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 a journey in love, and as Neem Karoli Baba has said, ‘Love is stronger than electricity’.
Sita felt sadness at the thought of the great bow of Lord Shiva. She left the gardens with nothing but Shri Rama in her heart. The lord perceived Sita’s thoughts as she left the gardens and immediately felt separation from her. He drew an image of her on his heart using unconditional love as his ink.
Sita walked into the Devi temple calling, “Jai Bhavani, Jai Bhavani, glory to the mother, glory to the mother.” Kneeling down, with hands in prayer before the murti of the Goddess, she said, “O Daughter of the Himalayas, glory to you. You gaze upon Lord Shiva as the Chakora bird eternally gazes upon the moon. Glory to you, mother of the elephant-headed Lord Ganesha and Lord Kartikeya. You are the mother of the universe with limbs that shine as bright as lightening. You have no beginning, middle or end. Even the Vedas cannot fathom the mystery of your infinite glory. You bring about the creation, maintenance and dissolution of the universe. The entire universe is enchanted by your maya. Your husband is the Lord, O Mother, you are the supreme being. Your greatness cannot be described by even a thousand spiritual entities. The four goals of life (Dharma, Artha, Kama, Moksha) are all obtained by devotion to you. O granter of wishes, O beloved wife of Lord Shiva, O shining one, all who adore you achieve great happiness. Dear mother of all beings, you know my heart’s desire as it is you who resides in the hearts of all beings, I need not declare it before you.”
With these words, Sita fell to the floor and clasped the feet of the Goddess. So overcome was the Goddess by the pure faith and humility of Sita’s prayer, the wreath from the deity fell down next to Sita. She picked up the flowers and placed them on her head in reverence. As she looked up, she saw the Mother smiling back at her. Bhavani filled with love for Sita said, “My dear Sita, all of my blessings are with you. Your heart’s wishes shall come true. The words spoken by Narada are never false and always pregnant with truth. The suitor whom you desire shall indeed be yours. The dark, handsome prince whom you are filled with love for shall be yours. The Lord is aware of your pure love.” Sita and her friends all heard the Goddess’s words. They all fell to the floor in great reverence finding incredible bliss from the darshan of the mother.
Today being the seventh day of Navaratri, a period dedicated to Devi Puja. It is fitting that you contemplate Sita Mata’s prayer to Bhavani. In truth, there is no difference between Sita and Bhavani, they only appear in different form as part of a divine lila. Although Sita is praying inwardly for Shri Rama to be her husband, she is also praying for the Lord to be a part of her life. She loves the Lord and this is a prayer of bhakti. Her beautiful prayer fills my heart with joy.
She likens Bhavani to a Chakora bird which feasts upon moonbeams alone. Like the Chakora, we desire to glare endlessly at the loving Lord in blissful adoration…just like the gopis with Krishna, just like Sita when she saw Rama in the garden, just like the devotees who sat in bliss at Neem Karoli Baba’s feet. See love in everybody, in every place, be like the Chakora bird seeing the divine light in all beings. When I see a picture of Maharajji or spend time with Ram Dass or KD or other people who have spent a lot of time with Maharajji, I just feel like I want to remain in their presence. I guess I would say that it is my ambition to be like the Chakora bird, only difference is that I want to feast endlessly on this blissful, unconditional love.
Below is the original sanskrit text of Sita’s prayer:
Jaya Jaya Giribararaja kisori, jaya mahesha mukha chamda chakori,
Jaya gajabadana sadana mata, jagata janani damini duti gata,
Nahi tava adi madhya avasana, amia prabhau bedu nahi jana,
bhava bhava bibhava parabhava karini, bisva bimohani svabhasa biharini,
pati devata sutiya mahu matu prathama tava rekha,
mahima amita na sakhahi kahi sahasa sarada sesa,
sevata tohi sulabha phala chari, baradayani purari plari,
devi puja pada kamala tumare, rua nara muni saba hoht sukhare,
mora manorathu janahu nike, basahu sada ura pura sabhahi ke,
kinheu pragata na karana tehi, asa kahi charana gahe baidehi,
binaya prema basa bhai bhavani, khasi mala murati musakani,
sarada siya prasadu sira dhareu, boli gauri harasu hiya bhareu,
sunu siya satya asisa hamari, pujhihi mana kamana tumhari,
narada bachana sada suchi saca, so baru mihijaht manu raca.
You can listen to the wonderful chanting of this prayer by Krishna Das in the video below. It is especially beautiful during this season of devotion to the mother.