Sunday, March 15, 2015

Pańcâňga - An Introduction

नारायणं नमस्कृत्य नरं चैव नरोत्तमम्।
देवीं सरस्वतीं व्यासं ततो जयमुदीरयेत्॥
नारायण समारम्भां व्यास शङ्कर मध्यमाम्।
अस्मदाचार्य पर्यन्तां वन्दे गुरु परम्पराम्॥
वन्दे गजेन्द्रवरदम् वामाङ्कारूढवल्लभाश्लिष्टम्।
कुङ्कुमपरागशोणं कुवलयिनी जारकोरकापीडम्॥
लक्ष्म्यम्बासमेत-नारायणाख्या परदेवतायै नमः॥

     Going from one country to another is called Deśântara, from one village to another is called Grâmântara and similarly moving from one time to another is called Kâlântara. Does that word sound familiar? Kâlântara is the knowledge of change in time. How do we identify Date and Time? What is the tool we use for it? Calendar! The astronomical knowledge of Bhârata Varsha, from the Arabs, got transferred to the Europeans like Greeks, Romans, and others. The European languages doesn’t have separate syllables like ‘Ka,’ ‘Ţa,’ and ‘Ďa.’ So, the word Kâlântara went through changes and became Calendar.

     The European calendar is only based on the movement of the sun – it is a Sun Calendar. Usage of Calendar in Europe had started in the BCs. The first Roman calendar (around 653 BCE) – Romulus Calendar contained 304 days, divided almost equally among 10 months – 6 months having 30 days and 4 months having 31 days in them. This method of counting the time didn’t fit in properly. Later Numa Pompilius, a Roman King (715 – 673 BC), added two new months of January and February to it, making January the first month and February the last month. In 153 BC, February was made the second month of a year, making changes in the order of the months as we now see it and making a year consisting of 355 days; the number of days from January to December as follows: 29, 28, 31, 29, 31, 29, 31, 29, 29, 31, 29, and 29. The Months were named after the Gods, Goddesses, and Kings.

     January got its name from Janus. February got its named from the Goddess Februtis, as it was the month of purification to Romans and the festival is called Februa. Next month was given the name God of Farming and Warfare, Mars. June getting its name from Goddess Juno, July from the King Julius Caesar who was born in that month, and August from King Augustus Caesar. September, October, November, and December retained their names from the original Calendar of ten months. September is the seventh month which is said to have gotten its name from the Latin word, septem for seven – same applicable for other months as well. Here, is it a mere coincidence that September sounds similar to Sapta-Ambara, literally meaning seventh astrological mansion; similarly, Ashţa-ambara, Nava-ambara, Daśa-ambara?

     When the year with 355 days was short, King Numa the calendar was altered by adding an intercalary month in between, once every two years. This Intercalation was the duty of Pontifices and the reasons for their decisions was kept a secret. During Julius Caesar’s reign the Solar Calendar was introduced. Without any solid reasoning, the Calendar underwent constant changes upon the orders of the Kings and festivities fell in different seasons – this happened for about 1500 years.

     During the time of Pope Gregory, in the year 1582 AD, there was an error of 10 days in the calendar being used back then. The Pope gave a strange order that the day followed by 4 October 1582 should be 15 October 1582. The days in between were taken away, isn’t that a weird decision!

     A similar, strange decision was again made by British parliament where there was an error of 11 days. So, the day followed by 2 September 1752 was changed to 14 September 1752!  Can this be called a powerlessness born out of ineptitude? There are many such weird changes that this calendar has gone through, which we shall not go in detail, as there are detailed articles on this in Wikipedia, which you shall lookup if you are interested in the same.
The European calendar is devised solely based on the movement of sun, Arabs depended on that of the moon, and Farsis on that of the constellations.
     The Ŗshis of Bhârata, with their divine knowledge, devised the calendar based on the movement of sun, moon, and constellations (Zodiac, if you may) together, but since it’s all weaved, it seems complex to understand. The Ŗshis made (when we say ‘made’ they realized what’s true measurement from the divine knowledge of Vedas) every month consisting 30 days, making a year of 360 days. Based on the position and movement of the heavenly bodies and calculating the time accordingly has been a practice from ages past. Eventually, this came to be known as Pańcâňga. A science that has been difficult to comprehend by many has been understood by the people of Bhârata and others have adopted parts of it to devise their own calendars.

