Kishkinda Kanda 27…When the Lord was in Vaman Avatar

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Jo naghayi sat jojan sagar/ Karayi so Ram kaaj mati aagar//

Mohi biloki dharahu mann dheera/ Ram kripa kas bhayavu sareera//

The one who can cross one hundred yojanans ( four hundred kos) and is a repository of wisdom, only he can fulfill Lord Ram’s task.

Do not get upset!  Look at me and take courage! Due to Sri Ram’s blessings see how my body has regained its wings!

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Papivu jaa kar naam sumirahim/ Athi apaar bhavsagar tarahim//

Taasu doot tumh taji kadarayi/ Ram hriday dhari karahu upayi//

‘Even a sinner can cross the formidable ocean of life (bhavsagar) easily on remembering His name!

And you are His messengers! Forget your trepidations; meditate on Lord Ram and think of a way!’

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As kahi garud geedh jab gayavu/ Tinh kem mann athi bismay bhayavu//

Nij nij bal sab kahu bhasha/ Par jaayi kar samsay raakha//

(Kakabishundi says) : ‘Hey Garudji! When the vulture left after saying thus, the monkeys were left marveling!’

‘Each spoke of his strengths but expressed the lack of confidence in crossing the ocean.’

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Jarad   bhayavu ab kahayi richesa/ Nahim tan raha pradham bal lesa//

Jabahim tribikram bhaye kharari/ Tab mai tarun rahevu bal bhari//

(The king of bears Jambavan said )  ‘I have grown too old. The initial strength is no longer left in my body.

When the enemy of Khar (Lord Vishnu in Ram avatar) was in the Vaman incarnation, I was young and very strong!’

Note:  (Matsya, Kurma, Varaha, Narasimha, Vaman, Parasu Ram, Sri Ram, Bal Ram, Krishna, Kalki:  10 avatars of Lord Vishnu)

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Doha

Bali bandhat prabhu badevu so tanu barni na jaayi/

Ubhay khari mah deenhi saat pradacchin dhaayi//

(Jambavan said )‘When he vanquished King Maha Bali the Lord was gigantic in form: I cannot express in words;

Yet in two hours, I ran and completed seven pradakshinas (circumambulations) of that divine avatar!’

Note:  In his fifth incarnation, Lord Vishnu as Vaman avatar measured one step on the earth, another step on the skies; and the great King Mahabali ( literally  The Strongest of All) offered him his head for the third step.

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Angad kahayi javu mai paara/ Jiyam samsay kachhu firthi baara//

Jamavant kah tumh sab layak/ Padayia kimi sabahi kar nayak//

Prince Angad said: ‘I can cross the ocean easily. But I am not confident about my return.’

Jambavan replied: ‘You are absolutely eligible in all ways. But you are the leader of the team and we cannot let you go.’

Note:  Jambavan is wise in elucidating the art of leadership: leading from the front is not a choice when it comes to undertaking dangerous missives single-handed. The leader has to stay back to strategize and plan for contingencies often.

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25 Kishkinda Kanda…The Lord bestowed on her unflinching faith

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(From the Persian Ramayan. Ref: Raza Library, Rampur, U.P.)

Doori te taahi sabanhi sairu naava/ Puchem nij britanth sunaava//

Tehim tab kaha karahu jal paana/ Khahu suras sundar bhal nana//

Everybody paid respects to her from afar by bowing low. When the woman asked them, they narrated the story of their journey.

Then she asked them to drink water and to relish the delectable, attractive fruits.

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Majjanu keenh madhur bhal khaye/ Taasu nikat puni sab chali aaye//

Tehim sab aapani kadha sunayi/ Mai ab jab jahan Raghurayi//

Getting the permission, all of them took a dip in the lake, drank water and enjoyed the fruits. Then they went near her.

The woman told them her story. Then she said, ‘Now I shall depart to meet Lord Ram.’

Note: Swayamprabha was the daughter of sage Mersavarni. She resided in the magical cave which used to belong to Hema an apsara and her consort the asura architect Maya. They were also Ravan’s  wife Mandodari’s parents.

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Mudahu nayan bibar taji jaahu/ Paihahu Sitahi jani pachitahu//

Nayan mudi puni dekhahim beera/ Tade sakal sindhu kem teera//

‘Close your eyes and move out of this cave. You will find Sitaji, so do not get frustrated.’

When they closed their eyes and moved out, they found that they were standing at the shores of the ocean.

**

So puni gayi jahan Raghunadha/ Jaayi kamal pad nayesi madha//

Nana bhaant binay tehim keenhi/ Anpaayani bhagati prabhu deenhi//

Swayamprabha went to Lord Ram. She bowed at the Lord’s lotus-feet and prayed for his blessings.

Lord Ram bestowed on her unflinching faith in Him.

