Hanumanji Approaches The Brothers… 2( Kishkindha Kanda Continued…)

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Jarat sakal sur brindh bisham garal jehim pan kiya/

Tehi an bhajasi man mandh ko kripal Sankar sarisa//

Hey my dullard mind! Why don’t you meditate on Shiv- the one who willingly drank the dreaded Halahal Poison to end the agony of the Devas (who were burning due its poisonous fumes?)

Who else is as compassionate as Him?

*

Aagem chal bahuri Raghuraya/Rishyamuk parbat niaraya//

Tah rah sachiv sahit Sugreeva/Aavat dekhi atul bal seemva//

SriRamji walked onwards. He reached near Rishyamuk mountain. There, Sugreev was staying along with his ministers. On seeing the radiant and strong young men…

*

Ati sabheet kah sunu Hanumana/Purush jugal bal roop nidhana//

Dhari batu roop dekhu teim jaayi/Kahesu jaani jiyam sayan buchayi//

A terrified Sugreev said thus: Listen, Hanuman! These young men epitomise beauty and strength. Disguise yourself as a Brahmin and go to them, understand the reason of their arrival( find the truth) and convey that to me through your gestures.

*

Padaye Bali hohim mann maila/Bhagaum turat tajaum yeh saila//

Bipra roop dhari kapi tah gayavu/Madh nayi poochat as bhayavu//

If these are men sent by Bali- the one whose mind is polluted- then I shall leave this mountain immediately. On hearing these words, Hanumanji approached SriRamji in the guise of a Brahmin and enquired thus:

*

Ko tumh syamal gaur sareera/Chattri roop firahu ban beera//

Kadin bhoomi komal pad gaami/Kavan hetu bicharahu ban swami//

Hey valiant ones !In dusky and fair hues,  looking like Kshatriyas, you are roaming around these forests. Who are you?

Hey Swami! Your soft feet are traversing these tough terrains; why are you wandering through the forests in this manner?

*

Mridul manohar sundar gaata/Sahat dusah ban aatap baata//

Ki tumh teeni dev mah kovu/Nar Narayan ki tumh dovu//

Your beautiful, attractive forms enchant the mind. You are enduring the intolerable heat and air of these forests. Are you Brahma, Shiv or Vishnu-or are you Nar and Narayan?

*

A Step At A Time…

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The last few chapters arrive for correction. The artist has done a spectacular job. As I edit, snipping a word here, adding a comma there, I stare at the divine pictures.

The journey has come to an end: Sundar Kanda- 156 pages, 50 chapters.  And quietly a book is born.  The end is  actually a beginning. As always in life.

But I cannot leave Hanumanji alone. The journey with Him has changed my life. How can I let go now- when the joy of describing everything about Him has got me addicted? It is like inhaling camphor in the temple. So I promise myself that the next book on Him is going to be Kishkindha Kand. The thought energises me. Another journey to look forward to. Great!

What have I learnt in the presently concluded one? That I am never alone. That the shield of divine protection encompasses me and my loved ones at all times. That one can achieve seemingly impossible tasks with His blessings. That detachment  is not just a philosophy but a very strongly protected forcefield. If the focus is on Him, everything meaningless falls on the wayside- what remains is what is meant to remain. Fair enough for this life journey.

***

 

Hanuman Chalisa (Translation Into English)

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Sri Hanuman Chalisa: Goswami Tulsi Dasji

*

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//

*

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!

Rakhihavu Taahi Pran Ki Nayim (38): I Shall Safeguard Him Like My Life Breath

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Sugreev and SreeRamji talks about Vibheeshan (Sundar Kand Continued)

*

Kah Prabhu sakha buchiye kaaha/kahayi kapees sunahu Narnaaha//

Jaani na jayi nisachar maya/kamroop kehi karan aaya//

Prabhu SreeRamji said- Hey Friend! What is your view? Sugreev Ji said-

Lord, one does not know the maya(illusion) which the Rakshasas might use, they take different forms as per their desire( kaamna ke anuroop), I wonder about the reason behind this Rakshasa’s visit

*

Bhed hamar len sad aava/rakhia baandhi mohi as bhaava//

Sakha neeti tumh neeki bichaari/mam pan sarnagat bhayhaari//

This fool seems to have come to find out our secrets, he should be kept in captivity, that is my view

(SreeRamji said)Hey Friend! Your thought is logical( as per neeti), but I have pledged to remove the fears of those seeking refuge

