Ramcharit Charcha CCCXCVIII

II Shree Guruvey Namah II

Jai Shri Ram,

II Sri Ram Jai Ram Jai Jai Ram II

II Sri Ram Jai Ram Jai Jai Ram II

II Sri Ram Jai Ram Jai Jai Ram II

जासु बियोग बिकल पसु ऐसे। प्रजा मातु पितु जिइहहिं कैसें।।
बरबस राम सुमंत्रु पठाए। सुरसरि तीर आपु तब आए।।
मागी नाव न केवटु आना। कहइ तुम्हार मरमु मैं जाना।।
चरन कमल रज कहुँ सबु कहई। मानुष करनि मूरि कछु अहई।।
छुअत सिला भइ नारि सुहाई। पाहन तें न काठ कठिनाई।।
तरनिउ मुनि घरिनि होइ जाई। बाट परइ मोरि नाव उड़ाई।।
एहिं प्रतिपालउँ सबु परिवारू। नहिं जानउँ कछु अउर कबारू।।
जौ प्रभु पार अवसि गा चहहू। मोहि पद पदुम पखारन कहहू।।
छं0-पद कमल धोइ चढ़ाइ नाव न नाथ उतराई चहौं।
मोहि राम राउरि आन दसरथ सपथ सब साची कहौं।।
बरु तीर मारहुँ लखनु पै जब लगि न पाय पखारिहौं।
तब लगि न तुलसीदास नाथ कृपाल पारु उतारिहौं।।
सो0-सुनि केबट के बैन प्रेम लपेटे अटपटे।
बिहसे करुनाऐन चितइ जानकी लखन तन।।100।।

We covered up to Doha 100 of Ayodhya Kand in Ramcharit Manas of Tulsidas in the last post and learned that when Shri Ram reached the banks of river Ganges after sending Sumantra back to Ayodhya, He called Kevat, the ferryman, to bring his boat to enable them to cross the river and carry the journey on in to the jungles. Kevat in response raised a point that he was aware of the reality of Shri Ram and that dust of his feet had power to convert a rock in to a lady (Ahalya), if it did the same to his boat, he would be left with no means of making livelihood. Kevat declared that even if he has to face the wrath of Lakshman he would only rake Shri Ram and others on boat after washing the feet of Shri Ram and that he doesn’t even want any remuneration for it. This absurd kind of logic (only seemingly but signalling that Kevat was an evolved seeker for he wished to be rewarded for serving the Lord only with another opportunity to worship and serve the Lord) amused Shri Ram and He turned a mysterious glance in direction of Sita and Lakshman while smiling meaningfully.

कृपासिंधु बोले मुसुकाई। सोइ करु जेंहि तव नाव न जाई।।
वेगि आनु जल पाय पखारू। होत बिलंबु उतारहि पारू।।
जासु नाम सुमरत एक बारा। उतरहिं नर भवसिंधु अपारा।।
सोइ कृपालु केवटहि निहोरा। जेहिं जगु किय तिहु पगहु ते थोरा।।
पद नख निरखि देवसरि हरषी। सुनि प्रभु बचन मोहँ मति करषी।।
केवट राम रजायसु पावा। पानि कठवता भरि लेइ आवा।।
अति आनंद उमगि अनुरागा। चरन सरोज पखारन लागा।।
बरषि सुमन सुर सकल सिहाहीं। एहि सम पुन्यपुंज कोउ नाहीं।।
दो0-पद पखारि जलु पान करि आपु सहित परिवार।
पितर पारु करि प्रभुहि पुनि मुदित गयउ लेइ पार।।101।।

The ocean of mercy Shri Ram then spoke to Kevat smilingly, “O Kevat, do what can save your boat but you must rush to get water to wash my feet because it is getting late for me, you may then take us quickly across the river.”

Isn’t it strange that by uttering whose name even once people have been known to cross this vast and formidable worldly sea (of contradictions and illusion where the Jivas keep going round in cycle of birth and death), the Lord who had covered in two steps all worlds  and the entire sky and had no where to put his foot down for a third step in His Vamanavatar (avatar as a dwarf at the gate of King Bali, its a Poranic Story), the very same Lord now has had to implore and urge a boatman to cross just a river, wonders Tulsidas.

At first the divine river Ganges became upset and concerned listening to words of Shri Ram but later became happy to look at the nail of toe of Shri Ram (remembering that she had herself come out of the nail of toe of the Lord i e had been born out of it, naturally way across herself was not an issue, what Lord meant was that He had taken an avatar in human form and would act only as humans without demonstration of divine power but keeping the side of Dharma at all times, she concluded).