     As the word indicates, Pańcâňga means five limbs – it shows Tithi, Vâra, Nakshatra, Yoga, and Karaņa. All the five are required to perfectly define time. Tithi (a lunar day) is dependent on the movement of the moon, Vâra on that of the sun, Nakshatra on that of the constellations, Yoga on that of sun and moon, and Karaņa on the division of Tithi. These days Pańcâňga is published in the form of a book that contains many tables but in the olden days this was written on a small and thin wooden board covered by a cloth. Whenever one had to look up the date they would unwrap the cloth and wrap is back safely. Unique details would be given about a date in this Pańcâňga, along with this, messages of kings would be written on it and distributed to the citizens. Apart from the five main details, other subtle divisions of time would be mentioned in it like the Ayana, Ŗtu, Paksha, Prahara, Hora, Muhûrta, to name a few.

Sarvam Śrî Laksmî-Nâârâyaņa-parabrahmârpaņamastu

Sunday, December 15, 2013

Reciting Ślokas

Great Scholars from ages past have given us eulogies aimed at the various forms of Paramâtmâ to help us cross this Ocean of Worldly existence (Samsâra). They were all mostly composed in a particular meter (Chandas) - some being as easy and common as Anushţubh and some being complex like Śikhariņî, Vŗtti, and others. To read a Śloka in almost every other Chandas, one should read the works of Âdi Śankarâbhagavatpâdâcârya. There’s a charming work of his called Devî Catuśshashţyupacâra Stotram where he uses many different Chandas that are really melodious to just read through – you wouldn’t have to really know the meaning to enjoy it; mere reading would bring an unexplainable joy in you, of course, the pronunciation being difficult at certain ślokas due to many Samdhis (Conjuncts).
Talking about pronunciations, the main intent for writing this post is to let people know of the importance of pronouncing words properly/correctly in ślokas. I have seen in temples and among groups who chant Lalitâ Sahasranâma Stotra (especially) getting used to the rhythm of Anushtubh Chandas and splitting every other name in Lalitâ Sahasranâma Stotra in a pattern of 8 – 8. This works out well in Vishņu Sahasranâma Stotra but not in Lalitâ Sahasranâma Stotra because certain names are three syllabled like Śrîmâtâ, five-syllabled like Śrîmahârâgñî, eight-syllabled like Śrîmatsimhâsaneśvarî, and some sixteen-syllabled like Haranetrâgnisamdagdhakâmasańjîvanaushadhiĥ. One should remember that these names aren’t given to Gods/Goddesses like we are given names. We are named something to identify ourselves, but the Supreme Identity doesn't require such identifications. So, the names in Ashţottaraśata-,  Triśatî-, or Sahasra-nâma are Gauņas, that is they glorify the qualities of deities through these names. When you split a sixteen-syllabled name in Lalitâ Sahasranâma Stotra (for example) they give a different meaning to Goddess.
I wish I didn’t have to even say this, but to let people know of the seriousness of pronouncing a name wrong, I am forced to give this example. Let’s take the example of the sixteen-syllabled name Haranetrâgnisamdagdhakâmasańjîvanaushadhiĥ. I have heard people saying Haranetrâgnisamdagdhâ–Kâmasańjîvanaushadhiĥ – thus splitting a single name into two which gives out the meaning of the first word as one who’s burned in the fire that emanated from Hara’s eye, instead of the actual meaning, which is the one who became the medicine that revived Kâma who's burned by the fire that emanated from Hara's eye. There are many more sixteen syllabled and seven syllabled names that are being split, which imply unspeakable meanings. I remember once saying this to a group of women with whom I was asked to chant the Stotra and the eldest Sâdhakî among the group looked at me as if saying, “Who are you to teach me what is right or wrong? I have been chanting this Stotra for years.”
I don't intend to hurt anyone but erring is human and as a Sâdhaka we all should have the attitude to correct wherever we go wrong in our deeds which would lead us to the Supreme Abode. After all, humility is the primary requirement of a Sâdhaka and not Ego.
This is the reason why learned people insist that one learn Lalitâ Sahasranâma Stotra from a Guru and not just read off a book. In fact Purâņas and Śâstras speak of many qualities of Guru. People like me cannot become Guru just because they think they can chant few Stotras. A Guru is one who removes the darkness of ignorance. He or she first meditates upon the mantra or stotra countless number of times, understands it and then bestows it to his or her disciple, making sure that he or she doesn’t pronounce it wrongly.
I have stated Lalitâ Sahasranâma Stotra as an example as we are familiar with it but there are other Stotras which people read off a book, splitting the names/words as they please. If in doubt, we should ask a learned person about the right way to recite it and then practice it ourselves, because the learned know if a conjunct word can be split or not so as not to imply a wrong meaning to the Stotra.
Sarvam Śrî Vâņî-Hiraņyagarbhârpaņamastu

