Mahanidhi Madan Gopal Das

The pastimes and teachings of Bhagavan Sri Ramachandra are described in two chapters of the Srimad Bhagavatam (IX.10-11). Now let us reflect upon these eternally relevant teachings that are both amazing and inspirational to hear.

I.Characteristics of the Ideal King

“Lord Ramachandra was a saintly king of pure character, raja rishi charitah shucih. He took a vow of accepting only one wife. And by His personal example, Sri Rama taught householders how to properly execute their duties.”

II. Characteristics of the Ideal Queen

Shukadeva Goswami describes the sterling qualities of the Queen, Sri Sitadevi: “Sri Sitadevi fully understood the feelings of Her beloved master, bhava jna bhartuh. She was submissive, chaste and shy. By her sweet love, good character and service, Sitadevi fully enchanted the mind of Her Lord.”

III. People Under an Ideal King

The popular term “Rama Rajya” refers to the reality of an ideal kingdom ruled by an ideal king providing peace, happiness and fulfillment to every living entity under his dominion. The phrase appears in the Srimad Bhagavatam (9.10.51), rame rajani.

What were the characteristics of that wonderful world ruled by the King of Kings, Sri Ramachandra?

“Sri Rama protected the citizens exactly like a father. And because the citizens accepted Lord Rama as their father, they performed their social and religious duties very nicely. Although it was Treta, because Lord Rama was a completely religious King, everyone felt they were living in the age of peace and truth, Satya-yuga.”

“No one experienced any type of bodily or mental suffering. Nor did anyone undergo any debility, lamentation, distress, fear or fatigue. And most amazingly, there was no disease, old age or untimely death!”

IV. Nature Under an Ideal King

“The forests, rivers, hills and mountains, the states, and all lands and seas fully supplied for everyone’s needs.” (Srimad Bhagavatam 9.10.50-55)

To conclude his description of rama-rajya, Shukadeva Goswami offers a blessing, phala shruti: “Anyone who hears about the glories of Lord Ramachandra will be freed from envy and be liberated from the bondage of fruitive activities, karma bandha vimuchyate.” (Srimad Bhagavatam 9.11.23)

Raghupati Raghava Raja Rama, Patita Pavana Sita Rama ki jai!

Sri Rama, Jaya Rama, Jaya Jaya Rama ki jai!

Jai Jai Sri Radhe!

Mahanidhi Madan Gopal Das

It takes a lot of love and trust, in short—faith—to fully give one’s heart to another. And the ultimate expression of faith is the act of surrendering to God, which is the terra firma supporting the kingdom of divine love.

For those who are courageous enough to surrender to God, a vast unlimited fortune awaits. The following verse from Ramayana (Yuddha-kanda 18.33) portrays a very sweet current of love between Bhagavan and bhakta. Here Lord Rama promises to reward His surrendered devotee.

Sri Ramachandraji said, “It is My vow, that I will give permanent fearlessness to anyone who surrenders unto Me and prays, ‘O Rama, I am Yours!’”

sakrd eva prapanno yas, tavasmiti ca yacate,
abhayam sarvada tasmai, dadamy etad vratam mama

Man, tan, dan, Sri Rama samarpana ki jai!

Jai Jai Sri Radhe!

Mahanidhi Madan Gopal Das

During His childhood in Ekachakra Dhama, Sri Nityananda Prabhu enjoyed the lilas of various forms of Bhagavan Sri Krishna. Vyasa avatara Sri Vrindavana dasa Thakura wonderfully depicts Nitai Balarama’s ecstatic boyhood pastimes.

One day in Ekachakra, a sportive youth named Nitai assumed the form of Lord Ramachandra. A “monkey army” of Nitai’s boyfriends, dressed as simians, cheered “Jai Raghunatha!”as they tossed trees into the water to build a bridge to Lanka.

