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 readyūüėä

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 Рlike 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

*

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

*

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

*

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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Nadh Na Kacchu Mori Prabhutai(29): My Lord, There Is Nothing Great About My Role Herein

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Hanumanji returns to SreeRamji( Sundar Kanda Continued)

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Kahu Kapi Ravan palit Lanka/kehi bidhi dehevu durg ati banka//

Prabhu prasann jaana Hanumana/ bola bachan bigat abhimana//

Hey Hanuman( The Lord said), tell me how did you burn the city of Lanka protected by Ravan and its huge curved forts?

Hanumanji recognised that his Lord was pleased, and he spoke without a tinge of ego or self pride

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Sakhamrig kai badi manusai/sakha tem sakha par jai//

Naghi sindhu hatakpur jaara/nisichar gan badhi bipin ujaara//

For a monkey it is indeed akin to Purusharth( dharma, artha, Kama, moksha) that he jumps from one branch to another

That I could jump across the ocean, burn the golden city, kill the Rakshasas and uproot the Asok forests-

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So sab tav pratap Raghurai/Nadh na kacchu mori prabhutai//

All these are, My Lord, Manifestation of Your own glory, there is nothing great about my role herein

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Doha:

Ta kahu Prabhu kacchu agam nahim jaa par tum anukul/

Tav prabhav badvanalahi jaari sakai khalu tul//

Hey Lord! On whom You bestow Your blessings( with whom you are pleased), nothing is difficult for him

With Your Grace, the simple cotton wick( which burns itself out so quickly) can start a great fire that burns everything down ( No task is impossible when Your Blessing is present)

(Note: Bibheeshan is supposed to have written the Hanuman vadavanalahi Strotram which helps to remove all illnesses )

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Nadh bhagati ati sukhdayani/dehu kripa kari anpayani//

Suni Prabhu param saral kapi bani/Evamastu tab kahevu Bhawani//

Hey Lord! Take compassion on me and grant me single minded devotion to You, the source of the greatest happiness

Hey Bhawani, ( said Lord Shiv narrating the tale) hearing the most pure and simple words of Hanumanji, SreeRamji said – Evamastu- Let it be so!

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Uma Ram subhavu jehim jaana/tahi bhajanu tahi bhav na aana//

Yeh Sambad jaasu ur aava/Raghupathy charan bhagati soyi paava//

Hey Uma! Whoever gets to understand the sweet nature of SreeRamchandraji, nothing attracts him other than meditating and reciting His Lord’s Name

Whoever absorbs into his heart this conversation between the Lord and His Servant, he will be blessed with devotion to SreeRamji( he will devote himself to SreeRamji’s feet)

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Charan Pareu Premakul Trahi Trahi Bhagwant(28):He Fell At The Lord’s Feet Crying In Loving Devotion

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Hanumanji returns to SreeRamji (Sundar Kanda Continued)

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Nimish nimish Karunanidhi jaahim kalap sam beeti/

Begi chalea Prabhu aania bhuj bal khal dal jeeti//

Hey Lord of Compassion! Every moment transpires like an aeon (kalp) for Janakiji

So, My Lord! Please proceed soon and using the strength of your arms, beat the group of evil Rakshasas and bring back Sitaji

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Suni Sita dukh Prabhu sukh ayana/bhari aaye jal Rajiv nayana//

Bachan kayam man mam gati jaahi/sapnehu buchiya bipati ki taahi//

Listening about Sitaji’s pain, the Lord who is Joy Incarnate, His lotus petal eyes filled with tears of distress

(He said) The One who is my refuge in body, mind and words( Janaki), can distressful fate befall her even in dreams?