Sunday, November 3, 2013

Trip to Veera Mangala Anjaneya Temple, Nallattur, Tamil Nadu

ॐ महागणपतये नमः। श्री गुरुभ्यो नमः। श्रीमात्रे नमः। हरिः ॐ
सुमुखश्चैकदन्तश्च कपिलो गजकर्णकः।
लम्बोदरश्च विकटो विघ्नराजो गणाधिपः॥ १॥
धूमकेतुर्गणाध्यक्षः फालचन्द्रो गजाननः।
वक्रतुण्डः शूर्पकर्णो हेरम्बस्कन्दपूर्वजः॥ २॥
षोडशैतानिनामानि यः पठेच्छृणुयादपि।
विद्यारम्भे विवाहे च प्रवेशे निर्गमे तथा।
संग्रामे सर्वकार्येषु विघ्नस्तस्य न जायते॥ ३॥
     May the lord of obstacles be with me too and guide you all, along with me, in this journey. Today, we shall go to the beautiful temple of Vîra Maňgala Âńjaneya located in a small village called Nallâţţûr in the state of Tamil Nâďu. This is an attempt to visit the temple in our minds and seems the Lord chose this temple for me to begin my blog with. One can definitely obtain merits even if (s)he worships god in mind to indicate which, Lalitâ Ashţottaraśatanâma has a name, Bhâvanâmâtrasamtushţahŗdayâ.
     As should one do, let’s wake up during the Brahma-muhûrta – around 4:00 AM, offer obeisance to Ishţa Devata and Kula Devata in mind’s eye. Then we shall look upon the trinity Goddesses in our own hands, saying,
कराग्रे वसते लक्ष्मी करमध्ये स्रस्वती।
करमूले स्थिते गौरी प्रभाते करदर्शनम्॥
     Before setting our feet on ground let’s pray to Mother Earth, as we can do nothing but apologize to her for all the vices we commit towards her,
समुद्र-वसने-देवि पर्वत-स्तन-मण्डले।
विष्णुपत्नीं नमस्तुभ्यं पादस्पर्शं क्षमस्व मे॥

     Then we shall brush our teeth thinking of the lord, and take bath in cold water chanting Veda mantras or ślokas. Those of us who should perform Sandhyâ Vandana, let’s do the same and others kindly eulogize Sûrya who’s one God whom we can see with our external eyes. Next, let’s all worship our Ishţa Devata and Kula Devata and get dressed in fresh clothes (kindly robe yourselves in traditional wear). Further, before beginning the journey, let’s pray to the Grâma Devatâ who protects us every other day and start towards the beautiful temple of Lord Râma’s bhakta.