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Doha

Badariban kahu so gayi Prabhu aagya dhari sees/

Ur dhari Ram charan jug je bandath aj ees//

Swayamprabha proceeded to Badarik ashram (following the Lord’s guidance) carrying the image of the Lord’s divine feet in her heart.

**

Iham bicharahim kapi man mahim/ Beeti avadhi kaaj kachu naahim//

Sab mili kahahim paraspar baata/ Binu sudhi laye karab ka braata//

The monkey army was worried that time had elapsed but they had not fulfilled their assignment.

They discussed amongst themselves about the futility of returning without getting news of Sitaji.

**

 Kah Angad lochan bhari baari/ Duhu prakar bhayi mrityu hamaari//

Iham na sudhi Sita kai paayi/ Uham gaye maarihi kapiraayi//

Angad said with moistened eyes that death had come in two ways.

‘There was no news of Janakiji as yet. On return, Sugreev was sure to kill him.’

**

Pita badhe par maarat mohi/ Raakha Ram nihor na ohi//

Puni puni Angad kah sab paahim/ Maran bhayavu kachu samsay naahim//

‘(Sugreev) He would have killed me at the time of my father’s death. It was no favour of Sugreev’s that I am alive. Lord Ram saved my life.’

Angad was repeating to everyone that he had no more doubts about his impending death.

**

Angad bachan sunat kapi beera/ Bolin a sakahim nayan bah neera//

Chan ek soch magan hoyi rahe/ Puni as bachan kahat sab bhaye//

The valiant monkeys listened to Angad with tear filled eyes but did not respond.

All of them became immersed in thought for a moment. Then they all started speaking…

**

Hum Sita kai sudhi leenhe bina/ Nahim jaihem jubraaj prabina//

As kahi lavan sindhu tat jaayi/ Baide kapi sab darbh dasaayi//

‘Eminent prince! We shall not return without finding Sitaji.’

They proceeded to the edge of the ocean and sat down after spreading darbha grass.

Jamavant Angad dukh dekhi/ Kahim kadha upades biseshi//

Taat Ram kahu nar jani maanahu/ Nirgun Brahma ajit aj jaanahu//

Seeing the sad, dispirited Angad, Jamavan started giving sagacious advice (in the form of stories).

(He said) ‘Hey son! Do not consider Ram as a mere human being. He is the incarnation of Nirgun Brahma: unconquerable and without beginning.’

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Hum sab sevak athi bad bhaagi/ Santat sagun Brahma anuraagi//

We servants are so fortunate that we can adore (Lord Ram) the one who is sagun Brahma himself.

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Doha

Nij ichham prabhu avatarayi sur mahi go dwij laagi/

Sagun upasak sang tah rahahim mocch sab tyaagi//

For the sake of Devas, earth, animals and evolved beings the Lord has donned his incarnation (Not due to any karma). The devotees let go of desires for all forms of salvation and subject themselves in His service.

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Sugreev Tells His Story-7, Kishkindha Kanda

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Nath Bali aru mai dvou bhai/ Preeti rahi kacchu barni na jayi//

Maysut Mayavi tehi navu/ Aava so Prabhu hamare gavu//

Sugreev said: ‘Hey Lord! Bali and I are brothers. We loved each other beyond description. The son of asura Maya, called Mayavi once came to our place.’

*

Arth rati pur dwar pukara/ Bali ripu bal sahayi na para//

Dhava Bali dekhi so bhaga/ Mai puni gayavu bandhu sangh laaga//

He challenged us in the middle of the night outside the city gates. Bali could not endure that taunt. He ran outside and Mayavi fled. I too accompanied my brother.

*

Giribar guham paid so jaayi/Tab Balim mohi kaha buchayi//

Parikhesu mohi ek pakhvara/Nahim avaim tab janesu maara//

Mayavi entered into a cave by the mountain side. Then Bali told me: ‘ You wait for me for fifteen days. If I do not return till then, understand that I have died,’

*

Mas diwas tah rahevu kharari/ Nisri rudhidhar dhar tah bhari//

Bali hatesu mohi marihi aayi/ Sila deyi tah chalevu parayi//

Hey Kharari! ( Enemy of Khar) He did not return  even after a month. Then a heavy stream of blood emerged from the cave. I thought that Mayavi had murdered Bali and would come to kill me. I covered the face of the cave with a boulder and fled from the place.

*

Mantrinh pur dekha binu sayim/Deenehu mohi raj bariaayi//

Bali tahi maari grih aava/Dekhi mohi jiyam bhed badava//

The ministers compelled me to take the throne of the king less territory.Then Bali returned after killing Mayavi. Seeing me seated on the throne, he was enraged beyond words. ( He thought that I had intentionally blocked the cave to kill him and usurped the kingdom.)

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Ripu sam mohi maresi ati bhari/ Hari leenhesi sarbasu aru nari//

Takem bhay Raghubeer kripala/Sakal bhuvan mai bhirevu bihala//

He fought with me like a bitter enemy ( He hurt me) k away everything, including my woman.