*

Suni Prabhu bachan harash Hanumana/saranagat bacchal Bhagvana//

Hearing the Lord’s  words, Hanumanji was thrilled and thought, how loving and compassionate the Lord is,(saranagatvatsal) towards refugees

*

Doha:

Saranagat kahu je tajahim nij anahit anumaani//

Te nar paavar papmay tinhahi bilokat haani//

(  The Lord  said) The man , who rejects the one who has come seeking refuge, in consideration of his own safety

Such a man is worthless,sinful, and even seeing  him causes harm

*

Koti bipra badh lagahim jaahu/aayem saran tajavu nahim taahu//

Sanmukh hoyi jeev mohi jabahim/janma koti agh nasahim tabahim//

Even if someone has caused the deaths of crores of Brahmins, I would not discard him if he seeks my refuge

Any living being that comes to my presence, its sins accumulated over crores of births get removed instantaneously

*

Papavant kar sahaj subhavu/bhajanu mor tehi bhav na kavu//

Jaum pai dusht hriday soyi hoyi/morem sanmukh aav ki soyi//

It is the natural behaviour of the sinful person that he gets no joy meditating on me

If he (Ravan’s brother) was wicked in his heart, would he have come seeking out my presence?

*

Nirmal man jan so mohi paava/mohi kapat cchal cchidra na bhaava//

Bhed len padva Dasseesa/tabahu na kacchu bhay haani kapeesa//

The person with a pure mind, only he can reach me, ( attain my presence) I am beyond the reach of those who are hypocritical and wicked

Even if Ravan’s brother has been sent for studying our secrets , then too, Sugreev, there is no need for fear or  to expect any harm

*

Jag mahu sakha nisachar jete/Lacchimanu hanayi nimish mahu tete//

Jaum sabheet aava sarnayim/rakhihavum taahi praan ki nayim//

Because, My Friend! All the Rakshasas on earth, Laxman can kill them off in moments

And if he has come  to me seeking my protection, full of fear, then I shall safe guard him like my own life breath

*

Doha:

Ubhay bhathi tehi aanahu hash kah kripaniket/

Jay Kripal kahi kapi chale Angad Hanu samet//

The Temple of Compassion said smilingly- ‘Whatever be the reason among the two, bring him to me’

Then, accompanied by Angad and Hanuman, Sugreev left , hailing loudly – ‘May The Compassionate SreeRamji Be Praised!’

*

Naam Paharu Divas Nisi(27): Your Name Stands Guard, Day and Night

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Hanumanji speaks about Janakiji( SundarKanda Continued)

*

Doha:

Naam paaharu diwas nisi dhyan tumhar kapaat/

Lochan nij pad jantrit jaahim praan kehim baat//

( Hanumanji said)Your Name stands guard by her side day and night, Meditation focussed on You is her shutter

Her eyes are at Your Feet, that is the lock, then in which way can her life breath escape?

*

Chalat mohi Choodamani deenhi/Raghupathy hridayam laayi soyi leenhi//

Nadh jugal lochan bhari bary/bachan kahe kacchu Janak Kumary//

When I was about to return, she gave me the Choodamani, SreeRamji took it and put it next to his heart,

(Hanumanji said,) Hey Lord! Her both eyes flooding with tears, the Daughter of Janakiji told me a few words-

*

Anuj samet gahehu Prabhu charna/Deen Bandhu prantarit harna//

Man kram bachan charan anuraagy/kehim aparadh nadh haum tyaagy//

Catch hold of The Lord’s feet and that of my  younger brother(and say) , You are the caretaker of the grieving, (DeenBandhu), who removes the sorrow of those who seek refuge in You

With my mind, words and deeds I am devoted to Your Feet, then due to which crime have You deserted me, My Lord?

*

Avgun ek mor mai mana/bichurat praan na keenh payana//

Nadh so nayananhi aparadha/nisarat praan karahim hadi baadha//

Yes, one fault of mine I do accept, that my life did not end the moment I left Your side

But Oh Lord! It is the fault of my eyes, which stop forcefully the fleeing of my life

*

Birah agni tanu tul sameera/swas jarai chan mahim sareera//

Nayan sravahim jalu nij hith laagy/jaraim na paav deh birahaagy//

Being away from you( Virah) is Fire, this body is a cotton wick, and the life breath is the breeze , ( due to the merging of fire and breeze) this body can burn any moment

But these eyes (that yearn for the pleasure of seeing You) in their selfishness, keep shedding water(tears), and thus the Fire of separation from You, fails to burn my body

*

Sita kai ati bipathi bisaala/binahim kahem bhali Deendayaala//

Sitaji’s plight is extremely pitiable,  Hey Deendayal, (Compassionate One), it is better that I do not put words to it(You will be anguished if I speak)

*

Mohi Kahan Bishram?(1) How Can I Rest?