     As we park our vehicle and walk towards the temple, we are graced with a humungous form (I didn’t use the word statue because I believe it is the lord himself and not just a ‘statue’) of Âńjaneya seated in Yoga posture with his serene face – the face that has realized the Brahman. Let’s salute him with enjoined palms,
मनोजवं मारुततुल्यवेगं जितेन्द्रियं बुद्धिमतावरिष्ठं।
वातात्मजं वानरयूथमुख्यं श्रीरामदूतं शिरसां नमामि॥
     Walking further would take us to the main entrance to the temple that leads to a hallway at the end of which is a beautiful form of Râma Paţţâbhisheka on the top of the entrance.

Let’s pray to Lord Râma, which would please Lord Âńjaneya more than it would if we pray to him first.
आपदामपहर्तारं दातारं सर्वसंपदाम्।
लोकाभिरामं श्रीरामं भूयो भूयो नमाम्यहम्॥

     As we step inside, we are welcomed into another hallway with open space on either sides dotted with coconut trees and other trees outside the compound. We can see the lord’s shrine in front of us, but let’s first worship Lord Gaņeśa as we should. At the end of this hallway, let’s turn left and walk past Râma’s shrine to Lord Gaņeśa’s shrine and worship the lord,
वक्रतुण्ड महाकाय सूर्यकोटिसमप्रभ।
निर्विघ्नं कुरु मे देव सर्वकार्येषु सर्वदा॥
अगजानन पद्मार्कं गजाननं अहर्निशं।
अनेकदं तं भक्तानां एकदन्तं उपास्महे॥
गजाननं भूतगणादि-सेवितं कपित्थ-जम्बूफलसारभक्षितम्।
उमासुतं शोकविनाशकारणं नमामि विघ्नेश्वर पादपङ्कजम्॥
     Let’s circumambulate the lord’s shrine which would bring us to Dakshiņâmûrtî – the one who preached the Divine knowledge to Sanaka and other sages with Cinmudra and without words. Let’s pray to him to bestow us with knowledge as he is the preceptor of all preceptors. I’d rather use the word Guru instead of preceptor from now on, as I see no apt word in English for the word (Guru).
गुरवेसर्वलोकानां भिषजे भवरोगिणाम्।
निधये सर्वविद्यानां दक्षिणामूर्तये नमः॥
     At the back we can see Lord Vishņu – the protector of entire Universe. Let’s pray to him for protection,
नारायणाय विद्महे वासुदेवाय धीमहि।
तन्नो विष्णुः प्रचोदयात्॥
     As we walk further, to Lord Gaņeśa shrine’s left we find the Creator of the Universe, Lord Brahmâ who’s worshipped through Vedas. Let’s pray to him and move further to the Goddess Lakshmî’s shrine (which has not yet been installed when we visited the temple in September 2013, but since we have the power of our minds let’s behold the Goddess there).
पद्मप्रिये पद्मिनि पद्महस्ते पद्मालये पद्मदलायताक्षी।
विश्वप्रिये विष्णुमनोऽनुकूले त्वत्पादपद्मं मयि सन्निधत्स्व॥
     We then shall circumambulate the Goddess and arrive at the open shrine of Nâga Devata. Eight Nâgas should be worshipped especially on Pańcamî,
वासुकिस्तक्षकः पूज्यः कालीयोमणिभद्रकः।
ऐरावतो धृतराष्ट्रः कर्कोटकधनञ्जयौ॥
एते प्रयच्छन्त्यभयमायुर्विद्यायशः श्रियम्॥

     As we walk onwards after worshipping the Nâga Devata we arrive at Dhvaja Stambha in front of Lord Râma’s shrine who dwells there with Sitâ and his brother Lakshmaņa (to the right as we circumambulate).
Let's fall prostrate in front of the Dhvaja Stambha and walk towards Lord Râma’s shrine.

