhikshu Upanishad and Shandilya Upanishad. The Vaishanavites hold him in high esteem since he is mentioned as incarnation of Vishnu. Dattatreya is the narrator of the Jnana Kanda of Tripura Rahasya to Parasurama to dispel the latter’s doubts on liberation. This contains the famous Shodanyasa of Devi. The story of Samvrata found in Tripura Rahasya has been cited by Shankar in his Brahma Sutra Bhashya. Dattatreya is usually depicted with four dogs by his side, representing the four Vedas, a cow behind him representing Lord Vishnu, a trident in his hand representing Lord Shiva and three heads representing Lord Brahma.
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Valmiki vaLmIik is contemporary of Rama. He is celebrated as the poet harbinger in Sanskrit literature. He is the author of the epic Ramayana, based on the attribution in the text of the epic itself. He is revered as the Adi Kavi, which means First Poet, for he discovered the first śloka i.e. first verse, which set the base and defined the form to Sanskrit poetry. The Yoga Vasistha is attributed to him. The religious movement Valmikism is based on Valmiki's teachings as presented in the Ramayana and the Yoga Vasistha. At least, by the 1st century AD, Valmiki’s reputation as the father of Sanskrit classical poetry seems to have been legendary. However Ashvagosha writes in the Buddhacharita: ‘The voice of Valmiki uttered poetry which the great seer Chyavana could not compose.’ This particular verse has been speculated to indicate a familial relationship between Valmiki and Chyavana, as implied by the previous and subsequent verses.
The Uttara Khanda tells the story of Valmiki’s early life, as an unnamed highway robber who used to rob people before killing them. Other versions name him Valya Koli and Ratnakar. Once, he tried to rob the divine sage Narad for the benefit of his family. Narad asked him if his family would share the sin he was incurring due to the robbery. The robber replied positively, but Narad told him to go and confirm this with his family. The robber asked his family, but none agreed to bear the burden of sin. Dejected, the robber finally understood the truth of life and asked for Narad’s forgiveness. Narad taught the robber to worship God. The robber meditated for many years, so much so that Ant-hills grew around his body. Finally, a divine voice declared his penance successful, bestowing him with the name ‘Valmiki’ meaning ‘one born out of ant-hills’. Valmikam in Sanskrit means Ant-hill.
Writer of the Ramayana
Srimad Valmiki Ramayana is an epic poem of India which narrates the journey of Virtue to annihilate vice. Sri Rama is the Hero and aayana His journey. We in India believe that
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Quarterly International Journal – Rama Vigyan Sarovar Sri Rama lived in Treta Yug, millennia BC and we are presently concerned with what Srimad Valmiki Ramayana tells us, rather than when it was told. This epic poem Ramayana is a smriti which is translated as ‘from memory’. Given the antiquity of Srimad Valmiki Ramayana, there have been some interjected verses. Sometimes these verses can be contradicting. However, scholars, grammarians, historians have put lot of effort to standardize the original text, by verifying various manuscripts available from various parts of India, thus trying to stabilize and save the text from further contradictions. An example of this effort is the critical edition of Srimad Valmiki Ramayana. This site aims to study various versions of Srimad Valmiki Ramayana and arrive at a version of Ramayana that is most relevant to modern times. Srimad Valmiki Ramayana is composed of verses called Sloka, in Sanskrit language, which is an ancient language from India and a complex meter called Anustup. These verses are grouped into individual chapters called Sargas, wherein a specific event or intent is told. These chapters or sargas are grouped into books called Kaandas where Kaanda means the inter-node stem of sugar cane, or also a particular phase of the story or an event in the course of storytelling. The Ramayana, originally written by Valmiki, consists of 24,000 verses in seven cantos while some say six and excluding the Uttara Ramayana - kāṇḍas. The Ramayana tells the story of a prince, Ram of Ayodhya, whose wife Sita is abducted by the demon (Rākshasa) king of Lanka, Rāvana. The Valmiki Ramayana is dated variously from 500 BC to 100 BC, or about with early versions of the Mahabharata. As with many traditional epics, it has gone through a long process of interpolations and redactions, making it impossible to date accurately. Notwithstanding the aforesaid, it is pertinent to note that Valmiki is also quoted to be the contemporary of Rama. Rama met Valmiki during his period of exile and had interacted with him. Valmiki had Sita in his hermitage where Kusa and Lava were born to Sita. Valmiki taught Ramayana to Kusa and Lava, who later sang the divine story in Ayodhya during the Aswamedha yaga congregation, to the pleasure of the audience, whereupon, King Rama summoned them to his royal palace. Kusa and Lava sang the story of Rama there, and Ram confirmed that whatever had been sung by these two children was entirely true. With this backdrop, it needs review to establish the period of Valmiki, likely to date back to thousands of years, as Krishna incarnation followed Ram’s.
The birth of first śloka
Valmiki was going to the river Ganga for his daily ablutions. A disciple by the name Bharadwaja was carrying his clothes. On the way, they came across the Tamasa Stream. Looking at the stream, Valmiki said to his disciple, ‘Look, how clear is this water, like the mind of a good man! I will bathe here today.’ When he was looking for a suitable place
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Quarterly International Journal – Rama Vigyan Sarovar to step into the stream, he heard the sweet chirping of birds. Looking up, he saw two birds flying together. Valmiki felt very pleased on seeing the happy birds. Suddenly, one of the birds fell down, hit by an arrow; it was the male bird. Seeing the wounded one, its mate screamed in agony. Valmiki’s heart melted at this pitiful sight. He looked around to find out who had shot the bird. He saw a hunter with a bow and arrows, nearby. Valmiki became very angry. His lips opened and he uttered the following words: Valmiki, had thoughts of creating the portrayal of one whose life may be the source of inspiration to humanity. However he was not able to pinpoint who that character was. With those thoughts in his mind he goes one fine morning to River Tamsa for his usual early morning bath. Contemplative while he was standing in the river his attention drew towards the frolicking pair of cranes in the act of love. Same time a hunter who was hiding in the nearby bushes shot an arrow that killed the male bird. The female who felt the agony of separation with the male bird while frolicking too gave up the life. The sage felt the pain of separation of the bird. He was filled with agony. Valmiki took the water in his hand and looking at the hunter raised his hands in obeisance recited the spontaneous couplet that expressed anger towards the hunter for his act of cruelty towards the innocent pair of birds engaged in the act of love making.
ma in;ax àit:Qam Tvm Agma zaZvtI sma> yt ³aEÂ imwuna dekm AvxI> kammaeihtm
Ma Nishadh pratishtham twam agama shashvati samah Yat kraunch mithuna dekam avadhih kammohitam You will find no rest for the long years of Eternity For you killed a bird in love and unsuspecting Is this glory O Hunter! To shoot arrow and kill the innocent bird that was engaged is frolicsome act of love. Valmiki returned to his hut with heavy heart thinking that with the act of the hunter he should not have anger expressed. This is wrong. Fill with these thoughts he reached his ashram. And as he was mentioning the entire incident to his disciples the sound of the Valmiki’s reciting the sutra began to echo in all the ten quarters. And he drew the attention of his disciples to this echo. And the same moment the wandering sage Narad appeared. After natural greetings Narad told Valmiki that Prajapati Brahma had chosen him to compose the scripture as the portrayal of a hero whose life will be inspiration to humanity in times to come. Valmiki confessed that such thought has been worrying him
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Quarterly International Journal – Rama Vigyan Sarovar for a while. Narad explained this to be the grace of the creator. A dialogue goes on between the two sages. And meditatively Narad gives the vision of Sri Rama as the ideal one whose life will continue to inspire humanity in times to come. Ramayana begins with this. This sutra is composed of thirty two matras – a musical term of composition. And the sutra is divided into four separate lines. The sutra emerged as the expression of compassion for the pair of birds. The birds though belong to the bird category clearly explains the state of enlightenment of Valmiki. Whenever someone attains to Samadhi or enlightenment compassion becomes natural and spontaneous. Compassion then becomes quality of the being and flows incessantly and spontaneously. Therefore through the scripture Valmiki’s object seems to describe Rama as an ideal human character though he accepts him as an avatar of Maha Vishnu; but the divinity of Rama is always kept latent. This objective of Valmiki is made clear at the very beginning of the epic in verses 1 to 18 of Chapter 1 of Bala Kanda. Here Valmiki asks Narada the following questions: 1. ‘Who in the world today is a great personage, endowed with all virtues, who is courageous, who knows the secret of Dharma, who is grateful, who is ever truthful and who is established in sacred observances?’ 2. ‘Who has great family traditions, who has got sympathy for all creatures, who is most learned, who is skillful, and whose outlook is ever kindly?’ 3. ‘Who is courageous, who has subdued anger, who is endowed with splendor, who is free from jealousy, who, when angry in the field of battle, is a terror even to the Devas?’ In reply to this question, Sage Narada narrated in brief the entire Rama Katha which formed the basis for Valmiki to expand and make it a vast, beautiful and unique epic poem of great literary value which came to be called Valmiki Ramayana. (Narada’s brief exposition of Rama Katha to Valmiki is called ‘Sankshepa Ramayana’ which is used in many households for the purpose of daily recitation). The object of an epic which begins with such a description of its hero is obviously to give us a picture of human perfection. But this does not mean that Valmiki did not recognize divinity in his hero. When a person is described as a Deity, it happens that ordinary human beings start worshipping him and are not inclined to treat him as a role-model to imitate and follow. This probably must have been the reason for Valmiki to propound the divinity of Rama in subdued tones and paint him prominently as a great human being with all the human frailties and weaknesses so that the people at large may learn from his life.
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Quarterly International Journal – Rama Vigyan Sarovar While Valmiki’s great epic is the saga of Rama in respect of its direct approach, Adhyatma Ramayana is a direct elaboration of its spiritual implications. In the former Rama is a great hero, in the latter he is a deity- Maha Vishnu, covered in thin apparel held before all to worship. This is made clear in the very first chapter of the book entitled ‘Sri Rama Hridaya’. The text of Adhyatma Ramayana projects Rama as the Supreme Self; but while doing so it takes care to see that Rama is also a Personal Deity, the Supreme Isvara, who is to be prayed and sought after by all those who seek knowledge of non-duality. It teaches Bhakti of the most intensive type and stresses that through devotion to Rama alone the saving Jnana would arise in the Jiva. The teaching of the Adhyatma Ramayana is an extension of the declaration of the Svetasvatara Upanishad, ‘it is only in one who has supreme devotion to God and to his spiritual teacher that this truth - knowledge of the non-dual Self - when taught will shine.’ Thus to establish Rama’s divine status, as an object of worship and devotion and to teach that Bhakti and Jnana are not only reconcilable but always go together is the prime object this great text. In order to achieve this objective, the Adhyatma Ramayana, while sticking to the main trends and incidents of the Rama Katha described in Valmiki’s epic, makes various deviations in the course of its extensive narration. A few such instances are cited below. Emerging spontaneously from his rage and grief, this was the first śloka in Sanskrit literature. Later Valmiki composed the entire Ramayana with the blessings of Lord Brahma in the same meter that issued forth from him as the śloka. Thus this śloka is revered as the ‘first śloka’ in Hindu literature. Valmiki is revered as the first poet, or Adi Kavi, and the Ramayana, the first kavya. His first disciples to whom he taught the Ramayana were Kusa and Lava, the sons of Rama. The Ramayana is one of the two great epics of India, the other being the Mahabharata. It depicts the duties of relationships, portraying ideal characters like the ideal father, ideal servant, the ideal brother, the ideal wife and the ideal king. The Ramayana consists of 24,000 verses in seven books (kaṇḍas) and 500 cantos (sargas), and tells the story of Ram (an Avatar of the Hindu preserver-God Vishnu), whose wife Sita is abducted by the demon king of Lanka, Ravana. Thematically, the Ramayana explores human values and the concept of dharma. Verses in the Ramayana are written in a 32-syllable meter called anustubh. The Ramayana was an important influence on later Sanskrit poetry and Indian life and culture. Like the Mahabharata, the Ramayana is not just a story instead it presents the teachings of ancient Hindu sages in narrative allegory, interspersing philosophical and
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Quarterly International Journal – Rama Vigyan Sarovar devotional elements. The characters Ram, Sita, Lakshman, Bharata, Hanuman and Ravana are all fundamental to the cultural consciousness of India. There are other versions of the Ramayana, notably Buddhist (Dasaratha Jataka No. 461) and Jain in India, and also Indonesian, Philippine, Thai, Lao, Burmese and Malay versions of the tale. Traditionally, the Ramayana is ascribed to Valmiki, regarded as India's first poet. The Indian tradition is unanimous in its agreement that the poem is the work of a single poet, the sage Valmiki, a contemporary of Ram and a peripheral actor in the drama. The story’s original version in Sanskrit is known as Valmiki Ramayana, dating to approximately the 5th to 4th century B.C. While it is often viewed as a primarily devotional text, the Vaishnava elements appear to be later accretions possibly dating to the 2nd century BC or later. The main body of the narrative lacks statements of Rama's divinity, and identifications of Rama with Vishnu are rare and subdued even in the later parts of the text. According to Indian tradition, and according to the Ramayana itself, the Ramayana belongs to the genre of itihāsa, like the Mahabharata. The definition of itihāsa has varied over time, with one definition being that itihāsa is a narrative of past events or puravṛtta which includes teachings on the goals of human life. According to Hindu tradition, the Ramayana takes place during a period of time known as Treta Yuga. Ram is the main character of the tale. Portrayed as the seventh avatar of the God Vishnu, he is the eldest and favorite son of the King of Ayodhya, Dasarath, and his wife Kausalya. He is portrayed as the epitome of virtue. Dasharatha is forced by Kaikeyi, one of his wives, to command Rama to relinquish his right to the throne for fourteen years and go into exile. Sita is the beloved wife of Rama and the daughter of king Janaka. She is the avatar of Goddess Lakshmi, the consort of Vishnu. Sita is portrayed as the epitome of female purity and virtue. She follows her husband into exile and is abducted by Ravana. She is imprisoned on the island of Lanka until Rama rescues her by defeating the demon king Ravana. Later, she gives birth to Lava and Kusha, the heirs of Rama. Hanuman is a vanara belonging to the kingdom of Kishkindha. He is portrayed as the eleventh avatar of God Shiva (He is also called Rudra) and an ideal bhakta of Rama. He is born as the son of Kesari, a vanara king, and the Goddess Anjana. He plays an important part in locating Sita and in the ensuing battle. Lakshman, the younger brother of Rama, who chose to go into exile with him is portrayed as an avatar of the Shesha, the nāga associated with the God Vishnu. He spends his time protecting Sita and Ram during which he fought the demoness Surpanakha. He is forced to leave Sita, who was deceived by the demon Maricha into
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Quarterly International Journal – Rama Vigyan Sarovar believing that Rama was in trouble. Sita is abducted by Ravana when Lakshman went to help Rama at the plea of Sita. He was married to Sita’s younger sister Urmila. Ravana, a rakshasa, is the king of Lanka. After performing severe penance for ten thousand years he received a boon from the creator-God Brahma: he could henceforth not be killed by Gods, demons, or spirits. He is portrayed as a powerful demon king who disturbs the penances of Rishis. Vishnu incarnates as the human Ram to defeat him, thus circumventing the boon given by Brahma. Jatayu, the son of Aruṇa the brother of Garuda is the nephew of Garuda. A demi-god who has the form of a vulture that tries to rescue Sita from Ravana. Jatayu fought valiantly with Ravana, but as Jatayu was very old Ravana soon got the better of him. As Ram and Lakshman chanced upon the stricken and dying Jatayu in their search for Sita, he informs them the direction in which Ravana had gone. Dasarath is the king of Ayodhya and the father of Rama. He has three queens, Kausalya, Kaikeyi and Sumitra, and three other sons: Bharata, Lakshman and Shatrughna. Kaikeyi, Dasarath’s favorite queen, forces him to make his son Bharata crown prince and send Ram into exile for fourteen years. Dasarath dies heartbroken after Ram goes into exile. Bharata is the second son of Dasarath. When he learns that his mother Kaikeyi had forced Rama into exile and caused Dasarath to die brokenhearted, he storms out of the palace and goes in search of Ram in the forest. When Rama refuses to return from his exile to assume the throne, Bharata obtains Ram’s padukas – wooden footwear and places them on the throne as a gesture that Ram is the true king. Bharata then rules Ayodhya as the regent of Rama for the next fourteen years. He was married to Mandavi. Satrughna is the youngest son of Dasarath and his third wife Queen Sumitra. He is the youngest brother of Ram and also the twin brother of Lakshman. He was married to Shrutakirti. Sugriva, a vanara king who helped Rama regain Sita from Ravana. He had an agreement with Rama through which Vaali-Sugriva’s brother and king of Kishkindhawould be killed by Rama in exchange for Sugriva’s help in finding Sita. Sugriva ultimately ascends the throne of Kishkindha after the slaying of Vaali and fulfils his promise by putting the Vanara forces at Rama’s disposal. Indrajit, was a son of Ravana who twice defeated Lakshman in battle before succumbing to him the third time. An adept of the magical arts, he coupled his supreme fighting skills with various stratagems to inflict heavy losses on the Vanara army before his death. Kumbhakarna, is a brother of Ravana, famous for his eating and sleeping. He would sleep for months at a time and would be extremely ravenous upon waking up,
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Quarterly International Journal – Rama Vigyan Sarovar consuming anything set before him. His monstrous size and loyalty made him an important part of Ravana’s army. During the war, he decimated the Vanara army before Rama cut of his limbs and head. Surpanakha, Ravana's demoness sister who fell in love with Rama and had the ability to assume any form she wished. Vibhishana, is the youngest younger brother of Ravanawho is known for his devotion to Rama. He was against the kidnapping of Sita and joined the forces of Rama when Ravana refused to return her. His intricate knowledge of Lanka was vital in the war and he was crowned king after the fall of Ravana.
