The Lord Loves Us Fools

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Some books create themselves. One just acts as a medium. It happened with Sundar Kanda. My publisher sent me a beautiful draft of the book today. It is an English interpretation of Tulsidasji’s Sundar Kanda.

I was trying to understand the beautiful lines of  Sundar Kanda- a much loved canto in Sree Ramcharit Manas of Goswami Tulsidasji. Every one of my colleagues seemed to know it by heart. My friend, a great Hanuman bhakt, typically started all her training sessions with Hanuman Chalisa- a forty line devotional eulogy by Tuslidasji . And one day, another friend told me that he found it difficult to understand the various nuances of Sundar Kanda, when his aged mother recited it during pujas.

I had no difficulties with the stories of Ramayana. I had grown up with them. The only question was, whether SreeRamcharit Manas would be accessible to my understanding. The Lord, I believe, has a great liking for fools like me. We rush in where angels fear to tread.

I remembered, a vernacular line on Krishna’s preference, often quoted by mother : Melpathoorinte vibhaktiye kaliha, Poonthanathin bhaktiyanennikishtam!( I prefer Poonthanam’s bhakti to Melpathoor’s vibhakti). 

The story is about Melpathoor Bhattathiry, who wrote the sanskrit classic Narayaneeyam during his prayer-penance for curing his rheumatism. He was staying at Guruvayoor temple in Kerala, acclaimed as the Mathura of the South. He was cured of his disease and praised by all for his exemplary mastery of the language.

Poonthanam Namboodiri, was a poor Krishna Bhakt, who wrote a vernacular paean to Lord Krishna called, ‘Jnanapana.’   So Poonthanam decided to get his text corrected by a scholar. He respectfully approached the learned Melpathoor. The sanskrit scholar condescended to speak to the poor amateur writer of vernacular. But there he stopped. He sniffed that he did not have the time to waste on vernacular writings.  Poor Poonthanam was heart broken at the contemptuous treatment of his labour of love.

That night, Melpathoor’s rheumatism returned with a vengeance. As he groaned in desperate pain, a laughing Krishna, cute and sweet in his Bal avatar, appeared in his dream and told him amidst much home truths : Melpathoorinte vibkatiye kaliha Poonthanathin bhaktiyanennikishtam. ‘Hey, Melpathoor- compared to your Sanskritic grammar and vibhakti pratyayam, I prefer Poonthanam’s devotion to me.’

( Note : I have often wondered whether this anecdote was the satirical rebuttal of the vernacular writer towards their condescending brethren who wrote in upper-class Sanskrit language! While there were poets who wrote in pure Sanskrit, taking pains with the severe rules of structure and syntax, they were also those who – like stringing  beads of mani and pravala in a string-combined words of malayalam and sanskrit like pearls and rubies, to create a mixed language of creation. Then there were those like Poonthanam who wrote in the simplest of Malayalam language.)

Melpathoor sent a word to Poonthanam (He could not move!) and apologised profusely. He corrected the draft and Poonthanam was gratified. Melpathoor’s rheumatism disappeared as subtly as it came-having laughed at the human pettiness of considering one language superior to another.

Anyway, fools like me gain confidence due to such anecdotes. Hanumanji was going to help me in this journey across the word-sea. He knew what a dunce I was when it came to Hindi grammar. How I mix up my ka and ki in every sentence.I guess, Hanumanji, that great bhakt of Sree Ramji- Lord Narayana himself- took pity on me. In fifty days, he helped me sail across Sundar Kanda and blessed me with a sudden official tour to Chitrakoot, where Tulsidasji wrote his master piece.

My relation with God is very personal. He is friend and philosopher and possesses an  irrepressible sense of humour. He does not scare me. He is my best friend. Also, I prefer that He remains He. Though I love Him being Her too. Somehow, growing up with a mother who would say, ‘ My Krishna’ while she bowed before Devi herself, set the basic infrastructure of my devotional growth. It is very fluid, my family’s version of bhakti. You just call. He answers.

I do not have a dedication page for this book. But in my heart, it is for that divinity who exists beyond any narrow human perspective of language or culture, colour or religon, creed or country. The One who just loves us.

Blessed Be! Jai Hanuman Ji!

***

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Hanuman Chalisa (Translation Into English)

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Sri Hanuman Chalisa: Goswami Tulsi Dasji

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Shri Guru Charan Saroj Raj, Nij Manu Mukur Sudhary/

Barnau Raghuvar Vimal Jesu, Jo Dayaku Bhal Chary//

Buddhiheen Tanu Jaanike, Sumirau Pavan Kumar/

Bal Buddhi Vidya Dehu Mohi, Harhu Kalesh Vikar//

The dust on the lotus feet of my Guru, I apply on my mind’s mirror for betterment( thus enabling me)

To praise SreeRam the Pure, which brings in the four fruits of life( Dharma, Artha, Kama, Moksha)

Knowing that my body is without true intelligence, I remember the Son of the Wind

Please bestow on me – strength, intelligence, knowledge; remove all afflictions of emotions

*

1.

