The Book of Books – Ramayana of Tulsidas

In our youth we might have heard firstly about the two most famous epic of India – Ramayana and Mahabharata (very thick books with lots of colourful stories!). Later, perhaps, we have learnt about Vedas, Upanishads, Agamas, and other timeless yoga works passed down from our forefathers… 

The most popular and concise Yoga book all yogis study would be, without doubt,  Bhagavad Gita – a most crucial part of Mahabharata where the main hero Arjuna has to face his own demons and act in the most beneficial way. 

Mahabharata describes stories around the age when Arjuna lived, with his 4 brothers and 1 wife, having Krishna, his cousin as the best friend and councillor. 

This excerpt from the Shatarudra Samhita of the Shiva Purana, in the course of describing the various Dwapara Yugas of the Vaivasvata Manvantara, says this about Krishna:

“In the twenty-eighth aeon of Dwapara, there will be Dwaipayana Vyasa, the son of Parashara, and the most excellent of Purushas [Vishnu] shall be born as Krishna with his one-sixth part, as the foremost of the sons of Vasudeva.”

Krishna and Arjuna lived in Dwapara Yuga, just before our current age has descended. In fact they say that with Krishna’s death approximately 5000 years ago Kali Yuga precisely had commenced.  

Ramayana is unique in a sense that, the main hero king Rama lived looong time ago – in Treta Yuga of the 24th MahaYuga (current Manvantara), approximately 19mln years ago: 

24th MahaYuga ~2mln years after Rama.

25th MahaYuga – 4320000 years

26th MahaYuga – 4320000 years

27th MahaYuga – 4320000 years

28th MahaYuga ~4mln years up to now.

Here is what the Matysa Purana says, while enumerating various incarnations of Vishnu in the Vaivasvata Manvantara in chronological order:

In the 24th Treta Yuga, the seventh manifestation was that of Sri Ramchandra, as the son of Dasharatha, and with Vasishta as the priest, to kill Ravana.

Vayu Purana and the Skanda Purana says the same.”

Such timeless works do make it through the times immemorial thanks to the Sages occasionally descending on Earth. In a state of transcendental effulgence they break into spontaneous narration of such exalted word that it threads the eons together by the soul-saving mouth-to-ear tradition of renunciates clinging to such Sages… Rishis, The Seers…

Beyond any philosophical works, there are Bhakti revelations, like Bhakti Sutras of Sage Shandilya or Sage Narada – the works that normal people would consider being impossible to deliver, as an ordinary mind quits in the moment of rapture when the intellect dissolves into the heart melt. However, the Yogis of all walks meet in the same place of what is called Bhakti – beyond the name-form disputes, alike those blind scientists exploring the different parts of the elephant’s body – in the HEART MELT.

Beyond Ramayana, beyond Bhagavad Gita and Mahabharata, beyond Shiva-Parvati’s dialogues in Agamas and beyond the splendour and comforting shanti of Vedas, Puranas and Upanishads, sits the crown-jewel of all literature given to us by Sage Tulsidas, who heard it from his own teacher…  

Yesterday, I received a priceless gift from Rishi Yogadiwali Saraswati and Rishi Nityabodhananda Saraswati – the rare edition of Ramacharitmanas, a folio with mind-bending sleek classical illustrations, with special inclusions like Shri Hanuman Chalisa, Lavakushakanda and Ramashalaka Prashnavali. This special book 📖 stands centrepoint in our yoga hall now, in between Guru and Shakti Pujas, and is available for any visitor to sit by and acknowledge them Self with.

So heavy and so light at the same time….

Tulsidas singing The Poem of Rama…

Loving the extras…

Shiva and Kamadeva’s friendship everyone draws inspiration from…

Any page, any verse – nectar… This particular moment is in Sage Agastyar hermitage…

Sublime illustrations…

Satsang by Swami Niranjanananda:

“What is your experience of the Ramacharitmanas?

Swami Niranjanananda:

The Ramacharitmanas is not just a mythological story of someone born thousands of years ago; it is an incredibly special book. In the verses of the Ramacharitmanas are hidden shabar mantras. These are mantras of immense power that give instant benefit and result. Only knowledgeable people are aware which shabar mantras are within the text. Nevertheless, when the Ramacharitmanas is chanted, the effect of those shabar mantras changes lives instantly, even for those who do not know them.

When Sri Swami Satyananda was in isolation in Rikhia, doing the sadhana of panchagni, the five fires, one day he said, “I read many books, imbibed a lot of knowledge and learnt a lot about man, God and religion, but my mind never felt satisfied. I always felt something was lacking. However, when I started the chanting of Ramacharitmanas in the correct form, I realised that I did not need to read or know anything more. The full meaning of life and God is given in this easy and incomparable book. ” When Sri Swami Satyananda said this,I did not understand what he meant. I have also chanted the Ramacharitmanas many times and done akhanda paths. Still,I was not able to understand his deep words. When I was doing the panchagni, I chanted the Ramacharitmanas during the sadhana and completed three rounds of nine-day readings of the full text.