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Kah Hanumant bipati Prabhu soyi/jab tav sumiran bhajan na hoyi//

Ketik baat Prabhu jaatudhan ki/ripuhi jeeti aanibi Janaki//

Hanumanji said, Hey Lord! Distressful fate happens when Your Name is forgotten and goes unpraised-

The Rakshasas matter nothing, You will defeat the enemy and bring back Janakiji

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Sunu kapi tohi saman upkari/nahim kovu sur nar muni tanudhari//

Prati upkar karaum ka tora/ sanmukh hoyi na sakat man mora//

(The Lord said-) Hey Hanuman! Listen, there is nobody – human, deva or sage who has been of such help to me like you

How can I ever repay you, why, my mind feels unequal to face your loving goodness

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Sun sut tohi urin mai nahim/dekhevu kari bichar man mahim//

Puni puni kapihi chitav sutraata/ lochan neer pulak ati gaata//

 

Listen Son! I have contemplated deeply about this, I can never repay your debt back ( of this great help you have provided)

The Protector of the Gods was looking at Hanuman again and again, his eyes were full of loving tears and his body was radiating with his affection

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Doha:

Suni Prabhu bachan biloki mukh gaat harash Hanumant/

Charan pareu premakul trahi trahi Bhagwant//

Hearing SreeRamji’s words and seeing his radiant being, Hanumanji went almost berserk with devotion and love

He fell at The Lord’s feet crying out,’My Lord! Please save me, save me!’

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Baar baar Prabhu chahayi udaava/prem magn tehi udab na bhaava//

Prabhu kar pankaj kapi kem seesa/sumiri so dasa magn Gaureesa//

The Lord tried to raise Hanumanji , but Hanumanji was so drowned in loving prayers that he was lying at His feet

The beautiful lotus like hand of The Lord was gently stroking Hanumanji’s head, remembering that scene Lord Shiv (who was narrating the story to Parvatiji), Himself felt immersed in Great Love.

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Savdhaan man kari puni Sankar/laage kahan katha ati sundar//

Kapi udayi Prabhu hridayam lagaava/kar gahi param nikat baidaava//

Then Shivji calmed his mind and started telling the most beautiful story again-

The Lord raised Hanuman and hugged him close to His heart, and then made him sit very next to Himself.

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Soyi Bijayi Binayi Guna Sagar(26): He becomes successful, humble and an ocean of good qualities

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Doha:

Preeti sahit sab bhete Raghupathy karuna punj/

Poochy kusal nadh ab kusal dekhi pad kanj//

SreeRamji, Compassion incarnate, enquired after everyone, embracing them fondly

They said: Hey Lord, having seen your lotus feet, everything is quite fine

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Jamvant kah sunu Raguraya/ jaa par nadh karhu tumh daya//

Tahi sada subh kusal nirantar/sur nar muni prasann ta upar//

Jambavan said, Hey Raghunathji! Hey Lord! Listen, on whomsoever you bestow your compassion,

He will have prosperity and joy  forever, the sages, humans, the Gods- all will be pleased with him

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Soyi bijayi binayi gun sagar/taasu sujasu trailok ujaagar//

Prabhu keem kripa bhayavu sabu kaaju/janma hamar subhal bha aaju//

He becomes victorious, he becomes humble, he becomes an Ocean of good qualities, his fame spreads its beauty in all the three worlds

With Your Grace, all work has been done,today our lives have been blessed ( our births have become justified)

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Nadh Pavansut keenhi jo karni/sahasahu mukh jaayi so barni//

Pavantanay ke charit suhaye/Jamvant Raghupathihi sunaye//

Hey Lord! What the Son of Vayu has accomplished, even a thousand tongues cannot fully describe it

Then Jambavan narrated Hanumanji’s accomplishment of his task to the Lord

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Sunat kripanidhi man athi bhaye/ puni Hanuman harshi hiyam laye//

Kahahu Tat kehi bhanti Janaki/rehati karati raccha swapraan ki//

Hearing that, SreeRaghunathji felt  very good, he hugged Hanumanji close to his heart again and said-

Hey Son! Tell me how is Janaki living and  managing to protect her life (from those enemies)

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