Jai Hanuman Gyan Gun Sagar/

Jai Kapees Tihu Lok Ujagar//

Victory to Hanuman, the ocean of wisdom and supreme qualities!

Victory to the Leader of Vanaras, who brightens the three worlds!

2.

Ramdoot Atulit Baldhama/

Anjani Putra Pavansut Nama//

The Messenger of Lord Ram,  the incomparable epitome of strength!

The son of Anjana, known as the child of Wind!

3.

Mahavir Vikram Bajrangi/

Kumati Nivar Sumati Ke Sangi//

The great warrior, full of valour, Bajrangi!

Removes wrong ways( of the intelligence), always accompanies the true ways( the good path)

4.

Kanchan Varan Biraj Suvesa/

Kanan Kundal Kunchit Kesa//

Golden hued, brilliantly dressed!

With earrings, and curly hair!

5.

Haath Bajra Au Dhwaja Birajai/

Kandhe Mooj Janeyu Sajai//

In His hands- his vajra like mace, and a flag radiant

Across his shoulder,  he wears the  sacred thread!

6.

Shankar Suvan Kesari Nandan/

Tej Pratap Maha Jag Vandan//

From the  illustrious line of Shankar, the son of Kesari

Greatly radiant, worshipped by the whole world!

7.

Vidyavan Guni Ati Chatur/

Ram Kaaj Karibe Ko Atur//

Scholar extraordinary, full of finest qualities, extremely intelligent

Always eager to carry out the tasks assigned by SreeRamji!

8.

Prabhu Charitra Sunibe Ko Rasiya/

Ram Lakhan Sita Mann Basiya//

Very ardent fan of the stories of Lord Ram

Residing verily in the hearts of Ram, Lakshman and Sita!

9.

Sukshma Roop Dhari Siyahim Dikhava/

Vikat Roop Dhari Lank Jarava//

Showing up in a minuscule form before Janaki

Assuming a gigantic form to burn down Lanka!

10.

Bhim Roop Dhari Asur Samhare/

Ramchandra Ke Kaaj Samvare//

In enormous form, you killed off the Rakshasas

And accomplished the tasks given by  Sree Ramji!

11.

Layi Sanjeevani Lakhan Jiyaye/

Shri Raghubeer Harashy Ur Laye//

Bringing Sanjeevani herb, you gave new life to Lakshman

In utter joy, SreeRamji hugged you close to his heart!

12.

Raghupathy Keenhi Bahut Badayi/

Tum Mam Priya Bharat Sam Bhayi//

Raghupathy praised you so very much-

He said,’ You are a brother to me, like my beloved Bharat!’

13.

Sahas Badan Tumharo Jas Gaavai/

As Kahi Sreepathi Kand Lagavai//

May a thousand tongues praise your glories,

Saying thus, the Lord( husband of Lakshmi, avatar of Vishnu, SreeRam), embraced you close!

14.

Sanakadik Brahmadi Muneesa/

Narad Sarad Sahit Aheesa//

Sages like Sanaka, Brahma himself

Narad, Sarada( Saraswati), Aheesa( sing your praises!)

15.

Yam Kuber Digpal Jaham Te/

Kavi Kobid Kahi Sake Kaham Te//

Yama( Lord of Death), Kuber( Lord of Wealth), all the eight keepers of the Directions ( Ashtadigpal)

( When all of them  are singing  your praises-)

How can a  ( mere ) poet, ever explain your glories in a befitting manner?

16.

Tum Upkar Sugreevahim Keenha/

Ram Milaay Rajpad Deenha//

You were so benevolent towards Sugreev-

Made him meet SreeRam, gave him his kingdom!

17.

Tumharo Mantra Vibheeshan Maana/

Lankeshwar Bhaye Sab Jag Jaana//

Vibheeshan listened to your counsel

He became the Lord of Lanka,  and acclaimed in the whole world!

18.

Jugg Sahasra Yojan Par Bhanu/

Leelyo Taahi Madhur Bhal Janu//

(Aeons) Innumerable , thousands of yojanas away was the Sun

In your childish play, you mistook it as a sweet fruit!

19.

Prabhu Mudrika Meli Mukh Mahim/

Jaladhi Laanghi Gaye Achraj Nahim//

Keeping the Lord’s Signet Ring in your mouth

You jumped across the ocean- no wonder!

20.

Durgam Kaaj Jagat Ke Jete/

Sugam Anugrah Tumhare Tete//

Any impossible task, can be accomplished with Your Grace!

You bestow  great ease and blessings!

21.

Ram Duware Tum Rakhware

Hot Na Aagya Binu Paisare//

At the Door of SreeRam, You stand as sentry!

Without your permission, none can enter the Lord’s abode!

22.

