Sree Ramakrishnopanishad

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http://ebooks.dcbooks.com/sreeramakrishnopanishad

My second book in Malayalam has been released by DC Books. The imprint is Sadhna, DC Books.

It is a translation of C Rajagopalachariji’s Sree Ramakrishna Upanishad, originally published in Tamil and translated into Hindi by his daughter Lakshmi Gopaldas Gandhi.

On a Diwali two years before, I had acute cold and a small book in Hindi for company. It was full of anecdotes and stories with an erudite interpretation of the most puzzling issues of life. I sought help from my office colleagues for certain words that confused me- but at the end, it was  a satisfying and joyous exploration.

I would like to thank K.R.Meera for going through the manuscript patiently and giving me great feedback. Gratitude is due to DC Books , for bringing out this book.

I have dedicated this book to  my late Economics Professor who played a key role in my getting selected for civil services- Narayanan Sir. He was a great teacher, and a wonderful person.

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Crow(n)ing Glory!

‘You need a hair cut,’ I say, narrowing my eyes at what looks to me like a crow’s nest. ‘A group of crows can easily make nests on your hair.’

‘Amma, for your information,  a group of crows is referred to as a murder of crows!’ She laughs at me.

‘I change the reference to Rookery,’ I snipe, ‘if you remember your David Copperfield.’

‘ Ha, ha! My friends think it is real cool!’She grins compassionately, ‘and I do remember the formidable Betsy Trotwood! Reminds me of someone.’

I give up the argument but not the case.

‘ When will you get it cut child?’

‘Amma, I am referred as a scientist in the discussion groups.No children allowed there.’

‘Haircut!’

‘ When I wish.’

‘Please…!’

‘ Okay.’

‘ And you are still my child, scientist!’

‘Accepted.’

Then of course, the discussion veers on to the other child who is anything but a child- who can give  Aunt Betsy Trotwood a run for her money- and who would have looked coldly back at Mr Murdstone for two minutes flat any day.

‘How is that brat?’

‘You answered your own question.’

‘What is the latest adventure?’

‘That I miss my obedient child. The other is making me turn grey prematurely.’

At that juncture, the protagonist appears by my side and declares emphatically , ‘What is my role in it ? You are old already, are you not?’

I sigh poignantly. My  sweet scientist laughs uproariously from across the oceans, her crow nest hair waving about happily. My child flicks a dust speck off her perfectly done hair.

‘You need a hair cut,’ the child says, frowning at her sister.

‘Amma, NOW I know, it is time for a hair cut- she is abrasive but bluntly truthful ,’ says her sister.

‘Where does that leave me, eh?’ I ask, outraged, ‘Et tu Brute?’

‘You will pass,’ they console  me lovingly and  having dismissed me offhand, start boxing with each other happily.

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Inspirations…

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When I was twelve, my mother gave me a small book- it was so small as to be kept within one’s palm. It contained the inspirational quotes of Swami Vivekananda.

For me, it was wondrous: this handsome sage telling that it was better to build a pair of strong shoes as a humble mochi, than to spout nonsense as a professor who has long stopped learning!  He said that the best way to forget one’s own sorrows was to reach out to remove those of another. He reiterated that infinite energy flowed through one, as one tried to make a difference by service- it was a universal law of the spirit.

I spent many happy hours debating on his quotations with my best friend, my namesake. In fact during a school tour, our Physics teacher was perplexed to see us analysing ‘why playing football was better to build nerves of steel than by rot learning of religious studies.’An age of innocence- that is all I can reflect about it right now.

Why am I referring to that book again?If anyone were to ask me to name a book that has transformed my life- that little dog eared copy of Vivekananda’s quotes, published by Ramakrishna Ashram, would be it! So many times, when I had felt like giving up, lying down and just let endless sleep wash over all the travails, it has been his vibrant quotations that gave me new energy and focus.

Why do we need inspiring people? Why do we need to read motivational quotations? Because, not every day is sunny and shining with possibilities. More often than not, it is a dreary, dark wintry day of hopelessness. The dark news from around the world make you wish to stop reading totally. Yet, life is meaningless without action.

And then he says from beyond: Wake up, and stop not until the goal is reached. You set a new target and you toil on- knowing that the efforts will not be in vain. The universal law springs into action and you find yourself carried by a buoyant spirit, and sunshine trickles right back in!

May every parent put a book of motivational quotations into her child’s hands. Three decades down the lane, the memory of one would make some tired traveller take another step down the road of life-with grit and determination.

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Of Krishna, Cowherds and Peacocks

“At least I am not a peacock,” says my little daughter cryptically, while eating her lunch.

I am astounded by that singular observation.

“Huh?”

“Well, considering that it was my second dance, I could have been given a more important role- this is of a cowherd, coming in and out thrice- showering flowers. The two peacocks get to move their necks!”