The Epic is traditionally divided into seven major kāṇḍas or books that deal chronologically with the major events in the life of Rama— 1. 2. 3. 4. 5. 6. 7. Bala Kanda ( Book of Youth) [77 chapters] Ayodhya Kanda (Book of Ayodhya) [119 chapters] Aranya Kanda (Book of Forest ) [75 chapters] Kishkindha Kanda (The Empire of Holy Monkeys) [67 chapters] Sundara Kanda ( Book of Beauty ) [68 chapters] Yuddha Kanda ( Book of War ) [128 chapters] Uttar Kanda
The Bala Kanda describes the birth of Rama, his childhood and marriage to Sita. The Ayodhya Kanda describes the preparations for Rama’s coronation and his exile into the forest. The third part, Aranya Kanda, describes the forest life of Rama and the kidnapping of Sita by the demon king Ravana. The fourth book, Kishkindha Kanda, describes the meeting of Hanuman with Rama, the destruction of the vanara king Vali and the coronation of his younger brother Sugriva to the throne of the kingdom of Kishkindha. The fifth book is Sundara Kanda, which narrates the heroism of Hanuman, his flight to Lanka and meeting with Sita. The sixth book, Yuddha Kanda, describes the battle between Rama’s and Ravana’s armies. The last book, Uttara Kanda, describes the birth of Lava and Kusha to Sita, their coronation to the throne of Ayodhya, and Rama’s final departure from the world.
The birth of the four sons of Dasarath Dasarath was the king of Kosala, the capital of which was the city of Ayodhya. He had three queens: Kausalya, Kaikeyi and Sumitra. He was childless for a long time and,
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Quarterly International Journal – Rama Vigyan Sarovar anxious to produce an heir, he performs a fire sacrifice known as Putra-Kameshti Yagya. As a consequence, Rama is first born to Kausalya, Bharata is born to Kaikeyi, and Sumitra gives birth to twins named Lakshman and Shatrughna. These sons are endowed, to various degrees, with the essence of the God Vishnu. Vishnu had opted to be born into mortality in order to combat the demon Ravana, who was oppressing the Gods, and who could only be destroyed by a mortal. The boys are reared as the princes of the realm, receiving instructions from the scriptures and in warfare. When Rama was 16 years old, the sage Vishwamitra came to the court of Dasarath in search of help against demons, who were disturbing sacrificial rites. He chooses Rama, who is followed by Lakshman, his constant companion throughout the story. Rama and Lakshman receive instructions and supernatural weapons from Vishwamitra, and proceed to destroy the demons. Janaka was the king of Mithila. One day, a female child was found in the field by the king in the deep furrow dug by his plough. Overwhelmed with joy, the king regarded the child as a ‘miraculous gift of God’. The child was named Sita, the Sanskrit word for furrow – the front metal part of a plough. Sita grew up to be a girl of unparalleled beauty and charm. When Sita was of marriageable age, the king decided to have a swayamvara which included a contest. The king was in possession of an immensely heavy bow, presented to him by the God Shiva: whoever could wield the bow could marry Sita. The sage Vishwamitra attends the swayamvara with Rama and Lakshman. Only Rama wields the bow and breaks it. Marriages are arranged between the sons of Dasharath and daughters, and nieces of Janaka. The weddings are celebrated with great festivity at Mithila and the marriage party returns to Ayodhya.
Bharata Asks for Rama’s paduka-footwear After Rama and Sita have been married for twelve years, Dasarath who had grown old expresses his desire to crown Rama, to which the Kosala assembly and his subjects express their support. On the eve of the great event, destiny played its role through Kaikeyi as her jealousy was aroused by Manthara, as divine instrument, for the destruction of the wicked and the protection of the sage. Kaikeyi claims two boons that Dasarath had long ago granted her. Kaikeyi demands Rama to be exiled into wilderness for fourteen years, while the succession passes to her son Bharata. The heartbroken king, constrained by his rigid devotion to his given word, accedes to Kaikeyi’s demands. Rama accepts his father’s reluctant decree with absolute submission and calm selfcontrol which characterizes him throughout the story. He is joined by Sita and Lakshman. When he asks Sita not to follow him, she says, ‘the forest where you dwell is Ayodhya for me and Ayodhya without you is a veritable hell for me.’
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Quarterly International Journal – Rama Vigyan Sarovar After Rama’s departure, king Dasarath, unable to bear the grief, passes away. Meanwhile, Bharata who was on a visit to his maternal uncle, learns about the events in Ayodhya. Bharata refuses to profit from his mother's wicked scheming and visits Rama in the forest. He requests Rama to return and rule. But Rama, determined to carry out his father's orders to the letter, refuses to return before the period of exile. However, Bharata carries Rama’s wooden footwear, and keeps them on the throne, while he rules as Rama's regent.
Rama, Sita and Lakshman journeyed southward along the banks of river Godavari, where they built cottages and lived off the land. At the Panchavati forest they are visited by a rakshasa woman, Surpanakha, the sister of Ravana. She attempts to seduce the brothers and, failing in this, attempts to kill Sita. Lakshman stops her by cutting off her nose and ears. Hearing of this, her demon brother, Khara, organizes an attack against the princes. Rama annihilates Khara and his demons. When news of these events reached Ravana, he resolved to destroy Rama by capturing Sita with the aid of the rakshasa Maricha. Maricha, assuming the form of a golden deer, captivates Sita’s attention. Entranced by the beauty of the deer, Sita pleads with Rama to capture it. Rama, aware that this is the play of the demons, is unable to dissuade Sita from her desire and chases the deer into the forest, leaving Sita under Lakshman’s protection. After some time Sita hears Rama calling out to her; afraid for his life she insists that Lakshman rush to his aid. Lakshman tried in every way to assure her that Rama is invincible, and that it is best if he continues to follow Rama’s orders to protect her. On the verge of hysterics Sita insists that it is not she but Rama who needs Lakshman’s help. He obeys her wish but stipulates that she is not to leave the cottage or entertain any strangers. Finally with the coast clear, Ravana appears in the guise of an ascetic requesting Sita's hospitality. Unaware of the devious plan of her guest, Sita is then forcibly carried away by the evil Ravana. Jatayu, a vulture, tries to rescue Sita, but is mortally wounded. At Lanka, Sita is kept under the heavy guard of rakshasis. Ravana demands Sita marry him, but Sita, eternally devoted to Rama, refuses. Rama and Lakshman learned about Sita’s abduction from Jatayu, and immediately set out to save her. During their search, they meet the demon Kabandha and the ascetic Shabari near Pampapur, who direct them towards Sugriva and Hanuman.
The Kishkindha Kanda is set in the monkey citadel Kishkindha. Rama and Lakshmana meet Hanuman, the greatest of monkey heroes and an adherent of Sugriva, the banished pretender to the throne of Kishkindha. Rama befriends Sugriva and helps him
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Quarterly International Journal – Rama Vigyan Sarovar by killing his elder brother Vali thus regaining the kingdom of Kiskindha, in exchange for helping Rama to recover Sita. However Sugriva soon forgets his promise and spends his time in debauchery. The clever monkey Queen, Tara, calmly intervenes to prevent an enraged Lakshman from destroying the monkey citadel. She then eloquently convinces Sugriva to honor his pledge. Sugriva then sends search parties to the four corners of the earth, only to return without success from north, east and west. The southern search party under the leadership of Angad and Hanuman learns from a vulture named Sampati that Sita was taken to Lanka.
The Sundara Kanda forms the heart of Valmiki’s Ramayana and consists of a detailed, vivid account of Hanuman’s adventures. After learning about Sita, Hanuman assumes an enormous form and makes a colossal leap across the ocean to Lanka. Here, Hanuman explores the demon's city and spies on Ravana. He locates Sita in Ashoka grove, who is wooed and threatened by Ravana and his rakshasis to marry Ravana. He reassures her, giving Rama's signet ring as a sign of good faith. He offers to carry Sita back to Rama, however she refuses, reluctant to allow herself to be touched by a male other than her husband. She says that Rama himself must come and avenge the insult of her abduction. Hanuman then wreaks havoc in Lanka by destroying trees and buildings, and killing Ravana’s warriors. He allows himself to be captured and produced before Ravana. He gives a bold lecture to Ravana to release Sita. He is condemned and his tail is set on fire, but he escapes his bonds and, leaping from roof to roof, sets fire to Ravana's citadel and makes the giant leap back from the island. The joyous search party returns to Kishkindha with the news.
This book describes the battle between the forces of Rama and Ravana. Having received Hanuman’s report on Sita, Rama and Lakshman proceed with their allies towards the shore of the southern sea. There they are joined by Ravana’s renegade brother Vibhishana. The monkeys named ‘Nal’ and ‘Neel’ construct a floating bridge (known as Rama Setu) across the ocean, and the princes and their army cross over to Lanka. A lengthy battle ensues and Rama kills Ravana. Rama then installs Vibhishana on the throne of Lanka. On meeting Sita, Rama asks her to undergo agni Pariksha (test of fire) to prove her purity, since she had stayed at the demon’s palace. When Sita plunges into the sacrificial fire, Agni the lord of fire raises Sita, unharmed, to the throne, attesting to her purity.
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Quarterly International Journal – Rama Vigyan Sarovar The episode of agni pariksha varies in the versions of Ramayana by Valmiki and Tulsidas. The above version is from Valmiki Ramayana. In Tulsidas’s Ramacharitamanas Sita was under the protection of Agni so it was necessary to bring her out before reuniting with Rama. At the expiration of his term of exile, Rama returns to Ayodhya with Sita and Lakshman, where the coronation is performed. This is the beginning of Ram Rajya, which implies an ideal state with good morals. It is a place where all religions, creed and castes can live together in harmony and work towards progress together. Ram Rajya is the ultimate state of a true democracy where through unity one gains strength and protects the other as humanity is the greatest essence above all. Gambling, drinking and hunting were commonly condemned in Ram Rajya.
The Uttara Kanda concerns the final years of Rama, Sita, and Rama’s brothers. After being crowned king, many years passed pleasantly with Sita. However, despite the agni pariksha (fire ordeal) of Sita, rumors about her purity are spreading among the populace of Ayodhya. Rama yields to public opinion and banishes Sita to the forest, where the sage Valmiki provides shelter in his ashrama (hermitage). Here she gives birth to twin boys, Lava and Kusha, who became pupils of Valmiki and are brought up in ignorance of their identity. Valmiki composes the Ramayana and teaches Lava and Kusha to sing it. Later, Rama holds a ceremony during Ashwamedha yagna, which the sage Valmiki, with Lava and Kusha, attends. Lava and Kusha sing the Ramayana in the presence of Rama and his vast audience. When Lava and Kusha recite about Sita's exile, Rama becomes grievous, and Valmiki produces Sita. Sita calls upon the Earth, her mother, to receive her and as the ground opens, she vanishes into it. Rama then learns that Lava and Kusha are his children. Later a messenger from the Gods appears and informs Rama that the mission of his incarnation was over. Rama returns to his celestial abode. The Uttara Kanda is regarded to be a later addition to the original story by Valmiki.
Influence on culture and art
One of the most important literary works of ancient India, the Ramayana has had a profound impact on art and culture in the Indian subcontinent and Southeast Asia. The story ushered in the tradition of the next thousand years of massive-scale works in the rich diction of regal courts and Brahminical temples.
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Quarterly International Journal – Rama Vigyan Sarovar It has also inspired much secondary literature in various languages, notably the Kambaramayanam by the Tamil poet Kambar of the 13th century, the Telugu-language Molla Ramayana, 14th century Kannada poet Narahari’s Torave Ramayan, and 15th century Bengali poet Krittibas Ojha’s Krittivasi Ramayan, as well as the 16 th century Awadhi version, Ramacharitamanas, written by Tulsidas. The Ramayana became popular in Southeast Asia during the 8th century and was represented in literature, temple architecture, dance and theatre. Today, dramatic enactments of the story of Ramayana, known as Ramlila, take place all across India and in many places across the globe within the Indian diaspora
Yoga Vasistha – yaeg vaisó is known as Vasistha’s Yoga. It is a Hindu spiritual text traditionally attributed to Valmiki. It recounts a discourse of the sage Vasistha to a young Prince Rama, during a period when the latter was in a dejected state. The contents of Vasistha’s teaching to Rama are associated with Advaita Vedanta, the illusory nature of the manifest world and the principle of non-duality. The book has been dated between the 11th and 14th century AD and is generally regarded as one of the longest texts in Sanskrit after the Mahabharata and an important text of Yoga. The book consists of about 32,000 shlokas (lines), including numerous short stories and anecdotes used to help illustrate its content. In terms of Hindu mythology, the conversation in the Yoga Vasishta takes place chronologically before the Ramayana. The text Yoga Vasistha is also known as Maha-Ramayana, Arsha Ramayana, Vasiṣṭha Ramayana, Yogavasistha-Ramayana and Jnanavasistha.