Another time, Sri Nityananda Prabhu played Lakshmanji, holding a bow in hand bow and angrily walking to meet Sugriva. At that time, Sri Nityananda Prabhu said, “O you wretched monkey, My Lord is in anguish. If you care to live then come to meet Sri Rama who is anxiously awaiting your arrival.”

Nitai fully entered the bhava of Lord Rama’s younger brother Lakshman. Nitai’s chums, however, thought it was all jest because they did not understand Nitai’s internal moods. Nitai’s friends dressed up as five monkeys—Sugriva, Hanuman, Nala, Nila and Tara.

Lakshman Nitai said, “Who are you? I see you are all monkeys roaming in the forest? I am the servant of Raghunatha, please introduce yourselves.” Then Lakshman embraced them and took them to Lord Ramacandra. Offering dandavats to Sri Rama, the five monkeys cheered in unison “Jai Sri Rama! Jai Sri Rama!” (adapted Chaitanya Bhagavata Chp 9)

Rama Lakshman Nitai ki jai! Jai Sri Rama! Sri Rama!

Jai Jai Sri Radhe!

Mahanidhi Madan Gopal Das

In Hari-bhakti Vilasa (HBV), Srila Sanatana Goswamipada describes the vow to worship Bhagavan Sri Ramachandraji, Sri Rama-navami vrata, in sixty-verses taken from Agastya Samhita and Ramarchana-candrika.

Devotees who are fully absorbed in the primary Krishna bhakti-bhajana of shravana, kirtanam and smaranam need not observe all the details of the many vows and vratas mentioned in Hari-bhakti Vilasa. This book describes vratas for each and every month, for Bhagavan and His various forms, and even for the different seasons..

However, for devotees who are not practicing intense bhajana, such occasional Vaisnava vratas are very useful because they help one remain absorbed in Krishna consciousness. All activities in Krishna bhakti are performed only for the purpose of pleasing Sri Krishna, attracting His glance of mercy and bringing His sweet love into our hearts.

Quoting from (HBV 14.241-301), we will describe the vrata to inspire devotees to do more—serve more, surrender more and make more and more spiritual advancement.

I.What are the benefits?

One becomes purified of material desires, sinful reactions and goes to Vaikuntha. But most importantly, love for Krishna comes in our hand, bhaktis tasya kare sthita! ((HBV 14. 300)

II.What are the Starting Mantras?

“O Raghava (Lord Rama), today for Your pleasure, I WILL FAST FOR 24 HOURS!!!! (sunrise to sunrise), ashta yama. O Lord Hari, please be merciful to me and liberate me.” (HBV 14. 262-266)

III. Procedure of Worship

  1. Rise early, bathe and complete worship before noon. If possible, observe the vrata in sadhu-sanga. Offer full arati to a murti, painting (picture) of Sita-Rama, Laksmana and Hanuman.
  2. Hear Rama-katha about the divya-janma, siksha and lilas of Sri Ramachandraji.
  3. Offer prayers to Sri Rama, play musical instruments and chant Hari Nama-sankirtana. Especially chant the following mantra:

In San Francisco (U.S.A.), 1968, Srila Prabhupada introduced a new chant which was the favorite of Mahatma Sri Gandhiji. Prabhupada personally repeated the words one by one and even spelled them.

Then in his wonderfully rich, love-laden voice, Srila Prabhupada sang so beautifully…

raghupati raghava raja rama, patita-pavana sita-rama

Srila Prabhupada said that these were Lord Rama’s different names, glorifying Sri Rama as the Lord of the Raghu dynasty, the ideal king, the deliverer of the most fallen, and the husband of the most gorgeous goddess of fortune.

IV. Jagarana, remaining awake all night worshiping Sri Rama is suggested, although this may not be feasible for many.

V. A fragrant sweet offering:

“Without being lazy, one should spend his day and night lovingly offering fragrant flowers to Lord Rama every three hours.” (HBV 14.296) Jai Vijaya Rama ki jai!

VI. Breaking the Vrata

Rise early (if you have not done jagarana), offer full arati to Sri Ramachandraji; feed and donate to brahmanas and honor maha-prasadam.

