From the Jacket
Adhyatma Ramayan is a magnificently rendered, eternally divine classical epic story of Lord Ram, a manifestation of the transcendental Supreme Being, as the king emperor of Ayodhya. Being incorporated in the Brahmand Puran’s Uttar Khand, it is the most ancient, authentic and authoritative version on Lord Ram’s eternal and sublime story. Flowing from the prolific, expert and flourishing hand of the legendary sage Veda Vyas, the prodigious classifier of the Vedas and the Captivating narrator of the ancient Purans, this enchanting version of Ramayan is masterpiece of classical literature narrated in a style befitting the exalted stature of its author Veda Vyas.
The holy book is completely soaked and infused, bristling and brimming over as it is, with the eclectic virtues of devotion and faith, morality and ethics, righteousness and virtuousness. The epic stands out from all other myriad versions of Ramayan in its high spiritual and metaphysical quotient, as it incorporates in its text, as its integral fabric, the profoundest of tenets and doctrines enshrined in and expounded by the Vedas and the Upanishads.
This volume describes the text in great detail, incorporating commentary explanatory & relevant notes when required. An elaborate life sketch of sage Vedavyasa incorporating numerous little known facts about him, have been included to give a special unique flavour to this book. Besides this, important metaphysical concepts appearing in the text have been explained in a separate appendix.
Ajai Kumar Chhawchharia born on 8th August, 1955 in Burdwan district of West Bengal, is a humble and unpretentious bachelor, who has dedicated his entire life to the service of Lord Ram. At present he is residing in the holy pilgrim city of Ayodhya (U.P. India) since 1985.
This Adhyatma Ramayan - which was narrated by the supreme Lord (Shiva) himself to Parvati-has 7 chapters (or Kands) and 64 cantos in all. It is a bestower of great auspiciousness and welfares. From beginning to end to has 4200 Slokas (verses) while hundreds of sublime precepts of the scriptures have been encapsulated in the discussions of different spiritual and philosophical aspects of metaphysics which are enshrined in this holy and divine book called Adhyatma Ramayan.
It is said that Adhyatma Ramayan was first narrated by lord Ram to Shiva (Baal Kand, canto 1, verse nos. 7, 16-17), subsequently by Lord Brahma to sage Narad (prologue/Mahatamya, verse nos. 16-17;60), and the transcript of this latter conversation detailing verbatim the former (prologue, verse no. 28) was done by sage Veda Vyas-the legendary prodigious classifier of the Vedas along with their Upanishads, and the prolific author of the Purans, Mahabharat etc.-in the ‘Uttar Khand of his Brahmand Puran’.
Being a magnificent product of such a prodigy of stupendous genius and matchless intellect who was also an enlightened soul, it is to be expected that Adhyatma Ramayan contains the essence of the highest of pristine philosophy, spiritualism and metaphysical concepts, well narrated in simple, lucid, vibrant and accessible. Language, and woven intricately in the main texture of the fabric consisting of the legendary divine story of Sri Ram.
Adhyatma Ramayan in a unique blend of the worldly story of Sri Ram as the most truthful, upright, valiant, valorous, righteous, noble and wise son of king Dashrath of Ayodhya vis-e-vis his spiritual, divine, enlightened, sublime and holy form as the supreme Brahm himself./ as the latter personified, Lord Ram is praised, honoured, lauded, adored and worshipped by the Gods, sages, seers, saints and other exalted ones as having all the characteristic attributes (or the lack of attributes, because the Lord has been described by the scriptures as being both Sagun as well as Nirgun) of the supreme, transcendental enigmatic Brahm.
The divine, magnificent and glorious virtues of the supreme, transcendental and truthful ultimate Authority in creation, known as Brahm who is the cause, sustainance and the end of this creation, is the subject matter of research, preaching and praise by the scriptures. Lord Ram is the physical embodiment of that ‘authority’; he symbolizes and personifies that supreme One in all its connotations and interpretations. Whereas the Upanishads (called Vedanta) were expounded by wise, erudite, enlightened and realized sages and seers who were deeply steeped and well versed in the truth of Brahm, the very fact that the same Brahm speaks himself in the form of Ram lends this magnum opus called Adhyatma Ramayan special glory and importance. It is like the Lord himself putting his seal of approval on the philosophy expounded by the Upanishads. In a way this magnificent and holy book is the Lord’s epistle, his testament, his blessings for his devotees and the subjects of his creation.