Origin and evolution
The Yoga Vasistha is a syncretic work - the combination of different systems of philosophical or religious belief or practice that contains elements of Vedanta, Jainism, Yoga, Samkhya, Saiva Siddhanta and Mahayana Buddhism.
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Quarterly International Journal – Rama Vigyan Sarovar The oldest available manuscript - the Moksopaya or Moksopaya Shastra is a philosophical text on salvation - moksa-upaya: ‘means to release’. It was written on the Pradyumna hill in Srinagar in the 10th century AD. This text was expanded and Vedanticized from the 11th to the 14th century AD – resulting in the present text, which was influenced by the Saivite Trika school. This version contains about 32,000 verses; an abridged version by Abhinanda of Kashmir is known as the Laghu - Little Yogavasistha and contains 6,000 verses. Recent research has shown that in this version frame stories have been introduced, emphasis on Rama Bhakti has been added, the meaning of certain passages is reversed, all Buddhist terminology is deleted and the ‘public sermon’ mode has been changed to Vasistha’s instructions to Rama.
The traditional belief is that reading this book leads to spiritual liberation. The conversation between Vasistha and Prince Rama is that between a great, enlightened sage and a seeker who is about to reach wholeness. This is said to be among those rare conversations which directly leads to Truth. The scripture provides understanding, scientific ideas and philosophy; it explains consciousness, the creation of the world, the multiple universes in this world, our perception of the world, its ultimate dissolution, the liberation of the soul and the nondual approach to creation. An oft-repeated verse in the text is that relating to Kakathaliya, ‘coincidence’. The story is that a crow alights on a palm tree, and that very moment the ripe palm fruit falls on the ground. The two events are apparently related, yet the crow never intended the palm fruit to fall; nor did the palm fruit fall because the crow sat on the tree. The intellect mistakes the two events as causally related, though in reality they are not.
Yoga Vasistha is divided into six parts: dis-passion, qualifications of the seeker, creation, existence, dissolution and liberation. It sums up the spiritual process in the seven Bhoomikas: 1. Śubhecchā or longing for the Truth: The yogi (or sadhaka) rightly distinguishes between permanent and impermanent; cultivates dislike for worldly pleasures; acquires mastery over his physical and mental organism; and feels a deep yearning to be free from Saṃsāra. 2. Vicāraṇa or right inquiry: The yogi has pondered over what he or she has read and heard, and has realized it in his or her life.
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Quarterly International Journal – Rama Vigyan Sarovar 3. Tanumānasa or attenuation – or thinning out – of mental activities: The mind abandons the many, and remains fixed on the One. 4. Sattvāpatti or attainment of sattva, ‘reality’: The Yogi, at this stage, is called Brahmavid or ‘knower of Brahman’. In the previous four stages, the yogi is subject to sañchita, Prārabdha and Āgamī forms of karma. He or she has been practicing Samprajñāta Samādhi (contemplation), in which the consciousness of duality still exists. 5. Asaṃsakti or unaffected by anything: The yogi now called Brahmavidvara performs his or her necessary duties, without a sense of involvement. 6. Parārthabhāvanī or one who sees Brahman appear to exist to the yogi (now called performed only at the prompting of others. destroyed; only a small amount of Prārabdha everywhere: External things do not Brahmavidvarīyas), and tasks are Sañchita and Āgamī karma are now karma remains.
7. Turīya or perpetual samādhi: The yogi is known as Brahmavidvariṣṭha and does not perform activities, either by his will or the promptings of others. The body drops off approximately three days after entering this stage.
Yoga Vasistha is considered one of the most important scriptures of the Vedantic philosophy. Vashista one of 9 Prajapatis is credited as the chief author of Mandala 7 of the Rigveda. Vashista and his family are glorified in Rigveda 7.33, extolling their role in the Battle of the Ten Kings, making him the only mortal besides Bhava to have a Rigvedic hymn dedicated to him. Another treatise attributed by him is ‘Vashista Samhita’ - a book on Vedic system of evectional or a periodic irregularity in the motion of the Moon caused by the variation in the gravitational attraction of the Sun as the Moon orbits Earth and affects the astrology.
Tales featuring Vashista
Vashista is featured in many tales and folklore, a few of which are briefly described below. In the Ramayana Vashista appears as the court sage of king Dasharath. The tale of Vashista Sage Vashista was Ram’s guru and the Rajpurohit of Ikshwaku dynasty for forty generations. He was a peace-loving, selfless, intelligent and great Rishi.
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Quarterly International Journal – Rama Vigyan Sarovar Vashista was the Sadguru of his time, possessing 20 ‘kalas’ or divine arts and had complete knowledge of the whole cosmos and the god. Many of his Shlokas are found in Vedas as well. Vashista possessed a cow named Kamadhenu. She had a child as Nandini who could instantly produce food enough for a whole army. The king Kaushika who was later called Vishwamitra, visited Vashista’s hermitage, was very impressed with the cow and tried to take it away from Vashista by force, but Kamadhenu and Nandini’s spiritual power was too great for him. After being unable to conquer Kamadhenu and Nandini, Vishwamitra decided to acquire power himself through penance like Vashista. He gained much power and many divine weapons from Shiva. Once again he attempted to conquer Kamadhenu and Nandini. But even the divine weapons he acquired could not defeat the power of Kamadhenu and Nandini. Vishwamitra finally decided to become a Brahmarishi himself, he renounced all his possessions and luxury and led the life of a simple forest ascetic.
The tale of King Dileepa
King Dileepa or Dilip was a king of the Raghuvamsha dynasty. He had a wife named Sudakshina, but they had no children. For this reason, Dileepa visited the sage Vashista in his ashram, and asked him for his advice. Vashista replied that they should serve the cow Nandini, child of Kamadhenu, and perhaps if Nandini was happy with their service, she would bless them with a child. So, according to Vashista, Dileepa served Nandini every day, and attended to her every need for twenty-one days. On the twenty-first day, a lion attacks Nandini. Dileepa immediately draws his bow and tries to shoot the lion. But he finds that his arm is paralyzed and cannot move. He reasons that the lion must have some sort of divine power. As if to confirm this, the lion started to speak to him. It said that Dileepa had no chance of saving the cow because the cow was the lion's chosen meal. The lion tells Dileepa to return to Vashista’s ashram. Dileepa replies by asking if the lion would let Nandini go if he offered himself in Nandini’s place. The lion agreed and Dileepa sacrificed his life for the cow. But then the lion mysteriously disappeared. Nandini explained that the lion was just an illusion to test Dileepa. Because Dileepa was truly selfless, Nandini granted him a son. Yoga Vashista Yoga Vashista is a religious text that was narrated by sage Vashista, one of the teachers of Rama, and written by Valmiki. Prince Rama returns from touring the country, and becomes utterly disillusioned after experiencing the apparent reality of the world. This worries his father, King Dasarath,
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Quarterly International Journal – Rama Vigyan Sarovar who expresses his concern to Sage Vasistha upon Rama’s arrival. Sage Vasistha consoles the king by telling him that Rama’s dis-passion or vairagya is a sign that the prince is now ready for spiritual enlightenment. He says that Rama has begun understanding profound spiritual truths, which is the cause of his confusion. Indeed he needs confirmation of this. Sage Vasistha asks the king to summon Rama. Then, in King Dasaratha’s court, the sage begins his discourse to Rama which lasted several days. The answer to Rama’s questions forms the entire scripture that is Yoga Vashista.
Brahmrishi Vashista had an Ashram in Ayodhya that was spread over 40 acres (160,000 m2) of land. Today all that remains of it is a small ashram in about one fourth of an acre of land. The ashram has within it a well that is believed to be the source of the river Saryu. Brahmarishi Vashista was the Guru of the Solar Dynasty. The King at that time was King Ishvaku who was the king of Ayodhya. He was a noble king and thought of the well-being of his subjects. This name is mentioned by Krishna in Chapter 4 – Sutra 1 when He says He taught the yoga first to Vishvan then to Manu and from Manu this knowledge descended to Ishvaku. He approached Sage Vashista telling him that the land had no water and requested him to do something to let the kingdom have adequate water. Sage Vashista performed a special prayer and the river Saryu is said to have started flowing from this well. Saryu is also known as Ishvaki and Vashisti. It is said that the well is connected underground with the river. Many spiritual people who visit this ashram find an enormous spiritual energy around this well. Some believe that this is one of the better spiritual tirth’s in Bharat (India). There is also another ashram past Rishikesh on the way to Kaudiyal on the Devprayag route that is known as Vashista Guha Ashram. The ashram itself is located on the banks of the River Ganges and it is a very beautiful place. It has a cave with a Shiv Ling in it. The head of the ashram there is a monk of South Indian origin by the name of Swami Chetananda. There is also another small cave to the side facing the river.
A copper item representing a human head styled in the manner described for the Rigvedic Vashista has been dated to around 3700 B.C. in three western universities using among other tests carbon 14 tests, spectrographic analysis, X-ray dispersal analysis and metallography. This indicates that some Rigvedic customs were already known at a very early time. The head was not found in an archaeological context, as it was rescued from being melted down in Delhi.
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Ananda Ramayana is a Sanskrit text traditionally ascribed to the sage Valmiki, who is also credited with the Adbhuta Ramayana, Valmiki Ramayana, and the Yoga Vasishta or Vasishta Ramayana. The text has received little attention from scholars to date, though in some traditions it is considered one of the principles sources of Rama stories. Many of the original stories from the Valmiki Ramayana are included in the Ananda Ramayana, though often with minor variations. Its primary significance, however, is its inclusion of original stories that are intended to support, or provide background information for, the Valmiki Ramayana narrative. Below are a few of its unique stories:
1 2 3 4 5 6 Ravana’s Abduction of Kausalya, Rama’s Mother The Birth of Sita Ravana’s Abduction of Parvati The Consecration of the Shivalinga at Rameshwara Hymns to Rama and Others References
Ravana’s Abduction of Kausalya, Rama’s Mother
Ravana once approached Brahma, inquiring as to how his own death would come about. Brahma responded that the son of Kausalya and Dasarath would be the cause of his death. Enraged, Ravana abducted Kausalya immediately prior to her wedding, and placed her in a box on a deserted island in the middle of the ocean. The sage Narada described her whereabouts to Dasarath, who then brought his army to the shore to rescue her. The army began to cross the ocean in boats, approaching the island of Kausalya’s captivity. Hearing of Dasarath’s rescue attempt, Ravana sent his rakshasa - demon army. In the ensuing battle, Dasarath’s army was annihilated, but Dasarath escaped on a wooden plank, floating on the ocean for many days. Eventually he landed upon the island of Kausalya’s captivity, and happened upon the box in which she was enclosed. Narada and other sages quickly arrived and performed a wedding ceremony, after which Dasarath and Kausalya were enclosed in the box.
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Quarterly International Journal – Rama Vigyan Sarovar Unaware of these events, Ravana went to Brahma and told him that his prediction had been rendered false, as he had killed Dasarath and was holding Kausalya captive in the box. But knowing that his words must always be true, Brahma had the box brought to his and Ravana’s presence and opened. Seeing Dasarath and Kausalya in the box, Ravana was humiliated, and planned to kill them both, but his wife Mandodari persuaded him otherwise. Eventually Dasarath and Kausalya went to Ayodhya where they lived happily, eventually giving birth to Rama and his three brothers.
The Birth of Sita
King Padmaksha worshipped Lakshmi and asked if she would become his daughter. Lakshmi countered that she could only act on Vishnu’s orders. King Padmaksha then worshipped Vishnu, pleasing him with his tapas. Vishnu gave him a piece of fruit and subsequently disappeared. Within the fruit was a small girl, who the king raised as his daughter. When she was grown, Padmaksha arranged a swayamvara for her, so that she could choose her own husband. Padmaksha stated that whoever could change the color of his skin to blue could marry the girl. A fierce battle ensued between humans, devas, and rakshasas. The rakshasas tried to capture her, but she hid in the flames of a fire, and they were unable to locate her. They nonetheless destroyed everything in the area, killing Padmaksha. After their departure, the girl left the fire, but was spotted by Ravana as he was flying by. Ravana tried to capture her, but she again jumped into the fire. Ravana attempted to extinguish the fire, but still could not find her, instead finding five gems in the ashes. Ravana took the gems in a box to Lanka and asked Mandodari, his wife, to look after them, but when she opened the box she saw a beautiful girl. Mandodari realized that this girl could destroy the rakshasa race, and recommended that she be thrown into a forest. Trusting her judgment, Ravana had her taken to a distant forest. As she was being taken away, she exclaimed that: ‘I will return to kill Ravana, along with his sons and family. Arriving a third time, I will ….’. The rakshasas were frightened, and Ravana wished to kill her, but Mandodari dissuaded him. Thus she was taken to the land of Janaka, and the box in which she was carried was buried under the ground. When Janaka was preparing for a yajna, he uncovered the box, and raised the girl in his home as Sita.
Ravana’s Abduction of Parvati
When Hanuman first arrived in Lanka, he searched everywhere for Sita. At one point, he mistook the sleeping Mandodari for Sita. Realizing his mistake, he wondered why she looked like Sita. Parvati, who was listening to the story from Shiva, asked why there was a similarity in their appearance. Shiva responded that Ravana’s mother Kaikasi had once sent Ravana to Shiva to obtain a beautiful Shivalinga for her.
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Quarterly International Journal – Rama Vigyan Sarovar Ravana had pleased Shiva who gave him two boons, one of which he used to obtain the Atmalinga. With the other, he asked for Parvati as his wife. Shiva gave both to Ravana, but told him that if he dropped the Atmalinga, it would remain installed where it fell and would move no further. And so Ravana departed with Parvati and the linga. Parvati prayed to Vishnu for help, and he appeared to Shiva disguised as a Brahmana. The Brahmana told Ravana that he had been misled, and that the Parvati she gave him was really a fake version. The real Parvati, he said, was in the netherworlds hiding from him. Ravana then entrusted the linga to the Brahmana, and set off in search of the ‘real’ Parvati. After Ravana had left, the Brahmana (Vishnu) consecrated the linga and departed. According to the Ananda Ramayana, this is the origin of the linga at Gokarna. Ravana eventually returned to Gokarna to perform the intense tapas, which later earned him the boons from Brahma that made him invincible to everyone but humans. Thus Vishnu was later able to incarnate as Rama in order to defeat Ravana.
The Consecration of the Shivalinga at Rameshwaram
Rama sent Hanuman to bring a linga from Kashi - the modern day Varanasi, the city of Shiva. Hanuman was delayed, however, but because the muhurta or auspicious time for an event, was about to pass, Rama formed a linga made of sand and consecrated it instead. Hanuman returned, and was disappointed to see that Rama had gone ahead with the consecration. Rama informed him, however, that if he removed the sand linga, he would consecrate the one Hanuman brought from Kashi. But Hanuman’s efforts were to no avail, and recognizing his own pride he worshipped Rama and his pride dissipated. Rama then consecrated Hanuman’s linga so that both would remain.
