I worship you Shri Ganesha the remover of obstacles.
I worship you Saraswati Mata, in the form of speech, wisdom and learning.
I worship you Mother Parvati, together with Lord Shiva, together you two are the essence of unshakable faith personified. It would be impossible to grasp the nature of God without your grace.
My beloved Lord Shiva! I worship you, you are the eternal guru, with a crescent moon residing on your brow, you are the embodiment of this sacred, eternal knowledge and wisdom.
To the greatest of poet-saints, Valmiki, and to the mighty Lord of the monkeys, Hanuman, you both blissfully exist in the sacred forests of the eternal glories of Sita and Rama. It is these sacred forests which I am to bring to the world to experience and enjoy. I worship you both with all humility.
I forever worship you Mother Sita, you are the beloved of Rama, who is the source of all creation, sustenance, and destruction, the source of all blessings and remover of all afflictions.
I forever worship you Shri Rama. You are the cause of all causes. It is by your illusory force (maya) that the eternal reality remains hidden from all living beings. It is your presence alone which gives rise to the cosmos as we see it. Just as a rope can be mistaken for a snake, the true reality is hidden by this maya.
Your holy feet alone are the only bark by which the enlightened Buddhas cross this vast ocean of the material world.
I worship you Tulasidas, you are the great lover of God. Your every verse is a necklace of love adorned on the Lord himself. This version is a foolish attempt at sharing a small part of the ecstasy and love of your sacred work.
Tulasidas has composed the most perfect, devotional retelling of the story of Rama. It is in accordance with the sacred scriptures such as the Vedas and the Puranas, it is in accordance with Valmiki’s great work and other great retellings. It is an Ocean of devotion.
May Lord Ganesha, whose very name brings auspiciousness shower grace upon us. May the Lord, whose loving grace kindly allows even a dumb-witted, incompetent, person such as myself to even look at such a masterpiece such as the Ramayana, the same Lord through whose grace a cripple can climb a mountain with ease, the same Lord who burns away the suffering of this age of conflict (Kali Yuga), may he be moved by our love and devotion.
May Lord Vishnu who lies upon the primordial ocean, whose body resembles a blue lotus flower live within my heart. May Lord Shiva, the destroyer of lust, whose body resembles the moon and is an ocean of compassion be moved by our love and devotion.
I bow to my Guru. He is an ocean of love and compassion for every living being. For me, he is no other than the supreme Brahman personified. His words are akin to sunbeams enlightening my soul in this all too dark age of ignorance.
Mahatma Gandhi said, ‘I regard this Ramayana as one of the richest spiritual treasures that humanity possesses. ‘This book is an effort of rekindling that treasure which belongs to the whole world.
The day that Shri Rama took birth on Earth is called Ramnavami. I began this book on this sacred day. It was the 28th of March 2015 that a strong feeling came over me to share in English, the essence of love found in the Ramacharitmanas of Tulasidas. My wish for is for us to meander together through the sacred forests of Rama’s story, to experience devotion, faith and unbearable love and compassion.
My prayer is that the unconditional love within this powerful scripture be absorbed by people all over the world in the English language.
This version of Tulasidas’s Ramayana in English is nothing but my offering to my Guru, Shri Neem Karoli Baba – whom I affectionately call Maharajji, and to Baba Ram Dass, who has for me been a great spiritual guide in my life. It is these great souls who have shown me the great potential of human existence. They have shown me that the highest path for humanity is love, and that not only is it possible it is our true essence.