Let’s pray to that form of Dharma who proved that humans are no less than any other being in this Universe. If we are to be grateful to anyone in our lives as a human being, it is to Lord Râma (to justify this, we would have to delve into Râmâyaņa which would take hundreds of posts – I hope Lord Râma makes me fortunate enough to talk about his greatness someday, here).
वैदेहीसहितं सुरद्रुमतले हैमे महामण्डपे
मध्येपुष्पकमासने मणिमये वीरासने सुस्थितम्।
अग्रे वाचयति प्रभञ्जनसुते तत्त्वं मुनिभ्यः परं
व्याख्यान्तं भरतादिभिः परिवृतं रामं भजे श्यामलम्॥
वामे भूमिसुता पुरश्च हनुमान्पश्चात्सुमित्रासुतः
शत्रुघ्नो भरतश्च पार्श्वदलयोर्वायव्यादिकोणेषु च।
सुग्रीवश्च विभीषणश्च युवराट् तारासुतो जाम्बवान्
मध्ये नीलसरोजकोमलरुचिं रामं भजे श्यामलम्॥
नमोऽस्तु रामाय सलक्ष्मणाय
देव्यै च तस्यै जनकात्मजायै
नमोऽस्तु रुद्रेन्द्रयमानिलेभ्यो
नमोऽस्तु चन्द्रार्कमरुद्गणेभ्यः॥
     Then to our right lies Lord Vîra Maňgala Âńjaneya in his majestic form. With his right hand he show us the Abhaya mudrâ (gesture of protection) and holds a Saugandhikâ flower in his left. His tail forms a circle around him with a bell on its end. The lord is in profile. No matter how many times we see his auspicious form we are always amused by his eminence. Let’s close our eyes for a moment and think of his golden splendorous form offering us protection. He is the lord who can bestow us all intelligence, physical strength, fame, courage, fearlessness, good health, and activeness.
मनोजवं मारुततुल्यवेगं जितेन्द्रियं बुद्धिमतां वरिष्ठम्।
वातात्मजं वानरयूतमुख्यं श्रीरामदूतं शिरसा नमामि॥
बुद्धिर्बलं यशोधैर्यं निर्भयत्वं अरोगताम्।
अजाड्यं वाक्पटुत्वं च हनूमत्स्मरणात् भवेत्॥
     Now let’s eulogize the lord with the precious gem that Śaňkarâcârya (the Jagadguru, who taught us everything and who saved us from destruction; it is because of him that we are able to celebrate great many festivals), has given us in the form of Hanumatpańcaratnam.
॥ हनुमत्पञ्चरत्नम्॥
वीताखिलविषयेच्छं    जातानन्दाश्रुपुलकमत्यच्छम्।
सीतापतिदूताद्यं    वातात्मजमद्य भावये हृद्यम्॥ १॥
तरुणारुणमुखकलमं    करुणारसपूरपूरितापाङ्गम्।
सञ्जीवनमाशासे    मञ्जुलमहिमानमञ्जनाभाग्यम्॥ २॥
शम्बरवैरिशरातिग-    मम्बुजदलविपुललोचनोदारम्।
कम्बुगलमनिलदिष्टं    बिम्बज्वलितोष्ठमेकमवलम्बे॥ ३॥
दूरीकृतसीतार्तिः    प्रकटीकृतरामवैभवस्फूर्तिः।
दारितदशमुखकीर्तिः    पुरतो मम भातु हनुमतो मूर्तिः॥ ४॥
वानरनिकराध्यक्षं    दानवकुमुदरविकरसदृशम्।
दीनजनावनदीक्षं    पवनतपः पाकपुञ्जमद्राक्षम्॥ ५॥
एतत्पवनसुतस्य    स्तोत्रं यः पठति पञ्चरत्नाख्यम्।
चिरमिहनिखिलान्भोगा-    न्भुङ्क्त्वा श्रीरामभक्तिभाग्भवति॥ ६॥
॥ इति श्रीमत्परमहंसपरिव्राजकाचार्यस्य श्रीगोविन्दभगवत्पूज्यपादशिष्यस्य श्रीमच्छंकरभगतः कृतौ हनुमत्पञ्चरत्नम्॥

