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The Holy Sundarakanda

The Holy Sundarakanda
$36.00
Item Code: NAL442
Author: N.P. Bhat and Mrs. Yashoda Bhat
Publisher: B.R. Publishing Corporation
Language: Original Text With Transliteration and Hindi English Translation
Edition: 1998
ISBN: 9788176460255
Pages: 287 (Throughout Color Illustrations)
Cover: Hardcover
Other Details: 9.5 inch x 6.5 inch
weight of the book: 785 gms

Introduction

The Sundarakanda, enshrined in the Ramcharitmanas. Is in effect a search for devotedness in life and a journey toward its attainment it has been manifested through Hanuman, a great devotee and a guiding light for the entire universe This attainment is possible only when the Lord desires it and bestows His grace. Hanuman got it from Lord Rama who gave him a ring with Ramanama inscribed on it. This ring made it possible for him to present himself before Sita who showered her blessing on him. Hanuman felt duly rewarded with a feeling of fulfilment. In fact. When the attainment of devotion becomes difficult and needs grace more than diligence, then it is this sense of fulfilment that works. You feel as if you got the ultimate and there is nothing beyond it. How difficult is the way to devotion and how much it is beset with hurdles becomes clear when we give a thought to his journey towards Lanka. This journey he undertook only to visibly present before Sita, the mother. One adores the Lord only. But where is Lord? This has been a big question mark before a human being since ages.

The saints and the savants, the thinkers and the learned ones have perceived the Lord through Rama Katha. The shapeless Lord has been manifesting Himself in the lives of the devotees through their devotion. In other words, only the grace of the Lord makes devotion possible, which ultimately leads to a merger with Him. It is said that one meets the saints only when He desires, and one meets Him when the saints desire.

Lord Rama’s highest grace manifested itself through the Ramcharitmanas. That’s why it has been translated into all the major languages of the country as also of the world, even in verse. Dissertations based on it, have also been prepared in many universities of the world. Moreover, it is becoming more and more acceptable among the Indians living abroad. They recite it day and night, without a break, as they do the Sundarakanda. There are many literary, cultural and spiritual reasons for this unprecedented acceptability. But if I were asked about it, I would say without hesitation that it is more than a book. We find Lord Rama, in all His glory in it. He appears before us life and blood. In other words, this book has a unique personality.

I came to this conclusion as a result of my interacting with some lofty saints. And when I got associated with the Manas with the grace of my Lord, my belief was confirmed. And if some intellectual harangues me for coming out with the logicality of my belief, I would be hard put to it. Also, he may not feel satisfied. In fact, the feeling of God is true, not the logic. He cannot be explained with logic and proof, nor is there any necessity for it. Ravana did try it, though he knew that Supreme Lord had taken birth as Rama. He wanted to examine it for himself, on the touchstone of logic. The result was contrary. When Rama exterminated his two powerful lieutenants-khar and Dooshan, it did occur to him that Rama may be the incarnation of the Supreme Lord Himself, as it was not easy to do away with such powerful demons as he himself was. He again tried to test Him through a golden deer. He was of the opinion that if Rama was the Supreme Lord, He would not run after it for hunting it down at the behest of Sita, as He would see that golden deer did not exist. But Lord Rama was one up. He did not want to discount his ruse and reveal His identity. Ravana should have known that the Supreme Lord was beyond any test and could be found only through inquisitiveness, meditation and devotion.

Thus, the Ramcharitmanas has its validity only when there is a strong feeling for it. It is the devotees who are full of feeling for it. It is out and out a spiritual compilation. The Supreme Lord exists in the tiniest bit of the universe without adopting any specific form, and manifests himself in any form when His devotees seek His grace. He manifested Himself through a lifeless pole when Prahalad cried for Him.He Finished off crocodile with His discus (Sudarshan Chakra) when Gajendra, an elephant, sought His help as it was being dragged into deep waters. He showed His presence by saving Draupadi from being disrobed by providing her an endless saree.

There are many such examples which outline His form. But the power of feeling cannot be challenged. Acceptance or rejection is an individual’s affair. However, the world-wide acceptance of the Manas underscores this power.

The phenomenon of incarnation happens because of various factors. Some of them are well-known. When persecution of the innocents is rampant and their outcry becomes unbearable and they are left with no alternative but to call God for help, He is moved and descends on the earth and mows the tormentors or makes them ineffective and puts the good ones on the right path.

The Ramcharitmanas, too, appeared on the scene at that hour when four centuries before a handful of foreign marauders had crushed the masses in the country and had taken roots and were destroying their centres of faith and cultural heritage. There was no hope for their emancipation. It was darkness of despair, helplessness and perplexity all round. Then there was a sudden flare of light. As if supernatural powers worked. This light came from Goswami Tulasidas with his creation of the Manas. It started dispelling the darkness, though slowly. It also infused the masses with new confidence and filled them with self-pride. At the same time, it enthused them to confront the unjust and oppressive forces of the Ravana of the day and raise their voice mightily with the cry of ‘Satyamev Jayate’ (only truth Prevails). It paid quick dividends. It was an indestructible weapon. It proved equal to the task. It could decimate both, the Mughals and the Britishers. Thus, the Manas played a revolutionary role-during the Middle Ages and in the modern times. The role Played during the Middle Ages is confined to history, but the role played during the modern times has been witnessed by us all and is a part of our modern history. During the period of struggle for independence, we have seen how Mahatma Gandhi and other contemporary leaders made use of the Manas. ‘Raghupati Raghav Raja Rama’ was no longer a religious song. It was accorded the status of a national song which was sung by the Hindus, the Muslims, the Parsis and the Christians alike. Mahatma Gandhi confessed that the Ramcharitmanas acted as a great source of inspiration in his life.

The unprecedented awakening of a country, a society, a nation or a race through a book became possible only because there was an element of other-worldliness, celestiality and godliness associated with it. This is not a mere literary creation. A literary creation has its own limitations, though it may be an outstanding piece. In the literary history of the world, we do come across certain creative pieces which were instrumental in bringing about awakening in the masses, but their impact remained confined to a certain period. But the Manas rises above time and period, and for the last four centuries, its appeal has been on the increase. The only reason for this increasing appeal could be the celestial, the other worldly and the godly element in it. It dwells on the satya, shiva and sundar, and that’s why it is an all-time piece. It is said Lord Shankar, Himself, sanctified the Manas.

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