The divine epic seamlessly blends the divine with the mundane, the metaphysics with the humdrum terrestrial existence, the concept of adoration, devotion and worship with high intellectual ponderings, contemplations and spiritual debates, and it thereby endeavours to unify the soul of the individual creature with its ultimate truthful form, which is incidentally the foundation of Nature as well-the supreme Soul of creation known as ‘Brahm’.
Adhyatma Ramayan is a unique citadel of Vedanta philosophy that distils, condenses and crystallizes highly complicated and abstract philosophy contained in the Vedas and Upanishads, and converts them into spiritually magnificent concepts, unique principles and axiomatic doctrines which are precise and succinct.
It will be observed that Veda Vyas has used the time tested tool of story-telling to put forward elementary truths concerning metaphysics in a succinct, lucid manner. This technique helps to effectively drive home the truths enshrined in the scriptures and makes them available even to an ordinary man who would normally have shunned dry and coarse philosophical discourse. An enchanting story is more attractive to keep him interested and involved. He pays close attention to it lest he misses out in some detail. This has its subtle benefit in as much as that he becomes aware of the tenets of the Vedas and the Upanishads, which has the potential to arouse curiosity in him to ponder further and research on the subject. Even in the eventuality that he does not find time or does not have the wherewithal for such study, this Adhyatma Ramayan serves the purpose for him, because it encapsulates in its pages all that the Upanishads have to essentially have to say. It inspires him towards spiritualism, it awakens self realisation in him, it tells him what is the ‘real truth’ as opposed to the ‘apparent truth’, it kindles the hitherto dormant divinity and holiness that is inherent to and an integral part of the ‘truthful’ nature of the creature as his soul, it enlightens him to who he actually is and why he has been deluded into erroneously thinking what is fundamentally false as being true.
As a result, all the cantos have one or the other aspect of spiritualism and metaphysics highlighted in the form of, what I like to call, ‘gospels’. These gospels are what makes Adhyatma Ramayan so spiritually uplifting, unique, sublime, magnificent and matchless; they make it stand shoulders and heads above tomes and treatises on philosophy, spiritualist, and metaphysics as well as stories related to the legend of Sri Ram. They are so profound in their impact that if they are extracted from the main book and presented separately, they will form a light-house of wisdom, truthful knowledge and enlightenment. Coming out from the pen of the legendary scribe Veda Vyas, these gospels reflect and expound that exalted soul’s deep insight into the truth of what constitutes the reality and what is only an illusionary mirage. It is an unmatched masterpiece of spiritual and metaphysical text ever written in Sanskrit.
What originally were highly abstract tents and theories enshrined in the Vedas and Upanishads, and were generally beyond the reach of ordinary creatures, and were restricted to the domain of scholarly and leaned souls such as exalted hermits, sages, seers, ascetics and mystics, and which could not be even read in a single life-span of an individual who were yearning for knowledge and self realisation-all have been distilled, condensed and put on platter, as it were, by Veda Vyas in the form of Adhyatma Ramayan for the common man.
It is also said that Goswami Tulsidas, the author of the epic Ram Charit Manas, drew his inspiration on spiritual and metaphysical matters from Adhyatma Rarmayan more than any other text. If an analysis is made of Tulsidas’ work, it would be established that he had adopted the same pattern of Veda Vyas to inextricably mingle sublime spiritual and metaphysical philosophy with the same story telling pattern of the divine story of Lord Ram.
It is also said that Goswami Tulsidas, the author of the epic Ram Charit Manas, drew his inspiration on spiritual and metaphysical matters from Adhyatma Ramayan more than any other text. If an analysis is made of Tulsidas’ work, it would be established that he had adopted the same pattern of Veda Vyas to inextricably mingle sublime spiritual and metaphysical philosophy with the same story telling pattern of the divine story of Lord Ram.
Adhyatma Ramayan has two parallel strands running through the text-one dealing with the plain and simple narration of the events/episodes associated with the worldly life story of Sri Ram, and the other, more importantly for the seekers of truth and self realisation, the various axioms and maxims about spiritualism, the goal of life, the supreme and truthful knowledge, self realisation, enlightenment, pristine philosophical and metaphysical concepts etc.-all have been made easy for them through the medium of the story.