I conclude the following : she was in a couple of performances and she did not like the rather insignificant role of a background dancer, and was taking consolation that she was at least not relegated as a peacock- which, apparently were roles done by two unfortunate youngsters, who got to  just move their necks.

“Even being a peacock is fine. You get to stand on the stage, right?”

She looks at me as if I had lost my marbles.

“Amma! You would not have recognised me if I were a peacock- I would have had a beak and stuff! What is the point of being on stage when no one can see it is you?”

Indeed. She had a point there. Poor parents of peacocks! They will have to be content with the beaks.

“And I refused to have a moustache,” she adds casually.

“Oh, that would be rather nice!” I say.

This time she looks at me as if  I never had any marbles to begin with.

” I asked the teacher whether Krishna had a barber?”

I almost fall off my chair.

“What?” Coming from me, that is speechlessness.

“Well, Krishna gets to be without a nasty black moustache. When she said all cowherds must have this huge moustache, I asked why Krishna alone had a barber.”

“Did he? I mean, did he have a barber?”

She drinks her water. While getting up, she says consolingly, ‘Amma, teacher said, I need not paint a moustache on my face.’

I empathise with the hapless teacher . It would have been tough work  googling for barbers in the Dwapara Yuga.

“You will recognise me,” she says,” I come in three times and go back immediately in the Holi dance; but I will be the only cowherd without a moustache.”

I hug her and tell her that I would have recognised her in any role- even if she were a  nicely beaked peacock.

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Tarahim Bhav Sindhu Bina Jaljaan(50): You Can Cross The Worldly Ocean Without Any Other Means

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SreeRamCharit Manas’ Fifth Canto (Sopan)  named SundarKanda Ends:

The Ocean suggests a way

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Nadh Neel Nal kapi dvau bhai/ larikayim rishi aasish payi//

Tinh kem paras kiyem giri bhare/tarihahim jaladhy pratap tumhare//

The Ocean said-You have Neel and Nal, two monkey brothers with you, they have obtained a boon from an ascetic in their childhood

If they touch anything, even a mountain turns light, and with your blessings, will float on the waters of the ocean

(Note: Nal and Neel were the architects and engineers of the ancient bridge connecting Rameshwaram with Lanka. They were remarkably brilliant in their field as per folk lores)

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Mai puni ur dhari Prabhu prabhutai/karihavu bal anuman sahayi//

Ehi bidhi nadh payodhi bandhayiya/jehim yeh sujasu lok tihu gaayiya//

I will also keep Your Grace in my heart, and try to help as much as I can (  as per my capability in this task)

Hey Lord! Bind down the ocean( Build a bridge- setubandan) in such a manner that the three worlds sing praises of Your Glory!

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Ehim sir mam uttar tat baasy/hatahu nadh khal nar agh raasy//

Suni Kripal sagar mann peera/turatahim hari Ram randheera//

Please kill off the wicked clan of human beings who reside on my northern shores with Your arrow

Hearing the agony of the Ocean, the valorous and compassionate SreeRamji killed off the wicked ones  immediatly

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Dekhi Ram bal paurush bhary/harshy payonidhi bhayavu sukhari//

Sakal charit kahi prabhuhi sunava/charan bandi payodhi sidhava//

Seeing SreeRamji’s radiance and great strength, the Ocean was gratified and content,

He narrated the stories of those wicked ones to SreeRamji, then bowing before the Lord’s feet, the Ocean God returned to his abode

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Nij bhavan gavanevu sindhu SreeRaghupathihi yeh mat bhayavu/

Yeh charit kali malhar jadhamati das Tulsi gayavu//

Sukh bhavan sansay saman davan bishad Raghupathy guna gana/

Taji sakal aas bharos gaavahi sunahi santat sad mana//

The ocean returned to its abode, SreeRaghunathji liked his solution

This story removes all the sins accrued in Kali Yug, TulsiDas has sung it as per his wits ( according to his intelligence)

Sree Ramji  is an incarnation of all great qualities- He gives joy absolute, removes all doubts, and vanquishes all agonies

Hey Stupid Mind ! Let go of all worldy attachments and desires, (and instead of that) sing and listen to this great story

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Doha:

Sakal sumangal dayak Ragunayak gun gaan/

Sadar sunahim te tarahim bhav sindhu bina jaljaan//

Singing the praises of SreeRamji brings in all auspicious tidings

Those who listen to it with respect, will cross over the worldly ocean without resorting to any other means ( the Lord’s meditation acts as a safe-boat)

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Iti Sreemadramcharitmanase sakalakliklushvidhvamsane pancham sopanah samamtah/

The Fifth Canto ( Sundar Kanda) of SreeRamcharitmanas, which removes all the sins accrued in Kali Yug ends here.

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Personal Note: In these 50 blogs across two months, I have obtained  immense joy and peace; as I attempted  to understand the beautiful lines of Sundar Kanda of Goswami Tulsidasji’s great SreeRamcharitmanas.

