Monday, September 26, 2011

Shri Ramcharitmanas, Uttar Kand: Introduction


Lord Ram, Sita & Lakshman Return to Ayodhya

The first few pages of the Uttara Kand showcase Lord Ram's return to Ayodhya along with Sita and Lakshman after a 14 year exile, and a war in which He kills Ravana, the demon king.

Diwali


Ayodhya Welcomes Lord Ram by Lighting Diyas

Their return and the grand event of His coronation is celebrated as Diwali, famed as the Festival of Lights. It is said that the denizens of Ayodhya lit ghee lamps to light their path in the darkness and Lord Ram journeyed from South India to His kingdom in the North.
Goswami Tulsidas


Goswami Tulsidas Composing the Ramcharitmanas

Shri Ramcharitmanas is an epic poem in Awadhi, composed by the 16th-century Indian poet, Goswami Tulsidas . Literally Ramcharitmanas means the 'lake of the deeds of Ram' which instantly purifies the body and soul.The composition is a poetic rendering, centred on Ram, the crown prince of Ayodhya. The work consists of seven books, of which Uttarkand is the last one.

Invocations at the Start of each Kand (Episode) and formal Endings


Poet Tulsidas Invokes Lord Ram

Tuslidas begins every chapter with an invocation.Uttarkand's first shloka reads: 'I unceasingly extol Shri Ram, the praiseworthy of Sita, the chief of Raghu's line, possessed of a form greenish blue as the neck of a peacock and adorned with a print of the Brahman's lotus-foot, which testifies to His being the greatest of all gods-rich in splendour, clad in yellow robes, lotus-eyed,ever-propitious, holding a bow and arrow in His hands, mounted on the aerial car named Pushpak, accompanied by a host of monkeys and waited upon by His own brother Lakshman.'

Goswami Tulsidas formally ends every kand ; 'Thus ends the seventh descent into the Manas lake of Sri Ram's exploits, that eradicates all the impurities of the kali age.'

Conversations



Lord Shiva & Parvati

Basically The Ramcharitma is three distinct dialogues between Shiv & Parvati, Bharadvaj Muni & Sage Yajnavalkya, and finally Kakbhushundiji & Garuda. It is believed that there is an underlying interaction between Goswami Tulsidas and Shri Ram, as well.

Uttar Kand, The Epilogue

It is now the day before Ram is to return to Ayodhya after serving His exile. Bharat is anxious that his brother still hasn't arrived. He passed his days shedding tears for fourteen years in Nandigram. Hanumanji meets Bharat telling him of the arrival of Ram, Sita and Laksman. Bharat rushes to Ayodhya to reveal the great news to the citizens.



Lord Ram, Sita & Lakshman Reach Ayodhya on the Pushpak Viman

The end of the war coincides with the end of Ram's tenure of exile. Flying home on the Pushpaka Vimana, Ram returns to a delighted Ayodhya. His mothers, brothers and the people welcome Him with joyous abandon. Kaikeyi is repentant of her deeds, and Ram forgives her.


Lord Ram' s Coronation as King of Ayodhya

The next day,is Ram's coronation as the King of Ayodhya, and Emperor of the World. Shiva arrives to glorify the festivities further and asks Ram the boon of firm and undeviating devotion for Ram's feet.


Luv & Kush, the Sons of Ram

Ram performs the holy Ashwamedha sacrifice, purifying and establishing religion across earth. In conclusion, Ram has twin sons named Luva and Kusha and the other brothers have two sons each. It is mentioned that great sages like Narada and Sanaka visit Ayodhya to meet Ram and see his great city.


Kak Bhushundi

In the succeeding passages of Uttar Kand we have the biography of Saint Kakbhushundii followed by what is to be expected in Kaliyuga or the age of spiritual darkness. Shiva ends his narration of the Ram Katha to Parvati as does Kakbhushundi to Garuda. It is not mentioned whether Yagnavalka finishes his recitation to Bharadwaj. Finally Goswami Tulsidas concludes his narration of Shri Ramcharitmanas.The Rudrastakam in Sanskrit is a part of this kand.

The Purpose of Ram's Incarnation


Lord Vishnu Incarnates as Ram

Shiva explains to Parvati that whenever virtue declines and demons multiply, when Brahmans, cows, demigods and the earth is distressed, Vishnu incarnates.

Lord Krishna in the Bhagavad Gita

“For the protection of the good, for destruction of evil, and for the establishment of righteousness, I come into being from age to age,” states Lord Krishna,an avatara of Vishnu in the Bhagavad Gita, Chapter 4, verse 8.


Worshipping Lord Ram in Kaliyuga Leads to Redemption

In the last chaupai or quatain of the Uttara Kand, Goswami Tulsidas affiirms that this divine dialogue between Lord Shambu and Goddess Uma grants joy and dispels depression. By the grace of Ram, the Lord of the Raghus, I have sung this sacred story to the best of my ability. In this age of Kali neither yoga, nor sacrifices, nor japa, nor austere penance nor vows, nor rituals are of any use. Ram alone should be remembered and glorified. Forsaking perversity, adore Him who promises to sanctify the fallen as declared by the seers, saints, Vedas & Puranas. Who has not been redeemed by worshipping Lord Ram, exclaims Tulsidas.


Lord Ram Grants Salvation to Jatayu

The granter of moksha or salvation which relieves us from the cycle of birth and death, Lord Ram is Maryada Putushottam or the epitome of righteousness, inspiring generations for several years to come.

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