The reading of this unique holy book telling the divine story of Lord Ram lifts the reader from this mundane, humdrum existence into the higher realm of spiritualism marked by detachment, renunciation, self restraint, peace and tranquility of the mind and soul, the realisation that this world is an illusion and the fact that the supreme, un-adulterated reality and truth is quite different from what we generally know or understand it to be. It kindles wisdom, self realisation and enlightenment in the heart of the true seeker. It removes darkness of ignorance and stupidity, and lights the beacon of true knowledge, wisdom and enlightenment. It is not a simple, often re-told story of Sri Ram, but a torch-light or an eye opener, as it were, in to the wisdom of the higher world of spiritualism, devotion, self realisation and enlightenment. In this aspect, sage Veda Vyas did earlier what Tulsidas did later on.
Adhyatma Ramayan is broadly classified into 8 chapters. The first is a prologue, called Mahatamya, i.e. importance of the book. It is an introductory chapter telling us why, for whom and by whom this story was narrated; what are its benefits and significance. The remaining 7 chapters follow the usual pattern of Sri Ram’s story having the different Kands pertaining to a particular period in his life. A quick perusal of the contents page of the book will clarify the matter.
Father, each Kand (chapter) has a number of sub-chapters or cantos. And each canto has a series of verses. All have been numbered for easy reading and reference. The divine story of Sri Ram helps ‘to open their eyes, and to turn them away from darkness to light, and from power of Satan (read Maya) unto God that they may receive forgiveness of sins (and achieve emancipation and salvation) and inheritance among them which are sanctified by faith that is in me’ (the holy Bible, Acts 26/18) because’ to be carnally minded is death but to be spiritually minded in life and peace’ (the holy Bible, Romans 8/6). It is indeed true that ‘God so loved the world that he (manifested himself to) be its saviour’ (the holy Bible, gospel of St. John 3/16) in the form of Sri Ram to illuminate this dark world with the light of true knowledge and wisdom, and to light a beacon for the world so as to serve as a guide for humankind as a whole, because example is always better than mere hypothetical precepts. But there must be someone to explain and codify this knowledge so that it can be digested and assimilated by mankind.
Veda Vyas is considered as an incarnation of Lord Vishnu precisely for the above purpose, for who else can have that prodigious and stupendous intellect, memory, knowledge and deep insight that he had, besides pouring out such voluminous treatises of immaculate beauty and incorporating in their sweep the entire gamut of all that is known as Gyan, in one lifetime. Therefore, he ‘taught them as one that had the authority and not just as a scribe’ (the holy Bible, gospel of St. Marks 1/22). The language he used was the language in vogue at the time, but in our modern, present day world, Sanskrit has become the realm of scholastic individuals only, and Hindi or any other regional vernacular language has its own geographical limitations. English, on the other hand, is the global language of the modern world, and so it was felt by me that an English rendering would extend the reach of this beautiful book to all the corners of the globe where mankind exists. The Bible says ‘wherefore let him speaketh in an unknown tongue, pray that he may interpret. For it I pray in an unknown tongue, my spirit prayeth but my understanding is unfruitful (Corinthians 1/14/13-15)’ and ‘I had rather speak few words with my understanding….than ten thousand words in an unknown tongue (Corinthians 1/14/19)’
I have tried to present a verse by verse, line by line simple English rendering of the holy text which is in Sanskrit. This oftentimes created a piquant situation-for the original text has a lot of repetition of words, ideas, adjectives etc.; many a times it was not possible to isolate two verses or three verses for the purpose of English rendering, so I had to club more verses together. Again, the Sanskrit words used to describe metaphysical principles and concepts, such as for example about the various characteristics of the Atma/soul and the Parmatma/Brahm cannot be rendered in an alien language such as English by the use of a single word. Unless a group or cluster of words is used, the concept will not be clear. This explains why I had to use more than one specific word for a single word or phrase used in the original text.
In order to ensure that the spirit of the original Sanskrit text is not lost while rendering it into another language in an attempt to lay great stress on the literal translation, it was deemed fit, proper and prudent to give more stress on bringing out the subtle meaning, the spirit of the sentences by fine-tuning the translation so that often times it might appear to be transcription, which it is not because nothing is transposition, no twirling or fiddling with the text. There is no interpolation, no imposition, no twirling or fiddling with the text. If the meaning is not clear, the translation or rendering becomes useless. So, I have tried my best to guard against this pit-fall.