     Let us further circumambulate Navagrahas who are standing to Lord Âńjaneya’s left (near the end of the hallway).
आदित्याय च सोमाय मङ्गलाय बुधाय च।
गुरुः शुक्रश्शनिश्चैव राहवे केतवे नमः॥
     Now let’s sit on a spot where it wouldn’t be a hindrance to other devotees visiting our lord and reminisce Lord Râma’s greatness, because Lord Hanumân would be gladdened at Râma’s story.
कूजन्तं रामरामेति मधुरं मधुराक्षरम्।
आरुह्य कविताशाखां वन्दे वाल्मीकि कोकिलम्॥
     Sovereign Daśaratha, born in the lineage of Ikshvâku was married to three wives – Kauśalyâ, Sumitrâ, and Kaikeyî and also to many other eminent women. Being childless, the old king performed Aśvamedha Yagña and then Putrakâmeshţi by Sage Ŗshyaśňga’s grace and the royal priest Vasishţha. Then Râma was born to Kauśalyâ, Bharata to Kaikeyî and Lakshmaņa and Śatrughna to Sumitrâ.
     To restrain the Râkshasas who were creating obstacles in his Yagña, Sage Viśvâmitra requested the king and he sent Râma and Lakshmaņa with him. The duo learnt the science of all weapons from the great sage and slew Tâďakâ, deluded Mârîca with Mânavâstra, and slew Subâhu. Râma went to Mithila along with his Guru, accompanied by Lakshmaņa to attend the Yagña there, where he broke Siva’s bow easily.
     Janaka at this gave Sîtâ in marriage to Râma at King Daśaratha’s consent, who consented to the marriage after consulting with Vasishţha and other wise ones. Lakshmaņa was married to Janaka’s second daughter, Urmilâ. Daughters of Kuśadhvaja – Śrutakîrti and Mâņďavî were married to Śatrughna and Bharata. Winning over Paraśurâma – son of Jamadagni, Râma and others, honored well by Janaka, returned back to Ayodhyâ. Bharata and Śatrughna were taken to their uncle, Yudhâjit’s kingdom.
     Râma served his father well and one day King Daśaratha decided to coronate him as the future king. Hearing about this, Mantharâ urged Kaikeyî to send Râma to forest for fourteen years and make her son Bharata the king, using the two boons that her husband had promised to her in the past. Poisoned by Mantharâ’s counsel, Kaikeyî asked the king to accept her two requests in the form of two boons that she’d been promised.
     Bound by his promise, King Daśaratha had to send Râma to live in forest for fourteen years and accept to crown Bharata. Râma gladly readied to go to the woods. His pious wife Sîtâ followed him and so did his dear brother Lakshmaņa. Few days after Râma went to forest, King Daśaratha left his mortal coils, afflicted by sorrow. When Bharata returned back to Ayodhyâ and heard of all that bechanced, he cried out of his misfortune that his mother had brought upon him. He denied the kingdom and went to forest determined to bring Râma back. On hearing about his father’s departure, Râma offered Tarpaņa to him and convinced his brother that he cannot return back, voiding their father’s promise. Bharata took Râma’s footwear and ruled the kingdom as a servant of Râma – as a regent.
     Râma bowed down to his Guru, mothers, and others, bid them goodbye and continued onwards. He visited Sage Atri and pious Anasûyâ, Śarabhaňga, Sutîkshņa, and Agastya’s brother and then went to Agastya. With his favor, Râma gained the divine bow and sword and went to the Daņďaka forest. He settled along the banks of Godâvarî whence Sûrpaņakhâ approached him to marry her. Lakshmaņa cut her nose and ears, enraged at which she made Khara, Dûshaņa, Triśirâ, and fourteen thousand other Râkshasas battle with him. Râma slew them all.