May the compassionate Lord bless you all!

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Karaum So Begi Jo Tumhahi Sohayi (49):Whatever You Wish, I Shall Immediately Carry Out

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God of Ocean (Varuna) speaks to SreeRamji (Sundar Kanda continued)

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Sabhay sindhu gahi pad prabhu kere/cchamahu nadh sab avgun mere//

Gagan sameer anahl jal dhari/eenh kayi nadh sahaj jad karni//

The Ocean God( Varuna) caught hold of SreeRamji’s feet in fear and said- Lord! Please forgive  all my faults

The sky, air, fire, water and earth( panchbootha) are prone by nature to be indifferent in action ( not proactive)

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Tav prerit Mayam upjaye/srishti hetu sab grandhani gaye//

Prabhu ayasu jehi kah jas ahayi/so tehi bhaanti rahe sukh lahayi//

Due to your powers, Maya has created these elements for purposes of Creation- all the ancient texts say that,

Whatever be the nature assigned  by the Lord, the element stays  contentedly within its purview

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Prabhu bhal keenh mohi sikkh deenhi/marjada puni tumhari keenhi//

Dol gawar sudra pasu naary/sakal tadana ke adhikary//

Lord, you did the proper thing by punishing me, but the nature of things- that too has been designed by You!

The drum, the illiterate, the lowly evolved soul, the animal, the woman- they all get punished ( taught) due to their nature

(Note: One gets an insight into the socio cultural forces at work in ancient times- not much different from today-where patriarchy and lack of empathy with those marginalised existed in society)

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Prabhu pratap mai jaab sukhayi/utarihi kataku na mori badayi//

Prabhu agya apel shruti gaayi/karaum so begi jo tumhahi sohayi//

Due to your powers, I will dry up and the army will cross over- but that will be against the nature of the ocean( as an element of nature)

Yet Your command has to be obeyed, that is the decree from the Vedas, now whatever You may suggest, I shall immediately carry out!

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Doha:

Sunat bineet bachan ati kah kripal musukai/

Jehi bidhi utarai kapi kataku tat so kahu upayi//

Listening to the very humble words of the Ocean, the compassionate Raghunathji smiled and said-

Hey Son! Suggest a way that the army of monkeys can cross over you

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Bhay Binu Hoyi Na Preeti(48): Without Fear, There Is No Respect

 

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The Fury of Lord Ram(SundarKanda Continued)

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Doha:

Binay na manat jaladhi jad gaye teeni din beeti/

Bole Ram sakop tab bhay hoyi binu na preeti//

Three days went by, but the indifferent ocean did not heed the humility of SreeRamji

Then the Lord became furious and said- Without fear, there is no respect!(To make certain people obey, fear has to be instilled within them)

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Lacchiman baan sarasan aanu/Soshaum baridhi bisikh krisanu//

Sad sanu binay kutil san preety/sahaj kripan san sundar neeti//

Hey Laxman! Bring me my bow and arrows! I will dry up this ocean with the Agni baan (Fire Arrow)

Showing humility before a fool, showing grace to a wicked man, and  giving advice of generosity to a miser-

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Mamta rat san gyan kahani/ati lobhi san birathi bakhani//

Krodhihi sam kamihi Harikadha/usar beej baye bhal jadha//

Telling a moral story to a man engrossed in sensuous pleasures, describing the merits of detachment to an extremely greedy man, speaking peace with an infuriated man, telling about the Lord to a materialistic man-all these are equivalent to sowing seeds in barren soil ( all these are futile efforts)

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As kahi Raghupathy chhap chadava/yeh mat Lacchiman ke Mann bhava//

Sandhanevu Prabhu bisikh karala/udi udathi ur andar jwala//

Speaking thus, SreeRamji raised his bow,Laxman was in total agreement with this view

As the Lord took aim with his fearsome and mighty Fire Arrow, flames started emerging from within the heart of the ocean

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Magar urag shash gan akulane/jarat janthu jalnidhi jab jaane//

Kanak dhar bhari mani gan nana/bipra roop aayavu taji maana//

Crocodiles, serpents, fishes all became agitated, when the Ocean found its inhabitants burning

Filling a golden bag with precious stones, in the guise of a Brahmin, it approached SreeRamji

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Doha:

Katehim payi kadari farai koti jatan kovu seench/

Binay na maan khagos sunu datehim payi nav neech//

(Kaka Bushundi says-): Hey Garudji! Even if you try a crore solutions ,the bananas still  need to be cut to ripen properly

The wicked man will not listen to politeness, he will listen only on getting punished( the evil person agrees to  your terms only   when he is intimidated by fear)

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(Note: Reflecting on one’s own life, I realised how true SreeRamji’s words are: Sometimes one has to take up arms to defend and protect one’s own! Evil will not listen to grace or politeness- it understands only the language of fear! Wise counsel indeed.)