Hey Compassionate Lord! Terrorised by him, I have been wandering all over the world.

*

Iham sap bas aavat nahim/ Tadapi sabheet rahavu man mahim//

Suni sevak dukh Deendayala/ Pharki udi dvau bhuja bisala//

‘Due to the curse of Matanga, Bali could not step foot on Rishyamook mountain, and hence I decided to stay here.’ On hearing his servant’s unhappy story, SriRamji’s got up, the muscles flexing in his arms.( He was perturbed by the pain of Sugreev.)

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Sugreev Recollects Seeing Sitaji-Kishkindha Kanda 6

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Keenhi preeti kacchu beech na rakha/ Lachhiman Ram charit sab bhasha//

Kah Sugreev nayan bhari baari/ Milihi nadh MithilesKumari//

Both became friends from their hearts, nothing was hidden within. Then Laxman narrated SriRamji’s story. Sugreev became teary-eyed and said-‘ Oh Lord! The Princesss of Mithila shall be found.’

*

Mantrinh sahit iham ek baara/Baid rahevu maim karat bichara//

Gagan pandh dekhi mai jaata/Parbas pari bahut bilpata//

“Once I was sitting here with my ministers, and contemplating on certain matters. Then I had seen Sitaji in the custody of the enemy, wailing in distress, as they travelled through the skies.”

*

Ram Ram Ha Ram pukari/Hamahi dekhi deenehu pat dari//

Magaa Ram turat tehim deenha/Pat ur laayi soch ati keenha//

“She was crying ‘Ram Ram Ha Ram!’ Seeing us, she dropped a piece of cloth.” Lord Ram asked Sugreev for that cloth. On receiving it, he hugged it close to his heart and became lost in sad thoughts.

*

Kah Sugreev sunahu Raghubeera/ Tajahu soch man aanahu dheera//

Sab prakar karihavu sevakai/Jehi bidhi milihi Janaki aayi//

Sugreev said- “Hey Raghubeer! Forgo your sad thoughts and calm your mind. I shall serve you in every possible way so that we can retrieve Janakiji.”

*

Doha:

Sakha bachan suni harashe kripasindhu balseev/

Karan kavan basahu ban mohi kahahu Sugreev//

The sea of  compassion and the epitome of strength- SriRamji- became joyous on hearing these words. Then he asked: ‘Tell me Sugreev, why are you staying in these forests?’

*

 

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?

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The Serpent’s Breath

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” Urag shwaas tribidhi sameera,” is how Tulsidasji describes Ramji’s plight when bereft of Sita in Sriramcharit Manas.

The breeze with three qualities, namely coolness, fragrance and gentleness felt like a  terrible serpent’s breath to Ram.

In Malayalam,  Ezhuthachan’s Harinamakeertana( Prayers of Hari)  gives a description:

” Gharmatapam kulirnilavennu tambiyodu, chemme paranju nija patnim pirinjalavu..”

It means: “When you were in the avatar of Ram, you found the cool moonlight excruciatingly hot  and complained to your brother about it-because you were separated from your beloved…”

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Well, comparisons of poetry apart, it is the exiled King’s plight that I wanted to follow today.

In front of me lies Salman Khurshid’s ‘ Sons of Babur’- a play in search of India. It is a well written script with an intrepid student trying to understand the history of his country’s syncretic culture, by interacting with the Emperors who ruled India. Bahadur Shah Zafar, the last Mughal Emperor, who suffered intensely and died at Rangoon, far away from India, is a character in the play. He was a gifted poet and his poetry in Urdu, is dotted throughout the play, very beautifully.

Quote:

Sarah: An emperor’s unfinished quest..what were those lines by Bahadur Shah about two days of desire and two days of existence!

Prabhat Sharma:

‘ Umre daraz maang ke laye the chaar din,

Do aarzoo mein guzar gaye , do intezaar mein!’

( I wished for a long life, was granted four days in all-

Two  were spent in tears, another two in waiting.)

It is an erudite book, and has been enacted on stage, with Tom Alter playing the key role.

The need today, is to weave threads of human emotions together, to discover how very similar we are, when faced with life’s challenges. Language, time, space, genre regardless.

The intense pain of being away from his beloved land, is like a serpent’s breath in Zafar’s poems.

‘ Na kisi aankh ka noor hun,na kisi dil ka karar hun

Jo kisi ke kaam na aasake mein  vo ek muste ghubar hu.’

(I am not the delight of any eyes nor a heart’s yearning

Not of use to anyone, just a fistful of dust)

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Four texts,  different genres, four languages, same emotion.

Beloved is an imagery:  loved one or mother land. Bereft of the beloved,  life itself reminds of a serpent’s breath.

History, poetry,  mythology will resonate to that concept; along with humanity.

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