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Śrī Rāma Carita Mānasa Stotra

Śrī Rāma Carita Mānasa Stotra

Rāma Carita Mānasa

[The Mānasa lake brimming over with the exploits of Śrī Rāma]

English Translation

Śrī Rāma Carita Mānasa Stotra also spelt as Ramacharitamanasa, is an epic poem composed by the 16th-century Indian bhakti poet Goswami Tulsidas (c.1532–1623) and originally written in a dialect of Hindi language – a fact noteworthy because until then most of Religious Scriptures and Poems were in Sanskrit and unavailable to simple folk without special education.

The present work - Śrī Rāma Carita Mānasa Stotra – is a work of exquisite poetics retelling the old famous epic Rāmāyaṇa, centred on the narrative of Rāma, the scion of the family tree of Raghu of the Sun Dynasty and the crown prince of Ayodhyā - who is also considered an incarnation of God Vishnu.

However, Tulsidas calls the epic Śrī Rāma Carita Mānasa – meaning - the story of Śrī Rāma as it was stored in the mind (Mānasa) of Shiva before he narrated the same to His consort Pārvatī. Tulsidas claims to have received the story through his guru.

The hugely popular Hanuman Chalisa and other devotional hymns come from this work.

Tulsidas (c.1532–1623) was a Hindu poet-saint, reformer and philosopher from Rāmānandi Sampradāya in the lineage of Jagadguru Rāmānanda Āchārya renowned for his devotion to the Lord Shri Rāma.

Tulsidas spent most of his life in the city of Varanasi. He also founded the Sankatmochan Temple dedicated to Hanuman in Varanasi, believed to stand at the place where he had the sight of Hanuman.

Śrī Rāma Carita Mānasa Stotra consists of 7 parts or Kānḍas:

The first two parts, Bāl Kaṇḍa (Childhood Episode) and Ayodhyā Kāṇḍa (Ayodhyā Episode), make up more than half of the work.

The other parts are:

3. Āraṇya Kāṇḍa (Forest Episode),
4. Kiṣkindha Kāṇḍa (Kiṣkindha Episode),
5. Sundar Kāṇḍa (Pleasant Episode),
6. Laṅkā Kāṇḍa (Lanka Episode), and
7. Uttar Kāṇḍa (Later Episode).

The story-line of Rāma Carita Mānasa is structured around 3 separate conversations:

The conversations happen between Shiva and Parvati, Sages Bhāradvāja and Yājñyavalkya and finally Kākabhuśuṇḍi to king of birds Garuda.

Rāma Carita Mānasa is a big sized and very popular stotra – and usually it is read in earlier defined parts during 9 or 30 days – the text itself contains marks when a Pause is intended – and in this internet publication I followed division to 30 days of reading:

1-1; 1-2; 2; 3; 4; 5; 6; 7; 8; 9; 10; 11; 12; 13; 14; 15; 16; 17; 18-1; 18-2; 19-1; 19-2; 20; 21-1; 21-2; 21-3; 21-4; 22-1; 22-2; 22-3; 23-1; 23-2; 24-1; 24-2; 24-3; 25-1; 25-2; 25-3; 26-1; 26-2; 26-3; 27-1; 27-2; 28-1; 28-2; 28-3; 29-1; 29-2; 29-3; 30;

Related:

1. Rāmāyaṇa of Vālmīki
2. Hanuman Chalisa


Śrī Rāmāyaṇa jī kī Āratī

Soft lights we wave, soft lights display,
Before this Lord of Sītā’s lay
The Rāmāyaṇa, so sweet and dear,
So beautiful, without a peer,
Which gods like Brahmā, Nārada sing.
The ant-hill sage, soul-seers’ king,
Śuka, Śāradā, Śeṣa, boy sages four,
The wind-god’s son recount this lore
With great delight and voices gay.
The holy books their music mix
To sing this gist of Śāstras six,
Of all good works, of all good thought;

The wealth of sages; yet what not
- Of all the saints? - their mainstay,
Umā and Śaṅkara ever intone,
As well the wise Agastya pot-grown.
The crow’s, Garuḍa’s it heart indwells.
The poets great like Vyāsa and else
In ecstasies this song relay.
Shuns sensuous joy, sins’ abluent,
The dame of Mukti’s ornament;
Ambrosial herb rebirth to cure,
And parents both, ‘tis only sure,
For Tulasīdāsa in every way.

Procedure of Reciting the Rāmacaritamānasa

Those who undertake to read the Rāmacaritamānasa according to the correct procedure

should before commencing the reading invoke and worship the author, Gosvāmī Tulasīdāsa, the sage Vālmīki, Lord Śiva and Śrī Hanumān,

and then invoke the Divine Couple, Sītā and Rāma, along with Śrī Rāma’s three divine brothers (Bharata, Lakṣmaṇa and Śatrughna), offer them the sixteen-fold worship and meditate on them. The reading should be commenced after that.

INVOCATION

Obeisance to you, O Tulasīdāsa! Please come here, O saint of holy vows.
Taking your seat in the south-west, accept this adoration. Obeisance to Tulasīdāsa.”

Obeisance to you, O Vālmīki! Pray come here, O bestower of blessings! Take your seat in the north-east and accept my homage. Obeisance to Vālmīki.”

Obeisance to You, O Spouse of Gaurī (Pārvatī)! Pray come here, O mighty Lord. Kindly take Your seat in the south-east and accept my homage. Obeisance to the Spouse of Gaurī.”

Obeisance to you, O Lakṣmaṇa; please come here with your beloved consort (Urmilā). Kindly occupy the southern quarter of the altar, and accept my homage. Obeisance to Lakṣmaṇa with his consort.”

