Listening to The Way

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I was listening to the great Wayne Dyer recently. He was espousing the beauty of Tao Te Ching by Laozi. ‘The Way’, as he explained, seemed so beautiful.

Then it struck me. Who better epitomises all that than my own beloved Hanumanji?

Bhoot Pisach Nikat Nahi Aave

Mahaveer Jab Naam Sunaave

1. To live with integrity, joy, peace and balance…I can think of none but Hanumanji.

2. Learn to die when you live… Live without fear of death…I think of Hanuman offering himself as food to Sursa, telling her that he would accomplish SriRamji’s task first!

3. Have your own sacred space…Trust in your own nature… If you knew who walked by your side, you will never know fear!

Haanumanji always carried his Lord in his heart and offered every action as an offering at Sriramji’s feet.

4. Be radically humble…

I think of Hanumanji telling SreeRamji….I am just a monkey….jumping from one branch to another itself is an achievement! Whatever I do, Lord, is because you make me do it! How can I take credit for my actions?

5. Non resistance and detachment….flow like the water and accept uncertainty

Tough but so true! Hanumanji’s journey to Lanka is a perfect example of that. He met enemies and friends in that journey. He stayed calm and cool. He was so accepting of every situation and never lost his sense of humour! When Ravan ordered his tail to be set on fire, Hanumanji grinned to himself that the Goddess Sarada has helped in the nick of time: by  making him order such a strange punishment!

6.Be soft and pliable and do not be hard  and brittle….Flexibility in approach

Ah, who better to teach that than Hanumanji? He changes from humble follower to ferocious warrior to loving colleague to respectful family member….so calmly. He is unforgiving to the wicked ( the killing of the water demoness) and playful with the good hearted ( the tricking of Sursa), fair to the kind ( respecting Vibheeshan) and ruthless with the foes ( killing of the rakshasas)… He counsels Ravan and is so humble in his approach…

7. Living by not interefering…. Never trying to control anything….

Hanumanji could have easily taken Sitaji back with him from Asokavan.. But he never tries to control the situation. He is aware of the bigger design of the Master Planner at all times.

8.  Be generous, be strong by bending, living Oneness…

Jai Hanuman gyangunasaagar….

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Probably it is human nature to relate whatever one reads or hears to what one knows in one’s own sphere.

The lesson of detachment, the ability to feel comfortable in a situation over which you have no control, to be flexible…all these are so tough in real life. But how truthful they are!

I now know that every one we meet comes to teach us some lessons…If we do not learn, then we shall endure the same experience in a different form…names and forms and situations might change but the lesson remains the same!

How blessed to listen to wise words and wise counsel. How important to trust ourselves…and the God above. How important to know that when HE walks by your side, nothing can make you afraid.

Jai Hanumanji!

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Hanumanji Recognises His Master-3 (Kishkinda Kand Continued…)

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Doha:

Jag karan taran bhav bhanjan dharni bhar/

Ki tumh akhil bhuwan pati leenh manuj avatar//

Or You might be Bhagwan himself:  the reason of all existence and master of all beings-who has taken the human avatar to alleviate the heavy burden of evil doers on this earth,  and to help us all to cross the sea of existential pains.( Are you Bhagwan himself? Hanumanji queries.)

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Kosales Dasrath ke jaye/ Hum pitu bachan maani ban aaye//

Naam Ram Lacchiman dvau bhai /Sang naari sukumari suhayi//

( Lord Ram said-) We are the sons of  Dasrath-the King of Kosala. We have obeyed  our father ‘s words to reach these forests. We are named Ram and Laxman, and we were accompanied by a beautiful lady.

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Iham hari nisichar Baidehi/Bipra firahim hum khojat tehi//

Aapan charit kaha humgaayi/Kahahu bipra nij katha buchaayi//

Here, in these forests, the rakshasas  stole (my wife) Vaidehi. Hey, Brahmin! We are wandering about in search of her. We have told you our story. Now, you tell us yours.

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Prabhu pahichaani parevu gahi charna/ So sukh Uma jaayi nahim barna//

Pulakit tan mukh aav na bachna/Dekhat ruchir besh kai rachna//

Recognising the Lord, Hanuman clutched  His feet and fell on the ground( He did danda namaskar).( Lord Shiv says: )’Hey Uma! That happiness is beyond words (ineffable).His body is thrilled, words cannot escape his mouth.Hanuman is gazing at the beautiful form of His Lord.’

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Puni dheeraju dhari astuthy keenhi/ Harash hridayam nij nadhahi cheenhi//

Mor nyavu mai poocha sayim / Tumh poochahu kas nar ki nayim//

Then Hanuman composed himself and praised the Lord, his heart was filled with jubilance on recognising his Master. ( Then Hanumanji said) Hey Lord, my asking was justified, but how come You are asking like a mere human being?

