Today, the tenth day of April 2022, we Hindus, are celebrating the festival of Shri Ram Navami. The festival celebrates the descent of Shri Ram, the seventh avatar of Bhagwan Shri Vishnu, on earth. Shri Ram Navami or Ram Navami festival is a part of the Chaitra Navaratri, and falls on the ninth day of the bright half (Shukla Paksha) of Chaitra, the first month in the Hindu lunar calendar. This typically occurs in the Gregorian months of March or April every year.
Even though Shri Ram was Bhagwan Shri Vishnu’s incarnation (avatar), He lived on earth as a common Human being and let the nature and the world treat Him as any other human being. He is also called as “Purushottam” which is a word made out of joining two Sanskrit words – “Purush” literal meaning – “Man/Men” but here it means “all Human Beings” and “Uttam” meaning “Good” but here it means “The Best”. He is considered to be the Best Human Being ever on earth. Being the best human being, Shri Ram has been an inspiration to many men and women across the world, across religions and geographies to do good to this world. Shri Ram was the most loved child of all children of King Dasharatha of Ayodhya. As any other father, King Dasharatha used to love Shri Ram as his favorite-most child. But when he was made aware (by Sage Vishwamitra) that he has given birth to Bhagwan Vishnu’s avatar, King Dasharatha tried to balance his love for his child with the admiration that one would ideally give to a Bhagwan (God). Hindu religious scriptures don’t explicitly highlight this fact. However, post this enlightenment, King Dasharatha’s reference to Shri Ram as “Shri Ram” is found in multiple instances of conversation between King Dasharatha and Shri Ram.
With His kind deeds and love and affection to all (friends, family and enemies, alike), Shri Ram was the favorite to all. Shri Ramayan and Shri Ramcharitmanas are full of such references where everyone including Bhagwan Shri Shankar (Shiv) has not only praised Him but also worshipped Him. Nearly half of Ramcharitmanas is dedicated towards Bhagwan Shiv singing the great deeds of Shri Ram to Bhagwan Shiv’s consort, Mata Parvati. Also, notable is the ballads sung by Shri Ram’s enemies during the last minutes of their respective lives on earth. I have compiled a few from Shri Ramcharitmanas that can help us understand a bit more about Shri Ram.
The first reference is of Maarich, who was one of the most powerful demons in Ravana’s clan. Maarich met Shri Ram for the first time, when he was trying to destroy the Yagya of Sage Vishwamitra. To get rid of Maarich and other demons, Vishwamitra had to take the help of Shri Ram who was barely 12 years of age. When the arrow of Shri Ram struck Maarich, he understood Shri Ram was not an ordinary Human Being and thus taking the lesson he went to the jungle and started living the life of a sage, himself. He was living in jungle for years before Ravana provoked/compelled him to disguise himself as a Golden Deer and help Ravana abduct Shri Ram’s consort, Mata Sita. After trying hard to dissuade Ravana from this misadventure, he finally understood, it’s of no use to argue with such an adamant like Ravana. Following verses from Shri Ramcharitmanas is worth-mentioning –
तब मारीच हृदयँ अनुमाना। नवहि बिरोधें नहिं कल्याना॥
सस्त्री मर्मी प्रभु सठ धनी। बैद बंदि कबि भानस गुनी॥
Meaning – Then Maarich thought to himself, “It does not do one good to make enemies of the following nine, viz., one skilled in the use of a weapon, he who knows one’s secret, a powerful master, a dunce, a wealthy man, a physician, a panegyrist, a poet, an expert cook.”
उभय भाँति देखा निज मरना। तब ताकिसि रघुनायक सरना॥
उतरु देत मोहि बधब अभागें। कस न मरौं रघुपति सर लागें॥
Meaning – Either way he saw he must die: hence he sought refuge in the Lord of Raghus (descendants of Raghu). “If I argue further, the wretch would kill me; why, then, should I not be killed by Sri Ram’s arrows?”