Again, to be faithful to the tenor of the text, I have sometimes overlooked niceties of grammar because if I had observed the decorum and rigidity of immaculate grammar, the verses would have to be turned on their head, as it were. But this has been kept to the bare minimum. So, I pray my readers will keep this in mind while going through the text. Wherever an idea stuck me, or elaborations, explanations, details were needed to elucidate the text, I have appended a brief footnote to the verse.
The pristine and profound Vedanta concepts as explained in the text are sometimes so confusing, cluttered with high sounding and uncommon terminology, using words and phrases that they needed to be simplified and explained separately. So, I have therefore appended a separate appendix no.2 to this book to explain them in simple and layman’s language to clear up the confusion about the principal concepts, as far as I could.
Whenever possible, I have also mentioned cross references in the text at the end of a set of verses themselves so that the reader can quickly refer to the relevant idea, or elaboration of that idea, or a different idea having relevance to the present one, In the other part of the book if he so wishes.
Beside the appendix no.2 as mentioned above, I have added few other appendices to make the book useful-viz Appendix no. 1 tells us the life of sage Veda Vyas and outlines his works, Appendix no.3 has a list of the various gospels included in the text and which form an integral part of it but nevertheless can be separated from it and read independently as magnificent and matchless examples of pristine spiritual tenets and philosophy said in succinct and precise manner, Appendix no.4 lists the explanatory diagrams, charts and major notes, Appendix no.5 introduces the various chief characters in Adhyatma Ramayan, while Appendix no. 6 lists the other books that I have humbly attempted in honour and service of my beloved Lord Sri Ram. Appendix no.7 has my humble dedication-letter to Sri Ram.
Finally, I submit most humbly before my dear and most esteemed readers to excuse and overlook my omissions and commissions, and imbibe the nectar as the bees do from the flower. Never mind the colour of the flower, its looks or its habitat, but enjoy the nectar nevertheless I hope that Adhyatma Ramayan will ‘confirm the souls of the (Lord’s) disciples and that we must through much tribulation (i.e. the effort of reading and understanding of this tome and implementing it in our daily lives) enter into the kingdom of God’ (the holy Bible, Acts 14/22).
I submit this holy book before my beloved and dearest of dear Sri Ram who had inspired and impelled me to go about writing it; who had so mercifully helped the pen to move on paper when more often than not I had virtually thrown up my arms in defeat and surrender. It’s a wonder of all wonders that a stupid man like me could ever have achieved this Herculean task. All the credit for the book goes to the Lord-and this is heartfelt and not a mere lip-service, as it was-and any errors that many have crept in inadvertently are definitely mine, because after all I am an ordinary mortal human being like the rest of us. I hope and earnestly pray that ‘the word of God will multiply throughout all the regions (of the world)’ (the holy Bible, Acts 12/24, 13/49).
I express my sincerest of thanks to all who have helped in realizing this dream, right from those who have helped me with composing, Sanskrit proof reading and getting this book published and reaching your hands.
I am especially very thankful to and express my deep gratitude to Shri Navneet Das Gupta ji of Chaukhamba Surbharati Prakashan, Varanasi, who has done a commendable job by getting this book published. My sincere prayers to Lord Ram are for his all-round welfare and success. The Lord is very magnanimous and the fact that he has chosen Sri Navneet Das Gupta ji to do His job is indeed a matter of great pride and privilege for him. There is no doubt in the fact that he is very lucky and blessed.
If Adhyatma Ramayan kindles love and affection for the Lord, self realisation, wisdom and enlightenment in even one soul, my efforts would be deemed to be fruitful, because one candle lit can light more candles. I have no doubt that this beacon would shine day and night atop the lighthouse of truthful knowledge and devotion to guide the ships of our mundane, humdrum lives, caught in the rough and tumble of the ferocious, merciless, buffeting ocean-like entrapping, artificial and deluding world, in its journey towards self realisation, emancipation and ultimate salvation-a journey inwards rather than outwards; a journey that could wreck the whole ship had It not been for the beacon of this lighthouse called Adhyatma Ramayan containing the divine story Lord Ram, the Supreme Brahm! Amen!
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