Acting in accordance with the consent of Lord Shri Ram, Kevat rushed and fetched a wooden pot filled with water and went about washing the lotus feet of Shri Ram with immense pleasure, with affection and with great enthusiasm. The gods showered flowers and enviously thought that they were not as lucky as Kevat who had a store of noble deeds of his past lives (the gods living in heavens do not get such opportunities and the Lord in His human avatars does the reverse i e happily washes their own feet hence they mostly miss such opportunities until they themselves descend on earth in some form).

Thus washing the feet of Shri Ram and drinking the wash-water (its called as Charnamrut i e it becomes nectar after touching feet of Lord) himself and letting his family also have it, the Kevat took the Lord, Sita and Lakshman across the river but he had by this service obliged Lord Shri Ram to even deliver his own ancestors out of the bondage (if the descendants in the family become so progressed in spiritual lives its also on account of the teachings of fore-fathers and the traditions established by them hence they deserve for getting liberated themselves also).

We have now covered up to Doha 101 of Ayodhya Kand.

उतरि ठाड़ भए सुरसरि रेता। सीयराम गुह लखन समेता।।
केवट उतरि दंडवत कीन्हा। प्रभुहि सकुच एहि नहिं कछु दीन्हा।।
पिय हिय की सिय जाननिहारी। मनि मुदरी मन मुदित उतारी।।
कहेउ कृपाल लेहि उतराई। केवट चरन गहे अकुलाई।।
नाथ आजु मैं काह न पावा। मिटे दोष दुख दारिद दावा।।
बहुत काल मैं कीन्हि मजूरी। आजु दीन्ह बिधि बनि भलि भूरी।।
अब कछु नाथ न चाहिअ मोरें। दीनदयाल अनुग्रह तोरें।।
फिरती बार मोहि जे देबा। सो प्रसादु मैं सिर धरि लेबा।।
दो0- बहुत कीन्ह प्रभु लखन सियँ नहिं कछु केवटु लेइ।
बिदा कीन्ह करुनायतन भगति बिमल बरु देइ।।102।।

Reaching the other side of river Shri Ram, Sita, Lakshman and Nishad Guha got down from the boat and stood on the bed of sand of the divine river; Kevat also came down and lay prostrate before Shri Ram. It was now time to pay Kevat for his service and Shri Ram felt awkward at not being able to give him something, Sita however happily took off Mani-studded ring from her finger as she always could make out whatever happened to go on in mind of her beloved Shri Ram (a truly devoted wife develops this capacity, here we should know that Sita as Maya always does what the her Supreme Lord wishes without an express communication, this is how the relationship of the two is to be understood) and Shri Ram, the merciful one, then offered it to Kevat and wanted him to accept it as compensation for what he had done for Him.

The Kevat in turn agitatingly grabbed the feet of Shri Ram (for he could not bear the site of Mother Sita having to take out the ring for his sake) and said,” O Master, what is that I haven’t already got, all my faults, all my miseries and my poverty and helplessness etc. all of which always used to keep me burning under their heat have disappeared (which is but natural for a Bhakta because occasion to have sight of and opportunity to serve the Lord makes them fearless and bereft of worldly desires).”

Kevat further said, “I have been only bearing pains and laboring hard for living since long time (in this life and in earlier lives) but it is only this time that the Brahma, the creator has amply provided and wholeheartedly granted me the rewards (in form of my good fortune of meeting and serving you). O Master, I do not want any thing more because I don’t miss or lack any thing now, its all due to Your grace O The savior of the destitute and hapless. On Your way back I would accept whatever You give me with humility and as Prasad (when we offer whatever we have to the Lord, all that comes from the Lord becomes Prasad, in this way our needs get fulfilled and consumption of the same remains no more a guilt).”

Lord Shri Ram, Sita and Lakshman tried in many ways that he accepts the offered ring but Keval declined to take it; lastly the merciful Lord bid him sent him off but after granting him boon of having unwavering and pure kind of Bhakti (since it was what Kevat craved for).

(Kevat also demonstrated that as a good citizen one should not have any kind of greed while his services are required by the needy, in Indian culture ornaments of a lady are never sought to be bartered for any thing even by unrelated strangers, the people in distress should be helped fully respecting them and without diminishing their status.)

We have now covered up to Doha 102 of Ayodhya Kand.

Bhavani Shankar Ki Jai!
Shri Jankivallabho Vijayatey!
Sant Samaj Ko Pranam!
Goswami Tulsidas ki Jai!

HariOm,
Krishna Khandelwal

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