अस जियँ जानि दसानन संगा। चला राम पद प्रेम अभंगा॥
मन अति हरष जनाव न तेही। आजु देखिहउँ परम सनेही॥
Meaning – Pondering thus in his mind he accompanied Ravana, unremitting in his devotion to Sri Ram’s feet. He felt extremely delighted at the thought that he would be able to behold his greatest friend (Sri Ram), even though he would not reveal his joy to Ravana.
The second reference is that of Baali, the King of Kishkindha, the Kingdom of monkeys. Baali was one of the most powerful of all creatures of his time. He even had defeated Ravana and had kept him captive under his arms for months, until Ravana apologized to Baali for his misdeeds. During His attempts to find Mata Sita (after Ravana abducted Her), Shri Ram could have befriended Baali but He chose to befriend Baali’s brother and his enemy Sugriv. Shri Ram encouraged Sugriv to wrestle with Baali and Shri Ram deceitfully killed Baali. Baali was intrigued as he knew Shri Ram was an incarnation of Bhagwan Shri Vishnu and posed this question as why Shri Ram had to use deceit to kill him, even though Shri Ram was Bhagwan (God). Shri Ram explained Baali why He had to use deceit and why it was not wrong on Him to use deceit to kill Baali. The following verses from Shri Ramcharitmanas depicts the conversation that happened between Shri Ram and Baali, after Baali was struck by the arrow of Shri Ram.
परा बिकल महि सर के लागें। पुनि उठि बैठ देखि प्रभु आगे॥
स्याम गात सिर जटा बनाएँ। अरुन नयन सर चाप चढ़ाएँ॥
Meaning – Struck by the shaft Baali fell to the ground smarting with pain; again he sprang up and sat, when he saw the Lord before him – dark of hue, with His matted hair coiled on His head, bloodshot eyes and the bow still drawn.
पुनि पुनि चितइ चरन चित दीन्हा। सुफल जन्म माना प्रभु चीन्हा॥
हृदयँ प्रीति मुख बचन कठोरा। बोला चितइ राम की ओरा॥
Meaning – Gazing on Him, again and again he fixed his heart on His feet; now that he recognized the Lord he felt that he had realized the reward of his birth. Although his heart was full of love, the words on his lips were harsh; looking towards Sri Ram he said,
धर्म हेतु अवतरेहु गोसाईं। मारेहु मोहि ब्याध की नाईं॥
मैं बैरी सुग्रीव पिआरा। अवगुन कवन नाथ मोहि मारा॥
Meaning – “Even though, my lord, You descended on earth for upholding righteousness. You have killed me as a hunter would. I, Your enemy and Sugriv, Your dear friend! For what fault did You take my life, my lord?”
अनुज बधू भगिनी सुत नारी। सुनु सठ कन्या सम ए चारी॥
इन्हहि कुदृष्टि बिलोकइ जोई। ताहि बधें कछु पाप न होई॥
Meaning – “Listen, O wretch: a younger brother’s wife, a sister, a daughter-in-law and one’s own daughter – these four are alike. One would incur no sin by killing him who looks upon them with an evil eye. (Baali had overthrown Sugriv from Kishkindha’s throne and taken away Sugriv’s wife Ruma)
मूढ़ तोहि अतिसय अभिमाना। नारि सिखावन करसि न काना॥
मम भुज बल आश्रित तेहि जानी। मारा चहसि अधम अभिमानी॥
Meaning – Fool, in your extravagant pride you paid no heed to your wife’s warning. You knew that your brother had taken refuge under the might of my arm; and yet in your vile arrogance you sought to kill him!”
सुनहु राम स्वामी सन चल न चातुरी मोरि।
प्रभु अजहूँ मैं पापी अंतकाल गति तोरि॥
Meaning – “Listen, Ram: my shrewdness cannot avail against my master. But, my lord, am I a sinner yet even though I have found shelter in You at the hour of my death?”
