The following post is one from the Ramacharitmanas series by Hanuman Dass. Every week, we move forward in our journey through the Ramayana of Love, as spoken by the great Saint Tulasidas. The Ramacharitmanas has been described by the Acharya Vinoba Bhave as being similar to a cross between the Bible and Shakespeare. The Ramacharitmanas is like an ocean of love and bliss and the hope is that these posts will provide a sense of the bhava and how one can benefit by way of immersion in its waters. Above all else, the Ramacharitmanas is an journey in love, and as Neem Karoli Baba has said, ‘Love is stronger than electricity’.
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His complexion dark, invoking thoughts of blue lotus flowers and heavy rain clouds, a million cupids could not describe his beauty. The finger nails on this special child were glistening, it was as if pearls had been placed on the petals of a lotus flower. Auspicious marks were found on the soles of his feet and the chiming sound of his tiny anklets filled the eyes of every living being with tears of affection. A string of tiny bells was placed across his body and the depth of his navel was inconceivable as the entire universe lives within him. His long arms, which embrace the entire world, were adorned with the most beautiful jewels. Shri Rama’s neck resembled a beautiful conch shell and his face was as beautiful as the ocean. His tiny teeth, his precious lips, his nose, his ears, all were delightful to see. His curly hair charmed all of the maids as they played with it. Dressed in yellow, the baby’s smile provided warmth to the world.
To describe him with words is futile, even the Vedas would struggle. The supreme bliss, Shri Rama, is beyond all ignorance. He is beyond knowledge, he transcends these words, he transcends what the senses can touch and yet he yields to love. King Dasaratha and Kausalya, the royal couple, through their past Karma have been blessed with the birth of the Lord in their home. He who is father and mother of the Universe is now playing as an innocent baby child. The Lord has rewarded the devotion of Kaushalya and King Dasaratha from their previous lives. The force of maya, the illusion holding the entire world under its sway, trembles at the feet of Shri Rama even with the slightest of his smiles. He is the transcendent. How can one fail to adore him? The lord of the Raghu race showers his grace upon all those who with love offer their thoughts, words, and deeds to him. At the delight of the citizens of Ayodhya, Shri Rama passes time with his mother, being rocked in a cradle like any normal child.
Kaushalya was so deeply in love with him that time lost it’s meaning…day, night, it did not mattered. Out of a deep motherly affection she spent her time singing lullabies to him. One day Kaushalya bathed her child, after which she laid him down in the cradle. She then took a bath before preparing to perform her daily prayers. Having worshipped the Gods, offering food to them, she went to the kitchen. When she returned to her temple she was surprised to see the baby Rama there, eating the offerings to the Gods. Frightened at the offense of Shri Rama eating the offering, she quickly looked across to see how he could have left the nursery. What she saw completely perplexed her. She saw Rama asleep in the cradle, but she also saw him in the temple eating the offering. How could he be in two places at once? When Shri Rama saw her confused he smiled.
Then the Lord revealed his true identity to his loving mother. His magnificent universal form was revealed to her. In the pores of his skin she saw millions of universes and galaxies. She saw countless suns and moons and stars. She saw Shiva, Brahma, and Vishnu. She saw mountains, rivers, oceans and forests. She perceived maya, the illusory force which prevents us from knowing the real nature of God. She saw every animate and inanimate being coming in and out of his body. She saw the atman, the part of God which exists in every living being. She bowed her head at the Lord’s feet and placed her hands in prayer as she trembled. She had seen that which is seen by the enlightened. Beyond all existence is the Lord and Kaushalya was granted this vision. Shri Rama said, “Do not speak of this to anybody.” Kaushalya had seen the universal form of the Lord known as the Vishvarupa. Shri Rama then removed the vision and returned to the sleeping baby child in the cradle.
There are many different ways love is expressed in this world. The bond between a mother and her child is so powerful that perhaps the best way to express one’s love for God is in the same mood of a mother’s love for her child. In Hindu philosophy, love for God is not only expressed with God as a heavenly father and the devotees as his children but in many different ways. In this case, motherly love for a baby child.
In the above passage, we can also see that the offering made by Kaushalya to the Gods was in fact received by Shri Rama. This again shows us that the one in the same divinity is expressed in many forms. In the Bhagavad Gita the Lord states that whatever form of God people choose to worship, they worship him alone. He revealed his true identity as Brahman to Kaushalya out of reciprocation for her love for him. The Lord yields to the true love alone.