Hymns to Rama and Others
The Ananda Ramayana is a rich source of hymns to Rama and others, which include the following: The Yaga Kanda includes the Rama-shata-nama-stotra (the 108 names of Rama); The Vilasa Kanda contains the Rama-stotram, attributed to Shiva; The Janma Kanda contains the Ramaraksha Mahamantra or Rama-Raksha – Strotam (the ‘Great Mantra for Gaining Protection from Rama’); The Rajya Kanda contains the Rama-sahasra-nama-stotra (‘Thousand Names of Rama’);
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Quarterly International Journal – Rama Vigyan Sarovar The Manohar Kanda contains Hanuman Kavacha, Rama Kavacha, and Sita Kavacha; The Manohar Kanda also contains the Lakshman Kavacha, Bharata Kavacha, and Shatrughna Kavacha; Ananda Ramayana is attributed to The Great Sage Valmiki. It is composed in Sanskrit and, English Translation and an Introduction is contained in 2 Vols. With the composition of the Ramayana by the sage Valmiki, there was a boost in the popularity of the story of Rama. The life of Rama had been quite ideal and his life stories had been quite popular with the masses, possibly in fragments in earlier times but Valmiki did a great service to the country and Hindu community by composing the Ramayana which happens to be the earliest poetic excellence besides being quite unique and unparalleled. Various Ramayanas in Sanskrit like the Adhyatma, Mantra, Adbhuta and Ananda Ramayana were also composed. In the Ananda Ramayana several events of later period have been included which could never appear to have been composed by Valmiki at all. There is a tradition that the Ananda Ramayana was composed by someone in the fourteenth century or so by a great poet, which appears to be acceptable by and large. One of the most interesting aspects of this Ramayana is the inclusion of the episode of abduction of Kausalya by Ravana which stands included in the first Sarga of the Sarakanda. Further, this Ramayana portraits iconographical features of Rama and his brothers, describes about birth of Sita, Ravana carrying Parvati , skill of Hanuman etc. This Ramayana also has the unique coverage highlighting the Ramaraksa-stotras, a thousand name of Rama and the formation of several types of Ramabhadra and Ramalingatobhadras, besides Rama, Sita and the other kavacas. The entire translation of the present edition has been divided into 10 Kandas, starting with the Sara-kanda and ending with the Purna-kanda.
Indeed innumerable versions of the Indian epic poem the Ramayana are known to exist. The oldest version is generally recognized to be the Sanskrit version attributed to the sage Valmiki. The Ramayana has spread to many Asian countries outside of India, including Burma, Indonesia, Cambodia, Laos, Philippines, Surinam, Guyana, Trinidad, USA, England, China and any part of the globe where a Hindu heart exists.
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Quarterly International Journal – Rama Vigyan Sarovar The original Valmiki version has been adapted or translated into various regional and foreign languages, which have often been marked more or less by plot twists and thematic adaptations. Some of the important adaptations of the classic tale include the 12th century Tamil language Ramavataram, the Khmer Reamker, the Old Javanese Kakawin Ramayana, and the Thai Ramakien and the Laos Phra Lak Phra Lam. The manifestation of the core themes of the original Ramayana is far broader even than can be understood from a consideration of the different languages in which it appears, as its essence has been expressed in a diverse array of regional cultures and artistic mediums. For instance, the Ramayana has been expressed or interpreted in Lkhaon Khmer dance theatre, in the Mappila Songs of the Muslims of Kerala and Lakshadweep, in the Indian operatic tradition of Yakshagana, and in the epic paintings still extant on, for instance, the walls of Thailand’s Wat Phra Kaew palace temple. In Indonesia, the tales of the Ramayana appear reflected in ballet performances, masked danced drama, and Wayang shadow puppetry. Angkor Wat in Siem Reap also has mural scenes from the epic Battle of Lanka on one of its outer walls. Rama requests Sage Agastya to indicate a place in the forest to make a residence during the days of exile. Sage Agastya foresees the next course of Ramayana, and orients his conversation around womanhood and Sita. Then that sage informs Rama to proceed to Panchavati where Sita will be delightful of its surroundings. ‘I am delighted Rama, safe you be, O! Lakshman, well-contended I am for you have come to pay respects to me along with Sita.’ Sage Agastya continued. ‘The well-worn trail of yours on pathway is strenuousness and painful for you two, and it is evident from the sweat above your necks, even much more for Janaka’s daughter, Maithili. ‘She is delicate and not discomforted by such distresses earlier, yet motivated by her friendship she came to these highly detrimental forests. ‘In which way Sita takes delight in these forests, Rama, that you may ensure to her, for she has done an impossible deed in following you to forests, an impossible deed for womenfolk, in general. From the beginning of creation the nature of women is this way only, oh scion of Raghu, they devote themselves to their men in good fortune, but they leave them off in ill fortune. "With the mercurially of hundreds of streaks of thunderbolt and with the incisiveness of a weapon, and with the speediness of an eagle or the gusty wind, the women are conformable.
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Quarterly International Journal – Rama Vigyan Sarovar The flashes of thunderbolts are famous for their mercurially and so capricious are the women’s hearts with the speed of lightning, and razor sharp will be their attitude to cutoff the age-old friendship, if they are ill at ease, and they sever relations with the speediness of an eagle or a gust. ‘But she this wife of yours is devoid of all those stigmas, an exemplary and an estimable lady, like Lady Arundhati. Lady Arundhati is the wife of Sage Vashishta, an exemplary lady in devotion to her husband and she has become a star in the sky by virtue of that devotion. Even today in marriages, at the close of all observances, this star in skies is shown to the bride imbuing a sense of devotion to her bridegroom, may it be in noontime. ‘Where you wish to put up along with Lakshman and with this Sita, O!, enemy-destroyer Rama, that province shall be glorified,’ so said Sage Agastya to Rama.’ Thus said by the sage, Raghava spoke amiable this sentence adjoining his palms to the sage who is glowing like a ritual-fire. ‘I am privileged and blessed as my mentor and the eminent age is well pleased with the virtues of my brother and wife which are non-dissimilar to mine. But a place with water and many forests may please be shown, where I can reside happily and self-composedly on erecting a hermitage.’ Thus Rama asked the Sage Agastya. Then that eminent sage Agastya on contemplating a while about what Rama has said, that virtuous and confident sage spoke more ideational word to Rama. Rama wanted a place with ‘many forests,’ which is non-conditional to his exile. Some versions contain after dharma atma. It is said, that sage Agastya contemplated for a while, and envisioning the future of Sita’s abduction and Rama’s elimination of Ravana etc. by his yogic power, he asked to Rama to stay at Panchavati. This is because he himself is courageous sage in eliminating the demons, trusting that Rama also will do the same he has shown a place which has many forests' around it that too as Rama desired. ‘A most prosperous place called Panchavati is there at a distance of two yojana-s from here dear Rama. Indeed it is abundant with tubers, fruits, water, and many deer.’ Thus Agastya started to tell. On your going there along with Saumitri, and on erecting a hermitage you may take delight in there complying the decreed order of your father. Indeed this entire episode of yours is known to me, O!, merited one, by the ability of my asceticism, and also by my friendship with Dasarath. I know of your heartfelt certitude by my ascetic acumen, thereby I wish to advise you to go to Panchavati, though I said that you may dwell in these ascetic-woods along with me. That woodland will be delightful isn’t it Raghava, for it is praiseworthy and not very far off from here, and Sita can take delight in there.
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Quarterly International Journal – Rama Vigyan Sarovar ‘There Maithili will take delight nearby River Godavari, and it is with abundant tubers, fruits, various are its bird flocks, and it is very reclusive too, oh, great dexterous Rama, further it is meritorious and appealing. Even you, Rama, with your good deportment are capable to safeguard the hermits while residing there. ‘Oh, brave one, you see this great forest of flower-liquor trees, you have to proceed north of it and advance towards a banyan tree. Then on climbing up upland a mountain is seen, that which is also not far away, and that renowned Panchavati is there in an ever-blooming forest in the valley of that mountain’, said Sage Agastya to Rama. When thus said by Sage Agastya, Rama along with Soumitri venerated and bade farewell to that truth advocator sage Agastya. Thus well bidden by Sage Agastya those two Rama and Lakshman have offered their venerations at the feet of that sage and proceeded to their prospective hermitage at Panchavati along with Sita. Those princes that are dauntless in war took up their bows and braced up their quivers, and resolutely proceeded to Panchavati on the route appraised by that great sage Agastya. Thus, this is the 13th chapter in Aranya Kanda of Valmiki Ramayana, the First Epic poem of India. Agastya in Ramayana Ramayana Kishkindha Kand Sarg 41 mentions about the directions to southward search party prepared by Sugriva under the leadership of Angad, in which several important Vanar were included - Neel, Hanuman, Jamvanta, Suhotra, Shararita, Shargulma, Gaja, Gavaksha etc. and told them about the impassable countries and difficult path and said Next you will see Kunjar Parvat. Here Vishwakarmaa built a place for Agastya Muni. This place is one Yojan wide and 10 Yojan high. Here there is Bhogvati city where snakes live, that is why it is impossible for human beings to go there. Here lives the king of snakes - Vasuki Naga. Many terrific snakes guard him. This place is studded in numerous gem stones. Go in this place very carefully and search for Sita. This has been mentioned in shlokas 34 to 38 as under: । ॥४-४१-३४॥ । दश श द ॥४-४१-३५॥ ।
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Quarterly International Journal – Rama Vigyan Sarovar ॥४-४१-३६॥ श द द । ॥४-४१-३७॥ । ॥४-४१-३८॥ Ramayana in Aranya Kanda Sarga 15 mentions about Panchavati situated on Godavari River in Nasik district in Maharashtra. The biodiversity of the place is very beautifully described from shlokas 12-18 as under: 12,13a. This River Godavari is also seen from here, surrounded by blooming trees, spread over with swans, and beautified with kaarandava, and chakravaaka birds, as that contemplated soul sage Agastya had said. [3-15-12] । द श द ॥३-१५-१२॥ । ॥३-१५-१३॥
Kishkindha Kanda Sarga 41 mentions about the Mountain called Agastyamalai and it is in Western Ghats from which River Tamraparni emerges. 15b, 16a ‘You shall see the eminent sage Agastya, whose resplendence is akin to that of the Sun, and who will be sitting on the top of that highly resplendent Mt. Malaya. [4-4115b, 16a] 16b,17a ‘And when that great-souled Agastya complaisantly permits you, then you shall leave that mountain and cross over the great River Taamraparni, a highly cherished river of crocodiles. [4-41-16b, 17a] ॥४-४१-१५॥ द श द । । ॥४-४१-१६॥
Bala Kanda Sarga 25 mentions Sage Vishvamitra narrating the birth, marriage and curse of demoness Tataka.
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Quarterly International Journal – Rama Vigyan Sarovar 10 But when Sunda is eliminated by sage Agastya’s curse, she - Tataka decided to retaliate that eminent sage along with her son Mareecha. [1-25-10] 11, 12a With desperation brewing in her she roaringly rushed towards the sage as though to eat him away, and on seeing her rushing along with her son Mareecha towards him, the godly saint Agastya firstly cursed Mareecha saying, ‘you will attain demon-hood.’ [1-25-11, 12a] 12b, 13 Highly infuriated sage Agastya even cursed Tataka saying, ‘forthwith divested of this form of a beautiful female, oh, great yakshii, you shall become a man eater with your form distorted, face contorted, and shape monstrous. [1-25-12b, 13] 14 Frenzied by the curse and convulsed in fury she that Tataka is thus vandalising this auspicious province, in which sage Agastya once sauntered. [1-25-14] द । ॥१-२५-१०॥ । ॥१-२५-११॥ । श द द श दश द श शद ॥१-२५-१२॥ । ॥१-२५-१३॥ । ॥१-२५-१४॥
Aranya Kanda Sarga 11 mentions the Stories of Sages Mandakarani and Agastya - Rama comes across lake from which divine music is heard. Surprised at the musical notes from beneath the waters of the lake he enquires with the sage who is following, and that sage narrates the episode of Sage Mandakarni. Then Rama proceeds on wondering at that lake, and he visits all the hermitages about there and thus elapsed are ten years. Again Rama returns to the hermitage of Sage Suteekhsna, and after staying there for some time, takes leave of that sage and proceeds to see Sage Agastya. And on the way he visits the brother of Sage Agastya also. Rama, on the way narrates about the great deeds done by Sage Agastya in protecting humans from demons, and also depicts the propitious nature of Agastya’s hermitage.
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Virata Parva, of Mahabharata - Book IV Chapter 20 mentions that Lopamudra wife of Agastya endued with youth and beauty, followed Agastya, renouncing all the objects of enjoyment unattainable by men. द (Mahabharata: IV.20.11)
द . द
श द .
८४ श .
श दश द . . द . ।37। .
द श द
द श ।38।[ . श औ दश ई
औ . . . Jat Gotras descended from Agastya
Agi ( ) gotra of Jats started from a Jat named Aksha ( ) in Shloka 53, who are also considered as descendants of rishi Agastya. (See - Mahabharata Shalya Parva) द श |53 | Agre ( ) Agha ( ) Agah ( ) Aga ( ) Agi ( from Agastya. ) Agach ( ) gotra gets name
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Tulsidas tulsIdas is also known as Goswami Tulsidas, who was born in 1497 or 1532 and lived until 1623 indeed was a Hindu poet-saint, reformer and philosopher renowned for his devotion for the Rama. Tulsidas appeared at a time when human values were declining. The social fabrics of the family and the society were disintegrating. There were atrocities inflicted by the Mughal invasion of India. Under these circumstances it was necessary to revive these values under the present time framework. It was an arduous task. How to do this and how to mold the structure and create a new framework was the main concern of the reformers. Tulsidas choose the religious character of Sri Rama to harmonize and integrate the changing and declining values. As composer of several popular works, he is best known for the epic Ramcharitmanas. It erroneous to say this work is a retelling of the Sanskrit Ramayana in the vernacular Awadhi, which is a popular Hindu scripture often referred to as the Bible of North India. Instead Tulsidas presented the portrayal of Sri Rama totally different within the framework of present social and moral situation. The story line is the same there can be no change in the historicity of that. However certainly there can be a difference in its presentation. And this is what Tulsidas did while writing the Ramcharitmanas. At the time of Tulsidas there was clear conflict between Shaivites and Vaishanavites. Ramcharitmanas is a Vaishanavite scripture as it centers on the seventh incarnation of Sri Vishnu. However Tulsidas brought harmony between the two by narrating the life story of a Vaishanavite incarnation and composed it under the protection of Shiva on the banks of Ganga in Varanasi. He drew initial inspiration from the 11th incarnation of Shiva as hanuman. He composed Rudrasthakam in praise of Shiva. He gave due recognition to sages like Vashistha, Agastaya, Atri through creating composition for them. Tulsidas was acclaimed in his lifetime to be a reincarnation of Valmiki, the composer of the original Ramayana in Sanskrit. He is also considered to be the composer of the Hanuman Chalisa, a popular devotional hymn dedicated to Hanuman, the divine monkey helper and devotee of Rama. Tulsidas lived permanently and died in the city of Varanasi. The Tulsi Ghat in Varnasi is named after him. He founded the Sankatmochan Temple dedicated to Hanuman in Varanasi, believed to stand at the place where he had the sight of Hanuman. Tulsidas started the Ramlila plays, a folk-theatre adaption of the
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Quarterly International Journal – Rama Vigyan Sarovar Ramayana. He has been acclaimed as one of the greatest poets in Hindi, Indian, and world literature. The impact of Tulsidas and his works on the art, culture and society in India is widespread and is seen to date in vernacular language, Ramlila plays, Hindustani classical music, popular music, and television series.