     At that Sûrpaņakhâ urged Râvaņa to kidnap Sîtâ. With Mârîca’s help he kidnapped Sîtâ to Laňkâ. Râvaņa was attacked by Jaţâyu on the way but was slain by him. Râma after slaying Mârîca deceived him in the form of a golden deer returned back to find that Sîtâ was missing after Lakshmaņa (who was forced by Sîtâ to look for Râma who seemed to be in danger) left her. Wandering about in search of Sîtâ the brothers met with Kabandha, slew him, and learnt of Sugrîva through him after he was relieved of his curse.
     After meeting with Śabarî along the banks of Pampâ, Râma met with Hanumân who took him to Sugrîva and they made a pact of friendship. Râma slew Vâlî and throne Sugrîva as the king of Vânaras. As promised, Sugrîva sent Vânaras in all directions in search of Sîtâ. Accepting Râma’s ring, Hanumân along with other Vânaras searched around Vindhyâ Mountains for a month in vain. Disheartened they spoke of Râma to each other.
     A vulture named Sampâti who was desirous of consuming the Vânaras heard their conversation and stopped at the mention of his brother Jaţâyu. Sampâti whose wings were burnt got them back on hearing Râma’s tale and he told them of Sîtâ presence in Laňkâ, located in an island in the ocean on Mount Trikûţa. He also told them that the ocean from there to Laňkâ extended to one hundred yojanas.
     To save the lives of Vânaras, Lord Hanumân leaped over the ocean on seeing which Mount Mainâka rose to support him. After causing Simhikâ’s fall he beheld Laňkâ and searched the houses of Râkshasas and all around Laňkâ. Not seeing Sîtâ anywhere he became distressed and finally went to Aśoka forest where he saw her under a Śimśapâ tree, guarded by Râkshasîs.
     Râvaņa was trying to coax Sîtâ to accept him as her husband but she denied. After he left her, the Râkshasîs forced her to accept their king. Then Hanumân who sitting in the tree in a small form related Râma’s tale; he gave her the ring given by Râma as a token of remembrance. He consoled her with his words and receiving her jewel and an incident of the loss of crow’s eye as a token of identification, he returned back to Kishkindhâ after burning a part of Laňkâ and warning Râvaņa to return Sîtâ back and on Râvaņa being prevented by Vibhîshaņa from killing Hanûmân.
     Back in Kishkindhâ, he informed Râma of Sîtâ and gave him the token of identification he’d received from Sîtâ. Râma wished to behold Sîtâ right away as he was pained by the separation from her. Sugrîva and others consoled him and they went to the shores of ocean, where they made allies with Vibhîshaņa who was sent away by Râvaņa as he advised his brother to return Sîtâ back to Râma.
     Then, at Ocean’s words, Râma commanded Nala to build a bridge across the ocean to Laňkâ. Thus crossing the ocean they all stationed themselves at Suvela and looked at Laňkâ. Then Râma sent Aňgada as messenger to Râvaņa to return Jânakî back to Râghava but Râvaņa chose to battle. Hanumân, Mainda, Dvivida, Jâmbavân, Nala, Nîla, Târa, Aňgada, Dhûmra, Susheņa, Keśarî, Gaya, Panasa, Vinata, Rambha, Śarabha, Krathana, Gavâksha, Dadhivaktra, Gavaya, Gandhamâdana, and many other Vânaras fought with the Râkshasas along with Râma, Lakshmaņa, and Sugrîva.