सुनत राम अति कोमल बानी। बालि सीस परसेउ निज पानी॥
अचल करौं तनु राखहु प्राना। बालि कहा सुनु कृपानिधाना॥
Meaning – When Sri Ram heard this most tender speech of Baali, He stroked his head with His hand. “I make your body immortal; you may keep up your life.” Said Baali, “Listen, O Ocean of Mercy:
जन्म जन्म मुनि जतनु कराहीं। अंत राम कहि आवत नाहीं॥
जासु नाम बल संकर कासी। देत सबहि सम गति अबिनासी॥
मम लोचन गोचर सोई आवा। बहुरि कि प्रभु अस बनिहि बनावा॥
Meaning – sages continue their efforts (for God-Realization) during successive births; but at the last moment they fail to utter the name ‘Ram’. But He, on the strength of whose Name Lord Shankar bestows immortality on all alike, has appeared in a visible form before my very eyes! Shall I ever get such a golden opportunity again?
सो नयन गोचर जासु गुन नित नेति कहि श्रुति गावहीं।
जिति पवन मन गो निरस करि मुनि ध्यान कबहुँक पावहीं॥
मोहि जानि अति अभिमान बस प्रभु कहेउ राखु सरीरही।
अस कवन सठ हठि काटि सुरतरु बारि करिहि बबूरही॥
Meaning – “He has appeared before my very eyes, whose praises the Vedas ever sing only in negative terms and whom sages are scarcely able to perceive in their meditation even after they have controlled their breath and mind and freed their senses from passion. Knowing me to be a victim of excessive pride the Lord said to me, ‘Preserve your life!’ But who would be such a fool as to insist on cutting down a celestial tree and using it as a fence to protect an acacia (called Babul in India) tree?
अब नाथ करि करुना बिलोकहु देहु जो बर मागऊँ।
जेहि जोनि जन्मौं कर्म बस तहँ राम पद अनुरागऊँ॥
यह तनय मम सम बिनय बल कल्यानप्रद प्रभु लीजिये।
गहि बाँह सुर नर नाह आपन दास अंगद कीजिये॥
Meaning – Now, my lord, look upon me with compassion and grant me the boon that I ask; in whatever species of life it may be my fate to be born, I may continue to love Sri Ram’s (Your) feet. This son of mine, Angada by name, is my equal in humility and strength. O Bestower of Blessedness; therefore, accept him, my master; and holding him by the arm, O Lord of gods and men, treat him as Your servant.”
राम चरन दृढ़ प्रीति करि बालि कीन्ह तनु त्याग।
सुमन माल जिमि कंठ ते गिरत न जानइ नाग॥
Meaning – Intensifying his devotion to Sri Ram’s feet Baali dropped his body (without his knowing it) even as an elephant little knows the falling of a wreath of flowers from its neck.
The next worth-mentioning instance of praise among all from Shri Ram’s enemies were that from Kumbhakaran, the powerful and gigantic brother of Ravana. The conversation takes place between Kumbhakaran and Ravana when the latter wakes him up to make him participate in Ravana’s war with Shri Ram and later between Kumbhakaran and Vibhishana, the other brother of Ravana. Here are the verses from Shri Ramcharitmanas’s Lanka Kaand –
जागा निसिचर देखिअ कैसा। मानहुँ कालु देह धरि बैसा॥
कुंभकरन बूझा कहु भाई। काहे तव मुख रहे सुखाई॥
Meaning – Having woken and sat up, he looked like Death himself in a corporeal body. Kumbhakaran asked; “Tell me, brother, why do you look so withered up?”
कथा कही सब तेहिं अभिमानी। जेहि प्रकार सीता हरि आनी॥
तात कपिन्ह सब निसिचर मारे। महा महा जोधा संघारे॥
Meaning – The haughty Ravana told him the whole story as to how he had carried off Sita “Dear brother, the monkeys have killed all the demons and extirpated the greatest warriors.