Obeisance to you, O Śatrughna! Please come here with your beloved consort (Śrutakīrti). Seating yourself in the western quarter of this altar pray accept my homage. Obeisance to Śatrughna with his consort.”

Obeisance to you, O Bharata! Pray come here with your beloved consort (Māṇḍavī), Please sit down in the northern quarter of the altar and accept my homage. Obeisance to Bharata and his wife.

Obeisance to you, O Hanumān! Pray come here, O mine of compassion. Please occupy the eastern quarter and accept my homage, O Lord! Obeisance to Hanumān.

The principal deity (Śrī Rāma accompanied by His Consort, Sītā) should then be worshipped with due ceremony:

Taking flowers in the hollow of his or her palms the reader should meditate on the Supreme Deity (Śrī Rāma) in the light of the following verse:

“I ever adore Śrī Rāma, whose charming eyes resemble the petals of a red lotus, who is clad in yellow raiment and has a dark-brown form endowed with a pair of arms,

who wears a cheerful countenance, is accompanied by Śrī Sītā, and is an ocean of nectar in the form of mercy, who is waited upon even by Viṣṇu, Śiva and others

and is meditated upon along with His three brothers and other favourite attendants (Hanumān and others) and who grants the desire of His devotees.

Please come, O Lord of Janaka’s Daughter, along with Sītā and accept my homage with Hanumān (son of the wind-god) and others, O Scion of Raghu.

Occupy, O Rāma, this bejewelled seat of gold, offered by me, and spread over with an exquisite covering.

The Deity should then be worshipped with the sixteen-fold equipage prescribed in the scriptures

Of this story of Śrī Rāma, known by the name of “Mānasa-Rāmāyaṇa,”
Lord Śiva, the sages Kākabhuśuṇḍi and Yājñyavalkya and Gosvāmī Tulasīdāsa are the seers;
Śrī Rāma united with His Consort, Sītā, is the deity;
the name ‘Rāma’ is the seed;
Devotion which cures the disease of transmigration, is the Śakti (motive force or energy);
and the object of this reading is to ward off all evils and accomplish all one’s desires through the propitiation of Sītā and Rāma.”

Then water should be sipped thrice with the recitation of the following Mantras one after another Śrī Sītā-Rāmābhyaṁ Namaḥ; Śrī Rāmacandrāya Namaḥ; and Śrī Rāmabhadrāya Namaḥ;

— A Prāṇāyāma should also be performed with the recitation of the Bīja-Mantra sacred to Sītā and Rāma.

Kara-Nyāsa

Karanyāsa consists in invoking and installing typical Mantras on the various fingers, palms and back of the hands.

In Karanyāsa as well as in Aṅganyāsa the Mantras are treated as possessing a living form and it is these personified forms of the Mantras that the touched and greeted by citing the names of the particular limbs.

Through this process the reciter himself is identified with the Mantra and brought under the full protection of the Mantra-god:

He is purified both externally and internally and is infused with divine energy. His spiritual practice runs a smooth course till the very end and proves beneficial to him.

The procedure of ‘Karanyāsa’ in this case is as follows:

(The hosts of virtues possessed by Rāma are a blessing to the world and the bestowers of Liberation, riches, religious merit and the Divine Abode).

Uttering these words the thumbs of both hands should be touched with the index-fingers.

(Multitudes of sins dare not stand in the presence of those who utter the name ‘Rāma’ even while yawning.)

Uttering this the index-fingers of both the hands should be touched with the thumbs.

(May Your appellation ‘Rāma,’ O Lord, excel all other divine names and play the role of a fowler in relation of birds in the form of sins.)

Uttering this the middle fingers of both the hands should be touched with the thumbs.

(Bhagavān Śrī Rāma makes the whole creation dance like a wooden doll, O Pārvatī.)

Uttering this the ring-fingers of both the hands should be touched with the thumbs.

(The moment a creature turns its face towards Me - (says the Lord) - the sins committed by it through millions of births are dissolved then and there.)

Uttering this the little fingers of both the hands should be touched with the thumbs.

(Protect me, O Leader of Raghu’s race, holding as You do an excellent bow and brilliant arrow in Your hands.)

Uttering this the palms and backs of both the hands should be touched one after another each with the other hand.


Dhyāna

The form of the Lord should then be meditated upon with the help of the following lines:

(Look at me, O Lord with lotus-like eyes!

You rid the devotee of sorrow by Your gracious look.

You are swarthy of hue like the blue lotus, O Hari, and a bee as it were drinking in the nectarine love of the lotus-like heart of Lord Śiva (an avowed enemy of the god of love).

You crush the might of the demon hosts, delight the sages and saints and wipe out sins.

You are a mass of fresh clouds for the crop in the form of the Brāhmaṇas (the gods on this earth), the refuge of the forlorn and of the humble.

You relieve the burden of the earth by the enormous strength of Your arm and are an adept in killing the demons Khara, Dūṣaṇa and Virādha.

An enemy of the demon king Rāvaṇa and bliss personified, You are the noblest of kings. Glory to You, who are as moon to the lily-like race of Daśaratha.

Your bright glory is known to the Purāṇas, Vedas and Tantras, and is sung by gods, sages and the assemblages of saints.

Full of compassion, You crush false pride and are perfect in every way, O ornament of Ayodhyā! Your Name wipes out the impurities of this sinful age and curbs the feeling of selfishness. Protect this humble devotee, O Lord of Tulasīdāsa!)

N.B. The pauses for a nine-day and thirty-day recitation have been noted in the body of the text itself and have therefore not been separately mentioned.