     Great lord Hanûmân slew Dhûmrâksha with a mountain peak. Nîla slew Akampana and Prahasta. Râma and Lakshmaņa were bound by Indrajit with Nâgâstra but were freed by Garuďa. Then Râma hurt Râvaņa with his arrows, afflicted by which he woke his brother Kumbhakarņa from sleep and fed him with wine and animals. Kumbhakarņa told his brother that he had sinned by kidnapping Sîtâ but since he was his elder brother, he chose to go to battle and ate many of the Vânaras. Râma cut off his arms and feet and made his head fall to the ground. Fighting many other Râkshasas Râma, Lakshmaņa, Vibhîshaņa and the Vânaras caused the fall of many of their enemy’s army. Battling with Mâyâ, Indrajit tied Râma and Lakshmaņa with Nâgapâśa at which time Lord Mâruti revived them by bringing the medicinal herb, Viśalyâ. To slay them, Indrajit began performing homa towards Nikumbhilâ at which time, Lakshmaņa slew that hero who won over Indra.
     On hearing the news of his son’s death, Râvaņa stood up to kill Sîtâ but on being stopped by Avindhya, he ascended his chariot and went to the battlefield. At that time, at Indra’s command, his charioteer Mâtali made Râma ascend his chariot. Thus a great, incomparable war ensued between Râma and Râvaņa. Râvaņa attacked the Vânaras and Mâruti and other Vânaras began injuring him. Finally, Râma split off Râvaņa’s heart with Paitâmaha astra and made him fall to the ground. All the wives of Râkshasas wailed at their husbands’ loss. Râma then instructed Vibhîshaņa to perform funeral rites for them all.
     Then Râma called Sîtâ through Hanumân. She entered the fire to prove her purity after which Râma accepted her. Indra and other gods extolled them. Then Brahmâ and Daśaratha, from Svarga, praised him thus,
     “You are none but Vishņu who’s come to slay the Râkshasas.”
     On being prayed, Indra showered Amŗta on the dead Vânaras and brought them all back to life. All the gods, thus witnessing the war returned back to their abodes after being worshipped by Râma. Râma gave the lordship of Laňkâ over to Vibhîshaņa and revered the Vânaras specially. Then taking everyone with him, along with Sîtâ, he sat in Pushpaka and returned back the same route by which he came. On the way back, he showed Sîtâ all the forests and places that were difficult to traverse, to delight her. After bowing down to Bharadvâja they reached Nandigrâma, where Bharata saluted his feet. He then went to Ayodhyâ and lived there.
     First he bowed down to Vasishţha and others and then to then to Kauśalyâ, Kaikayî, and Sumitrâ. Accepting the throne, he worshipped the dvijâ and others. Performing Aśvamedha, he worshipped Vâsudeva – a form of himself, gave all kinds of dâna, protected his subjects like his own children. He maintained Dharma, Kâma, and other goals of human life and was intent upon punishing the wicked ones. During his rule everyone was pious and so earth yielded crops in abundance. While Râma was ruling the kingdom there was no accidental deaths too.

     Ah! Isn’t that such a thrilling legend of great lord Râma and lord Hanumân who always serves his lord!  Let’s bow down to the lord again and pray to him that he always reside in our hearts and bless us that we shall come back to his abode every other day.

     Now coming outside, to our left we can see a big anthill where the divine snakes abide. Let's pray to them for a prosperous life and call to our minds the eight great Nagas.
वासुकिस्तक्षकः पूज्यः कालीयो मणिभद्रकः।
ऐरावतो धृतराष्ट्रः कर्कोटकधनञ्जयौ॥
एते प्रयच्छन्त्यभयमायुर्विद्यायशः श्रियम्॥

     With a content mind, we shall return back to our homes and visit our guru to complete the journey.

     I hope every one of you were able to visit this wonderful Kshetra and have become content. Those of you who can, kindly visit this wonderful temple in person and delight again reminiscing the nectar-like legend of Râma.