The Sanskrit name of Tulsidas can be transliterated in two ways. Using the IAST transliteration scheme, the name is written as Tulasīdāsa, as pronounced in Sanskrit. However using the Hunterian transliteration scheme, it is written as Tulsidas or Tulsīdās, as pronounced in Hindi. The name is a compound of two Sanskrit words: Tulasī, refers to an Indian variety of the basil plant considered auspicious by Vaishnavas - devotees of Vishnu and his avatars as Rama, Krishna, and Dāsa, means a slave or servant and by extension, a devotee. Tulsidas thus implies a servant of the plant Tulsi.
Tulsidas himself has given only a few facts and hints about events of his life in various works. Till late nineteenth century, the two widely known ancient sources on Tulsidas’ life were the Bhaktamal composed by Nabhadas between 1583 and 1639, and a commentary on Bhaktamal titled Bhaktirasbodhini composed by Priyadas in 1712. Nabhadas was a contemporary of Tulsidas and wrote a six-line stanza on Tulsidas describing him as an incarnation of Valmiki. Priyadas’ work was composed around a hundred years after the death of Tulsidas and had eleven additional stanzas, describing seven miracles or spiritual experiences from the life of Tulsidas. During the 1920s, two more ancient biographies of Tulsidas were published based on old manuscripts – the Mula Gosain Charit composed by Veni Madhav Das in 1630 and the Gosain Charit composed by Dasanidas (also known as Bhavanidas) around 1770. Veni Madhav Das was a disciple and contemporary of Tulsidas and his work gave a new date for Tulsidas’ birth. The work by Bhavanidas presented more narratives in greater detail as compared to the work by Priyadas. In the 1950s a fifth ancient account was published based on an old manuscript, the Gautam Chandrika composed by Krishnadatta Misra of Varanasi in 1624. Krishnadatta Misra’s father was a close companion of Tulsidas. The accounts published later are not considered authentic by some modern scholars, whereas some other scholars have been unwilling to dismiss them. Together, these five works form a set of traditional biographies on which modern biographies of Tulsidas are based.
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Incarnation of Valmiki
Tulsidas is believed to be a reincarnation of Valmiki. In the Hindu scripture Bhavishyottar Purana, the Shiva tells his wife Parvati how Valmiki, who got a boon from Hanuman to sing the glory of Rama in vernacular language, will incarnate in future in the Kali Yuga - the present and last Yuga or epoch within a cycle of four Yugas). Devanagari – IAST (International Alphabet of Sanskrit Transliteration - IAST) । ॥ vālmīkistulasīdāsaḥ kalau devi bhaviṣyati । rāmacandrakathāmetāṃ bhāṣābaddhāṃ kariṣyati ॥ ‘O Goddess - Parvati! Valmiki will become Tulsidas in the Kali age, and will compose this narrative of Rama in the vernacular language.’
Bhavishyottar Purana, Pratisarga Parva, 4.20.
Nabhadas wrote in the Bhaktamal that Tulsidas was the incarnation of Valmiki in the Kali Yuga. The Ramanandi sect believes that it was Valmiki himself who incarnated as Tulsidas in the Kali Yuga. According to a traditional account, Hanuman went to Valmiki several times to hear him sing the Ramayana, but Valmiki turned down the request saying that Hanuman being a monkey was unworthy of hearing the epic. After the victory of Rama over Ravana, Hanuman went to the Himalayas to continue his worship of Rama. There he scripted a play version of the Ramayana called Mahanataka or Hanuman Nataka engraved on the Himalayan rocks using his nails. When Valmiki saw the play written by Hanuman, he anticipated that the beauty of the Maha Nataka would eclipse his own Ramayana. On Valmiki’s request, Hanuman cast all the rocks into the ocean, some parts of which are available today as Hanuman Nataka. After this, Valmiki was instructed by Hanuman to take birth as Tulsidas and compose the Ramayana in the vernacular.
Birth and Early life
Tulsidas was born on the seventh day of the bright half of the lunar Hindu month Shraavana (July–August). Although as many as seven places are mentioned as his birthplace, most scholars identify the place with Rajapur - Chitrakuta, a village on the banks of the Yamuna river in modern-day Banda district of Uttar Pradesh. His parents were Hulsi and Atmaram Dubey. Most sources identify him as a Saryupareen Brahmin of the Parashar Gotra (lineage), although some sources claim he was a Kanyakubja or Sanadhya Brahmin.
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Quarterly International Journal – Rama Vigyan Sarovar For me Tulsidas is existential – one who is never born and never died. The body must take birth and die. However that which is unborn enters the finite realm. Still I have to give the opinions of biographers. There is difference of opinion among biographers regarding the year of birth of Tulsidas. Many sources rely on Veni Madhav Das’ account in the Mula Gosain Charita, which gives the year of Tulsidas’ birth as Vikrami Samvat 1554 (1497 CE). These sources include Shivlal Pathak, popular editions of Ramcharitmanas (Gita Press, Naval Kishore Press and Venkateshvar Press), Edwin Greaves, Hanuman Prasad Poddar, Ramanand Sarasvati, Ayodhyanath Sharma, Ramchandra Shukla, Narayandas, and Rambhadracharya. A second group of biographers led by Sant Tulsi Sahib of Hathras and Sir George Grierson give the year as Vikram 1589 (1532 CE). These biographers include Ramkrishna Gopal Bhandarkar, Ramghulam Dwivedi, James Lochtefeld, Swami Sivananda and others. A third small group of authors which includes H. H. Wilson, Garse De Tasse and Krishnadatta Mishra gives the year as Vikram 1600 (1543 CE). The year 1497 appears in most current-day biographies and in popular culture. Biographers who disagree with this year argue that it makes the life span of Tulsidas equal 126 years, which in their opinion is unlikely if not impossible. In contrast, Ramchandra Shukla says that an age of 126 is not impossible for Mahatmas (great souls) like Tulsidas. The Government of India and provincial governments celebrated the 500 th birth anniversary of Tulsidas in the year 1997 CE, according to the year of Tulsidas’ birth in popular culture.
Legend goes that Tulsidas was born after staying in the womb for 12 months, he had all 32 teeth in his mouth at birth, his health and looks were like that of a five-year old boy, and he did not cry at the time of his birth instead uttered Rama instead. He was therefore named Rambola (literally, one who uttered Rama), as Tulsidas himself states in Vinayapatrika. As per the Mula Gosain Charita, he was born under the Abhuktamūla constellation, which according to Jyotisha (Hindu astrology) causes immediate danger to the life of the father. Due to the inauspicious events at the time of his birth, he was abandoned by his parents on the fourth night, sent away with Chuniya while some sources call her Muniya, a female servant of Hulsi. In his works Kavitavali and Vinayapatrika, Tulsidas attests to his parents abandoning him after birth due to an inauspicious astrological configuration.
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Quarterly International Journal – Rama Vigyan Sarovar Chuniya took the child to her village of Haripur and looked after him for five and a half years after which she passed away. Rambola was left to fend for himself as an impoverished orphan, and wandered from door to door begging for alms. It is believed that the goddess Parvati assumed the form of a Brahmin woman and fed Rambola every day.
Initiation and learning
At the age of five years, Rambola was adopted by Narharidas, a Vaishnava ascetic of Ramananda’s monastic order who is believed to be the fourth disciple of Ramananda, or alternately, the disciple of Anantacharya. Rambola was given the Virakta Diksha Vairagi initiation with the new name of Tulsidas. Tulsidas narrates the dialogue that took place during the first meeting with his guru in a passage in the Vinayapatrika. When he was seven years old, his Upanayana - sacred thread ceremony was performed by Narharidas on the fifth day of the bright half of the month of Magha (January–February) at Ayodhya, a pilgrimage-site related to Rama. Tulsidas started his learning at Ayodhya. After some time, Narharidas took him to a particular Varaha Kshetra (a holy place with temple dedicated to Varaha - the boar avatar of Vishnu), where he first narrated the Ramayana to Tulsidas. Tulsidas mentions this in the Ramcharitmanas. । ॥ maı puni nija gura sana sunī kathā so sūkarakheta । samujhī nahi tasa bālapana taba ati raheu aceta ॥ And then, I heard the same narrative from my Guru in a Sukarkhet (Varaha Kshetra). I did not understand it then, since I was totally without cognition in childhood.
Ramcharitmanas 1.30 (ka).
Most authors identify the Varaha Kshetra referred to by Tulsidas with the Varaha temple on the second entrance of the pilgrimage of Kamadgiri in Chitrakuta. Some biographers believe this Sukarkshetra is the Soron Varaha Kshetra in modern-day Kanshi Ram Nagar, while some others believe it to be Paska-Rajapur Varaha Kshetra in current-day Gonda. Tulsidas further mentions in the Ramcharitmanas that his guru repeatedly narrated the Ramayana to him, which led him to understand it somewhat. Tulsidas later came to the sacred city of Varanasi and studied Sanskrit grammar, four Vedas, six Vedangas, Jyotisha and the six schools of Hindu philosophy over a period of 15–16 years from Guru Shesha Sanatana who was based at the Panchaganga Ghat in Varanasi. Shesha Sanatana was a friend of Narharidas and a renowned scholar on literature and philosophy. After completing his studies, Tulsidas came back to his
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Quarterly International Journal – Rama Vigyan Sarovar birthplace Rajapur with the permission of Shesha Sanatana. Here he found that his family was no more, with his parents dead. Tulsidas performed the Shraddha ceremony (which deals with giving offerings to the ancestors) of his parents. He started living in his ancestral home and narrating the Katha of Ramayana in Chitrakuta.
Marriage and renunciation
According to the Mula Gosain Charita and some other works, Tulsidas was married to Ratnavali on the thirteenth day of the bright half of the Jyeshta month (May–June) in Vikram 1583 - 1526 CE. Ratnavali was the daughter of Dinbandhu Pathak, a Brahmin of the Bharadwaja Gotra, who belonged to Mahewa village of Kaushambi district. They had a son named Tarak who died as a toddler. Once when Tulsidas had gone to a Hanuman temple, Ratnavali went to her father’s home with her brother. When Tulsidas came to know this, he swam across the Yamuna River in the night to meet his wife. Ratnavali chided Tulsidas for this, and remarked that if Tulsidas was even half as devoted to God as he was to her body of flesh and blood, he would have been redeemed. Tulsidas left her instantly and left for the holy city of Prayag. Here, he renounced the Grihastha – householder’s life stage and became a Sadhu - Hindu ascetic. Some authors consider the marriage episode of Tulsidas to be a later interpolation and maintain that he was a bachelor. They include Rambhadracharya, who interprets two verses in the Vinayapatrika and Hanuman Bahuka to mean that Tulsidas never married and was a Sadhu from childhood.
Later life and travels
After renunciation, Tulsidas spent most of his time at Varanasi, Prayag, Ayodhya, and Chitrakuta but visited many other nearby and far-off places. He traveled across India to many places, studying different people, meeting saints and Sadhus and meditating. The Mula Gosain Charita gives an account of his travels to the four pilgrimages of Hindus Badrinath, Dwarka, Puri and Rameshwaram, and the Himalayas. He visited the Manasarovar lake in current-day Tibet, where tradition holds he had Darshan (sight) of Kakabhushundi, the crow who is one of the four narrators in the Ramcharitmanas.
Tulsidas hints at several places in his works, that he had met face to face with Hanuman and Rama. The detailed account of his meetings with Hanuman and Rama are given in the Bhaktirasbodhini of Priyadas. According to Priyadas’ account, Tulsidas used to visit the woods outside Varanasi for his morning ablutions with a water pot. On his return to the city, he used to offer the remaining water to a certain tree. This quenched the thirst of a Preta (a type of ghost believed to be ever thirsty for water), who appeared to Tulsidas and offered him a boon. Tulsidas said he wished to see Rama with his eyes, to
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Quarterly International Journal – Rama Vigyan Sarovar which the Preta responded that it was beyond him. However, the Preta said that he could guide Tulsidas to Hanuman, who could grant the boon Tulsidas asked for. The Preta told Tulsidas that Hanuman comes everyday disguised in the mean attire of a leper to listen to his Katha, he is the first to arrive and last to leave. That evening Tulsidas noted that the first listener to arrive at his discourse was an old leper, who sat at the end of the gathering. After the Katha was over, Tulsidas quietly followed the leper to the woods. In the woods, at the spot where the Sankat Mochan Temple stands today, Tulsidas firmly fell at the leper’s feet, shouting in ecstacy: ‘I know who you are’ and ‘You cannot escape me’. At first the leper feigned ignorance but Tulsidas did not relent. Then the leper revealed his original form of Hanuman and blessed Tulsidas. When granted a boon, Tulsidas told Hanuman he wanted to see Rama face to face. Hanuman told him to go to Chitrakuta where he would see Rama with his own eyes. At the beginning of the Ramcharitmanas, Tulsidas bows down to a particular Preta and asks for his grace (Ramcharitmanas, Doha 1.7). According to Rambhadracharya, this is the same Preta which led Tulsidas to Hanuman.
Darshan of Rama
As per Priyadas’ account, Tulsidas followed the instruction of Hanuman and started living in an Ashram at Ramghat in Chitrakuta. One day Tulsidas went to perform the Parikrama - circumambulation of the Kamadgiri Mountain. He saw two princess one dark and the other fair, dressed in green robes pass by mounted on horsebacks. Tulsidas was enraptured at the sight however he could not recognize them and took his eyes off them. Later Hanuman asked Tulsidas if he saw Rama and his brother Lakshman on horses. Tulsidas was disappointed and repented. Hanuman assured Tulsidas that he would have the sight of Rama once again the next morning. Tulsidas recalls this incident in a song of the Gitavali and laments how ‘his eyes turned his own enemies’ by staying fixed to the ground and how everything happened in a trice. On the next morning, Wednesday, the new-moon day of Magha, Vikram 1607 - 1551 CE or 1620 - 1564 CE as per some sources, Rama again appeared to Tulsidas, this time as a child. Tulsidas was making sandalwood paste when a child came and asked for sandalwood Tilaka - a religious mark on the forehead. This time Hanuman gave a hint to Tulsidas and he had a full view of Rama. Tulsidas was so charmed that he forgot about the sandalwood. Rama took the sandalwood paste and put a Tilaka himself on his forehead and Tulsidas’ forehead before disappearing. In a verse in the Vinayapatrika, Tulsidas alludes to a certain ‘miracle at Chitrakuta’, and thanks Rama for what he did for him at Chitrakuta. Some biographers conclude that
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Quarterly International Journal – Rama Vigyan Sarovar the deed of Rama at Chitrakuta referred to by Tulsidas is the Darshan of Rama. This is narrated through a couplet in Ramcharitmanas.
Darshan of Yajnavalkya and Bharadvaja
In Vikram 1628 - 1572 CE, Tulsidas left Chitrakuta for Ayodhya where he stayed during the Magha Mela (the annual fair in January). Six days after the Mela ended, he had the Darshan of the sages Yajnavalkya and Bharadvaja under a banyan tree. In one of the four dialogues in the Ramcharitmanas, Yajnavalkya is the speaker and Bharadvaja the listener. Tulsidas describes the meeting between Yajnavalkya and Bharadvaja after a Magha Mela festival in the Ramcharitmanas, it is this meeting where Yajnavalkya narrates the Ramcharitmanas to Bharadvaja.