( I saw You after the lapse of aeons, and that too clad in the dress of a sanyasi,  I failed to recognise you and according to my monkey-brains, I asked you about yourself! But Lord, You are You! How come you are asking this monkey to narrate his story?)

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Tav maya bas firvu bhulana/ Ta te mai nahim Prabhu pahichana//

I am  meandering through the world dazed by Your Maya- and consequently did not recognise my own Master!

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Doha:

Eku mai mand mohbas kutil hriday agyan/

Puni prabhu mohi bisarevu Deenbandhu bhagwan//

First, I am a dullard; second, I am a victim of Maya( illusion), third, my heart is wicked and ignorant. And now, My Compassionate Lord! It seems You too have forgotten me!

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Jumping From A Branch…

The artist says that it is a joy to design the book. For me it is a blessing to have been a part of its creation. Hanumanji is all about  total detachment, absolute joy, perfect strength,  and total surrender to the Lord’s will.

My favourite lines:

Sakha mrig ke badi manusayi

Sakha tem sakha par jayi

Naghi sindhu hatakpur jaara

Nisichar gan badhi bipin ujaara

So sab tav Pratap Raghurai

Nadh na kacchu mori prabutai…

That a monkey like me can jump from one branch to another is  itself a big deal-akin to  Purushartha- Dharma, Artha, Kama, Moksha…That I could jump across the ocean, burn the golden city, kill the Rakshasas and uproot Ashokvatika- all these are, My Lord, a manifestation of Your glory, there is nothing great about my role herein.

Task Underway…As He Said!

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Hanuman- the One who has conquered ego, the One with a broken chin…Hanu/ Man have been interpreted in many ways. (Based on stories of Hanumanji being hit by Indira’s Vajrayudha in his childhood, based on Hanumanji conquering ego)

He is the epitome of humility who addresses Sursa as Mother, and promises that he will return to be her food after he makes the trip to Lanka to fulfill Sriramji’s task.

The book getting ready😊

Editing, tweaking, adjusting sentences, formatting … The task is on, as He said. We will return after fulfilling it.

 

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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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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Bhaye Pacchujut Manahu Girinda (30): As If They Had Become Mountains With Wings

 

SreeRamji readies for war ( SundarKanda Continued)

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Suni Prabhu bachan kahahim kapibrinda/jai jai jai kripal sukhkanda//

Tab Raghupathy kapipatihi bolava/kaha chalaim kar karahu banava//

Hearing SreeRamji’s words, the monkeys started chanting – May the Giver of Joy, Epitome of Compassion be ever victorious!SreeRamji Ki  Jai ho!

Then SreeRaghunathji called the King of monkeys Sugreev to his side, and asked him to get ready for travel( for war with Lanka)

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Ab bilamb kehi kaaran keeje/ turat kapinh kahu aayasu deeje//

Kautuk dekhi suman bahu barashy/nabh tem bhavan chale sur harashy//

 

Now why delay at all? Give order to the monkey army immediately

Seeing the Leela (divine play  for killing Ravan), the Gods watching from the skies, showered flowers at the Lord, and joyously went back to their own worlds

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Doha:

Kapipati begi bolaye aaye joodhap joodh/

Nana baran atul bal banar bhaloo baroodh//

Sugreev, King of the Monkeys, send out his word , many warrior leaders came with their armies

The mass of  soldiers: monkeys and bears, were of different colours, and they were of incomparable strength

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Prabhu pad pankaj navahim seesa/Garajahim bhaloo mahabal keesa//

Dekhi Ram sakal kapi sena/chitai kripa kari rajeev naina//

They bowed their heads at SreeRamji’s lotus feet, the great bears and monkey warriors were roaring mightily

SreeRamji looked at the whole monkey army, his lotus like eyes filled with kindness slowly moved over the soldiers

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Ram kripa bal payi kapinda/ bhaye pacchjut manahu girinda//

Harashy Ram tab keenh payana/ sagun bhaye sundar subh nana//

Being blessed with SreeRamji’s compassion, it was as if the majestic monkey warriors had turned into huge mountains with wings

Then SreeRamji happily blew the conch shell announcing the start of journey, many auspicious signs could be discerned around

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Jaasu sakal mangalmay keethy/taasu payan sagun yeh neethy//

Prabhu payan jaana Baidehim/farki baam ang janu kahi dehim//

The One whose fame is replete with all things perfect, it was but in the nature of the divine play that auspicious events took place at his task’s beginning

The news of The Lord’s journey reached Janakiji also, her left eye  tingled incessantly, as if telling her about His impending arrival

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