Sab Sukh Lahai Tumhari Sarna/

Tum Rakshak Kahu Ko Darna//

Your refuge means, all joys are given to the seeker

When you are the protector, what is there to fear?

23.

Aapan Tej Samharo Aapai/

Teenom Lok Haak Tem Kaapai//

Only you can contain( restrain)  your glorious powers

The three worlds stand petrified at your majesty!

24.

Bhoot Pisach Nikat Nahim Aavai/

Mahabir Jab Naam Sunavai//

The ghosts, evil spirits- will never come near

When they hear the Name of The Great Warrior( Hanuman)

25.

Nasai Rog Harai Sab Peera/

Japat Nirantar Hanumat Beera//

All diseases are vanquished, all afflictions removed

When one recites  regularly the name of Hanuman!

26.

Sankat Te Hanuman Chudavai/

Mann Kram, Vachan, Dhyan Jo Lavai//

Hanuman will release you from all agonies

If  your mind, actions and words are in  consonance (with-)

27.

Sab Par Ram Tapasvi Raja/

Tin Ke Kaaj Sakal Tum Saja//

(In consonance with)The Lord of Renunciation- SreeRam,

(If so)All your desires, even the smallest, will be brought to fruition!

28.

Aur Manoradh Jo Koyi Lavai/

Soyi Amit Jeevan Bhal Paavai//

Any of your wishes brought to Hanuman’s threshold

Will be blessed with the true fruits of life!

29.

Charom Jug Partap Tumhara/

Hai Parsiddhi Jagat Ujiyara//

Your glory is spread across the Four Yugas(Sat, Dwapara, Treta,Kali)

The worlds are illuminated by your fame!

30.

Sadhu Sant Ke Tumh Rakhware/

Asur Nikandan Ram Dulare//

You are the protector of sages and saints

The one who kills Asuras, beloved of SreeRam!

31.

Asht Siddhi Nau Nidhi Ke Data/

As Var Deen Janaki Mata//

You endow the seeker with eight siddhis and the nine treasures

That was the boon given to you by Mother Sita!

32.

Ram Rasayan Tumhare Pasa/

Sada Raho Raghupathy Ke Dasa//

 

The essence of devotion to SreeRam is known to you,

May you remain forever devoted to Raghunathji!

33.

Tumhare Bhajan Ram Ko Paavai/

Janam Janam Ke Dukh Bisravai//

Meditating on you, will help the devotee to attain SreeRam himself

The pains of rebirths can thus be stopped!

34.

Anth Kaal Raghuvar Pur Jaayi/

Jaham Janma Hari Bhakt Kahayi//

One can thus enter the world of Lord Ram after  death

Become a Hari Bhakt for eternity( Be born as a devotee of Hari)

35.

Aur Devata Chitt Na Dharayi/

Hanumat Seyi Sarv Sukh Karayi//

There is no need to propitiate other Gods

You can attain all wishes by praying to Hanuman alone!

36.

Sankat Katai Mitai Sab Peera/

Jo Sumirai Hanumat Balbeera//

All unhappiness get removed, all agonies are assuaged

For the one who meditates on the valiant Hanuman!

37.

Jai Jai Jai Hanuman Gosayi/

Kripa Karahu Gurudev Ki Nayi//

May there be victory to the One who has conquered all senses!

Have compassion on us, like a Master (Guru)

38.

Jo Sat Baar Pad Kar Koyi/

Chootahim Bandi Maha Sukh Hoyi//

The one who recites this prayer a hundred times

Shall be freed of materialistic ties of the world- and shall attain  great joy

39.

Jo Yeh Padai Hanuman Chalisa/

Hoyi Siddhi Sakhi Gaurisa//

The one who reads the Hanuman Chalisa

Will be blessed,   This truth being spoken in front of Lord Shiv Himself!

40.

Tulsi Das Sara Hari Chera/

Keejai Nadh Hriday Mah Dera//

Tulsi Das is the devoted servant of Hari

Please, My Lord, Come and reside in my heart forever!

Doha:

Pavantanay Sankat Haran Mangal Moorati Roop/

Ram Lakhan Sita Sahit, Hriday Basahu Sur Bhoop//

Son of Vayu, remover of agonies, the One with the

auspicious form-

Along with Ram, Lakshman and Sita, come and reside in my heart in all your glory!

*

I heard the Hanuman Chalisa for the first time after I joined my civil services work in Uttar Pradesh.

The simple Awadhi, the rhyming phrases, the easy to understand nuances- all make it a great favourite among the ordinary devotees of this land.

And truly can I vouch for the lines:

Bhoot Pisach Nikat Nahi Aavai

Mahabir Jab Naam Sunavai//

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In Mathura, in the main temple, is a statue of Hanuman opposite SreeRamji- slightly bent, eyes flowing with tears of devotion! One gets electrified by the sight of Hanumanji!

Jai Hanuman!