In Priyadas’ biography, Tulsidas is attributed with the power of working miracles. In one such miracle, he is believed to have brought back a dead Brahmin to life. While the Brahmin was being taken for cremation, his widow bowed down to Tulsidas on the way who addressed her as Saubhagyavati - a woman whose husband is alive. The widow told Tulsidas her husband had just passed away, so his words could not be true. Tulsidas said that the word has passed his lips and so he would restore the dead man to life. He asked everybody present to close their eyes and utter the name of Rama, on doing which the dead Brahmin was raised back to life. In another miracle described by Priyadas, the emperor of Delhi summoned Tulsidas on hearing of his bringing back a dead man to life. Tulsidas was asked to perform a miracle, which Tulsidas declined by saying ‘It is a lie, all I know is Rama.’ The emperor imprisoned Tulsidas saying, ‘We will see this Rama.’ Tulsidas prayed to Hanuman and an army of monkeys wreaked havoc in all corners of Delhi, entering each home and the emperor’s harem too, scratching people and throwing bricks from ramparts. An old Hafiz told the emperor that this was the miracle of the imprisoned Fakir. The emperor fell at Tulsidas’ feet, released him and apologized. Tulsidas stopped the menace of monkeys and asked the emperor to abandon the place. The emperor agreed and moved his fort to a new location. Priyadas narrates a miracle of Tulsidas at Vrindavan, when he visited a temple of Krishna. When he began bowing down to the idol of Krishna, the Mahant of the temple
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Quarterly International Journal – Rama Vigyan Sarovar named Parshuram decided to test Tulsidas. He told Tulsidas that he who bows down to any deity except their Ishta Devata - cherished form of divinity is a fool, as Tulsidas’ Ishta Devata was Rama. In response, Tulsidas recited the following extemporaneously composed couplet । श ॥
kāha kahau chabi ājuki bhale bane ho nātha । tulasī mastaka taba navai dharo dhanuṣa śara hātha ॥ ‘O Lord, how shall I describe today’s splendor, for you appear auspicious. Tulsidas will bow down his head when you take the bow and the arrow in your hands.’ When Tulsidas recited this couplet the idol of Krishna holding the flute and stick in hands changed, to the idol of Rama holding the bow and arrow in hands and then he bowed. Some authors have expressed doubts on the couplet being composed by Tulsidas.
Tulsidas started composing poetry in Sanskrit in Varanasi on the Prahlada Ghat. Tradition holds that all the verses that he composed during the day, would get lost in the night. This happened daily for eight days. On the eighth night, Shiva - whose famous Kashi Vishwanath Temple is located in Varanasi - is believed to have ordered Tulsidas in a dream to compose poetry in the vernacular instead of Sanskrit. Tulsidas woke up and saw both Shiva and Parvati who blessed him. Shiva ordered Tulsidas to go to Ayodhya and compose poetry in Awadhi. Shiva also predicted that Tulsidas’ poetry would fructify like the Sama Veda. In the Ramcharitmanas, Tulsidas makes mention of the Darshan of Shiva and Parvati in both dream and awakened state.
Composition of Ramcharitmanas
In the year Vikram 1631 - 1575 CE, Tulsidas began composing the Ramcharitmanas in Ayodhya on Tuesday, Ramnavami day (ninth day of the bright half of the Chaitra month, which is the birthday of Rama). Tulsidas himself attests this date in the Ramcharitmanas. He composed the epic over two years, seven months and twenty-six days, and completed the work in Vikram 1633 - 1577 CE on the Vivaha Panchami day - fifth day of the bright half of the Margashirsha month, which commemorates the wedding of Rama and his wife Sita.
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Quarterly International Journal – Rama Vigyan Sarovar Tulsidas came to Varanasi and recited the Ramcharitmanas to Shiva - Vishwanath and Parvati - Annapurna at the Kashi Vishwanath Temple. A popular legend goes that the Brahmins of Varanasi, who were critical of Tulsidas for having rendered the Sanskrit Ramayana in the vernacular, decided to test the worth of the work. A manuscript of the Ramcharitmanas was kept at the bottom of pile of Sanskrit scriptures in the sanctum sanctorum of the Vishvanath temple in the night, and the doors of the sanctum sanctorum were locked. In the morning when the doors were opened, the Ramcharitmanas was found at the top of the pile. The words Satyam Shivam Sundaram , - truth, auspiciousness, beauty were inscribed on the manuscript with the signature of Shiva. The words were also heard by the people present. As per traditional accounts, some Brahmins of Varanasi were still not satisfied, and sent two thieves to steal the manuscript. The thieves tried to break into the Ashram of Tulsidas, but were confronted by two guards with bows and arrows, of dark and fair complexion. The thieves had a change of heart and came to Tulsidas in the morning to ask who the two guards were. Believing that the two guards could be none other than Rama and Lakshmana, Tulsidas was aggrieved to know that they were guarding his home at night. He sent the manuscript of Ramcahritmanas to his friend Rai Todar Mal, the finance minister of Akbar, and donated all his money. The thieves were reformed and became devotees of Rama.
Around Vikram 1664 - 1607 CE, Tulsidas was afflicted by acute pain all over his body, especially in his arms. He then composed the Hanuman Bahuk, where he describes his bodily pain and suffering in several stanzas. He was relieved of his pain after this composition. Later he was also afflicted by Bartod boils – a furuncles caused by pulling out of the hair, which may have been the cause of his death. The Vinaypatrika is considered as the last compositions of Tulsidas, believed to be written when Kali Yuga started troubling him. In this work of 279 stanzas, he beseeches Rama to give him Bhakti - devotion, and to accept his petition. Tulsidas attests in the last stanza of Vinaypatrika that Rama himself signed the manuscript of the work. The 45th stanza of the Vinaypatrika is sung as the evening Aarti by many Hindus.
Tulsidas passed away at the Assi Ghat on the bank of the river Ganga in the Shraavan (July–August) month of the year Vikram 1680 - 1523 CE. Like the year of his birth, traditional accounts and biographers do not agree on the exact date of his death. Different sources give the date as the third day of the bright half, seventh day of the bright half, or the third day of the dark half.
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Works of Tulsidas
Twelve works are widely considered by biographers to be written by Tulsidas, six major works and six minor works. Based on the language of the works, they have been classified into two groups as follows: 1. Awadhi works These works are composed in the vernacular Awadhi language. These works included: Ramcharitmanas, Ramlala Nahachhu, Barvai Ramayan, Parvati Mangal, Janaki Mangal and Ramagya Prashna. 2. Braja works This category includes the works composed in Braja language – the language from the land of Krishna. Krishna Gitavali, Gitavali, Kavitavali, Dohavali, Vairagya Sandipani and Vinaya Patrika are all composed in the language of Braja.. Besides these twelve works, four more works are popularly believed to be composed by Tulsidas which include Hanuman Chalisa, Hanuman Ashtak, Hanuman Bahuk and Tulsi Satsai.
Ramcharitmanas is the most important composition of Tulsidas. Ramcharitmanas 1574–1576, The Holy Lake of Acts of Rama, is the Awadhi rendering of the Ramayana narrative. It is the longest and earliest work of Tulsidas, and draws from various sources including the Ramayana of Valmiki, the Adhyatma Ramayana, the Prasanna-raghava and Hanuman Nataka. The work consists of around 12,800 lines divided into 1073 stanzas, which are groups of Chaupais separated by Dohas or Sorthas. It is divided into seven books (Kands) like the Ramayana of Valmiki, and is around one-third of the size of Valmiki’s Ramayana. The work is composed in 18 different metres which include ten Sanskrit metres (Anushtup, Shardulvikridit, Vasantatilaka, Vamshashta, Upajati, Pramanika, Malini, Sragdhara, Rathoddhata and Bhujangaprayata) and eight Prakrit metres Soratha, Doha, Chaupai, Harigitika, Tribhangi, Chaupaiya, Trotaka and Tomara. It is popularly referred to as Tulsikrit Ramayana, literally The Ramayana composed by Tulsidas. The work has been acclaimed as ‘the living sum of Indian culture’, ‘the tallest tree in the magic garden of medieval Indian poetry or poetic compositions in general, or a single piece of poetry. It is considered the greatest book of all devotional literature, or the Bible of Northern India, and the best and most trustworthy guide to the popular living faith of its people.
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Quarterly International Journal – Rama Vigyan Sarovar There are several manuscripts of the Ramcharitmanas are claimed to have been written down by Tulsidas himself. Grierson wrote in the late nineteenth century, two copies of the epic were said to have existed in the poet’s own handwriting. One manuscript was kept at Rajapur, of which only the Ayodhyakand is left now, which bears marks of water. A legend goes that the manuscript was stolen and thrown into Yamuna River when the thief was being pursued, and only the second book of the epic could be rescued. Grierson wrote that the other copy was at Malihabad in Lucknow district, of which only one leaf was missing. Another manuscript of the Ayodhyakanda claimed to be in the poet’s own hand exists at Soron in Etah district, one of the places claimed to be Tulsidas’ birthplace. One manuscript of Balakanda, dated Samvat 1661, nineteen years before the poet’s death, claimed to be corrected by Tulsidas, is at Ayodhya. Some other ancient manuscripts are found in Varanasi, including one in possession of the Maharaja of Benares that was written in Vikram 1704 - 1647, twenty-four years after the death of Tulsidas.
Other major works
The five major works of Tulsidas apart from Ramcharitmanas include Dohavali , 1581, is a work consisting of 573 miscellaneous Doha and Sortha verses mainly in Braja with some verses in Awadhi. The verses are aphorisms on topics related to tact, political wisdom, righteousness and the purpose of life. 85 Dohas from this work are also found in the Ramcharitmanas, 35 in Ramagya Prashna, two in Vairagya Sandipani and some in Rama Satsai. Kavitavali or Kavitta Ramayan , 1608–1614, is a Braja rendering of the Ramayana, composed entirely in metres of the Kavitta family – Kavitta, Savaiya, Ghanakshari and Chhappaya. It consists of 325 verses including 183 verses in the Uttarkand. Like the Ramcharitmanas, it is divided into seven Kands or books and many episodes in this work are different from the Ramcharitmanas. Gitavali ( ), is a Braja rendering of the Ramayana in songs. All the verses are set to Ragas of classical music and suitable for singing. It consists of 328 songs divided into seven Kands or books. Many episodes of the Ramayana are elaborated while many others are abridged. Krishna Gitavali or Krishnavali ( , 1607), is a collection of 61 songs in honor of Krishna in Braja. There are 32 songs devoted to the childhood sports (Balalila) and Rasa Lila of Krishna, 27 songs form the dialogue between Krishna and Uddhava, and two songs describe the episode of disrobing of Draupadi. Vinaya Patrika ( ), or Petition of Humility, is a Braja work consisting of 279 stanzas or hymns. The stanzas form a petition in the court of Rama asking for Bhakti. It
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Quarterly International Journal – Rama Vigyan Sarovar is considered to be the second best work of Tulsidas after the Ramcharitmanas, and is regarded as important from the viewpoints of philosophy, erudition, and eulogistic and poetic style of Tulsidas. The first 43 hymns are addressed to various deities and Rama's courtiers and attendants, and remaining are addressed to Rama.
Minor works of Tulsidas include Barvai Ramayana ( , 1612), literally The Ramayana in Barvai metre, is an abridged rendering of the Ramayana in Awadhi. The works consists of 69 verses composed in the Barvai metre, and is divided into seven Kands or books. The work is based on a psychological framework. Parvati Mangal ( ), literally The marriage of Parvati, is an Awadhi work of 164 verses describing the penance of Parvati and the marriage of Parvati and Shiva. It consists of 148 verses in the Sohar metre and 16 verses in the Harigitika metre. Janaki Mangal ( ), literally The marriage of Sita, is an Awadhi work of 216 verses describing the episode of marriage of Sita and Rama from the Ramayana. The work includes 192 verses in the Hamsagati metre and 24 verses in the Harigitika metres. The narrative differs from the Ramcharitmanas at several places. Ramalala Nahachhu ( ), literally The Nahachhu ceremony of the child Rama, is an Awadhi work of 20 verses composed in the Sohar metre. The Nahachhu ceremony involves cutting the nails of the feet before the Hindu Samskaras (rituals) of Chudakarana, Upanayana, Vedarambha, Samavartana or Vivaha. In the work, events take place in the city of Ayodhya, so it is considered to describe the Nahachhu before Upanayana, Vedarambha and Samavartana. Ramagya Prashna ( ), literally Querying the Will of Rama, is an Awadhi work related to both Ramayana and Jyotisha or astology. It consists of seven Kands or books, each of which is divided into seven Saptakas or Septets of seven Dohas each. Thus it contains 343 Dohas in all. The work narrates the Ramayana non-sequentially, and gives a method to look up the Shakuna (omen or portent) for astrological predictions. Vairagya Sandipini ( , 1612), literally Kindling of Detachment, is a philosophical work of 60 verses in Braja which describe the state of Jnana (realization) and Vairagya (dispassion), the nature and greatness of saints, and moral conduct. It consists of 46 Dohas, 2 Sorathas and 12 Chaupai metres.
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Popularly attributed works
The following four works are popularly attributed to Tulsidas Hanuman Chalisa ( ), literally, Forty Verses to Hanuman, is an Awadhi work of 40 Chaupais and two Dohas and is a prayer to Hanuman. Although some authors do not consider it to be authored by Tulsidas, it is attributed to Tulsidas universally in popular belief and also contains the signature line of Tulsidas. It is one of the most read short religious texts in northern India, and is recited by millions of Hindus on Tuesdays and Saturdays. It is believed to have been uttered by Tulsidas in a state of Samadhi at the Kumbh Mela in Haridwar. Sankatmochan Hanumanashtak ( ), literally Eight verses for Hanuman, the Remover of Afflictions, is an Awadhi work of eight verses in the Mattagajendra metre, devoted to Hanuman. It is believed to have been composed by Tulsidas on the occasion of the founding of the Sankatmochan Temple in Varanasi. The work is usually published along with Hanuman Chalisa. Hanuman Bahuka ( ), literally The Arm of Hanuman, is a Braja work of 44 verses believed to have been composed by Tulsidas when he suffered acute pain in his arms at an advanced age. Tulsidas describes the pain in his arms and also prays to Hanuman for freedom from the suffering. The work has two, one, five and 36 verses respectively in the Chhappaya, Jhulna, Savaiya and Ghanakshari metre. Tulsi Satsai ( ई), literally Seven Hundred Verses by Tulsidas, is a work in both Awadhi and Braja and contains 747 Dohas divided in seven Sargas or cantos. The verses are same as those in Dohavali and Ramagya Prashna but the order is different.
The philosophy and principles of Tulsidas are found across his works, and are especially outlined in the dialogue between Kakbhushundi and Garuda in the Uttar Kand of the Ramcharitmanas. Tulsidas’ doctrine has been described as an assimilation and reconciliation of the diverse tenets and cultures of Hinduism. At the beginning of the Ramcharitmanas, Tulsidas says that his work is in accordance with various scriptures the Puranas, Vedas, Upavedas, Tantra and Smriti. Ram Chandra Shukla in his critical work Hindi Sahitya Ka Itihaas elaborates on Tulsidas’ Lokmangal as the doctrine for social upliftment which made this great poet immortal and comparable to any other world littérateur.