दुर्मुख सुररिपु मनुज अहारी। भट अतिकाय अकंपन भारी॥
अपर महोदर आदिक बीरा। परे समर महि सब रनधीरा॥
Meaning – Durmukha, Devantaka (the enemy of gods), Narantaka (the devourer of men), the mighty champions Atikaya (of enormous size) and Akampana (who never trembles in fear) and other heroes like Mahodara (the bigbellied), so staunch in battle, have all fallen on the field of battle.”
सुनि दसकंधर बचन तब कुंभकरन बिलखान।
जगदंबा हरि आनि अब सठ चाहत कल्यान॥
Meaning – On hearing the words of his ten-headed brother, Kumbhakaran felt very sorry. “Having abducted the Mother of this universe, O fool, you still expect good out of it!”
भल न कीन्ह तैं निसिचर नाहा। अब मोहि आइ जगाएहि काहा॥
अजहूँ तात त्यागि अभिमाना। भजहु राम होइहि कल्याना॥
Meaning – “You have not acted well, O demon king. And now why have you come and woken me up? Yet, abandoning pride, worship Sri Ram and you will be blessed.
कीन्हेहु प्रभु बिरोध तेहि देवक। सिव बिरंचि सुर जाके सेवक॥
नारद मुनि मोहि ग्यान जो कहा। कहतेउँ तोहि समय निरबाहा॥
Meaning – You have courted war with the Divinity who has for His servants gods like Shiva and Viranchi (the Creator). I would have confided to you the secret which the sage Narada had once imparted to me; but the time has passed.
अब भरि अंक भेंटु मोहि भाई। लोचन सुफल करौं मैं जाई॥
स्याम गात सरसीरुह लोचन। देखौं जाइ ताप त्रय मोचन॥
Meaning – Now embrace me brother, I may go now and reward my eyes with the sight of the Lord who has a swarthy complexion and lotus-like eyes and who relieves the threefold agony of His devotees.”
Kumbhakaran – Vibhishan dialogue
देखि बिभीषनु आगें आयउ। परेउ चरन निज नाम सुनायउ॥
अनुज उठाइ हृदयँ तेहि लायो। रघुपति भक्त जानि मन भायो॥
Meaning – When Vibhishana saw him, he came forward and falling at his feet told him his name. Kumbhakaran in his turn lifted his younger brother and embraced him. He was delighted at heart to know that his brother was a devotee of Sri Ram (the Lord of the Raghus).
तात लात रावन मोहि मारा। कहत परम हित मंत्र बिचारा॥
तेहिं गलानि रघुपति पहिं आयउँ। देखि दीन प्रभु के मन भायउँ॥
Meaning – “Dear brother, Ravana spurned me with his foot when I gave him a most salutary advice and told him my view. Disgusted with such treatment I came away to Sri Ram, and the Lord’s heart was drawn towards me when he perceived my distress.”
सुनु भयउ कालबस रावन। सो कि मान अब परम सिखावन॥
धन्य धन्य तैं धन्य विभीषन। भयहु तात निसिचर कुल भूषन॥
बंधु बंस तैं कीन्ह उजागर। भजेहु राम सोभा सुख सागर॥
Meaning – “Listen, my son; Ravana is in the clutches of death and would not listen even to the best advice at this stage. Thrice (more) blessed are you, Vibhishana; you have proved to be the ornament of the demon race. Brother, you have brought glory to our line by adoring Sri Ram, that ocean of beauty and felicity.
बचन कर्म मन कपट तजि भजेहु राम रनधीर।
जाहु न निज पर सूझ मोहि भयउँ कालबस बीर॥
Meaning – “In thought, word and deed you should guilelessly adore Sri Ram, who is staunch in battle. Now leave me; for, doomed as I am to death, brother, I can no longer distinguish between friend and foe.”
I have many more blogs planned that will potentially help everyone understand the good learnings from Shri Ram’s life in simple language. I am hoping to publish them soon. Until then, if it interests you, you may read Ramcharitmanas in Hindi and English on the Mere Vishnu app. You may download the Android app from this link – https://t.ly/mvsn or scan the QR code in the following picture.