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In school, I had a love- hate relationship with Hindi.  I opted to pursue Malayalam than Hindi, as my second language, at college.As fate would have it, my civil service career was to be in Hindi heartland, where every nook and corner has its  own dialect, its own sweetness and nuances of  this intriguing language. Awadhi, Braj Bhasha, Bundelkhandi, Khariboli…et al..

Tulsidasji’s SreeRamCharit Manas, the Ramayana in Hindi, is an outstanding classic, revered as a gem of devotional literature as well as the epitome of poetic mastery. The narrative, the rhymes, the play of words, the simplicity, the wisdom are  resplendent  with unparalleled beauty.

And slowly, as my confidence in the language increased, I realised that this beauty was accessible to me too: a gift so precious,  that it was worth travelling thousands of kilometres to the land of its birth, albeit in pursuit of a career in public service.

****

I  have decided to translate a few shlokas  from Goswami Tulsidasji’s SundarKanda, as part of my own learning,  my own personal growth, my  own form of worshipping this beautiful classic.

Often, when you try to translate, the understanding deepens, vocabulary in both languages increase, and one starts catching delicate nuances that usually are not apparent at the first casual reading.

Of course, fools rush in where angels fear to tread. However, I trust in the Lord’s sense of humour and indulgence with fools, and dedicate it to HIM:)

Reference: Tulsidasji SriRamCharitManas, interpreted by Shri.Hanuman Prasad Poddar

***

Shantam saswatamprameyamanagham nirvanasanthipradam

Brahmashambhubhaneendrasevyamanisham vedanthavedyam vibhum/

Ramakhyam jagadeeshwaram suragurum mayamanushyam Harim

Vandeham karunakaram Raghuvaram bhoopalachoodamanim//

Serene,Eternal, Ineffable,Pure, bestowing  ultimate peace  in the form of Moksha, served by Brahma, Shiva, Seshnag,  the One which Vedanta speaks about, omnipresent, the foremost amongst the Devas, the one who assumes human form using Maya(illusion), the one who removes all sins,the treasury of compassion,the revered among Raghu clan, the jewel in the crown among all Kings- I bow before Ram, as he is called, the Lord Supreme( Jagadeeshwar- the God of the Universe)

*

Nanya spriha Raghupathe hridayesmadeeye

Satyam vadami cha bhavanakhilandaratma/

Bhaktim prayatscha Raghupungavam nirbharam mei

Kamadidosharahitam Kuru Manasam Cha//

Hey Raghunathji! I am speaking the truth, and You are within all souls ( Antaratma),

You know that I have no other  wish in my heart

Give me complete faith in You

Make my mind free of all weaknesses like Kama(  desire).

*

Atulitabaladhamam/hemashailabhadeham/

Danujavanakrishanum/Gyaninamamagraganyam/

Sakalagunanidhanam/Vanaranamadheesham/

Raghupathypriyabhaktam/Vatajatam namami//

Epitome of incomparable strength,  of radiant body shining like the golden mountain( Sumeru)

The fire- bodied one who destroys the forests of daityas, the first among the learned scholars

The seating place of all good qualities, the leader of vanaras

The devotee, very dear to the scion of Raghus,son of Wind God,I offer my salutations to thee.

*

Jamavanth ke bachan suhaye/ suni Hanumanth Hriday athi bhaye

Tab lagi mohi parideh tum bhaye/ sahi dukh khand mool bhal khaye//

Hearing Jambavan speak thus, Hanuman felt deeply touched

(He said)

Hey brother, wait for me, sustain yourself  till then with fruits and roots.

*

Jab lagi avaim sitahi dekhi/hoyi hi kaju mohi harsh biseshy/

Yeh kahi nai sabnhi kahu matha/ chalehu harshy hiyam hari Raghunatha//

( Wait for me…) Until I return after seeing Sitaji. I am sure the task will be done, for I feel happy

Saying thus, bowing to all, carrying Raghunatha in his heart, Hanuman left joyously.