During the first reading, I was absorbed in the story. In the second reading, I observed that my mental state had changed. In the first reading, the words appeared as they do: black inscriptions on white paper, but in the second reading they did not appear in that form. Instead,it seemed as if the words, couplets,stanzas and slokas were written in jewel-enceusted letters and were sparkling. It was as if each page was a storehouse of precious stones. When I read it the third time, my awareness became even more subtle. I am telling you about this experience with the Ramacharitmanas as I have seen myself as a seeker and a laboratory, and have made an effort to understand how change comes about in one’s awareness and life through a process of sadhana. When the third reading was taking place, my awareness had become so subtle that I started to see the shabar mantras. If this process had continued, it is possible that I would have glimpsed, experienced and learnt many more things.

Whatever Sri Rama may have been – a child, a king, an avatara, or a maryada Purushottam, an idea man – the Ramacharitmanas is an unparalleled book. It depicts Rama’s character as the culmination of spiritual thinking and understanding. The methods of spirituality are contained in a hidden manner in the form of the mantras. As one connects with chanting, the effects of the mantras start playing on the awareness, and they awaken new areas of consciousness, leading one towards enlightenment and liberation.

Near take the Ramacharitmanas lightly as just a story-book or a historic text. Its incidents may be historic, yet the benefit that you receive from chanting it, the satisfaction, happiness and peace that you gain from it, will never be had from any other literature, scripture or philosophy anywhere in the world. Over centuries, it has been the experience of people in society that chanting of Sundarkand, one of the chapters of the Ramacharitmanas, brings peace and joy, and fulfils all desires. Whether or not you understand what you chant, whether you believe in Rama or not, it does not matter. The chanting will give you the result.

Bhakti Yoga Book 1″

To read about Ramacharitmanas:

In addition, please, read one of the Sri Swami Ji’s many Satsangs on Ramcharitmanas:

“There is an immeasurable quantity of water in the ocean, but you can take away only as much as your container will hold. Similarly, you can only grasp God to the extent and depth of your awareness, feelings, soul, personality and totality of yourself. Swami Satyananda could not grasp the formless, nirakara God then, nor can he do it now, nor will he ever have that capacity. Swami Satyananda’s capacity is limited to lighting a lamp and an incense stick in front of Ganesha’s image and singing his praises as follows:

Jai Ganesha, jai Ganesha, jai Ganesha deva

Mata jaki Parvati pita mahadeva

Phool chadhe pan chadhe aur chadhe meva

Laddoo on ke bhog chadhe santa kar seva.

Therefore, worship God according to the capacity of your intellect and feelings. Adopt a puja which delights your heart and can move and melt it. The chosen deity is called ishta devata, because it is what your heart opts for, wishes for. It is that God who enthrals and captivates your imagination. So, read Ramacharitamanas devoutly, profoundly and with understanding. Tulsidas has illustrated this point throughout Ramacharitamanas. In fact, this is the theme of Ramacharitamanas. The nirakara becomes sakara. The formless God becomes manifest in a recognizable form.

    Tulsidas has not neglected the nirakara aspect of God, Sohamasmi iti vriti akhanda, which means continuous awareness of Soham. Tulsidas talks about both the God with attributes and the unattainable kaivalyapada, the path of final liberation. But the important point he makes is that worship or upasana of God means to set your heart on any aspects of God that attracts and satisfies you, that is within the grasp of your limited awareness, that stirs your feelings and sustain your interest.

   Although I am not a very high soul myself, I know that however depraved and fallen a man may be, he always looks up to a person who is great and good. He never worships another fallen man or villain, he is drawn only to a virtuous hero. He himself may be a complete rascal, but he accepts only a virtuous hero as his ideal in life. The best example of goodness in humanity is none other than Sri Rama. Sage Narada told Valmiki that in the whole history of the human race only one ideal man had reigned supreme and that was Sri Rama. Ikshvaku vanshaja prabhu Rama nama janahi sutah. Rama was born in the Ikshvaku family and was the epitome of virtue, heroism, power, intelligence and character.

     I had Sri Rama as my ishta because whatever you worship and meditate upon seeps into your inner being. It casts a long indelible imprint on your consciousness, which passes from birth to birth. You may remain a villain, a bad character, a rogue, in the present lifetime, but there is every possibility of reaching and realizing your ishta in some birth sooner or later. No one should have a doubt about nirakara coming down into sakara. Let it be very simple. Choose the form of your ishta devata and worship him or her, ring the bell, read the holy books, light a candle and an incense stick, praise him or her and quietly go to bed. Most certainly God will bless you.

Source: Satsangs on Ramacharitamanas

              Swami Satyananda Saraswati”

Puja Mulam Guru Padam 🙏🏽🕊