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Quarterly International Journal – Rama Vigyan Sarovar
Nirguna and Saguna Brahman
As per Tulsidas, the Nirguna Brahman (quality-less impersonal God) and Saguna Brahman (personal God with qualities) are one and the same. It is the devotion (Bhakti) of the devotee that forces the Nirguna Brahman which is quality-less, formless, invisible and unborn, to become Saguna Brahman with qualities. Tulsidas gives the example of water, snow and hail to explain this – the substance is the same in all three, but the same formless water solidifies to become hail or a mountain of snow – both of which have a form. Tulsidas also gives the simile of a lake – the Nirguna Brahman is like the lake with just water, while the Saguna Brahman is a lake resplendent with blooming lotuses. In the Uttar Kand of Ramcharitmanas, Tulsidas describes in detail a debate between Kakbhushundi and Lomasha about whether God is Nirguna - as argued by Lomasha adhering to monism or Saguna - as argued by Kakbhushundi adhering to dualism. Kakbhushundi repeatedly refutes all the arguments of Lomasha, to the point when Lomasha becomes angry and curses Kakbhushundi to be a crow. Lomasha repents later when Kakbhushundi happily accepts the curse but refuses to give up the Bhakti of Rama, the Saguna Brahman. Though Tulsidas holds both aspects of God to be equal, he favors the qualified Saguna aspect and the devotees of the highest category in the Ramcharitmanas repeatedly ask for the qualified Saguna aspect of Rama to dwell in their mind. Tulsidas has at multiple places vigorously contradicted the denial of Avatar by Kabir. In several of his works, Kabir had said that the actual Rama is not the son of Dasarath. In the Balkand of Ramcharitmanas, Shiva tells Parvati – those who say that the Rama whom the Vedas sing of and whom the sages contemplate on is different from the Rama of Raghu’s race are possessed by the devil of delusion and do not know the difference between truth and falsehood.
The name of Rama
At the beginning of the Ramcharitmanas, there is a section devoted to the veneration of the name of Rama. As per Tulsidas, repeating the name of Rama is the only means to attain God in the Kali age where the means suited for other ages like meditation, Karma, and Puja are ineffective. He says in Kavitavali that his own redemption is because of the power, glory and majesty of the name of Rama. In a couplet in the Gitavali, Tulsidas says that wishing for liberation without refuge in the name of Rama is like wishing to climb to the sky by holding on to the falling rain. In his view, the name of Rama is greater than both Nirguna and Saguna aspects of God – it controls both of them and is illuminates both like a bilingual interpreter. In a verse in the Dohavali, Tulsidas says that the Nirguna Brahman resides in his heart, the
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Quarterly International Journal – Rama Vigyan Sarovar Saguna Brahman resides in his eyes and the name of Rama resides on his tongue, as if a radiant gemstone is kept between the lower and upper halves of a golden casket. He holds that Rama is superior to all other names of God, and argues that ra and ma being are the only two consonants that are written above all other consonants in the conjunct form in Sanskrit because they are the two sounds in the word Rama.
Rama as Brahman
At several places in Tulsidas’ works, Rama is seen to be the higher than Vishnu and not as an avatar of Vishnu, which is the general portrayal of Rama. In the episode of the delusion of Sati in Ramcharitmanas, Sati sees many a Shiva, Brahma and Vishnu serving Rama and bowing at his feet. When Manu and Shatarupa perform penance, they crave to see that Supreme Lord ‘from a part of whose being emanate a number of Shivas, Brahmas and Vishnus.’ Brahma, Vishnu and Shiva come to them many times tempting them with a boon, but Manu and Shatarupa do not stop their penance. They are finally satisfied only by the appearance of Rama, on whose left side is Sita, from a part of whom are born ‘countless Lakshmis, Umas (Parvatis) and Brahmanis (Sarasvatis).’ In the episode of marriage of Sita and Rama in Balkand, the trio of Brahma, Vishnu and Shiva are present - Brahma is astounded as he finds nowhere anything that is his own handiwork, while Vishnu is enchanted with Lakhmi on seeing Rama. In the Sundarkand, Hanuman tells Ravana that Brahma, Vishnu and Shiva can create, preserve and destroy by the might of Rama. In the Lankakand, Tulsidas presents the universe as the cosmic form of Rama, in which Shiva is the consciousness, Brahma is the reason and Vishnu is his intelligence. As per Tulsidas, Rama is not only an avatar, but also the source of avatars – Krishna is also an Avatar of Rama.
Vedanta, World and Maya
In the Sundarkand of Ramcharitmanas, Tulsidas says that Rama is knowable by Vedanta. As per Tulsidas, Rama is the efficient and material cause - Nimitta and Upadana of the world, which is real since Rama is real. In several verses of the Ramcharitmanas, Tulsidas says that the animate and inanimate world is a manifestation of Rama, and the universe is the cosmic form of Rama. Authors interpret these verses to mean that the world is real according to Tulsidas, in keeping with the Vishishtadvaita philosophy of Ramanuja. However, at some places in the Ramcharitmanas and Kavitavali, Tulsidas compares the world to a night or a dream and says it is Mithya (false or unreal). Some commentators
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Quarterly International Journal – Rama Vigyan Sarovar interpret these verses to mean that in Tulsidas' opinion the world is unreal as per the Vivartavada doctrine of Adi Shankar, while some others interpret them to mean that the world is transient yet real as per the Satkhyativada doctrine of Ramananda. Uday Bhanu Singh concludes that in Tulsidas’ view, the world is essentially the form of Rama and appears to be different from Rama due to Maya. Its visible form is transient, which is what Tulsidas means by Mithya. In the Vinayapatrika, Tulsidas says that the world in itself is neither true (Satya), nor false (Asatya), nor both true and false together (Satyasatya) – one who casts aside all these three illusions, knows oneself. This has been interpreted to mean that as per Tulsidas, the entire world is a Lila of Rama. At the beginning of the Ramcharitmanas, Tulsidas performs Samasti Vandana (obeisance to all beings) in which he bows down to the world also, saying it is ‘pervaded by’ or ‘born out of’ Sita and Rama. As per some verses in Ramcharitmanas and Vinaypatrika, when a Jiva (living being) knows the Self, Maya and Rama, it sees the world as being pervaded by Rama. In the Balkand episode of the marriage of the princes of Ayodhya with the princesses of Mithila, Tulsidas presents a metaphor in which the four brides are compared with the four states of consciousness – the waking state (Jagrat), sleep with dreams (Swapna), dreamless sleep (Sushupti) and the fourth self-conscious state (Turiya). The four grooms are compared with the presiding divinity (Vibhu) of the four states – Vishva, Taijasa, Prajna and Brahman. Tulsidas says as the four states of consciousness with their presiding divinities reside in the mind of a Jiva, so the four brides with their grooms are resplendent in the same pavilion. Tulsidas identifies Maya with Sita, the inseparable energy of Rama which takes avatar along with Rama. In his view, Maya is of two types – Vidya and Avidya. Vidya Maya is the cause of creation and the liberation of Jiva. Avidya Maya is the cause of illusion and bondage of the Jiva. The entire world is under the control of Maya. Maya is essentially the same but the two divisions are made for cognitive purposes, this view of Tulsidas is in accordance with Vaishnava teachers of Vedanta.
Views on other Hindu deities
As per Tulsidas, there is no incompatibility between devotion to Rama and attachment to Shiva. Tulsidas equates the Guru as an incarnation of Shiva, and a considerable part of the Balkand of Ramcharitmanas is devoted to the narrative of Shiva including the abandonment of Sati, the penance of Parvati, the burning of Kamadeva and the marriage of Parvati and Shiva. In addition, Tulsidas venerates the whole Hindu pantheon - a temple dedicated to all deities. The Ramcharitmanas begins with reverence of Ganesh, Sarasvati, Parvati, Shiva, the Guru, Valmiki and Hanuman. At the beginning of the Vinayapatrika, he bows to Ganesh, Surya, Shiva, Devi, Ganga, Yamuna, Varanasi and Chitrakoot, asking them for devotion towards Rama.
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Quarterly International Journal – Rama Vigyan Sarovar
Bhakti is the foremost in the works of Tulsidas. The Lord is to be approached by faith (bhakti) single minded devotion and surrender of self in perfect love, and all actions are to be purified of self-interest in contemplation of Him. Show love to all creatures, and thou wilt be happy; for when thou loves all things, thou loves the Lord, for He is all in all. The soul is from the Lord, and is submitted in this life to the bondage of works (karma). Mankind, in their obstinacy, keep binding themselves in the net of actions, and though they know and hear of the bliss of those who have faith in the Lord, they do not attempt the only means of release. The bliss to which the soul attains, by the extinction of desire, in the supreme home, is not absorption in the Lord, but union with Him in abiding individuality. This is emancipation (mukti) from the burden of birth and rebirth, and the highest happiness. But the practical end of all his writings is to inculcate bhakti addressed to Rama as the great means of salvation and emancipation from the chain of births and deaths, a salvation which is as free and open to men of the lowest caste as to Brahmins. । ॥ ānandakānane kaścidjaṅgamastulsītaruḥ । kavitā mañjarī yasya rāmabhramarabhūṣitā ॥ ‘In this place of Varanasi (Ānandakānana), there is a moving Tulsi plant (i.e., Tulsidas), whose branch of flowers in the form of [this] poem (i.e., Ramcharitmanas) is ever adorned by the bumblebee in the form of Rama.’
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Quarterly International Journal – Rama Vigyan Sarovar
Sri Rama Gita: Epitome of Enlightenment
Authored by Taoshobuddha,
List Price: $15.00 6" x 9" (15.24 x 22.86 cm) Black & White on White paper 162 pages ISBN-13: 978-1456350628 (CreateSpace-Assigned) ISBN-10: 1456350625 BISAC: Religion / Spirituality
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Quarterly International Journal – Rama Vigyan Sarovar
The Epitome of Enlightenment
Sri Rama Gita is the epitome of enlightenment. In equivocal terms it explains the inner state of the enlightened one and also explains how one can attain to this state. No conditioning, situation, or being can entrap the enlightened one again. He has awakened to the state of the Self. He lives in a realm beyond the sense perception of body; emotions of the mind; and the thinking of the intellect. Thus he lives blessing the world with his pure holiness, even if he is not ‘doing’ anything. His mere presence is an inspiration to the rest of humanity. If he is thus liberated from all equipment, why are the equipment not falling away dead, when their owner, the ego, has been liberated? The answer is that the force of its prarabdha karma keeps the body alive. The body is the product of our own karma or vasanas, and it is also a product of the karmas of others. One can redeem oneself of all one’s own karmas, but the body still lives and functions, because of samasti karma or the karmas of others. This macrocosmic vasana or tendencies is the equipment of the Lord or Isvara. Thus, the Enlightened One functions under the Lord’s will only. Without any sense of ‘Ido’ ahankara and any attachment asakti, he appears to be functioning in the world, himself ever living the experience of the infinite Self, Sri Rama. Once his share of destiny is exhausted, he merges into Brahman. This state is called videha-mukti. Even earlier, when others were considering him as a member of the community, he was already a liberated person jivan-mukti. CreateSpace eStore: https://www.createspace.com/3501949 Available also from amazon.com TAOSHOBUDDHA'S PAGE LINK FOR BOOKS: http://www.amazon.com/TAOSHOBUDDHA/e/B004W4BA22/ref=sr_tc_ep?qid =1311674968
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Quarterly International Journal – Rama Vigyan Sarovar
THE WAY OF SRI RAMA
“Rama, the ancient idol of the heroic ages, the embodiment of truth, of morality, the ideal son, the ideal husband, the ideal father, and above all, the ideal king, this Rama has been presented before us by the great sage Valmiki. No language can be purer, none more chaste, none more beautiful and at the same time simpler than the language in which the great poet has depicted the life of Rama” Swami Vivekananda The first and original account of the life of Sri Rama was written in Sanskrit by Maharishi Valmiki. And among the classical literature of the world it stands foremost. Though Indian in origin it is universal in its hold on mind. It is absorbing to the child; elevating to the common man, thought provoking to the learned, inspiring to the mystic and illuminating to the sage. Ramayana does not become stale because of repeated study. As a plunge bath renews the body, perusal of this epic rejuvenates the mind. As food nourishes the physique, this shastra cherishes the faculty of understanding. It is the life companion of the ardent. Sri Rama is the pivot on whom the whole fabric of this immortal epic is woven. It is therefore called Ramayana – the way Rama walks. That supreme state attained by Rama can be had by all who would follow the principles and tenets laid down in the text. Sri Rama is the model to the young and old, to the man of the world and to the recluse absorbed in the glory of the Self. He embodies virtue and ardently applies it to life in conflicting circumstances. Though stationed in the mundane He is at the core supremely above it. The account of the life of Sri Rama as presented by Sage Valmiki serves as the basis for all later versions. There are many versions and translations with various diverse explanations. There is also much conflict as to which interpretation is most authoritative. For persons philosophically disposed, the Adhyatmic Ramayana is the most generally accepted. This interpretation holds that Sri Rama was the Paramatman and that Sita was the Jivatman, and each person’s body was the Lanka. The Jivatman which was enclosed in the body, or captured in the island of Lanka, always desired to be in affinity with the Paramatman, or Sri Rama. But the Rakshasas would not allow it, and Rakshasas represent certain traits of character. For instance Vibhishan represented Sattva Guna; Ravana depicted Rajas Guna and Kumbhakarna portrayed Tama Guna. These Gunas keep back Sita, or Jivatman, which is in the body, or Lanka, from joining Paramatman, or Rama. Sita, thus imprisoned and trying to unite with her Lord, receives a visit from
Taoshobuddha Meditations Page 70
Quarterly International Journal – Rama Vigyan Sarovar Hanuman, the Guru or divine teacher, who shows her the ring, which is Brahma Jnana, the supreme wisdom that destroys all illusions; and thus Sita finds the way to be at one with Sri Rama, or in other words, the Jivatman finds itself one with the Paramatman. However in wanting to comprehend the contemporary significance of this text and how it affords solace and guidance to our everyday existence, we must turn to the version that is much in vogue. And this text is the Tulsikrit Ramayana. It is the book written by Goswami Tulsidasa. Its proper name is the Sri Ramacharitamanasa. Literally this means the lake containing the exploits of Sri Rama. This work is written in Avadhi a derivative of Sanskrit. The Ramacharitamanasa is a shastra and manual for practical living in this world. Its characters are eternal and universal. In the text, solutions for every facet of human problems are offered. The purpose of Rama Vigyan Sarovar is to furnish an analysis of some of the ideals that has been so ingeniously incorporated into the magnum opus of Goswami Tulsidasa. Tulsidasa was a sort of social reformer. In his time Hinduism was in decadence. He saw it necessary that Hinduism regain its original and proper pristine glory. He believed that the teachings of Sri Rama were meant for all who would heed His lessons and not just a few, chosen, privileged scholastic fraternity. Tulsidasa saw that everyone has divinity in him. This he expressed in Baal Kand, Doha 7, Chaupai 1, Padas 3-4: Seeya Rama maya sab jag jaanee Karau pranaam jori juga paanee. Since the divine eternal couple was in all Tulsi baba decided to put before humanity the exploits of Sri Rama. In order to facilitate this he used the giraa gramya – the common language. He did this so that even villagers, who were not formally educated, would be able to hear the Katha of Sri Rama in their own language and dialect. And thus derive the potential benefits. Doha 10, Padas 3-4 explains: Giraa gramya siya raam jas Gaawahi sunahi sujaan Tulsidasa wanted to make Hinduism available to all. He says in Doha 10 Chaupai 1: Mani maanik mukutaa chhabi jaisee Ahi giri gaj sira saaha na taisee Nripa kireet taruee tanu paaee Lahahi sakal sobhaa adhi kaaee.
