Hanumanji Introduces Sugreev -5 ( Kishkindha Kanda)

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Dekhi pavansut pati anukoola/ Hridayam harash beeti sab soola//

Nadh sail par kapipati rahayi/So Sugreev  das tav ahayi//

Seeing the Lord’s compassion, happiness filled Hanuman’s heart and all his agonies disappeared.( He said) ‘ Lord, in this mountain dwells King Sugreev, and he is your loyal servant.’

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Tehi san nadh mayatri keeje/Deen jaani tehi abhay kareeje//

So Sita kar khoj karayihi/ Jah tah markat koti padayihi//

Hey Lord! Please become friends with him. And knowing that he is suffering, make him fearless with your companionship. He will search for Sitaji and send out crores of monkeys in that mission everywhere.

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Ehi bidhi sakal katha samuchayi/ Liye duvau jan peedi chadayi//

Jab Sugreeva Ram kahu dekha/Atisay janma dhanya kari lekha//

Telling them the whole story, Hanumanji made SriRamji and Laxman sit on his gigantic shoulders. When Sugreev saw SreeRamji, he considered that his birth had become finally successful. ( Seeing the Lord had made his  existence  worthy and meaningful.)

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Sadar milevu nayi pad madha/ Bhetevu anuj sahit Raghunadha//

Kapi kar man bichar ehi reeti/Karihahim bidhi mo san e preeti//

Sugreev bowed before Sriramji’s feet and greeted him with great respect. The Lord hugged them all close to his heart. Sugreev was wondering in his heart- Will this divine prince consider me worthy of his friendship?

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Doha:

Tab Hanumant ubhay disi ki sab katha sunayi/

Pavak sakhi deyi kari jori preeti dridayi//

Then Hanumanji narrated to SriRamji and Sugreev the other’s story, and making Fire as the holy witness, pledged their friendship to each other.

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Hanumanji Is Consoled By The Lord-4 ( Kishkindha Kanda)

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Jadapi nadh bahu avagun morem/Sevak prabhuhi parai jani bhorem//

Nadh jeev tav mayam moha/So nistarayi tumharehim choha//

Hey Lord! Although I have so many weaknesses, I wish that You had not forgotten me.( The Master may kindly remember his servant) Dear Lord, all the beings are caught up in  the thrall of Your Maya. Only through Your blessings can we attain moksha.

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Ta par mai Raghubir dohayi/Janavu nahim kacchu bhajan upayi//

Sevak sut pati matu bharosem/ Rahayi asoch banayi Prabhu posem//

About that, let me take your oath My Lord- I know nothing of prayer and meditation! The servant stays unconcerned due to his Master’s presence like a child with his mother. The Master has to take care of his servant.

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As kahi parevu charan akulayi/ Nij tanu pragati preeti ur chaayi//

Tab Raghupati udayi ur laava/ Nij lochan jal seenchi judaava//

Saying thus, Hanuman fell weeping at SriRamji’s feet. He took on his original form. Then SriRamji lifted him up and hugged him close to his heart. The divine tears from the Lord’s eyes cooled Hanuman’s agony.

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Sunu kapi jiyam manasi jani oona / Taim mam priya Lacchiman te doona//

Samadarsy mohi kah sab kovu/Sevak priya anyagati sovu//

The Lord said: ‘Listen, do not feel sad. To me, you are twice as dear as Laxman himself. Everyone mentions that I am samadarsy- that no one is very dear to me nor unpleasant.( Everyone is equal in my eyes) However, the servant is particularly beloved to me : because,  but for Me, he has no other refuge.’

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Doha:

So ananya jakem asi mati na tarayi Hanumant/

Mai sevak sacharachar roop swami bhagwant//

‘And Hanuman! The unique one is he, who is aware that he is the servant and the whole universe is a manifestation of His Lord.’

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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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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.

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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.

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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