VII. Concluding Prayer

“O Lord Rama, I am breaking my vrata by honoring Your prasadi. May You be fully satisfied with me, and please give me peace and Krishna bhakti.”

tava prasada svikarat, krtam yat paranam maya
vratenanena santushta, svasti bhaktim prayaccha me

Sri Rama Navami Vrata ki jai! Sita-Rama Laksman Hanuman ki jai!

Jai Jai Sri Radhe!

Mahanidhi Madan Gopal Das

Soaring through the sky at supersonic speeds. What is it? Is it a meteor on a collision course with Mother Earth? Is it a thunderbolt cast by the angry rain god? No, IT’S HANUMAN, holding a huge mountain in his powerful hand! Jai Hanuman!

Lord Rama gave the command! And hoards of bears and love-crazed monkeys ran in every direction to bring rocks to build the fabled bridge to unite the anguished lovers pained by the pangs of separation. While collecting mountains and boulders from the Himalayas, Hanuman noticed a huge mountain towering above the land of Vrindavana.

Alighting from the sky, Hanuman repeatedly tried with all his strength, but to no avail, to lift that beautiful majestic mountain. Hanuman was perplexed and wondered how this mountain could be more powerful than he. Thinking the mount was a great sage or rishi, and that he may have offended him, Hanuman immediately did a full parikrama (sat kosh, 14 miles) to appease him.

Suddenly, an akash vani (unseen voice) proclaimed, “The ocean bridge is now complete and no more rocks are required!”

Hearing this, that mountain became very unhappy and said, “O now I will not be blessed by the wonderful touch of Lord Rama’s lotus feet.” Hanuman, his heart melting with compassion, said, “O great one, please forgive me. Let me consult with my master and I will come right back.”

After Hanuman narrated the whole story, Sri Ramachandra said, “O Hanuman, that great personality is none other than Giriraja Govardhana! Go tell Giriraja that in the upcoming Dwapara-yuga, when I come as Vrajendranandan, I will hold him on My hand for seven days, and that he will be the best of My devotees, hari dasa varya!” (adapted, Adi Varaha Purana)

Ramachandra Bhagavan ki jai! Vajrangabali ki jai!

Giriraja Dharana ki jai! Jai Jai Sri Radhe!

Mahanidhi Madan Gopal Das

In great ecstasy, Gauranga-sundara enjoyed a variety of pastimes with His loving Nadiya-vasis. Being the sarva-avatari, purnatama swayam Bhagavan, Mahaprabhu would sometimes please His devotees by displaying His various forms such as Vishnu virata-rupa, Nrsimha Bhagavan, Lord Rama, Sri Krishna and Radha Govinda Yugala. And once Mahaprabhu even became the greatest of dasya bhaktas.

One day on Vijaya-dashami, Sri Chaitanydeva celebrated Sri Rama’s victory over Ravana, lanka vijayera din. To enter the mood and pastimes of Sri Ramachandraji, Mahaprabhu personally dressed up all His devotees as monkey soldiers, vanara-sainya.

Himself becoming Hanuman, hanuman aveshe, Mahaprabhu grabbed a large tree branch, scaled the walls of the Lanka fort and began to smash it to pieces!

“Jai Sri Rama!” “Jai Sri Rama!” “Jai Vajrangabali!” “Jai Ajanu-lambita Gaura!”

In great anger, Hanuman Mahaprabhu roared, “Where is that Ravana who has kidnapped the mother of the universe? Now I shall kill him and all his family, krodha aveshe, jagat-mata hare, papi marimu sa vamshe!”

Astonished to see Mahaprabhu as Hanuman, everyone repeatedly cheered, “Jai Ho! Jai Ho! Jai Ho! (Caitanya Caritamrita. 2.15.31-35)

Bhagavan Sri Ramachandraji ki jai! Jai dasya-rati Hanuman ki jai!

Jai Jai Sri Radhe!