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Quarterly International Journal – Rama Vigyan Sarovar “The beauty of a gem, a ruby and a pearl does not catch the eye as it should so long as they are borne on the head of a serpent, the top of a mountain and the crown of an elephant respectively. The charm of them all is enhanced when they adorn the diadem of a king or the person of a young lady”. This great poet-sage, this kaviraj, Goswami Tulsidasa uses metaphor in this chaupai to explain his intention / decision to put the great philosophy of the Ramayana before the common masses. He says that even though the gem, the pearl and the ruby are exceedingly beautiful, as long as they cannot be seen, their beauty is not appreciated. But when they are placed where they can be viewed by all, where they are most conspicuous, only then is their great beauty admired. Goswami compares the gem, the pearl and the ruby to the beautiful and imitable lessons which are found in the Ramayana. When these are confined and circulated only among the intelligentsia and sages, they are of no use. Because the sages and the intelligentsia do not need them, just as the serpent, the mountain and the elephant do not need the precious stones they possess. When the teachings of the Sri Ramacharitamanasa are made available to the masses, they are provided the opportunity to follow the examples, to emulate the charita of Sri Rama. And thus adapt their lives to become worthwhile and rewarding. It is said in the Bhagavad Gita 3:21 Yad yad aacharati shreshthas Tad tad evetara janah Sa yat pramaanam kurute Lokas tad anuvartate “For whatsoever a great man does, that very thing other men also do. Whatsoever standard he sets up, the generality of men follow.” Adi Shankaracharya also declares a concurrent expression: Svam svam charitram siksheram Prithivyaam sarva maanavaah. “Go out into the world and let your life style be the example for humanity to follow”. This is what Sri Rama did. And Tulsidasa recognizing Sri Rama to be the ideal utilized Him to present his philosophy in his magnum opus the Sri Ramacharitamanasa.
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Quarterly International Journal – Rama Vigyan Sarovar Goswami Tulsidasa realizes that there are both good and evil minded men in the world. But unlike the tendency of some scholars to keep the type of teachings that are in the Ramayana in the archaic classical language of Sanskrit, so that only learned pundits can appreciate and study it, Goswami has set it out in the common parlance, so that men after hearing and singing the glories of Sri Rama may now have freedom of choice as to their actions. This sentiment is expressed in Doha 4, Chaupai 5: Guna avaguna jaanat saba koee Jo jehi bhaava neek tehi soee. “All men know what is right, what is wrong. Each will do what attracts him strong”. This idea might be taken as a fatalistic view. But Goswami says that even the wicked and vile will be given the opportunity to hear the glories of Sri Rama, that there is hope for them through contact with the Ramayana. Baba Tulsidasa says in Doha 2, Chaupai 1: Majjan phal pekhia tata kaalaa Kaak hohi pik bakau maraalaa. Suni aacharaj karai jani koee Satsangati mahimaa nahi goee. “The result of an immersion into the sacred waters of this king of holy places is instantly perceived; crows turn into cuckoos and heron into swans. Let no one marvel to hear this; the glory of contact with sages is no secret”. The Ramacharitamanasa of Sant Maharishi Goswami Tulsidasa makes this blessed opportunity available for the immersion to take place. And therefore Tulsi baba says that transformation of the wicked and vile is possible. A similar sentiment was attributed by English Playwright William Shakespeare in one of his immortal plays, wherein he wrote: “None so vile upon this earth that live, each and every has some good to give”. The common people are the ones who will keep Hinduism alive. And therefore they need to be intimately connected with the values of the Ramayana, so that the Hindu tradition will survive and have living, dynamic expression. “As long as Hindus live the story of Rama and Sita will be present”. This is the declaration of Swami Vivekananda.
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Quarterly International Journal – Rama Vigyan Sarovar
Journey to the abode of Sri Rama
“One in whom consciousness has blossomed is the embodiment of Shivam - the mystic in action. His gestures, the music in his words, the poetry of his life, the light and the depths of his eyes all reflect the flowering of consciousness. Whatever he does, whether he is chopping wood or carrying water from the well, you can see that there is a subtle difference.” I am speaking of two things here Consciousness and the Abode of Rama. Try to understand these. Human consciousness is seed-like that is immortal, it cannot die. But it can remain dormant. And in fact it can remain dormant even for lives. And in most of the cases it remains dormant for lives. Rama is the Hindu name of that flowering of consciousness. Sri Rama refers to the abode of inner harmony, oneness, bliss, truth and beauty. And once the consciousness blossoms its fragrance and beauty lingers on. The body may perish but the beauty lingers on. Consciousness has attained fruition in various names and forms. Rama is one such flowering of consciousness. However the inner texture of each one of these remains same. Presently I am speaking of the blossoming of the seed of consciousness as Rama the symbol of Idealism for Hindus.
One in whom consciousness has blossomed is the embodiment of Shivam the mystic in action. His gestures, the music in his words, the poetry of his life, the light and the depths of his eyes all reflect the flowering of consciousness. Whatever he does, whether he is chopping wood or carrying water from the well, you can see that there is a subtle difference
If the right soil is not provided! If the right water is not provided! If the right exposure to the sunlight is not provided, it will remain dormant. In such a case consciousness remains a mere potentiality, a waiting. But it cannot die. You may die many times, but the seed, once planted in you, will go on following you wherever you are. Do not bring you borrowed understanding or knowledge here. All that is borrowed and has not evolved from within you cannot take you far. Unless you give it your attention, nourishment, your care, your love, it cannot become a living sprout. Small, fresh green leaves cannot come out of it. Only your love and your
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Quarterly International Journal – Rama Vigyan Sarovar consciousness can create the miracle... and the day will not be far away when there will be flowers. Love that you know is synonym for passion – a function of biology. And the love that I speak is the sunshine of the being. And consciousness at the gross level refers to understanding and at subtle plane it becomes the light or sunshine of the being. There are people here who have been carrying seeds from other masters. Therefore there is no need to sow new seeds in them. In such case all that a master is to help their dormant seeds to open up for the process to begin. You are not here for the first time. You have been here always perhaps with Zarathustra, Pythagoras, Heraclitus, Gautam Buddha, Rama, or Krishna.
It is very rare that a person who comes to a living Buddha or a master needs a new seed. You are all ancient people looking for the right occasion for the journey to continue. However your religious preceptors think that they are doing something great by having these people come to him. It is almost impossible not to have come in contact with one of the magicians of the soul. Those people are magnets. So in some life, somewhere, you may have met al-Hillaj Mansoor, Jalaluddin Rumi, Kabir, Nanak, Rama or Krishna and the echoes of that association still linger in your being. And this is the reason that you feel a close affinity when you come in the company of a living master. Very rarely do I find a person who is not already pregnant. But the seed has remained as seed. You have not been a gardener to it. Somebody, with great compassion, must have sown the seed. And when a master sows the seed you are not even aware of it. But you have not been kind enough to yourself. The seed never dies. What causes the seed to remain dormant? It is your mind that causes the problems. If you do not understand that your mind is full of garbage and is indeed the problem then there is no solution. This very understanding is enough to get rid of it. But it seems the problem is that this garbage is paying you. It is in some way fulfilling your ego. I am reminded of a great thinker of renaissance, Voltaire. He was famous in his country, and it was a convention in the country that if you could get a small piece of cloth from a
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Very rarely do I find a person who is not already pregnant. But the seed has remained as seed. You have not been a gardener to it. Somebody, with great compassion, must have sown the seed. And when a master sows the seed you are not even aware of it. But you have not been kind enough to yourself. The seed never dies.
Quarterly International Journal – Rama Vigyan Sarovar famous man like Voltaire, you could make a beautiful locket out of it. It was a great security, safety against dangers, disease, sickness, and death. When Voltaire used to go out of his house, he would come home almost naked, because crowds would follow him, tearing his clothes and not only his clothes, he would get scratched on the body as well. He had to ask for police protection if he wanted to go to the railway station or to go to some other place. Without police protection it was impossible, to move. To reach the railway station naked, with scratches and blood all over, would not look right but he deeply enjoyed it. He was the only man in the whole country who was so much respected. This was a respect given by people. But in the world, everything goes on changing. The name and the fame is just a soap bubble. It may become very big. However the bigger it becomes, the more dangerous it gets. And one thing is certain it is going to burst soon. And the day came. Voltaire was forgotten. Somebody else had become the celebrity. Now there was no need for police protection any more. People even forgot that he was alive. In his notebooks he has written, „I enjoyed those days. But at that time I used to think that it would be better not to be known at all, just to be nobody, to live silently, because life had become a nightmare. But when I became nobody, then I started feeling great despair that I had lost my respect, my name, my fame.‟ And he does not say in his notes that this was what he wanted, to be nobody. He had become nobody now, but it was not a joy, it was a defeat. He wrote further, „I am dying a defeated man.‟ And the day he died, only four persons carried his body to the graveyard. Of the four persons, one was his dog and three were his neighbors who had to carry the body because otherwise it would start rotting and the neighborhood would become a hell to live in. Somehow he had to be thrown into a grave. So in fact the only person who lovingly followed was the dog. And this was the man who had a big following. Thousands followed him wherever he went. Consciously chosen, it won‟t last long. Never fight with it, because fighting will not help. Or if you are courageous enough, see a simple point: even if you have become very famous and inside you remain just a wound which is hurting twenty-four hours a day, your whole life is wasted in misery just to fulfill a non-existential ego. This is what Happening all around. Tomorrow you will die, and the day after tomorrow nobody will remember you. How many successful have been in this world yesterday? And who cares about them today? And they all must have suffered in the same way, because what they were doing was garbage.
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Quarterly International Journal – Rama Vigyan Sarovar You may be a big garbage truck. Big or small nothing matters. If you can have a little courage and throw away all this garbage and clean yourself, perhaps something beautiful may come out of you which may be helpful to humanity, which may be remembered for centuries; not only remembered, but may have a certain transforming effect on people. This is the journey of consciousness. This is the flowering of consciousness. Once consciousness flowers then its fragrance and beauty lingers on. All your scriptures have been composed by those in whom consciousness has attained fruition. It is the flowering of consciousness or inner beauty that assumes the form of scriptures as beacon light. With this you reach to the abode of the ultimate – Sri Rama. All your works and life are just journalistic – just like a newspaper. These are short lived and other name and fame are all useless too. Nobody bothers tomorrow about today‟s newspaper. This is your understanding. This has been your life.
And you have the possibility to give birth to something really significant and for this a breakthrough is needed. You need a discontinuity. You forget what you have been doing; forget the name and the fame and anything that it brings to you. Just be nobody, enjoy being nobody.
I would like you first to be clean, innocent, and silent. And then if out of that silence something is born, that will be a contribution to the universe. Otherwise, out of the garbage you can go on engaging in actions, but these will be meaningless. People do not know that somebody has put his life, and wasted in useless pursuits - running behind non-essential. Somebody has missed his buddhahood. It is up to you to choose. It cannot be forced upon anybody. I can just give you a hint. It is time. And you are mature enough. Do not go on wasting your life like newspaper news or novels, and you know all that is garbage. It shows, because people love to read anything and engage in useless pursuits. But why should you waste your life? And you have the possibility to give birth to something really significant and for this a breakthrough is needed. You need a discontinuity. You forget what you have been doing; forget the name and the fame and anything that it brings to you. Just be nobody, enjoy being nobody.
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Quarterly International Journal – Rama Vigyan Sarovar And I tell you that in being nobody there is a freedom. And then one day you will find that the seed that is within you has started growing. And then if something out of your own experience comes to be written by you, it will be significant for you, and it will be significant for others as well. Anything that can really make life a little more beautiful, a little more musical, a little more poetic, is going to help you too. It is possible only because of your growth. Something meaningful evolves out of your very innermost being. But before that, you have to throw all the rubbish off; otherwise, the rubbish is so much and the seed is so small, it is lost in the rubbish. I hope that you will be able to do what I am saying; otherwise, I would not have said it. Mind always creates duality; otherwise, to be open or to be witnessing are not two things. If you are open, you will be witnessing. Without being a witness, you cannot be open; or if you are a witness, you will be open -- because being a witness and yet remaining closed is impossible. So those are only two words. You can either start with witnessing then opening will come on its own accord. Or you can start by opening your heart, all windows, all doors then witnessing will be found, coming on its own. But if you are simply thinking, without doing anything, then they look separate. Mind cannot think without duality. Duality is the way of thinking. In silence, all dualities disappear. Oneness is the experience of silence. For example, day and night are very clear dualities, but they are not two. There are animals that see in the night. Their eyes are more sensitive, capable of seeing in darkness. For them, there is no darkness. Those animals cannot open their eyes in the day, because their eyes are so delicate that the sun hurts. So while it is day for you, for those animals it is night; the eyes are closed, all is darkness. When it is night for you, it is day for them. The whole day they sleep, the whole night they are awake. And if you ask a scientist and a logician, you will see the difference. If you ask the logician, „What is day?‟ he will say, „That which is not night.‟ And what is not night? It is a circular game. If you ask, „What is night?‟ the logician is going to say, „What is not day?‟ You need day to define night, also you need night to define day. If there is no day, can you think of night? If there is no night, can you think of day? It is impossible. Ask the scientist, who is closer to reality than the logician. For the scientist darkness is less light, light is less darkness. Now it is one phenomenon, just like a thermometer. Somebody has a temperature of 110 degrees, just ready to move out of the house.
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Quarterly International Journal – Rama Vigyan Sarovar Somebody has a temperature of 98 degrees, the normal temperature for human beings, but somebody falls below 96 degrees, again ready for a move. Your existence is not very big, just between 96 and 110 degrees. Sixteen degrees ... below is death, above is death; just a small slit in between, a small window of life. If we could have a thermometer for light and darkness, the situation would be the same, just as it is between heat and cold. The same thermometer will do for both. The cold is less hot and the hot is less cold, but it is one phenomenon; there is no duality. It is the same with darkness and light. And the same is true about all oppositions that mind create. Openness, witnessing if you think intellectually, they look very different. They seem to be unrelated, how can they be one? But in experience they are one. Be open or be witness. That alone is enough for the process of the seed to start growing. And once the seed of consciousness blossoms inner harmony, oneness, bliss is the outcome. To dwell in this blissful existence is the abode of Sri Rama. This is ENLIGHTENMENT.
Be open or be witness. That alone is enough for the process of the seed to start growing. And once the seed of consciousness blossoms inner harmony, oneness, bliss is the outcome. To dwell in this blissful existence is the abode of Sri Rama. This is ENLIGHTENMENT.
TRUTH IS WITHIN ONE‟S OWN SELF. It therefore cannot be acquired by asking others. Truth is never dropped into a beggar‟s bowl, nor obtained on credit. Truth cannot also be learned from others, for all our knowledge is the knowledge of the outside – all our demands are sought outside. Truth is within us. It has neither to be studied, nor learned, nor demanded – it has to be dug out from within us. That ground where we stand has to be excavated and the treasures of Truth will reveal themselves....the treasures of Truth are not outside of you. The truth of life is within. Once this becomes clearly evident, the journey within begins. The Beginning of the Beginning OSHO
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