*

Sindhu teer ek bhudhar sundar/Kautuk kudy chadehu ta upar

Bar bar Raghubeer sambhary/ tarkeyu pavantanay bal bhary//

By the side of the ocean stood a huge mountain, Hanuman leapt atop playfully( easily)

Remembering Raghubeer often, the mighty Son of the WindGod jumped with great force from his perch.

*

Jehim giri charan dei Hanumantha/ chalehu so ga patal turantha/

Jimi amokh Raghupathy kar bana/ehi bhanty chalehuHanumantha//

The mountain from which Hanuman took his leap, went down to the Patal due to the force,

Hanuman travelled like the purposeful arrow of Raghupathy, which never falters from its aim.

*

Jaladhy Raghupathy dooth bichary/ Taim Mainak hohy shramhary/

The ocean, recognising  Hanuman as SreeRamji’s messenger, told Mainak mountain: ‘Hey, Mainak, help him to relieve his tiredness( Let him rest on you)’

*

Doha:

Hanuman tehi parasa kar puni keenah pranaam/

Ram kaju keenhe binu mohi kahan bishram//?//

Hanumanji touched Mainak with his hand, and then bowing to it said thus,

Brother, without fulfilling the task of SriRamchandra, how can I rest?

**

JaiHanuman Ki!

 

 

Shadow and Light

In Kerala folk versions of Mahabharata, there is one which has the story of ” shadow kill” or Nizhalkutthu. Duryodhan hires a hunter who  dabbles with black magic  and asks him to kill off the Pandavas by performing Nizhalkutthu. Literally, it means, stabbing the shadows dead- leading to the death of the living bodies. Something like a shadowy voodoo ritual. The hunter returns home victorious, with many gifts from the King,  telling his wife that he killed off five fledglings of a bird using black magic. She  understands that the Pandavas are dead; and is outraged by his evil. Then, to show him what it really means to lose an off spring,  she kills their son in front of him.

The famed film maker Adoor Gopalakrishnan made a movie by the same name, Nizhalkutthu, based on the story of the last hangman of Travancore. The symbolic meaning of the original story, was carried on in the film, about meaningless killings- whether done as part of duty or to teach a lesson.

In the original Nizhalkutthu Attakatha, based on which Kathakali is performed, Lord Krishna gives life to the dead Pandavas and also to the dead son of the hunter. All is well, and of course, innocents do not die in a meaningless manner. The viewer is happy and hopefully has reflected on the way,  human talents are wasted in unethical ways for the sake of earning the King’s favours. Perhaps, he or she also reflected on the impulsiveness of human nature and how ‘an eye for an eye ‘ philosophy of the huntress, left everyone blind.

In Sundarakanda of  Sri Ramcharitmanas by Goswami Tulsidasji,  is the description of the Shadow-Catcher! She is a demon, who lives in the oceans and catches the shadows of everything that flies in the sky. She pulls the shadows that are reflected on the water .  All which  once flew in the sky, fall down into her clutches. She proceeds to eat them. Well, she meets her match in Hanumanji, whose shadow she catches.He sees through her evil, kills her and proceeds to Lanka.

” Nisichary ek sindhu mahu rahai/ Kari maya nabhu ke kha gahaye

Jeevi janthu je  gaganchar udahy/ Jal biloki tinh hai parichahy

Gahai chah sak soh na udai/Ehi bidhi Saha gaganchar khayi

Soyi chal Hanuman kah kinha/ Tasu kapadu kapi turanthuhu chinha”

I am intrigued by the  similiar tale from  Mahabharatha of  the South and  Ramayana of  the North. Shadow Catchers and Shadow Stabbers are so common in society. They specialise in destroying high spirited beings through manipulation and games behind their backs. Gossip, petty talk, conspiracy, plain evil lead to many deaths- symbolic and real.

Did the great writers, want us to ruminate on Soul Catchers and Soul Stabbers of the mortal kind? After all, to destroy one’s spirit is an equal form of murder.

Like Lord Krishna who gave life back to the innocent victims, it is time perhaps to wonder on whether we contribute to killing off spirits of people who are near us or whether we give life and energy to others through our words and efforts. And whether we have the spirit to call a shadow catcher in the sea/ rye/ nearby -by the name and stop his or her nefarious functioning like Hanumanji himself.

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